How to Choose the Best Hydraulic Jack

Hydraulic Jack

You might not realize how vital a hydraulic jack is until you want to lift a heavy load. A jack is any lifting device used mechanically to apply great forces or lift massive loads. A jack employs a screw thread mechanism to lift equipment that is heavy mechanically. 

Generally, jacks are rated usually to the capacity of load they can lift. Jacks, for example, could be placed at 1.5 tons, 2.5 tons, 3 tons, and so on. 

There are two types of jack: mechanical and hydraulic jack. 

What is a Hydraulic Jack?

The hydraulic jacks are more efficient than mechanical jacks and are used to raise building elevators. The hydraulic jacks make use of hydraulic fluid. Hydraulic fluid imparts such power to the jack to lift very massive objects. 

The hydraulic jack contains two cylinders of different sizes. The hydraulic cylinders are connected with a pipe, and a plunger forces hydraulic fluid into the two cylinders. When the plunger gets pulled back, oil goes into the pump chamber, and when the plunger moves forward, the oil gets pushed back into the cylinders. 

The power of the jack comes from the pressure created as a result of the oil movement. Therefore, the oil used as the hydraulic fluid must be non-compressible. 

hydraulic jack

What Makes Hydraulic Jack Useful?

The hydraulic jacks help lift heavy objects, including vehicles, elevators, and so on. Using these jacks saves a lot of energy as well as gets work done faster and easier. 

In homes, a hydraulic jack is proper but made in miniature size for home-usage. They are helpful for door stoppers, bikes, cars, and so on. Hydraulic jacks find more comprehensive applications because of their ease of use. 

The hydraulic jacks provide an efficient braking system in motorbikes. More than that, hydraulic jacks find broader applications in industries for lifting heavy-duty objects. 

As efficient as they are, hydraulic jacks are not challenging to use and mostly not heavyweight devices. 

Factors to Consider for the Right Choice of Hydraulic Jack

To choose the right jack, the factors to put into consideration include:

The Height Required

A floor hydraulic jack lifts objects just a few inches above the ground. It is used to raise cars, change car tires, and so on. If you consider lifting an object above a few inches, about 4-7 inches, you might consider buying a floor jack above the ground.

Object to be Lifted 

The type of object to be lifted can also dictate which hydraulic jack to be used. This factor goes in hand with knowing the maximum height the jack desired can raise an object above the ground and the weight of what is to be lifted. So you can’t, for instance, use the same jack that will raise a four-tire car to lift a 24 tire trailer. 

Jack Stability

Each jack has its stability limit when extended. Floor jacks are very stable, about few inches above the ground surface. The knowledge of the jack stability will help you make the right jack purchase that will work best for whatever you want. 

Jack Portability

How easy will it be to move your jack from one place to another? If you value an easy-to-move jack, then you should consider the floor jack. However, it all boils down to what function you want to perform with the jack. 

Mode of Operation

Hydraulic jacks have slight variations in their mode of operation. For example, do you want a jack that will be operated by motive power supplied by human effort, or would you prefer the compressed air-powered jack? The mode of operation is hence another essential factor to consider before buying the jack.


It will help if you consider your purse before making the buying decision. Hydraulic jacks come in various prices. The cheapest hydraulic jack sold in the market is the hand-powered jack. Unfortunately, being the cheapest hand-powered hydraulic jack is also the slowest hydraulic jack sold in the market. 


 Maintenance is the last factor to consider. Will the jack be easy to be serviced and maintained? It would be best if you prioritize the ease of servicing and maintaining a jack before buying it. 

Why Hydraulic Jacks Malfunction

The Jack cylinder can sometimes experience failures that will either require replacement or service depending on the extent of the loss. Some causes of hydraulic jack failure include:

  • Contamination of the hydraulic fluid can deteriorate the hydraulic seals. The hydraulic fluid contamination can cause complete damage to the hydraulic cylinders. 
  • The jack’s cylinder pressure will be a loss if the hydraulic seal is leaking. Once there is pressure, the lifting capacity of the jack is negatively impacted. Therefore, the defect must be corrected as soon as possible not to cause total damage to the hydraulic seal. 
  • If the jack cannot maintain a consistent cylinder pressure, it can deteriorate to leak fluid from seals. 
  • Inadequate maintenance, such negligence towards inspecting the hydraulic cylinder as recommended in the maintenance guideline could lead to device failure. 

General Maintenance of Hydraulic Jacks

  • The hydraulic jacks must be maintained appropriately to ensure they function effectively. 
  • The hydraulic jack seals must be kept from getting exposed to elements; otherwise, the jack deteriorates gradually. 
  • It is a good practice to use covers over the hydraulic jacks when not in use to keep them from attracting dust and other contaminants. 
  • Do not use brake fluid as the hydraulic fluid because brake fluid can destroy the jack’s seals. Instead, use only non-compressible fluids as the hydraulic fluid. 

General Tips on Using Hydraulic Jacks

  • Please do not use the hydraulic jack to lift loads beyond their load limit. The jack limit is always expressed in tons and pounds. 
  • It would be best if you do not use jacks to life objects beyond the maximum height limit. 
  • Use the jack in compliance with the device’s working orientation. The working direction is dependent on design which could be vertical or horizontal. It would be best if you do not use vertically the hydraulic jack designed to function horizontally. You should always adhere strictly to the jack’s working orientation. 
  • You must NEVER walk or crawl under a hydraulic jack even if the load weight is less than the load capacity of the jack. 
  • As much as you can, wear a piece of personal protective equipment (PPE) when operating a hydraulic jack.


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