Last Updated on July 25, 2022
It is common for car owners to search for ways to carry more stuff. They want to get the most out of their vehicles by making them capable of transporting extra cargo and equipment.
But the problem is that people are constantly wondering whether they should purchase a roof rack or trunk rack.
You need to transport something and are unsure whether to use a top carrier or a trunk rack. Roof racks and trunk racks have pros and cons, but which is best for you? Here’s a comparison guide between roof rack vs trunk rack that can help.
Additionally, we discuss what factors to consider before choosing the right one and some frequently asked questions. Let’s begin.
What is a Vehicle Roof Rack?
The vehicle roof rack is a device affixed to the roof of a car or truck to carry cargo. It can be a permanent fixture or removable.
The purpose of a top carrier is to provide extra storage space for items that either will not fit in most vehicles or that need to be transported outside the vehicle for safety reasons.
Roof racks are great for transporting large items because it gives you more space on the roof of your car. However, it can be challenging to install and damage your car’s roof if not installed correctly.
What is a Vehicle Trunk Rack?
The vehicle trunk rack is a device affixed to the trunk of a car or truck to carry cargo. It can be a permanent fixture or removable.
The purpose of a trunk carrier rack is to provide extra storage space for items that either will not fit in the vehicle or that need to be transported outside the car for safety reasons.
A trunk carrier rack is great for transporting small items because it does not take up as much space as a top carrier. Additionally, it is easier to install and does not damage your car’s trunk if installed correctly.
Trunk racks are easier to install than a top mount and might not damage your car’s paint job. However, it can only hold a little weight and takes up valuable trunk space.
Roof Rack VS Trunk Rack – The Differences
There are a few critical differences between top mounts and trunk carrier racks that you need to consider before purchasing.
Top racks are more challenging to install than trunk racks. They might require drilling into the roof of your car and can damage the paint job if not installed correctly. Trunk carrier racks are easy to install and may not damage your vehicle.
Top racking can hold more weight than trunk racks. They can carry 70-165 additional pounds, while trunk carrier racks can only carry up to 105 pounds.
Top carriers take up more space on the roof of your car than trunk carrier racks. They can be bulky and limit your ability to see out of the rear door & window.
Trunk racks take up less space in your car because they are often flat and stored in the trunk when not in use.
Roof racks are more versatile because you can use them for backpacking, skiing, kayaking, and other outdoor activities. They are also valuable for towing boats or carrying lumber.
Trunk carrier racks do not offer as many features as top carriers and should only be used for transporting light cargo.
Roof racks are often used for transporting sports equipment, luggage, and other outdoor gear. Trunk carrier racks are ideal for carrying grocery bags, suitcases, and smaller items.
Roof racks are best for carrying large items because they take up less space in your car. Trunk carrier racks are good for transporting smaller and lighter objects to access to the trunk lid.
Some people use both a trunk carrier rack and a top carrier and install them on top of each other to double the cargo capacity. However, this is not recommended because you will likely exceed the weight limits for both racks.
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Pros & Cons of Roof Racks
Roof racks are a great way to transport items on top of your vehicle, but they can be costly, especially if many cars or trucks need top racks installed. But there are some pros & cons of roof racks such as:
Pros of Roof Racks
- They are versatile and can be used for various activities, including backpacking, skiing, and kayaking.
- The rack provides a flat surface that can carry lumber or other objects.
- The rack does not take up a lot of space in your car and can still fit into low clearance areas.
Cons of Roof Racks
- They are more complex to install than trunk carrier racks, and they often require more tools.
- Top racks take up valuable space on the roof of your car. They are bulky and make it difficult to see out of the rear window.
- They are expensive and can be challenging to install if a limited toolset is available.
Pro & Cons of Trunk Racks
Trunk racks are much easier to install than roof racks and might not damage your car’s finish. However, trunk carrier racks have a limited weight capacity and take up valuable space in your vehicle.
Pros of Trunk Racks
- Trunk racks are easy to install and do not damage your vehicle.
- You can store a trunk carrier rack in the trunk when it is not needed, which saves you valuable space.
- They are affordable and do not take up much storage space.
Cons of Trunk Racks
- The weight capacity is only 105 pounds around, much less than a top-shelf.
- They take up valuable space in your car and can be bulky.
- It is difficult to see out of the rear window when a trunk carrier rack is installed on the trunk lid of the car.
Roof Rack or Trunk Rack : What to Consider?
When deciding between whether to buy a trunk carrier rack or top carrier, you need to consider some factors, such as:
Weight capacity and amount of storage space
If you plan on carrying large items such as skis or lumber, then a top racking system might be the best choice because it provides a flat surface that can support those types of cargo.
However, if you only plan to carry light items such as grocery bags, suitcases, or bi-cycles, a trunk carrier rack would be the best choice.
Installation & Durability
If you are not very handy, it might be easier for you to install a trunk rack than a roof rack because they require fewer tools.
However, if you need to transport heavy cargo on top of your car, you might want to consider buying a roof rack because it supports more weight.
Roof racks are generally more stable than trunk carrier racks, but physical size does not always indicate stability. A bulky roof rack might provide more stability if it’s well-designed compared to a smaller roof rack that is poorly designed.
Roof racks are far more expensive than mount racks because they provide a flat surface used as a base for transporting large items.
However, roof racks usually damage your car’s paint job and take up valuable space in the vehicle.
Accessibility and Interference
Roof racks are located directly on the roof of your vehicle, and you can easily access to the trunk. However, mount racks take up space in your car and can be hard to reach when they’re loaded down with cargo.
They both take up valuable space in the car, but it is more difficult to see when a trunk rack is installed out of the back window.
Why Choose a Roof or Trunk Rack Over the Other?
When deciding whether to buy a roof rack or trunk rack, you need to consider some factors, such as:
01. If you plan on carrying large items such as skis or lumber, then a roof rack might be the best choice because it provides a flat surface that can support those types of cargo.
However, if you only plan to carry light items such as grocery bags, suitcases, or bicycles, a trunk rack would be the best choice.
02. If you are not very handy, it might be easier for you to install a trunk carrier rack than a roof rack because they require fewer tools.
If you need to transport heavy cargo on top of your car, you might want to consider buying a roof rack because it supports more weight.
03. Roof racks are typically better at carrying items that require aerodynamics for less fuel consumption, such as skis, surfboards, and masts.
Trunk racks generally are better for carrying items that are not aerodynamic such as ladders, and cargo bags.
04. Roof racks are more challenging to install than trunk carrier racks because of the extra assembly steps needed. But you do not need to worry about safety when using a roof rack because it has been designed with safety in mind.
Roof Rack or Trunk Rack – Which One is Better for Bikes Transportation?
A significant debate on this subject is whether to use a trunk-mounted rack or a roof rack for transporting your bikes on a bike carrier.
In addition to measurements and setup, these racks can also vary in terms of capacity and overall experience.
A roof-mounted rack might be a better choice if you transport more bikes because it can hold more weight. Additionally, a car bike rack is typically easier to install than a trunk rack.
However, a trunk carrier rack might be a better choice because it is easier to load bikes on top of the car. If you only plan to transport one mountain bike, then a trunk carrier rack might be the best option because it can provide easy access to the vehicle.
A roof mounted bike rack is often more expensive than trunk bikes racks, but this is large because a roof bike rack is typically safer and more reliable than a trunk bike rack.
It may be more secure to place your bike on the top bike rack, you may need access to your trunk or you prefer not to install a trailer hitch.
Let us discuss some frequently asked questions that people are more curious about:
01. Do Trunk-Mounted Bike Racks Damage Your Car?
Bicycle racks mounted on your vehicle’s trunk are the most likely to damage it. However, if installed correctly, they will not negatively impact your vehicle.
02. Are Roof Bike Racks Worth It?
Yes, top bicycle racks are worth investing in for certain bicycles. They typically provide greater security of use than trunk-mounted bike racks.
03. Why is a Roof Rack Better Than a Trunk Rack?
According to the versatile roof rack, a roof rack is better than a trunk rack because it has been designed with safety in mind.
Also, they typically provide greater security of use than trunk-mounted bike racks.
04. Can You Put a Car with Roof Bars Through a Carwash?
Yes, you can put a car through a carwash with roof bars but avoid using high-pressure water jets to prevent harm caused by excess water pressure.
If you’re wondering whether to use a roof rack or a trunk rack, the answer depends on your needs. If you need to transport many items and have a large automobile, then a roof rack is probably best for you.
However, if you don’t need to transport as many items and want something that’s easier to install and doesn’t take up too much space, then a trunk carrier rack might be right for you.
Whichever option you choose, make sure you do your research about roof rack vs trunk rack so that you can find the best product for your needs.