Best Roof Racks

In a Hurry? Editors choice:
Sportrack Complete
Test Winner: Sportrack Complete
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Roof racks are a perfect way to transport your large equipment to your destination without worrying about how you're going to squeeze it into your vehicle after you have packed everything else.

Now you are thinking, "Yes! A roof rack would make my life so much easier", but don't know which one would be best for your vehicle or for the equipment you are transporting. Well, worry no longer, as we have done the research for you and listed the top ten roof racks of 2018, and why they made our list. Below we have listed the not only the top ten roof racks but also some criteria about what to look for in a roof rack when deciding which one works best for your needs and gear.

Standout Picks

Sportrack Complete
Sometimes you want a roof rack that offers great adaptability or one that is a simple joy to use. Most of the time, however, you’ll want both. This example from SportRack does just that.
Amazon Link
$105.00
Malone Auto Universal
The Malone Auto Racks Universal Roof Racks may be in the last position on our list, but they are by no means a poor choice. If you’re looking for something that is simple to install and extremely durable, this is a great choice.
Amazon Link
$125.95
Yakima Whispbar
If you’re overall load is fairly light, say a bicycle or two, the minimalist approach of the Yakima Whispbar may be a great choice. Designed for easy install and use, this lightweight roof rack is a great choice for the solo adventurer who doesn’t like to bring a lot of trappings.
Brightlines Luggage
If you use a Jeep Grand Cherokee for your outdoor adventures, this roof rack from Brightlines may be the best one to fit your needs.
Amazon Link
Perrycraft Dyna
If you want a relatively lightweight roof rack that can handle a wide range of equipment, you’ll definitely want to check out this example from Perrycraft.
Amazon Link
$209.25
Warrior 3860
If you’re looking for a true work horse when it comes to roof racks, you’ll definitely want to consider the Warrior Products 3860 Roof Rack. It’s designed to carry just about anything, and is tough enough to withstand even the harshest conditions.
Amazon Link
$1,205.06
Rhino Pioneer
If you want a roof rack that provides dependability, versatility, and allows for fantastic carrying capacity, you’ll definitely want to consider the Rhino Rack Pioneer Platform. Designed to spread the weight of your equipment over the largest area of your roof, this is one roof racking system that is a great overall choice.
Amazon Link
Block Surf
If you’re looking for a relatively quick and easy way to make sure your surfboards stay with you during the drive to the shore, this is one roof rack system to consider. Designed to be used both with cars with gutters and those without, the quick install and easy adjustment make this a great choice.
Amazon Link
$69.94
FCS Surf Premium
If your rooftop cargo includes surfboards or short boards, and you don’t want to worry about a permanent installation, the FCS Surf SUP Premium Soft Rack is a great alternative.
Amazon Link
Yakima Sprocket
If you enjoy the sport of mountain biking, and you want a quick and easy way to carry your bike frame on top of your vehicle, the Yakima Sprocket Rocket should definitely be on your list.
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Criteria Used for Evaluation

Compatibility

One of the problematic aspects of vehicle roof racks, even the best ones on the market is that they are not always designed to fit all vehicles. To get the best fit and compatibility with your car, it may be necessary to have a roof rack that is specifically designed to provide your chosen mode of transportation. While having universal vehicle compatibility would be a nice feature, sadly most of the time it simply isn’t practical. However, the best roof racks that we’ve found will often have a broader range of vehicle compatibility than others.

Weight

Surprisingly, the weight of the roof rack also plays a significant part in its quality and usefulness as a piece of equipment. While a lightweight roof rack is often much easier to install, and doesn’t add a significant amount of weight to your vehicle, it also can sacrifice the ability to handle larger objects such as kayaks or cargo carriers for the long haul. And while more massive racks do have the ability to handle larger loads usually, they can be a bit cumbersome to use. In most cases, users will want to search for a “happy medium” when it comes to the weight of the roof rack. Something that can provide the support you need without being too heavy to be of use.

Versatility

When it comes to roof racks, being able to carry multiple different items of varying sizes and weights is essential. While there are certainly some exceptions to this rule, in most cases, the roof racks you buy on the market today can be used to carry just about any outdoor equipment, provided the right accessories are used. A quality roof rack should be able to handle such things as cargo bags, cargo carriers, roof rack baskets, as well as sporting equipment such as bikes or kayaks with relative ease.

Capacity

Of course, when it comes to the best roof racks, knowing how much equipment they can bear during the long haul is important. In this guide, in addition to dealing with the overall volume that the roof rack can handle, we are also referring to the overall weight that it can safely carry as well. While most roof racks can easily handle common equipment and carrier accessories such as cargo baskets or bins, some do have a more limited available space.

Top Ten Roof Racks

1. Sportrack Complete

Where to buy
Amazon Link
$105.00
Sportrack Complete
Amazon Link

Sometimes you want a roof rack that offers great adaptability or one that is a simple joy to use. Most of the time, however, you’ll want both. This example from SportRack does just that.

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Vehicle Compatibility
While it doesn’t offer complete universal fit when it comes to the vehicles on the road today, this roof rack does come remarkable close. It’s simple, yet strong design can be easily adjusted and mounted to most full size or large vehicles on the road today.

Overall Weight
This roof rack weighs just about 9.5 pounds total, so it’s fairly easy for one person to use. While it’s not the lightest we’ve seen, it’s certainly the most manageable.

Versatility
Because the footpads on this roof rack can be adjusted and tilted to truly fit the roof of most cars, it’s versatility and ability to carry a wide range of items is very good. While we wouldn’t suggest adjusting it on the fly, the racks rails and footpads can be slightly adjusted after install as needed.

Capacity
This roof rack from Sportrack can handle about 130 lbs of material, so it’s not exactly a heavyweight in the capacity department. However, for most weekend warriors or a family that likes cycling together, it is more than enough.

Ease of Use
Once installed, this roof rack is simple and easy to use. However, the installation instructions do leave a bit to be desired, and if care isn’t taken, then the system will be installed incorrectly.

Summary
If you’re looking for a versatile, lightweight roof rack system for your vehicle, this one from SportRack is certainly worth a closer look. While care should be taken during installation, it’s overall ease of use can’t be beaten.

Amazon Link
$105.00

2. Malone Auto Universal

Where to buy
Amazon Link
$125.95
Malone Auto Universal
Amazon Link

The Malone Auto Racks Universal Roof Racks may be in the last position on our list, but they are by no means a poor choice. If you’re looking for something that is simple to install and extremely durable, this is a great choice.

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Vehicle Compatibility
Although these roof racks are advertised as having a universal crossbar that offers a universal fit, it doesn’t quite measure up to the hype. However, it does fit a wide range of vehicles, especially smaller or mid-size cars. For the most part, though, larger vehicles should probably consider other options.

Overall Weight
The overall weight for this roof rack system is about 15 pounds, so it does have some heft to it.

Versatility
Because of it’s relatively simple and straightforward design, this roof rack system has a fairly high degree of versatility. It can easily handle quite a few different items, including bicycles, boats, skis, cargo carriers, or nets.

Capacity
This roof rack system can hold up to 132 pounds of material, although most customers found that a maximum of 125 pounds was a safer bet, especially when traveling at higher speeds. Truthfully, for most active outdoor enthusiasts, this system well work well.

Ease of Use
Installation and removal when needed is fairly straightforward. Also, securing your equipment is easy for most people.

Summary
If you have a small or mid-sized car that needs a roof rack that can be easily adjusted, you might want to consider this example. It’s relatively durable and offers pretty good versatility. While the fact that it isn’t suitable for larger vehicles can be a problem, overall it’s a solid choice.

Amazon Link
$125.95

3. Yakima Whispbar

Where to buy
Yakima Whispbar
Amazon Link

If you’re overall load is fairly light, say a bicycle or two, the minimalist approach of the Yakima Whispbar may be a great choice. Designed for easy install and use, this lightweight roof rack is a great choice for the solo adventurer who doesn’t like to bring a lot of trappings.

Read more

Vehicle Compatibility
For the most part, this system can fit any full size vehicle and some compact vehicles depending on the size you choose. While technically it can’t be considered a universal fit when it comes to compatibility, it does come pretty close.

Overall Weight
This system weighs just slightly over 12 pounds, so it is fairly lightweight.

Versatility
Because of it’s overall simple design, and efficient use of space, this roof rack system can easily be used in a number of different ways. Whether you’re trying to fit a few small body boards, a bike or two, a cargo bin, or some combination thereof, chances are you’ll be able to do it with this one.

Capacity
While the versatility of the design is great, this particular roof rack system can’t handle heavier or larger loads. It’s clearly designed for more lightweight use.

Ease of Use
While the installation instructions are somewhat confusing, once it is installed this roof rack is extremely easy to use. Simply place what you need up on the roof, and use the included mounting and anchor system to secure the load. That’s it. It’s designed to be used quickly and easily.

Summary
While it’s not really suited for heavy or large loads, this example from Yakima is a fantastic overall choice for times when you don’t need very much, but still want an efficient use of space. It’s designed to work with most vehicles and provide full, lightweight support for smaller loads.

4. Brightlines Luggage

Where to buy
Amazon Link
Brightlines Luggage
Amazon Link

If you use a Jeep Grand Cherokee for your outdoor adventures, this roof rack from Brightlines may be the best one to fit your needs.

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Vehicle Compatibility
As you can expect, this particular roof rack is specially designed to fit the Jeep Grand Cherokee make and model for the years between 2011 and 2018. While it is not suitable for other vehicles on the road today, it is perfectly suited for one of the more popular one for outdoor enthusiasts.

Overall Weight
The roof rack itself weighs a little over nine pounds in total, so it falls somewhere in the middle of the road.

Versatility
This particular roof rack has the ability to fit quite a few different types of equipment, from bicycles, to cargo bins for smaller items. The mounting areas can be easily adjusted to accommodate a wide range of needs.

Capacity
This particular roof rack system has the ability to handle about 150 pounds of equipment with not too much trouble. And since the mounting system is adjustable, the overall sizes that it can handle are quite varied.

Ease of Use
For the most part, installation on the vehicle is relatively straightforward, but expert installation is recommended to make sure that warranties are not affected. Once installed, most people find it relatively easy to use and the tie-down system is simple.

Summary
While we were disappointed at the specialized nature of the vehicle compatibility, this particular roof rack made out list based on it’s great capacity and ease of use.

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5. Perrycraft Dyna

Where to buy
Amazon Link
$209.25
Perrycraft Dyna
Amazon Link

If you want a relatively lightweight roof rack that can handle a wide range of equipment, you’ll definitely want to check out this example from Perrycraft.

Read more

Vehicle Compatibility
While it is fairly easy to install, this roof rack is definitely not meant for every vehicle on the road today. It has a fixed length for the rails of 65 inches, which makes it more suitable for larger SUVs or trucks.

Overall Weight
This roof rack is fairly lightweight, weighing only 5 pounds overall.

Versatility
Overall the versatility of this particular example is quite good. While the minimal crossbar support system doesn’t lend itself to larger items such as two-person kayaks, for the most part it can handle most outdoor equipment with no problem.

Capacity
Perhaps the strongest drawback of this particular roof rack is the weight that it can handle. Because of the lightweight material used, it can really only handle up to 75lbs of extra weight.

Ease of Use
For the most part, this roof rack is simple to use and easy to install.

Summary
While we’re not exactly fond of the lighter load capacity, this roof rack from Perrycraft is easy to use and provides a easy to use and relatively versatile system for your larger SUV or truck

Amazon Link
$209.25

6. Warrior 3860

Where to buy
Amazon Link
$1,205.06
Warrior 3860
Amazon Link

If you’re looking for a true work horse when it comes to roof racks, you’ll definitely want to consider the Warrior Products 3860 Roof Rack. It’s designed to carry just about anything, and is tough enough to withstand even the harshest conditions.

Read more

Vehicle Compatibility
This roof rack won’t fit every single vehicle, just as most won’t, but it does offer a wide variety of choices when it comes to what vehicles it will fit. In most cases, however, this rack will fit large to full size vehicles such as SUVs or larger trucks.

Overall Weight
This roof rack weighs approximately 90 pounds, so it’s definitely on the heavier side

Versatility
This particular roof rack is well suited to carry quite a few different pieces of outdoor equipment as well as cargo nets and bins. The multiple cross bars allow for quite a few different configurations while in use.

Capacity
This roof rack can hold approximately 1,000 pounds of material, and depending on the accessories, it can easily accommodate a wide range of sizes and shapes overall.

Ease of Use
One significant draw back of this particular roof rack, besides it’s weight is the overall ease of use and install. Simply put, because it is so heavy, you’ll need at least two people to install it. In addition, securing objects onto the rack can be problematic since the anchor points are somewhat higher than the roof of the car. Depending on the car’s height, this might pose a problem.

Summary
While the weight and vertical height of this roof rack may pose a problem for some, overall it is a versatile workhorse that can handle about 1,000 pounds of weight over a large array of shapes and sizes.

Amazon Link
$1,205.06

7. Rhino Pioneer

Where to buy
Amazon Link
Rhino Pioneer
Amazon Link

If you want a roof rack that provides dependability, versatility, and allows for fantastic carrying capacity, you’ll definitely want to consider the Rhino Rack Pioneer Platform. Designed to spread the weight of your equipment over the largest area of your roof, this is one roof racking system that is a great overall choice.

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Vehicle Compatibility
While this roof rack can’t be considered universal when it comes to vehicle compatibility, it does fit a very wide range of vehicles, both trucks and cars. It’s best to check the manufacturer’s website for complete details.

Overall Weight
This items weighs about 50 lbs in total, so its definitely not for the faint of heart. However, once installed it can easily become one of your most used vehicle items.

Versatility
One of the nice things about this particular roof rack is that it can be easily accessorized with a number of different additional features. Depending on the cross bars you purchase, and the backbone support system, you’ll be able to handle just about any type of cargo you can imagine.

Capacity
Depending on the additional materials or equipment you choose to purchase, this roof rack has the capacity to carry a few bikes, two surf boards, or a sizable cargo carrier or net. It has one of the most versatile capacities on the market today.

Ease of Use
Once this roof rack is installed, it’s extremely easy to use. Equipment can be easily tied down to various anchor points on the rack itself, or cross bars and rails can be easily added for more versatility.

Summary
The Rhino-Rack Pioneer Platform Rooftop rack provides a great deal of versatility and usefulness when it comes to roof racks. While it’s not a universal choice, it’s adaptive nature makes it our go-to choice in most cases.

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8. Block Surf

Where to buy
Amazon Link
$69.94
Block Surf
Amazon Link

If you’re looking for a relatively quick and easy way to make sure your surfboards stay with you during the drive to the shore, this is one roof rack system to consider. Designed to be used both with cars with gutters and those without, the quick install and easy adjustment make this a great choice.

Read more

Vehicle Compatibility
Unlike quite a few roof racks on the market today, which require that your car has gutters for full usefulness, this design allows you to secure your surfboard on the roof without that need. It’s relatively unique design allows for you to securely lash the roof rack on your car,

Overall Weight
The total weight of this roof rack system is 2.5 pounds. It’s one of the lightest we’ve seen on the market,

Versatility
While we absolutely love this system for use with surfboards, it really isn’t suited for carrying much else. It advertises to be large enough for paddle boards as well, but quite a few customers found it to be ineffective at securing them. If you want a roof rack that offers the ability to carry a wide range of equipment, your needs would be better served somewhere else.

Capacity
This roof rack can securely carry two long boards or six short boards, and not much else.

Ease of Use
Strictly speaking, this is one of the easiest roof racks to install and adjust as needed. Unlike the more rigid example on this list, adjustment consists of adjusting a few straps and buckles.

Summary
If surfing is your thing, and you’re not too worried about straps marring your board, this easy to use roof rack may be an option for you. While the lack of versatility is a disappointment, the ease of use and affordable price do make up for it.

Amazon Link
$69.94

9. FCS Surf Premium

Where to buy
Amazon Link
FCS Surf Premium
Amazon Link

If your rooftop cargo includes surfboards or short boards, and you don’t want to worry about a permanent installation, the FCS Surf SUP Premium Soft Rack is a great alternative.

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Vehicle Compatibility
Because of its removable nature, this particular roof rack system can fit nearly any vehicle roof, and can be adjusted easily to fit your needs.

Overall Weight
Each one of this pair weigh just under three pounds. The system is extremely lightweight, but still strong enough to hold many of the surf boards and paddle boards on the market today.

Versatility
Depending on your needs, this particular roof rack system won’t offer the same degree of versatility as other systems on this list. However, if hitting the waves is your passion, this may be the best roof rack for your needs.

Capacity
Since this system has parts that can be moved independently of each other, the overall capacity and size can be customized easily. You can fit anywhere from one to three surfboards on your car or truck with relative ease.

Ease of Use
Truth be told, this is one of the easiest roof rack systems that we’ve seen in a long time when it comes to installation and use. It can be easily attached and adjusted on the fly without too much trouble.

Summary
If the waves call to you, chances are there is a surfboard or two in your collection. If this is the case, having a specialized roof rack like this one from FCS would be a great investment.

Amazon Link

10. Yakima Sprocket

Where to buy
Amazon Link
Yakima Sprocket
Amazon Link

If you enjoy the sport of mountain biking, and you want a quick and easy way to carry your bike frame on top of your vehicle, the Yakima Sprocket Rocket should definitely be on your list.

Read more

Vehicle Compatibility
Since this particular roof rack is designed to be used with bicycles, it is small and lightweight enough to fit on most vehicles on the market today. It features a universal skewer that can be adjusted to fit most car lengths.

Overall Weight
This particular roof rack system weighs about 4 ounces in total, but does require additional equipment such as crossbars for attachment purposes. So the actual final weight may be a bit more.

Versatility
This example of a roof rack system is designed only for bikes, so it’s not what we would call the most versatile one on the market today. However, if cycling is your chosen sport, it’s a great choice.

Capacity
Each one is designed to hold a single bike frame, and can handle both thin and fat tire bicycles with relative ease.

Ease of Use
Truth be told, this is one of the easiest roof racks we’ve seen when it comes to installation.

Summary
If you want a secure way to carry your mountain bike to your next biking destination, this roof rack from Yakima may be a great choice. While it does need additional equipment for true usefulness, it does work well for carrying a mountain bike.

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