Roof Boxes Buyer's Guide

If you're looking to create some extra storage space in your car, perhaps for a weekend getaway, a camping adventure or a summer staycation, then a roof box may be the perfect solution.

In this article, we'll take you through the main points to consider when it comes to roof box designs and functionality, and help you to choose the right roof box for your camping, caravanning or general travelling needs.

What is a roof box?

A roof box is a large box that can be attached securely to the roof of your car. Roof boxes are designed to offer additional storage space for things like sleeping bags, suitcases, sports bags, outdoor equipment, camping equipment or sports gear.

Why are roof boxes useful?

The beauty of having a roof box is that you'll be able to create extra space in the car for a more comfortable journey, or just take even more stuff with you.

One of our favourite roof box benefits is being able to store the important items that you'll need fast access to in the boot, with the less important things packed away in the roof box. No more rummaging around at the side of the road for that phone charger or all-important soft toy!

Over-filled cars can be a safety hazard too. Storing your luggage in a roof box will prevent the driver's view from suddenly becoming obstructed by an item moving around, and you'll still be able to see through your rear-view mirror with everything cleared off the parcel shelf and into car roof storage.

How do roof boxes attach to cars?

The starting point for any roof box purchase is a roof rack system. If you don't have one installed, then we'd suggest heading over to our Roof Bars Buyer's Guide first, or heading in-store to speak to one of our roof bar experts.

If you do have one installed, then you'll need to check the mounting system that your chosen roof box uses to see if it's compatible with your roof rack system. Two of the most common roof box mounting systems that we stock are as follows:

U bolts

Taking around 10 minutes to fit, this solution uses U-shaped bolts that fit around the cross-pieces of the roof bars, with screw caps inside the roof box that hold them in place. Roof boxes with a u bolt mounting system will fit all types of roof bars, however if you choose Thule wing bars then you'll need to purchase a t-track adapter to ensure it fits to these roof bars.

Power click mount

The quickest system to fit in around five minutes, a pre-installed 'claw' grips the roof rack bars. This system is found on our Halfords Advanced and Thule roof boxes.

Top tip: Take extra time when attaching your roof box to make sure everything is attached properly and nice and tight. If you're taking your roof box off, store any loose attachments with – or even better inside – the roof box so nothing important goes missing. Remember that Halfords will happily fit any of our roof boxes to your vehicle for a small charge, so you can drive off safe in the knowledge that your new roof box has been fitted by the experts.

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Which is the best roof box?

Getting the best car roof box is down to personal preference. Considering the following factors will help you to choose the best roof box for your needs.


If you're a lone ranger who loves getting lost in the countryside, then a small, lower-capacity roof box may do the job for you. If you're going away with the family for two weeks, then you’ll probably want to go for the biggest size you can find.

Another consideration is whether you’re going to be taking any other sports equipment with you, like bikes. If so, you might want to consider a half-sized roof box so that you can fit a roof-mounted bike rack on the other side of your roof bars.

Build materials

What the roof box is made of will affect its performance. Cheaper roof boxes made from thinner plastic may vibrate in the wind, creating extra noise, or may not last as long as sturdier roof boxes made from tougher plastics. Simply put, the more you pay, the more durable the materials. All of our roof boxes are made from strong, scratch resistant ABS materials that are UV protected, preventing cracking or brittleness over time.

Type of fitting

As roof boxes use a variety of fittings, it's worth checking that they're compatible with your roof rack system and that they'll make life easier for you. If you don't fancy standing in the rain trying to take your roof box off after a tiring weekend of camping, consider quick release fasteners like the power click mount in our Halfords Advanced and Thule roof boxes.

Type of opening

The way your roof box opens is important, especially if you want easy access to items that may be obstructed by other luggage. For example, with a side-opening roof box, you'll only be able to load from one side, whereas a dual opening or hinged roof box will allow you to access the contents from either side of the vehicle.

Roof box brands

Our entry-level Halfords roof boxes are durable, easy to fit and offer great value for money. You'll also get a guarantee with all of our Halfords roof boxes.

Our Halfords Advanced roof boxes offer a winning mix of quality and value. Thanks to their ultra-light build materials they’re a good choice if you're looking for extra storage space without your roof box being too bulky or heavy.

Thule is recognised around the world for providing high-quality roof boxes, as well as other car accessories. With Thule, you'll get a high-quality roof box packed with additional features such as a streamlined design and super-quick fitting and removal.

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Are roof boxes bad for fuel economy?

Thanks to the changes in aerodynamics that roof boxes cause, you will see a slight increase in fuel usage if you use a roof box. As well as the extra weight of both the box itself and the items inside it, you'll also be creating extra drag – also known as air resistance – which will force your engine to work harder to maintain speed.

However, that increase will be minimal. Thule, one of the biggest manufacturers on the market, estimate that carrying a roof box only leads to a 5% increase in fuel consumption, so you won't be stopping more regularly to fill up.

Roof boxes are designed to be efficient when it comes to air resistance, with tapered fronts that cut through the oncoming air and lightweight builds that are insignificant compared to the weight of the car and additional passengers. The only way a roof box could affect fuel consumption more significantly would be if it was packed full of extremely heavy items, so if you're only transporting a few bags or some camping equipment, you really don't need to worry about the effect on your car's fuel consumption levels.

Now that you're clued up on roof boxes, it's time to pick the one that's perfect for your trip. Don't forget that our in-store experts will be able to help you with any questions or suggestions, plus we can fit your roof box for you for a small fee.

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Halfords Motoring Club

Halfords are here to help with all your staycation needs. Join the Halfords Motoring Club today to access a range of amazing benefits and discounts that are designed to keep you moving, keep you safe and keep you saving.

It’s free to join and you’ll receive money off your MOT, a free car health check and a welcome voucher that can be spent on any Halfords product or service.

Or choose our Premium membership for a small monthly fee (or a one-off payment) to unlock exclusive member pricing on all motoring products and services online and across our stores, garages and Halfords Mobile Experts, as well as a variety of other benefits that will help you to keep moving for less.

With so much to enjoy, this is too good an opportunity to miss!

Join the Halfords Motoring Club today at

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