The Best Roof Bars 2023

The best way to make your car even more practical is to install a quality set of roof bars that can handle heavy loads. The latest are available in aerodynamic designs and below we list some of the best options that are suitable for all budgets.


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Best Roof Bars
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If you require a quick answer, the best roof bars are the Thule WingBar Evo, which are designed to hold up to 100 KG and are available in loading widths that range from 108 to 150 CM. However, if you are on a budget, the Maypole Eagle roof bars are the best alternatives that are aerodynamically designed and suitable for loads up to 90 KG.

To rate the roof bars within this article, we based our recommendations on our experience of using multiple sets, plenty of research and a number of factors. Some of the factors that we considered included the loading widths, maximum load capacities, aerodynamics, construction quality, supplied hardware, ease of installation, warranty and value.

Regardless of the roof bars that you buy, we have written a detailed guide on how to install them to your car. Within the guide, we installed the Thule WingBar Evo’s, which we rated as the best in this article after testing and research.

Best Roof Bars Overview

Although it may be tempting to buy cheap roof bars, the premium alternatives are built to a much higher standard. Not only will they include a more aerodynamic design but the load capacities are often far greater. This means they can handle fully loaded roof boxes, furniture, multiple bikes and other bulky objects.

Below is a list of the best roof bars that are suitable for all budgets and are able to handle loads up to 100 KG.

The Best Roof Bars


1. Best Overall: Thule WingBar Evo Roof Racks


By far the most popular roof bars in the UK are the Thule WingBar Evo set and they are available in a range of sizes. It’s Thule’s new and improved version of this model that’s easier to install and suitable for all the latest accessories.

In order to reduce the dreaded wind noise and drag, it uses the brand’s patented wind diffuser technology. This allows the roof bars to glide through the air whilst also improving fuel economy in the long run.

Pros
  • Loading widths includes 108, 118, 127, 135 and 150 cm
  • Available in an aluminium or black finish
  • Upper T-track with quick access interface
  • Reduced drag and wind noise
  • Strong load bar with a capacity of 100 KG
Cons
  • More expensive than most of the alternatives

To conclude, the Thule WingBar Evo are an aerodynamic and well-designed pair of roof bars that are produced by a reputable brand and won’t disappoint. Unlike some of the alternatives, this set has been designed to reduce drag and wind noise, which is a desirable feature for those that travel long distances on the motorway with roof bars installed.

2. Best For Aerodynamics: Thule WingBar Edge Roof Bars


Another pair of Thule roof bars are the WingBar Edge set, which are premium alternatives designed for exceptional quietness. This is made possible by a low profile construction that fits closely to the roof.

As with the EVO alternative above by Thule, the Edge model is also a universal fit for all cars and it’s available in a choice of five different sizes and an aluminium or black finish.

Pros
  • Load capacity of 75 KG
  • Loading widths range from 70.4 to 86.4 cm
  • Low profile and lockable design
  • Pre-assembled and ready to install
  • Designed for quietness
Cons
  • Most expensive roof bars within this article

Due to the close distance between the roof and these roof bars, it may cause issues with some sunroofs. Therefore, if your sunroof folds on top of your roof, ensure that you measure the extra height increase beforehand.

Overall, the Thule Wingbar Edge are high quality roof bars that are designed to be ultra-quiet and easy to install. They do come with a premium price tag but when you consider the build quality and warranty, it’s a worthwhile investment.

3. Best All-Rounder: Maypole Eagle Aluminium Roof Bars


A more affordable alternative to the Thule roof bars are the Maypole Eagle racks and they are designed for raised roof rails. In terms of the construction, they are anodised non-slip aluminium bars that are 120 cm in length.

Pros
  • Load capacity of 90 KG
  • TUV and GS safety approved
  • Loading width of 120 cm
  • Anodised aluminium construction
  • Lockable and supplied with two keys
Cons
  • Limited sizes
  • Not as aerodynamic as the Thule alternatives

To conclude, the Maypole Eagle roof bars are an excellent all-round option that offers the best bang for your buck. They are more than ideal for use with a roof mounted bike rack or roof box and they are a fraction of the price when compared to the Thule alternatives above.

4. Best Budget: Summit SUM-001 Car Roof Bars


Summit is another brand that produces a range of roof bars which are ideal for those on a tight budget. This set in particular are lightweight but have a heavy duty steel construction that is designed to fit cars with running rails.

Pros
  • Steel construction
  • Easily fits to raised roof rails
  • Loading width of 135 cm
  • Maximum load capacity of 65 KG
  • Lockable and supplied with two keys
Cons
  • Produce quite a lot of wind noise as they aren't aerodynamically designed

Considering the budget pricing of the Summit roof bars, it can’t be beaten on price and they offer outstanding value for the money. They are quick and easy to install and they are suitable for carrying a range of objects up to 65 KG.

5. Best Budget Aluminium Set: Hardcastle Aluminium Roof Crossbars


Another budget friendly set of roof bars are the Hardcastle racks, which are constructed of aluminium and available in three sizes. Unlike similarly priced alternatives, they are lockable and supplied with two sets of keys.

Pros
  • Load capacity of 60 KG
  • Fits cars with raised side rails
  • Aluminium construction
  • Lockable with two sets of keys
  • 120, 130 and 135 cm loading lengths
Cons
  • Not aerodynamically designed

Overall, the Hardcastle aluminium roof racks are cheap, easy to install and available in three sizes to best suit your requirements. For the price, you can’t go wrong and as they are constructed of aluminium, they’ll also be long lasting too.

6. Best Inflatable: Frostfire Inflatable Roof Bars


An alternative to the traditional style roof bars is an inflatable rack, which is ideal for surfboards and other lightweight objects. It’s a completely universal solution that’s easy to use with a single strap that loops through the car.

Another great benefit is that it can be deflated down in size and stored easily in the boot of your car when not in use.

Pros
  • Loading width of 98 cm
  • Maximum weight capacity of 60 KG
  • Ideal for surfboards, canoes and other gear
  • Universal design with a single strap
  • Inflates in just 4 to 5 breaths
  • Supplied with a carrying case
Cons
  • Lacks load capacity
  • Requires a more complex installation
  • Not as heavy duty

Overall, the FrostFire inflatable roof bars are an excellent invention that’s universal and able to carry an impressive load capacity. For any keen surfers, they are the best roof bars that are easy to install and deflate for storage.

How We Rated The Roof Bars

After using and installing several roof bars over the years, we have found that the Thule brand always seems to offer the best selection. Their roof bars are available in the largest range of sizes and they include models to suit every budget.

However, to keep up our commitment to reviewing and testing a selection of roof bars (for this article), we’ve tested other sets that include budget and even inflatable roof bars (as shown in the image below).

best car roof bars
Inflatable Roof Bars

On our Instagram post below, you can see how we installed the top rated WingBar EVO’s to our own car and we were very impressed with its quality. Even the hardware supplied to install the roof bars is built to a high standard.

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As well as our experience of using and testing several roof bars, we also based our recommendations on hours of research and multiple factors. Some of the factors that we took into consideration included the loading widths, maximum load capacities, aerodynamics, construction quality, supplied hardware, ease of installation, warranty and value.

Conclusion

Roof bars are the best way to improve the usability of your car and carry additional gear. They are also relatively easy to fit as long as you follow the instructions and purchase the correct type for your vehicle.

All of our recommendations are suited to a range of budgets and include roof bars to suit all types of cars. To avoid disappointment, we advise that you select a model that can handle a fully loaded roof box for complete peace of mind.

For further information regarding our roof bar recommendations, feel free to get in touch and we will try to provide our assistance where possible.

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