If you’re on the hunt for one of the best cargo boxes options, then you should understand that not all cargo rooftop carrier are created equal. They come in a wide variety of shapes and sizes and even different materials. Some of them have additional features built in, while others provide a basic and plain option that gets the job done, but does nothing else. You should get a box that not only improves space efficiency but also delivers what you need. That’s why we put together our guide to the best top cargo boxes of 2020 as well as a guide to cargo boxes in general.
Best Overall Cargo Box
Thule Motion XT XL
To get things started, we will present the number one option for cargo boxes. The Thule Motion XT XL is among the best overall choices for cargo boxes. The box is very convenient and simple to use. It comes with one of the best and most intuitive systems to mount the box that we’ve ever seen. You can get this installed on your car in a matter of minutes. The box offers plenty of durability and security thanks to a locking mechanism that prevents the box from being left unlocked by accident. In my experience, this locking mechanism can be a real lifesaver since it provides extra peace of mind. The box looks good and it has a sleek design that adds some aerodynamic ability. Not to mention it comes in two colors – off-white and black – to better suit different colored cars.
“Very impressed!! Arrived in perfect condition. Fits well on my 2016 highlander, and installation is idiot-proof.”
Speaking of cars, the Thule Motion should fit comfortably on just about any car with a roof rack. If its on most standard roof racks so don’t worry about it attaching to your car. It also has an interesting little safety feature in that you need to make sure the latches are engaged or it doesn’t lock. The chances of accidentally leaving it unlocked are pretty low. Just be careful to avoid going too fast with it attached. The factory instructions suggest not going over 80MPH while it is attached to your car. I can advise you that it is a good idea to follow these instructions.
Of course, being the best overall doesn’t mean that it’s perfect. It has a few flaws, including the fact that it is very expensive. The price is easily worth it if you plan on using the cargo box frequently enough though. If you need the very best, then the best will obviously cost a fair bit. But, if you are a regular user then you can get excellent value for money from this box. If you aren’t ready to part with this much money for a box then there are cheaper options available. All in all though, the Thule Motion is top in its class for cargo boxes. I have personally recommended this to my friends and family because it is simply comes out on top for everything you would want from a cargo box.
- Great handle
- Effective mounting and dismounting
Yakima Skybox 16 Carbonite
I can understand that not everyone will need a box for regular journeys. Some of you will need something that gets the job done in an effective manner without it costing too much. If you’re on the hunt for a good rooftop box but don’t want to break your bank then you should consider the Yakima Skybox.
This box offers fantastic value and easily earned its place as the box that offers the best bang for your buck. The Skybox will keep your gear safe and secure, not to mention readily accessible, for a price so low you’ll have enough money left over to buy the gear you’re going to put in it. The lid of the box is sturdy and the latching system lets you know when the box is unlocked. You aren’t likely to drive off with the box unlocked. There’s also a cool matte black finish that helps to hide surface damage like scrapes better than some of the sleeker and glossier models. All in all, this is a box that looks great, but also one that performs well when it really matters.
Not the cheapest at all, but well worth the price
The box is great for traveling with kids and making sure everyone has their stuff packed away. You’d be surprised by how much you can fit into it. It can even take larger items than the manufacturer recommends if you fit them in diagonally. Just beware that going against the manufacturers guidelines is something that you do at your own risk. Be sure to keep the weight as even as possible to mitigate the risks of overloading your cargo box.
With that said, the Yakima can be a hassle to install. If you are planning on taking infrequent breaks and don’t expect to leave the box on your car for extended periods of time, then you might want to consider getting a different box – one that is more convenient and easier to install. If you’re going to leave the box on your car more often then you shouldn’t be deterred by the annoying installation. You’ll only have to do it once after all.
Another complaint people had is that the box can be difficult to get open, at least until you get used to how it works. Opening both sides at once is something to avoid too. Make sure that the box is securely locked and only have it open at one side at once. In my experience, this isn’t too much of a problem once you have used your box a couple of times. Overall, this is a box that gets the job done, and it doesn’t come up short even with the attractive price tag. If you are looking for maximum value, then this is the cargo box that you should strongly consider.
- Good value price
- Nice handle
- Annoying installation process
- Difficult to open at first
Best for a Tight Budget
SSportRack Horizon Alpine
One problem with buying a car top box is that they are generally expensive. Running a car has many expenses already, and the prospect of needing to get some cash together for a roof box can be unappealing. You may also feel as though cheaper options simply won’t be up too scratch. However, there is a budget option available that does a fantastic job. If the Yakima was too expensive for you and you just want something simple that gets the job done, then consider the SportRack Horizon Apline.
It’s not quite on the level of the other products as far as features go but the price more than makes up for that. It’s still a great choice and the low price is no indication of quality. This budget-friendly option looks and feels durable and sturdy. It’s not much of a hassle to install and uninstall when you get used to it. It’s able to hold plenty of gear too, including skis and snowboards up to 210 cm long. You’ll be hard-pressed to find another budget option that can do that.
While this cargo box can help you move things from one place to another, there are several concessions to be made to accommodate for the lower cost. For a start, this is a box where the lid only opens on the passenger side. It also lacks the integrated straps needed to properly secure your gear and there’s no built-in light for ease of use. The lid is also kind of floppy.
It’s not the easiest cargo top box to install as the instructions are a little vague. There are several video tutorials online you can follow, but you’d expect to have proper instructions included with the product. With all of that said, this is still a good option for those who don’t want to have to break the bank but it does have some problems you’ll have to live with. That said, it’s definitely more than enough to get your gear around. There’s plenty of room for all your stuff here. It does well with the basics, and at that price tag it is a very appealing purchase.
- Great value for money
- Holds large gear
- Installation isn’t smooth
- Greater potential for water intrusion
Thule Hyper XL
There is always an aesthetic quality to cars, and if you’re like me, then you will always want to look the best. Cargo boxes are convenient, but they aren’t much to look at. They can start to take some off the appeal off your car. However, not every cargo box has to be dull and boring. If you’re looking for something slick that looks great then consider the Thule Hyper XL. It has a low profile that only adds to the stylishness of it, but it still has plenty of room for all your gear. Much like the other Thule products on the market, it is simple to install and take off of a vehicle and it comes with several extra details and features that make it comfortable to use on a regular basis.
The Thule Force is such a beauty
With that said, looking this good comes at a price. It’s one of the most expensive cargo top boxes around. It’s not something that we could readily recommend to everyone. If you care about style and substance then you should consider the Hyper XL. Otherwise, consider another model that offers you the same power in a less stylish frame. After all, as with anything in life, you do end up paying for the extra style.
Some customers have also expressed concerns that the box is surprisingly big; to the point that it prevents them from accessing their car trunk properly. This shouldn’t be an issue with a bit of forethought. Double check the size of the cargo box before ordering it and make sure that there’s enough room on your roof for it. Overall, this is a box that has some excellent features, but it is also one that will complement your car extremely well. For anyone that wants a box that adds rather than detracts the style of their car, this is a box that we highly recommend.
- Looks great
- Easy to install and use
- Built-in light
- Very expensive
- Deceptively big
JEGS Performance Products Rooftop Cargo Carrier
One of the most important aspects of any cargo box is the convenience. Nobody wants to waste time putting it together and taking it apart. Cargo boxes should be easy to handle, and our next box ranks highly for that. The name “JEGS” might not carry as much weight as names like Thule, but their cargo box is still up there in terms of quality. The JEGS Performance Products Rooftop Cargo Carrier is one of the more convenient ones on the market thanks to its simple and straightforward design. It’s super easy to put together and you don’t need any tools to mount it to your car.
The JEGS is very easy to handle and put together
It’s one of the lighter models around too, weighing in at just 28 pounds. The average person shouldn’t have much of a problem lifting it and securing it to a car. It comes with a pretty good carrying capacity of 150 pounds, making it ideal for road trips and vacations. The lightweight nature of the box does make it seem kind of flimsy, but don’t worry too much about that. It is a lot sturdier than it looks.
The JEGS is also roomier than it looks. You’ll be able to fit several suitcases and bags in it. The manufacturer’s recommendations seem generous if anything. As long as the weight is evenly distributed and you keep it centered to the rails you should be fine.
While this roof box isn’t as thick or sturdy as other options, it is still fairly solid because it is made from plastic. It fits well on round and square bars up to 4 inches wide and also works with cross rail systems and aero bars rated for 150 pounds and more. One thing that surprised us about this box is how large it is. Be warned that it might not be suited for small vehicles. There’s also a chance that it won’t be compatible with your rails and you might have to drill some extra holes into the rail. Overall, this is a highly convenient cargo box that is also excellent value for money. I definitely recommend it to anyone that need a durable yet lightweight box for their journeys.
- Too big for some cars
- Less sturdy
The Wrap Up
There are plenty of great options out there when it comes to the best top cargo boxes for your car. These boxes make it easier to move everything you need for a vacation or a road trip. While any of the boxes in our list would be a great choice, look for one that suits your needs and is compatible with your car. If your care does not have a roof rack, then do check out this article.
You don’t want to spend hundreds of dollars on something that you can’t use. You will now have a better idea on which features are included in cargo boxes which makes it easy to decide on the ones which are important to you. There is a cargo box available for most budgets and requirements, and I highly recommend choosing one which will suit you in the long-term.