Before shopping for a kayak rack, you’ll want to know how much it might end up costing you. Everyone wants to save money, so it’s important to buy a kayak rack at the appropriate price point for your situation.
Kayaks racks typically cost between $25 and $650, which is a wide range of prices.
The variation in prices is largely due to the different types of kayak racks available. While some people may only need a cheap kayak rack, you may find yourself needing one that is more expensive.
This article breaks down the price ranges for different types of kayak racks and helps you decide how much you should be spending.
Foam Kayak Carrier Cost
A foam kayak carrier holds your kayak using foam blocks sitting on top of the car. This is the cheapest type of kayak rack.
Foam kayak carriers cost between $25 and $50 depending on the sturdiness of the system.
Some foam kayak carriers are very simple and only provide 2 foam blocks and straps, while others may have a metal bar to provide extra support and the ability to adjust for different size kayaks.
Although they are simple and cheap, they aren’t very secure and shouldn’t be used for long trips.
View foam kayak carriers on Amazon.
J-Style Kayak Rack Cost
A J-style kayak rack is shaped in a “J” to hold the kayak on the roof of your car. They are the most common type of kayak rack.
J-style kayak racks typically cost between $40 and $150.
Cheaper J-style kayak racks are simple and transport the kayak without many special features, while more expensive ones may feature special loading systems, better padding, better quality, and much more.
J-style kayak racks are best for the average kayak user, as they are straightforward and stable without being very expensive.
View j-style kayak racks on Amazon.
Vertical Kayak Rack Cost
A vertical kayak rack holds the kayak on its side to maximize how many kayaks can fit on your roof.
Vertical kayak racks cost between $150 and $200 and can provide enough space to fit up to 4 kayaks depending on your vehicle size and roof rack weight capacity.
Most vertical kayak racks are similar in style and features, which makes the price range pretty small. A vertical kayak is best if your need to carry more than 2 kayaks at a time.
View vertical kayak racks on Amazon.
Horizontal Kayak Rack Cost
A horizontal kayak rack allows the kayak to sit flat on the roof of your car. This type of rack provides the most surface area contact with the kayak.
Horizontal kayak racks without lift assistance typically cost between $50 and $250.
The price is affected by several factors, such as stability, quality, and features.
Cheap horizontal kayak racks are simple and straightforward, while expensive ones typically offer easy-load systems and have a better quality overall.
A horizontal kayak rack is best if you’re looking for a simple, stable rack that is aerodynamic to help increase gas mileage.
View horizontal kayak racks on Amazon.
Lift-Assist Kayak Rack Cost
A lift-assist kayak rack is designed to make it easier to load the kayak onto your car. This can be a problem for many people since kayaks are awkward and heavy.
Prices for lift-assist kayaks vary greatly, costing anywhere from $100 to $650.
The prices depend on how much lift assistance the rack offers.
A cheap lift-assist kayak rack may simply provide an extension bar to make it easier to slide the kayak onto the roof, such as the Thule 847 Outrigger II.
Expensive racks can reduce the height you’ll need to lift the kayak and carry some of the kayak’s weight. A great example of this is the Thule 898 Hullavator Pro, which helps reduce the weight of the kayak up to 40lbs!
Lift-Assist kayak racks are best for those who struggle to lift kayaks onto their roof.
View lift-assist kayak racks on Amazon.
What Makes Kayak Racks Expensive?
Expensive kayak racks may not seem to be worth it upon first glance, but there are several reasons why kayak racks can be so costly.
Kayak racks can be expensive because of their quality, style, and features.
Any high-quality kayak rack will cost more than a cheaper version of the same rack with the features because more expensive materials are used in its design. Having a high-quality rack is important to keep your kayak safe while transporting.
Another factor in the price of a kayak rack is the style. As you can read in the sections above, the style of the kayak has a great effect on the price. Simple foam block designs are inexpensive, while lift-assist designs can become very expensive.
The features offered by the kayak rack also influences the price. Many expensive kayak racks will include some type of lift assistance. Additionally, they may provide extra ways of securing the kayak.
All these factors can greatly affect the price of the kayak rack. This doesn’t mean that one price point is better than another, but rather that you must choose how much to spend depending on your situation.
How Much Should I Spend on a Kayak Rack?
With the wide variation in kayak rack prices, it’s important to know how much you should spend for your personal situation.
If you need a simple solution to transport your kayak occasionally, you should look to spend between $25 and $100 on a kayak rack.
If you’ll be transporting your kayak frequently or need special lifting assistance, you should consider spending $100 to $650 on a kayak rack.
Consider your personal situation when deciding how much to spend on a kayak rack. Determine which type of kayak rack best fits your needs. Choose a rack with the appropriate features and quality.
Where Can I Buy a Kayak Rack?
You can buy a kayak rack both online and in-store in many different places.
A wide selection of kayak racks can be purchased online through Amazon or other retailers who offer online purchasing, such as DICK’S Sporting Goods or REI.
View kayak racks on Amazon.
You can also purchase a kayak rack in-store at any popular retailer, but may have a limited selection.