Mega Jack Stand Review 2 – Craftsman, MVP, and ESCO

Sharka surrounded by an army of jack stands.

Sharka surrounded by an army of jack stands.

Welcome back to the official revlimiter.net Jack Stand Review. In part 2 you’ll get the last two jack stand reviews and a bonus plug for a little tire chock that might just save your life. Also, cliff notes for the entire review. So, lets get to it!

Always be safe!

revlimiter.net. is not responsible for bodily injury or property damage that results from misuse of automotive tools including jack stands. This review is meant for informational purposes only. It is to help you evaluate differences between these five models of jack stands. Follow all directions and safety procedures outlined in each stand’s manual. (Yes, these stands actually come with manuals.) Always remember that your car can kill you especially when you are working under it!

The 5 stands reviewed here.

The 5 stands reviewed here.

The Jack Stands:

(click to zoom to each stand’s review)

Craftsman Professional 3 Ton High Lift Jack Stands

Craftsman 3 ton high lift jack stand.

Craftsman 3 ton high lift jack stand.

Price: $25 per pair.
Buy from: Your local Sears or Craftsman.com

Craftsman 3 ton high lift jack stand.

Craftsman 3 ton high lift jack stand.

Craftsman 3 ton high lift jack stand.

Craftsman 3 ton high lift jack stand.

Lift height: 13.5” minimum, 21” maximum.

Base dimensions: 8.5″ x 6.5″

Construction: Welded stamped steel. The welds aren’t as even as the (extremely similar) Harbor Freight stands. These also lack the gussets on the feet that the HF stands have. There is a lot of free play in the post-to-stand interface. And the rectangular base doesn’t do much for stability. But they’re amazingly cheap considering how high they lift.

Craftsman 3 ton stands in action.

Craftsman 3 ton stands in action.

Ease of use: These are at least as heavy as the ESCO stands. The post height range is similar to the ESCO stands. They are not easy to lug around the shop and you’ll have to raise the car quite high to get these under it. And once you do that you notice that they wobble a lot due to the small bases and extreme free play in the post mounting area.

Craftsman 3 ton post detail.

Craftsman 3 ton post detail.

Post design: They are grooved like the HF stands, but are not grooved deeply enough to miss the pinch weld. So guys that want to use the reinforced support area will be disappointed and guys like me that want a nice, flat post will be disappointed.

Stability: Awful. These are worse than the tiny Torin aluminum stands.

Overall: The only thing these stands have going for them is the price to maximum height ratio. If you have a large truck that you want to lift up fairly high on the cheap, these stands might be okay. But I couldn’t live with myself if I ever recommended these to anyone. Harbor Freight makes a 6 ton model for high lifting on the cheap. Though I didn’t review it here, I’d recommend that set before these awful Cman stands.

MVP Pro Lift 2 Ton Jack Stands

MVP 2 ton jack stand.

MVP 2 ton jack stand.

Price: About $20 per pair.

Buy from: Nowhere! Seems that you can’t get these anymore. I bought mine from Pepboys around 1995. Sears is actually selling a black set of Craftsman stands that looks identical to these. In 2010!!! I thought this style of welded steel sticks was outlawed.

MVP 2 ton jack stand.

MVP 2 ton jack stand.

MVP 2 ton jack stand.

MVP 2 ton jack stand.

Lift height: 10.75″ minimum, 17″ maximum.

Base dimensions: 6.75″ x 7.5″

Construction: Steel sticks welded together. I’ve actually got two styles of these stands. The sticks, that you see here and the stamped steel that looks like the HF stands (visible in the overhead shot above). The welds are quite good. There’s not a huge amount of play in the post. They’re constructed quite well. For a stand that could kill you.

MVP 2 ton in action (for the last time.)

MVP 2 ton in action (for the last time.)

Ease of use: Very easy to use. Not too heavy. Not too tall. Juuuust right. I’m honestly embarrassed to admit how much I like these stands. As I said, I’ve used them for as long as I’ve worked on cars. But they are not of a safe design.

MVP 2 ton post detail

MVP 2 ton post detail

Post design: Nice and flat. I’ve used this set of little stands for 15 years now. The is the style of post I prefer. They work just fine under Miata pinch welds or frame rails.

Stability: Decent. When used toward the low end of the lift range, they’re very stable. But when raised up toward the top end,they start to get wobbly. But for just some welded pieces of bar stock? Amazingly stable. Still, I’d never recommend these to anyone reading.

Overall: As I alluded to earlier, I’m thought this style of welded bar stock was outlawed for sale in the United States. That’s why every manufacturer went to the stamped steel style. And that’s also why I was so shocked to find these for sale on the Sears website. Put plainly, I believe that you should not trust your lift to this style of stand. There are far too many possible failure points. However, I still have to admit that I like these. They’re just very easy to use. They’re much more stable than the Torin aluminum stands. But they’re not to be in my garage anymore. They have been replaced by the HF stands for quick oil changes and by the ESCO stands for every other job.

Bonus review: Harbor Freight 2 Piece Folding Wheel Chocks

Prime put the wheel chocks to good use right away.

Prime put the wheel chocks to good use right away.

Showing off the non-skid foot.

Showing off the non-skid foot.

Price: $5 per pair. Not a sale price. Harbor Freight stocks these regularly, both online and in their stores. Go grab a few.

Features: It has a nice rubber pad on the bottom to prevent skidding. It fits under a lowered Miata. If you’re raising only one end of your car, it could save your life.

Under the rear tire.

Under the rear tire.

Under the front tire.

Under the front tire.

Ease of use: Doesn’t get much easier than this. Nice and small, yet it holds a Miata in place very well. And it’s pretty much guaranteed to fit any Miata regardless of how slammed it is. It takes up almost no space. There’s lots of space behind the rear tire of a Miata, but the fronts can get a little bit cramped. This small chock fits the fronts easy.

A story recently went around the various internet car forums about a guy who died due to a car falling on him. And this was not a newbie to the hobby doing an oil change. This was a guy changing out his S2000′s differential to one with better gearing. He had the back end of the car in the air supported by two of the round-based jack stands I mentioned in part one. The front wheels were not chocked and they rolled. The round-based stands tipped and turned into wheels. They rolled. The car came down. He was crushed. This $5 wheel chock would have saved his life.

Let me be the first to admit to not always remembering to use chocks. I’ve owned an identical set of these for about 10 years. (I bought this new, shiny set due to the spiffy rubber base which my old set lacked.) But I’d be lazy and not remember to use them. Not any more. I’m changing my ways.

Overall: This little chock is great. Small and easy to fit under any sports car regardless of how low it might be. The only problem is remembering to use it! I now store these chocks on top of my floor jacks. That way I have to pick them up every time I want to roll a jack out and use it. The rubber base keeps it from sliding off the jack. And since I’m holding the chock, I might as well put it under a wheel. So I do. Easy. And I feel a little safer for it.

Cliff notes.

  • ESCO 3 ton stands: A+ Expensive, but worth it.
  • Harbor Freight 3 ton stands: B Cheap, strong, and amazingly decent.
  • Torin 3 ton aluminum stands: C+ Lightweight, small. Base is too small. Also $$$
  • MVP 2 ton stands: C- Convenient, cheap, and well built. But could self destruct.
  • Craftsman 3 ton high lift stands: D- Almost no redeeming qualities.
Be safe and always keep the Decepticons in your sights.

Be safe and always keep the Decepticons in your sights.

I hope you’ve enjoyed the revlimiter.net MEGA jack stand review. (And check out part 1 if you happened to link to this post directly and miss it.) If you have any questions, just leave a comment below.

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  • Garden State says:

    I like your blog. Really useful and very motivational. Thanks a ton. It’ll help me a lot.

  • Scrappy Jack says:

    Great review, great pictures and clever use of the action figures. ;) I had never seen the folding wheel chocks – I will definitely have to pick some up.

  • Kevin says:

    Great write-up. I appreciate you writing this.

  • Tobie Derian says:

    Hey guys what a blog eh? I love this site. Just wanted to say thanks for the post and if anyone has time come check out mine will ya? Thanks have a great day!

  • Cancruiser says:

    Thanks for the great review. Very, very useful indeed. I have posted a link to it in a British car forum that I am a member of with full credit to your site. I think it will be useful for many readers, like it was useful to me..

  • Will says:

    Hope everyone considers these made in USA quality jackstands with flat post design and stable wide base. Check out US Jack jackstands and lifting equipment…
    http://www.goestores.com/storename/usjackco/ViewDept-276440.aspx

  • Mike-777 says:

    Great review. Really appreciate the time & effort you put into this. Between this review and several others I’ve read this morning I’m going to go out and spend the $$$ for a set of the Esco jackstands. Though I also intend to purchase 2 of the Torin jackstands for changing wheels/tires on the DE & auto-cross days. One question though; I really like those little chocks. They’re a nice, clean, simple, elegant and effective design – who makes them? And where did you buy them? (OK, so two questions.) Beats my carrying around 2×4′s.

    • Mike-777 says:

      Oops. Just went back to look at the photos again and saw “HF” in the title block for the chocks. (Really, I’m not that hungover this morning.)

      • revlimiter says:

        Thanks for the kind words! The ESCO stands really are worth the money. Nice to have faith that you won’t die while working on your car.

        And glad you saw the HF part. I guess I should edit that to make it a little easier to understand…

  • JoeMomma says:

    Excellent review. Can you tell how the Esco pad is attached? Just wondering if it’s glued on or what. It’d be awesome to cut a slot in it for the pinch weld.

    • revlimiter says:

      The stand has a hole in the middle and the pad itself has a big rubber nipple that sticks out. It attaches that way. The pad fits over and around the top of the stand and is pretty thick. Thicker than the pad that came with my NAPA jack!

  • Tony says:

    Thanks for putting together such a helpful review.

  • Jacob says:

    Do you happen to have a link to the story of the man being crushed by his S2000?

  • Harry Bosch says:

    Thank very much for this excellent and comprehensive review. After many years of working under my cars without any mishaps, it finally happened. There is always that first time. Fortunately I was not injured, and the car suffered only minor sheet metal damage.

    The Esco’s look great. The ones shown in the Leno video even better.

    Thanks again for taking the time and incurring the expense to do this review!

    HB

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