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Best roof box 2021: Expand your car’s storage space with these sturdy and secure roof boxes

Ben Johnston
14 Jun 2021
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Whether you’re going on holiday with the family or carting gear to the beach, here are our favourite roof boxes

Whether you’re headed for the beach or taking the family on a road trip, the best roof boxes will allow you to stow your luggage out of sight and mind, while still ensuring that it’s safe and secure. More elbow room means fewer backseat arguments, and that’s good news for everybody.

Here, you’ll find our pick of the absolute best roof boxes you can buy today. Features vary quite dramatically when it comes to roof boxes, so it’s worth reading through our buying guide immediately below first if you’re not completely sure what style of box best fits your needs.

READ NEXT: The best car seats to buy

Best roof box: At a glance

  • Best budget roof box: Aldi Auto XS | Buy now
  • Largest capacity option: Halfords Advanced | Buy now
  • Best narrow option: Thule Force XT Sport | Buy now
  • Best foldable option: Auperto Cargo Bag | Buy now
  • Best for sport equipment: Thule Motion XT XL | Buy now

How to choose the best roof box for you

What size do I need?

This depends firstly on how many people you’re packing for. If you’re a big family, one of the larger roof boxes would best serve all the luggage you have to squeeze in, whereas if you only need the box for one person, you can get away with opting for a smaller size. In addition, you need to consider whether you need roof space for anything else, such as storing bicycles.

READ NEXT: The best bike racks for your car

Roof boxes can be easily sorted into three general sizes: narrow, medium-width and full-width. With each of these, you need to be sure that the measurements are suitable for your car, but also won’t obstruct you from storing equipment, such as bikes or surfboards. Both medium-width and full-width boxes usually leave enough space for one bike to be stored, but if you routinely store 2 or more bikes, a narrow box is going to be a better option.

The final thing worth thinking about is the support you intend to use for the roof box. For the more lightweight boxes, steel bars will be perfectly suitable as supports, but if you intend to invest in a larger box with a higher weight capacity, aluminium bars with t-track slots (which allow the weight to be carried across the entire length of the bars) will serve you better.

How much should I spend?

Depending on your needs, you can get a solid roof box for as little as £100. Medium-range roof boxes can be bought in the £250-£400 range, and for the largest space possible, expect to spend anywhere from £450 up to £600. For the most part, price doesn’t automatically indicate quality, as the cheaper ones will do all they need to, just with less space, but it is worth checking that your chosen box has all the features – a lock, for example – that you require.

Other things to bear in mind

No matter how streamlined a roof box is, it will inevitably create more wind-resistance when driving. This will create more drag and increase the fuel consumption of your vehicle, so make sure you keep an eye on the fuel gauge.

Longer roof boxes may hang slightly over the windscreen, and cars with large spoilers may find the boot doesn’t open fully with a roof box installed. Neither of these will compromise your ability to drive safely, but be sure to check the measurements to ensure the box you choose is a good fit for your car.

READ MORE: The best hands-free car kit to buy

The best roof boxes to buy

1. Aldi Auto XS Roof Box: The best budget roof box

Price: £100 | Buy now from Aldi

At 240L, this roof box is at the lower end of the capacity spectrum, but it still provides plenty of space for storing bags, coats and whatever else you need tucked away. There’s an easily accessible lock for keeping everything secure, and the sturdy shell will effectively protect all of your belongings from adverse weather.

The side hinge only allows opening on one side, so it’s not as accessible as some of the other options on this list, but at this price it’s easy to forgive small flaws like this. For a simple, no-frills option, you can’t do better than the Auto XS.

Key specs – Dimensions (LWD): 134 x 76 x 63cm; Capacity: 240L; Material: 100% Polystyrene; Max weight: 50kg (approx); Opening type: Side; Allows for bike racks? Yes

Buy now from Aldi


2. Halfords Advanced Roof Box: Best for maximum storage

Price: £440 | Buy now from Halfords

If you regularly travel heavy – if you have a large family or a lot of equipment to lug about, for instance - you’re going to want to invest in as capacious a roof box as possible. Halfords’ Advanced Roof Box is pretty much as big as roof boxes go, with a cavernous 580L capacity for all your storage needs.

The dual side opening allows access to the box from either side of your car, ensuring that you can open it safely no matter what side of the road you’ve parked on, and the spring lid holds itself open for easy loading and unloading. The box is plenty durable, too, as it’s made from UV-protected materials, meaning it won’t crack or become brittle in cold weather.

Key specs – Dimensions (LWD): 205.7 x 80.2 x 50cm; Capacity: 580L; Material: UV protected materials; Max weight: 75kg; Opening type: Dual side; Allows for bike racks? Yes

Buy now from Halfords


3. Auperto Cargo Bag: Best for folding away between uses

Price: £49 | Buy now from Amazon

For those of you who only need additional roof space a handful of times throughout the year, Auperto’s flexible roof bag is perfect, as it can be folded away for easy storage when not in use. The heavy-duty fabric is waterproof and completely weather-resistant, be it rain, snow, hail or sunshine, so you know your belongings will be kept safe and dry.

Eight 30cm tie straps secure this bag firmly to your roof bars, which ensuring it won’t slide around too much in motion. With this in mind, slight movement is still possible, so it’s worth looking into an underlay mat to prevent your roof from being scratched.

Key specs – Dimensions (LWD): 95 x 95 x 46cm; Capacity: 425L; Material: Heavy-duty polyester canvas; Max weight: 100kg; Opening type: Zip; Allows for bike racks? No


4. Thule Force XT Sport: Best narrow roof box

Price: £380 | Buy now from Halfords

If you need to expand your car’s storage but also want to leave space for other equipment on your roof, a long, narrow roof box is exactly what you need. At just 63cm across, Thule’s Force XT Sport roof box will take up no more than half your roof’s width, leaving plenty of space for other equipment, such as two bikes or a kayak.

The dual side opening ensures comfortable and easy access to the entire box, which is endlessly helpful when loading and unloading. Another neat feature is that the locking mechanism will only allow the key to be removed if all locking points are secure, meaning you’ll never drive away with the box improperly closed.

Key specs – Dimensions (LWD): 190 x 63 x 42.5cm; Capacity: 300L; Max weight: 75kg; Opening type: Dual side; Allows for bike racks? Yes

Buy now from Halfords


 5. Thule Motion XT XL: Best for skis and snowboards

Price: £572 | Buy now from Halfords

Few things in this world are as awkward or annoying as trying to comfortably fit skis and/or snowboards in a car. If you and your friends/family are sick of having to squeeze in the car on your way to the slopes, Thule’s Motion XT XL could make your life a lot easier.

Deep enough to fit 5-7 pairs of skis, 3-5 snowboards, or a mixture of both, the Motion XT XL is the best way to transport your equipment. The power click mount system allows for quick and easy attachment to your car’s roof bars, but if you aren’t comfortable doing it yourself, Halfords will do it for you, albeit for an extra £20.

Key specs - Dimensions (LWD): 215 x 91.5 x 44cm; Capacity: 500L; Max weight: 75KG; Opening type: Dual side; Allows for bike racks? No

Buy now from Halfords


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