Just before my wife and I had our first child in 2013, my stepdad was involved in a bad car accident. We are grateful he is still with us, but the road to recovery from the trauma inflicted on his neck and back has been a long one. Multiple herniated disks forever changed his ability to do heavy lifting or complete demanding physical tasks. My parents changed their lifestyle to help cope with the new limitations, and since the accident, I have always kept an eye out for products and services that might make their every day easier.  

When I was looking at products for my own garage, the idea of an overhead ceiling storage option was intriguing to me. If you have read nearly any of our other articles, we bought a new house that had many amazing features but lacked storage options. Thus, the Garage Junkie was born – an outlet to chronicle our journey into this intriguing niche, exploring it from a blank slate. We researched several overhead storage options, some of which we discuss in our article here. But this particular product had its own level of versatility that I wanted to explore in more detail.  

When I came across the Racor Ceiling Storage Lift, not only did I think it was a good idea to help solve our storage dilemma, but I also thought it would be a great product for my parents. Since no ladder is required once installed, they could access their stored items on the ground either using the hand crank or a hand drill to drop the shelf and gain access.  

The Racor ceiling storage heavy lift is a ceiling overhead storage unit that allows access from the floor. The shelf has a total of 16 sq. ft. of storage space and has a weight capacity of 250 lbs. It can be operated by a manual crank or connected to a power drill to raise and lower the unit. Ideal for nearly any storage situation, the Racor Ceiling Storage Lift can grant you additional floor space by getting your stored items overhead, while still providing easy access from the floor level. 

Build and Materials of the Racor Ceiling Storage Lift 

The Racor Ceiling Storage Lift is built out of high strength steel which can support 250 pounds of weight. The frame has a smooth, powder-coated black finish and comes in a package that weighs approximately 74 lbs. With the design and the 4’x4’ shelf platform, the Racor Ceiling Storage Lift provides 16 sq. ft of shelving storage area to be raised and lowered 8’ in the air for either easy access, or easy storage.  

Adjustable Mount for Easy Installation and Usability of the Racor Ceiling Storage Lift 

With the simple cabling design of the hoist on the Racor Ceiling Storage Lift, this product can be installed on flat or angled ceilings with simple adjustments. It does require several lags to suspend the hoist but is secure once properly installed. The hoist and upper frame should be installed first. After the cables are run, the floating shelf can then be installed and leveled.  

For usability, I liked that with a standard 9’ garage height, the Racor Ceiling Storage Lift can lower the floating shelf to 18 inches above the ground. This allows for easy access and doesn’t have a far distance of travel for the item you are trying to store when you must hoist it onto the platform.  

The hand crank has an open hook that you insert into the gear drive loop. The loop is a decent size which helps you not feel like you are threading a needle from 3-4 feet away.  

If you need additional help with properly installing overhead storage, please check out our article “How to Install Above Garage Door Storage”. 

Racor Ceiling Hoist 

For the Racor Ceiling Storage Lift, the hoist is a metal winding axle with a gear drive. The cables are attached at, and wind around this axle when the shelf is lifted. The cables connected at the axle then span out to the pully assembly so it can connect to the floating shelf.  

As for the mechanics behind using the hoist, the system comes with a handle that allows you to manually raise and lower the shelving unit. There is an addon that will allow you to use a drill rather than the manual crank. 

Safety and Locking Mechanism 

If you are like me, and you have heard of “what goes up must come down” this Racor lift might make you a little leery. I am all right with the notion of this, as long as I get to choose when this storage lift rises and falls. None of us need a 250-pound cannonball leaving an “impression” on our vehicle.  

The safety and locking mechanism was one of the first things that I looked at when it came to the Racor Ceiling Storage Lift. The locking mechanism is a part of the gear drive. If you look at the images, the gear lock is the yellow piece connected to the gear drive.  

The gear drive lock is managed and locked into place by the crank hook that is used to manually raise and lower the platform. Once the platform is raised, simply unhook the crank hook, hook the safety lock and pull it down toward the gear loop, locking the gear drive. Follow the opposite steps when wanting to lower the platform. When you are using the crank hook, rise or remove the locking mechanism, moving it away from the gear loop, so that the gear drive can rotate freely.  

There was an additional feature that was impressive, and I wanted to be sure I mentioned it: There is no set rise height when it comes to the Racor Ceiling Storage Lift. The safety lock mechanism can be engaged at basically any height. This allows for versatility and safety and provides several options for what you might store on the garage storage lift. For example, even though I measured the height for storing some bins, I eventually decided to double stack them with some camping gear. I was able to lower the lift another eight inches to maximize the storage space for additional items I hadn’t originally planned for.  

Potential Uses for the Racor Ceiling Storage Lift 

So, what can you best store with this contraption? The options are really endless, but to help the creative juices start to flow, here are a couple of ideas that might be ideal for you: 

  • Items difficult to wield up a ladder 
  • Lawnmower during offseason 
  • Holiday Decoration 
  • Bulky items that need to be stored 
  • Items you don’t need often or need easy access too 
  • Items you do not need to access while the cars are in the garage 

Pros and Cons Summary for the Racor Ceiling Storage Lift 

The Racor Ceiling Storage Lift provides an inexpensive overhead storage lift options that grants easy access, while also allowing you to get items off the garage floor. Researching this product, here is what you should consider when determining to purchase. 

Pros 

  • Cost-effective 
  • Easy installation 
  • 250 lbs. weight capacity (evenly distributed) 
  • High strength steel 
  • 4’x4’, 16 sq. ft of storage 
  • Safety lock for gear drive 
  • Safety lock easy to engage and disengage  
  • Versatile installation options – can be installed on flat or angled ceilings 

Cons 

  • No lip around the storage platform 
  • Hand crank, but has optional power drill attachment 
  • Has a good weight limit, but stationary overhead storage options can hold more 
  • Wish there were additional safety measures to slow the shelf decent 

Should I Buy the Racor Ceiling Storage Lift 

Overall, I really like this product and would recommend it. The versatility of the storage lift allows the owner several options for how and what to store on the unit. I really like that the system does not have a set raise height which would limit on what items might be able to be stored and stored safely.  

The installation is straight forward and simple. You secure the two main arms into two ceiling joists that are 48 inches apart, and then follow the instruction manual to run the cables and suspend the floating shelf. Once the unit is installed and you test that the storage lift works by raising and lowering it a few times, the unit is ready.  

The lock is crucial and is something that is easy to operate. It secures the gear drive but can simply be disengaged so that you can lower the storage unit and get to your stored items. I would also add that, as this is a manual crank, your strength will be what lowers or raises the unit. The area needs to be completely clear underneath, as the amount of weight hoisted overhead, can determine how quickly the unit is lowered. Be sure to be safe.  

A great value for the price, and an alternative for clambering up a ladder to use an overhead storage rack. This unit is worth looking into.