Top 7 Best Car Roof Boxes | 2020 Reviews (Thule, Yakima)

The packaging is a big part of the game when you are going on a trip. It’s hard to fit all of the boxes, bags, and other things inside your car without getting the interior damaged or the paint scraped.

Hence, you should consider buying the best car roof box and double the space that you have. It can safely store some of your clothes, a sleeping bag, or your ski equipment without eating up cargo space inside the car.

SportRack Vista XL Rear Opening Cargo Box
SportRack Vista XL Rear Opening Cargo Box
9.5/10
  • Weight: 28 pounds
  • Waterproof: Yes
  • Capacity: 18 cubic feet
Thule Force  Rooftop Cargo Carrier
Thule Force Rooftop Cargo Carrier
8.9/10
  • Weight: 35 pounds
  • Waterproof: No
  • Capacity: 13 cubic feet
Rooftop Cargo Carrier by JEGS Performance Products
Rooftop Cargo Carrier by JEGS Performance Products
8.3/10
  • Weight: 28 pounds
  • Waterproof: Yes
  • Capacity: 18 cubic feet

Now, when buying the most suitable car roof box for your vehicle, there are hundreds of options that you will find in the market. There are also factors to consider, such as footprint, price, weight capacity, security system, and waterproofness of the car roof box to ensure that it can protect your stuff from rain and snow. These features will vary from brands and models.

It’s remarkable to find all features in a single-car roof box. But if you know what you are looking for, other features might not be necessary as you thought.

The right car roof box will ensure you a hassle-free and enjoyable trip.

Top 7 Best Car Roof Boxes Review

A car rooftop box will allow you to store your gear and free up space to cater to another passenger. It also helps to keep the clutter away from your car.

Now, you might be overwhelmed with the number of car rooftop boxes that you can choose from in the market. In this review, we have listed down the top seven best car roof boxes. The following items got their ranks according to their durability, functionality, easiness of installation, and price.


#1. SportRack Vista XL Rear Opening Cargo Box – Best Overall Cargo Roof Box

A durable roof cargo box can take you places. Whether it’s your first time buying or not, durability remains a significant factor in choosing the ideal cargo box for you. Take a look at the SportRack Vista XL with a rear opening. This cargo box is superior in durability, high in volume, and has a reasonable price.

Thanks to its ABS construction, this cargo box is resistant to UV, and it is highly durable. It is the right cargo box to carry with you when driving to long-distance places. It can resist the harsh elements of nature.

It features a rear opening that allows you to access the content of the cargo box easily and away from the traffic. The package includes a U-Bolt hardware mounting kit. It will enable you to install the cargo box in your car with ease.

For security, the manufacturer includes a lock. It will keep your items safe inside, even when you leave it unattended for a while. This cargo box fits most SportRack roof rack system. It is also compatible with round and square systems, the same as most factory racks.

Maintenance of this cargo box is a breeze. All you need to do is wash it with water and soap to keep it clean.

ProsCons
The box opens easily from the rearThe twist handles have poor quality
Installation is a breeze
Snowboard may not fit straight
High volume capacity
Limited warranty

#2. Thule Force Cargo Box – Best Sporting Car Roof Box

Thule Force Cargo Box

 Product Specifications

  • Weight: 35 pounds
  • Waterproof: No
  • Capacity: 13 cubic feet

If you are looking for sporting equipment, we might just have the right product for you. The Thule Force Cargo box is durable, reliable, and the best partner for a long road trip. With its aerodynamic shape that cuts through the strong wind with ease, this cargo box is what you need when driving to long-distance places.

It also serves as an ideal option for car owners who are buying a car roof box for the first time. You can install it in just five minutes, thanks to its quick-grip mounting system that requires no tools at all.

For the security of the items inside, the package includes an oversized SecureLock. Even if you leave your things unattended when running errands, no one can easily pick through it.

This cargo box is not only reliable but also offers excellent convenience. Thanks to its dual-sided opening, you can load and unload from either side of the vehicle without difficulties. It is a must-have cargo roof box when you’re looking for an efficient storage tool for traveling.

ProsCons
Efficient aerodynamic design
Not ideal for customers on a budget
High volume capacityUnresponsive customer service
Easy to install
Water leak issues

#3. Rooftop Cargo Carrier by JEGS Performance Products – Best Budget Car Rooftop Box

Rooftop Cargo Carrier by JEGS Performance Products
  • Weight: 28 pounds
  • Waterproof: Yes
  • Capacity: 18 cubic feet

There’s no need to compromise durability if you’re on a tight budget. The JEGS Performance Products 90098 Rooftop Cargo Carrier might be the one that you are looking in the market. It’s durable, lightweight, easy to install, and best of all—budget-friendly.

It is one of the best-selling cargo carriers in the market, and it’s not hard to see why. This carrier is easy to access. The installation is a breeze and requires no tools at all.

However, the material used for the construction of this car rooftop box feels somewhat cheap. But for its price, it can do the job. It is made of plastic, making it resistant to rain and snow.

The locking mechanism of this cargo carrier feels stiff, especially at first use. If you want to add additional locks on the sides of the carrier, it is advisable.

This robust and functional car rooftop box is an excellent hard-sided option without draining your bank. While it may require a little DIY work due to plastic misalignments, but rest assured that you’re going to enjoy the same functionality, durability, and security while paying half the price of the more expensive models.

It’s also the right choice if you don’t prefer a soft-sided car rooftop bag.

ProsCons
Waterproof constructionCannot fit cross-rail configurations
Offers decent capacity
Plastic misalignments
Budget-friendly price
Quality defects

#4. Thule Pulse Rooftop Cargo Box – Best Budget Cargo Box

Thule Pulse Rooftop Cargo Box

Product Specifications

  • Weight: 34 pounds
  • Waterproof: No
  • Capacity: 14 cubic feet

Naturally, you’d want to invest in a cargo box that will protect your items while in transit. Thanks to the rugged and textured ABS material of the Thule Pulse cargo box, you have peace of mind that it can protect your gears at all times. It is the cargo box that offers superior protection.

It features quick and secure fitting, using only one hand, thanks to its FastGrip quick-mount system. You can assemble it in just a few minutes. When you’re loading and unloading items, you can do it with ease thanks to its passenger-side opening.

Aside from that, the CentralLocking system helps in maximizing the security of the cargo’s contents. Even if you leave your car unattended for a while, no one can easily break into it. It features the Thule Comfort key that you can only remove one. It detects all secured locking points.

This cargo box also offers a high-volume capacity. It can fit up to five snowboards without difficulty.

ProsCons
Durable and solid construction
The lid easily opens in strong winds
Does not affect fuel efficiencyWater leak issues

#5. Skybox Carbonite Cargo Box by Yakima – Best Car Rooftop Box for Durability

Skybox Carbonite Cargo Box by Yakima

Product Specifications

  • Weight: 75 pounds
  • Waterproof: Yes
  • Capacity: 12 to 21 cubic feet

Sleek-looking and durable, the Yakima Skybox is everything you need when going on a long road trip with your friends and family. It is highly reliable and protects your stuff even when raining or snowing.

The cargo box can accommodate up to 70-inch skis. You can also attach it to a crossbar that is 2-3 feet long on a car roof.

Approximately 80% of the materials built on this carbonite cargo box are recycled. It is easy to install thanks to its lightweight construction. The lid has an aerodynamic design, especially when you drive fast. The cover stiffens against the wind.

What’s more to this is it does not affect the gas efficiency of the vehicle. Rest assured that you will not hear any loud noises while you are driving.

Thanks to the innovative SkyBox technology, you can open up the compartments from either side of the car. That way, you are not tied down when you’re putting things into the rack. Aside from that, it features an advanced closure system that will lock securely to ensure that your items are safe while in transit.

ProsCons
Excellent customer service
The locking mechanism can be stiff at times
Installation is a breeze
The plastic exterior scratches easily
Easy to store

#6. Motion XT Rooftop X-Large Cargo Carrier by Thule – Best Car Rooftop Cargo Carrier for Design

Motion XT Rooftop X-Large Cargo Carrier by Thule

Product Specifications

  • Weight: 42 pounds
  • Waterproof: Yes
  • Capacity: 16 to 22 cubic feet

Thule Cargo Carrier offers the most innovative and convenient design that a cargo carrier can offer. Rest assured that your upcoming road trips will be hassle-free and smooth with the help of this car rooftop box.

It features a sliding lock system, allowing you to lock and unlock the cargo carrier without difficulty. The lid design automatically locks as soon as you close it, making it handy when you are in a hurry.

The feet sizes vary from 16 to 22 cubic feet. Its innovative design will allow you to mount the rooftop cargo box with ease and even without a pre-installed mounting system. It also features a handy grip system that will enable you to open and close the cargo carrier when it starts snowing or raining.

Thanks to its vast capacity, you can store all that you need in this cargo carrier. Rest assured that it will not affect the trunk or the rear access when you install this cargo box. Thule has been effective in resolving this common issue among vehicle owners.

Furthermore, it has a dual opening side that allows you to store your things from both sides of the vehicle. That way, you can multitask and speed up your packing process.

ProsCons
Made of lightweight fiberglass materialThe locking system is stiff and gets stuck
Solid and durable constructionUnresponsive customer service
Easy to install
The surface easily scratches

#7. Shadow Rooftop Cargo Box by Inno – Best Car Rooftop Box for Odd-Sized Gears

Shadow Rooftop Cargo Box by Inno

Product Specifications

  • Weight: 42 pounds
  • Waterproof: Yes
  • Capacity: 11 cubic feet

If you are willing to spend extra dollars, make sure to take a look at this product. The Inno Shadow Rooftop Cargo Box is best for vehicles with odd-sized gears. With its extra-long configuration, you can place things you won’t be able to put in a conventional cargo carrier.

This cargo carrier can accommodate up to eight skis, a deep-sea fishing pole, and another extra-long golf club set. It is an ideal choice if you’re going on a long adventure with your friends, and you’re brining with your extra-long gears along the way.

The materials used for this cargo carrier is lightweight, making it easy to store. Thanks to its robust construction, rest assured that with proper use and maintenance, it can last for a long time.

Moreover, it offers a better aerodynamic profile. It produces little to no noise when driving and does not affect the vehicle’s gas efficiency.

This cargo carrier is perhaps one of the easiest to install of all the products featured in this list. Thanks to its compact and lightweight design, installation is a breeze. Its innovative design will allow you to lift the car rooftop box to the crossbars of your vehicle, requiring only one person.

Its low-profile, sleek appearance makes it a good buy, blending with almost any vehicle model. The price is a bit costly, but you get what you pay for the product.

ProsCons
Solid and waterproof constructionLittle wind noise when driving
Clamps are adjustable
Weak locking mechanism
Easy to installHigh price

Our Top Pick – Best Overall Car Rooftop Box

An in-depth deliberation of the listed items to determine the best car roof box reveals that the SportRack Vista XL Rear Opening Cargo Box is the best overall car rooftop box to buy.

It is superior in durability and offers high-volume capacity. It is what you need if you’re going on long adventures with your friends and family. Not to mention that the installation of the product only takes a few minutes, and you’re it’s all good.

Furthermore, SportRack has built a good reputation in the market. Rest assured that as a customer, you will get assistance as soon as possible if you have any concerns regarding your new car roof box. They offer excellent customer service, and they are known for their premium-quality products.

All these features made this car roof box on our top pick. SportRack will be with you as you embark on your upcoming road trip adventures.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yw6FhgqudsQ

Where do you use car roof boxes?

If you ever find yourself trying to free up some space for another passenger in your car, a car rooftop box will solve your problem.

It has a specific design to provide a weather-proof and durable storage box for your clothes and other gears. This cargo carrier is compatible with most vehicle models with varying capacities that will suit your needs.

Most of the time, road trip enthusiasts and travelers invest in this product. It’s an excellent addition to your car, allowing you to store your stuff securely without crowding your cargo space.

That way, you don’t need to stress yourself out every time you use your car for a road trip. It makes your trip a hassle-free and enjoyable experience.


Choosing the Best Car Rooftop Box – Complete Buyer’s Guide

When you look it up on the market, you will find that there are hundreds of car rooftop boxes that you can choose from the market. It varies in sizes, shapes, and designs; these cargo carriers has designs to suit your needs.

There are a few things that you need to consider first to buy the best car roof cargo box. Below is a comprehensive buying guide that will help you to narrow down your options and help you choose the cargo carrier that is most suitable for your needs.

Factors to Consider When Buying the Best Car Rooftop Box

Here are the following factors that you need to consider when choosing the best car rooftop boxes to suit your needs:

Kind of gears

Before anything else, you need to consider the type of equipment that you’re planning to tote into the cargo carrier. It can be a ski, a fishing pole, sleeping bags, tennis sensors, or some of the extra clothes that you can no longer place in the car’s backseat.

The cargo carriers in this list varied in shapes and sizes. Some models have long and narrow designs. It is to accommodate extra-long gears while others have a compact design to carry smaller stuff, such as car rooftop bags.

Keep in mind that when it comes to car rooftop boxes, bigger isn’t better. It can affect your gas efficiency and may load unnecessary weight to your vehicle, because of the bulky materials. It can also be challenging to take the cargo carrier on and off the car.

Hence, make sure that you look for a cargo carrier that is lightweight, compact, and aerodynamic. Don’t opt for the highest capacity. Just choose the cargo carrier that can accommodate what you need. You don’t need to burn a hole in your pocket to buy an expensive, colossal cargo carrier when you’re only planning to carry your clothes to the camping.

Installment

The car rooftop box installment is a crucial factor to consider. Some people, especially those who frequently travel, would prefer a permanent roof box in their vehicles so they can store their stuff right away.

It works on hard-sided and locking car rooftop boxes. However, it is still advisable to take it off when you have no plans of using it for the following weeks, as it can help in reducing the wear and tear of the product.

The cargo boxes also differ in the difficulty of installations. Some models are easy to take off and on. While some cargo carriers may require multiple people due to its bulkiness and complicated installment, it also helps to ensure that it doesn’t scrape your car’s roof paint.

For easy installation, look for a model that offers quick-release clamps. That way, you can remove and install your box without difficulty.

Cargo Box Shape

Cargo boxes come in all shapes and sizes. When it comes to choosing the right form, make sure that it’s not only for aesthetics. Some styles have specific designs to fit what you need, while some have spacious designs to leave a room for a bike rack atop your roof. To give you an idea of the variety that you can choose from, here are the most common shapes of cargo carriers that you’ll find in the market:

  • Narrow roof boxes- this tight roof box can stretch up to 60cm wide. It is an ideal choice if you’re only planning to store just a little of your things, and you want to leave some room for an installment of a kayak or a bike carrier on the roof.
  • Medium-width roof boxes- these boxes are up to 75cm wide. Installment of this cargo carrier is easy because it’s not that bulky, and most of the materials used are lightweight yet durable. Installing this type of cargo carrier atop your rooftop will allow you to carry up to two more bikes. It is also a popular choice for family uses.
  • Full-width roof boxes- with this box shape comes some limitations on what you can put inside the cargo carrier. Typically, it still provides space for the roof bar, allowing you to attach a bike carrier. It also depends if you’re using T-track aluminum bars or the length of your roof bars. Keep in mind that long full-width car rooftop boxes are heavy and might require multiple persons for installation. It can also be challenging to store, so make sure that when you buy one, you’ll permanently place it on your car rooftop.

Vehicle Size

How big is your car? Ask yourself first before you start browsing for potential products to buy. Roof boxes have innovative designs that you can mount on any type of vehicle. If the roof of your car is sturdy and you can attach a rack, chances are, most conventional cargo carriers are compatible with your vehicle.

For car owners who have crossbars and roof rails, it is highly advisable to opt for plug-and-play models.

Aside from that, the maximum weight that you’re allowed to carry in your cargo carrier will depend on your car. But as a rule of thumb, it is not recommended to carry a heavy load on the roof of your vehicle.

To know the maximum weight, you need to follow the car’s rate. For instance, if the cargo carrier is rated 300 pounds and your car rooftop can only accommodate 200, then you should only load a maximum weight of 200 pounds.

And if you own a small hatchback, you will also need to buy a smaller car rooftop box.

Access

Another vital factor that you don’t want to miss is access to the cargo carrier. Most models of cargo carriers allow you to access it from one side, and reaching it from the other side of the car can be difficult.

More prominent cargo carriers often offer access from both sides, but due to its clamshell orientation, it is only open from one direction.

But if you’re willing to spend more money, then you can opt for high-end models that will let you access it from either side. This feature is only ideal for car owners who will be using their car rooftop boxes frequently.

Security System

Since you will entrust some of your things in that cargo carrier, make sure that you buy a model with a reliable security system. It is crucial, especially if you are leaving your stuff unattended.

If you’re going to buy a hard-sided box, make sure that the top will lockdown, and the entire table will not detach from the car’s roof rack. Some high-end models offer a tight locking mechanism.

Check if the lock is not flimsy at all. Some locks have a poor quality that anyone can pick on it quickly. The lock must be functional, tight, and challenging to choose. That way, you can rest assured that your stuff inside the cargo is protected and secured.

Materials

If we talk about durability, the material of the car rooftop box is the most vital factor to consider. Different cargo carriers have different materials.

Some cargo boxes offer high-quality plastic material. It is lightweight, but it scratches easily. Other models have lightweight fiberglass material. It makes the cargo carrier sleek-looking and easy to install.

Make sure that whatever material you choose, it is waterproof and resistant to the harsh elements of nature. The last thing you want to experience is to find that the rainwater is damaging your stuff after leaving out your car in the pouring rain.

High-quality materials can prevent water leakages. It also secures the stuff inside the carrier even when you’re driving at full speed.

Quick Install Mounting Hardware

If you don’t want the car rooftop box attached to your vehicle permanently, a quick install mounting hardware will do the trick. These mounting clamps can cut half the time you spend on installing and uninstalling the car rooftop box atop the vehicle.

As mentioned earlier, it is not advisable to let the car rooftop box stay atop the roof for a long time. It reduces the wear and tear of the product, especially when it’s not in use.

Safety

The things inside your cargo carriers aren’t the only one that needs to be secured. When on the highway, make sure that you and your fellow road users are also safe.

With this in mind, make sure to buy a car rooftop box with an innovative design for the safety of road users in mind. Reputable companies such as Thule follows strict safety standards to ensure that the cargo carrier doesn’t cause accidents on the road.


Conclusion

Being able to choose the right car roof box saves time and offers a hassle-free experience. It also helps in avoiding problems and delays on the road. Refer to the review above to narrow down your choices and the buying guide that will help you buy the best car roof box for your vehicle. From then on, you don’t need to worry about your storage!


FAQs (Frequently Asked Questions):  

✅ Is it necessary to remove the car roof box when not in use?

Yes. If you are not planning to use it for a while, consider removing it from your car roof. It can reduce the drag, improve the aerodynamics of your vehicle, and reduces the weight of the car.

✅ How will a car roof box affect the vehicle?

Installing a car roof box will affect the gas efficiency of the vehicle. It can also increase the drag, which is why you should choose an aerodynamic and compact design of your cargo carrier.

✅ Can I put suitcases in the car roof box?

It is not advisable to place hard suitcases in your car roof box. Instead, place soft bags inside. Even if the cargo carrier label says it can cater to a hard case, it is best to opt for mild cases to avoid damage.

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