RCN Tool Reviews: Pittsburgh 3-Ton Floor Jack

Posted December 01, 2020

By Dean Larson

When it comes to stocking your toolbox and shop shelves, there are generally two schools of thought, each with their own merits. Some guys turn up their noses at the idea of anything less than Snap-On, Matco, Cornwell and the like, and there’s definitely something to be said about buying quality pieces made here in the U.S.A. Others might shop on price or perceived value alone, frequenting Amazon or Harbor Freight for the cheapest thing they can find that gets the job done. Risking my shred of automotive credibility, I’ll admit that I’m somewhere in the middle. Nearly all of my power tools are from Milwaukee Tools, and all my screwdrivers, sockets, ratchets and so on are from Craftsman or better, but I’ll admit that I occasionally go the cheap route to get a job done, or when I feel like I can’t afford to go big.

Having recently stocked a new shop space with tools, I have plenty of new pieces to choose from and about a year worth of testing them out. For a judging metric, I decided to go with something simple we can all understand — the check, check-plus, check-minus system. Basically, check-minus means that you should look elsewhere, check-plus means we’d recommend it and check is somewhere in the middle.

Pittsburgh Jack2

Pittsburgh 3-Ton Floor Jack — Harbor Freight

Let’s kick things off with a classic, the Pittsburgh floor jack from Harbor Freight. It’s cheap, looks good in photos, has great reviews and it’s right down the road at your local Harbor Freight. Now it obviously takes a special sort of nutcase to suspend an 6,000-pound vehicle over any part of your body with a floor jack that can be had for $100, but sometimes you do what ya gotta do.

The jack is made from heavy-duty steel and has extra-wide casters up front for stability. It has a pair of hydraulic pumps at the back, and Harbor Freight’s Rapid Pump system claims most loads can be lifted in 3-1/2 pumps. The jack lifts 6,000 pounds to a maximum of 18-1/4 inches, so you’ll be able to handle most jobs that you’ll tackle at home. The standard 3-ton jack is 5-1/8 inches when fully lowered, so if your vehicle has low ground clearance, consider Pittsburgh’s low-profile unit, or a lighter duty jack all together.

This jack is one of the first tools I bought when I moved into my new shop, and I couldn't beat the pricepoint — I think I paid something like $70 for it. Over the last year, I've lifted everything from my Triumph Spitfire, to my 3/4-ton diesel pickup truck with this jack, and it's handled it all in stride. As long as you top off the hydraulic fluid when it's new and use quality jack stands (not the Harbor Freight units that were recently part of a mass recall), you shouldn't have any problems with this jack.

I’m going to award the Pittsburgh jack a check, because I use it pretty regularly, and so far it’s lifted everything I’ve asked it to and doesn’t appear to have any real defects. The casters roll nicely, fit-and-finish is top notch and its features are on par with jacks twice the price. My only gripe against the jack is that its Rapid Pump system, which I don’t feel like works as advertised. It seems like it’s generally a couple dozen pumps to get anything off the ground. But for $104 (if you pay full price), there’s nothing wrong with this tool.

Score: ✓

View the Pittsburgh 3-Ton Floor Jack here at Harbor Freight

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