A mid-size, portable car lift can drastically decrease the amount of time you spend on certain car maintenance and repair jobs. Whether you’re a professional or a shade tree mechanic, portable car lifts are ideal for those looking to conserve garage space. In this review, we recommend several popular lifts based on our research.
4 Best Portable Car Lifts
- Editor’s Choice: APlusLift HW-SL6600X
- Best for Low-Clearance Vehicles: QuickJack 7000TL
- Best Portable Two-Post Lift: MaxJack M6K
- Best Premium Option: Atlas Kwik Bay
Portable Car Lift Buyers Guide
A portable car lift can offer a significant upgrade over a basic car jack and jack stands. While expensive, a car lift can make repairs and detailing much quicker. The best portable car lift for your vehicle depends on the size of your car as well as the type of work you expect to perform most commonly. It’s also important to remember that a lot can go wrong when lifting your car. Consult this safety guide from the Automotive Lift Institute to reduce the risk of damage or injury.
As with car jacks, any car lift will have a maximum weight rating. You will need to choose a portable lift with a weight rating that exceeds the weight of your car.
Minimum Clearance And Maximum Lift Height
A portable car lift needs to get under your car in order to hoist it, so check the size of any lift you buy against your car’s clearance height.
Conversely, you should also consider a car lift’s maximum lift height. Do you want to be able to walk underneath your car, or is it enough to slide underneath? Choose a car lift that provides enough space to work underneath your car comfortably.
Portable Car Lift Design
Whichever lift you choose needs to fit in your workspace. Many portable car lifts have a scissor lift design, fitting underneath the middle of your vehicle. A mid-rise scissor lift design makes these lifts compact and easy to store in a home garage. They also make it easy to access your undercarriage from the front or rear of your car, but not from the sides.
This type of car lift is good for suspension work and basic maintenance tasks like wheel service or oil changes. However, it can be difficult to work on the exhaust or fuel systems on certain vehicles without side access.
If you have the space and want a high-lifting car jack that allows for easier side access, you might consider a two-post car lift. This type of lift must sometimes be bolted to the ground, but there are portable versions of this type of lift.
Our Review Standards
To select the portable car lifts featured in this buyers guide, our team first combed through dozens of resources such as DIY mechanic and auto enthusiast forums, manufacturer and mechanic-specific websites, instruction manuals from manufacturers, and reviews from online retailers. We pay particularly close attention to quality reviews and recommendations that highlight the quality of warranties, customer service support, build quality, materials, and overall reliability.
We also factored in the quantity and quality of online retailer reviews from websites such as Amazon, RealTruck, Advance Auto Parts, and more. We looked at factors such as standout customer reviews, prices, meaningful superlatives, and discount shipping eligibility.
Why You Can Trust Us
Since 2020, we have published over 200 auto product reviews in an effort to make shopping for auto products easier. Our team of writers, editors, researchers, and product experts collaborates to thoroughly vet top products. We try to perform in-house testing on real vehicles whenever possible before making our recommendations.
When testing is not feasible, however, our aim is to make your life easier by doing all the online research for you and presenting that research in the form of easy-to-read product comparisons and buyers guides, rather than outright recommendations. For more information on our testing methodology and how we evaluate every product, check out our methodology page here.
#1 Editor's Choice: APlusLift HW-SL6600X
APlusLift is a well-established auto lift brand known for responsive customer service. The company tests every part of their lifts so that you can feel safe working underneath them. The HW-SL6600X is backed by a five-year warranty for structural parts and a two-year warranty for hydraulics.
We think this scissor lift is the best option for most needs due to its relatively low-cost while offering safe construction and motorized operation. A number of online reviews come from professional mechanics that use this lift in their shops. The HW-SL6600X is a good option for those in need of a mid-range, reliable, and relatively small portable car lift.
- Cost: Around $2,900
- Weight capacity: 6,600.0 pounds
- Maximum lift height: 51.0 in.
- Minimum clearance: 6.125 in.
- Six locking positions
- Solid steel construction
What Customers Are Saying
While there aren’t a great number of Amazon reviews (fewer than 50), those that do exist are largely positive. On Amazon and elsewhere, reviewers consistently mention that APlusLift has a responsive customer service department. Other commonly praised features are the quiet motor and the packaging.
Packaging is important, especially for expensive products. APlusLift ships its products in wooden crates rather than flimsy cardboard. Poor packaging is a consistent complaint about many automotive products sold on Amazon, so it is somewhat unique to see customers praising the packaging specifically.
Not everyone is thrilled with the HW-SL6600X. One reviewer pointed out that the truck adapters were not tall enough to evenly lift his truck. Others don’t like the positioning of the wires and hydraulic hose, claiming it gets in the way, presenting a hazard in their workshop.
#2 Best For Low-Clearance Vehicles: QuickJack 7000TL
QuickJack designs most of its portable vehicle lifts with ease of use in mind. This, along with the relatively low cost of the 7000TL make it a good option for those looking for their first portable car lift.
The 7000TL offers a very high weight capacity and can be modified by a number of available accessories, including:
- Crossbeam adapter: Adds lifting points
- Low-profile blocks: Lowers lifting point
- Pinch weld pucks: For cars with pinch-weld rails or rocker panels
- Truck adapter kit: Raises lifting point
- Frame extensions: Increase the spread of lift points for larger vehicles
- Wall hangers: Purpose-built hangers for storing quick jack against a wall
Accessories must be purchased separately, though even the additional cost of a needed accessory like a pinch weld block will result in a lower overall cost than many other portable lifts.
The QuickJack includes a one-year warranty, but an additional year of warranty protection can be purchased at an extra cost.
- Cost: Around $1,850
- Weight capacity: 7,000.0 lbs.
- Maximum lift height: 24.25 in.
- Minimum clearance: 3.5 in.
- Two locking positions
- Alloy steel construction
What Customers Are Saying
Amazon Review Score: 4.5 out of 5 based on over 90 ratings
The QuickJack 7000TL is praised for being easy to assemble and quickly raising vehicles. Most note that the QuickJack feels exceptionally stable, even at the maximum lift height. The low-profile blocks make this lift a good pick for those with low-rise vehicles.
However, this machine does require a lot of hydraulic fluid (3.0 quarts) and this is not included. Some complain that the QuickJack doesn’t raise vehicles high enough. It does not provide enough of a lift to clear a transmission, at least according to a few reviews from those who have tried.
#3 Best Portable Two-Post Car Lift: MaxJack M6K
The MaxJack M6K is a two-post car lift that does not obstruct access to your car’s undercarriage like scissor-style lifts. Unlike many other two-post lifts, the MaxJack is designed to be stored when not in use. Instead of bolting to the ground, the M6K has wheels so that mechanics can free up garage space when the lift is not in use.
This lift is safe and rugged. The safety-lock bars are tested and rated to hold three times the MaxJacks maximum lift capacity. It features maintenance-free slide blocks that don’t require lubrication and can also be used for motorcycles and ATVs.
The MaxJack is a good portable lift option for those who plan to do more than basic maintenance like oil changes and tire swaps. If you need a lift that gives you complete access to vehicles for jobs like transmission swaps, go with a two-post lift like the MaxJack.
- Cost: Around $3,750
- Weight capacity: 6,000.0 lbs.
- Maximum lift height: 47.5 in.
- Minimum clearance: 4.5 in.
- Seven locking positions
- Single-piece column construction
What Customers Are Saying
Home Depot Review Score: 4.7 out of 5 based on over 50 ratings
The MaxJack is not available on Amazon, but it is highly praised by YouTube reviewers and customers on HomeDepot.com.
According to users, the MaxJack is very easy to store when not in use and can be set up in minutes. It allows for total access to everything under the car and is extremely durable. Mechanics with low-ceiling garages (under 9.0 feet) like the MaxJack for its compact design.
There are few complaints about the MaxJack, but some feel that the motorized lift works too slowly at the 110.0-volt setting. That said, this lift can be converted to a 220.0-volt setup, which increases the lifting speed.
#4 Best Premium Option: Atlas Kwik Bay
The Kwik Bay is another Atlas option for a portable scissor lift. The design of this lift is slightly different from the others on this lift. Rather than using lift arms, the Kwik Bay has a drive-on design with an open middle. This allows for the possibility of transmission work that is not possible with some other lifts of this type.
The Kwik Bay is backed by a two-year warranty and Atlas customer service is good, according to customers.
- Cost: Around $5,000
- Weight capacity: 7,000.0 lbs.
- Maximum lift height: 41.0 in.
- Minimum clearance: 4.25 in.
- Grease Zerk fittings
What Customers Are Saying
The Kwik Bay is not available on Amazon, but users have commented on this car lift on YouTube and enthusiast message boards such as Garage Journal. Most who have used this lift feel that it is a decent mid-rise lift. It works well for those with low ceilings or not much space.
One person said they were able to use this lift for other machines as well such as lawnmowers and motorcycles, with the Kwik Bay functioning as an adjustable work bench. Others comment that the locking mechanism feels very safe and they appreciate this lift for tasks like oil changes and suspension work.
How Are Portable Car Lifts Installed?
Installing a car lift will vary depending on the style and manufacturer-specific instructions. Still, it is common to actually drill into the concrete of your garage so the lift remains stationary. If you are thinking about having a car lift installed, consider the following:
- What safety features do I need?
- What is the pound capacity of the car lift and will it support my vehicle?
- Can my garage floor physically support having a car lift installed?
- Is there enough ceiling clearance in my garage for a car lift?
If you purchase a two-post lift, you’ll need to be sure you have an appropriate surface on which to set it. A two-post lift takes all the weight from your vehicle and distributes it across two relatively small pressure points. This will depress or crack asphalt and can even damage concrete if it is not strong, thick, and reinforced.
Any two-post lift that you purchase should explain the surface requirements. Typically you will need at least 6.0 in. of 3,000.0 psi concrete reinforced with rebar to properly support a two-post car lift.
How Much Does Car Lift Installation Cost?
The cost of installation will depend on what style of car lift you purchased. Car lift manufacturer BendPak estimates installing a two-post car lift should cost around $500, while a four-post lift could be $1,000.
Of course, the more heavy-duty the lift is, in addition to power unit demands, can increase the cost. Plus, whatever you pay for installation will be on top of the $2,000 average cost for a car lift.
Best Portable Car Lift: Bottom Line
We think the APlusLift HW-SL6600X is the best overall portable car lift because of the company’s rigorous safety testing and reliable design. However, those looking to do more than basic work might prefer a two-post lift like the MaxJack M6K.
One downside of the HW-SL6600X is that it may not work as well for high-clearance trucks. It is also not the cheapest portable car lift, so those on a budget might consider the QuickJack 7000TL. Additionally, customers seeking a lift for storage purposes should consider a four-post option.
Portable Car Lifts At A Glance
|Make/Model||Approximate Cost||Maximum Lift Height||Weight Capacity|
|APlusLift HW-SL6600X||$2,900||51.0 in.||6,600.0 lbs.|
|QuickJack 7000TL||$1,850||24.2 in.||7,000.0 lbs.|
|MaxJack M6K||$3,750||51.0 in.||6,000.0 lbs.|
|Atlas Kwik Bay||$5,000||41.0 in.||7,000.0 lbs.|
Portable Car Lifts: FAQ
*Data accurate at time of publication.