The best roof boxes

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6 of the best roof boxes
It can be tricky to squeeze all your passengers and luggage in the car for a family holiday. Stuart Morton, chief sub-editor of Auto Express and Carbuyer, says there’s no need to hire a bigger vehicle. Buy a roof box instead.
 
These handy products provide up to 500 litres of extra load capacity, and although they will increase your fuel consumption, most feature aerodynamic designs to keep petrol bills down.
 
In most cases, you’ll need to invest in a set of roof bars for your car to fit the roof box to, and you should refer to your handbook for the roof bars’ maximum load capacity. But a good roof box should take minutes to fit.
 
Look out for lids that open on both sides – this not only makes loading more straightforward, but also means easier access to tighten the clamps onto the roof bars. Security is an issue, too, although the best roof boxes have central locking, so you only need one key.
 
Also bear in mind that you don’t have to take up all the space on your car’s roof with a roof box. Some narrower designs leave space on the roof bars for you to carry other luggage, such as a bicycle or canoe.
 
Here’s our round-up of six of the best roof boxes:
Kamei 510
Kamei 510
eBay loves: Six-year warranty, fits easily to most bars
Watch out for: Check out that price
RRP: £475
Capacity: 510 litres

The massive 510-litre capacity sets this Kamei 510 roof box apart. Plus, the sliding system means the box clamps easily adjust to your roof bars.
 
The 510 suits most bars, with adapters available for less common types, while the lid opens on both sides to aid fitting and loading. It rises smoothly on gas struts, and you just push it shut to lock – useful when the box is full, as you don’t need to hold the lid down while turning the key.
 
You expect such attention to detail from Kamei, which makes original equipment roof boxes for Audi and Mercedes. And a six-year warranty backs up the quality feel.
Yakima SkyBox Pro 18
Yakima SkyBox Pro 18
eBay loves: Simple to fit, lid closes easily, huge space
Watch out for: Expensive, heavier than Kamei
RRP: £475
Capacity: 510 litres
 
This is heavier than the Kamei 510, at 26kg, but has the same 510-litre and 75kg load capacities, so it swallows plenty of stuff. It also has a similar central locking system, allowing you to just push the lid closed – there’s no need to hold both ends of the lid down while someone else turns the key.
 
The lid is hinged on both sides for easy fitting, and while the clamps are a bit fiddly to set up, you only need to do it once to suit your roof bars. Plus, Yakima has invested heavily in wind tunnel testing, so the aerodynamic design promises to minimise fuel bills.
Thule Motion 600
Thule Motion 600
eBay loves: Works with other loads, 75kg capacity
Watch out for: Expensive for the space
RRP: £340
Capacity: 320 litres
 
Narrower than the other roof boxes here, the Thule Motion 600 is ideal for drivers who also want to carry other luggage on their roof bars. So it’s down on capacity, with only 320 litres of space. But it can still take loads weighing up to 75kg, as it features steel reinforcing sections. And it has the high-quality feel you expect from Thule, backed up by a five-year guarantee.
 
Fitting is easy, with dual-side opening, plus clever Power-Click claws that grip a wide range of roof bars as you turn the adjusters. Thule’s One Key central locking adds a convenient touch, and the brand sells a ski carrier accessory, allowing you to store up to six pairs of skis in the box.
Atera Certo 460
Atera Certo 460
eBay loves: Quality finish, easy to fit
Watch out for: Trails on space, shape not very aero
RRP: £325
Capacity: 420 litres

 
Like Kamei, Atera is behind some top car manufacturers’ original equipment roof boxes, and quality shines through with the Altera Certo 460, which is another box to carry a five-year guarantee.
 
It doesn’t look especially aerodynamic – the focus here is on space, and it has a 420-litre capacity. This is easily accessed by the dual-side opening lid, which also aids fitting.
 
Atera has a great Master-Fit system to attach roof box to roof bars: simply turn the adjuster until it’s tight, then press the red button to secure it. Again, it can take up to 75kg of luggage, while the three-point central locking prevents you from removing the key until the box is properly closed.
Thule Ranger 90
Thule Ranger 90
eBay loves: Simple to use, folds away easily
Watch out for: Pricey, not much deterrent to thieves


Here’s a roof box with a difference for drivers who don’t have much storage space and won’t need the extra capacity once they reach their destination. The Thule Ranger 90 is a fabric storage solution that fits to regular roof bars, but folds away when you’re finished with it.
 
The whole of the top of the Ranger 90 unzips, so it’s easy to access the 280 litres of storage space. The fabric is waterproof, too.
 
The only trouble is, it’s obviously not as secure as a conventional roof box, despite the fact a padlock is included, plus it takes longer to load – you need to be careful zipping it up. Still, as a foldaway luggage carrier, it’s a great budget buy.
HandiWorld HandiHoldall
HandiWorld HandiHoldall
eBay loves: Portable, great value
Watch out for: Questions over security
RRP: £119.99 (plus £59.99 for HandiRack)
Capacity: 320 litres
 
The HandiHoldall takes the idea of a fabric roof box a step further, as it doesn’t even require roof bars. It can be fitted to the innovative HandiWorld HandiRack inflatable roof rack – and the whole package is a fraction of the price of a regular roof box and bars. The advantage of this is that the same set-up can be used on a wide variety of cars.
 
The HandiHoldall is constructed from durable, waterproof fabric, has a capacity of 320 litres, and can take loads of up to 50kg. Fibreglass poles, like those in a tent, help it keep its shape. It raises the same security questions as the Thule Ranger, but again, it scores on its convenience and the fact the set-up is so portable.
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