The 10 Best Hard Shell Car Roof Top Cargo Carrier Reviews

It is very frustrating when your road trip is uncomfortable due to the excessive luggage inside the car. Transforming your car’s roof into your second trunk is the most common and efficient way of killing two birds with one stone – carrying all you want and comfortable doing so. A car top carrier does not come as a standard feature on all vehicles but they can be fitted.

Buying the right hard shell car top carrier can be hard. This guide will take you through all the factors you need to consider when buying the right cargo carrier and thereafter look at the 10 best hard shell carrier boxes.

Factors To Consider When Buying Car Roof Top Carriers

1) Capacity

The dimensions of the carriers are directly proportional to the capacity they can carry. Bigger cargo carriers can hold larger luggage and vice versa. The size of your vehicle also has a great impact on the size of the cargo carrier. Keep the size of the cargo to what the car can realistically handle.

2) Durability

Getting a carrier that will bring you value for your money is one of the best choices you can make. ABS plastic is probably the best material available with a hard shell and provides protection throughout many types of weather such as rain.

3) Security

Just like in your trunk, your luggage should be secured when in a car-top cargo carrier. It should have protective measures in place. The locks should be thick and strong to give you the confidence you deserve even when you leave your car unattended.

4) Accessibility

Many cargo carriers can be opened from one side. However, for convenience, it is advisable to get one that can be easily accessed from multiple angles and places. A dual opening carrier can be opened from both the driver’s side and the passenger’s side.

5) Assembly

No one really wants to spend more time than necessary when assembling the cargo. One that has too many complications can be discouraging as well as time-wasting to many. The best cargo carriers are user-friendly and very easy to assemble.

6) Price

The price always matters when buying anything. Always buy what you can afford. Do not, however, buy a cargo carrier simply because it is cheap. Cheap products can be of very low quality and might end up irritating you in the long run. Look for an affordable one with high-quality materials and the best structures.

The 10 Best Hard Shell Car Roof Top Cargo Carrier Reviews

hard shell car top carrier

1) Thule 614 Pulse Rack Cargo Box

Coming on top of our list is the Thule 614 Pulse as it not only gives you value for your money, it also has a very appealing design. It passes as one of the best roof top cargo carriers due to its impeccable material used, capacity, accessibility, and unbeatable security features.

Thule 614 Pulse Rack


  • Durability: This product provides for cost-conscious consumers who would not wish to break the bank in order to get a long-lasting, all-weather hard shell rooftop cargo carrier. Made from ABS thermoplastic material that is durable and rugged, and helps protect your luggage and carrier at all times whether in transit or not. The low profile of the cargo box is helpful when one tries to park the car in a parking lot or low height garage.
  • Assembly: The cargo box is very easy to mount on roof racks using an easy-grip knob which is mounted on the floor of the box. The Fast-Grip quick-mount system helps you to quickly install it even using one hand. The cargo carrier has been made to perfectly fit in any roof rack, hence the convenience one gets from using it.
  • Accessibility and Security: With standard single-side passenger access, the security features compensate for the lack of dual- side accessibility. In as much there is only a passenger’s side access, the front and the back have lid lifters that hold the lid open for hands-free access. Shutting the box is easy as you just simply pull the lid and it closes. The secure lock technology from Thule is in-built to the cargo carrier, and it ensures that the entire carrier box is well closed. A locking functionality is in place to make sure the lid stays completely closed at all times. The comfort key which is in place when it is open can only be removed when every part of the box is completely locked. This gives you the security you need as all your luggage will be secure.

2) Thule Force Cargo Box

Offering value for money is one of Thule’s main pros. While combining the value of space and convenience. Having ample interior space capacity which is easily accessible, this box is bound for greatness and can pass the rank of the best car top carriers.

Thule Force Cargo Box


  • Durability: The cargo box features a diamond-textured Aero Skin shell, made from a long-lasting five-layer ABS plastic. The aerodynamic shape of the box pushes air away which encourages a smoother flow of air. The shape further helps negate any impacts on the fuel efficacy of the car. Furthermore, the lid is able to withstand all weather conditions and can go for a rather long time without any increase in noise.
  • Assembling: Thule Force cargo boxes have been modified to attach to almost all types of standard roof racks in a process that takes less than 5 minutes. The Quick-Grip knob hardware which can be found along raised grooves of the box’s floor makes installation quite easy.
  • Accessibility and Security: The dual-side opening for the lid means you can either access it from the driver’s side or from the passenger’s side. The in-built lifter holds the lids in place when open in order to provide hands-free operation. When done with the carrier box, simply pull the lid closed and it will automatically close the entire box. The built-in Thule Secure Lock technology gets all the lids of the box completely closed. The secure lock elements are very easy to grasp even with gloves put on. This makes the cargo carrier box to be easily accessible even during the winter season.

3) Thule Motion XT Rooftop Cargo Carrier

This product comes in different sizes to fit different car types and caters to everyone’s needs. As always, Thule never disappoints with the material used to make their products and this one is no exception.

The product has much less drag as compared to other competing brands in the market and it will make almost zero amount of noise even after being in transit for years.

Thule Motion XT Rooftop


  • Durability: Reviewers and other people who have used this product before claim it is simply the cargo carrier. Even while experiencing the worst of extreme weather conditions, the carrier remains intact and there is no leakage whatsoever. The lightweight fiberglass is an added feature of this particular brand making it lighter than most other cargo carriers. It makes it easier to load even with a big footprint.
  • Assembling: As the product comes in different sizes, it can fit almost all car types, roof racks, aftermarket Thule bars. The quick-mount system just ‘clicks’ when the box is in place and is secured. This can be attributed to the Power Click Quick-Mount System. There is also full trunk access as there is no contact with the trunk and the cargo box thanks to its forward position. Providing over 15 cubic feet of additional packing space, the capacity can also be a drawback. This is because if not careful enough you can pack more than the weight limit of the crossbars. The fact that is big enough means it requires more than one person to safely and securely fit it in place. In as much as it has thin plastic and lightweight fiberglass, the entire product is still heavy. It makes more sense if the larger versions of the product are installed on fairly larger vehicles such as SUVs.
  • Accessibility and Security: There is a dual-side opening from both sides of the car making it quite efficient at all times. The product is very easy to open thanks to the grip-friendly handles. It has supporting lifters that come in handy offering hands-free operation. One key system indicates closure and also ensures that the lid is completely closed.

4) Yakima – RocketBox Pro 14 Cargo Box

With the Yakima – RocketBox Pro 14, you are able to get extra packing space while on a decent budget. With better than average durability standards and a very easy installation process, this product is magnificently a safe haven to those who want all the goodies packed in one product.

Yakima RocketBox Pro


  • Durability: The car roof box is made out of recycled ABS plastic which introduces you to a long-lasting cargo carrier made out of durable materials. The aerodynamic design helps reduce drag, and it will take you quite a while before you hear any noise from the product. The company even offers a ‘Love it Till You Leave It’ Limited Lifetime Warranty giving you more reason to believe they mean business when it comes to how durable the product will be. With forward mounting hardware, there is room for an improved hatch clearance making it ideal for almost all vehicle types.
  • Assembly: Assembling and installing the product is quite easy and takes one a rather short amount of time to get done with. It easily works with a large number of factory bars that fit almost any type of car. Its flat bottom is very unique as it helps in fitting both wide and narrow crossbar spreads.
  • Accessibility and Security: The cargo carrier has a dual-sided opening meaning you do not have to go round your vehicle when you need to access the carrier. The push security button helps for convenience even when your hands are occupied. The SKS lock cores help secure your luggage and will completely shut the entire box to avoid accidental opening and leakage of your goods.

5) Yakima – SkyBox Aerodynamic Rooftop Cargo

Providing storage for up to 21 cubic feet, this cargo carrier is probably with the largest capacity as compared to others on this list. The sleek and aerodynamic design not only adds elegance to the look but also improves efficiency. Most other features are just like that of Yakima – RocketBox Pro 14, only with a much bigger space.

Yakima SkyBox Aerodynamic

6) INNO Shadow Low Profile Rooftop Cargo Box

With 11 cubic feet of extra storage space, INNO Shadow has the medium capacity to carry the luggage which would have otherwise made your trip uncomfortable.

With a low profile aerodynamic design, durability and medium length, this product is set to compete effectively with other good top carriers.

INNO Shadow Low Profile


  • Durability: Made with a 3-layer ABS plastic construction, this cargo carrier can withstand many carrier damaging impacts such as scratches, cracking, warping, and harmful UV rays. It also has an acrylic outer layer which is transparent in order to give the product a glossy finish.
  • Assembly: Included with the product are tie-down straps that help mount the gear into the mounting points securely. Buckles help secure the gear in place and also making opening and closing it pretty simple, even with one hand. A special feature has been added called a memory mount installation. After setting them up for the first time, the clamps will stick to the same position and will ‘remember’ the crossbar positions. This thereafter makes subsequent installations very easy.
  • Accessibility and Security: The shadow lids open from both sides of the car making it easier to access your cargo, and faster. Opening the lid has been made simple as one can do so just by the push of a button. There are safety lock systems on both sides of the cargo box. They help to ensure that the lids have been completely locked as they cannot come off before they are intact. This prevents you from driving off with an unclosed lid.

7) SportRack Vista XL Rear Opening Cargo Box

If in need of extra space – a lot of extra space, this is the product for you! With up to 18 cubic feet of carrier capacity, this carrier box not only offers space but efficiency.

SportRack Vista XL Rear


  • Durability: Made from recycled ABS plastic, this product is bound to go years without getting damaged. There is a limited lifetime warranty from the manufacturers which gives you a better insight into how confident they are about its durability. The vinyl hole covers which can be found in the interior helps to keep the contents inside dry regardless of the weather outside.
  • Assembly: Using just U-bolts, the product is designed for a seamless installation and removal process. The cargo box easily fits almost all roof racks. The Quick release hardware which is attached to the threads of the U-bolts, holds the carrier securely in position.
  • Accessibility and Security: This product is a bit different from other cargo carriers as it has a rear lid opening. This provides for smoother packing processes. Furthermore, it has a secure lock in place to ensure you do not drive off with an unclosed lid. It also helps keep thieves from accessing your luggage.

8) INNO Wedge Cargo Box

The INNO Wedge Cargo Box series comes in different capacities and sizes to cater to the needs of all people. The aerodynamic box comes with much sturdy material and a universal fit on all crossbars.

INNO Wedge Cargo Box


  • Durability: This product has been incorporated with SPM injection technology for a much stiffer and thicker construction. This is up to 50% stronger than other conventionally made cargo carrier boxes.
  • Assembly: Installing this cargo box on top of your car literally takes less than 5 minutes. With a quick and easy memory mount hardware, the subsequent times you install or remove the product will be very easy and fast.
  • Accessibility and Security: With a dual-side opening feature, this cargo carrier makes work easier for everyone. With stylish and elegant chrome handles, you can lift the lid from whichever of the two sides. A secure safety key lock system is also included in the cargo box for maximum security.

9) INNO Phantom 18 Cubic FT Rooftop Cargo Box

This 18 cubic feet rooftop carrier box is the largest in the INNO cargo boxes lineup. This product is more or less related to the INNO Wedge Cargo Box (Refer above) with a little bit of extra storage space.

INNO Phantom 18 Cubic

10) SportRack Horizon Cargo Box

SportRack stands out from the rest of the cargo boxes due to its portability. With world-class durability and unmatched ease of use, this product is a game changer in the field of hard shell rooftop cargo carriers.

With an aerodynamic and elegant design, the box is not only efficient on-road but also complements the look of your car.

SportRack SR7016 Horizon


  • Durability: The rugged construction from high impact resistant ABS materials is the first benefit you get from owning this product. It is also the best for carrying sporting equipment, just as where its name is derived from.
  • Assembly: The quick release attachment kit helps one to easily install and remove the carrier.
  • Accessibility and Security: There is a passenger side access to the box. This enables one to have peace of mind without worrying about oncoming traffic. When open, the lid stays up for easy hands-free access. When closed, it automatically shuts and the safety security key does not come out until the lid is airtight.

Read Also: The 10 Best 100% Waterproof Car Cover

Bottom line

At the end of the day, what really matters is that you get the most durable, practical, efficient, and affordable hard shell car top carrier. With the many available products in the market, you may be confused. Armed with this guide, you are unlikely to make the wrong choice.

CarsPlan Admin

Cars Plan is automotive information providing a blog. Here you got the best information about the automotive lease, warranty, accident law, insurance, donation, finance, reviews.

Related Articles