A vehicle lift is typically the centerpiece of our garage sanctuary. Not everyone's garage can fit one and not everyone's budget can afford one, however. So what's the next best thing? The ever-handy creeper.
Every mechanic knows how irritating (and dirty) it can be to crawl under a vehicle on their hands and knees. These portable nap-mobiles allow you to roll under a car on your back, decreasing knee pain (and unintelligible grunts) tenfold. We brought in a few different styles and put them through the Gear Team gauntlet to help you decide which creeper is right for you.
Our Top Picks
Things to Consider When Shopping for a Car Creeper
Where you'll be working: When you're in the market for a creeper, the number-one thing to consider is your floor. If your garage or workspace floor is as smooth and clean as a showroom, consider a creeper that's low to the ground for maximum room to wrench underneath the car.
But if your workspace floor is bumpy like a driveway, littered with air hoses, or covered by a textured floor covering, consider a creeper with larger wheels that can traverse the ground without getting hung up. These won't be able to get as low to the ground as creepers suited for smooth floors, but there's nothing more irritating than getting stuck in a rut or on a loose bolt while you're on a creeper.
Functionality: There are many creepers on the market (and in our test) that double as stools via some nifty fold-and-lock mechanisms. Some creepers also have backs that tilt up like a recliner, which can unlock even more angles to work. The caveat to these is added weight and more pinch points.
Comfort: Do some research on the cushion quality of the creeper you're considering. Some of the plastic varieties just have a foam headrest and sculpted indents for the body—lie in them at your own risk. We measured the cushion depth for each creeper to help you choose which one fits your needs.
Ease of assembly: Some creepers come pre-assembled, while some come in pieces, lacking the necessary tools to assemble them. It's a minor consideration but something to keep in mind.
Our Test Vehicle
We tested these creepers alongside our car ramps test. We used Car and Driver's long-term 2022 Kia Sorento SX and were able to roll underneath with the creepers while the SUV was up on our ramps.
How We Tested Automotive Creepers
For our creeper test, we had a little fun, including running each one through a little obstacle course. In total, we tested each creeper based on these parameters:
- Cushion depth and length
- Adjustable features
- Smoothness and speed
- Ability to traverse bumps, cracks, air hoses, and an assortment of loose nuts and bolts
- Ease of assembly
Comparing our notes on each of these parameters, we were able to decide which creeper was best for certain situations and which ones just missed the mark. Here are our picks for the best mechanic's creepers.