Floor jack vs. Trolley jack: Know the Difference!

For every professional mechanic, servicing company and vehicle owner, a jack is a must have for you.

Whether you prefer to use a floor or a trolley jack, it is vital to have at least one of them. Both the floor and trolley jack comes in handy when you need to carry out repairs, get under your car or to change your vehicle oil.

Well, no matter your jack preference, the important thing is to secure the best and safe one you can use to avoid accidents and injuries.

Did you know! Both the trolley and floor jacks almost look alike but there are still some differences between them. You see! You can efficiently and safely use any of them if you know how to administer them appropriately.

Trolley Jack:

A trolley jack makes everything about lifting your vehicle easy more than the floor jack. If you are checking the brake assemblies or changing tires, the trolley jack is perfect to use.

You can make use of the trolley jack to lift your vehicle without much effort, but it has to be for a short time span.

The design of the trolley jack makes it able to carry out its lifting and holding tasks only for a short period. Due to its trolley nature, the jack can quickly roll under the vehicle on its four wheels.

It makes use of the hydraulic pressure to elevate the car as you lift while pressing on the jack handle. Since you follow the proper procedure of raising with a trolley jack, car damages or personal injuries will be averted. 

Trolley jacks come in many different weightlifting categories which makes it imperative for the buyer to be aware of the weight capacity of his or her vehicle before making a choice.

Categories of Trolley Jack:

Light or Home DIY jacks- this category of floor jacks are more affordable compared to other types and can last for a very long time if maintained properly.

You can effectively use them for low duty or light applications in your home garage.

Aluminum Jacks- this category is also suitable for low duty operations for people racing stock cars. Even though the aluminum jacks have the same features as other jacks, their design is more efficient for working on racing and track vehicles.

The reason for it is because the designer has racing cars in mind when designing the aluminum jacks. They are also easy to carry about since they are light in weight.

High Duty Jacks- Just as the name implies, this category of trolley jacks are for busy garages that carry out lifting of heavy machinery or equipment constantly on a daily basis. This category is durable, a bit high in price and stronger than the other jacks.

Garage Jacks- this category of trolley jacks is more prominent and sturdier, unlike the DIY jacks which are lighter. You can efficiently use them for high lifting, rocket lifting or low profile lifting respectively.

If you are such a person that lifts your vehicle regularly, then the garage jack is the perfect one to have.

Common Feat​ures:

The trolley jack has many exciting features which make them unique such as;

  • The rocket lift has the dual piston design which ensures that it can effortlessly lift and hold a vehicle.
  • An aluminium chassis that makes it light in weight and provides the highest manoeuvrability, unlike the other steel jacks.

Floor Jack:

The floor jack is the best friend of any mechanic or professional garage owner that often gets underneath a vehicle, change tires or change the vehicle's oil. The floor jacks come in two different categories namely;

Hydraulic Jacks- these come in two main designs such as the trolley and piston jack. They trolley type usually come with four wheels that provide maximum manoeuvrability.

The bottle or piston type do not come with wheels but rather have a bottle-like shape. All in all, the hydraulic jacks are the perfect instrument to transform input motion and turn it into a lifting force.

Mechanical Jacks- This particular jack usually accompaniers a vehicles emergency kit in the case of roadside repairs. They are portable, lightweight and do not need any serious maintenance.

An example of the mechanical floor jack type is the scissors. Its specialty is to make use of the conventional screw mechanism to transform the rotational force to a linear lifting force.


The trolley and floor jacks perform the same functions and almost look alike.

Even at that, they also have many differences between them.

  • Lifting capacities

For instance, the trolley jack is more effective to use in anything automotive. With the trolley jack lifting a vehicle on a jack stand, lifting heavy machinery or equipment is a piece of cake.

You can efficiently lift up the transmissions likewise the trans axles or the entire car by the frame or an axle if you desire it. The floor jack is not that efficient when it comes to lifting.

  • Set-up

Floor jacks are very easy to set in place, and they also have a big lift-head with a larger base that ensures stability. The trolley jack is more complicated when it comes to setting it up. 

  • Affordability

Trolley jacks are more expensive than the floor jack, but you are assured to get your money's worth out of them though they do not last long. On the other hand, a floor jack is affordable and can hold its own for a very long time without complaint or damages.

  • Height limits

The floor jack and the trolley jack have different minimum height. The floor jack can effectively work under low-level vehicles whereas the trolley jack cannot do so.

  • Weight

Floor jacks are light in weight, easy lifting, it uses hydraulic and has enough length to lift from the cross member efficiently.

Whereas, the trolley jack operates on springs, has a long pole, heavier than the floor jack, have wheels and can perform heavy duty lifting perfectly.


The trolley and floor jack are safe and easy to use. That is why; the operators should know how to administer each of them appropriately.

If you decide to buy a floor jack, it is a good investment since you can save more money and time. The trolley jack on the other hand is more expensive than the floor jack yes!

But you will never regret spending that little extra cash due to its abilities.

The bottom line, get the jack that will match your needs, save your time and also prevent accidents. How about getting both jacks and use them when necessary? That will be great as well.

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