Should You Buy or Rent Rooftop Cargo Carrier? (2023)

If you are going somewhere with a lot of cargo, a rooftop cargo carrier can help you to store all the cargo with ease. Rooftop cargo carriers are also suitable for any kind of vacation trip; you can even go fishing and camping with these. They are not so expensive, too, according to the features they are providing.

Different kinds of rooftop cargo carriers are available out there, made out of different materials, and come in different sizes and designs. So you can easily find a good one whether you are looking for a rooftop carrier to carry from a few small suitcases to several snowboards or fishing rods.

If you are on a tight budget but you need a rooftop cargo carrier for your trip, then you might be thinking of renting a rooftop carrier instead of buying one. But the question is, “Is that really the most efficient thing to do?”

The answer to this question actually depends on several factors. So we recommend you to read this article fully, and we hope that it will help you make the decision.

How Many Trips Per Year Do You Take? Rooftop Cargo Carrier Rental

Best Roof Box 1

If you go on trips frequently, we recommend buying a rooftop carrier instead of renting one because it will be more cost-effective. Rooftop cargo carriers are available at a price range starting from around 50 dollars to several hundred dollars. But if you rent a rooftop carrier for three days, that will almost cost you the same, and at the end of the long run, buying a roof box will cost you less.

If you want to buy the perfect rooftop cargo carrier for you, you have to research what type of carrier will be best for you according to your budget. You should check the size capacity, the installation process, and the material used in making the carrier. If you go on a trip only once a year or less, then leasing a carrier will be best for you. Otherwise, it is better to buy a cargo carrier.

How Is the Carrier Attached to the Vehicle?

Amazon Basics Rooftop Cargo Bag

The process of attaching the carrier to your car is also an important thing to consider. Moreover, many rooftop carriers need a roof rack to be attached, and some can be attached with or without any roof rack. So of them, just use a rope or strap to tie the carrier to the top of your car.

If the cargo carrier you liked requires a permanent roof rack, but you do not want to add one on top of your car, then you should look for something else and find something that does not demand you to make any permanent change to your car.

If you previously have a roof rack installed on top of your car or are going to install one, you can either purchase or lease the carrier. You should also consider other factors before you make the final decision. But you should always remember to check the manual provided by the manufacturer to determine whether a roof rack is required or not. If you do that, you will not face any problem, and there won’t be anything surprising after you get the carrier itself in your possession.

If you are searching for something that does not require you to have a roof rack, there are still many options available to either buy or rent. The leasing companies have many kinds of products that do not require any roof rack so that you can easily choose to lease one for your roof rack-free car.

How Much Stuff Will You Be Bringing with You?

Thule Cargo Box 2

Another thing you should consider before you buy a rooftop cargo carrier is what you want to carry with that? Different types of carriers come in different sizes, which are measured by cubic feet. You can easily find carries available with ten to up to 30 or more cubic feet of storage capacity.

Large cargo carriers can be very expensive, but you can lease them at an affordable cost. The carriers with 20 to 30 cubic feet of storage capacity are generally soft roof bag types of carriers; besides, some hard shell roof cargo boxes also. You can carry a lot of items with these. If you need a big cargo carrier and need to use it even a few times a year, it will better for you to buy a rooftop cargo carrier instead of leasing one.

A good quality and large enough cargo carrier can be expensive, but you can buy it for around under 100 dollars. When renting a cargo carrier, you have to pay more for the bigger and most high-quality one. So you should buy your own cargo carrier as your need and test.

How Will You Store the Carrier When it Isn’t Being Used?

Fasty Box Lift Straps

When you plan to buy a rooftop carrier, you also have to think about what you will do with it when not in use? If you install a cargo carrier on top of your vehicle, it will affect your car’s gas mileage. You will have to pay more money to fill up your tank, so you should remove the carrier when not in use. But the question is what to do with the carrier after removing it from the roof of your car?

If you buy a soft cargo bag type of carrier made from polyester or some type of plastic, it will come with a storage bag to easily store it. But if you buy a hard shell cargo carrier, it can be a little hard for you to store it because you have to have a good place to hang it when not in use. You can install a rack on your garage or shed on the walls so that you can hang the carriers there.

If you want a soft type of cargo carrier, it won’t matter if you lease it or buy it. But if you choose a hard-shell rooftop carrier but do not want the hassles to find a place to store it, you should just go ahead and lease it instead.

-our editorial board has reviewed this article and has been approved for publication according to our editorial policy.

Best Seller List of Roof Cargo Boxes:

SaleBestseller No. 1
1,981 Reviews
SportRack Vista XL Rear Opening Cargo Box,Black
  • 18 cubic foot (510 L) internal cargo capacity
  • Made from durable UV-resistant ABS material
  • Rear opening for easy access away from traffic
  • Tool-free mounting hardware for easy installation and removal
  • Includes key and lock to secure contents in the box, and the box to your rack
SaleBestseller No. 2
321 Reviews
Heavy Duty Hard Shell Roof Top Mount Car Storage Travel Luggage Box Cargo Carrier with Security...
  • ▶️ This roof top storage box is universal fit for mounting to max 13 inches wide cross bar, please check the dimension before purchase.
  • ▶️ The package comes with [1] 53 inches length storage box, [2] security lock key, and [4] heavy duty tool free installation mounting brackets.
  • ▶️ It is constructed of rugged, impact-resistant ABS material to ensure a long lasting life in outdoor conditions. More, it can open from the side and stay open till you close it with the strong support arm.
  • ▶️ Opens on the passenger side to 14 inches wide to store bulky items from the side and stays open till you close it, and it is very easy to install without any tool required to assembly.
  • ▶️ Overall Dimensions: 53" L x 34" W x 15" H | Capacity: 11 Cubic Feet and up to 110 LBS
Bestseller No. 3
2,718 Reviews
JEGS Rooftop Cargo Carrier for Car Storage - Large Roof Rack Cargo Carrier - Heavy Duty Waterproof...
  • Secure & protect your gear in this 18 cubic ft. HDPE plastic hard shell vehicle cargo carrier; high-capacity interior dimensions 57 L x 38 1/2 W x 17 3/4 H inches; aerodynamic design for fuel efficiency
  • Waterproof storage for your luggage with a four corner locking system, front latch, and weather-tight seal for ultimate car rooftop protection and security
  • Easy & convenient loading and unloading from either side of the car make for smooth travel and hassle-free storage
  • No tools required, easy assembly and installation. All mounting hardware and simple instructions are included to get you safely on the road quickly
  • Made in USA, limited lifetime guarantee. The JEGS car top carrier’s high-quality construction and performance give you peace of mind
Bestseller No. 4
94 Reviews
DNA MOTORING Rooftop Cargo Box Carrier Lockable Heavy Duty Car Top Storage Case, Capacity 110 Lbs,...
  • 【UNIVERSAL】This extra long rooftop cargo carrier fits for vehicles with cross bars only, no tool assembly & installation. Increases vehicle cargo space without impeding on passenger comfort.
  • 【LARGE CAPACITY】Rooftop cargo box provides 11 cubic feet of additional storage space. The maximum storage capacity of 110lbs when evenly distributed. And it can be opened up to 14" wide to store bulky items.
  • 【ROBUST DESIGN】Constructed of rugged, impact-resistant ABS material for long-lasting durability, able to protect your contents from exposure to the inclement weather.
  • 【SECURITY LOCKING SYSTEM】Includes key and lock to secure valuables in the box, to ensure cargo safety and s proper lid alignment. It can open from the side and stays open til you close it.
  • 【SPECIFICATION】Size: 11 Cubic Feet Internal Storage, 110lbs Max Capacity | Overall Dimensions: 53" L x 34" W x 15" H | Surface Finish: Black Texture Finish
Bestseller No. 5
33 Reviews
TUFFIOM 13.4 Cubic Feet Rooftop Cargo Box w/Keys, Hard Shell Waterproof Travel Roof Storage Cargo...
  • DUAL-SIDE OPENING FOR EASY ACCESS: Dual-side opening design allows you to open it from either the driver side or the passenger side, which brings more convenience for loading and unloading.
  • FAIR CAPACITY: With 13.4 cubic feet maximum storage capacity and 150lbs loading capacity, the roof cargo carrier can allow for more space in your car. What’s more, its streamlined design will reduce drag and noise during driving.
  • LOCKING SYSTEM FOR SAFETY: It is designed with locks on both sides and comes with keys for protecting your valuables. And the stiffeners at the bottom of the roof cargo box strengthen its stability.
  • EASY TO INSTALL: It is simple in structure and light in weight (approximately 24.25lbs). It won’t be difficult for you to lift it and install it to your car. And it can work with most vehicles with crossbars, such as car, suv, van, etc. Applicable Cross Bar: Max. Width 2.36”. Max. distance between bottom holes for installation: 40.94”. Min. distance between bottom holes for installation: 15.35”.
  • QUALITY MATERIAL FOR DURABILITY & BETTER PROTECTION: Made from ABS material for long-lasting use. And it can protect your luggage or equipment from being exposed to sun, rain or dust. And it is protected with 3-Year Warranty. Any problem, please feel free to contact us.
Bestseller No. 6
458 Reviews
Goplus Cargo Box, Waterproof Rooftop Cargo Carrier, Heavy Duty Roof Storage Box, 14 Cubic Feet...
  • Perfect for Road Trip---Take the cargo box to the park, the beach, the sports field, or any place you need to store. Works on all vehicles with rack, suitable for cars, vans, SUVs, etc. Sleek aerodynamic design to reduce drag and has less noise.
  • 14 Cubic Feet Cargo Box with Car Trunk Organizer---With the large capacity, the roof cargo box can help you securely carry 14 cubic feet worth of essentials, can increase vehicle cargo space without impeding on passenger comfort, more capacity, more pleasure! Included trunk organizer comes with 3 different size compartments, 12 side bags which will help you organize sundries with ease.
  • Robust and Security Design---The roof cargo box is designed to withstand heavy use in different types of weather conditions. The metal lid stiffeners at the bottom makes the roof box more stable and safer. With the double-lock design for protecting your valuables.
  • 【Note】This product is suitable for vehicles with rack (Compatible with 17” to 22.8” wide rack, the width of the crossbar should be less than 3.1 inches and the thickness should be less than 1.0 inches)
  • High Quality Material---The roof box is manufactured from sturdy ABS and PC material for long-lasting use, able to protect your valuables from exposure to the elements and can load 165 lbs capacity, suitable for round, square, factory and most aerodynamic bars.
Bestseller No. 7
43 Reviews
Goplus Rooftop Cargo Box, Heavy Duty Hard Shell Roof Cargo Carrier with Security Keys, Waterproof...
  • 🚙【Extra Storage Space】With a spacious 8.83 cubic feet storage space, this rooftop cargo carrier is able to accommodate a variety of outing items for you, such as luggage, sleeping bags, tents, suitcases, etc. Overall Dimension: 52” x 30.5” x 12” (L x W x H)
  • 🚙【All Weather Rooftop Cargo Box】 Made of heavy-duty PP material, the rooftop hard shell cargo carrier is waterproof, dustproof, windproof and sunproof. As a result, this roof top cargo box can serve you in all seasons, accompanying years to come. Furthermore, the smooth surface makes this vehicle hard-shell carriers easy to clean with a cloth.
  • 🚙【Secure & Convenient Use】In order to keep your belongings secure, this vehicle cargo carrier is designed with the security lock that has keys. More importantly, the passenger-side opening design is convenient for you to load or unload the inner items effortlessly.
  • 🚙【Sturdy Construction】The excellent workmanship ensures safe driving under different conditions, and makes cargo box supports to 121LBS. Even on uneven road, this car rooftop cargo box can leave stable performance. More, with sturdy metal support arms, the rooftop hard shell cargo box can stay open until you need to close it.
  • 🚙【A Hassle Free Trip】With equipped hardware and detailed instruction, the car rooftop cargo carrier is easy to be mounted to the car top. Then you can start a hassle-free trip with your family and friends to appreciate the wonderful scenery along the way. What’s more, the roof cargo storage box is applicable to most vehicles with cross bar, such as SUV, truck, RV, and more.
SaleBestseller No. 8
11 Reviews
INNO 320 Rooftop Cargo Box - 9 CuFt (Matte Black)
  • Compact but carry more with square design
  • Rugged Matte Black finish
  • Widest range to slide front for minimal risk of contact hatch
  • Memory Mount System, for the easiest installation and use of any cargo box on the market.
  • Dual side opening
Bestseller No. 9
24 Reviews
DNA Motoring PT-ZTL-8139-BK ABS Roof Top Cargo Box w/Lock+Keys + Pair Universal Aluminum Side Rail...
  • CROSS BARS: Universal Style; Aluminum Bar Construction
  • CARGO BOX: Heavy Duty ABS Plastic Construction; Black Smooth Surface Finish; Non-Slip Bottom
  • OVERALL DIMENSION: 67" L x 30" W x 13" H
  • STRENGTH: With Strong Support Arm, Opens from the Side and Stays Open Til you Close It
  • NOTE: Fits Vehicles with Roofs up to 135cm Wide; Attaches to Vehicles with Roof Rails Only
Bestseller No. 10
21 Reviews
Thule Vector Rooftop Cargo Box, Alpine, Black Metallic
  • A sleek, aerodynamic cargo box with premium features that compliments the styling of modern vehicles
  • Fits 3-5 pairs of skis (up to 200 cm in length)/3-4 snowboards
  • Premium felt-lined interior base for increased protection of gear
  • Bright, motion-activated LED lights and white interior allow for visibility during nighttime use
  • Exclusive flush-mount closure and reinforced lid provides effortless, dual-side opening and closing
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Last Update : 2023-06-10

Meet the Author

Adolfo VonRueden is an experienced automotive professional specializing in car roof boxes, roof racks, and rooftop carriers. Learn how Adolfo got his start as expert in rooftop carriers, and why he decided to start this car roof box blog. If you want to send Adolfo a quick message, then visit his contact page here.

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