Bottle Jacks vs. Floor Jacks: Which Should I Buy?

by Joshua Thomas

At some point, you will need to jack up your vehicle, whether you want to repair a puncture or work on the brake assembly. When this happens, you need to have a reliable jack, and for many motorists, this often means having to use the bottle or floor jacks.

While both are effective at lifting and supporting the vehicle, each has its merits and shortcomings that a motorist needs to know to pick the right one for the job at hand.

Bottle Jacks: Pros and Cons

The bottle jack gets its name from the fact that it resembles a bottle. However, it is a hydraulic jack that features a vertically mounted cylinder. Despite this being a more compact jack type, it has a surprisingly higher lift capacity than the larger floor jacks. A typical bottle jack will have a capacity of anything from 3 to 50 tons, meaning you can use it for almost any vehicle out there.

Another key advantage of the bottle jack is that it takes up little room thanks to its smaller footprint. Therefore, this jack will be ideal for use in confined spaces where you do not have much room to maneuver.

What’s more, the smaller size of the bottle jack makes it easy to carry around if you need to use it when on the road. Many motorists will often have a bottle jack on their vehicle trunks. Despite the higher capacity, the bottle jacks are relatively more affordable as you can get a 3-ton model for even under $20.

For the shortcomings, the bottle jacks have a higher profile that makes it harder to get them under vehicles with low ground clearance. Also, the smaller footprint affects the stability of a bottle jack and increases the risk of slippage. Because it has quite a short handle, the bottle jack will be harder to use and takes more time to lift a vehicle.


  • Higher lift capacity
  • Small footprint saves space
  • Often more affordable
  • Easy to carry around


  • Takes more time to lift
  • Greater risk of slippage
  • A little too high for some vehicles

Floor Jacks: Pros and Cons

The floor jack is a hydraulic type of jack, just like the bottle jacks. However, unlike the latter, it is horizontally centered and with a lower center of gravity that makes it more stable. Also, floor jacks have wheels at the bottom, making them super easy to position under the vehicle.

The low-profile design of the floor jacks makes them ideal for use on vehicles with low ground clearance, which can be hard to do with bottle jacks. Better still, they have a wider footprint and larger saddle that will ensure greater stability and minimize the risk of vehicle slippage, respectively.

Lifting a vehicle is much faster when using the floor jack as it has a larger handle, which also ensures a relatively more straightforward operation. Overall, the floor jacks will give you an easier time to use if you have the space given they take up a lot of room.

Compared to the bottle jacks, the floor jacks are more expensive as a basic 3-ton model costs between $100 and $300. Also, they tend to have a smaller lift capacity, but they should still lift at least the 3 tons required to handle most vehicles. Another drawback is that they cannot lift very high or at least not as high as the bottle jacks.


  • Easy mobility
  • Low profile
  • Faster vehicle lifts
  • Low risk of vehicle slipping
  • Large footprint for increased stability


  • Takes up more space
  • Often expensive
  • Less portable
  • Cannot lift very high

Which One Should You Buy?

Ideally, you should have both the bottle and floor jacks as they will come in handy for different situations.

However, if you can only buy one, the bottle jack is perfect if you need something that can hold more weight and does not take up much room.

On the other hand, floor jacks are perfect for those looking for a more stable and hence safer jack and have plenty of space in the garage.

Tags: Floor Jack,

About Joshua Thomas

Joshua Thomas just simply loves cars and willing to work on them whenever there's chance... sometimes for free.

He started CarCareTotal back in 2017 from the advices of total strangers who witnessed his amazing skills in car repairs here and there.

His goal with this creation is to help car owners better learn how to maintain and repair their cars; as such, the site would cover alot of areas: troubleshooting, product recommendations, tips & tricks.

Joshua received Bachelor of Science in Mechanical Engineering at San Diego State University.

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