Skip advert
Advertisement
Tips and advice

Best roof boxes to buy

Give your car extra carrying capacity with the best roof boxes you can buy today

With ‘staycations’ becoming ever more popular, thousands of families are choosing to drive to holiday destinations in this country instead of venturing abroad. It introduces a new challenge, too – how to fit a family and its luggage comfortably in a car.

Inevitably, no matter how you configure your luggage and which compromises you make, you’ll find that you need a little more space than your car will offer. This is the point at which arguments break out – either somebody has to carry something on their lap or something gets left at home. And it’s never good to start your holiday with an argument.

Advertisement - Article continues below

Happily, help is at hand and it’s never been easier to boost the load capacity of your car. While roof racks have been used for generations to allow bulky items to be carried on the roof of your car, they’ve never been terribly satisfactory – open to the elements, they offer little protection to your possessions and have a terrible effect on the fuel economy of your car.

A modern roof box does much to address these concerns, by shielding your excess baggage from the elements in an aerodynamic container designed to cheat the wind. A well-designed roof box makes less noise than an old-fashioned roof rack when travelling at motorway speed, and is also a far more secure way of carrying vital holiday paraphernalia, whether it be tents, beach toys or – this being Britain – warm, waterproof clothes.

Skip advert
Advertisement
Skip advert
Advertisement - Article continues below

There’s a huge choice of excellent roof boxes out there, and we’ve tested the best to find our five favourites.

How we tested them

We rated each roof box for its interior space, weight capacity, security and ease of use. They can be bulky, heavy things to secure to the roof of your car, so any design that makes life easy was given extra points.

Advertisement - Article continues below

We also considered such features such as the ability to open the box from either side. Each box was assessed for its security – you don’t want your possessions falling into the hands of the light-fingered community – and how easy the instructions are to follow. Finally, our results are weighted by price.

Kamei 510

Only a set of slightly awkward roof bar mounting clips keeps the Kamei 510 from having an entirely positive report card. It’s a good looking box with many practical features – you can slide it forward on its mountings to open a hatchback tailgate, you can access the box contents from either side thanks to a dual hinge, and three internal luggage straps are included. If you don’t have channeled roof bars, an adaptor kit will fit standard types so the 510 fits securely. It’s not the cheapest roof box we tested, but it’s certainly the best.

Skip advert
Advertisement
Skip advert
Advertisement - Article continues below

Buy now from The Roof Box Company

Kamei Corvara S 390

A newer, more expensive product than Kamei’s test-winning 510, the same firm’s Corvara S 390 only misses victory on price. It’s claimed to feature “the fastest roof box mounting system”, but this relies on you having channeled roof bars. The Corvara’s T-bar style clips slot into these and lock the roof box into place in seconds. Not only is it quick to fit, at 16kg it’s lighter than the 510, and has the same convenience features. However, the 390 in its name refers to its capacity in litres, so it’s a little less spacious than our victor.

Advertisement - Article continues below

Buy now from The Roof Box Company

Hapro Traxer 6.6 HP25908

The Hapro Traxer is easy to install, can be accessed from either side and is made theft-proof by a high-quality lock. All Hapro boxes self lock when closed – all you need to do is push the lid down until it clicks. It’s well-priced, too, with a healthy 410-litre capacity that isn’t eaten into by its low-profile Masterfit fixings – these secure the Hapro to your roof bars by means of easy press-button operation. Its matt-black finish isn’t the best looking, but a gloss version is also available.

Buy now from The Roof Box Company

Exodus 470L

The Exodus 470L is a brand from the Halfords motoring retail chain, but is a good value product rather than simply a cheap one. Its 470-litre capacity is vast and its glossy looks don’t shout its low price too loudly. Unfortunately, the cost cutting seems to have been made in the fixings, which don’t meet the quality – and are harder to use – than more expensive boxes. It’s a fair budget choice for occasional use – once installed it’s as securely located as any other. However, if you’re likely to use it regularly, our advice is to choose a more expensive, easier to fit design.

Buy now from Halfords

Thule 90 Ranger

The soft-skinned Thule 90 Ranger is a different proposition to the solid boxes above. As it’s essentially a waterproof bag it makes a great solution if you don’t have the space to store a solid roof box when you’re not using it. It uses the same type of fittings as the Exodus 470 L and isn't the easiest to fit, but it’s light at only 7kg. Its soft design means it doesn’t offer quite the security of solid boxes – we wouldn’t be as happy to leave our possessions in it in an unattended car park. It’s not quite as professional-looking as the solid boxes, either – but it still does what it sets out to do – increase your car’s luggage capacity for occasional holiday trips.

Buy now from Amazon

Skip advert
Advertisement

Richard is a former editor of Carbuyer, as well as sister site DrivingElectric.com, and he's now Deputy Editor at Auto Express. Having spent a decade working in the automotive industry, he understands exactly what makes new car buyers tick.

Skip advert
Advertisement

Most Popular

Engine management light: what to do if it comes on
Engine warning light
Tips and advice
12 Jun 2024

Engine management light: what to do if it comes on

Best new car deals 2024: this week’s top car offers
Carbuyer best new car deals hero
Deals
14 Jun 2024

Best new car deals 2024: this week’s top car offers

Dartford Crossing guide: charge times, fines and how to pay
Dartford Crossing
Tips and advice
3 Jun 2024

Dartford Crossing guide: charge times, fines and how to pay

Tips & advice

View All
Car dashboard warning lights: the complete guide
Car dashboard symbols and meanings
Tips and advice
26 Mar 2024

Car dashboard warning lights: the complete guide

Electric car charging stations: a complete guide
Public EV charge point
Tips and advice
11 Jan 2023

Electric car charging stations: a complete guide

PCP vs HP – which type of car finance is right for you?
PCP vs HP
Tips and advice
17 May 2022

PCP vs HP – which type of car finance is right for you?

Average speed cameras: how do they work?
Average speed cameras: how do they work?
Tips and advice
21 Mar 2024

Average speed cameras: how do they work?

Best cars

View All
Top 10 best car interiors
Peugeot 208 hatchback
Best cars
25 Jun 2021

Top 10 best car interiors

Top 10 best electric cars 2024
Best electric cars
Best cars
16 May 2024

Top 10 best electric cars 2024

Top 10 best cheap-to-run cars 2024
The best cheap-to-run cars 2023
Best cars
2 Jan 2024

Top 10 best cheap-to-run cars 2024

The UK's top 10 fastest hot hatchbacks 2024
Fastest hot hatchbacks hero
Best cars
2 Jan 2024

The UK's top 10 fastest hot hatchbacks 2024