Best Car Rooftop Carrier (Reviews 2021)

Best Car Rooftop Carrier

Carrying heavy luggage could be an issue if you have a tight trunk space in your car. Especially the hatchbacks and SUVs that have limited boot space. You will have to adjust the rear seats to expand the space for luggage. One of the best alternatives to fulfill the requirement of carrying additional is rooftop carriers. Rooftop carriers can be installed on your vehicle’s roof to arrange the heavy luggage. In this post, you are going to find the best Car Rooftop Carrier Reviews.

A car’s rooftop area needs a make-over with roof rail or specially designed roof racks, and cargo carriers to adjust your luggage.

The benefits of having car rooftop carriers

  • Carry Extra Luggage: The rooftop carriers are available in many types and designs. Some of them are boxes, bags, and baskets. These carriers have a big storage capacity to accommodate multiple suitcases and heavy bags easily. Carriers give you the comfort of carrying extra luggage for long drives and destination travel.
  • Luggage protection: Carriers such as a rooftop box, and bag works like a complete cover for your luggage. These types of carriers are made of heavy-duty rubber and plastic to protect your luggage from tough weather conditions. They are water-proof and weather-resistant to keep your luggage safe from the UV-rays and rainwater.
  • Theft-protection: Rooftop boxes are equipped with a locking mechanism. This is a wonderful feature to leave your luggage unattended during traveling breaks. Offloading the whole luggage from the rooftop is another discouragement for the culprits as it demands effort and time to perform the stealing activity.
  • Save interior space: This is a personal choice but loading your whole luggage on a rooftop carrier saves you lots of space inside the vehicle. It gives you enough room to accommodate more people in the passenger seats. Keeping the luggage by folding the rear seats could spoil and damage the material. This is another advantage of using the rooftop carriers for loading the luggage and save your vehicle’s interiors.

5 Best Car Rooftop Carrier (Reviews 2021)

There are many types and categories in car rooftop carriers that are suited for cargo managing, handling, and protection. To help you make an informed choice, here are 5 best Car Rooftop Carrier reviews.


#1 Thule Force Cargo Box

Product Rating: 4.8 / 5

Thule Cargo box comes in many different sizes, taking from 13 cubic feet going above 21 cubic feet in its alpine version which spaces for the winter sports requirements. Alike other Thule products, it is an easy-to-use solution, following its quick grip mounting. This carrier is designed well to open on both sides, which is of great help and durability to the adventurers and campers for carrying around their equipment.

To secure and mount this roof box, you don’t particularly need the Thule roof rack as it can easily be arranged on any roof racks. This cargo carrier is very easy to carry and maintain and also very secure as it comes with the loc system provided by the manufacturer.


  • Aerodynamic looks
  • Realistic design
  • Multiple sizes options
  • Quick-grip mounting system
  • Easy to install


  • The mpg performance can get affected


#2 Maxxhaul Roof Rack Cargo

Product Rating: 4.5 / 5

A heavy-duty cargo carrier, made from aluminum and steel frame, that can withstand all weather conditions- Maxxhaul Roof Rack Cargo. This roof rack cargo carrier is a great choice to make if you travel or use cargo racks frequently. These are also great options if the automobile has to transport bulky and heavy materials/ luggage.

With a large storage capacity, it also has a small folding ramp; this rack makes storing and carrying heavy items easy. Maxxhaul carrier leaves most carriers behind by being durable, utilitarian, and corrosion-proof; it is also rust-resistant! It is a great product to own at an inexpensive cost.


  • Aluminum & steel material
  • Sturdy Design
  • Rust and Corrosion-proof
  • Large loading space


  • Installation may not be easy


#3 Keeper 07203-1 Waterproof Rooftop Cargo Bag

Product Rating: 4.3 / 5

This textile design cargo carrier is best suited for the drivers. This cargo bag is made from nylon that is rubber laminated making this bag sun & waterproof, which means the bag will save your luggage from all weather conditions. This is easy to store because of its flexibility.

This bag can be folded into a compact and handy size before storing; its installation process is easy as well. It has a universal size, making this bag fit almost all roof racks that have a 4-side attachment feature.


  • Waterproof
  • Roof rack compatibility
  • Easy storage
  • Compact design


  • Not suitable for delicate and sharp objects

#4 CURT Capacity Basket Trailer Hitch Cargo Carrier

Product Rating: 4.6 / 5

A cargo carrier by Curt in a basket-design- Capacity Basket Trailer Hitch Cargo Carrier. This carrier comes with a sturdy folding shank; making tilt-up possible when the carrier is not in use. With a large size and durable carbide-steel body, this cargo carrier will for sure keep all your belongings safe throughout the journey.

The carrier body is powder-coated after construction making it easy to clean and survive the seasonal changes. The carrier has a 500lbs of carrying capacity and with a mesh base, one can easily clean the dirt or debris. The installation process is fairly simple as well, it has a bolt-together pattern for affixing.


  • Folding shank
  • 500lbs- load capacity
  • Powder-coated finish


  • Very heavy

#5 Rightline Gear Sport 3 Car Top Carrier

Product Rating: 4.3 / 5

Most people tend to find a large size cargo carrier for their cars, vans, or trucks; the larger the better, right? If you are one of those, then choose the Rightline Gear Sport 3 Car Top Carrier. These are the best cargo carriers for cars and SUVs; while staying within your budget range these carriers will make your luggage carrying and transporting easier.

The carrier works with a clip & strap system, which can easily slip through the gaps; easy installation and usage. Few reviews do point out that the gap permits water seepage.


  • Completely waterproof design
  • Sewn-in guide provided
  • Aerodynamic design, ideal for small cars


  • Makes flapping sound while speeding



Few important tips, one should keep in mind while looking for the best cargo carriers and their important features to make the best of their buy.

  1. CapacityThe most important factor to be considered while buying a rooftop carrier is its capacity to hold. The size matters the most based on your requirements and needs. The basic range for cargo comes in 10 to 25 cubic feet. The size you choose also depends on the size of your cars and how much does it allow carrying and handling well. Also, keep in mind that your cargo capacity depends on what kind of items you will be carrying in it. The security of those items determines your purchase choice.
  2. DesignThis one characteristic is usually noticed while choosing the best car carrier of your choice. But it’s not just about how the carrier looks. We want it to match the personality of our cars, but also keeping in mind the handling capacity of your car roof. The design of your carriers must assure and match the carrying capacity and size of your rooftop. If it is too square in size, it might create a drag and make you spend a little more on the fuel. The designs can also affect the wind noises you hear inside the car. To choose a more aerodynamic carrier, look for a lower and lengthier cargo carrier. Also, the better length enhances the storage capacity.
  3. Durability – Investing in a cargo carrier is sure of sustainable investment. You want to make sure that your investment is going in the right place, is affordable, and long-running. But it nowhere stands for the cheapest cargoes as then the quality of the cargoes is not assured. Rather look for features like weather durability and the material used in making the carrier, which tells you more about the long-lasting product along with its usage.
  4. Compatibility – You need to choose the cargo carrier which compliments and is compatible with your car’s current fixtures and additions you wish to have in it. There are carriers available in shapes like square and round, which are made to fit with the aerodynamics and which can be easily settled and fixed on your car roofs. Try doing a little research on what type of cargoes will fit in your necessities the best.
  5. Ease-of-use – This feature to be considered while purchasing is really important. But most people miss upon it. Arranging your cargo carrier and handling it is crucial at times and can make your work a little longer on assembling it. This complication can make your travel a bit of trouble every time you assemble the carrier cargo on the car top. It is also irritating and won’t be that useful if it keeps on troubling you each time. Try looking for options that are more user-friendly and can be assembled easily without extra help or installments.

Another consideration is the accessibility of the cargo. The opening from different directions makes it easy and quick to use, without taking much longer. Those carriers which open only from the front make you unpack all the storage every time you need something. Try looking for options with several openings so that you don’t have to suffer much to get your stuff out of the carrier.

  1. SecuritySecurity is a priority all the time. The same goes while choosing for cargo as it carries your belongings. Try to opt for the cargoes which come with inbuilt security lock systems. It will assure you the safety of your belonging while you are not around and the confidence to use them more often. Having a good lock system is a guarantee of the safety of your unattended stuff in the carriers, but also the good and strong material used for making your carrier is equally important.

Types of Car Rooftop Carriers

  • Rooftop boxes: A rooftop box, also called as cargo boxes are great for carrying lightweight and bulk materials such as luggage, tents, sporting equipment, etc. These are aerodynamically designed and comes with a waterproofing feature.

Benefits: Additional carrying capacity, comes with locks for extra protection, fully waterproof, and provides UV protection, highly compatible with sporting equipment.

  • Roof bags: These are bags made of hard rubber or nylon materials that can be used to carry lightweight items. These bags require some efforts while loading and unloading but are highly portable and can be squeezed anywhere if not in use.

Benefits: lightweight, compatible, waterproof, additional carrying capacity.

  • Rooftop baskets: Rooftop baskets are the most versatile to carry lots of heavy-duty and lightweight luggage. These can be used to carry larger types of equipment without any hassle. One of the drawbacks is their design that is fully open and may impact your luggage in monsoon. Give your luggage some protection through the dry bag on rooftop baskets.

Benefits: Easy to install, built from touch materials, highly durable, flexible to carry oddly shaped instruments.

All the above options are designed for specific needs based on individual choice. But remember a roof rack/rail is a must to install these cargo carriers. If you do not have one, then the only option is Hitch-mounted cargo carriers that are used behind your car and do pretty much the same job as above three.

How to drive with Rooftop Carriers? Tips & Tricks

  • Keep a check on tire pressure: Extra load on your vehicle tends to increase the pressure on tires. Ensure the air pressure is set as per the extra luggage norms to avoid any tire problems while traveling.
  • Beware of the height limits: Carriers with luggage on top increases the overall height of your vehicle. It becomes a hurdle while entering some spaces with restricted height limits.
  • Extra attention while driving: The driver needs to take some extra precautions while going through rough roads and sharp turns that result in sudden jerks and shakes which may cause the fall of luggage.

How to install the Rooftop Carriers?

Installation may differ basis the choice of rooftop carrier you are using but one must need to follow the below basic steps:

  • A rooftop carrier should be centered and placed a minimum of 1 foot from the front.
  • Make sure the rooftop you are using is fully packed. Any loose ends or empty parts may not provide the best results in protecting your luggage. Use miscellaneous stuff like cushion or pillows to tighten the edges of your carrier.
  • Now place the carrier between the roof rack bars basis the configurations and installation instructions from the manufacturer.
  • Attach the straps around the rail rack followed by threading and looping of long straps on the carrier. Check the tightness after buckling the long straps into the short straps.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

  1. Are cargo carriers universal?

Answer: No, cargo carriers come in different designs, shapes, and materials to cater to your individual choice and requirement of your luggage.

  1. Do I need a roof rack for a cargo carrier?

Answer: Yes, a roof rack is a must for the better installation of cargo carriers. It helps in protecting your cargo better than overhauling the cargo on your vehicle’s roof without a roof rack.

  1. How much do cargo carriers cost?

Answer: Cargo carriers like rooftop bags and racks/baskets will cost between $70-$200. Whereas a branded cargo rooftop box with better security will cost more than $500.

Conclusion: Maximize the inner space and carry extra luggage with Rooftop Carriers

Driving with the whole family and friends in a hatchback or SUV with luggage can be difficult. You may have to compromise on some valuables or items to accommodate the extra passengers. This is where a rooftop carrier comes in handy. The rooftop carriers are not only helpful in carrying additional luggage but are also instrumental in protecting it.

The locking and security mechanism, waterproof and weather-resistance features make it worth a purchase. They are durable and long-lasting for multiple usages. Our top choices of rooftop carriers are worthy investments to help you fulfill your vehicle’s luggage requirements and leave you with enough space to enjoy your drive with friends, and family.

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4 thoughts on “Best Car Rooftop Carrier (Reviews 2021)”

  1. I drive a wagon with little space for luggage and I can tell how much trouble it is when I want to carry a luggage that wouldn’t fit in the small trunk compartment. However, I find this post quite helpful as there’s a lot of tips and pointers I’ve been able to learn. The Maxxhaul Roof Rack Cargo has great features and I’ll look to get one for my car. 

    • Hi Elite,

      Inner space becomes a big problem in wagons and small cars and they need an external carrier to carry the luggage. A Roof Rack is a good choice for its toughness, capacity, and durability. Make sure you buy additional straps to protect your luggage while traveling.

  2. I am surprised at how reasonable this extra luggage carrier can be.  We were thinking of asking relative to make a trip with us but knew that in our vehicle, luggage room could be an issue.  After reading your article and considering the information you have shared, we think that this particular part of the prep for a trip should be something we can manage.  

    As we will be spending some time while we are gone in a populated area with lots of people around, we were also glad to see that security is something that can be easily addressed.  We can leave our carrier and feel reasonably comfortable that when we return, our things will be secure.  We are thinking the last one you reviewed might be a good choice  The fact that all the locking points have to be secured before the key can be removed makes me feel more at ease with the carrier.  I think it was the Thule Pulse Cargo Box.  Thanks for your help, Sami

    • Hi Sami,

      External Cargo Carriers are very handy and useful when you need all the space inside your car. If you are looking for a cargo box then I suggest Thule Force Cargo Box is the best in class carrier for its installation, capability, and overall security.

      Thanks for your comment.


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