Bottle Jack VS Scissors Jack: Everything You Should Know

by Chris Lewis.

The need to change your car wheel for repair or replacement comes occasionally into the picture. For this to be possible, you’ll need your car lifted off the ground partially or entirely. That is where a jack comes in. Jacks are vital tools that should check out on your tool kit list.

The best thing about jacks is they are small and portable, so squeezing it into your car boot will not eat up much space. Some of them go beyond car repair services, meaning you can use them for other general works.

Type of Jack

Type of Jack
Type of Jack

Depending on the type or manner of maintenance work you want to perform, the type of jack that you employ should be under consideration. One way to decide that is basing the decision on the working principle of the jack. All jacks qualify as either mechanical or hydraulic.

In that accord, this review will cover two jacks that represent each of those working mechanism. The scissors and the bottle jacks prove to be among the best from each category. Both of these have distinctive differences in their features and advantages too. Let’s get a glimpse of the two and determine which one is best suited for your convenience.

Scissors Jack

Scissors Jack
Scissors Jack

This old school jack is very common among car owners. You probably own a pair of these too right? There are obvious reasons for its popularity, but before we get to that, let’s understand its working criteria.

The scissors jack works under the mechanical mechanism. The jack is diamond-shaped with four pieces of metal arms joined together with a threaded rod running across the middle.

On the far end of the rod, there’s a screw knob that tightens and loosens it. Both ends of the diamond scissor jack have a base, one for ground support and the other for car support.

The scissors jack comes with an external handle for turning the screw knob. When you tighten the screw knob, the upper arms move in closer to each other. As a result, the top base is elevated and lifts whatever load is on top. To lower the gun, all it takes is to loosen the screw, and the arms will part from each other.

The scissors jack is very lightweight and portable, making them easier to carry around. Additionally, they require less maintenance because all it takes is washing it and oiling the area around the screw knob.

However, a scissors jack is only convenient for changing a car wheel. When it comes to other general maintenance duties, it may shy off from giving you the best output performance.


  • Portable
  • Lightweight
  • Cheap maintenance


  • Very slow
  • Wears out very fast
  • Supports less weight

Bottle Jack

Bottle Jack
Bottle Jack

The bottle jack works under the hydraulic system mechanism, which is a combination of both lever principle and Pascal’s law. The jack is very suitable for lifting hefty loads. For that reason, it carries out a range of other functions off the car maintenance field.

What makes the bottle jack special is its structure which is a great contributor to its working style. It has pistons, cylinders, oil reservoir, lever handle and hollow tubes working in series of coordination. The jack has two sections: one with a large piston and cylinder and the other with a small cylinder and piston.

These two compartments link up through the hollow tubes connecting each other. How exactly does it work?

When the lever handle gets pulled up, the small piston, as a result, rises, opening the valve at the oil reservoir. The oil flows out of the oil tank via a hollow tube to the small cylinder. When the lever handle gets pushed down, the small piston responds the same way at the small cylinder compartment.

The valve at the oil reservoir closes, and the one at the base of the large cylinder opens up to allow oil lubricant to flow in. The small piston pushes down the oil at the small cylinder down to the hollow tube connecting to the large cylinder compartment. The oil rests at the bottom of the large piston.

When this process gets done severally, the oil builds up at the bottom of the piston, and as more pressure builds on the lubricant, it pushes the large piston up. The exterior top base of the large piston acts as the contact base between the jack and the load. When the large piston rises the weight in contact gets lifted too.

The bottle jack is the best for lifting heavy loads vertically without breaking off. You use not only minimal energy at the handle lever but also achieve maximum lift.

However, maintaining it requires much attention, unlike the scissors jack. The height of the jack comes as a limiting factor for low lying vehicles as it may prove challenging to fit underneath.


  • Suitable for heavy loads lifts
  • Needs less energy
  • Provides maximum lift


  • Fitting under low lying vehicle base is hard
  • High maintenance standards

Difference between Bottle Jack and Scissors Jack


One outstanding distinction between the two is the versatility attribute. The scissors jack is barely multipurpose, meaning it’s only best suitable for one task, and that is lifting lightweight vehicles.

On the other hand, the bottle jack shows off its multiple benefits across the field. Not only does it lift cars for a wheel change, but it also can be used to boost other loads and pieces of machinery.


The bottle jack is more durable and resilient compared to its counterpart. The scissors jack has a high tendency of wearing out, especially if subjected to heavy lifts. The bottle jack hydraulic mechanism enables it to withstand heavy pressure from supporting bulky loads.


The bottle jack has a broader base area compared to the scissors jack. The wider the base, the more stable the jack will hold to the ground or the supporting plate. The broad base of the bottle jack is convenient for lifting weights at inclined angles.

Though however, this should not be the case when it comes to raising a car. For that purpose, you need a flat surface regardless of whatever jack you are using.


The bottle jack can raise a load to higher heights than the scissors jack. The diamond shape of the scissors jack limits it to short rising heights. The vertical nature of the bottle jack makes it suitable for a maximum lift of weights.



So there you go, based on the detailed review of each jack, you can base your preference on whatever task you want to undertake. If you are in for a multipurpose jack, the bottle jack is the right route for you.

For those who wish to a simple portable jack to serve your car maintenance work, then you settling for the scissors jack is the apparent option. You can also save yourself the dilemma by getting both them! However, basing it on the features, pros and cons, the bottle jack carries the day.

About Chris Lewis.

Chris Lewis is a passionate individual with a deep affinity for the world of automobiles. From a tender age, his fascination with cars was nurtured by his father, a seasoned mechanic based in the vibrant city of San Francisco. Growing up under the watchful guidance of his skilled father, Chris developed an early aptitude for all things automotive.

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