Owning your own kayak is an amazing experience. It allows you to find a kayak that is just right for you in every way and have it on hand when you want to head out on the water. You also don’t have to worry about renting or borrowing one.

One of the few issues with owning your own kayak is storing it. While most recreational kayaks are between 10 and 12 feet long, a sea or touring kayak can be over 15 feet long, making it difficult to find the room to store it.

One of the best ways to store your kayak is with a kayak hoist. Using a kayak hoist allows you to store your kayak in a supportive, elevated position. It keeps it out of the way and avoids any problems with warping or dampness. In this article, we will be looking at what factors you should take into account before buying a kayak hoist and reviews of the some of the best hoists on the market

Best Kayak Hoist For 2018

Harken 145 lbs Kayak Lift System - Editors Choice

Racor PHL-1R Pro HeavyLift

StoreYourBoard Kayak Storage Hoist

RAD Sportz Kayak Hoist

What to Consider Before Purchasing Your Kayak Hoist

While it might be tempting to pitch your kayak into the first available corner when it isn’t in use, proper storage of your kayak is critical. Improper storage of a kayak can result in warping, damage to the hull, and issues with mold and mildew. A kayak hoist is one of the best ways to store your kayak, but before you rush out and buy one, here are a few factors to consider first.  

Attachment Strength

Before heading out to buy a kayak hoist, it’s important to take the time to think about where you are planning to attach your hoist. The average kayak weights between 30 and 70 pounds. While all the hoists listed here can support between 90 and 200 pounds, all of that weight is also going to be suspended from whichever point on your ceiling that you attach the hoist to.

Once you’ve made the decision to buy a kayak hoist, think about where you will be attaching it before you purchase anything. Load bearing members, large wooden beams, and the specific attachment points found in some modern garages are best.

Safe Locking Mechanism

As we’ve already mentioned, the average kayak can weigh up to 70 pounds, so when you are securing one above head height, it’s always a good idea to go for a hoist with a safe locking mechanism.  

The safe locking mechanism prevents your kayak from falling due to an accidental release of one or more of the ropes that keep the kayak suspended. The mechanism works by including a rubber safety cleat on all the ropes or straps that prevents them from moving through the cleat at speed.  

Clearance

One of the main benefits of using a kayak hoist to store your kayak is that it frees up space in your storage areas by elevating your kayak, allowing items to be stored underneath. The most common use of this elevated storage is in a garage, where the kayak can be stored suspended from the roof and a car can be parked beneath it.

If you plan to store your kayak in an elevated position above other items, always check the clearance of your hoist system before purchasing. Most kayak hoists hang down from the ceiling by several feet and the last thing you want is to be scraping your car’s paint job on the rudder of your kayak.

Kayak Hoist Reviews

Our Pick

Check out the latest price on:
Amazon

Best Kayak Hoist Overall
Harken 145 lbs Kayak Lift System

Maximum working load: 145 lbs.

Maximum vertical lift: 8.5’

The Harken Kayak Lift System is designed to be stable, sturdy, and operable by one person. Able to support up to 145 pounds and with a maximum vertical lift of 8.5 feet, the Harken Lift System is more than strong enough to support any size of kayak and still allow you the option to store gear within your kayak at the same time.

A rubber cleated safe locking mechanism means you don't have to worry about an accidental release and the entire system can be operated from one rope. The Harken Lift System uses series of runners to ensure it lifts and lowers loads evenly, regardless of how the weight on the hoist is distributed.

To add to its durability, the Harken Lift System comes with stainless steel hardware and a double-cored rope so you don’t have to worry about its components falling apart or giving in. The only thing the Harken Lift System is missing is a storage cage, so if you are looking to store several smaller items, they will need to be boxed beforehand.

PROS

  • plus
    Sturdy and durable
  • plus
    Operable by one person
  • plus
    Safe locking mechanism
  • plus
    Durable stainless steel fittings

CONS

  • minus
    No storage case

Check out the latest price on:
Amazon

Racor PHL-1R Pro HeavyLift

Maximum working load: 250 lbs.

Maximum vertical lift: 8’

The Racor Pro HeavyLift is ideal for paddlers looking to store more than one kayak or lots of additional gear with their kayak. The Pro HeavyLift can support up to 250 pounds in weight and comes with a 4’ x 4’ storage cage that can free up 16 square feet of storage space.

Build from solid stainless steel, the Pro HeavyLift system uses a single winch in combination with strong nylon cables to raise or lower the platform smoothly and quickly. The only downside to the Pro HeavyLift system is that it lacks a safe locking mechanism. Once the hoist is lifted to its maximum of 8 feet, the winch can be locked off, preventing it from falling when not in use. The lack of a safe locking mechanism means it can fall when the winch in unlocked and in use.

PROS

  • plus
    Very durable
  • plus
    250 pounds of lifting power
  • plus
    Single winch lifting
  • plus
    Large storage cage

CONS

  • minus
    No safe locking mechanism

Check out the latest price on:
Amazon

StoreYourBoard Kayak Storage Hoist

Maximum working load: 90 lbs.

Maximum vertical lift: 10’

The StoreYourBoard Kayak Storage Hoist is specifically designed to store a single kayak in an elevated position. The pro version of this hoist combines an adjustable set so straps can be used to fit any shape of kayak, and a horizontal center strap can be used to secure your vertical hoist straps.

All of the fittings needed to install the StoreYourBoard Kayak Storage Hoist are included with the item and the company even goes so far as including a helpful instructional video to make things as easy on you as possible.

If the StoreYourBoard Kayak Storage Hoist has any issues, it is that it has a maximum lifting weight of 90 pounds. This is more than enough to accommodate a standard recreational kayak, but might not be enough for heavier tandems and doesn’t give you many options to store your gear in your kayak.

PROS

  • plus
    Easy to install
  • plus
    Adjustable straps for all kayak types

CONS

  • minus
    No safe locking mechanism
  • minus
    Can only hoist 90 pounds

Check out the latest price on:
Amazon

RAD Sportz Kayak Hoist

Maximum working load: 125 lbs.

Maximum vertical lift: 12’

The RAD Sportz Kayak Hoist is an excellent option for kayak storage that can lift up to 125 lbs, making it suitable for all but the heaviest of kayaks. It also comes with a number of features that keep it simple and easy to use.

The rubber mounting hooks that attach to the straps that go around the kayak are rubber coated, both to invoice their durability and stop them from scratching your kayak. The straps themselves are designed with loops built into them, eliminating the need for fragile hooks seen on other systems while still being fully adjustable.

The system has a built-in safe locking mechanism and RAD Sportz is so confident that you’ll be happy with the durability of their kayak hoist system that it comes with a 100% unconditional lifetime warranty on all its parts.

PROS

  • plus
    Rubberized mounting hooks
  • plus
    Adjustable straps with no hook
  • plus
    100% unconditional lifetime warranty

CONS

  • minus
    Can only lift one kayak
  • minus
    No storage cage

Our Pick - Harken 145 lbs Kayak Lift System

The Harken 145 lbs. Kayak Lift System is our choice for best kayak hoist because it combines quality, durability, and ease of use. The 145-pound lift capacity means you’ll be able to store all but the heaviest of tandem kayaks while being able to store gear inside the kayak.

The pulley system on the Harken Kayak Lift System means it can be easily used by one person and the lifting and lowering is smooth and easy, regardless of the weight distribution. Lastly, a safe locking mechanism means that even if your hands do slip off the rope, your kayak won’t come crashing down!

About The Author

John is a professional copywriter, fencer, and paddlesports fanatic based in the UK. When he’s not out on the water, he can usually be found convincing new people to try kayaking, pretending to be Zorro or climbing what passes for mountains in England.