The Best Rooftop Cargo Boxes to Maximize Your Car’s Storage Capacity

If you regularly carry all sorts of gear in your daily driver, chances are, you got a vehicle with plenty of trunk space. That just makes sense. Despite all that storage room, though, you will still experience moments where it’s simply not enough. When that happens, you need to find another way to ferry all that extra cargo. That’s when a rooftop cargo box comes in handy.

Whether you’re loading up the car for a tailgate, a ski trip, or an overlanding adventure, a rooftop cargo box significantly expands your storage area, allowing you to move gear, equipment, and supplies that may not otherwise fit in the boot. Available in different sizes, you can get larger rooftop cargo boxes that can fit bigger items like snowboards, multi-room tents, and sporting equipment, as well as smaller ones if you prefer a lot less bulk on the roof.

Do note, roof cargo boxes do have a weight capacity and they’re typically not that high, since the load limit on most vehicle roofs aren’t that high either. As such, roof cargo boxes typically have a weight limit of anywhere from 75 to 165 pounds, depending on the make, model, and size, so while it works as a storage spot for awkwardly-shaped items, it’s probably not the place for the heaviest items you need to transport. Yeah… keep that bag of gold bars you recovered from a sunken pirate ship out of the roof box.

There are plenty of cheap options out there when it comes to rooftop cargo boxes. However, if you plan to use it frequently, it’s probably a better idea to invest in a name brand known for their durability. Sure, the price will be higher, but it gives you a better likelihood of having a cargo box that will hold up over time, allowing you to enjoy your rooftop carrier for far longer.

These are the best rooftop cargo boxes to add extra storage to your car.

JEGS Rooftop Cargo Carrier

Pros

  • Tall and deep, allowing it to fit stuff other roof carriers can’t handle
  • Lightweight at just 35 pounds
  • Very affordably-priced

Cons

  • Bad aerodynamics
  • Made from flimsier HDPE plastic
  • Mounting system isn’t as versatile as others

Volume capacity: 18 cubic feet (510L)

Weight capacity: 110 pounds

It’s not the most aerodynamic rooftop cargo box in the list with its taller, boxier profile. However, that same design choice also allows it to accommodate chunkier items that may not quite fit in the more aerodynamically-shaped options included here, making it a great choice for those who need that kind of rooftop storage. Do note, the taller but shorter profile makes it unsuitable for longer items such as skis and snowboards, so there is additional tradeoff for its boxier shape.

It has quite a bit of features for something so affordable, with four-corner locking, dual-sided access, and even a watertight seal, so your gear is adequately protected from the elements. Granted, the HDPE construction isn’t as strong as the harder plastics and reinforcements used on more expensive rooftop carriers, but it should still hold up for a good while – just try not to do anything too crazy with it.

JEGS Rooftop Cargo Carrier for Car Storage - Large...
  • Secure & protect your gear in this 18 cubic ft. HDPE plastic hard shell vehicle cargo carrier;...
Buy Now – $289.99

Thule Pulse

Pros

  • Deceptively spacious
  • Durable build
  • Lightweight at just 35 pounds

Cons

  • One-sided opening
  • Feels a bit too expensive for the size and features
  • Volume capacity: 16 cubic feet (453L)
  • Weight capacity: 110 pounds

This rooftop cargo box has enough room to fit up to five snowboards, coming in at 76 x 33 x 16.5 inches (length x width x height). It installs pretty easily, with no need for any tools, using Thule’s quick-mount system, although you might need to make some adjustments to your crossbar’s position to get the right alignment. Construction is rugged ABS thermoplastic, so this thing should be durable enough for the long haul, while the aerodynamic shape makes it easy to keep on the roof at all times, since it adds little drag and makes absolutely no noise (none that we can hear anyway).  It only opens on the passenger side, though, so you’re stuck having to open the cargo from one position, although the integrated lid lifters at the front and back make it easy to open and close using one hand. Do note, you need to make sure all edges of the lid are completely shut when closing, since you won’t be able to take out the key otherwise, which is actually a nice feature, albeit a bit confusing when you don’t know it works that way.

Thule Pulse Rooftop Cargo Box, Large & Thule...
  • External Dimensions: 76 x 33 x 16.5 inches; Internal Dimensions: 71.25 x 31 x 14.5 inches; Height...
Buy Now – $649.95

Inno BRM2020ST

Pros

  • 100 percent recycled from old car bumpers (really)
  • Stiff injection molding both top and bottom
  • Built-in interior straps

Cons

  • Feels a bit too expensive for the size and features
  • Volume capacity: 14 cubic feet (400L)
  • Weight capacity: 110 pounds

A Japanese-built rooftop cargo box, this accessory is cut entirely from recycled materials, making it a good choice for car owners who value sustainability when it comes to their accessories. This isn’t made from flimsy recycled plastic, either, getting stiff injection molding on both the lid and bottom sections, with no outside rivets that can compromise its integrity over time. It opens on both sides, by the way, making it easy to load and unload your gear, complete with convenient one-handed operation. Other features include interior straps for securing your gear, a foot of hatch clearance, and a universal mount.

Buy Now – $649.99

Yakima SkyBox NX 18

Pros

  • Maximizes its interior storage by coming with a perfectly flat bottom
  • Metal handles on either side

Cons

  • Heavy at 50.5 pounds
  • Seven feet long, which may not fit smaller vehicles

Volume capacity: 18 cubic feet (510L)

Weight capacity: 165 pounds

The longest rooftop cargo box in the list, this thing measures a full seven feet long, making it great choice for SUVs and similar larger vehicles. We love the shape of this cargo box, which achieves great aerodynamics while making efficient use of the interior compartment, courtesy of a curved lid that’s tallest in the middle and a flat bottom panel on the inside, which lets you really maximize the available space, so much so that it can fit up to seven snowboards if you arrange them in a neat manner. Like many of our favorite cargo roof boxes, it opens on both sides for convenient access to your items. Even better, it gets metal handles with a keyhole on either side for a more intuitive opening action. Other features include built-in tie-down points, SKS locks, and easy secure installation using an included removable knob.

YAKIMA, SkyBox NX 18
  • 18 cubic feet of cargo space
Buy Now – $799

Rhino-Rack MasterFit Roof Box 530L

Pros

  • Adds extra storage room without adding much extra size
  • Aerodynamic shape
  • Tough ABS/ASA construction

Cons

  • Probably won’t fit smaller cars
  • Opening and closing the lid doesn’t feel as smooth as we expected

Volume capacity: 18.7 cubic feet (530L)

Weight capacity: 165 pounds

With 18.7 cubic feet of volume capacity, this rooftop cargo box adds just a little more storage room, all while coming in a comparable size to other 18 cubic feet boxes. To keep things aerodynamic, they made it with a lower but longer profile, measuring 83 inches from front to back, so make sure it will actually fit on the roof if you have a smaller car.  It’s plenty durable, with tough ABS and ASA construction, along with metal reinforcement strips on the bottom, while a design that opens from both the left and right sides makes it easy to access your gear from either side of the car. We also like the clamps they use, which work straight right off the bat with most roof rack systems.

Rhino Rack Masterfit Cargo Box 530L (140 Gallon,...
  • FIT LARGE ITEMS - Perfect for carrying golf clubs, ski's, snowboards, wakeboards, strollers, camping...
Buy Now – $809.99

Thule Force XT XXL

Pros

  • XXL capacity maximizes your rooftop storage
  • Impressively aerodynamic for its size

Cons

  • Massive size makes it suitable for nothing but SUVs and other large vehicles

Volume capacity: 22 cubic feet (623L)

Weight capacity: 165 pounds

The biggest rooftop cargo box we’ve ever tried, this thing measures a whopping 90 inches long while having a volume capacity of 22 cubic feet, making it one absolutely massive rig that’s not likely to be suitable for anything other than larger SUVs (at least, if you want access to your trunk without hitting anything). Suffice to say, you’ll probably max out your roof’s weight capacity before running out of storage space with this thing. Despite the large size, they actually manage to make it quite aerodynamic, producing minimal drag and wind noise as it sits on top of the roof, while the dual-sided access and handy opening knob make loading and unloading gear a pretty convenient affair. We’re especially fond of the knob-based mounting system, which gives off that audible “click” to let you know once the cargo box is properly secured.

Thule Force XT Rooftop Cargo Box, Large
  • A versatile roof-mounted cargo box for everyday use
Buy Now – $849.95

Yakima CBX Cargo Box 18

Pros

  • Optimized interior design helps maximize storage space
  • Reinforced build makes it ideal for overlanding and other rugged activities
  • Fun angular shape

Cons

  • Might be a tad too heavy at 65 pounds
  • Very expensive

Volume capacity: 18 cubic feet (510L)

Weight capacity: 165 pounds

While this rooftop cargo box has the same capacity as the other Yakima carrier above, it’s substantially pricier, which comes courtesy of its more durable build, marked by its angular shape, internal lid stiffeners, and premium materials. Basically, this is the box you want to get if you want a truly hardwearing gear-transport solution. Naturally, it gets a bunch of nice features in tow, from the dual-side access and the locking lid handle to the SKS locks and integrated interior tie-downs to the outfit’s clever mounting solution that uses a removable torque-limiting knob. It looks especially premium, too, with a stealth-like texture that’s quite unlike any roof carriers we’ve seen, along with black chrome badging and, of course, those stylish flat sections that give it that angular vibe. Do note, this thing is heavy, coming in at 65 pounds when empty, so it does extra load to your roof, which you probably won’t appreciate if you’re planning to transport a whole lot of gear.

Yakima CBX 18 Cubic Foot Vehicle Rooftop Premium...
  • Large 18 cubic foot cargo box with a rugged, angular finish and stealth-like texture is ideal for...
Buy Now – $1,099