Whether you are a seasoned kayak pro, or have just bought your first kayak, having a quality garage hoist system will take the hassle out of storing and unloading your vessel, giving you more time to actually be on the water.

It makes no sense to fork out big bucks for a kayak and then store it unceremoniously on the floor of your garage. By doing this you are putting it at risk of scuffs and scratches at best and structural deformation and damage at worst. In addition to this, your kayak is susceptible to dirt, grime and mold on the floor.

A solidly built storage solution will last you a lifetime and make sure your equipment is safe, secure and easy to access. On the other hand, purchasing a sub-par product could lead to frustrations, injury and damage to your equipment, car or garage.

We have compiled a list of the 6 best kayak garage storage systems, so you can take the guesswork out of your purchase. We have not limited ourselves to hoists, however, as there are so many different storage solutions to choose from.

Depending on your needs, budget and available space, you can choose from standing racks, wall racks, ceiling racks and hoist storage systems; either manually operated or powered by an electric motor. There are a lot of do-it-yourself options available, but purchasing a professional storage system will give you peace of mind, and does not necessarily have to break the bank.

Rankings

RankingSystemTypeMax LoadWarrantyNotesWeightReviewPrice
#1garage gator 66051kGarage Gator 66051K Kayak & Canoe Motorized Storage LiftMotorized hoist125lb1 yearController lock22 lbsRead Review
See Price on Amazon
#2rad sportz kayak hoistRAD Sportz Kayak HoistManual hoist100lbLifetimeSafe locking mechanism3 lbsRead Review
See Price on Amazon
#3malone auto racks fs 3 kayak storageMalone Auto Racks FS 3 Kayak Storage Rack SystemStanding rack250lbLifetime3 kayak capacity70.2 lbsRead Review
See Price on Amazon
#4webbing kayak storage strapsWebbing Boat Hanger StrapsWall hanger150lb1 year2 kayak capacity10 ozRead Review
See Price on Amazon
#5suspenz ez kayak storage rackSuspenz EZ Kayak RackWall rack125lb1 year-8.6 lbsRead Review
See Price on Amazon
#6hi port kayak storage hangersHi-Port 2 Kayak Ceiling RackCeiling rack150 lb1 yearAdjustable height14.8 lbsRead Review
See Price on Amazon

Finding a Quality Kayak Garage Hoist or Storage System

Kayaks come in a huge variety of shapes, colors, sizes and price ranges. Kayakers nowadays have a ton of choices when it comes to choosing their perfect floating recreation vessel.

The one thing that all kayaks have in common, however, is that they need to be stored somewhere when they are not in use. While you might know exactly what to do with your kayak in the water, you will need to care for a grounded kayak as well.

There are a lot of options on the market. Your choice of kayak storage systems depends on a variety of factors. They range from your available storage space to your physical form and the amount of kayaks you need to store.

Before you start browsing for kayak storage, there are a few questions you should ask yourself:

How big is your garage?

This is by far the first thing you need to consider when choosing a kayak storage system. If you have a small garage with barely enough room to park your car, a hoist is the way to go.

When choosing a hoist system, make sure you take the exact ceiling height into consideration; otherwise you run the risk of your kayak scraping the top of your car.

Ceiling hoists are an elegant and space saving solution that keep your vessel safely out of the way, but still easily accessible. There are, however, situations where installing a ceiling hoist is simply not an option.

If your ceiling is too low, or does not have a structural beam that is strong enough to support the weight safely, wall mounts or standing racks are what you should be looking into.

How often do you paddle?

How often you are likely to store and take down your kayak can determine the storage system you should choose. Some systems, such as ceiling racks, are great for long-term storage, but can be inconvenient and tiresome to use on a regular basis.

If you are one of the lucky few that get to paddle very often, then ease of access could well be a valid concern and you should choose a system that requires the least time to mount and take down your kayak.

A simple wall rack is a no-brainer if ease of access is your number one priority. If not, you can splurge on a hoist system that is less labor-intensive to use, but a bit slower and more complicated.

How physical are you willing to be when storing your kayak?

In the water, your kayak is light and nimble, but on dry land it can be quite cumbersome and unwieldy. The amount of required manhandling varies drastically depending on what storage option you decide on.

Hoist systems with electric motors require the least amount of physical strength to operate, but are the most expensive, can be prone to malfunction, and will more than likely require maintenance at some point.

Mechanical hoist systems are fairly easy to operate, less expensive than motor operated hoists, but can cause rope burn or other inconveniences if not used carefully.

Racks are the sturdiest and simplest storage solution, but will require you to physically lift your kayak. This can be tricky if your kayak is too large or heavy or you are not comfortable lifting it without mechanical assistance.

How many kayaks do you have?

They say that there is a magic way to determine the ideal amount of kayaks one should own. That number can be calculated by using the formula “n + 1”, where n is the number of kayaks you currently have.

While this is meant as a joke, having more than one kayak can limit the types of storage options that are available to you. If you are short on space, you should focus on storage solutions that do not take up a lot of space and can allow you to stack your kayaks.

If, on the other hand, you have more than one kayak and a lot of storage space, you can mix and match various storage options depending on preference and budget.

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Selection Criteria: How We Ranked the Best Kayak Storage Systems

When we were tasked with ranking kayak storage systems, we classified them based on the following characteristics: type, maximum load weight, special features and product weight.

Note that the absence of a feature is not necessarily a weakness when using the kayak storage in certain conditions. Here is a detailed list of the comparative criteria we used in our reviews based on what experts had to say about the kayak storage systems on our top 6 list.

Type

All of the products on our list are classified by type, depending on where and how the kayak is stored. The four types are freestanding racks, wall racks, ceiling racks and hoists.

Max Load Weight

The maximum load weight is specified by the manufacturer, and is often an integral part of the product name. Variations on the maximum weight may occur depending on installation environment.

The load weight can sometimes be increased by using sturdier ropes and hardware. Contact the manufacturer for advice on modifications and possible warrant repercussions.

Special Features

“Special features” is a broad category that includes any features that are specific to the product. This might be a safety or security feature, or an electric motor.

All of the products on our list will store your kayak securely, so special features may and may not make a difference in your final choice.

Product Weight

Weight does not necessarily imply a high quality product, but the weight of your chosen storage system might be important for other reasons. A heavy rack, for example, is a bad idea if you plan on moving your storage system around your garage or between properties.

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Can anyone use a hoist?

While the hoists on our list are relatively easy to use, it does take some upper body strength to operate them easily. Some users have reported that using gloves improves the hoisting/lowering experience. Small children are not to operate the system as this could cause injury.

Will I need an extra pair of hands while moving my kayak on and off the rack?

This depends both on the type of system you choose and your physical strength. Hoists, both manual and motorized, can generally be operated by a single person; while wall mounted handing straps can be cumbersome to operate without an extra pair of hands.

The rule of thumb is, if you can comfortably raise your vessel in and out of the water on your own, you should be able to use freestanding racks without assistance.

Do the straps sag?

If you have a storage system with straps, you might be concerned with sagging, especially if you need a specific clearance height. Even though the straps themselves do not sag, the minimum height from the ceiling can be greater than the one specified.

Users who found they needed their kayaks to hang a bit higher up came up with an inexpensive and effective hack. Using pool noodles to stiffen the lead bearing straps can result in a few extra inches of clearance.

Can I install the storage system myself?

The user instructions are concise and straightforward, but some types of kayak storage system do require basic construction know-how. Hanging units are more complicated to install, while setting up a standing rack is pretty straightforward.

If you are unsure of your knowledge of structural beams and proficiency with a drill, it might be a good idea to get professional assistance. If the product malfunctions due to improper installation it might cause damage and void the warranty.

Does it come with everything I need to install it?

Freestanding kayak storage units usually come with everything you need to set it up. If you have a few basic tools such as a screwdriver and hammer, you should be good to go. Units that are meant to be installed on walls and ceilings are a different story, as there is no one size fits all solution for screw and anchor sizes and types.

Your choice of installation method should be compatible with the material and sturdiness of the surface you wish to install the product on. A wooden beam, concrete wall, brick wall and dry sheet all require different types of anchors, bolts and screws. If in doubt, check with your hardware store or local handyman wiz.

How long does the system last?

If cared for and used properly, the kayak storage systems on our list could last you a lifetime. To ensure this, it is important to check your storage system from time to time for signs of wear and fatigue, even more so if it is a hanging system. Some products on our list have a lifetime warranty, so you can simply replace them in the event of malfunction.

Is the kayak level the entire time while hoisting?

The safest way of hoisting a kayak is to keep it level the entire time. There are two ropes for maneuvering the hoist, one for each load-bearing strap.

Pulling on them one at a time raises or lowers one specific side of the kayak, and can be useful for fine tuning. If you pull these ropes at the same time, your kayak will remain level. While there is no self-leveling hoist, it is fairly easy to do on your own.

How do I maintain my kayak storage system?

Maintenance of your kayak storage system is more or less based on common sense. Make sure that your kayak is dry and clean before storage, as water, salt and dirt can deteriorate your kayak storage system.

If you have a hoist you should pay attention to the state of your hoist wheel and pulleys. Replace them if they become worn down or damaged, and apply a lubricant like WD-40 to eliminate squeaking.

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Research & Reviews

Now that you have had an opportunity to visualize your ideal kayak storage system, it is time to research what products are available on the market. Luckily, we have done the legwork so you don’t have to.

Without further ado, let’s dive into reviewing the 6 kayak storage solutions we have handpicked as best buys. Every product has its own unique high and low points, and we have tried to objectively assess them.

  1. Garage Gator 66051K Kayak & Canoe Lift
  2. RAD Sportz Kayak Hoist
  3. Malone Auto Racks FS 3 Kayak Storage Rack
  4. Webbing Boat Hanger Straps
  5. Suspenz EZ Kayak Rack
  6. Hi-Port 2 Kayak Ceiling Rack

Our #1 Pick: Garage Gator 66051K Kayak & Canoe Motorized Storage Lift

garage gator 66051k
  • Weight capacity: 125 pounds
  • Product weight: 22 pounds
  • Warranty: 1 year

The high points: The Garage Gator 66051K Motorized Storage Lift is easy and enjoyable to use, with a 4-foot lift bar and 2 adjustable 8-foot straps. This system provides excellent clearance when the kayak is fully hoisted, surpassing many similar hoist systems.

The low points: Due to the weight of the electric motor, some garage ceilings might not be able to safely support this hoist. Another potential low point of this product is that it is significantly more expensive than non-motorized storage options.

The Garage Gator 66051K comes in at first place on our list, as it is unparalleled for speed and ease of hoisting. The 120 volt AC/DC motor plugs into any standard outlet and lifts even the heaviest kayak smoothly and quickly by the press of a button.

Safety features are another strong selling point for this product. You can lock the wired button controller. Then you will have peace of mind that no one is operating the hoist that should not be.

The hoist also has an automatic stop feature built into it, which means there is no risk of your kayak hitting the ceiling and takes the guesswork out of hoisting. Operating the hoist is intuitive and not complicated at all.

The product is sturdy and durable. While many hoist systems out there come with inadequately thin straps, the Garage gator comes with wide high quality 8 ft. nylon straps. Every other part of the storage lift is built from high-quality steel.

That being said, the Garage Gator 66051K is significantly more expensive than the other products on our list. It might be too much of an investment for the casual kayaker. The warranty is only a year long, and that might put off some buyers.

What do reviewers say?

Reviewers like this product, and praise its sturdiness and ease of use. Installation and use is accurate according to the packaging. The variety of hooks and cables that come with the product are useful for achieving a variety of configurations.

Regular kayakers appreciate the quick hoisting and lowering mechanism, particularly those who have car roof racks (like the Thule Hullavator kayak racks). The lift enables direct transfer from car roof to ceiling storage.

The written instructions that come with the product received a “good but not great” review. On the other hand, the installation video on YouTube is extremely easy to follow and was a great help to reviewers during installation.

Features & Considerations

The lift works on standard 120V/60HZ AC/DC, in other words, your standard power socket. If you do not have a power socket near where you will be installing the lift, this can be easily remedied by using a single socket power chord.

The lift is not recommended for use if you have a sloped ceiling, as it would adversely affect proper weight distribution and can cause malfunction. Additional rafters can be installed as a workaround to this problem, but might prove to be too large an investment.

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Our #2 Pick: RAD Sportz Kayak Hoist

rad sportz kayak hoist
  • Weight capacity: 100 pounds
  • Item weight: 3 pounds
  • Warranty: lifetime

The high points: Inexpensive but robust and highly secure, this hoist gets the job done with no fuss. Easy installation, meant for ceilings up to 12 feet high.

The low points: while the pulleys, wheels and installation brackets are bulletproof, the rope leaves something to be desired. Although structurally strong, it seems that the manufacturer could have gone with a thicker gauge for increased customer confidence.

The RAD Sportz Kayak Hoist Quality Garage Storage Canoe lift comes in as a close second. Looking at the sheer amount of positive reviews indicates that RAD Sports is doing something right with this hoist system.

Although the maximum load is 25 pounds less than our lift in first place, 100 pounds is more than enough to accommodate even the heftiest kayak or canoe. The hoist system has a safe locking mechanism to make sure your kayak does not accidentally slip while hoisting.

There is a lot of attention to detail that puts this hoist ahead of the competition, such as rubber coated hooks that will not damage your boat and strengthened straps that are easily adjustable.

RAD Sportz put their money where their mouth is, and offers a lifetime warranty and unconditional full money-back guarantee if you are not satisfied with your product. It is apparent that they are keen to improve their product based on customer feedback.

What do reviewers say?

The overarching theme for most reviews is value for money. Reviewers are generally satisfied that the product does what it says on the box for a very reasonable price.

Some reviewers who needed their kayak to be as close to the ceiling as possible complained that a lot of fiddling was required to ensure maximum clearance.

The product got most of its negative feedback regarding the quality of the ropes. Failing strap buckles were also an issue for some reviewers, but these concerns were dealt with by the manufacturer by providing improved clamps for their future products.

The kayak hoist itself is not heavy, so reviewers reported no problems with installation. Instructions are clear and unambiguous: See the PDF manual here.

And, here’s a helpful video demonstrating installation of the RAD Sportz Hoist:

Features & Considerations

Hoisting and lowering should not be a demanding task for most people, and most canoes. However, reviewers with heavier kayaks or less physical strength report some difficulty in operating the hoist vs the automated Garage Gator 66051K.

By pulling both ropes in unison, raising the kayak while maintaining a horizontal position is pretty straightforward. Reviewers report that it takes just a bit of practice to get right.

The manufacturer recommends attaching a two by four to your ceiling beam and screwing the hoist onto that. However, people also report successful installation without the two by four.

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Our #3 Pick: Malone Auto Racks FS 3 Kayak Storage Rack System

malone auto racks fs 3 kayak storage
  • Weight capacity: 250 pounds
  • Item weight: 70.2 pounds
  • Warranty: Lifetime

High points: Space efficient, affordable, can be used for both indoor and outdoor storage. It can store up to three kayaks; racks are adjustable depending on the kayak’s weight and size. The lifetime warranty is also a definite plus.

Low Points: If you have three large kayaks you might get have a hard time fitting them all comfortably onto the rack. The rack itself is quite heavy and can be difficult to move around.

Our number three pick is definitely the Malone Auto Racks FS 3 Kayak Storage Rack System. The idea behind this product is to build a system of storage racks that will be able to hold the weight of three kayaks, will be easy to build and guaranteed to last a lifetime.

The quality of this rack lies in the powder coated high load steel which is corrosion resistant, thus practical to be left outside.

This self-standing boat storage rack can be pretty useful if you are not into complicated storage assemblies. Its eight frame levelers allow for perfect kayak placement, and will help if you have kayaks of different heights.

The rack has a set of foam stacker blocks that will ensure your kayaks are protected. Two sets of oversized J-Style Holders will keep your boats safe and snug in their place without the need for any safety straps.

Malone Auto Racks FS3 is not the cheapest cargo storage rack system on our list, but it is still a budget-friendly way to keep your kayaks closer to your home, especially given that it accommodates three.

Safe for your boats and easily stored into any boathouse or garage, this product is worth looking into. Another distinct advantage is that there is no drilling or complicated mounting required, only basic assembly.

What do reviewers say?

Reviewers are very satisfied with the product, but are dissatisfied with the instructions that came with the product. Most of the reviews are positive product-wise but irritated by the overly basic instruction manual.

When it comes to the product, reviews praise it as a simple and affordable solution that saved them a lot of money. The only major problem kayakers reporter was with the three very high boats.

This is because their kayaks lean on each other. Damage and scratches may then occur.

Reviewers are unanimous when it comes to confirming the durability and sturdiness of this rack.

Features & Considerations

If you have three kayaks and not a lot of space, this rack might be the perfect solution for you. For single or double kayak use, however, the rack might seem redundantly empty.

If you have three large kayaks, you might want to consider purchasing another product or additional storage rack. The rack is just fine for regular sized kayaks

When planning on how this rack will fit into your garage, keep in mind that the top kayak will be above the level of the rack. Incorporate this into your planning measurements to avoid unpleasant surprises.

If you need to move your rack around, you can invest in a set of specially designed wheels. Malone even offers a custom wheel kit, but it is a bit on the pricey side.

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4. Webbing Boat Hanger Straps

webbing kayak storage straps
  • Weight capacity: 250 pounds
  • Item weight: 10 ounces
  • Warranty: None

The high points: This storage system is extremely lightweight and the straps are very durable and highly adjustable. Has space for two large kayaks to be comfortably stored one above the other. When stored, the kayaks are very close to the wall, so this is a great product when space is tight and other storage solutions are not an option. Great if mobility is an important factor in your choice; can fit into a rucksack.

The low points: Using this wall hanger can be tricky, so it is advisable to make mounting and taking down of your kayaks a two man job. Using the hanger strap can result in scrapes and scratches if handled carelessly. Installation hardware is not included in the package.

At number four, we have the only wall mounted hanging system on our list. Loading and unloading kayaks on this kind of system does not strictly require two people, but it is definitely easier than using it on your own.

It is a simple and elegant solution to the problem of kayak storage. If there was an easier way for a single person to store or take down their kayaks, this wall hanger would probably be higher up on the list.

The biggest advantage of the Webbing boat hanger strap is that it takes up very little space, and is ideal if you need to fit both your car and kayaks into a low-ceiling garage. This storage solution can also be used to great effect in rooms other than your garage as a display piece.

Owners with two kayaks will appreciate that there is space for both of them without giving of a bodged or clattered feeling. Paddle storage is incorporated into the design, so there is a very compact and efficient effect.

The entire product is lightweight, as it consists solely of straps and buckles so it is highly portable. In addition, mounting the wall hanger only takes 4 screws, so it is portable if need be.

What do reviewers say?

Reviewers comment on the high quality of straps, and appreciate that they can simultaneously store two kayaks at once. The quick release system also earns high praise.

Installation hardware, such as screws and anchors, is not included in the kit and this has caused mixed reactions. Some reviewers see this as an oversight on the manufacturer’s part, while others have no problem with finding installation hardware that best suits their wall type.

Several reviewers switched from conventional U bracket wall mounts but switched to this hanging wall mount because of space restrictions. Straps allow the kayaks to hug the walls and not jut out more than is necessary.

Features & Considerations

The biggest thing to consider with this model is if you can operate it on your own. It requires you to secure two separate straps while holding the kayak up, so keep this in mind.

This storage solution is ideal for couples who live and kayak together, as mounting and de-mounting can always be a two person job.

This wall mounted hanging strap system is elegant and space saving, but you should always be aware that scrapes and scratches are a possibility, both to your wall and kayak.

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5. Suspenz EZ Kayak Rack

suspenz ez kayak storage rack
  • Weight capacity: 125 pounds
  • Item weight: 8.6 pounds
  • Warranty: 1 year

The high points: This product is extremely sturdy, and keeps your boats secure and stable. It has a quality finish, with vibrant yellow paint. The powder coated steel frame means that you can use the rack both indoors and outdoors. The manufacturer ships the kayak rack fully assembled, so installation is easier.

The low points: The plastic clips you use to secure the straps are not high-quality. They bring down the otherwise excellent build and material quality. The same applies for the screws that come with the rack.

The Suspenz EZ Kayak Rack wall mount is a no-nonsense traditional mounting system with a U-shape. Most kayakers are familiar with that. The lines are simple and straightforward, and this rack does exactly what it needs to do.

Heavy duty nylon coated padding protects your hull from scratches and dents. In addition, reinforced nylon safety straps hold the kayak securely in place.

The rack can safely hold a weight of up to 100 pounds. Unlike many other products on this list, the Suspenz EZ Kayak Rack consists of powder coated steel, so it is suitable for outdoor as well as indoor use.

The manufacturer ships this product fully assembled. All you need to do is mount it on the wall and then you can use it. The rack extends 21 inches from the wall, so is less space-efficient than a wall mounted hanging strap storage solution.

What do reviewers say?

As with many other products, reviewers complain about low quality screws. No structural stability complaints when installed using separately bought high quality screws.

Fast installation time is a big draw with this product, as it comes pre-assembled. Reviewers report installation times of less than 15 minutes.

The low quality plastic clips that secure the straps are a common source of frustration as they tend to come apart under pressure. Other than the clips, reviewers are satisfied with material and build quality

Multiple users were not confident that the two mounting holes were enough to support the rack, so they drilled an extra hole for additional stability.

Features & Considerations

Reviewers with wider kayaks find that the straps are too short to secure the kayak. However, as the U shaped rack is quite deep, the straps are often not integral to stable storage.

These racks may be tricky to use if you need them to be higher up on the wall. Be sure to measure how high your kayak will sit in the rack before installing it.

If you plan to store your kayak for a prolonged period of time in a hot climate, the metal bars can warp your hull. Placing the rack in a cool and shaded part of your garage is a smart move.

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6. Hi-Port 2 Kayak Ceiling Rack

hi port kayak storage hangers
  • Weight capacity: 150 pounds
  • Item weight: 14.8 pounds
  • Warranty: 1 year

The high points: Takes up minimal space beneath your ceiling, can be installed above your garage door. Two widths available to choose from, so great for wider kayaks. Fits two kayaks securely.

The low points: Manufacturing instructions are not that great. It can be difficult to lift a kayak above your head, and this is the only way of using the storage system.

The last entry on our list is the Hi-Port 2 Storage Hanger Overhead Mount that offers an impressive degree of adjustability. It can support two kayaks weighing up to 75 pounds each, giving it a total load weight of 150 pounds.

The reason this rack is in last place has nothing to do with aesthetics, build quality or even effectiveness. To put it bluntly, it is not easy storing and taking kayaks down from this rack, as it requires you to lift them above your head and raise them to ceiling level.

This storage solution is ideal for garages that have low ceilings and need to fit both a car and a kayak. The height of the rack is adjustable to 18 inches.

The rack comes in two available widths, a large 25-inch arm and an extra-large 30-inch arm. This means that you can accommodate even the widest kayaks.

What do reviewers say?

Reviewers appreciate that the rack fits snugly just under the ceiling. Some have even installed the rack directly above their garage door and can open and close it with clearance to spare.

There have been complaints regarding manufacturer’s installation instructions, because of sagging. Using a smaller drill bit seems to mitigate this problem.

As is common with such products, many reviewers were not satisfied with the quality of screws provided with the product, and ended up buying their own hardware.

Although not the easiest way to store your kayaks, reviewers stated that trial error and practice resulted in the storage process becoming easier over time.

Features & Considerations

This product is designed to hold two kayaks, and while it can easily store just one, this might cause asymmetric wear given time.

There are several adjustable height options that hold the rack at a certain height. It is a smart move to set this up before drilling the rack into your ceiling, as it becomes trickier once the rack is mounted up high.

As with any ceiling installation, make sure that you are installing the rack onto a sturdy beam.

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