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Understanding Lifting Equipment: Jacks

Understanding Lifting Equipment: Jacks

Lifting equipment is a broad term that covers many different items, even if they generally have the same end goal (to lift things). One of the types of lifting equipment we will most commonly all come into contact with are jacks. They’re pretty commonplace in mechanics’ garages, and even most likely in the boot of your car. However, there are variations of the jack that have been designed for use in different settings, so it’s important to be able to decipher which one is right for you and your project.

Here at Charles Wilson Engineers Ltd, we have a range of jacks for hire that mean we have you covered – whether you need a trolley jack, a bottle jack, or a toe jack. To read more, visit our lifting equipment page. If the three aforementioned are unfamiliar, however, please keep reading and you will learn their distinctions.

Trolley Jack

A photo of a trolley jack available for hire from Charles Wilson Engineers Ltd

Trolley jacks are probably the most familiar ‘heavy-duty’ jack available. They are extremely common when working with cars as they effectively and easily lift parts of a car for the mechanic to be able to work on it in a much faster fashion than the scissor jack in your boot. They are also used in other cases, though, being popular for DIY projects and more.

A trolley jack utilises a hydraulic mechanism to make lifting such a heavy weight, which can be up to a few tons, as easy as possible. The pump arm attaches to take all of the brunt and they are usually on wheels for easy manoeuvrability.

Bottle Jack

A photo of a bottle jack

Named after its uncanny resemblance to a bottle, and oftentimes referred to as a ‘whiskey jack’, bottle jacks are lifting equipment that use a piston mechanism to take the weight of larger vehicles. The piston mechanism means bottle jacks are extremely strong, making them commonplace in farms for tractors and other heavy machinery.

The downside to them is that their retracted height is generally around half of their lifting height, which means they are not as easily adaptable as trolley jacks and can only be used on items with larger ground clearance.

Bottle jacks are, however, packaged in a more compact form factor than some of their counterparts, which can be beneficial for storage.

Toe Jack


Finally, and another member of the jack family named after its appearance, the toe jack is one of the most substantial renditions. This piece of lifting equipment is designed to bear the weight of large machinery, which makes it very versatile as smaller things are no trouble whatsoever.

Toe jacks are another that make the most of a hydraulic mechanism to leverage minimal force for maximum output to lift to the desired height. Some may even come equipped with swivel features that allow you to lift things to the desired height and then reposition as required.

Generally, they are used – sometimes in unison with other toe jacks – to move large machinery onto moving skates.

Ideal for Different Requirements

As with anything, these pieces of lifting equipment vary in their applications and also their price. For example, a toe jack is more expensive than a trolley jack, but a trolley jack is far more suitable for a mechanic because its low profile will fit under many different vehicles. On the other hand, a farmer may opt for a bottle jack as they don’t need something as expensive as a toe jack but require a higher lifting capacity than a trolley jack.

It’s all about weighing the pros and the cons against each other and finding the most suitable jack for your requirements.

Charles Wilson Engineers Ltd

If you require lifting equipment and are looking for any of the three products mentioned in this blog post, or anything else, please reach out to us. We are a team of experts, so our advice will be centred around finding what’s fulfils your requirements within your desired budget.

You can call us on 01582 763 122 or fill out our simple contact form and a member of our team will be happy to help.

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