Best rooftop cargo box IN 2022

Whether you drive a small hatchback or a large SUV, adding a rooftop cargo box to the roof of your vehicle can help with organization, carrying capacity, and comfort. These boxes are available in a variety of sizes to accommodate your gear (including skis), and they differ in terms of durability, ease of use, aesthetics, security, and other factors. The majority of the top models for 2022 are built by roof-rack behemoths Thule and Yakima, but brands like INNO and SportRack also make significant contributions. Below is our market breakdown, ranging from premium luxury models and compact carriers to popular all-rounders that do the job for most people. Check out our comparison table and buying advice below the picks for more information.

The Thule Motion XT L ($900) is the best overall rooftop cargo box.

If you’re looking for a rooftop cargo box in 2022, there are plenty of high-quality options to choose from. Thule’s Motion XT, on the other hand, stands out, with a refined fit and finish, user-friendly installation and operation, and four sizes ranging from 16 to 22 cubic feet (including a “Alpine” version great for low clearances and toting skis). The price is also reasonable: some cargo boxes can cost up to $1,500, but the Motion XT maintains a high-end feel while costing $900 for the L (16 cu. ft.) model. Whether you’re a road tripper in need of extra space for your climbing gear or a weekend warrior looking to blend in on city streets, Thule’s premium all-rounder is hard to beat.

You can save money by selecting one of the more affordable options listed below, but you should be aware of what you’re giving up. To begin, Thule’s installation is the best in class, and with PowerClick mounts that make an audible “click” when in place, you can get a secure fit on most roof racks in just minutes—a particularly useful feature if you frequently remove or swap your box between cars. Second, with large handles on each side, smooth-operating locks, and a stiff lid that fits perfectly when closed, the Motion XT is simple to open, close, and secure (sometimes you have to jimmy floppier lids into place).

Finally, the nose design is excellent, with an extra-solid base and generous overlap that prevents gaping and provides superior wind resistance. Overall, the Motion XT leaves little room for improvement for the average user, making it our favorite all-purpose cargo box of the year

Yakima SkyBox 16 Carbonite

We must admit that we hesitated a little when it came to selecting our favorite rooftop cargo box. The Motion XT above is clearly the “best” all-arounder, with a high-end fit and finish, exceptionally simple mounting hardware, and an unrivaled SlideLock handle and lock system. But not every user requires the best, especially when “very good” will suffice for much less. This is why we see the Yakima SkyBox on more rooftops than any other carrier: for $719 for the 16-cubic-foot model ($769 for the 18-cubic-foot model), you get durable storage for your gear as well as tool-free installation that will accommodate most factory and after-market racks. There’s a SkyBox for everyone, with sizes ranging from 12 to 21 cubic feet, including a low-clearance (“Lo”) model and a narrow “12” that leaves enough room on your rack for a bike or boat.

Both the Motion XT and SkyBox are made to withstand the rigors of the road, with tough ABS plastic and aerodynamic shapes that taper at the back to accommodate your car’s antenna and hatch. But details matter, and the Yakima falls a little short here. We discovered that the Thule’s turn handle requires a little more force and isn’t as easy to operate with just one hand (it also has a tendency to get stuck when frozen). Furthermore, while the Motion XT’s mounting system is one of our favorites, the Yakima’s requires more finagling to get into place, which is a disadvantage if you plan on removing and reinstalling your box on a regular basis. However, the value and size range are difficult to beat, and the SkyBox is a dependable hauler that will get your gear from point A to point B.

Best Rooftop Cargo Box on a Budget 3. Jegs Rooftop Cargo Carrier

Roof boxes can cost up to $1,500, but the budget Jegs Rooftop Cargo Carrier is a popular option that will do the job for less than a quarter of the price. At $260, this box is nearly $200 less expensive than the next-cheapest model here (Thule’s Sidekick), while providing dual-side access (the Sidekick only opens from the passenger side) and more than twice the storage capacity. Furthermore, because of their extra-wide and tall dimensions, the Jegs can transport a lot of bulky cargo that other bullet-shaped haulers can’t. Overall, for a simple box that won’t be left on your car all year, it’s a reasonably priced and road-worthy option.

Of course, there are drawbacks to choosing such a low-cost design. The flimsy build of the Jegs feels cheap, lacks the structure of more premium boxes, and will not last as long. Furthermore, its tall and wide shape isn’t particularly aerodynamic, and its 57-inch length precludes the use of skis (for a relatively affordable ski carrier, check out the Yakima RocketBox Pro 14 below).

In terms of installation, simple U-bolt mounts attach to your crossbars via pre-drilled holes rather than adjustable tracks, which means you’ll probably need to adjust your crossbars or drill new holes to get a good fit. Finally, the locks aren’t particularly effective at deterring break-ins, and you’ll have to undo two each time you want to access your belongings. But it’s difficult to be overly critical at this price point, and the Jegs is a good place to start for budget shoppers willing to sacrifice a little on quality.

INNO Wedge 660 -Best low-profile roof box

If you park in a garage or frequent enclosed parking lots, you should reconsider purchasing a rooftop box. Many models here add nearly two feet to the roof of your car (when the height of the box and the rack is taken into account), which is unacceptable, especially for SUVs and vans. The good news is that those who need to keep a low profile have a number of options. The INNO Wedge 660 is one of the best designs in this category, with a contoured shape that provides 11 inches of depth while only rising 9.6 inches above your rack’s crossbars. The Wedge has more to offer than just clearance: it has a premium fit and finish, including tool-free installation, a stylish and aerodynamic shape that minimizes wind noise while accommodating a rear antenna and hatch, and a dual-sided opening that improves access and organization.

The INNO is the most low-profile rooftop box on the market, but a few models are close behind. The Thule Pulse Alpine (also 11 cu. ft.) rises 11.3 inches off the crossbars (over 1.5 inches higher than the Wedge 660) and only opens on the passenger side, but it costs $650 less. The Yakima GrandTour Lo ($929), on the other hand, is more expensive but adds 4 cubic feet of storage while increasing height by less than a half-inch (10 in. above the crossbars). You really can’t go wrong with any of these options if you’re on a tight budget, but it’s worth doing the math before you buy. While INNO’s Wedge lineup includes a variety of other sizes, it’s worth noting that the 660 is the only low-profile model.

The Best Narrow Box for Extra Rooftop Cargo box Accessories

If you enjoy biking, surfing, or boating, chances are you’ll have a lot of competition for your rooftop real estate. Add a cargo box to the mix—most of which are about 3 feet wide—and most vehicles face a difficult situation. However, if you want to have your cake and eat it, Yakima’s SkyBox 12 Carbonite is the best option. The SkyBox 12 is one of the narrowest cargo boxes on the market, at only 24 inches wide, leaving half (or more) of your roof rack free for a bike, surfboards, skis, kayak, or whatever other equipment your multi-sporting self might desire. With a longer profile than most, it also accommodates skis up to 215 centimeters in length, which is fantastic news for winter enthusiasts.

The Yakima SkyBox 12 costs $669, which is fairly expensive given its limited capacity, but it is by far the best option in this category. Thule’s Force XT Sport has a narrow (24.75-in.) profile as well, but it has several shortcomings compared to the SkyBox (detailed in the Force XT L’s write-up below) and costs $30 more. The SportRack Horizon Alpine ($450) is another good option, but its quality suffers from a combined lock/latch mechanism, less intuitive attachments, and a flimsier overall design. However, the Horizon’s slim 21-inch width may make it the more appealing option for some. Whatever design you choose, remember to keep your vehicle’s dynamic load limit in mind before stuffing your rooftop with too much gear—most top out at around 165 pounds.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.