Best Roof Racks for Cars, Trucks & SUVs in 2017 – Buyer’s Guide and Reviews

Roof racks are simple accessories that can do a world of good for those on a trip or for car owners who constantly have to figure out where they are going to fit any extra luggage. Since going out to buy a new car isn’t traditionally the more economical or practical solution to finding extra luggage space, these inexpensive and easy-to-mount accessories tend to come first, and as evidenced by their popularity, they do this quite well.

That said, there are a few things you need to look for when buying a roof rack, and the first of these factors to consider is whether they are suitable for your particular car or truck. Other than that, quality, capacity, and versatility are all factors that a roof rack needs to feature. To make the search easier, the following is a list of the five best roof racks, suitable for a wide range of vehicles, all factors considered.

Top 5 Best Roof Racks for Cars, Trucks & SUVs in 2017

RankProductOur RatingPrice
1Curt 18115 Roof Mounted Cargo Rack4.5 StarsCLICK FOR BEST PRICE
2Rola 59504 Vortex Roof Mounted Cargo Basket4.5 StarsCLICK FOR BEST PRICE
3ARKSEN Universal Roof Rack Carrier4.0 StarsCLICK FOR BEST PRICE
4TMS Cargo Roof Rack4.0 StarsCLICK FOR BEST PRICE
5TMS Car Roof Rack4.0 StarsCLICK FOR BEST PRICE

1. Curt 18115 Roof Mounted Cargo Rack

Curt 18115 Roof Mounted Cargo Rack

To start off, the Curt Cargo Rack is a simple accessory that best exemplifies what the essential features of a rack should be, perhaps doing this better than any other you can find. One of the most notable things about this rack is its versatility; it is an easily mountable rack, whether on an SUV, sedan, or truck. The rack itself is a two-piece assembly, compromising the main piece and universal mounting brackets that can be easily put together on any roof rack base rails.

These not only make the rack suitable for a wide range of vehicles, but also work to steady the whole structure, ensuring that whatever load is packed on it stays as still as possible. Helping in this department is the rack’s design which consists of a windshield that directs the air flow away from the luggage, preventing the load from acting as a wind-resisting object, and adding to the overall stability. The walls of the rack are 4” high with attachment points that make it easy to strap luggage on securely.

Though it promises to be a simple rack, it also offers a little more than just the basics, and the rack’s optional extendibility is proof of this. The entire 36 square inches are made of tubular-coated steel that is both light and rigid.

Pros

  • Easy to mount and use
  • Luggage can be strapped and hooked in place
  • Adaptable for different car types

Cons

  • Anti-rust coating not of the highest quality

Summary

For a 29.1 lb. rack that accepts loads of up to 300 lbs., the quality and the versatility of the piece are pretty impressive, not to mention simple. In being so easy to use, it not only offers all the technical points needed to pack extra luggage where the interior of the car won’t do, but it also offers the peace of mind needed.

 

 

 

2. Rola 59504 Vortex Roof Mounted Cargo Basket

 

Rola 59504 Vortex Roof Mounted Cargo Basket

The Rola Vortex Cargo Basket is a rectangular structure that proves to be as straightforward in its ability to function as a buyer needs it to be. Sophistication is more often than not the enemy, at least when it comes to getting a job done, and a simple option with a simple design that can fit the roof base rails of any vehicle is one perfect example where less is more. The rack is easily mountable, consisting of two, rugged steel pieces that can be easily fit round and square bases.

The 38 lb. rack measures  48” in length, 37.5” in width, and a decent 4.5” high for its surrounding wall, though an additional option to expand 18.75” of cargo space is provided. The front part is fitted with a windshield that protects the luggage by channeling air away from it, allowing you to carry on at high speeds without worrying about everything flying off. The mounting instructions are simple to carry out, and it is just as easy to load luggage.

Pros

  • Versatile
  • Easy to use
  • Secure

Cons

  • Susceptible to rust

Summary

The Rola Cargo Basket is a basic solution to a not-so-basic problem. It can prove to be a lifesaver when called into action in the event of surplus baggage given its vast dimensions. It is Ideal for family vacations and the like. Its design is fit for the majority of OEM roof racks, making it a buy that can easily be swapped from one vehicle to another. If you want to be a little harsh on the piece, you could point out one or two flaws, and another one or two features it could do with that would make it complete, but given the affordability of the rack on top of all the positives, it’s a real steal.

 

 

3. ARKSEN Universal Roof Rack Carrier

ARKSEN Universal Roof Rack Carrier

This roof rack is a great piece for a number of reasons, all of which are bound to serve your needs, whatever they may be and with whatever vehicle you may own. The rigid structure is made in such a way that it mirrors the roof of a vehicle, consisting of two rails that attach to the car’s own, over which the main piece rests. At 50” in length, 40.5” in width, and a 7.5” high wall, it is both spacious enough to fit a whole lot of luggage and secure it in place within the boundaries of its wall.

Aiding in security are the multiple tie-down locations that make versatile use with straps and nets possible. All of this allows for as much as 130 lbs. to be loaded onto the rack with assurance it will work with as much safety as it needs to. The steel construction is coated with a black powder finish to keep the material from easily rusting. The rack comes with 4 U-bolts that make it easy to mount on whatever vehicle, and coupled with how easy it is to assemble the two-piece set, the Arksen rack is as convenient as it is useful.

Pros

  • Affordable
  • Versatile
  • Easy to mount and use
  • Large storage space with high wall

Cons

  • Plastic pieces and mounting screws fragile

Summary

The Arksen Universal rack is exactly what it promises to be—a luggage carrier suitable for the majority of vehicles on a long trip. It may not be a perfect fit, and its capacity to carry heavy loads is limited, but as far as carrying bulky luggage is concerned, it is the perfect holder. Not only does using this rack economize on space, but the actual rack itself is one of the most available, making all it has to offer even more impressive.

 

 

 

4. TMS Cargo Roof Rack

 

TMS Cargo Roof Rack

The TMS rack is simply one of the sturdiest options available for those looking to stack excess baggage on the roofs of their cars. At 40” in length, 26” in width, and a great 9” in outlining wall height, it is fit for the bulkiest of items, keeping the structure and guaranteeing safety while on the road. Adding to its capability is its ability to carry loads of up to 150 lbs., which is a decent size capacity that should go well with the amount of space it offers. At the front of it all is a wind fairing, fitted to reduce wind noise and vibration, thus allowing drivers the ease to drive at whatever speed they want.

Also adding to this sense of security are the many tie-down points along the metal bars, including the heavy-duty bottom bars, all providing users with a number of ways to secure their luggage with straps or hooks, from one end of the rack to the other. The entire piece is adaptable to a number of vehicles; this is made possible by the easy to mount design that features 4 U-bolts, a standard feature made for all base types.

Pros

  • Thick round bars
  • 37-inch wind fairing
  • Large storage space
  • Easy to use and suitable for many vehicles

Cons

  • Installation pieces are fragile

Summary

Once you get the mounting right, which is far from a laborious task, the TMS Cargo Rack ensures a smooth ride, both figuratively and literally. There are limits on how much weight you can load onto the rack, and that should be noted before use, but it pretty much covers all the different items that are loaded onto a car roof as extensively and securely as possible. The rack also proves to be durable, helped by the coating that prevents the metal from rusting, making it all worth the affordable price.

 

 

5. TMS Car Roof Rack

TMS Car Roof Rack

If you want it all, look no further than the TMS ALUM-RFCARRIER, a car roof rack that attempts to do it all. Coated black, the entire piece is made of a heavy-duty aluminum, giving it the rigid structure needed while also managing an impressive weight at only 21.6 pounds. The space enclosed within the 7-inch-high perimeter measures at 50 inches in length and 39 inches in width. This is more than enough room to store what can’t usually fit in the trunk of a car on vacation trips, and with the various crossbars running to and from the base of the rack, along with those on the sides, there are plenty of options to strap luggage.

The customized wind fairing extends from the main piece to provide a front shield from the wind, resulting in significant noise reduction and vibration which makes up one of the two factors that add stability to the rack. The greatest contributor to the stability of the rack are the four mounting pieces it comes with; since they are designed in such a way that makes them suitable for the rack base of any car roof, all four work to guarantee the entire structure, and everything loaded onto it, remains right where it should.

  • Light and versatile
  • Easy to mount
  • Multiple tie-down options

Cons

  • Aluminum metal can be fragile under heavy weights and extreme conditions

Summary

Ending our list is perhaps one of the most sophisticated of pieces. It certainly catches the eye at first glance, but upon closer look, it turns out to be all that you would expect from a roof rack, and that’s a good thing. By covering all the essential features, and offering a little bit more, such as in the mounting racks and the various designs of the bottom and side crossbars, the TMS Car Roof Rack manages to distinguish itself with ordinariness in a paradoxically satisfying way. It is, without a shadow a doubt, worth the buck and an easy pick for the top five.

 

 

Conclusion

After having gone through the many roof racks for cars available, and after extensively exploring the top five, one very simple observation can be made: They are all pretty much the same. That is true on the outside and with the features they boast. This actually made finding a way to choose the best difficult at first; however, as any car owner who has owned one of these can tell you, it all comes down to the experience offered by each individual rack, and those can be as far ranging as they come.

Making the wrong choice will not only mean you waste time and money, and if caught out in the middle of a trip, it can turn into an awful experience. Making the right choice, on the other hand, can turn a good trip into a great one. Not only can they make the difference in allowing you to carry that one extra thing that could better the journey, but a quality rack will also offer the peace of mind needed to relax and focus on the road ahead, without constantly having to worry about the load on top. The list above works to ensure that the latter and more pleasant experience is something our readers will benefit from after making their choice from the above.

 

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