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Best car roof racks in Australia

We’ve found the best roof racks for a variety of prices and purposes.

Best car roof racks in Australia

A car roof rack can give you extra space and flexibility to transport more items with your vehicle. You can put large items like surfboards, skis and even bikes on a roof rack. They come in a wide range of sizes and builds. What you might need will depend on your car's roof type and what you plan to transport.

Apart from size and the rack's material, you need to consider the rack's bar type, load capacity and height clearance. You also need to factor in the installation costs associated with car roof racks to determine a price range that fits your budget.

For this list, our team has evaluated car roof racks listed on Amazon from brands like Giantz, Yakima, Rhino Rack and Swagman. We examined customer reviews and ratings. We also considered each roof rack's key product features when choosing models for each category.

Read more detail on our methodology below.


Rhino Rack Roof Mount Cargo Basket

Best overall car roof rack

Rhino Rack Roof Mount Cargo Basket
Image: Supplied/Finder

Pros

  • Easy to install and sturdy
  • Value for money

Cons

  • Not suitable for smaller cars
  • Only comes in 2 sizes

The Rhino Rack Roof Mount Cargo Basket is our pick for the best overall car roof rack available online. It has a rating of 4.6 out of 5 stars on Amazon.

The Rhino Rack Roof Mount Cargo comes in 2 sizes: large and regular, suitable for SUVs, trucks and other medium to large-sized vehicles. It is constructed using 2-piece powder-coated steel and features a built-in wind deflector. The rack can hold up to 165lbs of gear and other essential items. Additionally, it has high rails for extra security.

Customers praised the product's value for money, durability and large capacity. While the rack may be too big for smaller cars, it provides plenty of room for adventures. The rack can fit all crossbar shapes, including square and elliptical bars. Its wind deflector can also deflect bugs while reducing noise.


HandiRack Universal Car Roof Rack

Best roof rack for small cars

HandiRack Universal Car Roof Rack
Image: Supplied/Finder

Pros

  • Fits most types of vehicles
  • Up to 80kg max capacity

Cons

  • Not waterproof
  • Hand pump is flimsy according to some

For small cars, we recommend the HandiRack Universal Car Roof Rack, which has an Amazon rating of 4.3 out of 5 stars.

This universal car roof rack is inflatable and can carry loads up to 80kg. It is easy to use and fits most car types, like SUVs, MPVs, crossovers and hatchbacks. Each kit comes with 2 twin tubes, 2 x 3-metre tie-down straps for securing your gear and a handy pump for inflating the rack.

Made of a tough 400 denier nylon, the HandiRack is an affordable and compact option for road trips. It is easy to inflate and install, thanks to its sturdy straps. It also has 5D anchor points for added security as well as an aerodynamic design that helps minimise vibration during use. However, it's not waterproof which makes the rack a weak contender for year-round use.


MaxxHaul Roof Rack Rooftop Cargo Carrier Steel Basket

Best roof rack for SUVs

MaxxHaul Roof Rack Rooftop Cargo Carrier Steel Basket
Image: Supplied/Finder

Pros

  • Large capacity
  • Easy to install

Cons

  • Not as durable as pricier models
  • Paint chips easily

We recommend MaxxHaul's Roof Rack Rooftop Cargo Carrier Steel Basket as the best option for SUVs. On Amazon, it has a rating of 4.5 out of 5 stars from over 7,000 reviews.

With an affordable price tag and straightforward installation, this roof rack is a great option if you're on a budget. The rack is made of alloy steel and has a basket size of 46" x 36" x 4 ½". It attaches to most crossbars and comes with everything you need for installation.

This roof rack has a sleek, powder-coated finish and a decent 150lbs capacity. The rack itself weighs about 25lbs, making it a lightweight choice for SUVs. The included manual is easy to understand, which makes installation a breeze according to reviews. But if you're looking for a rack that will last you a lifetime, several customers recommended getting a higher-end model as this one isn't heavy-duty.


Yakima LoadWarrior Rooftop Cargo Basket

Best roof rack for troop-carriers

Yakima LoadWarrior Rooftop Cargo Basket
Image: Supplied/Finder

Pros

  • Weather-resistant
  • Made of high-quality, durable materials

Cons

  • Heavy
  • Pricier than competitors

The Yakima LoadWarrior Rooftop Cargo Basket is our choice for the best troop-carrier roof rack. It has a rating of 4.7 out of 5 stars on Amazon.

The Loadwarrior features a weather-resistant and heavy-duty steel construction, suitable for year-round use. It has wind fairings for noise reduction. The universal attachment system also fits rack systems with round, square, factory and aerodynamic crossbars. The rack can carry up to 140lbs, but it can be extended by 40% with the LoadWarrior Extension (sold separately).

Customers gave positive feedback on the rack's durability, easy installation and sturdy construction. Users said it is helpful for carrying bulky items and for daily trips, carrying the weight of anything from groceries to tyres with minimal vibration. Others loved that it can be extended too. But because the rack is made of thick material made to last you a lifetime, it is quite heavy.


HEYTRIP Universal Soft Roof Rack Pads for Kayaks

Best roof rack for kayaks

HEYTRIP Universal Soft Roof Rack Pads for Kayaks
Image: Supplied/Finder

Pros

  • Affordable
  • Easy to install

Cons

  • Security clamps are a bit loose for some
  • Not recommended for rainy days

With a rating of 4.5 out of 5 stars on Amazon, we picked the HEYTRIP Universal Soft Roof Rack Pads for Kayaks as the best option.

This kayak roof rack has a soft and universal design that is easy to use and pack. The design is also suitable, not just for carrying kayaks, but for surfboards and SUPs as well. It has a maximum load of 80kg and it works on most types of vehicles.

For under $104, you get 2 x 15ft tie-down adjustable straps with padded cam locks for securing your loads. You also get 2 x 15ft bow and stern tie-down ropes for securing your loads from the front to the back of your vehicle. The rack can hold up to 3 kayaks, depending on the size. Set-up is straightforward, and you can pack it right away when it's not being used. However, this rack isn't waterproof with some users reporting water leakage when used on rainy days.


Rhino Rack 27-inch Multipurpose Carrier

Best roof rack for surfboards

Rhino Rack 27-inch Multipurpose Carrier
Image: Supplied/Finder

Pros

  • Can hold up to 4 surfboards
  • Heavy duty

Cons

  • Some customers had difficulty with installation
  • Produces excessive wind noise when you drive fast

We recommend the Rhino Rack 27" Multipurpose Carrier as the best roof rack for surfboards. On Amazon, it has a rating of 4.4 out of 5 stars from more than 800 reviews.

This 27" multipurpose carrier can hold up to 4 surfboards or up to 6 pairs of skis. It comes with a set of 2 lockable arms with mounting hardware and 4 keys. Its locking mechanism ensures your gear is well-protected during road trips. The carrier is made of heavy-duty aluminium that the brand claims to be rust and corrosion-resistant.

Numerous buyers were impressed by the rack's versatility, reasonable price and security. Since it's made of durable materials, it can withstand extreme weather conditions, perfect for year-round use. It also has easy-release hardware, which makes locking and releasing your surfboards or skis a lot easier even when you're wearing gloves. Some customers found installing the rack a bit of a challenge, but this seems to be a minor concern.


Swagman Upright Roof Mount Bike Rack

Best roof rack for bikes

Swagman Upright Roof Mount Bike Rack
Image: Supplied/Finder

Pros

  • Sleek design
  • Versatile

Cons

  • There are more durable options on the market
  • Clamp doesn’t open easily

For bikes, we recommend Swagman's Upright Roof Mount Bike Rack as the best model. It has a rating of 4.2 out of 5 stars on Amazon.

This upright rack for bikes is easy to install and can carry a single bike without the need to remove its wheels. The rack fits square, round and oval bars up to 3" wide. You can also use multiple units to carry multiple bikes with a weight capacity of 35lbs per bike.

This Swagman rack has a sleek, minimalist design that looks great on top of your vehicle. It is made of high-quality plastic and steel, weighing only 5lbs. Customers said setting it up is quite effortless and only takes about 10 minutes. It also comes with tie-down straps to secure your bike's wheels for peace of mind. This isn't the most durable bike rack there is, but for the price, it gets the job done.


Giantz Car Roof Rack Universal Basket Cage

Best roof rack for camping

Giantz Car Roof Rack Universal Basket Cage
Image: Supplied/Finder

Pros

  • Universal fit
  • Affordable

Cons

  • Paint chips off easily according to reviews
  • Not suitable for rainy days

We selected the Giantz Car Roof Rack Universal Basket Cage as the best one for camping. It has a rating of 3.9 out of 5 stars on Amazon.

Made of high-quality powder-coated steel, this universal rack can carry up to 80kg. Its mesh base allows you to tie down your items and its universal design fits most vehicles. It has a wind deflector to minimise vibration as well.

While this has a lower rating compared to other options on our list, this roof rack is still a pretty decent option if you're on a budget. It's affordable, easy to install and looks quite sleek. Customers said it can carry tons of camping gear for up to 4 people. The kit comes with assembly hardware to make installation a breeze too. But despite claims of being weatherproof, some customers said it gets rusty quite easily after getting soaking wet.


Powerworks Lightweight Aluminium Universal SUV Roof Rack

Best cheap roof rack

Powerworks Lightweight Aluminium Universal SUV Roof Rack
Image: Supplied/Finder

Pros

  • Easy to install
  • Lightweight and durable

Cons

  • Not heavy duty
  • Subpar wind resistance

Powerworks Lightweight Aluminium Universal SUV Roof Rack is our pick for the best cheap roof rock. On Amazon, it has a rating of 4.5 out of 5 stars.

This roof rack from Powerworks is made of durable aluminium that the brand promises to be lightweight and rust-proof. It has a high-edge design that helps prevent your load from failing. Additionally, its 4 corners are wrapped in high-grade nylon for security.

The general sentiment is that this is a cheap yet decent roof rack option for daily use. While it's not recommended for carrying heavier items, it is more than enough for carrying groceries and an occasional tyre. Customers said installation is also easy, but you need to ensure your vehicle already has crossbars to fit the rack. Some said it's got weak wind resistance, which might affect your car's fuel economy.


Amazon prices last updated on 2 March, 2024 at 03:01 pm
eBay prices last updated on 2 March, 2024 at 10:14 pm

Methodology

14
Brands considered
62
Products compared
9
Best products chosen

Why you can trust our picks

For this list, we looked into hundreds of car roof racks listed on Amazon. We evaluated models from the following brands:

  • FE Active
  • Front Runner
  • Giantz
  • HandiRack
  • HEYTRIP
  • Maxxhaul
  • MOSTPLUS
  • Powerworks
  • Rhino Rack
  • Slimline
  • Swagman
  • Thule
  • XCAR
  • Yakima

We narrowed down our choices based on customer ratings and reviews (as of June 2022). We also considered each model's key product features, size, material used, ease of installation and value for money. We came up with what we believe are the 9 best car roof racks available online.

Key facts about car roof racks

  • A roof rack gives you the flexibility to transport more items on your car's roof. With a roof rack, you can put all your large sports gear such as bikes, skis, snowboards, surfboards or canoes on the roof rather than needing a trailer or a larger vehicle.
  • The roof rack you should buy depends on your car's roof type and what you need to transport.

Compare some of the best roof racks

Data obtained December 2018. Prices are subject to change and should be used only as a general guide.
1 - 10 of 10
Name Product Average Price (AUD) Maximum load rating (kg) Bar style Colour Mount style Warranty Purchase today
Whispbar HD T17W
Whispbar HD T17W
$364
100
Cross
Silver
Clamp
Limited lifetime
The Whispbar HD is ideal for heavy loads and earned the iF Product Design Award 2009.
Thule WingBar Edge Roof Rails 958100
Thule WingBar Edge Roof Rails 958100
$419
75
Arched
Silver
Edge
2-5 years
Thule’s WingBar Edge Roof Rails are noise and drag reduced low-fit bars.
Rhino-Rack Heavy Duty RLT600 JA8637
Rhino-Rack Heavy Duty RLT600 JA8637
$497
100
Overhang
Silver
Ditch
Lifetime
The Rhino-Rack Heavy Duty RLT600 is an easily removable option that suits tradies, kayakers and travellers.
Rhino-Rack Vortex RLT500
Rhino-Rack Vortex RLT500
$643
100
Overhang
Silver
Track
Lifetime
The Rhino-Rack Vortex RLT500 is suitable for utes, trucks, caravans and convertibles.
Prorack S-Wing
Prorack S-Wing
$393
75
Through
Silver/Black
Gutter
3 years
Prorack’s S-Wing is a noise-reducing, removable roof rack.
Rhino-Rack Euro 2500
Rhino-Rack Euro 2500
$302
60
Overhang
Black
Bare Roof
Lifetime
The Rhino-Rack Euro 2500 is light and easy to use making it ideal for travellers, surfers, cyclists and those who love the outdoors.
Thule WingBar Edge Fixed Points / Solid Roof Rails
Thule WingBar Edge Fixed Points / Solid Roof Rails
$428
75
Arched
Silver
Edge
2-5 years
Thule’s WingBar Edge Fixed Points/Solid Roof Rails are sound minimised, low-fit bars.
Prorack P Bar
Prorack P Bar
$299
75
Through
Silver/Black
Clamp
3 years
Prorack’s P Bar is an entry-level, affordable roof rack for everyday needs.
Whispbar Through Bar
Whispbar Through Bar
$350
100
Through
Silver, Black
Clamp
Limited lifetime
The Whispbar Through Bar offers extended carrying capacity and is suitable for heavy loads.
Rhino-Rack Heavy Duty 2500 JA0111
Rhino-Rack Heavy Duty 2500 JA0111
$374
75
Overhang
Black
Bare Roof
Lifetime
The Rhino-Rack Heavy Duty 2500 is non-permanent, strong and secure, with lockable legs made from glass-reinforced nylon.
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What should I know about roof racks?

A roof rack allows you to store items that don't fit inside your car on the roof including fishing and camping equipment, ski gear, bikes, kayaks, canoes and luggage. You can also use roof racks to attach a roof box to your car, which can greatly increase your car's storage capacity. For more information, check out our guide to roof boxes.

However, buying a roof rack isn't the only way to transport items on your car's roof. If you only want to carry bikes, you could opt for a bike rack instead. For a cheap alternative for transporting surfboards or stand up paddle boards, try roof pads. Another option that gives you extra load capacity is soft-sided roof bags, which are strapped directly to your car roof. However, they aren't durable.

Types of roof racks

Your car's roof type determines the roof rack type you need to fit. Here's what's typically used for some common vehicle types:

Car typeRoof rack type
Smaller passenger carsBare/naked/normal
SUVs, wagons, minivansRaised rail (some European models have a flush or low-profile rail)
Cargo and passenger vansRain gutter
Cars without factory-fitted roof railFixed point
Camper shellsTracks

To find out which roof racks fit your car, consult your car owner's manual or ask your car seller. If you're still unsure, check any roof rack brand's vehicle fitment guide (this is available on most sellers' websites).

What materials are roof racks made from?

There are 3 main materials used for roof racks: steel, aluminium and plastic.

TypeProsCons
Steel
  • Most durable
  • Best for transporting heavy duty equipment and off-roading
  • Heaviest
  • Significantly decreases load amount you can carry
Aluminium
  • Strong and lightweight
  • More corrosion-resistant
  • Produces less noise
  • More expensive
Plastic
  • Lightest
  • Cheapest
  • Flimsier and less durable
  • Unsuitable for off-roading

How to compare roof racks

Roof racks typically cost you from around $90 up to $700, depending on the type and the materials.

When buying a roof rack, consider the following factors:

Items you're carrying

If you have specific equipment to carry, such as water sport equipment, fishing gear, bikes, canoes, skis or snowboards, make sure your rack choice can handle those items. You can usually mix and match roof boxes, bars and bike carriers from different brands.

Bar types

Roof rack bars come in 2 main types. Through bars are the most common type and stick out beyond the roof racks, offer more space to store cargo and are often used with larger vehicles. Flush bars, with closed ends and a loading area between the roof rack feet, are used on smaller cars and don't offer as much storage capacity.

Load capacity

Check your vehicle's roof rating first, as this will limit how much you can carry. Don't waste money on a rack which can handle a capacity way bigger than your car can handle.

Height clearance

Check how tall your vehicle will be with roof racks (and roof boxes) attached. If that makes your car too high for accessing low road bridges or car parks, opt for removable roof racks.

Corrosion resistance

If you live near the ocean or live in a humid climate, corrosion-resistant aluminium will ensure your roof rack is more durable. To minimise wear, consider a removable roof rack that can be stored indoors when not in use.

Noise

If you're sensitive to noise and want to minimise drag and fuel costs, it may be worth paying a bit extra for aluminium bars.

Frequently asked questions

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