Hydraulic vs. Scissor Jacks: Which One Is Best for Your Car? 

Published: 05/04/24 •  6 min read

Safe and effective car maintenance and emergency repairs require the correct jack. Popular jacks include hydraulic and scissor. Design, operation, and applicability differ, yet both elevate cars. Compare hydraulic and scissor jack pros and drawbacks to choosing one for your car. 

Jacks hydraulic

Hydraulic jacks raise and are easy to use in professional garages and workshops. Hydraulic fluid pressure raises heavy objects with little effort. Major hydraulic jack features:

Height Adjustment

Hydraulic jacks’ adjustable height settings let users customise lifting height to their needs. This versatility helps when working on automobiles with differing ground clearance or accessing undercar components. Users can adjust the hydraulic system to the optimum height for maintenance or repair, improving garage or workshop efficiency and convenience.


Lifting huge trucks requires stability, which hydraulic jacks provide. Hydraulic jacks’ wide base and solid construction ensure vehicle and user safety while lifting. Hydraulic jacks are sturdy enough to handle big loads without tipping, giving mechanics piece of mind.

Fast Lifting

Professional garages and workshops must be efficient to maximize output. Due to hydraulics, hydraulic jacks raise swiftly. Hydraulic jacks raise cars faster than scissor jacks. This fast lifting speed saves time in crowded auto shops where several vehicles need to be repaired quickly.


Heavy hydraulic jacks lift more but are less portable. For roadside emergencies, scissor jacks can be placed in the trunk, but hydraulic jacks are less portable. In professional garages and workshops, hydraulic jacks’ lifting and performance exceed mobility.


Professionals use hydraulic jacks. Aluminum and steel make hydraulic jacks strong. Garages and workshops that need heavy-duty lifting equipment might invest in them long-term. 


Beyond lifting, hydraulic jacks have other vehicle purposes. Hydraulic jacks can remove engines, operate on suspensions, and repair transmissions with the correct attachments. They can efficiently perform a variety of maintenance and repair tasks, making them essential in any automobile facility.

Accessory compatibility

A variety of accessories and attachments enhance hydraulic jacks’ functionality and versatility. Many attachments can help hydraulic jacks simplify lifting chores, from jack stands and wheel chocks to lifting pads and extension adapters. Because of this compatibility, mechanics can tailor their hydraulic jack setup to each operation, boosting workshop productivity.

Scissor Jacks

Many automobile emergency tool kits feature scissor jacks, which are small and lightweight. Screws raise and lower the lifting platform in these rudimentary machines. Explore scissor jack characteristics:

Small Size

Scissor jacks fit in car emergency tool packs because they’re small. Due to their lightness, they fit in the trunk easily. Portable lifting solutions give vehicle owners peace of mind during roadside crises or unexpected breakdowns.

A Simple Design

Even novice mechanics can utilize scissor jacks because of their screw mechanism and folding arms. Simply insert a handle into a scissor jack and turn it clockwise to gradually lift the vehicle. This simplicity makes scissor jacks safe and effective for tire replacements and minor car repairs for all skill levels.


Scissor jacks are easy to use, especially in emergencies. Scissor jacks may be deployed fast without hydraulic fluid or other components. This accessibility allows car owners to address roadside situations without specialist tools or help, improving their self-reliance and road safety.

Low Lifting Capability

Scissor jacks raise most passenger automobiles, but not all. Trucks and SUVs may challenge semi-hydraulic scissor jacks. Lifting cars over the jack’s capacity might damage them. To raise safely and effectively, scissor jack users must follow the manufacturer’s instructions and be careful.

Stability Issues

Using scissor jacks on uneven or soft terrain requires steadiness. Scissor jacks’ thin bases increase the risk of tipping or instability while lifting. Operators should

use jack stands, put the jack flat, and distribute weight to prevent this risk.


Cost-conscious car owners choose scissor jacks over hydraulic ones. They cost less to make due to their simple mechanical design and fewer moving parts. Many people can buy scissor jacks for occasional use or as part of a vehicle’s emergency kit.

Must Maintain

Simple design and mechanical operation make scissor jacks less maintenance-intensive than hydraulic ones. The jack should be checked for wear, lubricated, and stored appropriately to prevent corrosion. Maintaining scissor jacks can prevent costly repairs and replacements for years. 

Operates manually

Scissor jacks raise using manual force, unlike hydraulic jacks. Manual operation simplifies the jack’s design and avoids hydraulic fluid leaks and malfunctions, but it may require more human effort to lift heavier objects. People with limited strength or mobility may struggle to use a scissor jack, emphasizing the importance of user capabilities while choosing lifting equipment.

Choose the Best for Your Car?

Your needs and tastes determine whether to use hydraulic or scissor jacks. Here are some aspects to consider while choosing a car jack:

Vehicle Size and Weight

The size and weight of your car dictate whether you employ a hydraulic or scissor jack. Safely lifting SUVs and trucks for maintenance or repairs requires a larger jack. A hydraulic jack, with its amazing lifting capability, stability, and efficiency, is best in this circumstance. Due to its lightweight structure and lifting capacity for smaller vehicles, a portable scissor jack may be sufficient for compact car drivers and frequent roadside emergencies.

Use frequency

Consider how often and why you’ll utilize the jack. If you frequently repair or maintain your vehicle, a hydraulic jack with swift lifting and customizable height settings may be better. The flexibility to adjust the lifting height and quickly lift the vehicle can boost garage or workshop productivity. However, a scissor jack’s simplicity and convenience of use may be sufficient for infrequent tire changes or emergencies.


Jack mobility is essential while traveling off-road or without professional garages. As a small and lightweight complement to your vehicle’s emergency kit, a portable scissor jack may provide reliable lifting anywhere. Self-sufficiency and peace of mind are enhanced by transporting and using the jack in isolated areas to fix roadside troubles quickly and safely.


The best car hydraulic or scissor jack depends on size, application, cost, and portability. Professional garages and workshops benefit from hydraulic jacks’ lifting, stability, and efficiency. Small, lightweight scissor jacks are easy to utilize for roadside emergencies and maintenance. Lift your car safely with a car jack that meets your needs and interests.