A scissor jack is a mechanical lifting jack that is basically a parallelogram whose diagonals are connected by a screw. By turning the screw, it draws the two diagonals closer, or pushes them apart. This inversely forces the opposite diagonals together or apart. Mechanical jacks like this are usually rated for a maximum lifting capacity, typically rated in tons.
This type of jack is typically placed in automobiles for changing tires because they are lightweight and compact. This type of jack is used in other areas, as well, such a motorcycle jacks and RV leveling. There are even electrical versions.
Motorcycle Scissor Jack
A motorcycle scissor jack is the same type of jack as an automotive one, except that a motorcycle jack typically has a flat platform at the top with some sort of griping surface. The jack is typically used for removing tires. The large flat platform is used because it is difficult to find a small balancing point on a motorcycle. The large surface helps keep the bike from tipping over while lifted, and the gripping surface helps keep it from sliding off of the jack.
Electric Scissor Jack
The electric scissor jack is the same as a mechanical one, except for one major difference-a motor that turns the screw instead of relying on your power. In many cases, the motor is a 12V motor with a connector designed to be plugged into a cigarette lighter. Several of them also have clamps to be connected directly to the battery terminals.
RV Scissor Jacks
RV Scissor jacks are typically on each corner of the RV, mounted to the bottom of the RV, and pressing down towards the ground. These jacks are used to both stabilize and level the RV while it is parked. These jacks can be your typical mechanical jacks, where you would have to get out a wrench of some sort to extend them. In the nicer RVs, these jacks will be electric, with a separate switch for each one, so you can extend or contract the jacks with a simple press of a button or flip of a switch.
The most popular mechanical scissor jack found on Amazon.com is a Torin model T10152. It is rated at 1.5 tons, which is a typical and sufficient rating for automotive use. This inexpensive mechanical jack sells for just $16.99. The manufacturer tests each jack for reliability and safety. This jack has a low profile when fully collapsed at only 3.75”. Fully extended, this jack reaches 15.4”. This jack would be a practical tool for most cars, but does not have a tall enough reach to be used for SUVs or trucks.
Despite the fact this jack is rated the most popular on Amazon.com, not one person has left a review. This could be good news, since most of the time people will typically leave reviews when they are upset or disappointed in a product more than when they are happy with it.
The most popular motorcycle scissor jack found on Amazon.com is the ManSpace 1,100lb Motorcycle Jack. This jack is a modest $63.79, which is a great deal for this 1,100 lb capacity low-profile jack. This simple jack rests at only 3 ½” fully compressed. One key to having a useful motorcycle jack is having one that is low enough to easily slide under the fame of the bike. This jack rises to almost 16”, giving you plenty of lift to allow you to remove tires, drain oil, change the chain, or anything you may need to do, while raising the bike to a comfortable working height. This jack will also work nicely when slid under a lawnmower to raise it up for service.
Unfortunately, this product has no customer review on Amazon.com, either, despite rating as the most popular motorcycle scissor jack.
The first electric scissor jack you will find on Amazon.com is the 2200lb 12 volt Generic brand. This high-capacity jack sells for only $79.99. This all-steel model is sturdy, and protected from corrosion with a powder-coat finish. This model is equipped with a 12’ cord and a cigarette lighter adapter so that it can reach all four corners of the vehicle. It is controlled with a remote that has a built-in LED flashlight so you can raise and lower the vehicle from a safe distance and see what you are doing at night time. This jack comes with a hard carrying case to keep it compact and neat when stowed.
To keep from overloading your car’s circuit, this jack has a built-in circuit breaker. It also has extra fuses, in case you do overload it, so that you are not stuck if you blow the fuse. The rotating pawl has protective pads to defend against scratching your vehicle, and is designed to fit well on your frame or axle. This easy to operate jack is great for anyone who is not physically able to raise or lower their vehicle using manual power. It will extend from fully compacted to fully extended in 45 seconds, which is quicker than most people could raise a vehicle with a manual jack (not to mention, it is a WHOLE lot easier to push a button than to actually turn a wrench). The maximum lift height is 13 ¼”, which is not high enough to lift a truck or SUV, but is sufficient for most cars.
The reviews of this jack found it to be fast, stable and strong. It has been reviewed as being well constructed and easy to use.
The scissor jack is a simple, compact, easy to use method of lifting and stabilizing. The design is simple, has few moving parts, and multiplies the force applied to lift very heavy objects (such as cars) using little applied force. The compact size and light weight makes it ideal for use in automobiles because it will fit in small places, and is easy to take in and out of the vehicle. They are also very versatile, as you have seen with the adaptive application as a motorcycle jack and RV leveler and stabilizer. Hydraulic jacks are large, require maintenance, are heavy, and expensive. The scissor jack is an inexpensive and perfect alternative.