Planning for a road trip? Camping out in the woods or spending the day at the beach, perhaps? Of course, it wouldn’t be fun to do such activities alone. It could be just as boring without your stuff. Those that you need for whatever activity you may have planned. Your “to bring” list could be endless. Packing your things in luggage can be challenging if you have a lot to bring. What’s even harder? Getting your stuff and your friends fit inside your vehicle. Trunk just wouldn’t be enough for yours and theirs.
There are a lot of options to secure your load (water toys, bike racks, luggage, etc.,) if you don’t have a rail system, like making your own. But, remember that if you get your car damaged while DIY-ing with your car, it just might not be covered by your car insurance.
Not a problem with roof racks. Whether you need extra space to haul your serious load or just don’t want to clutter your (already cluttered) trunk, a roof rack is your answer.
What are roof rack cross bars?
Roof rack systems are designed to allow users to transport items on the roof, to open up the space for occupants inside the car. As vehicles differ in size, so does the type of roof rack. One of which is the type that uses load bars or cross bars. These attach to your towers, goes from driver-side window to passenger-side window, creating a mounting point for your accessories.
One necessary component is the roof rail. This is where the crossbars are usually attached to. They run by the length of the car’s roof from front to back. Lately, most SUVs and minivans now include this as a part of the vehicle.
Top 12 Best Roof Rack Cross Bars Review
Less complexity and more on simplicity – just a couple of reasons so many users choose to trust Yakima. The products will stand to function for more than the amount of time you expected them to be. Yakima Round Crossbars are offered in different lengths to serve various vehicle sizes and load needs. Ideally, they go with their own brand’s tower, but they will have no issue getting installed with other roof rack systems.
Fabrication and Design: Yakima Roof Rack Crossbars are made from vinyl coated galvanized steel. These bars have enough strength for the loads you need to transport. Don’t worry, if you see them flex as you put up your luggage. This only happens to reduce shock when your car endures rough and heavy terrains. While some complain about round bars getting a little wind noise than aerodynamically designed cross bars, the round shape is easier to set up and gear mounts.
Product Dimensions: This Yakima crossbar measures at 58 x 4 x 3 inches and weighs 9 pounds.
In the box: Package includes a pair of Yakima crossbars.
|Made from high-quality metal||Accessories like end caps are sold separately
|Instantly serves as any roof rack system's backbone||They make wind noise when empty.|
|58 inches in length|
Transport up to 150lbs load with this over-cab utility gear that adjusts for use of any vehicles. These bars attach well on your vehicle even with no-drill installation.
Fabrication and Design: These cross bars made with lightweight aluminum and are rubber-coated to keep your vehicle’s roof from getting accidentally scratched. They extend from 33.5 inches to 56.25 inches fitting to any car you need them to be. Its 6.25 inches guardrails along with integrated anchor points are perfect for tie-down straps.
Product Dimensions: Apex TRCB-4460-U measures at 35.4 x 5.3 x 3.3 inches and weighs 6 pounds.
In the box: Package includes 4 foot, 4-foot pad, 4 end cap, 2 tie straps, 2 clamp straps, 4 bolts, 4 lock nuts, 2 carrier bars, and 2 telescope bars.
|Relatively Inexpensive||Load capacity is a bit low|
|Easy to install and can be adjusted with no difficulty||Rubber foot pads aren’t stuck strongly to the plastic bases and could fall off when moving or adjusting the bars
|Load capacity of 150lbs
|Universal Fit for All Vehicles|
Designed to reduce noise and be aerodynamic, Thule Aeroblade Roof Rack Bar aims to reduce the impact on fuel use. They are intended to be like a wing – light but super strong. Thule features attachments that you can employ to transport gears such as water toys, bikes, cargo baskets, and boxes. They are certain to suit perfectly on your vehicle for that extra space for your belongings.
Fabrication and design: Made of aluminum, Thule Aeroblade keeps the weight down. Its construction lets it withstand about 800 pounds of weight. Thanks to the sophisticated aluminum extrusion that is one of the strongest load bars on the market.
Product Dimensions: Thule Aeroblade Roof Rack Bar measures at 55 x 4 x 4 inches and weighs 6.4 pounds.
In the box: Package includes 2 AeroBlade load bars, 4 SwingBlade end caps, 2 WindDiffuser textured strips, 4 SmartSlide strips, 2 bottoms of bar T-strips, Installation Guide, and Warranty Card.
|Quiet WindDiffuser Strips that makes Thule Aeroblade Roof Rack Bar one of the noiseless roof rack load bars||Installation guide can be confusing
|Strong BoxBeam sustains up to 800lbs of weight.||Expensive for a roof rack crossbar made of aluminum|
Very simple to install and can be easily mounted to existing racks, HappyBuy roof racks cross bars store and transport up to 330lbs of gears. That is enough amount of space you need to free your car interior from any luggage and loads.
Fabrication and design: Made of strong aluminum, you can be guaranteed these bars are long-lasting. Its length lets the bars go from left to right. The aluminum bars are rustproof, therefore, they are very ideal to use in any weather conditions without worrying about corrosion.
Product Dimensions: Happybuy Roof Rack Cross Bars measures at 49.5 x 10 x 6 inches and weighs 11.9 pounds.
In the box: 2 Pieces Cross Bar set and installation guide.
|Highly durable and rust-proof||Often very limited in stock
|Easy to set up and mount.|
|Ideal for all weathers|
Aerodynamically designed to perform with fuel saving and wind reducing capabilities. Streamlining your car to have that wind tunnel for maximum security. These cross bars can fit Yakima BaseLine, RidgeLine, SkyLine, TimberLine towers, or custom fit feet.
Fabrication and design: JetStream’s asymmetrical JetFlow shape of cross bars are anodized lightweight aluminum bars which are durable and rustproof. The black powder coat finish makes it corrosion resistant and won’t rust even when you leave it on the car roof all year round. Its full-length design is wide enough to have enough space that can hold up to 165 pounds.
Product Dimensions: Yakima Jetstream Crossbar measures at 50 x 3 1/8 x 1 inches and weighs 10.86 pounds.
In the box: Package includes 2 JetFlow crossbars and 4 endcaps.
|JetFlow™ teardrop shape is strong, quiet and aerodynamic owing to its wind tunnel effect||Can be very loud at any speed above 35mph
|Etched measurements reduce need for measuring tools|
Available in black or silver, Rhino-Rack Vortex Aero Cross Bars are cut to 7 different predefined lengths to fit any vehicles. The versatile bars work well with channel mounted carriers and accessories. It has fold-down tabs that let you access crossbar channels easily.
Fabrication and design: Each lightweight anodized aluminum bar holds a weight capacity of 165 pounds. They are slim and elliptically designed and are covered in rubber with creases on top to reduce the noise made by the wind. The rubber Vortex strips protect them from getting water and dust inside and help them be rust and dustproof.
Product dimensions: Rhino-Rack Vortex Aero Cross Bar measures at 54 x 3 1/8 x 1 3/16 inches and weighs 13.2 pounds.
In the box: 2 Vortex Aero Cross Bar, 2 secure core locking end caps, 3 Vortex strips, and installation guide.
|Integrated C-channel to let the rack carry channel-mounted accessories like bike racks, water toy carriers, and ski racks||Its compatibility with arched shape car rails (slightly curved) may create loud whistling noise at speed above 35mph|
|H-shaped internal extrusions reinforce the
Do you need for your car a universal roof rack crossbar? Look no further with Vault Cargo Management’s 54” roof rack crossbars. Plan and execute your trip complete with your camping gears, snowboards, roof baskets, kayaks, or anything you need to bring. Vault Cargo promises no restriction with what you can bring along.
Fabrication and design: Meticulously designed aluminum bars have been fine-tuned according to aerodynamics to reduce fuel consumption as well as the noise made from the wind. Vault’s roof rack crossbars have rubber strips that run the 53” length of the bars. This ensures your cargo and your car are safe. The ends of the crossbars may be a little sharp thus, Vault made sure they came with rubber end caps.
Product dimensions: Roof Rack Crossbars Universal Locking Crossbars by Vault measures at 54.5 x 5.8 x 3.1 inches and weighs 8.75 pounds.
In the box: 2 vault bars, clamps, security keys, end caps, and installation manual.
|Padded clamps to protect your car from any accidental scratches.||Mounting clamps were reported to go off at speeds higher than 35mph|
|Each bar has a maximum weight capacity of 165 pounds||Noticeable noise level at certain speeds
|Detachable cross bars for roof rack using a tool that comes with the unit||The product may be a bit flimsy
|Lockable rails for extra load security||Installation instructions aren’t very clear|
These easy-to-install and remove cross bars are just what you need to expand space for your luggage and gears. No drilling, cutting, nor changing your vehicle required but, would require some professional help to install as there are no installation guides in the package.
Fabrication and design: The Alavente Roof Rack Cross Bars have a streamlined oval-shaped design to effectively reduce wind resistance while driving. Made of aluminum alloy + ABS plastic, its maximum weight capacity is up to 165 pounds per crossbar. The soft rubber gaskets on the sides also assist in preventing scratches. This crossbar is black powder-coated thus, it is anti-corrosion and waterproof.
Product dimensions: ALAVENTE Roof Rack Cross Bars Luggage Cargo Carrier measures at 46.5 x 5.5 x 3.9 inches and weighs 5 pounds
In the box: Package includes 2 roof rack crossbars and all necessary hardware.
Easy assembly and comes with the needed hardware Often is very limited in stock
Sturdy design Installation instructions are not included
Water resistant and rust proof It could be noisy when empty
Moving work and sports load? Vantech’s Transit Cargo Crossbars will transit them for you with ease as the name suggests. Installation and set up is easy with the installation guides and manuals that came with it.
Fabrication and design: Vantech Transit Cargo Crossbars are made with gauge steel, rectangular bars with galvanized mounting base and accessories for protection against rusting. Its coating comes in black and white so, you can pick which color blends well with your car. These bars that can be easily secured onto your car roof has a maximum load capacity of 500 pounds.
Product dimensions: Vantech Transit Cargo Crossbars measures at 54 x 8 x 9 inches and weighs 37 pounds.
In the box: Package includes 2 cargo crossbars, 1 ladder stopper, 1 ladder guide, 1 hook and loop ladder straps,
|Secures well on the roof and are easy to install||Too heavy but is expected for a galvanized steel|
|Two colors: black and white||Expensive
|The load capacity is up to 500 pounds||Poor customer service/after sales experience
|Fastens onto existing factory mounting points||Steel, if left on top of roof for some time develops rust|
With lockable clamps, Cargoloc doesn’t only promise to transport your loads safely but, securely. Extreme quality with rubber pads that are thick enough to support and prevent paint scratches. Very easy to install, with pretty much needing only the Allen wrench that came with it.
Fabrication and design: CargoLoc Aluminum Roof Top Cross Bar features stiff high-quality aluminum. This construction cuts down on the material’s overall weight without compromising strength. Whether they are water toys like kayak or canoe, or mountain bike, or ski that you’d like to bring, it can happen with its 150-pound weight capacity. With 46 inches span between side rails, there surely is enough room for what you need to bring.
Product dimensions: CargoLoc Aluminum Roof Top Cross Bar Set measures at 46 x 3 x 5.8 inches and weighs 8.6 pounds.
Inside the box: Package includes 2 aluminum crossbars, 2 security clamp keys, and 1 hex key.
|Strong aluminum construction||Locking system eventually breaks after some time
|Safe and secure with keyed locks
|150 lbs load capacity and 52” length|
Universally fitting almost any vehicle with raised side rails, AUXMART Roof Rack Cross Bar can hold loads with any gears like snowboard, ski, bike rack, kayak, canoe, and cargo baskets. With its low profile, it isn’t sticking out on either side of the rails making it look compact but still sporty.
Fabrication and design: Made of lightweight, high strength aluminum, you can hook these crossbars on car window frames, with skid-proof rubber strap. That reduces your need to drill or cut holes. With a length that can extend up from 39 inches to 41.3 inches, it helps the durable aluminum carry a weight capacity of up to 175 pounds. The crossbars also feature some streamline water drop functionality that reduces the noticeable noise as you drive.
Product Dimensions: AUXMART Roof Rack Cross Bar Universal measures at 41.3 x 5.1 x 2.8 inches and weighs 4.41 pounds.
Inside the box: Package includes 1 roof rack crossbar, 3 pairs of mounting clamps, and necessary mounting hardware.
|The self-adaptive base allows angle and length alignment so, it fits car roof arc seamlessly||The key locking feature can be easily manipulated by sliding off the rubber covers|
|Lightweight but heavy-duty aluminum construction||Noticeable noise at driving speed above 35mph
|Good weight capacity of 175 pounds
Worry no more about transporting your luggage without interfering the space inside your vehicle. Mophorn Roof Rack Cross Bars offers you a long-lasting solution for your hauling needs. With these bars, you will have an extended and conducive space for any cargo box and other gears you need to transport.
Fabrication and design: Made up of aluminum content that makes it durable to overcome the challenges of any weather conditions. Mophorn Roof Rack Cross Bars are also designed with adjustable clamps and special hooks so, you can customize it according to your needs. Its attentive design leaves you with soft rubber gaskets on both ends of the roof rack to avoid damaging your vehicle’s finish.
Product dimensions: Mophorn Roof Rack Cross Bars measures at 42 x 4.5 x 4 inches and weighs 11.35 pounds.
In the box: Package includes 2 roof racks, a set of necessary screws and hardware, and installation guide.
|Good weight capacity of 265 pounds||As most aluminum, Mophorn Roof Rack Cross Bars may be easy to bend and flex
|Integrated lockable legs for additional security||The cars it can fit in are very limited|
Buying Guide: What to Consider When Getting a Roof Rack Crossbar?
These gears you are getting are not just to make your SUV look stunning or sporty. These are made for you to load and transport your goods safely and securely. You don’t want to stop at every gas station to check if your things are still up there, no. You would want to travel safely, smoothly, and as much as possible, not much noise coming from your roof.
While there are a lot of manufacturers that market crossbars, it can be hard to decide which one to pick. Particularly when they only differ with the design and style. Most use the same materials and could have the same features so, it could really be tricky to get one if you have not experienced transporting anything atop your car roof yet.
Keep in mind that you are picking your car’s accessory that will transport your most valuable stuff. For sure you would go for that, that can take pressure, wind, and weight. Otherwise, you can just bid goodbye to your cargo as it flies off the roof, damaging that smooth finish of your car. Here are a few points to consider in deciding for your crossbars.
Make sure that you pick a crossbar system that will comfortably fit along with the passengers of your vehicle. Research about the weight capacity of the crossbar and check if it matches that of what you need to bring. Be careful in not exceeding the maximum weight capacity or it will just leave your fuel consumption at high rates. Make a list of what you will use these racks for. That way, you can easily estimate the load you will bring versus the crossbars’ maximum load limit.
Design / Ergonomics
You wouldn’t want to put earplugs just to get rid of the annoying whirring, whistling, or purring sound coming from the crossbars as you drive past the interstate, yeah? So, you need to choose a crossbar system that is ergonomically designed to resist air. Aerodynamics, the study of how air interacts with a moving object has been introduced to vehicles to reduce drag and wind noise. It also prevents unwanted lift forces and instability. Pick a crossbar system that has been aerodynamically designed.
Easy Installation and Removal
Would you pay extra and lose a few hours just to get your roof rack crossbars done by a professional? I’d rather save that money and use it for my trip. And, I bet you want the same. So, go with a system that is easy to install especially if you are an occasional traveler. You wouldn’t want to spend a lot of time, putting them up and getting it off your car every time you must use them.
As you consider the things you need to bring, think about the crossbars’ capability of carrying them too. Ensure that they are equipped and designed to transport loads of different things. You never know what you need to haul as every trip could be different than each one. If it ever happens you need to use it for something you don’t normally use it with, like an L-shaped sofa, maybe, it is good to know you can also use it with that. Make sure it can carry what is it you need to carry.
Although this factor has nothing to do with how these crossbars keep up with what they need to do, you still can’t deny that you would want something to put in your car that will make it look sporty and awesome. This is applicable if you are the kind who is lazy to take it down after use. You’d still want a good-looking vehicle after that trip, right? Know which kind of crossbar is compatible with your ride as well. This helps a lot in preventing damages like scratches or broken cargoes.
Additional Tips for Crossbar Lookers
- Crossbars are part of a roof rack system. Therefore, you should have these racks first, so you will have something to attach it with. Ideally, your roof racks and crossbars should be of the same brand to make the most of its compatibility. But, there are a lot that manufactures them with universal fittings so, they can go along with any manufacturer. If it concerns you that you want your roof bare, then you can go with crossbars that hook to the window frame.
- Just like any materials, any part of the crossbar is only as strong as its weakest point so make sure to distribute weight evenly. Focusing the weight on just one point, even when it is at its “strongest” spot will eventually bend and flex it.
- There’s not much need to hire professionals with determining which racks you need. A simple google or visit at a manufacturer’s website will give you an idea of what you need. Not sure what matches with your car? Most manufacturers will let you type in the kind of vehicle you drive, and they will advise you what you should get.
- Some users have complained about noticeable noise even when the product promised a quiet drive. Noise from the wind is not just dependent on the design of your crossbars. It could be where you mount them and whether they have closed or open ends. By studies, if you install your crossbars near the car’s front, then of course, the noise will be noticeable as it is just near the driver’s side. Make sure you have end caps too, bars with open ends can howl at high speeds.
- If have not used a roof rack system before, make sure to read and understand the instructions before you fit it. A badly fitted, badly secured rack is likely to damage your car as well as your properties and may come loose as you drive.
- Most important of all, consider the maximum load your car roof can bear. If you don’t know it yet, take time to visit Specifications page of your owner’s manual. Do not go beyond the maximum capacity of your car. It means that, if it says the max load is 120 pounds, then forget about that 150-pound carrying crossbar.
Roof rack crossbars come in different built, size, and styles. However, not each one is created just the same. Therefore, you need to make sure you get the system that is effective, efficient and safe for you, your vehicle and your properties to transport. The brands we’ve gone over made it to our list as they showcased features such as anti-theft, durability, quality, and strength. Each one could fit you and your vehicle’s activities. What just needs to be considered now is the measurement of your car so you know whether it fits or not.
FAQs (Frequently Asked Questions):
✅ Will any roof rack fit my car?
No. As much as we’d like for you to get the cheapest one and save money. We won’t tell you that. Crossbars differ in so many things. One of which is its compatibility with the size of your car.
✅ Can I fit the roof rack myself?
Most crossbars (and roof rack systems) now come with instructional manuals so you can do the installation yourself. If they are confusing for you (which they always are in my case), you can always resort to YouTube. Most manufacturers have put up instructional videos to so as to help you with your installation concerns.
✅ If I installed the crossbars on my own and ended up damaging my car, will my insurance cover it?
While we don’t want to assume you’d end up damaging your car (or worst, hurting yourself), it always helps that you know what your insurance coverage is. Some insurance companies consider it as modification and could void your insurance policy, while some don’t. If you are truly concerned then, a quick call to your insurance agent should get you what you need to know. Generally, however, in case something happens, you should be ready with questions from your agent such as: (1) Did the rack fail? (2) Were the rack, crossbars, and other accessories OEM or aftermarket? (3) Was it mounted properly? Professionally? (4) Was it over the weight’s maximum capacity?
✅ What other carrying accessories can I use my crossbars with?
Depending on what you need to bring, there are accessories that can go along your roof rack system such as cargo boxes, cargo baskets, and cargo bags. Cargo boxes are for anything that you need to keep dry. These are ideal for skis, snowboards, backpacks, luggage, camping supplies, and other stuff you need to protect from harsh weather elements. Cargo baskets are for transporting unusual sized or shaped loads. These are for items that don’t need much protection from heat or rain like coolers. Cargo bags are soft-sided but made with durable PVC coated nylon so, they are still weatherproof. They have Velcro straps so, they don’t get blown away by the wind at high speeds.
✅ Can the sunroof be opened with cargo on the cross bars as long as the cargo is no laying on the glass roof?
Definitely. Crossbars are usually installed 3 to 5 inches away from the car roof’s surface. That should be enough space for the sunroof to open and close without anything getting in its way.
✅ Do I need to buy other things to get the crossbars installed on my vehicle?
A: As long as you have your roof rack/rails on, then there’s no need. Most crossbars come with its own mounting tools so, you won’t have to worry about finding what can fit for what.
✅ Do they make a lot of wind noise at higher speeds?
Any material that goes against the wind produces sound. Thus, these materials have been carefully studied and designed to reduce the sound it makes when traveling at high speeds. Aerodynamics have been greatly integrated into designing these roof rack systems to minimize noise emission.
✅ Is it legal to carry luggage on your vehicle’s roof rack?
Yes, provided the roof rack is compatible with your car and that any load atop of it is securely attached, with no possibility of falling off. You should also ensure that you do not exceed the design capacity of the roof rack, or the design gross weight of the vehicle, as set out by the manufacturer.
If you enjoyed this guide, check out our guide on what you can place on top of your roof rack, include roof baskets, roof bags, roof boxes, and more!