10 Best Roof Cargo Boxes in 2023 – Reviews & Top Picks
If you’re going on a trip or just have a small trunk, a roof cargo box can seriously improve your cargo space—if you purchase the right one. Not all cargo boxes are worth their price, especially because these boxes usually cost hundreds of dollars.
Therefore, before you invest in one of these cargo boxes, we recommend very carefully choosing the right one. Of course, there isn’t a single box that will be right for everyone, as it depends on your car and needs.
We’ve taken a look at ten of the most popular options on the market and provided a complete review of all of them. These reviews should help you decide which model best fits your needs.
A Quick Comparison of Our Winners (2023)
|Best Overall||SportRack Vista XL Cargo Box||
|Best Value||JEGS Rooftop Cargo Carrier||
|Premium Choice||Thule Force Rooftop Cargo Box||
|Auto Dynasty Rooftop Car Storage Box||
|Thule Pulse Rooftop Cargo Box||
The 10 Best Roof Cargo Boxes
1. SportRack Vista XL Cargo Box – Best Overall
|Dimensions:||62.5 x 19 x 39 inches|
|Cargo Space:||18 cubic feet|
While there are many cargo boxes on the market, our favorite is the SportRack Vista XL Cargo Box. As the name suggests, this cargo box has a rather large capacity of 18 cubic feet. That is enough internal cargo capacity for most purposes and can add quite a bit of extra space to your car’s capacity.
It is made from a UV-resistant ABS material, allowing it to withstand plenty of sun exposure. When installing, it doesn’t require any tools and can easily be removed or installed as necessary. Most customers had no problem adding this cargo box to their car. Plus, this box should fit on most factory racks, though you should check the fitting guide to make sure.
To secure the contents inside, this cargo box includes a key and lock. There is a lock to keep the box closed, as well as one to keep the box attached securely to your car. Therefore, your contents should be completely safe.
Based on all of these positives, this is easily the best overall cargo box on the market.
- Effective locking system
- Fits on most cars
- UV-resistant materials
- 18 cubic feet capacity
- Poor quality control at times
2. JEGS Rooftop Cargo Carrier – Best Value
|Dimensions:||61.25 x 39 x 12 inches|
|Cargo Space:||18 cubic feet|
Despite being much cheaper than other options on the market, the JEGS Rooftop Cargo Carrier is an effective solution for increasing your cat’s cargo space. This carrier can hold up to 18 cubic feet of stuff, which is about as much as more expensive options out there. It is aerodynamic to help increase fuel efficiency (though how much the design actually helps is debatable).
Of course, this container is completely waterproof and features a corner-locking system. The seal is weather-tight to keep everything secure and dry inside. You can load this container from either side of your car, which is much more convenient than most models.
Plus, there are absolutely no tools required for assembly or installation. You can quickly and easily remove it from your car whenever you get to your destination. There is a limited lifetime guarantee as well, so if the carrier fails for one reason or another, you may be able to get your money back.
Because this carrier works great for most purposes and is inexpensive, it landed near the top of our list as the best roof cargo box for the money.
- 18 cubic feet capacity
- Waterproof seal
- Limited lifetime guarantee
- No tools required for assembly
- Difficult to put things in
3. Thule Force Rooftop Cargo Box – Premium Choice
|Dimensions:||82.68 x 33.86 x 17.32 inches|
|Cargo Space:||18 cubic feet|
If you have plenty of money to spend on your cargo box, we recommend taking a look at the Thule Force Rooftop Carbo Box. This versatile cargo box is designed for everyday use and can easily be mounted to the roof of your car. It can fit on a range of vehicles and is designed for maximum space efficiency. It is not incredibly large and bulky, but it can hold quite a bit of cargo.
Like most cargo boxes on this list, this Thule box has 18 cubic feet of space. That should be enough for most suitcases and air mattresses.
The quick-mount system requires no tools and easily clicks into place. The mounting system keeps the box secure while requiring very little work on your part. Plus, the box is designed not to touch the trunk at all, which ensures that you can easily load the trunk as well.
You can access the box from either side of the car, allowing you to easily load it after you install it.
- Advanced air dynamics
- Quick-mount installation system
- 18 cubic feet of space
4. Auto Dynasty Rooftop Car Storage Box
|Dimensions:||52 x 34 x 15 in|
|Cargo Space:||11 cubic feet|
While the Auto Dynasty Rooftop Car Storage Box did not make it to the top three of our list, it still has excellent reviews and may be suitable for those that don’t need as much storage room. It only has a capacity of 11 cubic feet, which is a bit smaller than most of the options on this list.
It does feature a locking system that keeps your items safe while in transit. Plus, the lock also ensures that the box doesn’t accidentally open while driving, which helps keep your items safe.
While it doesn’t have as much internal space, this storage box can hold up to 110 pounds. It is designed to spread the weight evenly across the top of your car, allowing you to store heavier items. It also has a large opening so that you can fit in bulkier items without much difficulty.
However, this box does only open on one side. While this isn’t a problem for most users, it can make loading a bit more complicated.
- 110 weight capacity
- Locking system
- Large opening
- Rugged design
- Only opens on one side
- Smaller storage capacity
5. Thule Pulse Rooftop Cargo Box
|Dimensions:||67 x 35 x 16 inches|
|Cargo Space:||14 cubic feet|
The Thule Pulse Rooftop Cargo Box is highly rated and comes with many of the features included on other Thule cargo boxes. It has a rugged design that is made to withstand travel at high speeds and serious weather conditions. It keeps all of your contents safe while traveling thanks to its tough design.
The FastGrip mounting system allows you to easily fit this cargo box onto your car in only a matter of seconds. You do not need any tools to mount it, and it unmounts pretty easily as well. This box does only open on one side (the passenger side), though most people will not find this to be a problem.
A locking system helps keep the box and your belongings safe while traveling. Without the key, you cannot remove the box from the car or open it. Plus, the key also works as a safety system, as it will not come out of the lock unless the box is properly installed.
- Easy to install
- Complete locking system included
- Rugged box that can withstand high speeds
- Safety system to ensure proper installation
- Smaller capacity
6. YAKIMA RocketBox Pro 14 Cargo Box
|Dimensions:||39.37 x 11.81 x 62.99 inches|
|Cargo Space:||14 cubic feet|
Like many cargo boxes, the YAKIMA RocketBox Pro 14 Cargo Box features an aerodynamic design that reduces drag and improves fuel efficiency. It also has forward-mounting hardware, which helps improve clearance, especially on smaller vehicles.
The mounting hardware should fit most vehicles. It is designed to work with both square and round bars, as well as many aftermarket bars. It opens on both sides, allowing you to easily load from whatever direction works best. It has a push-button that securely closes the top and ensures that your stuff stays safe. You can press the button on either side, providing quick access whenever you need it. It also has a locking system to prevent theft.
This box does have a smaller storage space than other options, but it is just as expensive as the larger boxes. That’s why it landed a bit lower on our list. It has everything you need, but the value for the money just isn’t there.
- Fits most bars
- Push-button security
- Locking system
- Smaller storage space
7. Adakiit Car Roof Cargo Carrier
|Dimensions:||52 x 40 x 17.5 inches|
|Cargo Space:||21 cubic feet|
At first glance, the Adakiit Car Roof Cargo Carrier looks like a great option. It is extremely inexpensive when compared to other models and has a much higher storage space. You can use it without bars on top of your vehicle, which makes it much more useful to a wide range of people. This cargo box can easily carry much more than other options, and you don’t have to worry about installing bars.
However, this carrier is basically a bag. The bag material is strong, as it is made from PVC, however, it is not as rugged as other options and does not hold its shape very well. Therefore, it isn’t aerodynamic, either. For the most part, you’re saving many thanks to the inferior material and lack of a hard shell.
The bag is waterproof, as it comes with a waterproof zipper but there isn’t exactly a door or direction that this carrier opens in. Instead, you just have to shove everything in and try to yank the zipper closed. It works, but it isn’t as easy as other options.
With that said, this carrier is easy to install, but it does utilize mostly reinforced straps. It does not necessarily have the strong attachment that other carriers will.
- Large storage capacity
- Difficult to pack
- Not as rugged as other options
- Cheap materials
8. FIVKLEMNZ Car Cargo Carrier
|Dimensions:||10.63 x 14.57 x 5.51 inches|
|Cargo Space:||15 cubic feet|
For some people, the FIVKLEMNZ Car Cargo Carrier may work. It uses 8 adjustable straps for installation, which means that you don’t need bars, and it has an anti-slip mat that helps it stay in the same place while you’re driving. However, the cargo capacity is much smaller than most other options. Plus, it is not as heavy-duty as other options out there.
This carrier does not have any locking system, so there is no protection from theft. Someone could steal the bag or the items inside without much of a problem.
With that said, the carrier does easily install in only a few minutes. All you have to do is properly adjust the straps, which can take a little bit of time. The instructions are pretty straightforward.
- Anti-slip mat
- Doesn’t require bars
- No locking system
- Straps require a lot of adjusting
- Small capacity
9. JEGS 90098K2 Rooftop Cargo Carrier
|Cargo Space:||18 cubic feet|
The JEGS 90098K2 Rooftop Cargo Carrier has a decently large capacity and is pretty cheap for the size. It has a rough, rugged exterior that keeps all your items safe while traveling. Because it is made of aluminum, this box is quite a bit sturdier than other options out there. It even includes crossbars to help with installation. In this way, it is really more of a kit than just a cargo box.
The box is extremely waterproof and stays put even at high speeds. Because it has the cross beams, the instructions are a bit more challenging to complete. There are several extra steps, but the instructions are easy to read. Most users did not report major problems
There is a locking system on the box. However, it is quite cheap and could easily be broken if a small amount of force was applied. Therefore, many recommended adding a new locking system to keep your stuff safe.
- Aluminum design
- Large storage space
- Extra installation steps
- Takes longer to uninstall
- Poor locking system
10. Thule Outbound Cargo Bag
|Dimensions:||36 x 36 x 17 inches|
|Cargo Space:||13 cubic feet|
We’ve mentioned Thule many times on this list as they are one of the top brands when it comes to cargo bags. However, the Thule Outbound Cargo Bag is their budget option—and it is less than stellar. It only includes 13 cubic feet of space, which is smaller than most. It also does not have a hard exterior, so it is a bit less protective than other options.
While it is cheaper than most Thule bags, it is more expensive than many other budget bags out there. You are paying extra for the brand name alone.
With that said, the bag is completely weather-proof and keeps the contents dry by all reports. It is easy to access and has a three-sided zipper. You can load it from practically any side without much difficulty. Two compression straps keep the cargo secure and minimize friction, which also helps prevent noise. You need roof rack bars for this bag, as it attaches to them using webbing straps. The bag also folds down for easy storage.
- Three-sided zipper
- Folds for easy storage
- More expensive than most budget bags
- Small storage space
- Not very protective
Buyer’s Guide: How to Select the Best Roof Cargo Boxes
You don’t want to trust your belongings with just any rooftop cargo storage container. These containers vary widely in quality. Some of them are simply bags that you strap down to your roof, while others have strong outer shells and a locking system to keep your belongings safe.
Here are some things you should keep in mind when purchasing one of these cargo boxes.
There are many considerations when it comes to the safety and security of your box. You obviously don’t want the box to fly off your car when you’re using it! Therefore, you need to choose a box that is well-tested and designed to withstand high speeds, like those you’ll typically find on the highway.
Furthermore, you also have to consider theft. Many cargo boxes are easy to get into, and we’d bet that the stuff inside is pretty easy to make off with. Many cargo boxes have locks on them that keep them shut. However, it is also a good idea to choose an option that locks onto your car. Otherwise, the thief may just take the whole box.
Ease of Loading
You’re going to be loading the cargo box after installing it on the car. Often, this is a pain in itself. Therefore, it is vital that you choose a box that is as easy to load as possible. Preferably, the box should be loadable from multiple sides. Many higher-end models have this feature, though you’d be pressed to find it in a budget model.
Boxes that open wider are also often easier to load, as you don’t have to worry about bulky items not fitting. With that said, containers that are not rigid are often the hardest to load. It is difficult to shove stuff into a bag that is already on top of your car.
Cargo boxes need to stay firmly on top of your car but it is also vital that they are easy to install, to begin with. A complicated box is going to add tons of time to your packing routine, which is typically the last thing you want when you’re trying to get somewhere.
Most cargo boxes require bars of some sort on top of your car but this is not always the case. Some use straps to attach to your door or other parts of your car. These may be helpful if you don’t have bars on your roof, but they can also be more difficult to install.
Preferably, the cargo box should not require any tools to install. Many simply snap on, which is much easier. If the box is going to be on your car for a while, this is less of a problem. However, if you are removing it as soon as you get to your destination, you probably don’t want to pull out screwdrivers to do so.
Cargo boxes are often a necessary part of traveling, especially if your car doesn’t have much cargo space. Luckily, there are many top models out there that can help you carry all your belongings on vacation.
The SportRack Vista XL Cargo Box is our favorite. It is extremely large, as the name suggests. The outer cover is made of UV-resistant material, so it can deal with a lot of time in the sun. Plus, it is easy to install and comes with an effective locking system.
With that said, it can be quite expensive. If you’re on a budget, you may want to take a look at the JEGS Rooftop Cargo Carrier. This brand is much cheaper overall, but their cargo boxes are still high-quality. This one is durable and includes a waterproof seal.
Hopefully, one of the boxes on this list caught your eye and helped you find the best option for your needs.
Featured Image Credit: Thai Nguyen, Unsplash
- 1 A Quick Comparison of Our Winners (2023)
- 2 The 10 Best Roof Cargo Boxes
- 2.1 1. SportRack Vista XL Cargo Box – Best Overall
- 2.2 2. JEGS Rooftop Cargo Carrier – Best Value
- 2.3 3. Thule Force Rooftop Cargo Box – Premium Choice
- 2.4 4. Auto Dynasty Rooftop Car Storage Box
- 2.5 5. Thule Pulse Rooftop Cargo Box
- 2.6 6. YAKIMA RocketBox Pro 14 Cargo Box
- 2.7 7. Adakiit Car Roof Cargo Carrier
- 2.8 8. FIVKLEMNZ Car Cargo Carrier
- 2.9 9. JEGS 90098K2 Rooftop Cargo Carrier
- 2.10 10. Thule Outbound Cargo Bag
- 3 Buyer’s Guide: How to Select the Best Roof Cargo Boxes
- 4 Conclusion