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The Ultimate Roof Cargo Box Comparison


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/ The ultimate roof box comparison [September 2019]
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The ultimate roof box comparison [September 2019]

We have tried out countless roof boxes and have now selected the ones we recommend.

Robert Barth
30 September 2019 at 03:0939 Calls

Buying guide – roof boxes

Every year the question arises anew: Where to go on holiday. Holidays within Germany are becoming increasingly popular, especially with families. Especially where flying with the airlines is becoming more and more difficult, many people consciously choose to travel by car. Not only are they flexible in their schedules, but they can also take their favourite trips in peace and quiet. Even though many cars already have a very large storage space, this is still too small for a whole family on holiday. A wonderful and very safe solution is a roof box, which is mounted on the car.

In this article you will find all the important information you need to buy a roof box. We explain not only the benefits, but also the different types. In addition, we show you clearly the different advantages and disadvantages. With the list on the subject of buying, you have the right key points that you should definitely consider. Here you will find the answers to the most important questions about roof boxes.

What is a roof box?

As the name suggests, this is a suitcase that is attached to the roof of the car. In most cases it consists of a very strong and above all robust plastic. Another advantage is that this storage space is weatherproof. This means that the things you store in it are dry and safe, no matter if it rains or snows outside. In terms of colour, most roof boxes are kept in dark colours. So you get different shades of grey, anthracite or even a black roof box. Every now and then there is a product that is completely out of line. However, these are often special offers, which are limited.

You can get such a box in different sizes. This is important because not every car is the same size. You also need a larger box for skis than for a short trip to the sea.

Which different roof boxes are available?

  • Luggage
  • Ski / Snowboard
  • Folding


One of the most bought roof boxes is this variant. Here is not only the choice of colors, but also the size very wide. Originally, these boxes were designed to transport your luggage for your holidays. Everything that does not find room in the trunk can be comfortably stored here. Here the children’s toys, shoes, food or even a buggy will find its place comfortably and safely. Everything that is otherwise too bulky in the trunk can now be removed. You will never have to do without anything again if you want to relax a few days at the sea or in the mountains.

Ski / Snowboard

At first sight you will not notice any difference between a roof box for your luggage or a roof box for your skis. They are identical in construction and material. Only the size is different here. Since skis or snowboards are very long, you often have problems to get them into the trunk. The boxes are with a length of 2.35 meters, however, the ideal transport possibility. Even though these boxes were developed especially for skis, this does not mean that you can use them for this purpose only. Of course, you can also transport all other things here and are therefore very versatile in use.


The last type of different roof boxes is this one. You can fold the box. That means it doesn’t take up much space when it’s not mounted on the roof. But you must also consider that these cases are not very robust. Because they can be folded, they are not made of strong plastic but of soft fabric. It is weatherproof to a certain extent, but in the long run it will not keep out the rain. In addition, you can not store so many items here, we have a hard shell version. This product is therefore only conditionally suitable as an alternative to a trunk.

You should pay attention to the following for a roof box

As with everything in public road transport, safety is the top priority. So before you buy, you must find out whether the roof box meets the requirements. It is important that a seal of the TÜV is available. So you can be sure that the item has passed the necessary reviews and, above all, long-term reviews. You can also find different roof boxes on the Internet, which have been reviewed directly by ADAC. So if you have any doubts, you can choose an article from this review.

Another safety point is the fastening. This means that the connection between box and car must not only be firm but also stable. Make sure that the base frame also fits your car and the roof box. You can find the details with the respective manufacturers and so you can get the right one for your car and your roof box. When you have all the things you need for the assembly, you should get a second person to do it. The roof box can then be attached safely and easily. This alone can damage the suitcase and the car.

It is also important to know that you should not load the roof box too heavily. There is a permitted weight for the roof in every car. You can read the so-called roof load in your vehicle documents. Often this is 100 kg. However, this does not automatically mean that you may put a total of 100 kg in the roof box. You must take into account the weight of the box and the undercarriage. If both together weigh 25 kg, then you may pack 75 kg in the suitcase. You should not exceed this weight in any case. This can lead to damage and even cause accidents. Always keep to the given values and do not exceed them.

Before you start your journey, you must first get a feeling for the roof box. A review drive is very useful here. You can estimate as easy as the driving behaviour with a box on the roof is. Furthermore you should not exceed the 130 km/h limit. Because then the safety is no longer given. You should also not underestimate the additional weight. When overtaking or even in curves and also with the braking distance, this is a factor that makes the car react differently. At no time should you underestimate or even forget this.

Advantages and disadvantages of a roof box


  • Storage space
  • Large objects
  • Security
  • Storage

The storage space in the boot is often limited. With a roof box, however, you can expand this quickly and easily. All large items that are bulky and often take up the most space can be moved into the box. You also have a lot of security here. The luggage is secured and also stored in a dry place. If you have to brake now, the luggage cannot fly through the vehicle uncontrolled.


  • Restrictions

With such a roof box there are also some restrictions. For example, you cannot drive faster than 130 km/h. In addition, the boot lid and the view upwards may be restricted. But this is all just a matter of getting used to and practice. After only a few kilometres you will have got used to the new storage space.

What should you look for when buying a roof box?

  • undercarriage
  • Size
  • Weight
  • Material
  • Arte


Not every undercarriage is suitable for every roof box and not every vehicle. So you have to consider two points here when buying. First, the frame fits the box and second, the frame fits your car. The manufacturers of the roof boxes offer different information on this. You should first see what kind of carrier fits your car. Here there are differences between roof rails or fixation points. You can get this information from the manufacturer or in the manual of your car. As soon as you have this information you can take it with you to buy the roof box. Usually there are always several underframes that are suitable for one box. So you can find the right frame for your car and for the roof box.


The size of the roof box also depends a little on your car. So you should know how long your car is before you buy it. You will find these dimensions in your vehicle registration document. For example, if you only have a small car, a roof box can quickly become too large and you will not be able to open your trunk. You have then given away storage space. In addition, the roof box can also protrude too far forward and again offers a potential danger.


Here it is important that you know the total roof load of your car. Because that’s all you can put on your car. So if you want to take a lot of luggage with you, you should choose a carrier and a roof box that has the lowest possible dead weight.


The material and workmanship also play a decisive role in the purchase. You must choose the roof box so that it can safely store your luggage in any weather. The individual parts should therefore be installed in such a way that everything is flush with each other. Furthermore, there should be no sharp edges. This increases your risk of injury immensely. So choose carefully and have a look at the different roof boxes. The colour should not be the deciding factor, but the quality and safety.


Before buying you should also consider what you need the roof box for. If you want to use it to transport skis, you will have to choose a long box. Measure your skis or snowboard in advance, then you are on the safe side. Or perhaps you would like to have a foldable box. In this case you should consider that you cannot transport too much and especially not too heavy objects. The only thing you have left is a roof box made of plastic.

Popular roof boxes briefly introduced

Rotenbach roof boxes

A product that can convince at first sight. Here you have a carbon look, which makes the product not only look modern but also very noble. With a length of 1.30 metres and a width of 0.79 metres, this roof box fits almost every vehicle. You have here a one-sided opening, which is on the right side. The material is PP plastic and therefore very robust.

VDP roof box

This is a matt black roof box which is lockable. It has a capacity of about 320 litres and the dimensions: length 1.36 meters, width 0.77 meters and height 0.34 meters. The roof box itself can be quickly assembled in just a few steps and then has a secure fit. The low dead weight of 12 kg benefits the roof load.

Thule roof box

This roof box is available in different sizes and shapes. So you have here a small selection. The fastening is done with the Fastclick quick fastening system and is therefore easy to use by everyone. You have the possibility to open the case from both sides. This way you as driver and passenger can access the luggage. The recommended payload is 50 kg.

FAQ – Frequently asked questions about roof boxes

1. how high can the load in the roof box be?

There is a permissible roof load which must not be exceeded under any circumstances. Here you also have to consider the carrier and the dead weight of the roof box. Then you are allowed to load as much as the roof load is reached. In some cases, however, the manufacturers provide information about the additional load. You should then comply with these. Even if the total weight is still well below the roof load. This has to do with the safety of the roof box.

Two. Is a roof box expensive?

The price varies of course depending on the manufacturer, model and size of the different cases. You also have to take into account that the carrier will also be a bit of a cost. If you decide on a brand box and then need a carrier, you should calculate about 250 to 300 Euros.

3. how should a roof box be loaded?

You should place heavy objects in the middle. If you have many different heavy objects, then you should distribute them evenly. Gaps can be filled with soft pillows, jackets or blankets. This way nothing can slip while driving. If the box is not completely full, use special nets and straps to secure the contents.

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