Like most tools, axle stands are available in many different shapes and sizes, but most have an Eiffel Tower-like design with four legs connected by struts.
The principal axle stand types include:
Ratchet Axle Stands
Ratchet type stands feature a ratchet mechanism - a device that exerts force in one direction only. They are flexible and easy to adjust, allowing these stands to be placed under different areas of the car while remaining even and avoiding the obstruction caused by a jack.
Once the stand has reached the necessary height it will automatically lock into place.
Pin-Type Axle Stands
These have an opening in the base into which a thick tube or bar is attached. This, in turn, features a series of holes through which a strong locking pin is passed to adjust the height of the stand.
Pin type stands are very robust because the locking pin prevents the supporting bar from slipping. Consequently, pin-type stands are primarily used with heavy vehicles.
Locking pins can bend over time, making operation difficult, so they should be replaced regularly.
Heavy-Duty Axle Stands
These stands are designed for use with heavy vehicles. They normally have a rating of six tonnes and upwards and are frequently reinforced with rubber padding to protect their edges. Unsurprisingly, heavy-duty models typically cost more than lower capacity variations.