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best cargo carriers for your car

The Best Roof Cargo Box 2019

Installing a roof cargo box is the best way to carry additional luggage when there is no room available in the car. They are available in multiple aerodynamic shapes and are far more advanced than they once were many years ago.

The best roof cargo box is the Thule 625 Force, which has an aerodynamic design, efficient installation, secure locking and many other intuitive features.

Investing into a roof box can be relatively expensive but its worth spending the extra to protect all your gear. You will want to choose a cargo box that best suits your requirements and is compatible with your car.

Car Roof Cargo Box Comparison

Roof Cargo BoxCapacityType
Thule 625 Force13 - 21 Cubic FeetHard
Yakima Skybox12 - 21 Cubic FeetHard
SportRack Vista18 Cubic FeetHard
Thule 682 SideKick8 Cubic FeetHard
Yakima RocketBox Pro14 Cubic FeetHard
INNO Wedge Plus13 Cubic FeetHard
Goplus Storage14 Cubic FeetHard
RoofBag USA11 - 15 Cubic FeetSoft
Sailnovo Carrier15 - 20 Cubic FeetSoft
AmazonBasics Rooftop Bag15 Cubic FeetSoft

In terms of the designs available, you have the option of a hard or soft carrier that can be roof mounted. The best option for all-round usage are the hard shells but the soft carrier bags are a more affordable alternative.

Security of the roof cargo box is essential because many cheap options can be opened with a grill. We highly advise that you choose a box with multiple latching points and ensure that the locks provided are completely unique.

Below is a list of the best roof cargo boxes that can be easily mounted onto the a car and provide plenty of storage space.

The Best Roof Cargo Box


1. Thule Force Roof Cargo Box


Thule are the market leaders when it comes to car roof cargo boxes with multiple sizes available for all cars or SUV’s. The Force series is their most popular option and they offer the following models, which include Alpine, M, L, XL and XXL.

In terms of mounting this roof cargo box to the car, it uses the Thule’s patented “Quick Grip” clamps, that attach to the roof racks.

Other features of the Thule Force Box include:

  • Aerodynamic design that pushes wind away from the box
  • Attractive curves and a gloss black finish
  • Five layer ABS plastic construction
  • Tool-free installation
  • Can be opened from both sides
  • Oversized secure locking mechanism
  • 92.5 x 36 x 18 inches in the XXL size

The Thule Force is one of the best roof cargo box options available that ticks every box. It does come with a premium price tag but the advanced features along with the reputable brand backing the box make it a worthwhile investment.

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2. Yakima SkyBox Rooftop Cargo Box


Yakima are another premium manufacturer of roof cargo boxes and the SkyBox is their most popular model. It’s available with a 12, 15, 16, 17 and 21 cubic feet capacity and are designed to fit the majority of round or square roof racks.

It features the desirable integrated SKS locking system, which allows you to keep all your personal items safe from potential thieves.

Other features of the Yakima SkyBox 21 include:

  • Strong carbonite shell
  • 12 – 21 cubic feet options
  • Multiple sizes available
  • Opens on both sides
  • Premium metal handle
  • Sleek and aerodynamic design

It’s a large and heavy duty roof cargo box that can be easily installed due to the lightweight construction. As it’s built by the Yakima brand, you have the peace of mind that it’s been built to high standards and it comes with a lifetime warranty.

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3. SportRack SR7018 Vista Rooftop Cargo Box


The SportRack SR7018 Vista is another popular option that offers plenty of storage space for all your luggage. It’s constructed of a high quality ABS plastic that has an aerodynamic design and additional UV protection.

In terms of the installation, this roof cargo box makes use of U bolts, which attach underneath the roof racks pointing upwards towards the box.

Other features of the SportRack SR7018 Vista include:

  • 18 cubic feet capacity
  • 100 LBS weight capacity
  • Rear opening mechanism
  • Curved aerodynamic design
  • U bolts for installation
  • 64.17 x 40 inches x 18.89 inches (L x W x H)
  • Limited lifetime warranty

The SportRack Vista is an excellent option for those requiring a large capacity at an affordable price. Although the SportRack brand are not as reputable as Thule or Yakima, this roof cargo box comes with a lifetime warranty for peace of mind.

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4. Thule Sidekick Rooftop Cargo Box

If the Thule Force series is too pricey for your budget, the alternative Sidekick series may be the best option. It lacks the modern design and has less storage space but it’s still an excellent all-round roof cargo box that is built to high standards.

Instead of opening on both sides like the Force series, this roof box only opens from the passenger side.

Other features of the Thule Sidekick include:

  • 54 x 25 x 15.5 inches in size
  • 75 LBS load capacity
  • Space saving design
  • 8 cubic feet of volume
  • CAM locking system with 2 locks
  • Rugged U bolts for securing to the rack

The Sidekick series is the smallest roof box that Thule produce and is ideal for smaller cars. It fits almost any rack system and the compact design is easy to install and will hold anything from camping gears to golf clubs.

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5. Yakima RocketBox Pro Cargo Carrier


Another popular option by Yakima is the RocketBox Pro series, which offers a more aerodynamic design. It also uses forward mounting hardware that provides improved hatch clearance, which is often required by smaller vehicles.

As with all Yakima cargo boxes, this model comes with a limited lifetime warranty for peace of mind.

Other features of the Yakima RocketBox Pro include:

  • SKS locking cores for security
  • Dual side opening and push button access
  • Quick-dial mounting hardware
  • 58 x 36 x 16 inches in size
  • Weighs just 30 LBS
  • Provides 15 cubic feet of storage

The RocketBox Pro by Yakima is an excellent alternative that is easy to install and provides plenty of storage space. It’s also much cheaper than the premium SkyBox model and is perfect for all passenger vehicles.

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6. INNO Wedge Plus Roof Cargo Box

The INNO Wedge Plus is the new and improved model compared to the standard wedge model. The brand offer is as a rugged matte black or glossy red finish, which look great compared to many of the alternatives.

INNO state that it’s one of the easiest roof boxes to install to your car thanks to the intuitive memory mount system.

Other features of the INNO Wedge Plus include:

  • Made in Japan
  • Dual side opening mechanism
  • Inner mat to reduce damage to your gear
  • Safety locking system
  • Universal mounting
  • 33 cubic feet of storage space
  • 80 x 33 x 13.75 inches in size

Although the INNO Wedge Plus comes with a premium price tag, it’s been built to high standards with a lifetime warranty. It also has unique features such as a 3D inner mat and color options that are highly desirable for many people.

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7. Goplus Roof Mount Cargo Box

The Goplus is a premium option that offers 14 cubic feet of storage space and is available in a black or white finish. As with many of the other premium options, this roof cargo box also has the desirable dual side opening mechanism.

It’s constructed of a heavy duty ABS and PC material that protects against the element and can securely hold loads up to 165 LBS.

Other features of the Goplus Roof Box include:

  • Double secure locking system
  • 14 cubic feet of storage space
  • Available in black or white
  • Completely weatherproof
  • Streamlined design for reduce wind noise
  • 4 quick connect anchor for easy installation

Overall, it’s an excellent all-round roof mounted cargo box that is easy to install and completely waterproof. Goplus also state that it’s compatible with the majority of vehicle roof racks and it won’t disappoint.

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8. Roofbag Roof Mounted Cargo Carrier


The Roofbag is by far the most popular option for transporting your gear on a roof mounted cargo carrier. It’s manufactured in the USA and uses a triple layered seal for maximum protection against all types of weather.

These carriers are offered in two sizes that include 11 or 15 cubic feet and the brand also offer various accessory optional extras.

Other features of the Roofbag Carrier include:

  • 100% waterproof
  • No roof racks required
  • Heavy duty construction
  • Multiple sizes available to suit all cars
  • Easy to install with straps that loop through the car
  • Includes a two year warranty
  • Made in the USA

The popularity and affordability of the Roofbag cargo carrier is a great indication to how well it performs. It offers the best value for money and is available in multiple sizes to suit your vehicle.

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9. Sailnovo Soft Roof Cargo Carrier Box


If you are on a tight budget, the Salinovo Roof Carrier may be the best option. It’s a water resistant cargo box that uses a rubber laminated nylon construction. It easily ties down to the roof racks with the soft construction causing no damage to the roof.

Unlike a standard rooftop cargo box, the Salinovo uses a foldable material, which makes storage of the carrier much easier.

Other features of the Salinova Soft Carrier include:

  • Available in 15 and 20 cubic feet
  • 51 x 39 x 17 inches in size
  • Rubber laminated nylon construction
  • Compatible with all vehicle racks
  • 6 built-in tie straps and 6 extra straps
  • Quick and easy to install
  • Includes a storage bag

The Salinovo is an affordable option that offers plenty of storage space and an easy installation. The durable rubber laminated nylon construction is able to withstand years of tough weather conditions. The added bonus of it being foldable for storage is a unique and very desirable feature too.

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10. AmazonBasics Rooftop Cargo Carrier


The cheapest option that is available as a roof mounted or hitch cargo carrier option is the AmazonBasics bag. It offers up to 15 cubic feet of storage space and an oversized zipper closure to keep the contents dry inside.

To ensure the carrier bag is securely mounted to the roof of the car, it uses heavy duty 8 inch straps with buckles for a secure fit.

Other features of the AmazonBasics Roof Mounted Carrier include:

  • Waterproof and fade resistant
  • Strong seams and oversized zipper
  • 15 cubic feet of storage
  • Easily folds down for storage within the bag
  • Available as a hitch mounted carrier alternative
  • Includes a 1 year warranty

The AmazonBasics carrier is an excellent all-rounder that is one of the cheapest options available. Unlike many of the similar priced alternatives, it’s been built to last and includes a 1 year warranty for peace of mind.

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Cargo Box Buying Guide

Roof cargo boxes have become far more advanced over the years and are available in multiple designs. Whether you place the box upon a pair of roof rack cross bars or use a soft carrier bag that loops through the car, there is plenty of choice.

When choosing a roof mounted cargo box, you must consider the aerodynamics, weight, cubic capacity, quality and ease of use.

To help you make an informed buying decision, we have produced the below guide regarding roof cargo boxes.

cargo carrier for cars

Size Selection

The size of the roof mounted cargo box is highly dependent upon the type of vehicle you drive. For example, you wouldn’t want to choose a roof box that is longer than the roof of your car because it will overhang.

Another factor that you may consider is the height because many parking or building entrances have height restrictions. For large vehicles such as SUV’s, this can be an issue but many manufacturers offer low profile designs for this exact reason.

Storage Space

The storage space or volume inside of the roof box is measured in cubic feet. Most boxes will range from 10 to 20 cubic feet, which is more than ideal for most road trips. The additional space is a major requirement for many families and the cubic feet measurement is the main figure you want to look out for.

Weight Capacity

The weight capacity that the roof box can handle is often forgotten about and can cause issues. Piling as much luggage as possible into the box to the point that it exceeds the capacity can result in cracking of the box.

The quality of the roof cargo box is often seen by the amount of weight that it can handle. Rugged ABS construction will normally be able to hold more than 100 LBS but all manufacturers will have the weight capacity listed on the box.

Design and Aerodynamics

Cargo boxes are available in multiple designs and they have become more advanced over the last few years. Rather than being large boxes on top of the car, they now include multiple curves to allow them to be as aerodynamic as possible.

Adding a cargo box to the roof of your car significantly reduces the miles per gallon and introduces extra wind noise. Therefore, a brand that has spent years of research and development improving the aerodynamics is worth paying the extra for.

rooftop cargo box

Hard vs Soft

Depending upon your budget will determine which is the best option. Hard cargo boxes are the more desirable and offer a weatherproof, durable and sleek option. They do come at a premium cost but they are worth paying the extra.

The alternative choice of a soft cargo carrier is much cheaper and can be installed without the use of roof racks. However, they do lack aerodynamics and many aren’t entirely waterproof, which can result in wet luggage.

Carrier Warranty and Quality Control

The more expensive cargo boxes will use high quality plastics such as ABS. This provides a rigid and durable structure for the cargo box that will last for years to come. Poor quality materials will not be able to withstand bad weather conditions and UV rays from the sun. This will cause discoloration of the box as well as clips and other components breaking down. The plastic used is often thinner in the cheaper roof boxes that can rattle and crack within cold temperatures.

Many of the premium brands such as Thule, Yakima and SportRack offer excellent warranties on their roof boxes. This means that they have great confidence with their products and so should you when buying.

Cargo Box Ease of Use

Some cargo boxes contain more than one lock, which makes it harder to force open by thieves. Newer roof boxes may also have multiple opening areas that means it can be opened from both sides, which is highly practical.

Installing a cargo box will require roof racks to be fitted. The locks that are often used to attach roof boxes come in the form of U Bolts, Quick Locks and Power Clicks.

U Bolts are fairly common where they go underneath the roof racks and connect to the two holes in the roof box. You then screw them tight from within the roof box. Quick Locks are similar to U Bolts, however they have a clamp that holds the lock in place. Finally Power Clicks are usually part of the roof box, which grip onto the roof box, which is then tightened by twisting a disc.

rooftop cargo carrier

Conclusion

Installation of a roof mounted cargo box is fairly simple and they are far better than they once were. Rather than squeezing everything into the car, you can enjoy a more comfortable drive by making use of the roof box.

All of our recommendations offer various sizes or shapes and are suitable for multiple budgets. To avoid disappointment, we advise that you stick to the best cargo box brand such as Thule, Yakima and Sport Racks.

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