The best roof boxes for your car

The ideal options for adding extra luggage capacity for your holidays.

best roof boxes

by Aaron Hussain |
Updated on

In a lot of long-haul family holidays, roof boxes are a great tool at carrying extra equipment. It's amazing how quickly even the biggest of boots can be filled with suitcases, sandwiches and sports equipment. And that's before you remember to load up the bike rack.

And while it may be tempting to place bags on passengers and remove the spare wheel for extra storage, there is an easier option that doesn't involve leaving important things at home. One of which is roof bags, but the more solid and often spacious option is a roof box.

A roof box is a simple but effective way of adding more storage to your car by unlocking as much as 580 litres of storage (which is nearly double the boot space offered by the recently-demised Ford Fiesta). For the really practical and adventurous type, you can even opt for car roof tents for your travels.

The best roof boxes at a glance:

Editor's pick: Thule Motion XT Medium - buy from Amazon.
Best for capacity: Halfords Advanced 580L Roof Box - buy from Halfords.
Best value roof box: HandiWorld HandiHoldall Large Roof Box - buy from Amazon.

We've found the best roof boxes currently for sale for a whole host of budgets. Some offer great value for money, but aren't aerodynamic, and others are great at cutting through the air.

The best roof boxes

Editor's pick

best roof boxesVia Thule

Offering a great load of space at a not-too-extortionate price point, the Motion XT epitomises the excellent build quality and versatility of Thule roof boxes.

It can hold 400 litres and take up to 75kg of stuff. That's nearly the equivalent of a full boot load on a small hatchback, so to have that capability in a roof box is very useful.

Pros

  • Excellent build quality
  • Loads of space and good aerodynamics

Cons

  • The Alpine variant is even more aerodynamic

Best value roof box

best roof boxesVia Handiworld
Price: $153.72

Everyone usually assumes that a roof box has to be a solid plastic product, but fabric options are just as voluminous and cost a lot less. This excellent roof bag can hold 330 litres and the fabric is fully water-resistant. It also only weighs 3.6kg and can be rolled up when not in use (you'll need to remove the fibreglass poles).

Pros

  • Great value for money
  • Easy to store when not in use

Cons

  • Creates quite a bit of wind noise

Best value solid roof box

best roof boxesVia Halfords

While this roof box from Halfords may not offer the most storage, it is the best value solid plastic roof box on the market. Offering an impressive 420 litres of storage and a side opening mechanism, the aerodynamically designed roof box will reduce wind noise and keep your fuel bills down.

Pros

  • Good value for money
  • Aerodynamic

Cons

  • Not the most generous capacity out there

Best aerodynamic roof box

best roof boxesVia Thule

The Vauxhall Calibra of the roof box world, this 300-litre roof box from Thule is designed with aerodynamics as a top priority. While other roof boxes will offer more space, the XT Sport will help fuel efficiency and prevent wind noise. Thule is also renowned for quality and ergonomic designs so the hefty investment should be worth it.

Pros

  • Keep your fuel bills down
  • Surprisingly spacious

Cons

  • Capacity isn't as great as the XT Motion

Best mid-range roof box

best roof boxesVia Thule

Smaller cars need roof boxes too and this compact Thule is the best way to maximise a small space. It may only be 162 x 71 x 40cm but it manages to offer 400 litres of storage and an aerodynamic design to keep wind noise and fuel bills down. Again coming with Thule's legendary build quality, it can hold up to 75kg.

Pros

  • Great capacity
  • Great build quality

Cons

  • Not the most aerodynamic

Best for load capacity

best roof boxesVia Halfords

The big selling point with this roof box is the sheer amount it can carry, 580 litres. It's obviously designed for cars with larger roofs but is easy to use thanks to the dual side opening. It's also aerodynamically designed to keep wind noise down.

Pros

  • Good price for the quality of the product
  • Good volume

Cons

  • You'll need a large car

How to find the correct roof racks for your vehicle

Amazon logoVia Amazon

For a roof box to be fitted on your car, you'll need a set of roof racks. If your car didn't have them fitted from the factory, there are loads of aftermarket options available - and you can use Amazon Garage to filter your vehicle for the best search results.

Pros

  • Easy to filter
  • Lots of cars to choose from

Cons

  • You need Prime for free delivery

Things to remember with roof boxes

Fuel economy can be affected by having a bulky roof box affecting the aerodynamics of your car. And with a good bike rack attached, those aerodynamics can be affected further.At the end of the day, you can't beat the laws of physics and because your car will be experiencing more drag, you'll use more fuel.

Depending on the weight and size, you could lose anywhere between 5 and 10% of your usual MPG figures. Thule can dial that back because the Alpine versions of their roof boxes are designed with aerodynamics in mind. The case being a skiing holiday for example, which involves a lot of French motorway miles.

Of course, the other drawback is wind noise. Roof boxes can generate a lot of it at speed and again, aerodynamics come into play. There will be less wind noise if the roof box you use is sleeker. Perhaps the most important point is that if your car doesn't have a set of roof racks, you won't be able to carry one at all. There are plenty of cars which have them from factory, but aftermarket roof racks are plentiful on the market.

Aaron Hussain is a commercial content writer at Bauer Media writing for Parkers and CAR. He is obsessed with classic cars and anything with a fascinating story to tell.

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Just so you know, whilst we may receive a commission or other compensation from the links on this website, we never allow this to influence product selections - read why you should trust us

Just so you know, whilst we may receive a commission or other compensation from the links on this website, we never allow this to influence product selections - read why you should trust us