As a kayak owner, you may already know the hassles of storing your kayaks somewhere safe without taking up too much space. If you can relate to this, 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.
RAD Sportz Kayak Hoist Pulley System
The RAD Sportz’s Overhead Pulley System is an excellent, reliable, reasonably priced garage storage kayak hoist. This kayak hoist deserves the best overall award as it is well-rounded, offering good weight capacity, user-friendly installation, and high-quality finishes.
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, reasonably priced garage storage kayak hoist. This hoist deserves the best overall award as it is well-rounded, offering good weight capacity, user-friendly installation, and high-quality finishes.
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 but is unsuitable 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 the kayak remains 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.
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.
9.5 x 4.25 x 7.5 Inches
Unlike other hook designs, this hoist has patented square brackets with a heavy-duty feel made from solid materials. This square design offers more support to the straps, relieving them from the 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, increasing the risk of your kayak 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 tends to slip through the locking feature. 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.
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 up to 14 feet-high ceilings.
3. Cargloc Kayak Hoist
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 prevent accidental falls and releases. It also has mounting hardware and two durable eight-foot straps that offer outstanding support.
It comes with all hardware needed for assembly and complete, easy-to-understand instructions on assembling and installing 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.
For Heavyweight Kayaks, Get the HARKEN Kayak Hoist
This kayak ceiling hoist can securely support a weight of up to 145 pounds. This is perfect for those with tandem or larger kayaks, as most kayak hoist systems only support an average weight capacity of 125 pounds.
4. HARKEN Kayak Hoist
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. The kayak hoist has a 4-point system with one rope, allowing you to lower or raise the kayak independently without much effort quickly. 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.
What is a Kayak Hoist System?
A hoist system frees 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. 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 that would cost you a couple of dollars if 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 decent floor space and mobility, making this ideal for those who prefer wall-mounted kayak storage options.
2. Vehicle Size
Compact cars like hatchbacks occupy much less garage space than larger minivans, trucks, or SUVs. 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, requiring 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, kayak ceiling hoist systems 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 of 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 securely support the weight of heavier kayaks.
Types of Kayak Hoist Systems
Kayak hoist systems can be divided into two types, namely, motorized and manual kayak hoists. Naturally, both kayak hoist types have 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, these hoist systems have a bigger price tag than their manual counterparts. Malfunctions also happen more regularly; they require an active power supply and more effort and expertise to install.
2. Manual Kayak Hoist System
These work by manually pulling a rope that runs through a pulley system. Since this system doesn’t use a motorized engine, you will have to exert the effort 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, are easy to install, and 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.
A Kayak Hoist System Buyer’s Guide
Although kayak ceiling hoist systems are straightforward to use, there are a few considerations to consider before deciding on one.
The Height of Your Ceiling
Usually, the minimum height required for 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 to avoid scratches and damage. Also, if your vehicle is fitted with a roof rack, remember that this will add height.
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 to support an above-average weight capacity.
Secure Anchor Points
Anchor points should be accessible and sturdy. Ensure you have correctly mapped out all the anchor points before installing the hoist.
Knowing how to install a ceiling hoist is vital, as doing a poor job may result in the kayak falling, damaging your vehicle underneath, and being damaged from the fall itself. If you feel uncomfortable 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 must be lifted and stored overhead will need strong and durable equipment to support it. When investing in a ceiling hoist, it is important to consider the quality of the rope and pulley system parts. 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, except for 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 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, nothing will 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 supporting 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 supporting the kayak’s weight will be a suitable replacement.
Timo is an outdoor enthusiast and gear specialist who is constantly exploring. As an avid hiker, he has completed the ADK 46ers, South Beyond 6000, GA4000, and the Colorado 14ers. He's ice climbed Mt. Hood, hiked up half a dozen mountains in the Alps, and spent three consecutive summers constructing a sustainable trail through the Colorado high country.