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Home » A Guide To Buying Car Roof Boxes

A Guide To Buying Car Roof Boxes

Think about “shape” and also price and features

The choice of the type of roof box you should purchase will be heavily influenced by the shape and size of box best suits your needs. That’s foremost “What size of box?” followed by “What size of box?”

It’s often quite simple to decide which design of box you’ll go for. The first rule is that if you wish to place other items on the roof in addition to the box, whether now or later, select the box that leaves room on the roof bars. That’s obvious. Narrow or Medium-width boxes will be ideal for those who need the ability to carry bicycles, windsurfers, or kayaks. Rule number 2: If you’re required to carry items with lengths of more than 2 meters, you’ll need a long box, whatever the size. This is also obvious!

Even if you don’t have particularly large items to carry around, it’s likely that a long box will suit you best if it’s for use by a family comprising four or five persons. Long full-width and long medium-width boxes are far and away the most popular “family-friendly boxes for families. You’ll typically find space at the top of the rooftop bars for at minimum one bike carrier particularly if you’re using T-track aluminium aerobars (which allow the full span of bar to use for carrying loads) If you pick the roof bars that extend beyond the roof bar’s “feet’.

“Long boxes” will most likely be larger than the roof of your car and will stick out over the windscreen But “So how do you know?” You won’t be able to see the box while in your car.

There’s no such thing as an exact box that is suitable for a particular car, however it is sensible to be able to open your tailgate in full, making sure that any tailgate spoiler doesn’t touch the back of the box. Therefore, there are some boxes that don’t work with certain cars. Sometimes, the position of the roof bars on the car roof can require some boxes to be placed in an incongruous position; we’ll inform you of these bad combinations whenever we have the information.

It is crucial to consider price, but keep in mind that a roof box should be expected to last for many family weekends and holidays. it should provide years of solid and reliable service. We don’t have any of the most expensive boxes due to the fact that there are genuine doubts about their safety and quality of construction.

Different shapes to suit different needs More information

Here are some other “Rules of the Road” to follow when boxes are adapted to 120cm or 118cm aluminium T slot roof bars: There’s enough space in a medium-length box for two bike carriers as well as space on the full-width long box for 1 bike carrier. Mid-length medium-width boxes are usually big enough for a family of four, leaving space for two bicycle carriers. Take note that 3 bikes can usually be fitted on the rear of the vehicle or four with a tow bar.

Roof boxes with narrow roofs (up of 60 cm wide)
Most people will need to select small boxes to leave some space for the tops of standard width vehicle for a kayak, or for three or more bike carriers.

Boxes with medium-wide roofs (up to 75cm wide)
These boxes are significantly less difficult than full-width containers for one fairly strong person to carry and move around in a safe manner, not only due to the fact that they’re usually smaller, but also because you can get hold of the boxes at both edges. Depending on what type of roof bars you’re employing, you must be able to transport at least one bike on the roof, often two bikes.

They are among our most sought-after family boxes due to their flexibility.

There’s a filter on the medium-width roof box lists for middle-length boxes as well as long boxes.

Roof boxes with full width (up 90cm to 95cm)
The roofs of large roof boxes have limitations on what else you can carry in the rooftop. There will usually be bars that can be placed on the roof to accommodate one bike carrier, based on the length of the roof bars as well as whether you’re using aluminium T-track bars.

There’s a filter that can be found on the full-width category only for short boxes and for long boxes.

Long full-width containers are very bulky and awkward for one person to carry on their own, and they can be significantly more difficult to store.

The majority of our new customers have not used the roof box before as roof-mounted boxes are definitely something that people begin to think about when they are pondering buying one. We’d like to encourage you to purchase a good box from the beginning, but if you don’t choose to, then “No worries”, you can exchange the item.

Roof boxes are our special topic and we’re able to tell by experience which models will keep up with the pace for many times, as well as which often don’t, regardless of the manufacturers’ guarantees. We’re also confident in our recommendations, comments and rating stars. If you decide to purchase from us (and we’d like to see you do!) you may well be buying an item from a roof-box manufacturer hasn’t been heard of before But don’t fret!

Capacity versus volume. Sometimes things aren’t what they seem

Don’t make too much of the estimates given by manufacturers regarding the capacity (litres). A few centimetres extra of height can make a massive difference in the capacity of a roof box but it’s likely to make no difference to the actual utility of the box, particularly if the box lid has pronounced styling. Anyway, the lower the box , the lower the wind resistance. It is likely that you will put an additional layer of bags along the base of the box and then covers and other objects that are flatter on top of them; none of the boxes available will be wide enough to support the two bags of soft bag. Therefore, “Length and width are the most significant indicators of effectiveness”.

If not stated otherwise The boxes we sell will accommodate several sets of golf clubs or a large sleeping bag and tent. Many of our customers are wondering if their child’s buggy can fit in the roof box. The answer is that “It depends” on the size of the wheels being the most frequent issue. Remember that it’s going to be easier to put the buggy in the back of your car, and use the car roof box to store other items. Hard suitcases, especially large ones, are not typically suitable for use with roof boxes; soft bags are always more appropriate.

Box features you won’t see, the most important onesinclude:

Boxes appear on the surface of them very simple items – two bits of plastic joined together with hinges, locks, and struts. Many companies source their raw materials from the same European suppliers.


The boxes we offer are subjected to rigorous testing for crash, and meet ISO standards – if you’re considering other brands, which includes supermarket brands, ask the safety questions!

If you’re carrying skis, look out for boxes with a “safety nose” as well as an internal energy-absorbing barrier designed to keep skis from smashing through the box’s front during a collision with high energy.

We’ve seen boxes where the hinges on the rear and front are far enough from each other at the end of the box. Also, the plastic is thin, and it’s not difficult to open either side and inspect the inside – some are so weak that you can get your arms inside and pull stuff out. It’s a sure thing that all our boxes come with well designed locking systems.

The thickness and quality of plastic makes a significant impact on the overall quality of boxes. Boxes are subjected to huge force at high speeds and smaller plastic boxes like those that have a look like eggs can rattle when used for a long time, because the rivets may compress the thin plastic and move around. This isn’t a problem with thicker plastic / heavier boxes.

If not stated otherwise, all boxes we sell are constructed out of different UV-protected ABS plastic. Additionally, they’re 100% recyclable.

The waterproofing usually comes down to how well the moulding is constructed, the length of the gap between the base and lid, and the system for covering the roof bar for fixing slots or holes into the base.

Box features are the most prominent ones:

Systems for locking
Central locking is a smart idea but often it makes roof boxes more difficult to close!

This is because the majority of central locking systems require a centrally placed key that is turned, at the same time, both the front and the rear of the box need to be shut properly. This seems simple enough but will become a three hands operation (two persons!) if there is bulky gear within the box that is used to hold the lid up even soft coats might cause this issue. It could also happen when the base is wobbling due to its weakness or the box was wrongly loaded, with too much load at the front or the back.

KAMEI’s central locking system is different; you unlock the box by turning a quarter key turn and you don’t have to touch the key when locking it – you just open the box until you hear a click that shows that all three locking points are been engaged. At that point, the key can be removed. Their Husky and Delphin range of products have push-button locks at both end, allowing you to lock first one end, and then the next.

The Atera Casar, INNO boxes and Thule Motion XTs also have an open-close system.

Spring struts or gas struts
Calix and KAMEI employ hydraulic struts in order to keep the lid in place, the system that holds your tailgate in your vehicle which makes for a smooth opening and closing system. Other boxes make use of spring assisted struts. It’s not a huge deal either way.

Systems to fit bars and boxes
Our experience is that every box is almost as simple and fast to attach to roof bars regardless of whether they are fitted with quick-fit systems. Marketing experts make a huge talk about their rapid fitting techniques however, in reality they aren’t all that efficient and take up a lot of space in the box; The smaller the profile of the fittings, the better.

It’s definitely not easy to fit U bolts into full-width single-side opening boxes – you have to extend a considerable distance towards the side fittings on the hinges but this isn’t a problem with any of the boxes we offer. They KAMEI Husky along with the Delphin boxes feature special grippers to hold their U bolts securely in place prior to they are secured with butterfly nuts to ensure that the U bolts aren’t able to fall onto the car roof; they also have T-track adapters that can be used for aluminium bars.

Hapro and Thule make use of rubber-covered claw grippers that fit around all bars we sell. They can be tightened by a couple of turns of a wheel. the top ones include a torque system which prevents over-tightening and ensures that the tension of the bars is optimal. One disadvantage of gripper bars is that they should not be used in the vicinity of the feet on the roof bar. each Hapro and Thule sell T-track adapters as an option, giving total flexibility in the way that the roof box will be placed on the bars. This is vital if also carrying bikes on the roof.

KAMEI’s Fosco and Oyster boxes come with their ultra-low-profile ClickFix system, in some method the most efficient fitting system available and suitable for aluminium T-track bars only.

It’s worthwhile to mention that many homeowners leave their boxes permanently connected with the roofing bars and store both together, possibly using a roof hoist to pull the whole lot into their garage roof space so fitting time is irrelevant. You should also consider the question “If I take my box to holiday three times a year, and the slow but often lower profile U bolt fittings need an additional 2 minutes to fit each time, will this really make a difference?”

Higher-end boxes come with adjustable fitting systems which accommodate unusual roof bar centres and eliminates the hassle of drilling extra holes.

Dual side openings
Double side opening the capability to open the box from the left side or from the right side, is particularly helpful for full-width boxes particularly on tall vehicles, but is of less benefit on narrower boxes as for ease accessibility, the boxes require being on one side of the vehicle, or the other, and cannot then be reached from the other side. Placing a box in the center of the car may seem more tidy, but unless you’re using an extremely wide box, you’ll be forced to stretch while balancing on the door’s sill, and at the risk of straining your back.

Rear-opening box doors allow access from each side of the container at once dependent on the height and width of the vehicle.

Styling and streamlining
High-quality boxes should be silent in operation. Boxes that are placed too close the roof are likely to make a noise when driven at higher speeds, so it is recommended that the roof bars elevate them at least 10cm clear of the roof of the car.

The roof bars that are that are not covered by a roof box tend to make most noise. However, if you’re purchasing a high-end box, it is wise to invest into the latest low drag and low noise technology. Therefore, you should choose Atera aero-profile bars and CRUZ Airo bars, Thule WingBars or Yakima Whispbars.

You NEED roof bars

Roof boxes are always fitted to a set of roof bars, which is a set of aluminium or steel bars going across the car from one end towards the opposite. Cars with factory-fitted longitudinal roof-rails will require roof bars that go from rail to rail.

In addition to other than the KAMEI Fosco and Oyster boxes, which only fit into T-track slots, any type of roof box is installed on any of our roof bars, whether these roof bars are provided from us or through an automobile dealer.

Naturally, we’d like to sell you both the roof bar and the box. bar for the roof, however there is more to it than that. The problem is that some dealer-supplied bars are nice and stylish, but they’re not practical because they are too oddly shaped to fit anything other than a roof box; for example, you might not be able to find bike carriers that will fit to them.

It’s also fair to note that some dealer-supplied “Original Equipment bars are actually own-badged Atera also known as Thule bars.

If you like the look of roof bars that have closed ends, that is to say, in terms of not having bar ends sticking out past the mountings (we refer to them as “through bars”) then you have to be looking to see the availability of CRUZ Airo Fuse, Thule WingBar Edge or Yakima flush bars for your car.

Flush bars are always shorter than through bars that could keep you from riding bikes on the roof at the same time as a roof box.

Steel bars or aluminium bars

Aluminum bars don’t just look better than steel bars, but in the present, most are quiet and have low drag, so you will not hear an Middle C background hum, sometimes intrusively loud, associated with square-edged steel bar.

Aluminum bars allow you to lift more weight on the roof, thanks to the T-track slots that run the full length of the bars. They are designed to accommodate special adapters.

Other than noise, the likely problem for steel bar is the bar for fixing to your vehicle is likely to be placed in the wrong spot for the combination of the roof and fixings for bike carriers (U bolts, or claw grippers) that wrap over the bars. This is why you are able to generally carry a larger load on T-track aluminium bars than you can on steel bars.

If your home already has aluminum bars or decide to order on our site Make sure to get the proper rooftop box adapters! They are standard in some of the roof boxes, but are a vital accessory for other.

Most quality roof bar manufacturers are now following Yakima’s example and have produced low-noise roof bars. In addition to Yakima Whispbar Look out on Thule WingBars, Atera aero-profile bars and Atera aero-profile bars. Atera is the most popular of the German car racks – and the much cheaper CRUZ bars, however superior manufactured in Spain.

Frequently asked questions (not answered elsewhere)

Customers will often have the same questions when they’ve never ever used a roofed box before. Here are some commonly asked questionsand their the answers:

Do I require any other items besides the roof bars and an roof box?

No. Box to standard bar fittings are included with every roof box we sell, along with a set of straps to keep luggage in place. If a box is locked, it isn’t possible to remove it from the bars since the fittings that hold it to the roof bars are tightened up inside the box. Once the fittings are tightened, the box is locked.

Which side has left hand opening? Which side is Right hand opening?

Left hand opening boxes open from the side that is passenger of a normal UK right hand drive car, the ‘nearside’. Right hand opening means ‘driver’s side’, ‘offside’.

I have a full-length box and it appears to be overhanging the bars a long way. Does this make sense?

Yes. The boxes are made so that approximately one third hangs behind the rear bar, while one third is supported by bar on the roof, while one third overhangs the front bar.

Accessories for the roof box

We offer a range of roof box accessories comprising specially designed roofing box bag bags internal lamps, storage units, and cover covers that protect.