Sometimes, the room inside a car is not enough. A small sedan or compact car just is not adequate. Even if you have a sport utility vehicle (SUV) or a van, there are times when there is too much to pack. This especially can be the case when you are looking to travel, but you have too much luggage. That is why a car roof box can be your best friend.
Mounted on the top of a vehicle, you can store things safely and securely from Point A to Point B. The hard part really is deciding on which car roof box is good for you and your lifestyle. When searching for the best car roof box, there are a lot of things to consider from weather protection to the size of the cargo bin. With all that to say, let’s hop right into the conversation to navigate through the best-reviewed options and so much more.
- Top 10 Best Car Roof Box: Editor’s Top Picks
- Types of Car Roof Boxes
- Things to Consider When Purchasing a Car Roof Box
- Top 10 Best Car Roof Box Reviews:
- 1. RoofBag Waterproof
- 2. Yakima Skybox Carbonite Cargo Box
- 3. Thule Motion XT Rooftop Cargo Carrier
- 4. Rightline Gear Sport Jr. Top Carrier
- 5. Yakima RocketBox Pro 14 Cargo Box
- 6. SHIELD JACKET Waterproof Roof Top Cargo Luggage Travel Bag
- 7. SportRack Vista XL Rear Opening Cargo Box
- 8. Thule Force Cargo Box
- 9. Reese Explore Rainproof Cargo Tray Bag
- 10. JEGS Performance Products Rooftop Cargo Carrier
- Advantages of a Car Roof Box
- How to Attach a Car Roof Box?
- FAQs: Frequently Asked Questions
Top 10 Best Car Roof Box: Editor’s Top Picks
Types of Car Roof Boxes
When looking at the types of car roof boxes, you can narrow the options down to two selections: soft vs. hard.
Soft carriers are like a large duffle bag with added straps to keep it on your vehicle. These cases are made of thin plastics like polymerizing vinyl chloride (PVC) or other vinyl alternatives. Using materials like these helps with waterproofing the bag, and they are very inexpensive to purchase.
Also, they weigh less than hard-shell carriers, which is perfect for a smaller vehicle. Unfortunately, they do not give as much protection, especially if you are leaving items in the carrier overnight. You run the risk of getting things stolen if you do not purchase a locking mechanism.
When it comes to the best car roof box choices, hard shell boxes are traditionally what you will see. With each box made of hard plastic, these carriers benefit from a solid configuration. When you travel or when you are stopped, you can rest assured that your stuff will be safe.
Hard carriers usually have a lock, so you can leave your goodies behind, but in the same place, you left them. If you had a soft bag, you would have to unload the stuff and lock it in the car to feel safer. Unfortunately, the truth of the matter is hard shells are heavy. Because of its construction, it may be a challenge to mount and dismount these types of carriers. You might need assistance during this process.
Things to Consider When Purchasing a Car Roof Box
When purchasing the right car roof box, you have to be intentional to research and investigating the many options. In this day and age, there are so many phenomenal brands and products; it is hard to know where to start. Below are some factors that you should become aware of when picking the best route for you and whatever journey lays ahead. With these things in mind, you will be well on your way to picking the best car roof box for you.
Going into the buying process, you have to be cognizant that obtaining a carrier is going to cost you some money. Any of the soft bag choices are cheaper. If you only plan to use your carrier sparingly, then this might be the best option for you. However, if you need a box all the time, a hard shell is more expensive, but it will last a lot longer, too. This may be a long-term investment, but it will be worth your while.
Some people are more worried about security than others. If you plan on keeping items in your carrier all the time, you may want a locking device for your unit. Parking overnight? A locked carrier will be a necessity. However, if you are not as concerned with the price of items in your carrier, it might not be as big a deal to you. Hard boxes come standard with locks, while softer bags usually do not.
Depending on what you are looking to carry, the length might play into your decision-making. Some roof boxes are perfect for skis and golf clubs, while others are more for luggage and odds-and-ends. Are you looking to travel with baseball bats, lacrosse sticks, etc.? Length may matter more to you than meets the eye.
If you do not have a very big vehicle, looking for a carrier with a good width might be more important for you. In vehicles with a hatchback, you may have more width to work with that length. Of course, in these types of vehicles, adding more luggage space goes a long, long way.
One more thing that consumers are interested in with carriers involves how aerodynamic it really is. This is mainly important because people want to be more fuel-efficient in hopes to save some money. It is no secret that some cargo carriers really affect the gas mileage when traveling at high speeds.
However, there are a ton of options out there, as many companies have made aerodynamics their top priority. In turn, this has limited or negated any poor effects onto gas mileage due to drag. Now, the more aerodynamic a cargo carrier is, the more it will cost in turn. However, if you are planning to use a carrier for long distances, it will be well worth it in the long run. Having a carrier bag would really slow you down in more ways than one.
Top 10 Best Car Roof Box Reviews:
1. RoofBag Waterproof
This waterproof RoofBag is built to take on any challenge. The state-of-the-art straps keep your luggage securely in your car. No matter if you have a bare roof, side rails, baskets, or crossbars, this product is easy to install and store whatever items you need to be secured. If you are driving around town or traveling across the country, the seatbelt straps will hold true.
This product, made in the United States of America, can be shipped the same day, and it includes a manufacturer’s warranty of one full year. Amazingly, this bag is a size 11, which fits almost any car on the road today. This also includes vans and SUVs, too. If you are looking for a bigger storage dimension, size 15 will work for full-size vans, SUVs, and sedans. Additionally, a mat protector can be added to the car roof box, so your roof will not be scratched, and your bag will stay solidly up top.
At 7 pounds, this product will not break your back, as you install it. When you are finished with its services for a time, this RoofBag folds up easily, so it can be stored in your garage or basement.
- Completely waterproof
- A softshell option allows for different packing options
- Securely strapped against high winds and intensive heat
- Easy to clean when elements get to the bag
- Straps work with a rack or bare roof
- Standard and Premium options allow for added protection
2. Yakima Skybox Carbonite Cargo Box
As a top car carrier, this Yakima Skybox is sleek, yet efficient. It has a variety of size selections from 12 to 21 cubic feet. This cargo box can hold snowboards and skis over 70 inches when you want to hit the slopes. The Yakima can be held by a crossbar that is 2-3 feet long on any roof surface.
The make-up of this carbonite cargo box is 80% recycled material, and it is easy to assemble because of its lightweight construction. When driving, the lid on this Yakima becomes more and more aerodynamic the faster you drive. This is due to the fact that the lid actually stiffens. Fortunately, your gas efficiency will not be affected, and you will not experience loud noises coming from your roof. The drive will actually be quiet and peaceful wherever you travel to.
With SkyBox technology, the compartments open up on either side of the vehicle, so you are not tied down when putting things up in your rack. Then, after you have packed everything up, there is an amazing closure system that latches firmly. At 75 pounds, this is a heavy-duty rooftop cargo carrier that withstands the toughest challenges.
- Quick and easy set-up
- Limited mile per gallon loss
- Defects can be sent back for a complete replacement
- Easy to store when not in use
- The locking mechanism keeps items in the box where they belong
- Clamps are already attached to the box itself
3. Thule Motion XT Rooftop Cargo Carrier
The Thule Cargo Carrier has an amazing design that fits the most equipment possible. With a sliding lock system, it is easy to open and close your cargo box with ease. Even when you close the lid, it will lock in place automatically.
Feet sizes arrange from 16 to 22 cubic feet. When looking to mount your cargo carrier, it is a simple experience to stabilize it with or without a pre-installed mounting system. If conditions start to rain or snow, there is a handy grip system, which will support you when opening and closing the carrier.
With the dimensions of 79 x 31.5 x 15 inches, you can rest assured that you will be able to store whatever you need. Even with these lengthy dimensions, your trunk or rear access will not be affected by this carrier box. This is one of the biggest complaints that customers have with carrier boxes, but this Thule model will not cause any of those issues.
A dual opening side really gives you the flexibility to store stuff on either side of the vehicle. With other models only opening from one end, the Thule Motion can multitask along with you, no matter what side of the vehicle you need to pack on.
- Glossy Titan, Alpine White, and Glossy Black color options
- Lightweight fiberglass material
- 3 different carrier sizes
- Carriers can load between 110 to 165 pounds
- Construction keeps items in the box dry and clean
4. Rightline Gear Sport Jr. Top Carrier
Another one of the best car roof box options is the Rightline Top Carrier. This aerodynamic product can be installed on a small or large vehicle. You do not need a rack to install this product. Carrier straps can connect to a rack or to car clips that install on the door of a vehicle. A concern with any carrier device is the fact that gas mileage can really go down. However, with the Rightline Top Carrier, you will save more money at the pump than you ever thought possible.
By saying this product is 100% waterproof is a big claim, but this Rightline option can back it up. With Dual Seam Tech, the carrier has been sewn right for strength, but also to stay waterproof year after year. The ZipRight System uses a zipper coated with urethane to keep water from entering the carrier, even in the worst of conditions.
In every Rightline set, you should expect a carrier, a stuff sack, car clips, and added attachment straps. Each construction of the Rightline Top Carrier is made from PVC Mesh and Hydrotuff technology. This will keep water out and protection over the items you cherish most.
- Perfect for compact cars, minivans, and SUVs
- No noise will come from the straps hitting the roof
- Straps can run through the inside of a vehicle
- Carrier stays in place during lengthy drives
- Ideal for camping, moving, or traveling
- Black and Gray color choices
5. Yakima RocketBox Pro 14 Cargo Box
This next option is another rooftop cargo carrier from Yakima. The Yakima RocketBoxwas created to help people keep the gas mileage they already have while helping to fix any storage problems. Specifically, this carrier is great for smaller vehicles, but SUVs, wagons, and trucks can use this technology, too. Does your vehicle not have a rack? No problem because quick-install hardware sets up the product flawlessly.
Additionally, you will not need to worry about what tools to use when mounting this carrier. It is tool-free when installing and removing.
When stuffing this Yakima with things, it can open from either side, allowing for packing ease. There is even a push-button that either stay locked for security reasons, or opens the carrier up effortlessly. As you add stuff to the carrier, you will realize that it really can hold 3 people’s worth of gear and luggage.
With a limited lifetime warranty, you can always return the product if you run into any defect trouble. As long as you keep the Yakima around, the company wants to keep your product working well. Yakima’s business model really keeps the customer in mind, and they are definitely after more than your money. They want a partnership and connection that will blossom year after year.
- Each carrier comes with 2 keys for security purposes
- Easily adjustable for fitting and stability
- The limited impact on miles per gallon
- Simple to store hanging up in the garage
- Will not cause clearance issues
6. SHIELD JACKET Waterproof Roof Top Cargo Luggage Travel Bag
Some people prefer hard-cased carriers, but travel bags can work just as well. This car top carrier, made by SHIELD JACKET, is one of the best in the business. Let’s start with its spaciousness. If you need it for traveling long distances or just looking to do some off-the-grid driving, this carrier can help you get to all the places you want to go. Is your family looking to travel and you need a little added space? This travel bag is what you are looking for.
Whether you have an SUV, a car, or a van, this travel bag will do the trick because it is completely waterproof. Nothing is worse than a bag soaked to the brim, and all your stuff is ruined. This will not be the case with this SHIELD JACKET. The sealing material keeps snow, rain, dirt, wind, and the sun all out of your things.
The travel bag is tied down using 8 straps that only take a few minutes to connect. Even if you need to use the straps to tie down oddly shaped items down the road, they will not loosen up because of this product’s quality.
- Risk-free shopping gives you peace of mind when purchasing
- The product is barely over 7 pounds
- Easy to store and put away
- Vinyl construction with a double-wall strap
- 15 cubic feet of safe, storage space
7. SportRack Vista XL Rear Opening Cargo Box
When looking for the best car roof box, you got to take a look at this one from SportRack. Let’s start with its Acrylonitrile Butadiene Styrene (ABS) construction. This application allows for products to handle harsh temperatures from a range of -4 to 176 degrees Fahrenheit. Furthermore, this cargo box is impenetrable when it comes to UV rays. This is perfect for long days traveling across the country, or down local roads.
With most carriers opening from side to side, this can cause a problem in some situations. This SportRack prides itself on the fact they have a rear-opening bay, so individuals do not have to worry about getting in the way of traffic if something needs to be taken out of the cargo box.
An easy-to-use mounting kit secures the cargo box in place and works with a plethora of rack systems that are round, square, based upon factory standards, etc. Additionally, the cargo box weighs just over 40 pounds. This means it will not break your back to install, and it will stay securely on the roof of your vehicle. If you need to take it off your vehicle, the carrier will come off without a hitch, too.
- Can hold up to 100 pounds of gear
- Lock included securing possessions
- Limited Lifetime Warranty against any defects the carrier may have
- SportRack holds a membership with the Thule Group
- 18 cubic feet of storage space
8. Thule Force Cargo Box
A car top carrier list would be disastrous without this next model. The Thule Force Cargo Box has storage options between 13 cubic feet all the way to 21 cubic feet of space. Each box includes the patented Aero Skin Lid, which is diamond-textured. This helps keep fuel from being wasted, as well as a protected component that will not ruin any of the things inside.
When installing this product, no tools are required to get it up top on your vehicle. The Thule mounting system is easy to follow and will take you less than 5 minutes to complete. With secure locks that are oversized in nature, the box will close shut each and every time. You can load items on either side of the vehicle, which adds to the straightforwardness of packing. Each box can hold 110 pounds of stuff, giving you a lot of flexibility when figuring out what you should pack.
Depending on what kind of rack you already have on your vehicle, the Thule racking system works with what you have to attach the cargo box safely. Whether you have a rack system, a factory rack, round bars, or nothing at all, Thule has you covered.
- Holds 3 to 5 snowboards/skis
- Includes a key locking system
- A lifetime Warranty is built-in with this product
- Easy to hang when not in use
- Can withstand speeds of over 70 miles per hour on the road
- Heavy-duty plastic has an aesthetic appeal that looks more like carbon fiber
9. Reese Explore Rainproof Cargo Tray Bag
This cargo tray bag option may be a little more unorthodox on this list, but it deserves attention, too. Made by Reese, this bag can be placed on top of your vehicle, or you can hook it up to the back of your ride and drive it around using a mounted hitch. With 15 cubic feet of storage, you really have countless ways to back this bag.
The storage stays dry because of its rainproof make-up. If you are worried about stability and security with this product, do not be. Its 6 tie-downs keep the tray bag from going anywhere off your vehicle. The only place the bag will go is where you drive it. When you are done using the bag for a time, it folds down flat and can be stored easily on a shelf in a garage or basement.
At less than 7 pounds, do not let the weight fool you. This piece of technology is as tough as they come. Keeping gear secure and dry is a top priority when it comes to Reese’s standards. Whether you are storing sports equipment, camping gear, or tailgating for fun, this tray bag will store all of it and more.
- Buckles and straps stay secure over time
- Handles extreme cold and hot conditions
- Thick, heavy-duty vinyl material
- Velcro straps cover the zippers
- Holds rectangular-shaped items, as well as oddly-shaped varieties
- Does not interfere with taillights or other vehicle technologies
10. JEGS Performance Products Rooftop Cargo Carrier
The last option on the Top 10 list is this cargo carrier made by JEGS. It holds up to 18 cubic feet of stuff that can add up to 100 pounds in weight. Assembly always seems to be the frustration for many who get a cargo carrier, but this option is the real deal.
At only 35 pounds, you will be able to get the carrier upon your vehicle without sweat and/or assistance. No tools are needed to mount, so all you will need to figure out is how the JEGS carrier connects with the racking system that you have. No matter if it is around, aero bar, or square option, this cargo carrier will fit on your vehicle.
After you have the cargo carrier installed and ready to go, you can start storing items and locking them in the case with any of the 2 keys that come with the purchase. This is perfect for long road trips or out-and-about jaunts locally. With this in use, you can protect your property.
Note that this American-made product has a lifetime guarantee, so if any shortcomings happen when you own the carrier, it will be replaced without any additional charge to you. This allows you to use the carrier the way you need to, without the worry of it breaking and the stress that comes with it.
- Minimal effects to miles per gallon
- The hard plastic design keeps water out
- Stress-free installation
- Can handle speeds of over 70 miles per hour
- Fantastic space saver
- Simple cleaning as carrier gets dirty
Advantages of a Car Roof Box
There truly are endless advantages to getting a cargo carrier. Let’s start with the obvious, shall we? If you run out of room in your trunk or ask people to hold things on their lap, it may be time for you to invest in a car roof box. Do not put your friends and family through any more pain because of the lack of space. Additionally, if you struggle to stack everything in your car, due to your family size, a carrier box can help.
Sporty people really love a carrier box because all their equipment can be protected and organized in a car roof box. From hockey to mountain biking, the options here are infinite. Keep your rolling balls out of the trunk or cab, and contain them up in your carrier. Your items will not be a distraction for you inside a carrier.
Lastly, if you travel by car a lot, the car roof box is perfect for storing and creating space in your vehicle. Nothing is worse than traveling hundreds or even thousands of miles, and the cab space is cramped. Getting the best car roof box for you will fix the problem in a heartbeat.
How to Attach a Car Roof Box?
Many might fear the installation of a cargo roof box, but have no fear! The process is quite easy. Fortunately, all models come with a manual or instructions. This is a great place to start. Take your time and read everything before you get to work. So many faulty installations could have been prevented if this was done correctly the very first time.
Next, do not be afraid to ask for help. Some of these carriers, especially the hard shell varieties, can be hard to maneuver. Do not do this on your own. Your body will thank you later. Get some help to assure a quality fitting on the roof of your vehicle. With a softshell carrier, there will be more straps to stabilize, so it might take a few extra minutes to get everything tied down right.
Also, call customer service if you are dealing with an installation problem. They can direct you to the help you need. Then, it will be full steam ahead from there, allowing you to finish up in minutes.
FAQs: Frequently Asked Questions
Q-1: Do car roof box carriers need tools to install?
- With most options on the market today, there is no need for excess tools to get the job done right. If any tools are needed, the company will provide it (e.g.. hex key, screwdriver). Currently, all the pieces that come with carriers are strap or clip-based, so it involves tightening by hand.
Q-2: Is my carrier waterproof?
- In the 21st Century, all carriers have to be waterproof to satisfy the wants and needs of consumers, customers, business partners, and corporations. If this feature is not connected with a certain product, do not buy it. Do not expect it to be waterproof if it is not in fine letters.
- Unfortunately, the word “waterproof” can be thrown around, but not mean what you think. Some carriers are water-resistant, which means the case will only stay dry after a certain time period of getting wet. Even some waterproof products have leaked through the zipper or Velcro of the product.
Q-3: Will this carrier fit my vehicle?
- When this question arises for you, get your measuring tape out and do some investigating. Depending on what kind of vehicle you own, your length and width may not be conducive to the type of carrier you want. Nothing is worse than purchasing a carrier that will not fit on the roof of your vehicle. To add insult to injury, some places will not allow you to ship it back for free. This will cost you more money than you planned originally. So, take your time and explore what carrier works with what your vehicle has to offer you.
Q-4: How much does my cubic feet measurement hold?
- This question really varies from person to person. If you are big into sports, you will be hauling a lot of equipment around. Depending on what you haul around will be the kicker. Do you deflate your soccer balls? Can you break them down? It really becomes a packing party that changes with the type of stuff you want to store in your carrier.
Q-5: How quiet will my carrier be?
- Usually, the only negative sound a carrier can make comes in the form of straps hitting the top of the roof. If this becomes a problem for you, just tie them to one another, or twist them around the other straps to hold them in place.
Now comes the moment of truth where you get to decide what car roof box is best. Make a list of what you need and prioritize it. This will give you clarity and focus on the task at hand. A pros and cons list could help at this point, too.
With an understanding of this review, you will have a better idea of the price range, length, width, aerodynamic capabilities, and material you are looking for. Use the buyer’s guide to narrow your choices down and find the best car roof box that fits your price range and your needs.