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Take One of These Best Roof Racks on Your Next Adventure

If you’re somebody who loves to travel and pack all your adventure-worthy items with you in your vehicle, then you inevitably will need extra space. Roof racks are a great way to expand your vehicle's cargo capacity in no time.

Some vehicles already have roof rails which makes it a lot easier to install a roof rack, while for others, you might want to go for aftermarket options. These roof racks free up space in your vehicle for more weather-sensitive items.

We researched what attributes a good cargo roof rack should possess for all kinds of vehicles and shortlisted five of the best roof racks in 2021. Take a look!

Best Roof Rack

MaxxHaul Alloy Steel Roof Rack

This roof rack is constructed from strong alloy steel that is designed to offer instant cargo space with unmatchable durability and support. This all-steel construction can bear a maximum of 150 lbs as long as the load is distributed evenly. The installation is simple; it comes with a universal U-bolt mounting system that makes it straightforward as long as you have crossbars pre-installed. The rooftop rack comes powder-coated from the factory, making sure it will resist moisture and rust and make it last for years and years.

  • Heavy-duty alloy steel construction
  • Rust-resistant powder coating
  • Easy, one-man installation
  • Prone to rusting if powder coating is chipped

CargoLoc Aluminum Top Cross Bar Roof Rack

These incredible cross bars from CargoLoc comes with a load capacity of 150 lbs, secure locks, and much more. The bars come with clamps that you can use to adjust its attachment with your existing rails. The rack features a rigid aluminum body that evenly distributes and cuts down the weight without compromising on strength. You can transport kayaks, skis, mountain bikes, or even a cargo basket on top of your vehicle. This rack uses a heavy-duty, locking clamping mechanism that makes sure that the crossbars stay firmly attached to the existing side rails and the body.

  • Versatile, it will fit most the vehicles
  • Key locks to keep your cross bars safe and secure
  • Sturdy and durable construction
  • Tricky mounting and dismounting

ARKSEN Universal Black Roof Rack

This is a basket-style that can haul all your camping equipment, cargo bags, luggage, and much more. This rack is constructed from heavy-duty steel that is finished with a powder coat that protects it against moisture and sun damage. The cargo roof basket can extend up to 23”, which gives you more cargo space for carrying your favorite adventure items. It also has a wind fairing that reduces wind resistance and the annoying whistle other baskets make. Moreover, it has adjustable U-bolt spacing which means you can mount this basket to just about any cross bar setup you'll encounter.

  • Durable and long-lasting steel construction
  • Includes clamps and jackets for secure mounting
  • Weather-resistant coat finish
  • Non-threaded areas need extra care or silicon coating to prevent rust

CURT Cargo Carrier Steel Roof Rack

This is definitely one of the better rooftop baskets available in 2021. It comes with extremely secure 4-inch high walls that support the cargo from all sides. It also features a sturdy wind fairing that keeps your cargo safe from heavy winds and reduces noise in the cabin during travel. The assembly and mounting are pretty straightforward with many videos online from customers to show you how to install. You can also add a cargo bag, or a cargo net to make things more secure. It can securely be attached to most vehicle cross bars with simple brackets.

  • Tall sides for added support
  • Universal brackets for mounting
  • Aerodynamic design
  • Plastic clips might break with heavy items

Seah Hardware Universal Black Roof Rack

If you own a sedan or vehicle without a roof rack, this might be your best solution if you need cross bars. This roof rack is made from alloy steel that won’t break or wear easily. It features straps that will go right through the door frames and help secure the rack against the roof of the vehicle. You can use this rack on almost any kind of vehicle that has four doors without side rails. It can however also fit on four-door cars with short-length side rails as well.

  • Maximum weight capacity of 150lbs
  • Waterproof ratchet ties
  • Can support mountain bike, kayak, ladders, and more
  • Not the most secure option

Buyer's Guide

Here are some important things you need to consider before you buy a new roof rack.

How to Choose the Best Roof Racks?

These are some characteristics and features that you should be considering:

Height

Most roof racks will add 3 to 4-inches while some may go as high as 12.5-inches, and that's before considering the dimensions of the cargo you'll be strapping onto them. Buy one according to where you'll be parking or using your vehicle, making sure that it’s able to fit in underground parking spaces and garages after the addition.

Fit

See if the roof rack you’re getting is the perfect fit for your car. Some manufacturers have adjustable clips or straps that work around the roof to keep it secure. Some have aerodynamic designs and other additional mounting features you'll want to consider.

Weight

Consider the weight a roof rack will be adding to your vehicle and the weight it can support from the guidelines of your car.

Weight distribution is also important. Make sure the roof rack is designed to carry the weight you need. Most cars and roof racks can carry 150lbs of weight if it’s distributed evenly, while others may be equipped to support higher loads such as a rooftop tent.

Installation

Some roof racks use the standard mounting system with knobs, while others require ropes and straps to be tightened and secured onto crossbars or a naked roof.

Does the Shape of a Roof Rack Influence Your Car’s Performance?

Roof racks come in various shapes. Some are shaped for cargo or some for transporting sporting equipment, etc. When you add any sort of roof rack, it is bound to affect the overall aerodynamics of the vehicle. You might see a significant difference in fuel economy and more “drag” as your vehicle runs.

The added weight will also affect the performance. With a considerable amount of weight on the roof of your car, you'll need extra power to move the additional weight. Also, be sure to keep in mind that the additional weight will shift the center of gravity upwards, which will negatively impact handling stability. Some roof racks are designed to be more aerodynamic than others, meaning they'll be quieter at higher speeds.

Tips for Proper Installation of Roof Rack?

Installing a roof rack is pretty straightforward. Some tips to follow are:

Lock and Secure

Make sure that you carefully read and follow instructions from the manufacturer. You’ll have to secure the rack on crossbars by tightening the straps or turning a knob.

Final Check

Once installed, make sure it’s secure and check for all the strings, clamps, and knobs if they are fully fastened. Take a test run and ensure the rack can take high speed, winds, and a bumpy ride.

Are Roof Racks Dangerous?

Roof racks are not dangerous if they’re installed properly. They need to be secured in their place with proper care. It can easily get dangerous if you haven’t secured it properly or you are unsure of your vehicle's height with the roof rack mounted.

Conclusion

Adding some additional space at the top of your car can never go to waste. Roof racks come in various shapes, sizes, heights, and weight capacities. To help you choose better, we’ve picked some of the best roof racks in 2021 for you, along with a comprehensive buying guide.

Roof Rack FAQ

Some frequently asked questions are:

Q: Do roof racks include mounting hardware?

A: Yes. Almost all manufacturers offer mounting hardware.

Q: What can you carry on roof racks?

A: You can carry heavy items like bicycles, kayaks, skis, canoes, or luggage for example.

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