6 Best Electric Jacks | March 2017
- powerful 15 amp motor
- built-in circuit breaker
- extra long power cord
- lift height adjusts from 5" to 14"
- well-rated by users
- case & jack together weigh just 11 lbs
- can be controlled by remote
- smooth ball bearing drive
- smart stop technology
Get Jacked Without The Muscle
Human beings are capable of some pretty incredible feats of strength, some of which are the result of years of training and discipline, while others come from sudden bursts of adrenaline in moments of severe stress. Famous examples of the latter case exist in which people have lifted two-ton cars off of their crushed loved ones, saving their lives with scarcely a memory of the deed.
These seemingly superhuman abilities are due to a phenomenon called hysterical strength, which would probably become a curse if its effects lasted more than a few precious minutes. Thankfully, mankind has the ability to create complex tools capable of executing feats of incredible strength on our behalf. The car jack is one such device, and its electrical iteration requires even less muscular exertion than its original design.
All but one of the car jacks on our list are called scissor jacks because of the shape and function of the jack arms. A scissor jacks source of mechanical motion is something called the jack screw, which is a long, threaded screw running parallel to the ground.
When you've positioned your jack beneath the edge of your ride, you can turn the jack screw, which brings the two hinged jack arms closer together, elongating them and pressing their tips against your car's undercarriage. The amount of leverage distributed across the arms, the screw, and the bars that fit into the screw head is enough to make the car raise up on the jack with relative ease.
An electric jack performs the same motion as described above, but instead of you slaving away over the bars connected to the jack screw, a small motor turns it for you in either the up or down direction, depending on which button you push. What's more, the electric jack takes its power from your car's cigarette lighter or AC port, so you can keep one in your trunk for emergencies and use it anywhere you need.
Stranded, But Not Doomed
It's a scenario we all dread; you take the family on a road trip to Disney World, and somewhere eight or nine hours into a drive filled with unplanned stops, screaming kids, a bored spouse, and more games of "I Spy" than you ever thought you could play in a lifetime, you get a flat tire.
You're in the middle of nowhere, on some *back-country Georgia road you were sure would cut forty-five minutes off your trip. It's hotter than a griddle-top, so humid you could drown just breathing the air, and all you've got to lift your over-laden minivan is a small, hand-cranked scissor jack.
Some people would just get out of the car and start walking–not to get help, just to get away, maybe abandon the family forever there on the side of the road, walking off into the woods and see what happens. Other folks might bear down and jack up the car, no matter how painful the process, how many blisters cropped up on their hands, or how much guff they'd have to deal with for barely being able to get the job done.
Then there's this subset of human beings smart enough to invest in an electric car jack. All they have to do is pop the jack under the car, plug it in, hit a button, and in a just a few moments they're at work swapping out the tire. On to Disney!
Still, the specifics of your situation and your level of expertise and safety concern will determine which jack you ought to get for yourself, as will the weight of your vehicle.
There are jacks on our list, for example, that are only meant for vehicles built on a truck frame, which includes a majority of larger SUVs. Others will buckle under the weight of a truck or even a classic car. Check your ride's weight against the purported strength of a given jack to make sure the jack can get it up.
The packages available with each jack differ, as well. Some of these electric jacks just come with the jack itself, a plug, and a controller. Others have entire roadside emergency kits with them, including small jumper cables and wrenches for your lug nuts.
John Of All Trades
If you were fortunate enough to own a car in the early decades of the 20th century, you were equally unfortunate to be cursed by the intensity of their frequent maintenance. Even starting up those old kickers by hand-crank would have been enough to get me walking instead. By 1919, car jacks for consumers flooded the market, allowing for roadside maintenance of tires and other vital components of the vehicle.
The jack itself takes its name from the nickname for John, a name that became synonymous with degrees of labor throughout England in the 13th-17th centuries. In the late 1600s, the Oxford English Dictionary makes its first reference to a jack as a machine, in this case one used for moving around big, uprooted trees.
From then on, any mechanical lift designed to apply force from beneath the item lifted carried the name jack, and the term was well in place by the age of the automobile.