Best Kayak Hoist System

As a kayak owner, you may already be aware of the hassles of storing your kayaks somewhere safe but without it taking up too much space. If this is something you can relate to, then a space-saving kayak hoist system can be your solution.

In addition to many other kayak storage ideas, a kayak hoist saves space and prevents unnecessary clutter; it’s also the perfect solution for storing your kayaks and canoes out of the way of possible damage and deformation of the hull due to inadequate weight dispersal.

Our Pick!

RAD Sportz's Overhead Pulley System

RAD Sportz Kayak Hoist Pulley System

The RAD Sportz’s Overhead Pulley System is an excellent, reliable, and reasonably priced kayak hoist for garage storage. This kayak hoist is deserving of the best overall award as it is well-rounded, offering good weight capacity, user-friendly installation, and high-quality finishes.

What is a Kayak Hoist System?

A hoist system is intended to free up space in your garage or storage room by anchoring it to the ceiling and hoisting the kayak or canoe toward the ceiling to store it. In essence, these hoists use ropes and pulleys that lift your kayak off the ground.

Why Use a Kayak Hoist System?

It is known that finding a suitable storage space for kayaks is the primary concern of enthusiastic kayakers. Not only are kayaks big and bulky, but they are also expensive recreational equipment and would set you back a couple of dollars if they are damaged.

This is why a kayak ceiling hoist is a brilliant storage method. It requires minimal effort to install and mount. It further offers more protection from scratches and dents due to kayaks being stored off the floor, which also opens up a lot more floor space, unlike freestanding kayak racks or wall-mounted kayaks to a certain extent.

Kayak Ceiling Mounted Hoists vs. Kayak Wall Mounts

Determining which storage options are superior depends mainly on the following two considerations.

1. Garage Size

Modern suburban houses generally have large enough garages to fit two cars and a small amount of additional storage space. Kayak hoists are the perfect solution for compact garages with minimal floor space. However, older standalone houses tend to have more garage space, offering a decent amount of floor space and mobility, making this ideal for those who prefer wall-mounted kayak storage options.

2. Vehicle Size

Compact cars, such as hatchbacks, take up a lot less space garage space than larger minivans, trucks, or SUV’s. This will also determine whether a ceiling hoist or wall-mounted kayak storage system is better.

If you’re looking for the most user-friendly storage solution, wall-mounted kayak storage racks are a better option, as they require less effort to install and mount. Wall-mounted kayak storage is also much more affordable. Wall-mounted racks take up a lot of wall space and usually have kayaks protruding outwards up to 1.5-feet, which exposes them to scratches and possible damage.

Alternatively, ceiling hoist systems for kayaks free up both wall and floor space. Overhead space in your garage is usually unutilized and is an excellent option for storing large and bulk items such as kayaks or canoes. Depending on the size of the garage, you’ll be able to store anywhere between two to five kayaks. However, most hoist systems do require two people to operate them correctly. It’s a little bit more complicated to install but doable.

Also, there is always the tiny risk of the kayak falling onto your vehicle if installation is done poorly or hoist parts are low quality. However, the best kayak hoist systems are designed with additional security measures to prevent the kayak from falling and distributing weight evenly. They have strong and durable parts to support the weight of heavier kayaks securely.

RAD Sportz Kayak Hoist Pulley Is the Best Overall Kayak Hoist System

1. RAD Sportz Kayak Hoist Pulley System

The RAD Sportz’s Overhead Pulley System is an excellent, reliable, and reasonably priced kayak hoist for garage storage. This hoist is deserving of the best overall award as it is well-rounded, offering good weight capacity, user-friendly installation, and high-quality finishes.

RAD Sportz's Overhead Pulley System


12 x 12 x 6 Inches

The RAD Sportz kayak ceiling hoist is a manual lift system used on a ceiling of up to 12-feet in height. It has a decent weight capacity of 125-pounds; however, it is not suitable for heavy fishing kayaks.

Made of heavy-duty components, the hooks have a rubber coating that protects the kayak’s hull. The straps are adjustable with built-in loops, adding to the fact that this kayak hoist is user-friendly and easy to assemble and install. Its built-in safety locking mechanism ensures that the kayak will remain in place, preventing a sudden release and avoiding accidental falls.

However, when the kayak is loaded into the hoist, it does tend to sit a little low, which can be a bit uncomfortable if you have a low ceiling.


  • Hooks have a rubber coating 
  • Safety locking mechanism to prevent the sudden release
  • Adjustable straps with built-in loops


  • Not capable of carrying heavy kayaks
  • Not suitable for low ceilings

For Lightweight Kayak, Get the Storeyourboard Kayak Ceiling Hoist

2. Storeyourboard Kayak Ceiling Hoist

The StoreYourBoard kayak ceiling hoist is a great choice for smaller kayaks or kayaks made for kids. It has a limited weight capacity of 60-pounds, which will work well for lightweight thermoplastic kayaks and the like.

StoreYourBoard kayak ceiling hoist

Waterproof :

Dimensions :
‎9.5 x 4.25 x 7.5 Inches

This hoist has patented square brackets, unlike other hook designs, that have a heavy-duty feel and is made from solid materials. This square design offers more support to the straps, relieving them from tension and stress caused by the hanging kayak’s weight.

The adjustable horizontal center strap provides extra security to the vertical straps. Without it, you might often find the main straps sliding around, which increases the risk of your kayak possibly shifting or falling off. I noticed that the vertical straps tend to slide off when the center strap is not firmly in place. The rope has a tendency to slip through the locking feature. Additionally, this hoist also has a built-in auto-brake system as an added safety precaution.

Due to this hoist system being the best option for lightweight kayaks, it has a relatively limited weight capacity. The Storeyourboard kayak ceiling hoist comes with all the hardware necessary for installation.


  • Adjustable straps fit all types of kayaks
  • Has a system built-in auto brake
  • Premium quality hoists/straps


  • The rope has a tendency to slip through the locking feature
  • Limited weight capacity, not suitable for larger kayaks

The Kayak Hoist From Cargloc Is the Best Budget Option

CargoLoc’s main selling point is its low price. Although affordable, it’s still a good-quality kayak hoist and can be installed on ceilings up to 14 feet high.

3. Cargloc Kayak Hoist

CargoLoc kayak hoist system

Waterproof :

1 x 1 x 1 Inches

This kayak hoist for garage storage may not work well for bulky kayaks, but it can support up to 100 pounds of weight. They’re also not suitable with tandem kayaks or touring kayaks.

The CargoLoc kayak hoist system features an additional safety rope-locking mechanism, which helps in preventing accidental falls and releases. It also comes with mounting hardware and two durable eight-foot straps that offer outstanding support.

It comes with all hardware needed for assembly as well as complete, easy-to-understand instructions on how to assemble and install the hoist. As with the RAD Sportz overhead pulley, the Cargolocmay hangs low on some ceilings.

CargoLoc kayak hoist is easy to install and use, suits people with a tight budget, and works well as a ceiling-mounted kayak storage option.


  • Easy to install
  • Includes a rope locking mechanism for added safety
  • Budget-friendly kayak hoist


  • Kayak hoist may hang low on some ceilings

For Heavyweight Kayaks, Get the HARKEN Kayak Hoist

This kayak ceiling hoist can support a weight of up to 145-pounds securely. This is perfect for those who have tandem or larger kayaks, as most kayak hoist systems only support an average weight capacity of 125-pounds.

4. HARKEN Kayak Hoist

Harken kayak hoist

Waterproof :

12.09 x 9.45 x 2.56 Inches

The Harken kayak hoist securely stores your kayak without the risk of sliding and falling out of its harness. This is because the kayak hoist has a 4-point system with one rope, allowing you to quickly lower or raise the kayak on your own without much effort. It has a self-locking cleat that avoids accidental release.

Although this kayak hist is made for heavyweight kayaks, it is designed to be operated by one person and is extremely user-friendly. The hoist itself is very sturdy with durable and high-quality components. HARKEN’s kayak hoist is perfect for tandem touring kayak or large fishing machine owners.

However, one downside is that the Harken kayak hoist is limited to ceilings up to only 10-feet high and is quite expensive for a manual lift system.


  • A self-locking cleat that avoids accidental release
  • Designed to be operated by one person
  • Can hoist heavy kayaks


  • More expensive than other hoist systems
  • It can only be mounted on ceilings up to 10-foot high

Types of Kayak Hoist Systems

Kayak hoist systems can be divided into two different types, namely motorized and manual kayak hoists. Naturally, both of these kayak hoist types have their pros and cons to consider before deciding on one.

1. Motorized Kayak Hoist System

These hoists use an electric motor fixed to your garage ceiling that lifts and lowers the kayak. Unlike manual hoists, these are much more convenient to use as the heavy lifting is done for you. They have fantastic security features added, such as stop-locks and fail-safes that prevent your kayak from falling. Of course, it goes without saying that these hoist systems come with a bigger price tag than their manual counterparts. Malfunctions also happen more regularly; they require an active power supply to function and more effort and expertise to install.

Motorized kayak hoist

2. Manual Kayak Hoist System

These work by manually pulling a rope that runs through a pulley system. Since this system doesn’t make use of a motorized engine, you will have to exert the effort yourself to raise or lower the kayak safely and tie the rope to a secure anchor point that will keep it safely hoisted overhead. They are much more affordable since they are not motorized, they are easy to install, and generally do not malfunction often. Manual hoist systems are usually safe to use, however, failing to secure the rope properly is the main cause of the kayak possibly falling.

Manual kayak hoist

A Kayak Hoist System Buyer’s Guide

Although kayak ceiling hoist systems are straightforward to use, there are a few considerations to keep in mind before deciding on one.

The Height of Your Ceiling

Usually, the minimum height requires to use a ceiling hoist is about 8-feet; however, different models range from 9 to 12-feet. It is important to remember that the kayak will hang an additional few feet lower than the actual hoist system. The kayak is not mounted directly to the ceiling; therefore, keep in mind that there should be enough space between the ceiling and the kayak and the kayak and whatever is stored below it.

Clearance for Your Vehicle

As mentioned above, if a vehicle is to be stored underneath your overhead kayak,k make sure that there is enough space in between so to avoid scratches and damage. Also, if your vehicle is fitted with a roof rack, keep in mind that this will add additional height to your vehicle.

The Weight Capacity of the Kayak Hoist

The ceiling hoist should be able to support the weight of your kayak. Most kayak hoist systems have a weight capacity of around 100-pounds; however, larger kayaks such as tandem or fishing kayaks require a more robust and durable design that can support an above-average weight capacity.

Secure Anchor Points

Anchor points should be accessible and sturdy. Ensure that you have mapped out all the anchor points correctly before installing the hoist.


Knowing how to install a ceiling hoist is vital as doing a poor job may result in the kayak falling and damaging your vehicle underneath and being damaged from the fall itself. Should you not feel comfortable with installing a host system yourself, it might be better to consider other kayak storage solutions, such as wall-mounted or freestanding racks.

Materials and Durability

Anything that has to be lifted and stored overhead will need strong and durable equipment to keep it supported. It is important to consider the quality of the rope and pulley system parts when investing in a ceiling hoist. Weak and flimsy materials and mechanisms may lead to the pulley malfunctioning while in use or the rope snapping under the kayak’s weight.


Manually kayak hoists are not too expensive, with the exception of a few, such as the HARKEN kayak hoist mentioned earlier. Kayaks are expensive, and it is worth investing in something with a higher price tag if it means that the hoist is of good quality, safe and durable and will last at least 3 to 5 years.

Frequently Asked Questions

Are Kayak Hoists Safe to Use?

Yes. Kayak ceiling hoists are very user-friendly and safe to use. If the anchor points are correctly installed, and ropes are appropriately secured, then there is nothing to cause a safety concern. There are a variety of different knots that can be used to ensure the kayak is tied up securely.

How Much Weight Can a Kayak Hoist Support?

On average, kayak hoist systems have a weight capacity of 100 to 150-pounds. However, it is possible to find kayak hoists that can support a weight capacity of around 250-pounds.

What to Do if My Kayak Straps Are Too Long?

Kayak hoist straps are adjustable, so it is possible to shorten them if required. If this is not possible, any cam buckle or ratchet strap that can support the kayak’s weight will be a suitable replacement.

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