Let’s talk about garage storage. As someone who loves all things outdoors, and also owns a lot of tools, I’m always looking for more efficient ways to organize all the gear in my garage.
One of the large hurdles to garage storage is how to efficiently use the ceiling or upper wall space without compromising garage depth and the ability to pull a vehicle into the garage.
Another is what to do with your bicycles, kayaks, and coolers — basically the large, space-consuming gear that may or may not be used very often. And what about bike racks for vehicles? My bike rack has been shuffled around my garage and has never found a true home when not on the truck.
Top Shelf Storage Solutions has found a fix for all of these issues. The Lift, Top Shelf’s wall-mounted storage rack, allows you to store your hitch or roof rack-mounted attachments easily and safely while also utilizing them as storage devices.
We installed and have been testing one for months to handle bikes, trucks, tools, and gear.
In short: With the press of a button, you can raise your gear up and out of the way. Just slide your bicycle rack into the receiver, insert the pin, mount your bikes on it, and press the button. The Lift offers a modular solution to organize a variety of gear and make way for your vehicle. It starts at $799, but that price could go up quickly depending on your needs. But if organization is important to you — buy once and cry once.
What Is The Lift?
The Lift is effectively an electric winch that mounts near your ceiling. It raises or lowers a 2-inch hitch receiver trolley up and down a rail that’s mounted to the wall. You choose the hitch-mounted accessory you want to store and attach it to the trolley. It integrates that accessory and turns it into your new favorite garage storage solution.
The Lift works for garage ceilings from 8 feet to over 12 feet tall, and it has different rail heights to fit the exact height of your garage. Each model ships with one “trolley,” the hitch receiver to which to mount a rack.
If you have a taller garage ceiling, the option to add a Double Trolley below the first allows for two racks to be attached to one lift. This addition (especially in garages with ceilings 10 feet and over) is a must in my opinion, as it takes full advantage of what the lift has to offer by doubling its capacity.
The Lift will work with pretty much any hitch-mount attachment, from bike to cargo rack. It’s designed for use with 2-inch hitch receiver racks, but with an adapter, it can also work with most 1¼-inch attachments.
Top Shelf sells multiple racks on its website for use with The Lift or as standalone racks to use on your vehicle, even if you don’t have a Lift. The Roof Rack allows you to use roof rack-mounted attachments on The Lift to store your kayaks, bikes, rooftop carriers, or other roof-mounted gear. The roof rack changed my life, as I now have an easy and convenient way to store my kayaks when they aren’t out at the lake.
What’s New With Top Shelf
Top Shelf is planning a few new product releases in the late summer of 2022. So, if you are thinking of biting the bullet and installing this impressive system, here’s what else could help integrate with and store your gear.
Top Shelf Lift Tire Rack
Top Shelf has designed a rack to hold up to four tires on rims in hopes of solving the current issue that many car lovers and garage gurus face — where to put all the extra tires!
This rack should be perfect for your seasonal tires, track day tires, or that spare set of mud tires you just can’t wait to use. Sure, other tire racks designed for garage storage exist, but this looks like a great addition to the Lift System if you plan on installing one.
Top Shelf 6-Bicycle Hitch-Mounted Rack
This is the brand’s solution to the need for larger families to transport multiple bikes safely and affordably. Keep an eye out if you are in the market for a high-capacity bike rack. We don’t have much info on the product yet, but we already see how much functionality it could bring to the Lift System.
How It All Works
When you order The Lift, Top Shelf will ask for the height measurement of the garage wall you will be mounting it on. They understand that every garage is different and have thought through pretty much every variable.
Once you give them the height, they will choose and cut a rail to fit your garage and ship out your lift and any other accessories. The Lift comes packaged in a robust branded box that holds everything neatly and safely in its place. The rail is packaged separately.
Following the instructions, it took me 26 minutes to assemble and install the lift and double trolley in my garage. I had a few questions based on how my garage was built, and Top Shelf customer service was able to clear up all my questions quickly and easily.
Once installed, all I had to do was plug in my Lift and set the height adjustment pin so that the bikes I had on there would not hit the ceiling when lifted up. (It’s worth noting that you’ll need an electrical outlet wired into your garage, or very close by.)
So far, I’m loving this addition to my garage, and can’t wait to see what Top Shelf comes out with next.
What Tools Are Needed for Assembly and Installation?
A ¾-inch wrench or a ¾-inch socket and ratchet are needed for assembly. However, a power driver with a ¾-inch socket attached will increase the speed of the assembly.
A drill or a ratchet wrench is needed to install the 5/16-inch lag bolts into the wall. A 5/16-inch nut driver is included with The Lift. You will also need a stud finder, pencil, and straight edge to mark the center location of the stud where you plan to mount The Lift.
Can the Rack or Gear Being Lifted Hit the Ceiling?
Yes, but The Lift ships with a pin that, when installed in accordance with your specific rack and gear, sets the upper and or lower limit of The Lift’s movement to stop it from running into things.
What Model Should I Buy?
The model you buy depends on what you would like to lift with it. If you have a shorter garage and only plan to use one trolley, or know that the total weight of the rack and all gear won’t exceed 200 pounds, the Model 200 would be a good fit.
If you have a taller garage and plan to utilize the second trolley, or know you’ll want to lift more than 200 pounds, then consider the 400-pound-capacity model.
How Tall Does a Garage Need to Be for the Second Trolley?
In general, the second trolley works best on lifts mounted in spaces with ceiling heights of 9 feet or more. In shorter garages, the lower trolley will not lift very far off the ground before the upper trolley stops at the ceiling.
The double trolley comes with a 24-inch cable that hangs from the first trolley and spaces the hitch receivers about 32 inches apart. If you need a different spacing, contact Top Shelf’s fantastic customer service and ask about custom length cables to fit your needs.