Lifting With Hydraulic Toe Jacks

When it comes to lifting very heavy items in small confined spaces hydraulic toe jacks are the tool of choice, these Steerman and Pfaff hydraulic toe jacks are ideal for lifting objects between 5 tonne and 25 tonne in weight.

I will take a look at how hydraulic toe jacks have come about, their main uses and why they can benefit you and your worksite giving you more lifting options, whilst also keeping safety in mind. There small size and low weight makes them ideal for carrying around worksites, while being easy to operate and offering great lifting capacities for all your needs.

Topics we will cover:

  1. What Is A Hydraulic Toe Jack And How do They Work?
  2. Storing And Upkeep Of Your Hydraulic Toe Jacks?
  3. Lifting Ranges & Which One To Buy?

  4. Working With Hydraulic Toe Jacks Safety

  5. Top 5 Tips When Using Hydraulic Toe Jacks

  6. When Are Hydraulic Toe Jacks Needed?

  7. How Hydraulic Toe Jacks Can Help You


Hydraulic toe jacks are heavy duty lifting tools which are compact and small in size but are used to lift heavy machinery or objects that are low to the ground with minimum clearance. The history of toe jacks came about for the purpose of moving and lifting heavy railroad equipment. Being very easy to move and carry around hydraulic toe jacks then became a practical and useful tool to use in this and many other industries.

They come in a variety of different weights, generally ranging from 5 tons up to 25 tons. With this range of capacities it makes hydraulic toe jacks suitable for a wide array of tasks.

Points Of Contact

The toe of the jack is the point at which the object is lifted as the toe sits underneath acting as a fork under the object holding it firmly in place. Positioning is important to ensure stability when the object or machine is being lifted. Suitable loads can also be lifted by the Top part of the toe jack, this gives additional height clearances when lifting.

They work based on manually pumping the hydraulic pump handle which lifts the load to the required height. The hydraulic pressure comes from pumping the oil which drives a piston upwards.



General maintenance and upkeep is vital to ensuring your equipment is in proper working order and safe to operate. Jacks of all varieties are durable and long lasting but with more use comes more damage and inevitable repairs. For any hydraulic equipment there are a few essential things to keep in mind when storing and maintaining your equipment.

Always store hydraulic tools upright and keep them in a dry area which is free from any corrosive materials. It is always advisable to check your owners manual on further details for maintenance but here we will give you a quick list of things to check for.


Regular maintenance schedule:

  1. Check for any wear or damage or cracks to parts

  2. Look out for oil leaks and damage to seals or O-rings

  3. Keep the air vent screw clean by using compressed air to blow out dirt and grime

  4. Based on your owners manual keep your jack well lubricated

  5. Grease the lifting piston on a fairly regular basis and pump it to its required height

  6. Maintain a regular cleaning and service schedule

Yearly Maintenance schedule

  1. Change oil once a year, refer to the owners manual as to which oil to use

  2. Clean out the oil and dispose of it appropriately and safely

  3. Check for any wear or damage to parts

  4. Look out for oil leaks and damage to seals or O-rings

  5. Clean the hydraulic toe jack using compressed air to remove any dirt or grime from all areas


Refer to the owners manual for further specific details on maintenance.


With so many different manufacturers and types to choose from it can be a challenge to find a product that matches your needs.

Firstly understanding your requirements is an important area to get started with, do you require a jack than can fit into very small clearances and gaps to lift machinery or are you simply looking for a jack that is easy to carry around and stores away compactly. Hydraulic toe jacks come in different heights and sizes. Whether your work site is outdoors or indoors hydraulic toe jacks offer lifting capabilities in a wide range.

Finding out the average weights of machinery or equipment that you will be lifting is a necessary step when buying your hydraulic toe jack, it is often recommended to buy above your required lifting weight capacities. It can happen from time to time that you may have to lift a machine that is above your average amount and having a jack that can cover a wide range of weights will just make life easier for you. It is never recommended to lift a machine or object that is heavier than the limit of the jacks maximum lifting capacity.



It will be clearly marked on the hydraulic toe jack what the lifting limit is, special care should be given when estimating the load to be lifted. If you are unsure about the specifications of your hydraulic toe jack it is recommended to check the owners manual for further details.

Check your area

When operating the hydraulic toe jack ensure the surface it will be on is flat and even with nothing around it that could impede the pumping action of the handle, there must be suitable space to safely operate in. Some toe jacks can be used either vertically or horizontally and care should be given to ensure other people are not in harm's way.


Don't take risks when lifting heavy equipment or machinery, work should only be carried out by operators who have extensive experience with lifting heavy equipment and have extensive knowledge of material handling to ensure best practices are carried out. Take time in planning a lift as a lot of accidents occur due to rushing and not organising the lift appropriately.

Keep work areas clean

Keeping your work area clean and tidy will lend itself to easier and more efficient work being carried out. Also maintaining your equipment to the highest standards will ensure you get the most out of your tools and that they last longer, also putting tools back and kept tidy is the best practice which makes for a better tidier work environment.


  1. Inspect the hydraulic toe jack for any damage before use

  2. Understand the lifting weight limits involved

  3. Have a plan in place for lifting safely

  4. Take measurements of clearances before lifting

  5. If its a confined area it is possible to remove the handle and use a shorter bar


Hydraulic toe jacks are suitable when material handling lifting equipment for construction, house lifting or renovations, they are also suitable for cargo loading, lifting fabricated steel structures and installation of general engineering heavy equipment. Hydraulic toe jacks are invaluable tools that are quick and easy to set up making light work for most lifting jobs, they play an important role in a lot of work sites offering safe and efficient lifting methods.


  • Hydraulic toe jacks are quick and efficient method of lifting

  • They are cost effective over hiring a crane or other lifting methods

  • Work great with load moving skates to move heavy machinery once lifted

  • Offer a wide range of lifting capacities


In Summary hydraulic toe jacks offer a lot and should definitely be considered a must have tool for anyone who requires lifting small to medium size objects either indoors or outdoors, with very little hassle. As with all lifting equipment care should be given when operating these tools and it is important to know your products lifting limits and specifications. I have given a brief overview of maintenance and the uses of hydraulic toe jacks. As they continue to be a popular product in the lifting industry, we feel they are a wise choice for your lifting needs now and in the future.

If you are interested in finding out more, then you can check out our range of hydraulic lifting toe jack products we supply which are fully tested and come CE certified.