10 Best Roof Boxes: Reviews and Buying Guide (2018)

In normal everyday life, the trunk of most cars is absolutely sufficient as a transport surface: The weekly shopping fits in easily and even one or the other crate finds its place. But when it’s time to go on vacation, things literally get tight: where to go with all the luggage, suitcases, bags, skis and jackets ? Especially families and long-term travelers have to sort out rigorously if they do not have a roof box for their car. Even dog owners who like to take their fur nose with them on trips, like to grab this useful helper. The important thing is that your car has a roof rail on which you can secure the good piece safely. However, some models also have their own mounting options, but we leave these products out in our comparison.

10 Best Roof Boxes

What exactly is a roof box?

In short: It is a box for the car roof. It serves as additional storage space when the trunk is already occupied, for example by other luggage or a dog. Numerous winter sports enthusiasts also rely on roof boxes for their holidays, as skis have a certain length, which makes it impossible to simply stow them inside the car. The dead weight of these boxes is relatively low, so they are easy to lift and not burden the car roof too much. But this also leaves enough room for luggage loading!

Modern roof boxes are streamlined, weather-resistant and naturally waterproof – insofar as there is no damage. Mostly they are kept in plain gray, black or white, but some jetpacks can also wear exactly the color of the corresponding car: this is, however, a special feature! The individual products have slightly different characteristics and functions, so interested buyers should take a look around before they make their decision.

Why should I buy a roof box? A look at the advantages

Sometimes nothing beats a lot of storage space: The trunk of a car, no matter how big, is not always enough to accommodate all the luggage, skis and possibly even the dog of the house. At least when it comes with the car off on vacation, grab many car owners back to a roof box. There they stow one or the other suitcases, winter sports equipment or maybe the dinghy. There are even some people who have such a high space requirement in everyday life that their roof box is constantly in use. Maybe there are product samples or printed advertising material up there; perhaps the easier purchases will come in, while Saint Bernard takes up the entire cargo area.

However that may be, the biggest advantage of a roof box is always the uncomplicated storage space. However, both the dimensions and the weight of the additional luggage are subject to a clear limitation, most products are designed for a load of 50 to a maximum of 80 kg.

A high-quality roof box protects your objects stored there against wind and weather – straps and central locking provide even more security. In most cases, the “additional luggage compartment for the roof” easy to assemble, has a relatively low weight and is to have a relatively low price. Cheaper than a new car, he is always and he also beats a trailer in terms of cost by far. At the same time, it is much easier to maneuver with a roof box than with a trailer, and finding a parking space is no less difficult. The speed limits with roof box are in the frame, they are usually much higher than the trailer. Due to the streamlined shape, there is only a small additional air resistance: the fuel consumption, of course, increases a bit,

However, what remains is your all-around view: As a driver, you benefit from the fact that you can look out of any window when you store your luggage in a roof box – and not, in addition, to fully stack the trunk to the ceiling. This automatically increases safety, because whoever sees more can react better and more purposefully.

In a nutshell: the advantages of a roof box

  • uncomplicated storage space
  • usable on holiday and in everyday life
  • Luggage of all kinds is well protected
  • The view remains free on all sides
  • all price ranges available
  • Buy from about 100 euros new
  • much cheaper than a trailer
  • moderate speed limit
  • low air resistance
  • large selection of shapes, sizes, and designs

What types of roof boxes are on the market?

First of all, the different roof boxes differ in their way of attachment: by far most models are mounted on a so-called roof rail, which is pre-installed on the car. However, some are designed to be mounted on the gutter, while others are only installable on very special supports that the manufacturer of the car has installed. In many cases, the said fasteners can also be retrofitted, which of course raises additional costs.

Different materials are available

Also in the choice of materials for the roof box worlds open up: Most rigid models are made of plastic of different types, others made of super light fiberglass. Products made of thermoplastic terpolymers (ABS) are considered to be particularly environmentally friendly and captivate as well as the glass fiber by their low weight. Polyester with glass fiber reinforcement is considered to be extremely robust – and, due to the reduced vibrations – low noise.

It is important to get a roof box that is as impact-resistant, stable, waterproof and UV-resistant as possible. However, there are also products that are not rigid, but foldable: They are made of different types of fabric, which are usually also made of plastic. In the ground area is usually a wire mesh for stabilization.

Which roof box is right for my car?

Now it is important to find the right roof box for your own needs. This task is not so easy with the large selection on the market, but here on gametoaid.org, you receive a guide through the product jungle.

It depends on the roof rails

Whether you drive a VW Touran, a Golf Plus, a Skoda Octavia or a Seat Alhambra, a roof box that can be attached to the roof rails does not depend on the type of car, but on the dimensions of your pre-installed carrier frame has. Roof boxes are usually quite flexibly mounted, so there is always a minimum and a maximum distance that should exist between the two carriers. In addition, the profile thickness plays a big role: It should not be so big and not too small so that the mounting kit of the box actually fits. You will find the corresponding data in every article description – just have a look and in case of doubt pull the folding rule!

Choose a safe roof box

The issue of safety is also clearly in focus when it comes to finding the perfect roof box. Protect not only yourself but also the other road users in your area from avoidable accidents! Make sure that your box carries the GS mark and the CE mark. Some models have also been tested and approved by the TUV: an unmistakable signal that it is a safe product if you use it according to the instructions for use. The ADAC also regularly tests roof boxes for safety, so it’s worth paying attention to.

What volume should my roof box have?

Next, of course, is the question of how big a roof box should be for it to really serve its purpose. Of course, it all depends on how much luggage you want to carry with you – and whether items with special dimensions are included. Smaller roof boxes usually provide space for about 270 liters of content, while the larger models can even hold up to about 500 liters. If your trunk is already quite large and your family is small, then a smaller jetpack will probably suffice, while a small trunk and/or many family members will need a lot of volumes.

The dimensions of the roof box are crucial!

For the transport of skis, you need a box that is as long as possible, while one or two small suitcases fit into a compact roof box. Some models are only about a meter long while others scratch at the 1.90-meter mark. Width and height are not quite as variable, but here too there are differences. One thing should not happen to you: The roof box should not protrude forward or backward over your car! This endangers your safety and could block the trunk in the rear area. Before buying, make sure that your car roof is big enough for the new transport container.

Dead weight and payload: 2 sizes that matter!

A heavy roof box is difficult to lift onto the car roof and back down, while a lighter product is much easier to handle. Also, every kilo increases the fuel consumption, so you benefit in two ways from a lightweight roof box. The rigid models usually weigh at least 10 kg, really big products even make it up to 25 kg! Foldable softboxes, however, bring about 5 to 7 kg on the scales, so have the nose in this area so much ahead.

But not only the weight should occupy you if you are looking for a suitable carcass, but also the maximum possible payload. Most products, whether foldable or not, take up at most around 50 kg, a few shoots far beyond that, for example to 75 kg.

Luggage security in the interior of the box

Your luggage should not move during the ride, even in tight bends and during heavy braking. That’s why it needs a fuse within the roof box, which reliably attacks as soon as it gets a bit gruff. An anti-slip floor already does its part to ensure that the objects on the roof are not too mobile. But even better, if there are nets or straps inside the jetpack that keep your luggage permanently in place. Most roof boxes have at least eyelets to attach purchased belts there: In this case, you still have to make a small additional investment.

Absolutely important: protection against penetrating water

n any case, a roof box should be absolutely watertight, because you can always get into a downpour while driving. Rigid models offer virtually no attack surface for incoming water, so you’re probably on the safe side. Foldable products, however, are more susceptible to rainwater, so it’s important to make sure the material is completely waterproof and the seams and zips are sealed. Do not just take a look at the product description of the manufacturer, but also on the reviews on the Internet to find out whether your desired product in this regard actually meets your needs.

How can the roof box be mounted?

Certainly, you do not want to fumble around forever on the roof box until it is finally attached to the car roof! For this reason, it is important to look at the mounting method in advance and find out if the process is really easy to do. The U-bracket is one of the most commonly used systems – and not without reason: The easy-to-use element has proven its worth over decades of use. However, some manufacturers rely on their own special systems, with promising name additions such as “Easy” or “Fast”. In this case, it is recommended to watch a Youtube video that shows the installation of such a roof box or to look online in the assembly instructions. Claws and quick-release fasteners of all kinds complete the program.

The big brands in the roof box segment

Do you want a proven brand product that has already been tested many times and is found to be good? Then take a look at the following traditional companies, some of which are known for their high quality for decades:

  • Thule
  • Kamei
  • Menabo
  • G3
  • VPD

Of course, there is no guarantee that you will be satisfied with the product of these companies in any case. However, the likelihood is quite high, as it involves a great deal of experience, which is extremely useful in the production of new, high-quality roof boxes.

How fast can I drive my roof box?

For various reasons, it is absolutely appropriate to maintain a fixed maximum speed with the roof box on the car:

  1. Crosswinds have more attack surface
  2. Increased accident risk in wind
  3. Fuel consumption increases due to air resistance
  4. Driving noise increases with speed

The Road Traffic Act does not specify a fixed speed limit for cars with roof boxes, but not only TÜV and ADAC recommend not to press too hard on motorways, but also the manufacturers themselves. In most cases a maximum speed of 130 km / h is recommended in individual cases may be something else in the instructions for use. Look again directly at the manufacturer’s information, to be sure.

How much is a roof box?

The price of your new roof box depends on how big it should be, which manufacturer it comes from, and what it brings in useful details. The price range starts in the lower range at about 100 euros, for which you already get a model with a neat volume of 300 liters and a payload of 50 kg. But please pay attention to the safety and, of course, to the fact that you do not have to be annoyed during the assembly!

Large-format branded boxes usually cost several hundred euros – to get such a product for less than 200 euros usually means to beat a real bargain. If you invest more than 300 or even 400 euros for your roof box, you can expect it to meet all the safety criteria, be easy to handle and also have a number of accessories such as tension straps, separating nets and a high-quality mounting kit. Look twice before spending so much money and make sure the investment really pays off.


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