Over the last several years hundreds of people have emailed, faxed or phoned us asking almost the same question - What the heck floor jack should I buy for standard sized vehicles? Or, for bigger beasts such as Suburbans, Navigators, RV's and such?
This used to be so easy, but every day it becomes harder and harder to do. Great, high quality American manufacturers that once dominated the Automotive Jack Business are now completely gone - Sold off, renamed, reorganized, moved to smaller premises or moved overseas with dreadful results. It's completely UPSIDE DOWN - A couple of upstart importers that were laughed at 30 years ago have shown themselves to be marketers of very worthwhile tools and a NASA-quality hydraulic component maker has rushed to market a truly third rate piece of junk floor jack, advertising it to be the 'Industry Standard' - Yeah, MY ASS!
So, what you get on this WebPage is the honest opinion of a cranky, overweight, balding 63 year-old guy who has been diddling around the Automotive Jack World for 30 years. These recommendations are either the best tools currently available or else they happen to be the best value for the dollar spent.
For starters, let's clear this up right now - We do NOT sell cheap crap. If that's what you are looking for go somewhere else, please. We also do NOT sell 'premium quality tools at bargain basement prices' - That's advertising department BULLSHIT, it doesn't exist in the Real World. Sorry, Bunky, decent tools, don't come cheap!
What we do sell is PROVEN. Either the product itself or the manufacturer/importer has been around for quite awhile and has shown itself to be earnestly engaged in making 'good stuff'. To be sure, no manufacturer is perfect - To be quite honest with you last year we had at least a half dozen people call us back with a problem of some sort after purchasing from us. But our manufacturers stood behind their products. The item was quickly repaired or replaced and only one guy that we know of is unhappy. That's not bad, for hundreds of transactions and it re-enforces that we're on the right track.

That said, let's get on to the jacks… The 2 - 2 1/4 Ton models right here, or...
For the 4 - 5 ton models scrowl down or jump HERE!


  1. First off - PRICES then ATTRIBUTES

    This is going to get confusing, but bear with us…
    The Milwaukee Model 20 is entirely made in America of completely American made components. It is therefore the most expensive.
    The Norco 71233 is a 'NEW Product' designed with an extra Low Profile and is built in China.
    The Norco 71202A (formerly made in America) is now built in Taiwan. It is a heavy frame model designed for serious jacking such as found in busy tire shops.

  2. The Milwaukee is a full 25 pounds lighter than the Norcos, so if you happen to be lifting your jack in and out of your trunk a great deal or are small in stature and lift it only occasionally you might consider this a BIG plus!

  3. All the NORCO handles can be broken down to half size while the Milwaukee cannot.

  4. All three jacks, 71202A, the 71233 and the Milwaukee use a pumping arc of approximately 45 degrees down to horizontal. The 71202A (with a Fast Lift pump design) and the 71232 with dual pump pistons bring the jack up to full extension much quicker than the Milwaukee.

  5. All designs have been around the industry for quite a while and are fairly well PROVEN except for the New 71233, which was introduced in early 2010, although tested for several months previously.

  6. For Releasing - The Milwaukee uses a screw pushing against a lever and both the 71202A and 71233 use a universal joint turning a screw - All seem to work quite well when used as directed and both can be trashed by mis-use.

  7. For pumps, the Milwaukee uses chromed pistons working against O-Rings and are always exposed to the elements, but we have found that rarely do they rust up - You've got to keep them damn near underwater to have a problem. The 71202A & the 71233 use covered, out of the elements, steel pistons working against a steel cylinder with a U-Cup as a seal.

  8. For Main Rams the Norcos use a Poly-Urethane U-Cup against a steel cylinder wall while the Milwaukee uses a Chromed piston against an O-Ring. To prevent over-extension of the piston all four use an internal by-pass valve.

  9. The Milwaukee has a round saddle/pad, while the others are square.

  10. All use a welded on caster shoulder with replaceable metal casters, Milwaukee uses a roll pin to keep theirs in place in their cast iron holder while Norco's bolt through formed steel.

  11. The 71233 has 'flanged' side plates for extra frame strength.

  12. The Milwaukee and the Norco 71233 are warranteed for one year while the Norco 71202A has a lifetime warranty against defects in parts and workmanship.

  13. Also, Both companies have several service centers across the country.


Oye! It's NOT that easy. But I guess it would have to look something like this...

If you have the money GO THE MILWAUKEE!
It IS the best damn jack out there!

If you're running on a tight budget and need the most value, the biggest 'bang for your buck' GO THE NORCOS. They are NOT the typical pieces of crap coming out of China!

If you need the extra lower saddle height because you've got a lowered 'Vette, BMW, Porsche or Eclipse, you might want to try the 71233. While it is a fairly new jack, Norco did NOT rush it out, they worked on it for over a year, so it has been thoroughly run through the ringer.

While We're Speaking of 'crap' coming out of China...

In early May of 1998 I had the opportunity to talk with a Vice President of a major jack manufacturer. We talked about the future of American jacks, especially with his company making a big move into importing Chinese jacks in the next year, During the course of the conversation he mentioned that he was at a trade show and had gotten into an argument with a VP from another major jack maker about importing jacks. Somewhere along the line the question of 'How many cycles can you get from a typical, bargain priced, All-Chinese made floor jack before it starts leaking' came up. They BOTH agreed on the number 10! Let me say that again, two VP's from major jack makers agree that you will only get 10 (ten) uses out of a typical ($59 - $79) All-Chinese made floor jack before it starts to leak!!!

I guess if you only use a jack 3 or 4 times a year to change your oil or adjust your brakes you might get a few years of use out of a cheap All-Chinese made floor jack, but if you are at all SERIOUS about using a floor jack - Quite honestly, you're pissing away your money on one!

So, there you go - Your Mileage May Vary...


Norco has been the first respectable company to come out with a floor jack specifically designed to lift the popular SUV's that have been so well accepted over the past few years.
Model 71300A. It's pretty much the same design as the 71203A 2 1/4 ton model but with a significantly heavier frame (162 pounds versus 97 pounds) a higher lift (24 3/4" versus 20"), yet retaining the attractive 3 3/4" low lift height. Also, the new "A" model now features double pumping pistons to raise the lift arm quicker.
If your lifting demands include a wide variety of vehicles such as cars, trucks and SUV's, this could well be your best choice on an all-around jack to keep in your garage.


  1. First off - PRICE!
    The Milwaukee is made in America while the Norco is imported from China (although built by a well repected Japanese Company using high quality Japanese seals). This primarily accounts for the Norco having the lowest price.

  2. While the NORCO is full sized (alligator), permanent handle style floor jacks the Milwaukee has an easily removeable handle making it quite portable - You can actually get this jack into a Volkswagen bug and drive it over to a friend's house... And it takes up quite a bit less shop space in your garage.

  3. A downside to the shorter chassis is - If you tend to always be lifting your vehicle from, say, the back pumpkin, the other model is a little bit easier to roll under, set and pump because of the longer length.

  4. The Norco uses a single pumping piston with a foot pump to help raise the lift arm to the load quickly. The Milwaukee uses two pump pistons to move things along quicker. All systems seem to work fine with no real stand out differences.

  5. The Milwaukee starts at 4 5/8" and raises to 24"
    The Norco starts at 5 5/8" and raises to 22"

  6. For releasing the Milwaukee uses a knob on top of the handle screwing against a lever pulling on a needle valve, the Norco's requires pulling up on a lever in the handle and turning it about a quarter turn to begin releasing.
    A few people prefer the American jack here, pulling up on the lever works okay, but people like the simplicity of turning a knob - It's comfortable, like turning on a water faucet...

  7. Fortunately, both designs have been around for a long time and are fairly well PROVEN - You're not going to go too far wrong with any of them...

  8. For pumping power, the Milwaukee uses twin chromed pistons working against O-Rings while the Norco uses a similar system but with a single steel piston. The Norco offers a foot pump to bring the Lift Arm up quickly to the load, then the long handle is needed once the load is contacted.

  9. All brands have their pistons always exposed to the elements, however the Norco has a protective cover over their hydraulic unit while the Milwaukee does not (but keep in mind, their pistons are chrome plated).

  10. All models feature a 45 degree to horizontal pumping arc - Convenient for lifting while deep under the vehicle.

  11. For Main Rams the Norco uses a Poly-Urethane U-Cup against a steel cylinder wall while the Milwaukee uses a Chromed piston against an O-Ring. To prevent over-extension, they both use an internal by-pass valve.

  12. Both have a round cast iron saddle/pad with four raised guides.

  13. Milwaukee uses a welded on caster shoulder with replaceable metal casters while Norco's bolt on. Milwaukee uses a roll pin to keep their caster in place while Norco's bolts through its holder.

  14. The Milwaukee is warranteed for one year while the Norco has a lifetime warranty against defects in parts and workmanship.

  15. Also, Both companies have several service centers across the country.


Well, let's see...

Bang for the buck - The American made MILWAUKEE is a hell of a deal for a four ton floor jack, and is the only model that can be broken down and squished into a VW Bug!
For a long reach jack good for lifting from the 'pumpkin' and an attractive price - Go the Norco!

So, there you are - That wasn't so hard.
And, as usual, your mileage may vary...


This page updated by Richard J. Tafilaw, September 1, 2014. Online since March 30, 1996

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