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How To Shop For Roof Boxes

Consider “shape” as well as price and attributes

The decision of which roof box to purchase will be heavily influenced by what basic shape of box is appropriate for your needs. That’s that the primary consideration is “What dimensions of the box?” followed by “What size of box?”

It’s usually quite easy to determine the type of box you should go for. First rule: If your goal is to place other items on the roof, in addition to the box, either today or later, select the box that leaves room for roof bars. That’s obvious. The narrow or medium-width boxes be ideal for those who need the freedom to transport bikes, windsurfersand kayaks. Rule 2. If you need to transport large items that exceed 2 metres, you’ll need an extended box, regardless of the size. It’s also obvious!

Even in the event that you don’t own any long things to carry most likely, you’ll find a longer box that will suit you best when it’s designed for use by a family comprising four or five persons. Long full-width and long medium-width boxes are all means our most sought-after ‘family flexible boxes. There’ll usually be space between the bars on top to accommodate at minimum one bike carrier particularly if you’re using T-track aluminium aerobars (which permit the entire span of bar to use to transport loads) and you select the style of roof bars that extend over the roof bar’s ‘feet’.

“Long boxes” are almost always bigger than your car’s roof and will stick out over the windscreen however “So What?” – you won’t notice the box while in your car.

There’s not a particular box that is specifically designed for a particular car but it’s sensible to be capable of opening your tailgate fullyand make sure that any tailgate spoiler doesn’t hit the rear of the box. As such, there are boxes that aren’t suitable for particular cars. Sometimes, the position of the roof bars on the car roof may require certain boxes to be fitted in an unsatisfactory position; we’ll be able to tell you about the bad choices whenever we’re able to provide this information.

It is crucial to consider price, but keep in your mind that a roof box is expected to last for many families holidays and weekends away; it should provide years of reliable and solid service. We don’t sell any of the really cheap boxes because there are real doubts about their safety and build quality.

Different shapes for different purposes – more information

Here are some other “Rules of thumb” that apply when boxes are fitted to 120cm or 118cm aluminium T slot roof bars: There’ll be room on a medium-length box for two bike carriers, and space on an extended full-width box to accommodate one bike carrier. Mid-length medium-width boxes are usually sufficient for a family of 4, and leave room for up to 2 bikes. It is important to note that three bikes can usually be fitted on the back of the car or onto a tow bar.

Narrow roof boxes (up to 60cm wide)
Most people will need to select smaller boxes in order to leave an area for the tops of vehicle with a standard width to accommodate a kayak or for three or more bicycle carriers.

Boxes with medium-wide roofs (up to 75cm wide)
These boxes are significantly easier than full-width boxes for one reasonably sturdy person to lift and move about safely in part because they’re generally lighter, but also due to the fact that they are able to access the boxes from both sides. Based on the type of roof bars you are employing, you must be able to put at least one bicycle on the roof, often two bikes.

They are among our most sought-after family boxes due to their flexibility.

There’s a filter on the medium-width roof box lists for mid-length boxes and for long boxes.

Full-width roof boxes (up to 95cm wide)
Wide roof boxes impose limitations on the items you are able to carry onto the roof. There’s usually bars that can be placed on the roof to accommodate one bike carrier, depending how long your roof bars and whether you’re using aluminium T-track bars.

There’s a filter for the full-width category only for shorter boxes as well as for longer boxes.

Long , full-width boxes are quite bulky and awkward to transport on their own and are significantly more difficult to store.

The majority of our new customers have not used a roof box before, which is why roofs are definitely an item that people think about once they begin to think about buying one. We’d like to encourage you to get a quality box from the beginning however if you do not you can say “No worries”, you can exchange the item.

Our roof box reviews are our specialized area and we’ve learned from experience which boxes will last the pace over many years, and which often don’t, regardless of the warranty offered by the manufacturer. We are therefore confident in our reviews, suggestions and rating stars. If you buy from us (and we hope you will!) you could be purchasing a roof box brand that you’ve never heard of No worries!

Volume versus capacity. It’s not always what they seem

Don’t make too much of the estimates given by manufacturers regarding the capacity (litres). A few extra centimetres of height can make a massive difference to the nominal capacity of a roof box, but will probably have no effect on the actual utility of the box in particular if the lid is a striking design. The lower of the box, the lesser winds resistance. It is possible to place on a layer of soft bags along the bottom of the box, then blankets and more flatter objects on top ; there is no box that will be deep enough for two layers of soft bags. Therefore, “Length and width are the most important measures of effectiveness”.

Unless otherwise stated All the boxes we sell can accommodate several sets of golf clubs or a large sleeping bag and tent. Many customers ask whether their child’s buggy fits in the roof box. The answer is that “It depends” – the size of the wheels is the usual problem. It’s going to be a lot easier to place the buggy at the back of the vehicle and utilize the roof box for other things. Large, heavy-duty suitcases, particularly hard ones, are not typically suitable for use in roof boxes; soft bags are always the best choice.

Box features that you don’t see, among them are the most crucial ones:

Boxes appear on the surface of it very simple products comprised of two plastic pieces joined together with hinges, struts and locks. Many companies source their material from similar European suppliers.


The boxes we offer have been subjected to thorough tests for safety, and are in compliance with ISO standards – if you’re considering other brands, including supermarket brands, ask safety questions!

If you’re likely to be carrying skis, keep an eye for boxes that have a “safety nose”, an additional internal energy-absorbing barrier that’s designed to keep skis from smashing through the box’s front in high-energy collisions.

We know of boxes where the hinges on the rear and front are not close enough to the edges of the box, the plastic is too thin and it’s easy enough to lift up either end and examine the contents – some are so fragile that it’s possible to get your arm into the box and then pull stuff out. It is a guarantee that all the boxes we sell come with good locking systems.

The thickness and the quality of plastic can make a big impact on the overall quality of boxes. Boxes have to endure huge forces at speed and the boxes that are made of thinner plastic like those that have a appear like eggshells can rattle after prolonged use, as the rivets can compress the thin plastic and cause it to move around. This doesn’t happen with heavier or thicker plastic boxes.

Unless stated, all the boxes we sell are manufactured out of different UV-protected ABS plastic. they’re 100% recyclable.

The waterproofing of a home is often based on what the mold is made of as well as the length of overlap between the base and lid and the method of covering the roof bar fixing slots or holes in the base.

Box features – the most visible ones:

Systems for locking
Central locking sounds smart however it can make roof boxes more difficult to shut!

This is due to the fact that most central locking systems require a centrally placed key to be turned and, at the same time, both the front and the back of the box need to be securely closed. This seems simple enough but will become a three hands operation (two persons!) When there’s bulky equipment inside the box, which is holding up the lid – even soft coats can cause this problem – or when the base is wobbling or is weak or the box was placed incorrectly, with too much weight either at either the front or back.

KAMEI’s central locking system is different. You unlock the box using one quarter turn of the key, but you don’t have to press the key when locking it. All you have to do is close the box until you hear a click that confirms that all three locking points are engaged, at which point keys can be removed. Their Husky and Delphin ranges have push-button locks at each end, which allows users to lock first one end, then the other.

The Atera Casar, INNO boxes and Thule Motion XTs come with a pull shut to lock system.

Gas struts or spring struts
Calix and KAMEI employ hydraulic struts in order to secure the lid. the technology that holds up the tailgate of your car creating a seamless opening and closing mechanism. Some boxes employ spring-assisted struts. This isn’t a huge issue in either case.

Systems for fitting bars to boxes
Our experience has been that all boxes are as simple and fast to install to roof bars regardless of whether or they are equipped with quick fit systems. Marketing people make a big deal about their quick fitting methods but the truth is that they aren’t all that efficient and take up too much space in the box; the smaller the profile of the fittings, the better.

It’s definitely not easy to install U bolts onto full-width single side opening boxes. You’ll need to extend a considerable distance to the hinge side fittings however it’s not a problem with any of our boxes. They KAMEI Husky or Delphin boxes feature special grippers that hold the U bolts in place before the butterfly nuts are inserted which means that the U bolts won’t fall back onto the car’s roof. They also have T-track adapters that can be used for aluminum bars.

Hapro and Thule use rubber-covered claw style grippers that are able to fit on all bars we sell. They can be which can be tightened using a few turns of a wheel. the most effective of them include the torque system that prevents over-tightening , and ensures that bar tension is in the right place. The drawback of gripper systems is that they should not be used in the vicinity of the feet of the roof bar; each Hapro and Thule sell T-track adapters an option, giving total freedom in how the roof box is positioned on the bars – which is crucial if you’re transporting bikes up the roof.

KAMEI’s Fosco and Oyster boxes feature their ultra-low profile ClickFix system that is by some means the most rapid fitting system available that is suitable for aluminium T-track bars only.

It’s important to note that many people leave their box permanently fixed on the bar of their roof, and then store the two together, perhaps using a roof box hoist to lift the entire thing into their garage roof space, so fitting time is not a factor. You should also consider the question “If I bring my box on vacation three times a year, and the slower but often less slender U bolt fittings require about 2 minutes more to set each time, does this really make a difference?”

Better quality boxes have adjustable fitting systems that will accommodate unique roof bar centers that eliminate the hassle of drilling extra holes.

Dual side openings
Dual side opening, the capability to open a box from the left or the right side is beneficial for full-width boxes especially on tall vehicles, but will not be as useful on narrower boxes as for ease accessibility, the boxes should be placed situated on one side of the vehicle, or the otherside, and they cannot be opened from the other side. Placing a box in the middle of the car could seem more tidy, but unless you’re using an extremely wide box, you’ll have to stretch and balance on the door’s sill and risking getting your back hurt.

Rear-opening boxes permit access from three sides of the box at once depending on the width and height of the vehicle.

Styling and streamlining
High-quality boxes should be silent when in use. Boxes that are too close to the roof could produce a whistling sound in high speed, so you’ll notice that roof bars lift them at least 10cm clear of the roof of the car.

The roof bars that are not covered with a roof box will generate the highest noise. However, if you’re buying a top quality box it is sensible to invest in the most up-to-date low drag or low noise technology. So, choose Atera aero-profile bars and CRUZ Airo bars, Thule WingBars or Yakima Whispbars.

You’ll require roof bars

Roof boxes are always fitted to a set of roof bars, a set of aluminum or steel bars that cross the car from one side across the. Cars with factory-fitted longitudinal roof-rails are still required to have an array of roof bars connecting rail to rail.

In addition to other than the KAMEI Fosco and Oyster boxes that only fit in T-track slots, any brand of roof box is installed on any of our roof bars, whether these roof bars are provided by us or by a car dealer.

Of course , we’d like to offer you both the box and bar for the roof, but there’s more beyond this. The issue is that dealer-supplied bars are stylish however they are surprisingly unpractical because they are too oddly shaped to fit anything other than the roof box. For instance, you may not be able to find bike carriers that fit to the bars.

It’s also fair to note that some of the ‘Original Equipment’ bars sold by dealers bars are merely own-branded Atera as well as Thule bars.

If you’re a fan of roof bars with closed ends, or in the sense that there are no bars sticking past the mountings (we call these “through bars”) then you’ll need be checking to see whether there are CRUZ Airo Fuse, Thule WingBar Edge or Yakima flush bars available for your vehicle.

Flush bars are always smaller than bars that are through and will prevent you from carrying bikes on your roof at the same time as you are using a roof box.

Steel bars or aluminium bars

Aluminium bars not only look more attractive than steel bars, but in the present, most are quiet and have low drag, which means you aren’t going to hear an Middle C background hum, often loud and disruptive, which is common with square-edged steel bars.

Aluminium bars also allow you to lift more weight onto the roof, thanks to T-track slots that run the full width of bars. They are designed to accommodate special adapters.

Other than noise, the main issue in steel bars lies with the bar to vehicle fixings are likely to be in just the wrong location for your roof box and bike carrier fixings (U bolts or claw grippers) that wrap through the bars. This is why you are able to typically carry a bigger load on T-track aluminium bars than you can carry on steel bars.

In the event that you have aluminium bars, or plan to buy them from our site make sure to get the proper Roof box T-track adapters! They’re standard in certain roof boxes, but are a vital accessory for others.

A majority of the top roof bar makers have now followed Yakima’s lead and are now producing low-noise roof bars that are quiet. In addition to Yakima Whispbar Look out for Thule WingBars, Atera aero-profile bars – Atera is among the German car rack brands as well as the less expensive CRUZ bars, however superior, made in Spain.

Frequently Asked Questions (not covered elsewhere)

Customers are likely to be asking the same questions, especially if they’ve never before ever used a roofed box before. Here are some frequently requested questions, along with responses:

Do I need other things besides bar for the roof and an roof box?

No. A set of box to standard bar fittings is included with every roof box we offer, along with a set of straps to hold luggage in place. When a container is locked it isn’t able to be lifted off the bars since the fittings which hold it to the roof bars are tightened up inside the box. Consequently, the box will be locked.

Which side has left hand opening and which one is Right hand opening?

Left hand opening boxes are accessible on the passenger side of a standard UK right hand drive car the ‘nearside’. Right hand opening means ‘driver’s side’, or ‘offside’.

I have a box that is full length and it seems to overhang the bars quite a distance. Does this make sense?

Yes. These boxes are designed in such a way that around one third is hung over the bar in the rear, one third rests on the roof bars, and the other third is overhanging the bar in front.

Roof box accessories

We offer a variety of accessories for roof boxes, including specially-designed bag for roof boxes, interior lights, storage devices and cover covers that protect.