Most of the cars have a tight rear area for carrying the luggage, except the sedan categories with specific trunk space.
A car’s rooftop area needs a make-over with roof rail or specially designed roof racks, and cargo carriers to take your luggage. There are many types and categories in car rooftop carriers that are suited for cargo managing, handling, and protection.
The Benefits And Types of Car Rooftop Carriers
First of all, a roof rack/rail is a must on the roof of your car to have rooftop carriers. A roof rack is a set of bars installed on both sides to the roof of your vehicle.
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.
Best car rooftop carriers in 2020
Different designs for different needs are provided to safely store your important luggage and also protect it against harsh weather conditions for smaller or longer trips.
We have short-listed and reviewed a few of the best car rooftop carriers or rooftop cargo carriers below to reduce your research and selection efforts.
BEST (AutoSupplements Choice)
#1 Thule Force Cargo Box
Product Rating: 4.7 / 5
Here comes one of the most versatile cargo carriers in the list of Best Cargo Carriers for cars. It 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 lock system provided by the manufacturer.
Modern look aerodynamics with realistic design
Available in multiple size options
The quick-grip mounting system makes it easy to install
The mpg performance can get affected
BETTER (AutoSupplements Recommend)
#2 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, which makes it a top choice among the Best Cargo Carriers for cars.
This bag can be folded into a compact and shady 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.
Suitable for any type of roof rack
Easy storage & compact design
Not suitable for delicate and sharp objects
#3 Maxxhaul Roof Rack Cargo
Product Rating: 4.4 / 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 rack frequently. These are also great options if the automobile has to transport bulky and heavy materials/ luggage.
With 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 combo makes it sturdy
Rust and corrosion-proof
Large loading space
Complex installation process
#4 AmazonBasics Rooftop Cargo Carrier Bag
Product Rating: 4.2 / 5
AmazonBasics is a brand that provides the best cargo carriers for cars along with various other products. The carrier top is waterproof and immune to weather changes; your cargo carrier will last for long. It provides protection against wind, dirt, and sun.
With ample loading space, a hook & loop flap, and durable zipper; you will be buying a product that will last long and never disappoint. The carrier has sturdy polypropylene straps that are used for installing the carrier on the car roof. The bag can be folded into a compact size and stored for later use, when not needed.
Abundant luggage space
Value for money
Not suitable for high stacks of suitcases
#5 Rightline Gear Sport 3 Car Top Carrier
Product Rating: 4.2 / 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 in 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
Ideal for small cars
The bag makes flapping sounds during the journey
#6 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.
500lbs load capacity
Very heavy in weight
#7 JEGS Performance Products 90098 Rooftop Cargo Carrier
Product Rating: 4.3 / 5
This particular cargo solution is a very easy and compact solution for a cargo carrier. It comes in a very impressive outlook and overall durability. It can be a good add for a 110 lbs cargo. As it is small in size, this won't acquire all your roof space and is very easy to be mounted, which you can do on your own.
It weighs 28 lbs and 39-inch length, it is very easy to handle and mount. Also, it is very easily stored due to its small size. It comes with a self-stand lid and secure built-in lock with keys making it one of the best- designed cargo carriers for cars practically.
Has a compact design
Can sustain weighs for around 110lbs
The cargo carrier does not engage the entire roof area
Looks can be upgraded
#8 Thule Sidekick Cargo Box
Product Rating: 4.1 / 5
This compact cargo carrier by the sidekick is a very realistic solution. It aims at sufficing the needs and requirements of the users, who usually look forward to having ease in portability and storing these cargo carriers. It has a storage capacity of 8 cubic feet. It is also the carrier that will not cover the entire space of your car roof and will resist wind. It comes with a self-standing lid, which makes it easy to load and fosters a simplified mechanism enhancing the safety of your stuff.
This carrier is very durable and can be conveniently used for all the seasons. Being light in weight, you can install it on your own without seeking other help. Buy this highly useful sidekick cargo box and make your car spacious as well as efficient.
Highly functional and compact design
Has a substantial capacity of 8 cubic feet
Has a design that promotes self-standing technique
Lacks the capacity to store sporting equipment
#9 Thule Pulse Cargo Box
Product Rating: 4.7 / 5
Another product from Thule. This tall profile cargo comes with an extra space that makes it better and feasible in comparison to the force solution. Available in different sizes, its design can carry up to 110 lbs weight in all the versions. You can fit in many pairs of skis in this, depending upon what size you have got. This cargo comes in a self-standing design and has a really good anti-theft lock mechanism with keys which makes it safe to get listed among the Best Cargo Carriers for cars and is durable for travelers and adventurers, who look for a safer storing space.
This cargo carrier is also weather friendly as this pulse carrier is designed with durable and safe ABS plastic. Get your hands on this amazing hillside cargo for your cars and make your traveling convenient.
Perfect choice for sporting equipment like snowboards & skis
Multiple cubic feet choices
The stand-up lid and APS plastic makes it durable and sturdy
Needs improvement in the locking mechanism
#10 RoofBag Car Top Carrier
Product Rating: 4.6 / 5
This simply designed carrier from RoofBag car top carriers is a good catch from Best Cargo Carriers for cars. The design of this carrier is coated on both sides and is made waterproof for protecting your belongings. It also comes in many different sizes, so you can choose according to your needs. You have an option to select the pack with or without a roof rack for the carrier. The two heavy-duty adjustable straps are meant to provide high-quality safety.
Soft-cover prevents from liquid making it waterproof
Highly robust straps
Multiple options in a cubic meter
Doesn't have an aerodynamic space
Here are things to keep in mind while looking for the Best Cargo Carriers for cars:
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.
Features to look for best car rooftop carriers
Capacity- The 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.
Design- This 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 more aerodynamic carrier, look for a lower and lengthier cargo carrier. Also, the better length enhances the storage capacity.
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.
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.
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 the options which are more user friendly and can be assembled easily without extra help or installments.
Accessibility- 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.
Security- Security 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 it 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 of your carrier is equally important.
Some useful tips while having cargo carriers
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 precaution while going through rough roads and sharp turns that result in sudden jerks and shakes which may cause the fall of luggage.
How to use 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.