Overhead garage storage racks are one of the best ways to reduce clutter without sacrificing precious garage floor space. In fact, with taller garages and space over garage doors that are often overlooked a proper overhead rack can free up dozens of square feet of expensive garage floor.
But, as with any storage, choosing a rack that not only fits your space but allows for easy access and support heavy items is key. Which makes these overhead racks a great place to start for any size or height of garage:
Types of Overhead Garage Storage
With overhead storage most DIY’ers will face two basic options: purchase a metal rack system or build your own.
And with pros and cons of each, the choices often come down to:
- Size of storage
- Mounting on the wall or ceiling
- And, weight capacity of the shelving
Metal Ceiling Mounted Storage
Shown: HyLoft Square Rack
When overhead storage truly means keeping the contents off the ground, ceiling mounted racks were designed to attach directly the rafters of the garage.
While offering the most storage for large bins, these types of overhead garage storage require careful installation – best done by professionals if finding studs and installing lag bolts isn’t something you can do.
Wall Mounted Overhead Storage Shelving (Narrow)
Shown: FlexiMounts 12-inch Shelving
Installing overhead garage storage doesn’t require installing shelving directly to the ceiling. With pre-built solutions that are easier to install (and sometimes access), a narrower shelving solution can be used.
And, in many garage organization projects, a combination of both shelving and a ceiling rack will offer storage for large bins and smaller items.
Power Operated Shelving
There is one large downside to overhead storage: you must supply the strength and balance to lift and take down the contents.
Which, for many, means investing a bit more in racks that will lift upwards of 300 pounds with a range of over 9-feet. By using steel cable and a pulley system that can be hand operated or drill the risk of falling is greatly reduced with a system like these.
Deep Wall Mounted Storage Shelving
By leveraging an over-shelf support arm, extra deep shelving units will up the weight limit on shelving to (varying by supplier) 500+ pounds.
And, for simplified storage, install to the wall for easier assembly and access later.
Best Overhead Garage Storage Racks
Fleximounts Overhead Garage Storage Rack
The top selling Fleximounts 4×8 features easy installation with wide ceiling connection points, 22-40″ drop, and three color options (black, hammertone, white)
If you’re going to take the time to add storage you might as well install a lot of it. And with this best overhead garage rack you’ll have:
- 32-square feet of storage
- Up to 40″ of vertical height
- 600-pounds of weight capacity
- Frame and wire shelving are welded together to prevent loads from shifting it
The only drawback? Make sure you’ll have enough clearance for yourself or a taller vehicle for shorter ceilings.
HyLoft Height Adjustable Overhead Rack (45×45)
The economical HyLoft 45″x45″ will fit in tight spots of your garage. And with a 17″-28″ height range and pivoting connectors will work on both flat and low slope ceilings.
For a smaller overhead area and shorter ceilings this rack will tuck into tight spots. And with a 17″ minimum height will allow walking clearance for all but the tallest of us (about 6’6″ for a standard 8′ ceiling).
The only pitfall of this rack? You may need to span joists with a 2×4″ as it doesn’t offer a long connection point with the ceiling.
Racor Crank Operated Overhead Rack (48×48)
For easy access the Racor 48×48″ crank operated ceiling storage lift will lower and raise loads with a hand crank or drill.
While most overhead solutions are static, this rack uses an ingenious crank to let you access the storage without risk of a ladder. And doesn’t require a heavy overhead lift for those with mobility challenges.
- 250 pound capacity
- 48″ x 48″
- Adapts to sloped ceilings with nylon rings
- 8-feet of vertical operation to work with taller and short ceilings
- Safety lock to prevent load from falling when not in use
MonsterRax Overhead Rack (48×96)
The MonsterRax 4×8 ceiling mounted storage rack has all the standard features – including a ceiling hugging 12-21″ drop. All you supply is the decking (no wire included).
- Adjustable 12-21″ drop
- 600-pound total capacity
- Homeowner supplies plywood (no wire)
Fleximounts Medium Sized Rack (48×72)
The Fleximounts 4×6 rack is an in-between size for spots where an 8′ rack won’t fit. And with it’s shorter design you’ll have a massive 550-pound load capacity.
- Adjustable 22-40″ drop
- 550-pound total capacity
- 14-guage steel construction
Overhead Wheelbarrow Storage Lift
With a StoreYourBoard wheelbarrow lift you’ll be able to gain floor space and store a seldom-used but bulky tool.
- Two patented lifts to grab your wheelbarrow, kayak or ladders
- Easy lift mechanism
- 60-pound capacity
- Tie-down wall cleat
Retractable Overhead Storage Lift
Using this BluWorld Retract-a-Rack you’ll be able to lift fishing roads, skis, or other small items off the ground and have easy access.
- Holds up to 16 fishing rods
- Auto-retract pneumatic pistons
Buying Guide to Overhead Garage Storage Racks
Measure Twice and Order Once
Much like cutting wood once after measuring twice you really don’t want to get this step wrong.
Here’s a few tips for measuring:
- Remember your vehicle height – tall trucks can go over 6’6″ and a low hanging rack will hit.
- Units can be combined. If the one you want is too short or long look at combining 2-3 units instead.
- Make sure you’ll have overhead studs/rafters to connect too.
- Watch out for garage door rails and clearance needed.
- Make sure nobody will hit their head (a relative has theirs too low for me…)
Match Your Weight to the Racks Limits
While most racks are used for storage bins, if you have heavier plans make sure you are staying within the weight limits. Due to longer units of up to 8-feet it doesn’t take a whole lot to put 500+ pounds on the shelf. And an overhead shelf collapsing is more than inconvenient it’s potentially fatal.
Mesh Included vs. Bare Rack
The good news is not all overhead garage storage racks come with mesh. So if your requirement is bare or you want to use plywood you’ll be able to find a system with either.
But remember you might not be saving money as a typical sheet of plywood can run $30-50 depending on thickness.
And don’t forget the plywood counts to the overall weight limit of the rack.
Frequently Asked Questions for Overhead Garage Storage Racks
How do I build overhead garage storage?
Unless your rafters are open and you can access the area above them I recommend looking up one of the best overhead garage storage racks. Due to the weight and nature of this system it might be safer to use a professionally built rack.
How do I organize my garage?
There are three ways to organize a garage that I recommend starting with. First, for small garages going vertical with an overhead storage rack (of course) is a great method. Second, for a woodworker or hobbyist a garage lumber rack will get your wood off the floor and organized on the wall. And last, a high quality pegboard organizer will give your immediate access to your tools.
Can I combine multiple overhead garage storage units?
Yes each overhead garage storage, following the manufacturer instructions, can be placed adjacent to each other to form a long run of storage.
How do you cover garage storage?
One of the best ways to keep your stored items dust free is to use a cloth sheet or a furniture cover. Both are readily available and will prevent years of accumulating dust from damaging your stored goods.
The good news is there are a lot of overhead storage racks available for your garage. But, keep in mind you’ll want to measure carefully and plan to have some help for the installation.
Disclaimer: Installing overhead storage is inherently dangerous. This article is not recommending or advising on how to attach the mentioned racks. Review the manufacturers instructions and hire certified help if uncertain about any step of the installation. Read our full disclaimers for more.
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Eric has been a professional woodworker for over thirty years and has worked in small cabinet shops making everything from kitchen cabinets to hand-made furniture. Now working from a home woodworking shop Eric is sharing his passion for woodworking, tool advice and how-to knowledge from his Minnesota-based woodshop.