White SUV with roof box in the forest

13 Roof Box Pros and Cons: Are They Worth It?

Affiliate Disclosure: As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases.


When buying an expensive piece of equipment it’s always useful to take a look at the pros and cons of owning it. If you’re thinking of buying some form of roof box then you may have been surprised by the price. You may be wondering if buying one will be worth it.

Let’s start by looking at the benefits of having a roof cargo box.

13 Roof box pros and cons
Need more space in your Audi?


Amazon Product Image

Thule Motion XT XXL

  • Capacity of 610L (22 ft³)
  • dual-side opening
  • Load capacity of 165lbs
  • Sits forward to allow access to your trunk


More Storage Space

Okay, this is a pretty obvious one and is the main reason why you’re thinking of getting a roof cargo box. If you’re heading off on vacation with family or friends then you might not have a vehicle large enough to fit all of your luggage.

If you’re involved in sports such as fishing, skiing or golf then there is a lot of equipment to be carried and some of it can be quite bulky. Having some form of roof storage frees up space in your vehicle for passengers and other gear.


Compared with an old-fashioned roof rack you should be able to find a roof box that is much more secure with a decent locking mechanism. Your expensive sports equipment or luggage is likely to be much safer in a cargo box than just tied to your roof rack. A roof box is likely to deter all but the most determined thieves.


Roof boxes are fairly simple to fit or remove. This means you can be as flexible as you need to be and only fit the storage box when you need the extra space.

If you don’t want the bother of installing or removing the box then you can always leave it in place. It will have an effect on your fuel economy but if the box is empty then it won’t be too noticeable.

The big advantage of leaving the box permanently in place is you don’t have to spend time fitting it if you have a sudden desire to get away for a break.

Improved Weight Distribution

When compared with a rear-mounted cargo box a rooftop cargo box offers much better weight distribution. The load is spread across the car rather than adding extra weight at the back of the vehicle.

Footprint Doesn’t Change

If you spend a lot of time in an urban environment then having a roof-mounted box is an advantage compared with a trailer. You won’t be taking up extra parking space that may be at a premium.

Weather Resistant

No manufacturer claims their roof box is 100% weatherproof however when correctly fitted and closed a rooftop cargo box will offer adequate weather protection certainly when compared with using an old-fashioned roof rack.

Blue Toyota SUV with roof box
Even an SUV might need more storage!


Amazon Product Image

Yakima SkyBox 21 Carbonite

  • Aerodynamic design
  • Dual-side opening
  • 21 ft³ capacity
  • 80% recycled material
  • SuperLatch system for security peace of mind


There are some downsides to using a roof box. Let’s take a look at the reasons why you may think twice about buying a cargo box.


With many roof boxes costing in excess of $500 and a lot more for premium models, they aren’t cheap. This is probably going to be the main consideration in your buying decision. Are you going to use the roof box often enough to justify the cost?

There are ways to mitigate the cost somewhat but if you want a high-quality product then you are going to have to fork over a reasonable amount of cash.

Increased Fuel Consumption

Even an empty roof box will add to the weight of your vehicle and therefore increase the amount of fuel used. It will also affect the aerodynamics which will also have a negative effect on your fuel consumption.

Obviously, the impact will be dependent on the sort of car you have and the type of roof box you install. The weight of luggage you carry in the box and your driving style will also impact greatly on your fuel economy.

Increased Vehicle Height

Adding a roof box to your car may make it impossible for you to enter areas with restricted height. For example, many multi-story car parks will have height restrictions at their entrances/exits.

Make sure you’ve taken note of the new height of your vehicle including your roof box so you can avoid costly mistakes!

Storage Space

When not in use a roof box is quite a bulky item to store so that may be a major concern if you don’t have a lot of space in your garage. Another option which won’t be so difficult to store is a cargo bag.


Unfortunately even the most expensive and aerodynamic rooftop cargo boxes are going to increase the amount of noise you experience while driving.

Size and Shape

As well as the total volume available in your storage box you have to consider the height and width limitations. If you opt for an aerodynamic box then this is likely to be more restrictive on the size and shape of objects that you can fit in the box.

Paint Damage

Depending on the age of your vehicle and the level of care you give it this may not be much of an issue but in reality, adding mounting bars and installing a cargo box will always bring a risk of causing damage to your paintwork.

Conclusion: Roof Box Pros and Cons

Whether a roof box is right for you really comes down to how often you are going to need the extra storage space when traveling. If you rarely travel with extra equipment then it may be difficult to justify the cost of a storage box. You may need to look at a cheaper solution such as renting.

Frequently Asked Questions [FAQ]

Is a Roof Box Worth It?

At the end of the day, only you can answer this question. If you only make one trip a year then you may find it difficult to justify the cost of a roof box. However, if you travel regularly and need to take a large amount of equipment then you should find an investment in a roof box well worth it.

Are Roof Boxes Safe?

As long as you get an appropriately sized roof box for your vehicle using the correct fixing mechanisms you should have no problems. However, you should also take careful note of any weight restrictions for both your vehicle roof and the cargo box you are fitting.

What is the Purpose of a Roof Box?

A roof box is designed to give you extra storage capacity in your vehicle.

What is the Best Position for a Roof Box?

The best position for a roof box is slightly towards the rear of your vehicle as this will be beneficial from an aerodynamic point of view. However, you should take care to make sure that you don’t position the roof box so far back that it affects how your rear hatch opens.

The best policy is also to place the cargo box as centrally as possible when looking from the front.

What is the Best Roof Box?

If you want to know what the best roof box is then you need to check out my buying guide.

Is Thule worth it?

Thule roof cargo boxes can be quite expensive so a lot of people wonder whether they are worth the money.

They have a well-deserved reputation for producing quality products but as with any consumer item there will always be unhappy customers.

Remember the old saying “buy cheap, buy twice”.

Can I get a white roof box?

It is possible to purchase a white roof box although your options are fairly limited. You can check out some of the white roof cargo boxes in this article.

Why are roof boxes so expensive?

The reason why roof boxes are so expensive is at least partly because that is what the market will bear.

At the end of the day if people are willing and able to pay $1000+ for a storage box then there will be some companies that will sell them.

In addition you have to consider the cost of manufacture including raw materials and energy costs. These have al risen substantially in the last couple of years.

Similar Posts