Installing a roof cargo box to your car is the best way to carry additional luggage when there is limited room inside. 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, easy installation, secure locking and many other intuitive features.
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Car Roof Cargo Box Comparison
|Roof Cargo Box||Capacity||Type|
|Thule 625 Force||13 - 21 Cubic Feet||Hard|
|Yakima Skybox||12 - 21 Cubic Feet||Hard|
|SportRack Vista||18 Cubic Feet||Hard|
|Thule 682 SideKick||8 Cubic Feet||Hard|
|Yakima RocketBox Pro||14 Cubic Feet||Hard|
|INNO Wedge Plus||13 Cubic Feet||Hard|
|Goplus Storage||14 Cubic Feet||Hard|
|RoofBag USA||11 - 15 Cubic Feet||Soft|
|Sailnovo Carrier||15 - 20 Cubic Feet||Soft|
|AmazonBasics Rooftop Bag||15 Cubic Feet||Soft|
In terms of the designs available, you have the option of a hard or soft carrier that can be mounted to the roof. The best option for all-round usage are the hard shells but the soft carrier bags are a more affordable alternative and are easier to store when not in use.
Security of the roof cargo box is essential because many budget options that use poor locking mechanisms can be easily compromised. 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 to the roof of your car and provide plenty of storage space for all your luggage.
The Best Roof Cargo Box
1. Thule Force Roof Cargo Box
Thule are the market leaders when it comes to roof cargo boxes with multiple models and 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 Thule’s patented “Quick Grip” clamps, that attach to the roof racks with ease.
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 on the market that ticks every box. It does come with a premium price tag but the advanced features along with the reputable brand backing make it a worthwhile investment.Check it Out
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 is designed to fit the majority of round or square roof racks.
A great benefit of this particular cargo box is that 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 also have the peace of mind that it’s been built to the highest of standards and it comes with a lifetime warranty.Check it Out
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 and points 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 well-known as Thule or Yakima, this roof cargo box does come with a lifetime warranty for complete peace of mind.Check it Out
4. Thule Sidekick Rooftop Cargo Box
If the Thule Force series is too expensive 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’s built to high standards.
Instead of opening on both sides like the premium 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 gear to golf clubs.Check it Out
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 which provides improved hatch clearance and is often required for smaller vehicles.
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’s 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. As with all Yakima cargo boxes, this model also comes with a limited lifetime warranty for complete peace of mind.Check it Out
6. INNO Wedge Plus Roof Cargo Box
The INNO Wedge Plus is the brand’s new and improved version of their standard wedge cargo box. It has been designed to be easy to install and uses an intuitive memory mount system that takes minutes to mounted on the roof of your car.
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
- Available in matte black or gloss red
- 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 has been built to a high standard and comes with a lifetime warranty. It also has unique features such as a 3D inner mat and color options that are highly desirable and would look great on any vehicle.Check it Out
7. Goplus Roof Mount Cargo Box
The Goplus is a premium cargo box 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.
In terms of the construction, it’s made of a heavy duty ABS and PC material that protects it against the elements and securely holds 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’s 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.Check it Out
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 available in two sizes that include 11 or 15 cubic feet and the brand also offer various accessory extras too.
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 best suit your vehicle.Check it Out
9. Sailnovo Soft Roof Cargo Carrier Box
If you are on a tight budget and require a roof carrier bag, the Salinovo brand have the answer. It’s a water resistant cargo bag that uses a rubber laminated nylon construction. The soft yet durable construction ties down easily and causes no damage to the roof.
Unlike a standard rooftop cargo box, the Salinovo uses a foldable material, which makes storing 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 and use. It also has the added bonus of being foldable for storage, which is a big bonus as it may only be used a couple of times per year.Check it Out
10. AmazonBasics Rooftop Cargo Carrier
The cheapest option that can be mounted to the roof or hitch cargo carrier is the AmazonBasics bag. It offers up to 15 cubic feet of storage space and features an oversized zipper closure to keep the contents dry inside. To ensure the carrier bag is securely mounted, 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’s also one of the cheapest options on the market. Unlike many of the similar priced alternatives, it’s been built to last and includes a 1 year warranty for complete peace of mind.Check it Out
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 are plenty of options on the market.
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.
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’s 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.
The storage space or volume inside of the roof box is measured in cubic feet. Most boxes 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.
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 constructions normally hold more than 100 LBS but all manufacturers will state the weight capacity upon 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 feature multiple curves that allows 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, purchasing from a brand that has spent years of research and development improving the aerodynamics is worth paying the extra for.
Hard vs Soft
Depending upon your budget will determine the best type of cargo box for you. Hard cargo boxes are the more desirable and offer a weatherproof, durable and sleek option. However, they do come at a premium cost but they are worth paying the extra.
The alternative choice of a soft cargo carrier is a much cheaper option 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 when you arrive at your destination.
Carrier Warranty and Quality Control
The more expensive cargo boxes use high quality plastics such as ABS. This provides a rigid and durable structure for the cargo box that lasts for years to come. Poor quality materials won’t be able to withstand bad weather conditions and UV rays from the sun. This causes discoloration of the box, clips and other components breaking down. The plastic used is often thinner on the cheaper roof boxes and often rattles or cracks 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 them.
Cargo Box Ease of Use
Some cargo boxes contain more than one lock, which makes it harder to force them open by thieves. Some modern roof boxes also feature multiple opening areas, which means it can be opened from both sides and significantly improves its practicality.
Installing a cargo box will require roof racks to be installed to your car. 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 and they go underneath the roof racks and connect to the two holes in the roof box. You are then able 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.
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 a 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 brands such as Thule, Yakima and Sport Racks.