Bottle Jacks vs Floor Jacks: What Are the Differences?

by Chris Lewis.

Jacks are one of the essential tools used in the automotive industry for vehicle maintenance. There are various types of jacks you can use in lifting vehicles during repair, depending on your choice.

They include screw jacks, bottle jacks, scissor jacks, floor jacks, ratchet jacks, transmission jacks, etc. However, the two most popular hydraulic jacks among the different types are the bottle jack and the floor jack.

A bottle jack is a hydraulic jack with cylinders mounted vertically towards the base, making it very compact. This type of jack is usually small with a straightforward design that enables it to lift different weights.

The floor jack is another type of hydraulic jack, but the cylinder is fixed horizontally, unlike the bottle jack. Most of the floor jacks come with a caster and can be rolled forth and back easily.

However, bottle jacks and floor jacks have their unique features and advantages and may be used together in some cases.

We will be looking at the differences between these two most popular hydraulic jacks in this write-up. The purpose of this comparison is to help users know their variations while choosing the type of jack to buy. We encourage you to read on.

Bottle jacks vs. Floor jacks: What are the differences?

Bottle jacks vs. Floor jacks: What are the differences?
Bottle jacks vs. Floor jacks: What are the differences?

We will be discussing the differences between the bottle jack and the floor jack using the following four features.

  • Size and weight
  • Capacity
  • Ease of use
  • Stability

Size and Weight

The bottle jack has a huge advantage over the floor jack when it comes to size and mobility. The vertical hydraulic system of the jack bottle and their much smaller size allow you to carry them about easily.

However, a floor jack is usually much larger and heavier compared to a bottle jack due to its big handles. It requires a large storage space that will suit its size.

If you are a mechanic or you have a mechanic shop, handing the floor jack may not be a big deal for you. However, we are concerned about car owners who want to keep it in the trunk of their cars.

The good news is that there is now an aluminum jack that weighs less than even the bottle jack. They are easier to handle and carry. Unfortunately, the lightweight aluminum jack only solves the weight problem, so they are still too bulky for car trunks.


The maximum capacity of a jack is referred to as the quantity of weight it can lift. The bottle and floor jacks differ significantly in this aspect.

Bottle jacks are smaller in size but have the capacity of lifting heavier vehicles than the floor jack. This is why truck owners prefer using bottle jacks. The high capacity feature of the bottle jack is attributed to its vertical design structure.

Again bottle jacks can lift vehicles higher than the floor jack no matter the vehicle weight.

You can see this when trying to jack high-clearance vehicles like pickup trucks and large SUVs. Unlike the floor jacks, they cannot lift much weight because of their horizontal hydraulic design.

Ease of Use

The process of using the bottle and floor jacks is very simple, depending on the model and type of vehicle you want to lift. How to safely and correctly position the jack is quite dicey. That’s why you must be careful in using either of them.

The bottle jack is a bit more difficult to set up as they don’t come with wheels or handles most times. That is why positioning the jack bottle correctly under the vehicle is a bit dicier.

People who use jack occasionally may not find this challenge annoying, but it is like a challenge to the mechanics. They lift cars on a daily basis and will find the positioning hassles of the bottle jack irritating.

However, the floor jack comes with wheels and a big handle for easy and faster pumping.

This design structure allows you to easily position the jack correctly and lift a vehicle easily and quickly. You don’t need to crawl under the vehicle in a bid to position your jack rightly.



The vertical design structure of the bottle jack with a more narrow footprint reduces its stability most times.

Hilly terrain topography is unsuitable for the bottle jacks as they may not work efficiently. But the bottle jack works well in flat terrains like cement, pavement, asphalt, etc.

However, floor jacks are more stable than bottle jacks when it comes to stability. This quality is attributed to its horizontal designs, 4 wheels, and larger footprints.

No matter the type of jack you chose and the level of stability, we recommend that you use a jack stand for more stability. Never use any jack without a jack stand to avoid issues related to Safety.


In this comparison article, we checked the features that differentiate the bottle jack and the floor jack.

Though both jacks are hydraulic jacks with a similar function, they can be used together sometimes for a particular lifting task. The jack you buy should match with the type of vehicle you want to use it on.

However, we can conclude from the article that the bottle jacks have a higher capacity than the floor jack. They are more advantageous in terms of mobility, too, as they are much smaller in size than the floor jacks.

The floor jack on its own is easier to position though heavier than the bottle jack. It can be used anywhere, no matter the topography, whether high or low, unlike the bottle jack.

More so, there is now a modern jack in the market known as the aluminum jack. It is light weighted and solves the heavyweight challenge of the floor jack.

But it is still bulky and may not suit car owners who wish to keep their jacks in their car trunks. 

We hope that the above will guide you in choosing the right hydraulic jack for your automobile work.

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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