Should I Rent Or Buy A Roof Box For My Car

Should I Rent Or Buy A Roof Box For My Car?: Hire Or Purchase Outright


Should you rent or buy a roof box for your car? Given how much they can cost, you may be wondering whether renting or buying is the best option.

To help you make a decision let’s compare the pros and cons of owning versus renting.

What Does It Cost?

The upfront cost of purchasing a roof cargo box is going to be significantly more than the cost of renting one. Unless you are looking only at the smallest and most basic models, renting will be the cheapest option.

The cost of renting a roof top cargo box will probably be in the region of $100-$150. For this, you should get a week’s rental with the appropriate mountings. It may also include the box being fitted to your vehicle. If you are in the UK then will rent you a roof box for as little as £35 ($48) a week!

This compares with $500-$1000+ for a good quality roof box and the fixings you’ll need to mount it.


Buying your own cargo box or bag will be much more convenient than renting one. There aren’t that many companies that will rent roof boxes so you may not be able to find a local supplier anyway. In this case, you may have to bite the bullet and purchase a roof cargo box outright.

How Much Stuff Do You Need To Carry?

Roof boxes are intended to carry bulky but light items as a rule. Tents, sleeping bags, pillows et cetera. You don’t want to be lifting really heavy items onto the roof of your vehicle. Think about the sort of equipment you need to take and whether a roof box is going to be fit for purpose. Remember that every vehicle will have a maximum load capacity for roof storage and that includes the weight of any bars, racks and boxes.

Do You Have Storage Space?

A hard-shell box is quite a bulky item and will take up a decent amount of space. You need to consider where you will keep the box when you’re not using it. If you have limited room for storage then renting is the clear winner here as you just take it back at the end of your rental period.

You could always opt for a soft cargo bag which will require a lot less storage space when not being used. It would also be less likely to require complicated mounting systems or roof racks.

How Often Do You Change Your Vehicle?

If you regularly change your car for a new model then you may find that the mountings required will be different for different types of vehicles. This will add an extra cost if you keep having to replace the roof bars. In this scenario, you may be better off renting a cargo box unless you take several trips a year where you need extra storage.

Do You Lease Your Vehicle?

While it is unlikely that there would be any prohibition regarding using a roof box on a leased vehicle you do have to consider the potential damage that fitting one may cause since you will undoubtedly be charged at the end of your lease period.

How Often Will You Use The Box?

Along with the cost, this is going to be the other major deciding factor. If you don’t take that many trips where you need additional storage then you’re probably going to find it is more cost-effective to rent a cargo box. If you take an average of one trip per year or less then it would take several years for you to incur the same cost as buying a mid-range roof box. You would also have the added advantage of not having to install and remove the box yourself. Or the headache of where to store such a bulky item.

Should I Rent Or Buy A Roof Box For My Car: Conclusion

There is no one size fits all answer to this question it really comes down to your own personal circumstances.

If you’re short on funds or struggling to make your mind up then you could try renting one to see how useful it is. Once you have seen the benefits you could always purchase one later.

Still on the fence? Here are the pros and cons of roof boxes.

Frequently Asked Questions [FAQ]

How Do I Go About Renting A Roof Box?

Renting a roof box will largely depend on where you live. Although there are some companies that will rent you a rooftop cargo box and ship it out to you for the rental period. You could try but unfortunately U-Haul doesn’t rent roof cargo boxes. If you are near an outlet you could try somewhere like

How big a roof cargo carrier do I need?

If you’ve never brought a cargo box before then you might struggle to judge how much luggage will fit in a box of a certain size. If you need storage for 2 people then a 12 ft3 cargo roof box should do the trick while a 20 ft3 box could well be sufficient for 4 or even 5 people.

What Are The Pros And Cons Of Buying A Rooftop Carrier?

The Pros of buying a rooftop carrier are you will always have some extra luggage space available when you are going on a road trip. It will also work out cheaper in the long run if you make several trips that require a rooftop box. Convenience is another major benefit. The only real cons is the initial purchase cost and the need to find somewhere to store the box when it is not in use.

Should I Rent Or Buy A Roof Box For A Skiing Trip?

If you rarely go need to transport skis or snowboards then it may make more sense to rent a box purely for that trip. Skis will be too long for all but the longest boxes and most general purpose cargo carriers won’t be suitable.

Can I Rent a Thule Roof Box?

Yes there are some companies that will rent out Thule cargo boxes. However given that Thule are one of the most expensive models you will probably find that they are also the most expensive.
In the US you could try Next Venture Rentals. You can hire a Thule Motion XT for as little as $20 per day. In the UK you could try somewhere like RoofBoxed where you can rent a box from as little as £12 per day.

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