Jack stands are supports, typically made of steel, that adjust in height and are built to support heavy weight when at rest. Typical uses are automobiles, when raised in the air to be worked on, stabilizing RVs, supporting and stabilizing mobile homes, or even holding motorcycles. The point of a jack stand is to have a solid, unmoving support. Jacks are used to raise these objects, but they are not designed to hold them for extended periods of time. Hydraulic jacks, in particular, will not hold the same position if they have even the slightest leak, or have a seal that fails. Jack stands are mechanical devices that have locking systems to keep them from allowing any movement, so they will hold much longer and stronger. You should never work under a vehicle RV, mobile home, or motorcycle without having first secured it with jack stands. Do not rely on a jack to hold the item. Failure of the jack could result in serious injury or death.
Tall Jack Stands
Jack stands have a wide base with an adjustable arm centralized over the base. The higher the arm reaches, the higher the center of gravity, and the lower the stability of the object being held. When you are supporting objects, the less you have to extend the arm, the more secure it will be. For items high in the air, use tall jack stands. A jack stand designed for a sedan is not appropriate for a truck. You will need tall jack stands so that you do not have the arms extended too high. If you are buying new jack stands, a good rule is to measure the height the supported object will be when held, and get the tallest jack stand that will fit under your item.
Boat Jack Stands
When a boat is being stored outside of the water, it needs to be supported properly. This is especially true for long-term storage or maintenance. You could store it on a trailer, but that will cause flat spots on the rollers, cause wear on the tires, and it is hard to maneuver around a trailer to work on the hull for repairs or cleaning. The best option is to use boat jack stands. One of the best jack stands for boats are made by Brownell. They are a easy and safe way to stabilize and support boats on dry land. These stands have an adjustable screw top with a padded, flat top to protect the contact point with the boat. For deep V-bottom boats, you will want to use sailboat stands, which are angled. Rather than holding the weight of the boat, the boat rests on its keel, while these stands hold it steadily upright.
RV Jack Stands
Jack stands designed for RV use are meant to hold the RV level and steady when parked. RV jack stands are screw type. This is so that you can use the jack to help level the RV, as well as hold it steady. By using RV jack stands, the RV will not move and sway as you move around inside, or during high winds. They will also help extend the life of the leaf springs and shocks on the RV by holding the majority of the load. They are not, however, designed to be used as jacks to lift the RV. This style of stand may also be referred to as a trailer jack stand, and can be used in the same way to stabilize and hold a trailer. They are typically rated for 3-10 tons.
Motorcycle Jack Stands
Motorcycle jack stands are a completely different design than any other type of jack stands. They lift at the forks, and some have wheels to allow the bike to be moved once lifted onto the jacks. They typically are made from tube steel, and are designed to actually lift the bike, not just hold it. Since motorcycles weigh much less than cars and trucks, this is very practical. In order to lift the bike entirely off the ground, it would require both front and rear motorcycle jack stands.
Heavy Duty Jack Stands
Heavy duty jack stands can refer to any style of jack stand, but is used when the stand is built specifically to hold more weight than that style is typically built for. For example, a typical car jack stand may be designed to hold 1 ton, while the heavy duty jack stand would be the same size, but rated for 3 tons.
Car Jack Stands
The jack stands most known among average consumers are the car jack stands. These stands are typically a wide-base, pyramid design with an arm that can be freely pulled upwards, but locks with a locking pawl when released. These jack stands are typically rated for 1-5 tons. They vary in height to accommodate anything from low-profile cars to tall trucks.
Mobile Home Jack Stands
Mobile home jack stands are screw type jack stands. They are most definitely heavy duty jack stands, designed to hold tens of thousands of pounds. They support and steady a mobile home just like RV Jack stands support and steady an RV. They are designed to lift the mobile home completely off the wheels, which are typically removed once the mobile home is positioned in its permanent location.
The first set of automotive jack stands found on Amazon.com is a 2 ton set by Torin. At $19.99, these two heavy duty steel jack stands are a great value. They have a double locking pawl to ensure a secure hold.
The customer reviews rate these stands 5 out of 5 stars. They feel they are heavy duty, sturdy, and have no qualms about crawling under a vehicle held with these. They would recommend them, and purchase them again without hesitation.
The next set of stands are designed for use with an RV. They are built from a strong steel base, with telescoping screw-type adjusting pawl. Made by Camco, these Olympian model stands sell for just $74. They have a 7500 lb load capacity, and adjust from 16-30”. They are powder coated to protect against rust and corrosion.
Reviewers state that this set of jacks is heavy and sturdy, easy to use, and would buy them again, if needed. One reviewer points out that these stands are great for stabilizing, but do not give much lift power. They are stands, not jacks.
The last jack stand I want to tell you about today is the Posse Universal Sportbike Rear Paddock Stand. This stand is rated high at 4.8 out of 5 stars, yet sells for a surprising $69.95. This new design is simple and intuitive to use. The four 4” wheels provide stability. The ball bearing design of the wheels makes for smooth movement. The width is adjustable from 8 ¾” to 13 ¾”, making it a universal fit for most swing arm sportbikes.
Reviewers of this product feel that it is a great value, and comparable to more expensive models. One reviewer stated that he is so happy with the rear stand, that he will be purchasing the front one of the same company and model line.
Since there is such a wide variety of jack stands, be sure that you use the proper jack stands for the purpose for which they are intended. These are safety items, which must be used correctly to ensure the safety of anyone near or in the vehicle, RV, motorcycle, trailer, or mobile home they are used for. Improper use of jack stands can give a false sense of security, leading to serious injury or even death.