Best Kayak Car Rack Reviews 2023

The most damages to kayaks are not sustained when in use, but while transporting them. To that end, it’s imperative to get the best kayak car rack for your sleek and expensive kayak. But how do you choose from the numerous types and brands out there? To make short work of the process for you, we researched far and wide and came up with the top five brands sporting some of the best kayak car racks. For the purpose of this work, we reviewed just one model per brand, but bear in mind that our featured brands have other amazing kayak car rack styles that you get to choose from, in case the one reviewed isn’t to your taste.
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Car Type
Maz Load
Our Top Choice
9sparts® Universal J Shape Kayak Vehicle Rack
9sparts is a qualified producer of affordable solutions for everyday living. The 2 Pairs of Universal Kayak Rack Attachments are made for strength and durability.
Great load capacity. Universal rack for easy mounting. Saves space.
Shorter straps than many others - but for many vehicles this is not an issue.
Kayak, canoe, snow board
Up to 75 lbs
6.8 pounds
Best Value
Ego Pick Up Truck Bed Hitch Extender Extension Rack
EGO is an established manufacturer of great electrical bikes. The Ego Pick Up Truck Bed Hitch Extender comes with a flag for improved safety.
Safe to use. Easy assembly. Adjustable width. Works well for both canoes and kayaks.
Does not include a hitch pin.
Pick Up truck
Kayak, Canoe, boat
Up to 750 lbs
32 pounds
Malone SeaWing™ Kayak Carrier - Saddle Style Cradle Design
Malone Auto Racks has stayed true to its mission of value production all through the years. The SeaWing™ Universal Rack is built to last.
Fast and easy set up. Convenient. Saves space. Universal design is good for other types of water crafts.
Expensive but worth it because of the quality.
Ribbed synthetic rubber
Kayak, canoes, boats
Up to 70 lbs
10 pounds
TMS Universal J-Bar Rack HD Kayak Carrier
TMS offers excellent products at amazingly discounted prices. The 2 X TMS 2 Pairs J-Bar Kayak Car Carrier is a quality construct as it serves universal purposes.
Easy to set up. Allows for more space. Works with most crossbars and load bars. Universal design is good for other types of watercrafts and skis.
Cannot accommodate large kayaks; max is 36”
Standard cars, trucks
Kayak, canoe, boat, surf ski
Up to 75 lbs
16 pounds
ToughSteel® Universal Black J Shape Kayak Vehicle Rack
ToughSteel boasts of being a brand that meets the needs of the customers. The 2 Pair 4 Racks Universal Kayak Car Rack is designed to mount on all kinds of crossbars in the market.
Easily mounts and fits. Affordable. Universal design is good for other types of watercrafts.
Cannot be adjusted.
Kayak, boat, canoe, surfboard
Up to 150 lbs
15.5 pounds

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What is the Best Kayak Car Rack?

Having gone through our informative buying guide, there’s no doubt that you have the best information on kayak car racks at your disposal now. This means you can now look at our carefully selected kayak car racks and find the one that meets your requirements and status.
Our Top Choice
The 9sparts Universal J Shape Kayak Vehicle Rack can accommodate kayaks measuring 36” wide. It has a load capacity of 75lbs and the bars are 1’ thick for maximum function. If you don’t need to carry as big a weight load, 9sparts has another Universal J Shape Steel Kayak Rack that has a capacity of 75 pounds and costs a bit less.

9sparts® 2 Pairs J Bar Kayak Canoe Inflatable Boat Wakeboard Waveboard Paddleboard Snowboard Ski Roof Rack Carrier Car SUV Truck Jeep Roof Top Mount With Straps

9sparts is a competitive, customer-service-based company that deals with motorcycle parts. It has a variety of products ranging from fairing kits to slider frames. Its aggressive approach to the industry has created a culture of fast and reliable services.

The 2 Pairs of Universal Kayak Rack Attachments come with a 30-day warranty for easy and fast return in case of any problem. They are available in 2 pairs and have 4 tie-down straps that help keep the kayak tight in place. If you love this model but your car doesn’t have crossbars, you can check out other racks that 9sparts offers to accommodate that.

For a price tag of about $65, you could grab these kayak car racks and enjoy the following features:
  • Easily mounts on all kinds of crossbars and load bars that are available in the market
  • Designed to be rust-free with its professional outdoor glossy finish
  • The steel tube is 1.5mm thick, making it robust enough to hold 36'' wide load weighing up to 150lbs
  • This kayak, boat and canoe rack comes with pre-punched holes to enable easy alignment when installing
  • Comes with indented tubing design that is stable and strong
  • Has rubber pedals that are foam-protected to protect the kayak or boat from weather elements, making it more durable
  • Consumes minimal space as the carrier secures the kayak on the side
Best Value
The Ego Pick Up Truck Bed Hitch Extender is a unique kayak car rack as it can be adjusted to fit into 2” hitch receiver. It has a weight capacity of up to 750lbs. If you were looking for a kayak rack for a vehicle with cross bars, check out Ego Bike’s J-Bar Universal Top Mount Carrier Roof Rack. It’s good for kayaks and canoes.

Pick Up Truck Bed Hitch Extender Extension RACK Canoe Boat Kayak Lumber with Safety Flagby Ego Bike

EGO is a design-focused brand that specializes in crafting cost-effective products for its customer. The company has had steady growth owing to their dedication to excellent customer service, especially in making electrical bikes. All of the Kayak racks that come from this manufacturer are dependable and highly functional.

The Pick Up Truck Bed Hitch Extender Extension can be used as a boat or canoe rack and also as a kayak lumber rack. It also comes with a safety flag that ensures zero traffic hazards whenever you are using it. It is a handy rack, as it can also work as a table that is portable when you fold the side arms down. You can rest assured that this kayak car rack will withstand the weight of your load as it has up to 750lbs maximum weight capacity.

The Pick Up Truck Bed Hitch Extender Extension is available at a retail price of $56.98. Here are some features that make it such a sweet deal:
  • Adjustable width and length to enable application in different ways
  • Comes with a Blaze Orange flag for safety while transporting longer payloads
  • The steel tube is made of heavy steel to give the Kayak Car Rack more endurance of heavy weights
  • The whole rack is held up with quick-release clevis pins for better functionality
  • Built with a heavy steel construction for durability and strength
  • Equipped with a bed extender that can load up to 150lbs
The SeaWing™ Kayak Carrier is a low profile cargo carrier made with a single saddle design. It’s quite easy to set up, and takes up minimal roof space. If you were looking for a J-Style Universal Car Rack for your kayak or canoe, the Malone J-Pro 2 features padded bars and comes with two 12-foot cam buckle straps and bow and stern safety tie-downs.

Malone SeaWing Saddle Style Universal Car Rack Kayak Carrier with Bow and Stern Lines

In North America, Malone Auto Racks is among the companies that are experiencing the fastest growth. It has over 10 years of expertise in the industry, being on the forefront of innovations. By focusing on value production for customers, Malone Auto Rack has secured its position in the market and continues to do that to date.

The Malone SeaWing™ Kayak Carrier is a universal Kayak Car Carrier that enables you to carry all you need on the roof top of your car or truck. It has a unique mid-mount construction that allows you to save space and fits two kayaks or canoes on the cross rails. With a SeaWing carrier, this cargo carrier makes it easy to set up and ensures that there is minimal air resistant while driving. Get started on that adventure with this kayak carrier and enjoy its convenience at just $139.95.

Now let us look at some more features that come with this Kayak Car Carrier:
  • Comes with a gentle flex that protects your kayak or canoe at all times
  • Designed for an easy set up with a single cradle construct that relieves you from having to adjust each saddle individually
  • Does not require any tools for assembly, giving you an easy way to set up
  • Built to resist UV light and be corrosion resistant for longer durability
  • Made to be universally used, especially with the fit JAWZ that works well with most factory rails
  • Comes with buckle protectors and a cam style load straps
The 2 X TMS 2 Pairs J-Bar Kayak Car Carrier is designed to mount to virtually any load bar or crossbar on the market. It secures your kayak on its side, taking up less space on your car roof. If you have a truck, you can use up to 4 sets of these racks, or you might prefer TMS’s Heavy Duty Pickup Truck Bed Hitch Mounted Extender Rack for your kayak, canoe or boat.

TMS 2 X TMS 2 Pairs J-Bar Rack HD Kayak Carrier Canoe Boat Surf Ski Roof Top Mount Car SUV Crossbar

Since the beginning, TMS has had the goal of offering a large variety of high-end equipment for its customer's choice. The brand has managed to produce great outdoor and sports accessories, garden tools to be used at home and other recreational products that provide value and reliability.

The 2 X TMS 2 Pairs J-Bar Rack Kayak Carrier also works great as a canoe, boat and surf ski carrier on your car or truck. It is made such that it will easily mount on all sorts of crossbars and load bars for better convenience. With this kayak car carrier, you can relax knowing that your kayak, boat or canoe is well-taken care of as you get to have more space to throw in an extra load or two. It also features an adjustable carrying pad that is stable with a wide mouth J-bar for easier loading.

For a retail price of just $44.95, this Kayak Car Carrier can be yours today. Here are a couple of features to expect:
  • A rust resistant surface to increase its life span
  • Capable of accommodating up to a 36” wide kayak, canoe or boat with a weight threshold of 75lbs
  • Has an easy on and off hardware that gives you quick installation
The 2 Pair 4 Racks Universal Kayak Car Rack has a weight capacity of 150 lbs, meaning that it can comfortably accommodate two kayaks or snowboards. If you are looking for a more affordable option that can carry 1 kayak at a time, do not hesitate to check out the ToughSteel® Universal Black J Shape.

ToughSteel® Universal Black J Shape Steel Kayak Canoe Boat Paddleboard Surfboard Snowboard Wakeboard Ski Roof Rack Car SUV Jeep Top Mount withTie Down Straps

ToughSteel is a manufacturer that shows significant commitment towards customer satisfaction. It prioritizes quality and ease of use so that anyone can enjoy the benefits of its products. You can depend on ToughSteel to make use of quality material that is not only recyclable but also durable for long time use.

The 2 Pair 4 Racks Universal Black J Shape Steel Kayak Car Rack is ideal for carrying heavy loads weighing up to 150lbs. You can take more than two boats, canoes or kayaks as this carrier comes with two straps that are durable and dependable. For a price tag of $32.99, you can get your hands on this rack and enjoy its J-shaped design for more space.

If you like this kayak car carrier, here are more amazing features to expect:
  • Built with a 1.5mm thick steel for stamina while carrying the boat, canoe or kayak
  • Has a glossy, rust-free finish that helps make the rack UV light resistant, giving it a longer life span
  • Easily mounts and fits on all round, square and oval cross bars for easy set up
  • Engineered for easy alignment during setup with the pre-punched holes that give it a more professional touch
  • Will work well for boats, paddleboards, surfboards, snowboards, and canoes, giving you more convenience
  • Capable of holding up to two kayaks or canoes with its two pair racks included in the package

How Do I Choose the Best Kayak Car Rack?

Living by the waterside is one of the greatest joys on earth, really; all you need to do is wake up, get dressed, and drag your favorite water sport gear—such as the kayak—down to the waterfront and have the best time of your life. No need to worry about moving your expensive kayak for any length of time, exposing it to all forms of mishap both real and imagined. You’re happy. Your kayak is safe and protected. Life’s truly sweet.

But, alas, this is not meant to be, not in the real world anyway. Even if you’re extremely well off to afford one of those exotic beach-front houses on a lease basis, you may still have to commute from the city as you’re likely to use the place as a holiday getaway only.

What we’re saying is this: you absolutely need a suitable means of transportation for your expensive kayak. And there’s no better way to do that than to use a kayak car rack. Unlike the bike rack, a kayak car rack can only be roof-mounted because of its relatively lengthy nature that won’t be practical in any other position.

Although they may come across as expensive, kayak car racks are really a must-have for any kayak owner. You wouldn’t want to risk having your kayak flying off the car roof on the highway, simply because the ropes used to secure it came undone. The damage to the kayak may be unrepairable and pales in comparison to what could happen if it hits another moving vehicle.

What’s more, installing a kayak car rack can come in handy if you wish to transport canoes or even small boats to the waterfront, depending on the style of the rack. And if you’re going on a family outing, you can car-top more than one kayak on your car roof, also depending on the style of kayak car rack you choose.

The kayak car rack frees up precious space in the back of the car so you can throw in other smaller kayaking accessories such as paddles or have your family and friends join you for the ride.

The importance of the kayak car rack cannot be over-emphasized as there’s no better way to conveniently and reliably transport your kayak from one point to the other. But before you make the financial commitment, there are certain factors that you need to consider to make the right choice. First off, you need to consider the type of car and the availability of a roof rack. Then you’ll look at the type of kayak car rack, number of kayaks you’ll be carrying, lift assist feature, and then your budget (extremely important).
The most important feature of a kayak car rack that affects the price is the ease of loading, otherwise known as the lift assist feature. Unless you’re quite tall or have a low-profile car with an easy-to-reach roof top, loading up your kayak might be a study in frustration—thus kayak car racks with a lift assist feature tend to cost a little bit more than normal kayak car racks. There’s also the issue of the high-end and naturally expensive models versus the more practical, budget-friendly ones.

Great kayak car racks can be gotten for as low as $30.00, but if you need something more versatile, you have to go up to somewhere around $150.00 and of course, there are high-end models costing as much as $600. The brands we reviewed have products in the range mentioned above and so, whatever be your budget or needs, you can rest assured that you’ll get a quality and reliable kayak car rack.

In the course of our research, we came across some ridiculously cheap kayak car racks, but what’s the point of going for a flimsy model when you can get the real deal at great prices?
To get a top-performing kayak car rack, you need some serious work on your end. But with the features we will be outlining here shortly, you’re sure to make the right choice and in the shortest time possible. The features include:
  • Type of car
  • Type of kayak car rack
  • Number of kayaks involved
  • Lift assist mechanism
Construction and Design
Two things we believe you should consider when looking at the construction and design of your potential kayak car rack are: the type of car you’ll be using it with and the type of kayak car rack itself. Let’s take a closer look at these features.

Type of Car

The type of car you own plays a major role in determining the type of kayak car rack you go for. Low-profile cars are ideal in terms of having easy-to-reach roof tops that let you load up the kayak on the rack with little or no stress. But on the other hand, they have poor aerodynamics, especially when top-loaded with something as big as a kayak.

Minivans and SUVs are manageable; they have better aerodynamics when compared to low-profile cars, but they usually have narrow roofs that limit the number of kayaks it can fit. Also, their height doesn’t make it all that easy to load up and offload; unless you’re really tall, you may be needing a step ladder.

Trucks have wide roofs that are extremely accommodating and great for installing kayak car racks, especially if you’re given to carrying several kayaks at once. Their height, however, makes it tricky to load up the kayak and may require special assistance, unless you have the height and patience required to load it up just right.

Type of Kayak Car Rack

Kayak car racks can be classified into 3 styles: the J-style racks, saddle style, and the vertical kayak racks. The saddle or horizontal-style carriers are popular and offer the widest surface contact between the hull of the kayak and the carrier, which decreases the chances of the hull warping. They carry the kayak on a horizontal plane, flat on its belly, thus reducing fuel consumption and wind resistance. It may come in pairs or in singles and the number of kayaks carried is determined by the size of the carrier crossbars and width of the car roof.

The J-style kayak car rack is widely used because while it sits your kayak in a secure and comfortable 45-degree support, its space-saving design ensures more space is made available on the crossbar so you can carry more items on the roof.

Kayak posts, otherwise known as vertical racks, are the most economical style in terms of number of kayaks loaded. It holds kayaks securely on their sides, hence the kayaks can be stacked sideways to ensure more kayaks are loaded.
Performance and Ease of Use
A kayak car rack requires patience in setting it up and most especially in loading up the kayak securely on it. Once you get the kayak secured on the rack, your journey will be fun and worry-free.

One good thing is that kayak car racks are designed with versatility in mind, thus one rack can adjust to carry kayaks of different sizes and shapes with no problems.

The saddle-style kayak car rack is the easiest to load or unload as you can just slide one end of the kayak up the back of the car towards the roof, and then roll the whole kayak up on the rack by pushing from the other end.

The J-style rack usually comes in a folding design so you don’t have to dismantle the rack before driving through low places. It allows you to put your kayak up from the back or sideways of the loading vehicle, and comes with locking mechanisms that lock the kayak firmly to the rack, and the rack firmly to the vehicle.

The vertical-style kayak rack is the simplest to install, load, and dismantle. All you need to do is lift up your kayak and put it flush against the rack post or another kayak, if you’ve loaded some in already. There’s no adjustment needed for this style and you get to transport several kayaks in style and comfort at the same time.

To make loading and unloading your kayak onto the car rack a breeze, most high-end kayak car racks feature one form of lift assist mechanism or the other.

The simplest form has a hooked pole sliding out from under the rack that helps you lift the boat one half at a time.
Another lift assist mechanism has a roller lift system that allows you to lift the kayak one end at a time until it’s safely ensconced on the car rack.

The most advanced lift assist uses pneumatic gas extrusions to extend down to the side of the car at about waist level so you can easily load the kayak on and then it uses the same pneumatic gas extrusion to take the kayak back up onto the vehicle’s roof.

And in case your car doesn’t have factory-fitted roof crossbars, you’ll need to get one installed on your vehicle before you even think of mounting a kayak car rack on it.

Get the Best Kayak Car Rack of 2023!

We do hope you’re leaving this page as one happy customer and… do not forget to place an order for the kayak car rack that caught your eye.

Our Top Choice
9sparts® Universal J Shape Kayak Vehicle Rack
Best Value
Ego Pick Up Truck Bed Hitch Extender Extension Rack
Malone SeaWing™ Kayak Carrier - Saddle Style Cradle Design
TMS Universal J-Bar Rack HD Kayak Carrier
ToughSteel® Universal Black J Shape Kayak Vehicle Rack