Is your garage completely full? Struggling to find somewhere to store your kayak out of the way safely? One solution is using the empty space above your head and utilise the ceiling to store your kayak but what should you use? One option is using a kayak hoist pulley system to solve this problem and free up some more space on the ground so you can actually move around.
In this post we’ve put together a list of what we think are the best kayak hoist systems to suspend your yak up in the air safely and securely.
Quick Answer: The 5 Best Hoists For A Kayak
How to Choose a Kayak Hoist: Buying Guide
Before we get on to our reviews of kayak hoists, we thought we’d include a guide to buying one. We’ll hopefully cover some of the questions you might be having along with the important features to look for and their benefits.
It is vital to have a safe and large space for hoisting your kayaks. There are quite a few things you’ll want to look for when choosing where is best
Firstly, you’ll want to ensure that the space is dry and free of moisture. Ensure that when you’re back from a kayaking trip that its completely dry. If left wet for long periods you can get mold and fungus growing on your kayak which is far from ideal and can shorten your kayak’s life.
You’ll also want to look for somewhere that has a relatively stable temperature. Obviously you’re going to get some temperature fluctuations but extreme cold of head can cause the kayak’s body to deform, especially if you have a kayak made from wood or polyethylene.
The other thing to consider when choosing a spot is the strength of the ceiling and walls that you’ll mount it on to. They’ll need to be able to withstand the weight of the objects you are hoisting and be able to withstand the nails, screws and fixtures to keep it in place.
And lastly, you’ll need somewhere that has easy access. To load and unload your kayak you’ll need space around you to attach it as well as enough ceiling height to that you’re not going to hit your head on the suspended kayak.
Types of Hoists for Kayaks
Depending on your kayak’s size, the number of kayaks you need to store, how big your garage space is and often you use your kayak, you might find that one hoist is more suitable than another one. Using them can be a little tricky and depending on which type you go for you might not be able to operate it alone.
There are two types of kayak hoist to choose from:
- Manual kayak hoists
- Electric kayak hoists
Let’s take a look at each and their pros and cons.
Manual Kayak Hoists
As the name suggests, a manual kayak hoist is operated manually by you and any help you can muster up. Your strength is required to load and unload the kayak. Although the hoist does make it a lot easier, you will still need a significant amount of physical strength to handle it alone. If you don’t have the upper body strength we’d advise to get some assistance from someone when using it.
The main advantage of using a manual kayak hoist is the price. They are considerably cheaper than electric systems. You can also install it practically anywhere as they don’t require a power source. This can be particularly handy if you’re installing it in a shed or garage where there isn’t power nearby.
Electric Kayak Hoist
The second type of hoist suitable for raising and lowering kayaks is an electric one. Electric kayak hoists are very convenient when you’re exhausted from a long day’s paddling and need some help storing your yak back in its place. These hoists don’t require much physical strength as the process is pretty much automatic. You only need to strap the kayak in and then you let the hoist do the rest of the heavy lifting.
However, ease of use comes with a more hefty price tag. You also run the risk of technology failing you and malfunctions. You’ll also need an electricity supply nearby or you’ll be using a lot of extension cables which
Assembly and Set Up
One you’re all set up and ready to go, kayak hoists are very convenient and easy to use. But, the one downside is they take a bit more effort up front to assemble them. Thankfully, most kayak hoists come with very descriptive self-help manuals to assist you during the set up. If in doubt there are also lots of tutorials on youtube of people showing you how to get it all up and running.
Another good thing is that they tend to come with all the components you’ll need. The only thing to consider is the surface material you’re attaching it to will determine the kind of nuts, bolts and screws you’ll need for installation. A wooden wall will have different requirements compared to brick or concrete walls.
If you’re still not confident you can set it up it’s best to call a professional as you’ll save a lot of time, stress and can ensure that your kayak hoist is set up safely to prevent any damage.
Maximum Weight Capacity
A very important thing to ensure is that you know your kayak’s weight before you purchase a hoist system. Most kayak hoists can bear a weight of up to 150 pounds which far exceeds how heavy most kayaks are. But, you’ll need to double check that it does.
Apart from the kayak’s weight, you’ll also need to know the load-bearing capacity of the surface on which you plan to install the system. If the hoists weight capacity is exceeded you could potentially cause a lot of damage to the ceiling and surrounding items.
As we’ve covered in some of the other sections, safety is a huge thing to consider when buying a kayak hoist. You’re suspending quite a large and heavy object above you and they can cause considerably injuries if you’re not careful. Not only that but you could also cause damage to your other belongings store beneath them as well as the kayak itself.
Inspect the cables that come with your hoist for any manufacturing errors or damage and regularly check to prevent it failing. The last thing you want is your kayak to fall while someone is standing below or an expensive belonging like your car is underneath.
A kayak is not a grocery item that you frequently buy out of stores. A lot of research goes into choosing a compatible kayak for you and your kayaking preferences. Similarly, an equal amount of research goes into buying the perfect hoist for your kayak’s storage.
Our primary goal is to have a hoist that will last for years. Whether you are a frequent or a seldom kayaker, the convenience of hoisting your kayak without damaging it is an essential requirement. Ensure that the material of your hoist is durable and of premium quality and check your cables regularly.
As always, price is a critical factor when purchasing a product or service. There are a lot of accessories that go into kayaking and they can all add up.
However, in the case of a kayak hoist, one must not forget that safety should be your primarily concern. A kayak is a bulky item that can weigh quite a considerable amount. When you store it overhead, there is a constant fear of it falling from the mount or pulley system. On top of that, if you have it stored directly above valuable items like your vehicle you need to ensure your other items are safe..
Don’t skimp on the quality when choosing a hoist. Invest in one that has grade-A quality materials with lots of 5 star reviews from customers reporting long durability. Regularly check the hoist hasn’t begun to rust and that it isn’t scratching your kayak. A hoist is not something that you will buy frequently. Treat it as a one-time investment for an extended period.
Other Options For Kayak Storage
Apart from kayak hoists and lift systems, you also have a few other options to consider for storing your kayaks.
If you have more than two kayaks to store, you can have a free-standing kayak storage rack to help you keep all your kayaks in one place. These storage racks keep your kayaks slightly off the ground so they won’t get damaged. The pros are that you can easilty store lots of kayaks in one place and they can be convenient to put up and get down. But, as they’re not stored above like kayak hoists, they do take up a lot more floor space. You’ll also need to have enough strength to lift your kayak on to them which will mean they’re not suitable for everyone.
If floor space is a luxury you don’t have you could also consder a kayak wall mount. Kayak wall mounts are a very convenient way to store and you can mount kayaks vertically or horizontally depending on your room’s dimensions. Again, you’ll need the strength to lift your kayak on to the mount but if you’re able, it can be a very easy and convenient way to store your kayak.
The other option is using a kayak ceiling rack. They are kayak mounts that will strap your kayaks directly above your head in an inverted position. For a ceiling rack, height plays a crucial role. It is not advised to place heavy and long kayaks on ceiling racks because of the load-bearing issue.
The main downside to ceiling racks is that you’ll have to lift your kayak above your head which can be very difficult if you have a particulary heavy kayak. It’s a lot easier for lightweight kayaks but these aren’t recommended if upper body strength isn’t your forte.
Best Rated Kayak Hoist System Reviews
Now that we’ve covered some of the things you need to know about kayak hoists, here we have our kayak hoist reviews to help you narrow down which is the right one for you.
#1. Harken 4-Point Hoister Storage System
If you want the best and price isn’t an issue, we’d recommend the Harken 4-Point Kayak Hoist. It’s one of the easiest hoists to use and can be operated by one person with very little effort. Due to the its 4 point pulley system it’s one of the safest hoists on the market. Unlike the others kayak hoists on our list which only use two attachment points. It features Harken’s patented stainless steel self-locking mechanism that automatically locks and won’t accidentally fall. Even if you let go!
With a max weight capacity of 200 lbs it beats all the others by a lot in terms of what it can lift and is the perfect for even very heavy kayaks as well as lots of other items. It also works with almost any ceiling height so no matter where you’re setting it up. All in all, one of the best hoists on the market and highly recommended from us.
#2. Rad Sportz Kayak Hoist
- ►RUBBER COATED HOOKS - Hooks are designed with a rubber coating to protect from scratches. Durable straps ensure that your kayak...
- ►EASY TO INSTALL - Mount to your ceiling joist or rafter and so easy to use. With only the minimum of tools you can have your...
- ►ROBUST ENGINEERING - allows you to lift heavy products, up to 125lb. Capacity. This is the kayak hoist that all the other are...
Our second choice for the best hoist to hang a kayak is this one from Rad Sportz. It’s quick and easy to install and will have your kayaks hanging safely in no time at all. It has a number of features that make it the ideal hoist such as highly durable rubber coated hooks to protect your kayak from getting scratched and keep it securely in place. Another feature to ensure maximum safety is the locking mechanism which prevents accidents from happening and keep the items (and people) below safe too.
It’s made for use on ceilings up to 12 feet high so is ideal for a garage to have it hanging over your car or truck. It has a big 125lb capacity which is more than enough for the average kayak which weighs in at 50lbs. What’s more, it comes as a pack of two so you can safely store two kayaks or even use it for bikes, ladders or any other items you need to get out of the way.
#3. VIVOHOME Heavy Duty Kayak Hoist
- PREMIUM BUILD - The hooks are made of heavy-duty iron with rubber coating, which protect objects from scratching or slips; Strong...
- EASY INSTALLATION - Designed with a pulley system, you can mount or hang kayaks to ceiling with ease; Just hook up your kayak then...
- LARGE CAPACITY - The ceiling hoist allows you lift heavy loads weighing up to 125lbs up to 10 feet high; Greatly save space in...
Next we have this well designed and sturdy kayak hoist from VivoHome. It’s a premium heavy duty hoist that features strong iron hooks with rubber coating for protection and highly durable ropes that are tear resistant to prevent any accidents happening and keep all your possessions safe. It’s a very easy to install pulley system that once set up makes putting your kayak away a breeze. Just hook and pull and it takes all the strain out of lifting.
It’s got another large capacity weight load being able to lift up to 125lbs to 10 feet high which is plenty to then park your car underneath in a garage. It also has a safety look to keep everything in place and prevent falls onto your vehicle or any other items being stored below. Like the Rad Sportz one, it also comes as a pack of two so use it with other items or a even a second kayak!
#4. Extreme Max Kayak Hoist
- Kayak hoist system lifts and stores kayaks, canoes, bikes, ladders and more in the shop or garage
- Easily lift and lower stored items; one person operation
- Includes pulleys, lift hooks, mounting brackets and hardware, 50' hoist rope, and 2" x 94" saddle straps
Another option to consider is this hoist from outdoor gear brand Extreme Max. It’s able to lift up to 120lbs of weight so slightly less than the other two hoists we’ve looked at so far but still plenty to lift up your kayak and have some capacity left over. A feature we like about this one is that as you pull the pulleys the kayak is raised into the air at each side at the same rate. A nice little feature that is a lot safer to do on your own.
As you’d expect, it has a locking mechanism for added safety is made from strong, powder coated (to prevent rust) steel that ensures your hoist system will last for years.
#5. MrHardware Kayak Hoist
- RUBBER COATED HOOKS - Hooks are designed with a rubber coating to protect from scratches. Durable straps ensure that your kayak is...
- EASY TO INSTALL - Mount to your ceiling joist or rafter and so easy to use. With only the minimum of tools you can have your kayak...
- ROBUST ENGINEERING - Allows you to lift heavy products, up to 100lb. Capacity. This is the kayak hoist that all the other are...
In at number five we have this great little kayak hoist from MrHardWare. Again, it’s got all the features that you’d want to see such as rubber coated hooks to prevent your kayak getting scratched, a high weight capacity (it can carry up to 100lb items) and is really easy to install.
Some customers have reported it didn’t feel so secure with heavier items (over 80lbs) so we wouldn’t recommend it for big kayaks, but for smaller ones it more than does the job.
#6. Powerfly Kayak Hoist System
- Overhead garage storage rack for kayaks, bikes, and other equipment, gear and accessories
- Powerfly kayak hoist supports up to 125lb (54kg) as parts are stainless steel
- Lift, store and secure your kayak with the robust pulley system
And lastly we have the Powerfly kayak hoist system which is a quick and easy to install (only takes a few minutes) pulley system that means you can safely store your kayak or other items out the way in your garage. It’s easy to set up, made from durable sturdy materials and able to hold a good 125lbs of weight, ideal for kayaks and other similar items.
One downside was the quality of the rope which could have been slightly better quality. We’d consider replacing this if you’re going to be hanging very heavy items. It also doesn’t have the best instructions but there are some good youtube videos explaining the installation and use very well.
Conclusion: Which One Should you Get?
So that about wraps up our post with our buying guide and reviews of the top kayak hoists. We hope it helped to educate you on some of the things you need to consider and questions you might have had.
If you’re still unsure of which kayak hoist to buy we’d recommend the Harken 4-Point Kayak Hoist. With a huge 200 lbs lifting capacity, extremely safe four point attachment, anti rust stainless steel pieces and great reviews we think it’s easily the best one you could buy. For more information, to read some previous customer reviews and get the best price click the button below.