Whether you’re an A-to-B driver or an experienced gearhead, it’s safe to say we’ve all heard a new sound emit from under our cars at some point in time. A rattling, a shaking, or worse yet, a grinding – a troublesome noise can put a shiver of worry down your spine. In times like these you need a way to get under the car without a lot of hassle, and the tool for the job is a mechanic’s creeper.
Since most people don’t have a lift installed in their home garage, the choice method of getting under a low vehicle has historically been to perch two wheels on a nearby curb, set the handbrake, and crawl underneath. That’s certainly not a method that’s covered in automotive safety courses, and it’s easily thwarted by rainfall or the wearing of nice clothes. Wouldn’t it be great to have a tool for this very purpose?
If you’re not into cars, the word creeper might look out of place here. Oh, and just so you know, you’re on the wrong website 😊
What is a Mechanic’s Creeper?
A mechanic’s creeper is a low-slung platform made of durable materials, with wheels along the bottom and a flat surface on top. You lie down on it, roll under your car, fix some things, and roll back out again. That means you can say goodbye to dirty clothes and all the hassle that goes along with fidgeting around on the floor. Similarly, a garage seat is a chair on wheels. There are rollers for your knees and chest, as well as ones made for your tools, and we’ll get to that soon enough.
A mechanic’s creeper is sometimes called a mechanic’s roller, garage roller, or a garage creeper. A garage seat can also be called a shop seat, roller seat, or mechanic’s seat. Now when we use those phrases interchangeably, you’ll know it’s all the same thing.
They’re all designed to withstand the kind of chemicals one might encounter in a garage setting, though not all creepers are built to the same standards. Additionally, they provide varying degrees of comfort often directly associated with their price. The other thing to watch out for is ease of use – when it comes to caster wheels, let’s just say you get what you pay for.
Which One is Best?
There’s not really a “best mechanic’s creeper” because a wide variety of options exist to fit a wide variety of needs. We’re going to cover the most common examples; if you’re in a hurry, skip to the bottom to find the answer to “Which Mechanic’s Creeper Should I Buy?”.
All the garage rollers, garage seats, and mechanic’s creepers you’re about to see come with Amazon Prime shipping. That means one of these fine items could be at your door before you ever get around to checking out that strange noise under your car. So cancel your gym membership, stop dusting the garage floor, and buy one of the best mechanic’s creepers available today.
Why Buy an Expensive One?
Before we dive in, let’s answer a common question. I hear people all the time ask me why it’s worth buying a $100 creeper when a $20 creeper will do the job. Sure, a cheap garage roller will do the job, but it won’t last.
A cheap one probably won’t want to roll after a few days, so you’ll have to scoot it along if you encounter any debris. Go too cheap and critical parts like bearings and frame joints start breaking way too early. If you’re the type to keep your tools for a long time, you don’t need to blow $300 on whatever garage roller Snap-On has on their website, but don’t cheap out either. Find a happy medium.
While you might get away with bargain-bin wrenches and secondhand sockets, a shop roller is one place where you can actually feel the quality of a more expensive product.
Let me show you what I mean.
The Cheapest Garage Roller
This is the cheapest full-size mechanic’s creeper available on Amazon Prime today. It’s a whole lot cheaper than firing up the dually and driving to that one big-box store that’s constantly having sales on things that break after five minutes. You know, the one that leaves a tent of sale items outside overnight because the tent itself costs more than what’s inside. But is this creeper really cheaper in the long run?
Torin says they have your back with this rugged 40-inch cart with 3” casters and a 1-1/4” ground clearance. It has built-in trays for holding tools, something even the expensive creepers don’t have. I’m not sure why they don’t, because that’s handier than Uber in a snowstorm. Total height depends on how much you ate for dinner, but with its all-plastic construction, this garage roller shouldn’t bend or drag under stress… but reviewers say otherwise.
Along with the price come a few drawbacks. The only padding is at your head, and the rest of the body is plastic. On one hand, that means it should be more durable. On the other, it’s less comfortable for those long nights in the saddle. There’s nothing wrong with buying the cheapest shop roller available if you only plan to use it a few times, but over 20% of long-term reviewers agree it doesn’t hold up to heavy use, especially if you’re pushing the 280-pound weight limit. Some even report cracks in the plastic itself that rendered this roller unusable.
This garage roller is fine to carry in the truck or trailer for emergencies, but if it breaks on you after extended use it’s no better than laying on the ground.
Our advice: don’t cheap out.
- Low height
- 3 pounds – it’s light
- Plastic construction
- Handy tool carrier
- Head padding
- No back padding
- Doubtable longevity
- Best suited for emergency use
Now that we’ve discussed the cheapest floor creeper Amazon has, let’s look at some better examples.
Best Mechanic’s Creepers
Torin Big Red Padded Metal Shop Creeper – BEST DEAL
Torin gets to take another swing at this, because they also offer the cheapest padded metal garage roller on Amazon Prime. This time over 80% of the reviews are 4 and 5 stars, so as far as quality goes we should be in the clear.
That’s thanks to the way this shop roller is constructed. Check out the exoskeleton on which a layer of padding resides. That’s the way things should be – a steel frame is far more durable than a plastic one. You can move the headrest to four different positions, and if the padding ever wears out or you want to replace it for any reason, just hop online and buy a replacement. Easy peasy.
You better like red and black, because most mechanic’s creepers are those colors and those only. At 16 pounds it’s still able to be carried in the event of a roadside emergency, but it’s heavier than its plastic counterpart. It’s also a bit taller, so keep that in mind if you’re trying to JB Weld the oil pan on your lowered BMW.
It’s still cheap, so don’t expect it to ride like a Cadillac.
- Steel construction
- Full-length removable padding
- Entry-level price
- A little tall
- A little heavy
- Can’t choose your colors
- Best suited for clean environments
This is the bedroom pin-up of mechanic’s creepers.
If you are working on a lowered BMW, or any low-riding car, a few extra inches can make a world of difference.
I can’t safely get my Corvette more than a few feet off the ground, even using the best floor jacks and stands. Nothing short of a lift would be ideal, but using the lowest-profile mechanic’s creeper available is a step in the right direction. You’d think the big 5-inch wheels and high 2-inch ground clearance of the Traxion would make it taller than others, but because your body sits lower in the frame you’re actually coming out ahead.
Plus, you can roll over rough terrain with ease.
The full-custom frame is different from those you’ll find anywhere else. Unlike more common designs, this one has a wide deck with no pinch points – places where your body pushes against the frame rails – so you can maneuver around under the car without your roller catching you in a bind.
It’s more expensive than your standard garage roller, but then again, it’s not really made for your garage. This is the kind of thing you’d pack for trips where you might have to get under your car in less-than-ideal conditions, like a cross-country drive in Canada or a White Castle run in St. Louis.
With its bespoke frame and rugged wheels, this is the most ergonomic garage roller on Amazon Prime.
- Double bearings
- 400-pound weight capacity
- Custom steel frame
- Off-road abilities
- Low overall height
- More expensive
- 30-day warranty
This seat-and-roller combo is the perfect way to get more bang for your buck. The first is a standard fare creeper with a 300-pound weight capacity, six swivel casters, and a full-length padded surface. The second is a two-foot-tall seat that doubles as a tool shelf.
Its party trick is a folding Z frame that can be rearranged by simply pulling a few pins. This garage roller packs the functionality of two tools into one, yet it still weighs the same as a traditional mechanic’s creeper.
If you intend to use your tools for a long time, you might consider getting a more expensive version of this from another brand. The reviews are clear that this will not last for years on end, and it probably won’t hold its stated weight capacity. But if you simply want a cheap, foldable, versatile garage creeper, look no further than this.
- Padded surface
- Folds for storage
- Transforms into a seat
- Tall height
- Questionable quality
Best Specialized Garage Rollers
We’ve covered the best mechanic’s creepers of the usual form factor, but what if you need something more unique to get the job done?
This is the mechanic’s creeper you need if your vehicle is taller than you are.
Designed for working on trucks and SUVs, this garage roller folds away to save space. This topside creeper adjusts from 48 to 64 inches of total height, taking the strain off your knees and back while giving you easier access to those hard-to-reach places.
A topside creeper makes changing the spark plugs on my GMC Sierra 2500HD a breeze. Before I had to either sit on the crossmember, stand on the bumper, or stand on a chair and lay on a pillow across the radiator. None of those positions are comfortable, but anyone who has a tall truck has been there a time or two.
The top platform’s weight capacity is a scant 56 pounds. Based on the reviews that’s never been an issue for anyone, and I’m sure the reason for that figure is to keep people from standing on the top platform, but just keep that in mind when you’re considering that extra cheeseburger.
You can’t lay flat on this mechanic’s creeper in any configuration, so only buy one if you need to work on something tall.
- Padded top surface
- Wide range of adjustments
- Folds for storage
- Overwhelmingly positive reviews
- Weighs 77 pounds
- Has a specific purpose
There’s a place for your butt, a place for your knees, a place for your chest, and a space for accessories. Don’t get any ideas, now.
Though it looks like something your grandma uses in the bathroom, the Racatac Shop Seat is actually a very useful all-around tool. You can kneel in the knee holsters and sit on the bicycle-style seat, and you can also lay across the padded front bolster for leaning into those awkward places without breaking your back. Most of the attachments are removable for storage.
An array of five casters keep this contraption stable regardless of what position you assume, and an overall weight of just 14 pounds makes it one of the lightest devices on our list.
I have to say though, it seems like it would be awkward to maneuver while you’re on it. That’s just based on an ocular assessment of the way everything is arranged, including how the frame is shaped, but it’s worth taking into consideration. Also, the waterproof knee pads might make you sore after a few hours, and at over $300 (today) it had better be built stronger than Fort Knox. If you have a welder and an old bicycle you could just about make one of these in an afternoon.
This garage roller is perfect for the resourceful handyman, so long as money is no object.
- Multiple uses
- Light weight
- Convenient attachments
- High price
Not only is this pair of garage rollers convenient for getting around the shop, it’s also great for installing tile, laying carpet, painting walls, commuting to work, and getting thrown out of your local skating rink.
With a total supported weight of 480 pounds, you can land on them without worrying about anything breaking. And unlike those other one-piece knee creepers with hard plastic casters, the wheels on this mechanic’s creeper pair are soft and safe for most surfaces, yet they’re so unobtrusive that you can walk around with them strapped to your knees.
Buy a second pair and invent a new form of downhill roller skating or turn mall-walking into mall-swimming. There’s another use: swimming on land! There are a million great reasons to have wheels on your knees!
With 86% positive reviews at the time of this article, you can rest assured these wheels won’t leave you stranded. And the price won’t bring you to your knees, either. You can buy an optional 3-Year Accident Protection plan with this garage roller, but I suspect it doesn’t cover damages caused by landing wrong at the skatepark.
- Fair price
- Innovative design
- Durable construction
- Padded knee surfaces
- Niche purpose
I’ve talked before about the risk of buying from a company whose name is two random English words stuck together, especially if that name is written in all caps. In this case, though, there’s no reason to break the bank on something that’s designed to roll a couple feet at a time while carrying a few pounds of hand tools.
The purpose of this mechanic’s creeper isn’t to carry your body, it’s to carry your tools. When you’re underneath a car with a regular garage roller, you either drag all your tools on the floor with you or balance them on your chest somehow. After taking a few sockets to the face, laying on a couple pairs of pliers, and very often forgetting a tool topside, I can tell you a tool creeper is totally worth buying. For less than the price of the new Forza Horizon, you could save yourself a world of frustration.
This mechanic’s creeper features a tray nearly two feet in diameter divided into several partitions, with handles at three sides of the hexagonal perimeter. As for the bad, it’s fairly tall and made of plastic, while more expensive competitors are shorter and made from metal. Those are really the only drawbacks to a simple and practical product. Just don’t try to ride on it.
- Low price
- Extremely useful
- Durable construction
- Could be shorter
- Could be metal
Those Creepers Aren’t Suggestive Enough
What’s that, you say? You want procreative puns and raunchy wisecracks served to you on a silver platter? Say no more.
Yes, that’s the actual name of this creeper. If you have any doubt as to the suggestiveness of the name, check out the girl in the third photo. Dale Adams is well aware his product shares its name with something found in those quarter machines in gas station bathrooms.
The Bone has thick 1-3/8” tires mounted to large 5-3/8” wheels, so it won’t sink into soft surfaces. It has a burly steel frame with adjustable ball bearing swivels, meaning it’s strong where it counts. It comes with a limited lifetime warranty, so it can perform its duties for years to come. And its one-piece molded body is made of plastic, so no matter what gets spilled on it, it’ll wipe right off.
This is the mechanic’s creeper chosen by farmers, truckers, military technicians, and anyone else who needs to work on a vehicle in the rough. The Bone costs more than six times what a cheap plastic garage roller would cost you, and if you ask me that would pay for itself in entendres alone.
Like when you ask someone to retrieve it for you, or ask someone to use it, or if you ever refer to it by its name for any reason.
- Unmatched warranty
- Huge wheels
- Off-road abilities
- Super low deck
- Very expensive
- Not as comfortable
Which One Should I Buy?
Congratulations, you’ve learned everything there is to know about garage rollers, mechanic’s creepers, and shop seats! Put your newfound knowledge to use and stop laying on the ground every time you work on a car. If you skipped down to this section, congratulations! You scrolled here in record time.
If you need a cheap short-term creeper, buy the plastic Torin Big Red (and don’t expect it to last).
If you need a cheap long-term creeper, buy the metal padded Torin Big Red.
If you want the Ferrari of shop creepers, get a Traxion ProGear.
If you want a garage roller and shop seat combination, get the Pro-Lift 2-in-1.
Specialized Shop Rollers
If you’re working under the hood of something tall, get the Traxion Topside Creeper.
If you want the most versatile shop seat available, get the Racatac Shop Seat.
If you like cars and extreme sports, get the Milescraft KneeBlades.
If your tools need to get their creep on too, get the MYCHANIC Tool Creeper.
If you want to make everyone in your shop uncomfortable, get The Bone Rough Rider.