Best Kayak Hoist System For Your Garage Ceiling: Top 6 Picks For 2022

Owning a kayak is terrific – but finding a suitable storage space for it? Not so much. So, how about a space-saving kayak storage system that would work even in your already tight and cluttered garage and take your ’yak off the ground and out of the way? Think about ...
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Sam OBrien

Founder, Kayaking & Paddle Boarding Expert

Sam is the founder and editor of WaterSportsWhiz. With over 20 years of experience across various water sports, he provides trusted reviews and expert advice to help others pursue their passion for getting out on the water. When not working, you can find him kayaking, paddle boarding, or planning his next water-based adventure with family and friends.

Owning a kayak is terrific – but finding a suitable storage space for it?

Not so much.

So, how about a space-saving kayak storage system that would work even in your already tight and cluttered garage and take your ’yak off the ground and out of the way? Think about it; a kayak suspension system might be just what you need!

And today, I’ll help you choose the best kayak hoist system for your vessel – and your space!

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In A Rush? The Winner After 34 Hours Of Research

RAD Sportz Kayak Hoist – Overhead Pulley System

RAD Sportz Kayak Hoist – Overhead Pulley System

Our Rating: ★★★★★

Check Price on Amazon

Why is it better?

  • Mounts on ceilings that are up to 12 feet high
  • It has a 125-pound weight capacity and can support most kayaks
  • Includes a pair of 7.25-foot straps with built-in loops for length adjustments
  • The hooks have a rubber coating to prevent accidental scratches and hull damage
  • Features a safety locking mechanism that prevents unintentional releases
  • Relatively easy to install and comes with the essential mounting hardware
  • A reasonably priced kayak suspension system
  • Backed by a lifetime warranty

What Is A Kayak Hoist? 

Kayak hoist pulley

A kayak hoist allows you to – well, hoist a kayak up and out of the way. It doesn’t sound like I’m telling you much – if anything – but the explanation really is that simple:

It’s a garage storage system that utilizes a combination of pulleys and rope to lift your kayak off the ground, using the overhead room for storage rather than taking up valuable floor space.

And while it might seem like a death trap at a glance, a kayak ceiling hoist is, in fact, the answer to storing your’ yak indoors – the garage, for example. The best part is that it works even if you have virtually no available storage space left on the ground.

My point is, if you’re struggling to find a suitable long-term storage area for that kayak of yours, I suggest that you give kayak suspension systems a shot. 

How Do You Hoist A Kayak To The Ceiling?

Hanging a kayak from the ceiling, as convenient and space-saving as it is, is no easy feat – and it’s not something you should take lightly.

One wrong move and your ‘yak could come tumbling down, damaging whatever happens to be underneath it.

Again, I realize I’m making it seem like a garage hoist for kayak isn’t a very safe storage solution – but I promise that it can be, as long as you know how to hoist a kayak to the ceiling correctly.

That brings me to the following question:

How do you install a kayak hoist?

The exact instructions will vary from one model to another, so it’s best to stick to the guidelines provided by the manufacturer.

However, generally speaking, installing a kayak hoist usually goes a bit like this:

Kayak Storage | Installing a Garage Ceiling Hoist | DIY

Choosing The Best Kayak Storage Hoist: Things To Keep In Mind

kayak Hoist Components

Garage Size 

This one’s pretty self-explanatory. If you plan on installing a kayak hoist system in your garage, the first factor you need to consider is – well, the garage itself.

How much space are you working with here? Does your garage have an easy-to-access area where you can install the kayak hoist? Can the ceiling handle the weight? How much clearance do you have height-wise?

You get the idea of the type of questions you should be asking here.

I mean, what good is a kayak suspension system if it barely fits in there and you keep hitting your head on the kayak every time you come near it?

The same goes for parking your car directly under the suspended kayak. Do you have enough ceiling height to allow that – or are you risking scratching the top of your vehicle?

You might want to get the exact height of your car and then figure out the height at which your kayak will hang to be on the safe side.

Another thing to think about – and this one’s a matter of safety more than anything else – is if the ceiling’s structural integrity allows for and can support a storage solution like a kayak hoist.

Don’t just assume it will hold up fine; that’s when accidents happen.

Types Of Hoists For Kayaks: Manual Or Electric?

Kayak hoist systems can feature either a manual or an electric lift system. Which one you’ll pick is up to you and your personal preference – but here are a few things that may help you make that decision.

Manual Kayak Hoist Systems 

Manual Kayak Hoist System

A manual lift system is operated manually – but I’m sure you could tell that already by the name. Anyway, the main thing here is that you’ll have to rely on your upper body strength to load the ‘yak, which could be a deal-breaker for some, especially if you don’t have anyone to assist you with it.

What manual hoist systems have going for them are price and convenience.

For one, they’re considerably cheaper than electric lift systems. And two, they don’t require any electricity to operate, so you have more freedom in terms of where you’ll install them.

Electric Kayak Hoist Systems 

Electric Kayak Hoist System

The second type of kayak garage hoists uses an electric system to raise and lower kayaks, which is incredibly convenient and reduces the effort to perform the task, as I’m sure you can imagine.

I mean, what’s better than coming back from a long day of kayaking exhausted and having a lift system that does most of the heavy lifting for you?

All you have to do is strap in your ‘yak; the electric hoist system takes it from there.

Keep in mind that the convenience boost comes with a heftier price tag attached, though. Other potential downsides worth mentioning here are the higher risks of malfunctions and the fact that you need a power supply nearby – or extension cables, which is less than ideal.

Maximum Weight Capacity 

Another crucial safety-related thing to consider is the suspension system’s maximum weight capacity. I hope this goes without saying, but you have to be sure that the kayak hoist system you choose can support the weight of your kayak – especially if you plan to store a number of kayaks. 

Start by checking how much your kayak weighs; you’ll find that info in the specific kayak model’s specs. Then, as you begin looking at different suspension systems, check if they’re designed for handling that weight.

Generally speaking, the best kayak hoist systems have a weight capacity somewhere in the 125 to 250-pound range. That might not necessarily be the case, though; it’s best to double-check before you buy.

Also, while we’re talking safety and capacity, you should check the load-bearing capacity of the ceiling you’re installing the system on, or you’re risking a lot of damage. 

Kayak Hoist Assembly

Kayak Hoist Assembly

The good news is that most kayak hoists come with all the necessary hardware needed for assembly and installation.

And what’s the bad news?

You’re going to have to figure out the installation part on your own – hopefully, with the help of the instructions manual and some helpful YouTube videos, of course.

Some systems will require a bit more work assembly-wise than others; if you’re not a particularly handy person, this could be a potential issue. You’ll also have to gather all the necessary tools – including wrenches, a drill, screwdrivers, and a stud finder – before getting down to business.

If you’re not entirely confident in your skills and ability to set up a kayak garage storage system on your own, it’s best to call in a professional to do it. Otherwise, you might be at risk of potential system failure, expensive damage, and even injury.

Best Kayak Hoist System – Top 6 Suspension Systems Reviewed & Rated 

1. RAD Sportz Kayak Hoist – Overhead Pulley System

RAD Sportz Kayak Hoist – Overhead Pulley System
  • Overall Best Kayak Hoist System
  • Rating: ★★★★★
  • Price: ★★★★★
Check Price on Amazon

The first one up – the RAD Sportz Kayak Hoist – is arguably one of the best kayak pulley systems you can get your hands on right now.

This RAD Sportz system uses a manual lift system and is suitable for up to 12-foot ceilings. I’m glad to report that it features rubber coated hooks and uses durable straps with built-in loops, allowing full adjustability minus the risk of accidentally scratching your kayak’s hull.

Oh, and while we’re on the subject of accidents, it also comes with a safety locking mechanism. You don’t have to worry about unintentional releases with this one.  

At first, the system’s 125-pound capacity didn’t sound that impressive, but it’s generally suitable for all but the heaviest kayaks. Unless you have an absolutely massive fishing kayak to store, I’m sure this kayak ceiling hoist will do the job.

Technical Specs

  • Manual lift system
  • Fits 12 feet high ceilings
  • 125-pound weight capacity
  • 6.9-pound weight


  • A safety locking mechanism prevents accidental release
  • Heavy-duty components and adjustable straps with built-in loops
  • Rubber coating on the hooks protect the kayak’s hull
  • Relatively easy to install and use on ceilings up to 12 feet high


  • The capacity isn’t high enough to accommodate extremely heavy kayaks
  • It tends to sit a bit low and won’t leave much clearance on lower ceilings

If you want a reliable manual-lift kayak hoist system – and at a reasonable price, too – it’ll be hard to find a better deal than RAD Sportz’s Overhead Pulley System. Trust me on this one.

Check Price on Amazon

2. StoreYourBoard Kayak Ceiling Storage Hoist

StoreYourBoard Kayak Ceiling Storage Hoist
  • Best Kayak Hoist For Lightweight Kayaks
  • Rating: ★★★★
  • Price: ★★★★
Check Price on Amazon

If you have a smaller, relatively lightweight kayak, then StoreYourBoard might be a good kayak hoist system to consider, given that it’s best suited for kayaks that weigh up to 60 pounds.

It’s a decent choice for storing recreational kayaks, for example – although its design feels bitter-sweet in a way. For each advantage, there seems to be a corresponding disadvantage.

For instance, I’m glad StoreYourBoard included the horizontal center strap in addition to the two main, vertical straps; I noticed the main straps tend to slide around a lot. As in, there’s a risk of them sliding off and the kayak dropping straight to the ground.

Also, while the included mounting hardware is a big plus, I didn’t find the instructions particularly helpful.

Technical Specs

  • Manual lift system
  • Fits 10 feet high ceilings  
  • 60-pound weight capacity
  • 4.3-pound weight


  • Adjustable straps accommodate all kayak types
  • The adjustable center straps help you secure the vertical straps
  • It comes with the mounting hardware needed for installation


  • The included instructions are incomplete
  • The rope tends to slip through the locking mechanism
  • The vertical straps slide around without the center strap
  • The weight capacity is relatively limited

StoreYourBoard kayak ceiling hoist got many things right – but there were a few potential issues, too. It’s still a decent choice for lighter kayaks, though!

Check Price on Amazon

3. CargoLoc Heavy Duty Kayak Hoist

CargoLoc Heavy Duty Kayak Hoist
  • Best Budget-Friendly Hoist For Kayak
  • Rating: ★★★★
  • Price: ★★★★★
Check Price on Amazon

While my previous two picks were anything but expensive, if you’re looking to go even further in the budget-friendly department, this CargoLoc kayak hoist might be the right choice for you.

The CargoLoc kayak suspension system is designed to work on ceilings up to 14 feet high, lifting and supporting up to 100 pounds. It might not work for bulkier models, like touring or tandem kayaks, but overall, it has a decent enough capacity.

Also, it features a rope-locking mechanism for added safety against accidental releases, and that’s always a plus with kayak pulley systems.

You’re getting two 8-foot straps and mounting hardware needed for installation, which will make your job a bit easier. However, I found that the included rope is of inferior quality and tends to fray fast – within a few uses.

So, that’s something you might want to replace as soon as you get the kayak hoist.

Technical Specs 

  • Sit-inside kayak 
  • Polyethylene construction
  • 17.5 x 2 feet 
  • 65.8 pounds
  • 300-pound capacity


  • Features a rope-locking mechanism for additional safety
  • It comes with all the necessary hardware
  • Straightforward instructions and easy installation
  • A budget-friendly kayak hoist system


  • The included rope frays relatively fast and will need replacement soon
  • It might hang a bit too low depending on the ceiling’s height

If you’re looking for an easy-on-the-wallet kayak storage solution that works without too much hassle, this manual kayak suspension system by CargoLoc might be just what you need! 

Check Price on Amazon

4. Extreme Max Kayak Hoist

Extreme Max Kayak Hoist
  • Best Value-For-Money Kayak Hoist System
  • Rating: ★★★★
  • Price: ★★★★★
Check Price on Amazon

Another budget-friendly kayak hoist you might want to consider – especially if your kayak goes beyond the 100-pound mark – is the Extreme Max.

It’s a manual lift system equipped with convenient features, including the 120-pound load capacity and the locking mechanism for additional safety.

I noticed almost instantly that the slings don’t stay in a place that well, at least not if you mount the hardware at the specified distance. Bringing them closer together helps, though, so I suggest you adjust the mounting slightly.

Also, keep an eye on the hoisting rope. The 50-foot length is excellent in terms of the flexibility it gives you height-wise, but I’m not sure how the rope will hold up over time.

Technical Specs

  • Manual lift system
  • 120-pound weight capacity
  • 110.2-pound weight


  • Includes 50-foot rope for versatile setups and lifting height adjustments
  • Equipped with a safe locking mechanism
  • It comes with instructions and mounting hardware needed for installation
  • Easy on the budget


  • The slings tend to slide off the kayak
  • It takes a lot of force to hoist the kayak up
  • The included rope seems to be of poor quality
  • The system itself is cumbersome

Extreme Max shows that a tight budget doesn’t mean you can’t get a reliable kayak hoist. If your kayak clocks in at around 100 pounds or so, this one’s worth considering. 

Check Price on Amazon

5. Garage Gator 66051K Motorized Kayak Lift System

Garage Gator 66051K Kayak Motorized Storage Lift
  • Best Electric Kayak Hoist System
  • Rating: ★★★★★
  • Price: ★★★★
Check Price on Amazon

If you’re not thrilled about lifting your kayak manually, there’s not a doubt in my mind that you’re going to love my next pick. As you can probably tell, Garage Gator has one thing going for it that other kayak storage systems in my round-up don’t – a motorized lift system.

The impressive features don’t end there, either. Garage Gator’s kayak hoist also boasts a load capacity of 125 pounds, making it suitable for most kayaks, a pair of adjustable 8-foot straps – and keys for locking the controller for added safety.

It requires light assembly and a standard 120V outlet; the mounting hardware comes as part of the package, though.

Oh, and expect it to cost more than my previous picks. 

If you’re not much of a heavy lifter, though, the assistance of a mechanical hoist will be worth it. 

Technical Specs

  • Electric lift system
  • Fits 12 feet high ceilings
  • 125-pound weight capacity
  • 22-pound weight


  • Convenient and fast solution for stowing kayaks
  • Adjustable 8-foot nylon straps and 4-foot lift bar
  • It has a wired controller and keys to lock it
  • Includes installation hardware


  • Installation requires a bit more work and thoughtful placement
  • It’s not a kayak hoist system for those on a limited budget

If you’d like some mechanical assistance with lifting your ‘yak up and out of the way, Garage Gator motorized kayak hoist is, hands down, the best choice for you!

Check Price on Amazon

6. HARKEN Kayak Hoist Pulley System

HARKEN Kayak Hoist
  • Best Hoist System For Heavy Kayaks
  • Rating: ★★★★★
  • Price: ★★★★
Check Price on Amazon

My final pick, HARKEN’s kayak hoist, also happens to be the one with the highest load capacity. So, if none of the previous systems seemed heavy-duty enough for your ‘yak, I recommend that you give this one a shot.

The HARKEN kayak hoist features a manual lift system and has a 145-pound capacity – but you won’t be lifting all that weight by yourself. How’s that?

Well, thanks to the 6:1 mechanical advantage, lifting the kayak – even a heavier one – becomes a whole lot easier. In fact, it’s a one-person job.

Granted, it’s limited to up to 10-foot high ceilings, which is a bit of a downgrade compared to the other suspension systems I’ve reviewed. But other than that, there’s little room for complaints.

Technical Specs

  • Manual lift system
  • Fits 10 feet high ceilings
  • 145-pound weight capacity
  • 5.3-pound weight


  • Suitable for hoisting heavier kayaks
  • A 6:1 mechanical advantage for one-person use
  • Ensures even lifting regardless of actual load distribution
  • The self-locking cleat prevents accidental release


  • It can only be installed on up to 10-foot high ceilings
  • Some might consider it a bit pricey for a manual lift system

If you’re a proud owner of a large-and-in-charge fishing machine or a tandem touring kayak that weighs nearly 150 pounds, HARKEN’s kayak hoist might be what you need.

Check Price on Amazon

Best Kayak Hoists: Which Is The Top Garage Hoist to Store Your Kayak or Canoe 

Have you found the best kayak hoist system for your space – or would you appreciate a bit more help with making that final choice?

As I’m sure you’ve noticed already, my vote goes to the RAD Sportz Kayak Hoist – an overhead kayak pulley system that’s easy on the wallet but still has all the top-notch features a manual lift system should have. The locking mechanism for additional safety, rubber coating on the steel hooks to prevent damage, and 125-pound load capacity are a few examples of what I mean.

Anyway, if you’d prefer a bit of mechanic assistance, you know what to do. But if you don’t mind some heavy lifting, this manual lift system is among the most impressive out there!

Feature image courtesy AlphaGeek  (CC BY 2.0)

Photo of author

Sam OBrien

Sam is the founder and editor of WaterSportsWhiz. With over 20 years of experience across various water sports, he provides trusted reviews and expert advice to help others pursue their passion for getting out on the water. When not working, you can find him kayaking, paddle boarding, or planning his next water-based adventure with family and friends.

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