Best Kayak Hoists For Garages

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A kayak hoist can be a great option if you’re looking for space-saving storage ideas for your kayak or canoe. They can even be useful for storing or lifting other items. However, they may not always work for everyone.

We have put together a guide on what to look out for in a kayak pulley system, as well as some information on how to install one.

At a Glance:

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5 Best Kayak Hoists For Your Garage

1: Racor Ceiling Storage Heavy Lift (best overall)

  • Weight Capacity: 250 pounds
  • Weight: 51 pounds
  • Electric/Manual: Manual
  • Number of kayaks: 2

This Racor Ceiling Storage system is not specifically designed to store kayaks. It can be used to store a wide range of items.

One of its main features is the storage platform. This steel platform measures 4 foot by 4 foot to give you a 16 square foot storage space above the ground. It is this strong platform that can allow you to store other gear off the floor, including storage boxes or garden equipment.

However, because of the platform, the system needs to be installed completely straight and it needs to be balanced with regards to weight, which could be difficult if you want to store various items up there.

If the platform is not balanced and flat it could weaken some of the components over time which could cause it to crash to the ground.

The lift system can hold up to 250 pounds and uses a pulley system that is operated by a hand crank. You can also raise the load using a drill with the benefit of the drill driver built into the crank.

This hoist system comes complete with all the hardware that’s required for installation but you will need additional tools, including a screwdriver, drill and wrenches.

Features

  • 250 pounds of lift
  • Storage platform
  • Includes installation hardware

2: Harken Jeep Hardtop Garage Storage Hoist

  • Weight Capacity: 145 pounds
  • Weight: 3.6 pounds
  • Electric/Manual: Manual
  • Number of kayaks: 1

This Harken Jeep Hardtop Garage Storage Hoist is a manual hoist system that is made for easier storing of Jeep hardtops. However, this hoist can be used for a range of items, including kayaks and canoes, because it has a four point hoist system.

These four points can let you lift a kayak evenly, even if the load is not equally balanced. This can be ideal for lifting kayaks that might be heavier at one end than the other.

The kit comes with all the installation accessories, including stainless steel hardware and durable double braided nylon rope. However, you will need your own tools to install it in your garage.

The hoist is designed to be easy to operate on your own and it has a lift capacity of 145 pounds. It also features an anti-drop system that automatically locks if you drop the rope while raising or lowering.

Features

  • Includes instructions and hardware
  • Lifts uneven loads evenly
  • Anti-drop feature

3: Partsam 440 LBS Lift Electric Hoist Crane System

  • Weight Capacity: 440 pounds
  • Weight: 24.4 pounds
  • Electric/Manual: Electric
  • Number of kayaks: 1

The Partsam Electric Hoist Crane System has a huge 440 pound weight capacity with 220 pounds of lift strength in each line. It is an electric hoist that can be used to lift a wide range of items, from Christmas decorations and storage boxes to kayaks and canoes.

The electric system comes with U-shaped mounting brackets that need to be attached to a metal or wooden bar on your ceiling, rather than directly to the ceiling. The bar should be no more than 44 by 44 millimeters (1.73 by 1.73 inches).

This electric hoist features a remote control with a 4.9 foot cable that has a flip switch to raise and lower. It also benefits from having a red button that stops the mechanism in an emergency. This button may initially come locked in position but it can be released by twisting the button.

It comes with two sling straps to let you lift various items easily and the lifting cable is made from zinc plated non-twisting steel for increased durability and strength.

Features

  • High weight capacity
  • Electric lift system
  • Ideal for lifting various items

4: Vivohome Heavy Duty Ceiling Mount System

  • Weight Capacity: 125 pounds
  • Weight: 8.8 pounds
  • Electric/Manual: Manual
  • Number of kayaks: 1

This Vivohome Heavy Duty Ceiling Mount System can be a great option for storing kayaks, canoes, bicycles and lots of other gear. It features a manual pulley system with rubber coated iron hooks that can be used to lift both ends of your kayak simultaneously.

It has a lift weight of up 125 pounds and features strong nylon ropes. This system is designed to be used on ceilings that are 10 foot high and it is not recommended to be used on ceilings any higher than 12 foot.

This hoist system also features a safety locking function that helps to prevent accidental drops. The lock is designed to hold the load in place when the rope is secured to the wall at a 45 degree angle.

It comes with instructions and all the necessary hardware so that you can install it easily.

Features

  • Manual pulley system
  • Durable
  • Includes hardware and instructions

5: Rad Sports 1003 Kayak & Canoe Garage Hoist (best budget option)

  • Weight Capacity: 125 pounds
  • Weight: 6.9 pound
  • Electric/Manual: Manual
  • Number of kayaks: 1

This Rad Sports 1003 Kayak Garage Hoist is an affordable option that can be ideal if you’re on a tight budget. It is a manual hoist that is designed for lifting and storing kayaks, canoes, bicycles, ladders and other single items that you want to get off the floor.

The kit comes with all the hardware that you need to install it at home and features straps that you can adjust to fit the size of your hull. The kit also comes with rubber coated hooks that can help to prevent scratches on your gear.

This kayak hoist is designed to lift kayaks that weigh up to 125 pounds, so can be ideal for a range of boats. It also benefits from a handy locking mechanism for added safety, helping to prevent the load being released accidentally.

It can be mounted directly to the joists on your ceiling and is designed to work on ceilings up to 12 foot high.

Features

  • Manual kayak hoist
  • Rubber coated hooks
  • Locking mechanism
  • Comes with straps

What Are Kayak Pulley Systems And How Do they Work?

Kayak pulley systems can let you hoist your kayak off the ground. This can let you store your kayak in your garage without it taking up valuable floor space.

They work by using a system of pulleys and ropes, with the pulleys helping to move the rope as you pull. So, as you pull down at one end, it can pull your kayak up at the other, all while helping to take the weight.

If you imagine an old fashioned water well, often it’s a pulley system that lets you haul up the bucket full of water after you’ve lowered it to fill it. It’s a similar idea when it comes to hoisting your kayak up to the ceiling.

Many of these pulley systems are designed so that you can store your kayak against the ceiling over a period of time, such as the winter season. Some, on the other hand, may be more suited to helping you to lift your kayak so that you can store it in a loft, for example.

What Features Should I Look For?

Weight Capacity

One of the most important things to consider before you install a kayak hoist is the weight capacity of the hoist system. It can be a good idea to know the weight of your kayak beforehand so that you know how much weight you need the hoist to hold.

If you plan to store more than one kayak using this system then it might be worth knowing the combined weight.

However, sometimes the maximum load weight of the hoist system may be significantly higher than your kayak or even multiple kayaks. This does not always mean that the hoist can hold multiple kayaks at once, as many systems may only have the ability to hold one at a time due to the position and function of the straps, hooks or ropes.

Another thing that you might want to factor in is how much weight your ceiling is able to hold. This will vary depending on the construction of your garage but it might be worth finding out if you have joists or beams that could enable you to safely mount your pulley system.

Storage Space

How much space you have in your garage will likely be an important factor for choosing a kayak hoist. If you have a very small garage or you already have a lot of gear in there, a hoist can let you keep your yak out of the way.

An important factor to consider is the height of the ceiling in your garage. Many hoist systems will have a recommended ceiling height that they can work with and for safety reasons it can be a good idea to stick to the manufacturer’s recommendations on this.

Remember if you plan on keeping your car in your garage it can be worth measuring the height of your car and the height at which the kayak will hang. Otherwise you could end up damaging both your car and your boat if there’s not enough room to drive underneath.

It can be useful to look at the maximum or minimum height requirements of the pulley systems, as some products may not be able to accommodate high ceilings, for example.

Similarly, if you have a lower ceiling, a hoist may not be saving you much space if you need to crawl underneath it to get around. Wall racks or standing storage units may be more suitable if your garage ceiling is too low to accommodate a hoist.

Electric Or Manual Hoist System

Kayak hoists can often feature either manual or electric lift systems. The type that will suit you best will usually be down to your personal preference.

An electric lift system could be more suitable if you think you might struggle to manually hoist your kayak up to the ceiling. This can be particularly useful if you have a heavy fishing kayak, for example. Electric hoists can generally make it easier for you but they can be more expensive.

Installation

You’ll probably find that many kayak hoists come with instructions on how to install them yourself. Depending on the type of lift system, you may require help from a friend or even someone who is skilled in these types of installations.

Most kayak hoists will usually require additional tools, such as drills. So it can be a good idea to read the instructions and make sure you have everything you need before you decide to crack on with the installation.

Frequency Of Use

How often do you plan to use your kayak? If you plan to paddle frequently you may want to consider how easy your hoist system will be to use.

If it might take a while to bring your kayak down and then hoist it back up again after use, you may not want to be doing that everyday. Remember, your garage hoist system is supposed to make your life easier not more difficult.

However, storing your vessel on the ceiling can be great if you plan to keep it in storage over the winter, for example.

What Are The Benefits And Drawbacks Of Using Lift Systems?

Advantages

One of the main advantages to using a lift system in your garage is that it can potentially save you space. By having your kayak stored against your ceiling it can free up floor space, leaving you room to park your car or store other gear.

It can also let you store your kayak the right way up, which you may not be able to do if it was simply on the ground, as this could cause damage to the hull.

A kayak lift system can help you to share the weight of your kayak, making it easier to hoist by yourself. Without it you may not be able to lift the full weight of your boat to the required heights.

Disadvantages

One drawback to using a lift system in your garage is that you may not have enough clearance under your kayak when it’s against your ceiling. This can happen in garages with shorter ceilings, or if you have a taller vehicle, such as an SUV.

Another disadvantage can be if the hoist system has not been installed correctly, which could result in your kayak coming crashing down, or even worse, your ceiling.

Some manual hoist systems may not offer you as much assistance as you’d like, with regards to weight, meaning you may still struggle to hoist your kayak up to the ceiling if you’re not particularly strong.

How Do You Install Them?

Step 1: Arrange Your Hardware

Before you begin, lay out all your hardware and the tools you’ll need. This way you can gauge whether or not you have everything that you need before you start the installation.

Make sure you also have the instructions that came with your system so that you can follow the correct installation requirements for your specific kit.

Step 2: Install Your Mounting Hardware

It’s likely that your kit will come with mounting hardware, such as brackets. Secure these brackets on the relevant areas of your garage, according to the instructions for your particular kit.

This will usually be on a joist, beam or similar, so that it will be strong enough to hold your system plus your kayak.

Step 3: Attach Your Pulleys

Install your pulleys onto the brackets that you’ve just installed. Follow your included instructions to do this, as some pulley systems may be different from others. You will probably need a screwdriver for this.

Step 4: Attach Your Rope

Now that your pulleys are mounted, it’s time to thread your rope to create your pulley system.

Thread your rope through your first pulley, then through the secondary pulleys that make up your hoist system. After the rope is threaded through these you can then thread it through the second mounted pulley.

Video: Installing A Kayak Hoist Pulley System

Make sure that your rope is threaded through the lock system correctly, as this is what will help to take the weight of your kayak.

Step 5: Load It With Your Kayak

Once your pulley system is safely mounted and installed in your garage you can now load it with your kayak. Use the relevant straps to secure your kayak to your new hoist system.

Carefully test it (without standing underneath) to make sure everything is running smoothly. If it’s not, you may need to run through some of the steps again and re-check your kit’s instructions.


Frequently Asked Questions

Are Kayak Hoists Safe To Use?
If your kayak hoist is installed correctly and is suitable for the weight of your kayak, the height of your ceiling and the weight capacity of your ceiling then they can be safe to use. However, check the components regularly for signs of wear and tear.

How Do You Thread A Hoist?
Thread your rope into the pulley, making sure that your rope is not twisted. The wheel should be able to turn freely when required and the rope should move with the wheel of the pulley.

Can You Build Your Own Kayak Hoist Lift System?
Yes, it is possible to build your own kayak hoist system. You may find that some of the kits can be useful because they tend to come with everything you need to install it, as well as having suitable strengths of materials included. Here's  a video that might help.


Final Thoughts

If you’re looking for a good quality kayak hoist to store a boat in your garage, the Racor Ceiling Storage system is a great option. This is because it has a four point hoist system that can lift an unbalanced kayak safely and evenly.

It also benefits from having an anti-drop feature for added safety and it comes with hardware and instructions for easy installation.

Another good system, if you’re looking for a more affordable option, is the Rad Sports 1003 Kayak Hoist. This is designed to be easy to install and comes with the necessary hardware and straps for lifting your kayak.

These kayak hoists can be a great way to save some floor space in your garage and keep your vessel safely stored above ground. But as always, not every product will suit every paddler.

Remember, if you still want to use your boat frequently, you might want to consider how easy it will be to lower and raise, especially if your car will be parked in your garage. Also, remember to take into account the height of your ceiling and the amount of weight it can hold before you decide to install a pulley system.

Click Here to Leave a Comment Below 1 comments
Jeff - May 25, 2020

I am looking for a hoist system that will allow me to store a kayak and still have clearance to open my garage door. I have about 34” of clearance from garage door to ceiling when opened. The kayak has a deck height of 16”. Any suggested system that might work for me? Don’t need anything with power. Manual system will be fine. Any suggestions would be much appreciated.

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