Best Jeep Roof Rack to Buy: Honest Reviews
Heading on a trip and your luggage won’t fit inside the car? Sure, a Jeep may have lots of space, but even that sometimes doesn’t cut it. If you like to travel with five suitcases too many, even the most spacious car may seem tiny.
It’s fortunate that Jeeps offer more storage than first meets the eye. After all, why wouldn’t you want to put your precious belongings on the roof? It’s nowhere near as risky as it sounds. with the use of the best Jeep roof rack, your items will be safe & you’ll be able to bring so much more.
If you’re not a fan of spending hours searching the internet to pick the right product, spare yourself the nuisance. We’ve prepared this guide to help you take your pick!
Things To Consider in A Jeep Roof Rack
First time browsing the selection of Jeep roof racks? It’s much easier than it seems, but there are things to be mindful of. To make sure you pick the right roof rack for Jeep, Jeep Wrangler, Jeep Wrangler JK, Jeep Wrangler Unlimited, and other models of Jeeps, check our cheat sheet below.
This is your #1 concern as a Jeep owner. Not all roof racks are suited for all cars. In fact, roof racks for Jeeps have unique measurements, so to make the most of your Jeep vehicle you need an appropriate cargo rack.
Moreover, even Jeep roof racks won’t fit each and every vehicle. It may happen that a Jeep Wrangler roof rack is not suited to a Jeep Wrangler JK or a Jeep Wrangler Unlimited. For that reason, double-check the compatibility before you get one of these racks.
When it comes to roof racks for Jeep, they are usually made out of one of two materials: steel or aluminum. The choice of which one to get is up to you, but remember the following:
- Steel is more impact-resistant and is suited to transporting heavy cargo. It can sustain quite a lot of damage. It’s also great at resisting rust, as long as it is coated. The coat has a tendency to chip quite easily, though.
- Aluminum is naturally rust-resistant, coat or no coat. On the other hand, it’s not ideal for heavy items, as aluminum dents quite easily.
Our general guideline is to pick steel if you plan to transport heavy cargo, and aluminum if you tend to travel light. However, if you’re not sure about your plans, it’s always better to choose steel — otherwise, you may run into trouble with dents.
Rack or basket?
Tied with the consideration of materials is the question: do you need a roof rack or a roof basket, also known as roof cart? Both work well with Jeeps, but it depends on what you’re planning to move. For suitcases and smaller items, a roof cart will suffice. For bigger items, such as furniture, a roof rack is the way to go.
What is The Best Roof Rack For a Jeep Wrangler?
You know what to look for, but do you know where to find it? Right here! Keep reading to get yourself a great Jeep with roof rack soon enough.
MAXXHAUL Steel Roof Rack
|MaxxHaul 46" x 36" x 4-1/2" - 150 lb. Capacity - NOT Assembled 70115...||$229.99||Check on Amazon|
Affordable, yet quality Jeep Wrangler JK or Jeep Wrangler Unlimited roof racks are not easy to come by. This is why this MaxxHaul product caught our special attention. This is a sturdy steel roof rack suited for many types of vehicles, Jeeps included, and it has a considerably lower price than the competition. You can install it on Jeeps such as Jeep Wrangler JK, Jeep Unlimited, and more.
It’s a cart/basket combo rack that is remarkably easy to install. It can be attached to most crossbars with simple U-bolts that you probably have in your garage. Attaching it and detaching it is easy to do, meaning you can opt-out of the extra storage if you need to.
Included, you’ll find a set of rubber caps that cover the U-bolts. This means your cargo will not be damaged in any way and will be safe even on longer journeys. And if your travels take you someplace rainy, you don’t have to worry — this model is 100% rust-resistant.
Not only is it coated, but it also has a finish that repels rust. As such, you can drive through all types of weather without any damage to the roof rack. Lastly, it has a 150 lbs maximum distributed load, which adds a lot of storage to your Jeep Wrangler JK and other Jeeps.
Smittybilt Roof Rack for Jeep Wrangler TJ
|Smittybilt 76713 SRC Roof Rack for 1997-2006 Jeep Wrangler TJ||$345.57||Check on Amazon|
This is an add-on roof rack for the Jeep Wrangler TJ series. It’s mostly meant to be used with other Smittybilt aftermarket accessories, but it should be suitable for other brands too. Smittybilt delivers a sturdy, heavy-duty product that will protect unusually-sized cargo on both long and short trips.
It features powder-coated 2″x .120″ steel tubing with 3/16-¼” brackets. The crossbars found in this roof rack are removable, allowing you to access your cargo from the top if necessary.
This roof rack system is amongst the models that can handle the biggest amount of cargo. With a capacity of up to 700 lbs, it allows you to transport pretty much anything in a safe way. The size of it also adds to this, as the design is large and supports huge items.
ROLA V-Tex Rooftop Cargo Basket
If you want a Jeep roof rack capable of withstanding even the worst storms, Rola is a solid option. Made out of durable steel, it has a rough-coat finish specially engineered to endure the elements. It’s also scratch-resistant, so you don’t have to worry about your luggage scratching up the Jeep Wrangler JK roof rack.
Once assembled, this roof rack measures 48 x 37.5 x 5″. It’s a basket-type Jeep roof rack, so you can safely use it for suitcases and other items that would fall out without the grooved construction. This is a universal product and it mounts to most factory OEM racks as well as most round & square types.
The brackets in Rola are adjustable — you can fit them onto most crossbars without issues. As such, this is a versatile Jeep roof rack that will fit several kinds of Jeeps.
Lastly, to improve the durability of this product even further, Rola went the extra mile. The package includes a custom air deflector that protects both your items and your Jeep roof rack. This is one of the most durable options on our list.
Tyger Heavy Duty Roof Cargo Basket
|Tyger Heavy Duty Roof Mounted Cargo Basket Rack | L47.25 x W36.6 x...||$249.00||Check on Amazon|
Are you worried about your roof rack breaking down and your items being left to crash to the ground? You don’t have to be, at least not if you pick right. A heavy-duty basket rack is bound to hold your items carefully while sustaining the pressure applied by heavier luggage.
The frame on this roof rack measures at 47.25″ x 36.6″ x 5.9″. This makes it a universal rack that can fit most models of Jeep. Thanks to the use of heavy-duty coated steel, it’s just as sturdy as most people need. It can carry up to 150 lbs without any issues; anything extra is doable but pushing it.
As mentioned, this Tyger Jeep roof rack is durable. It’s rust-resistant thanks to the black e-coating. It’s also excellent at keeping everything secure, as it provides more tie-down points than most models.
By buying this, you also automatically receive all the mounting hardware you need to install it on your Jeep Wrangler JK or Jeep Unlimited. The set-up is easy to do and can be done even if you’re not especially gifted in that department. Keep in mind that your car must have roof rails and crossbars pre-installed in order to mount this cart.
Rugged Ridge Roof Rack
|Rugged Ridge 11703.02 Sherpa Roof Rack; 07-18 Jeep Wrangler JKU, 4...||$579.99||Check on Amazon|
Some roof racks require drilling and heavy modifications to the roof of your vehicle. Needless to say, most people prefer to avoid damaging their Jeep Wrangler JK, their Unlimited, and others. Rugged Ridge provides an alternative that, while equally trustworthy, spares you the trouble of altering your car.
This model is suited to the Jeep Wrangler JK line. As it’s designed for a specific make and model in mind, it’s bound to fit your vehicle exactly without any adjustments. It fits both 2 or 4 doors Wrangler JK. Moreover, it’s easy to install thanks to the bolt-on technology. With the addition of clamps, it can be mounted on all industry-standard crossbars and racks.
Every single component is made out of ultra-durable steel. What’s more, Rugged Ridge uses a double coating technology — the first coat is made out of rust-resistant e-coating and the second is made out of textured black powder. Together, these two coats offer 100% protection from the elements for your vehicle, be it a Wrangler or a Wrangler JK.
Something that’s not found in many other models is the front support. It features three integrated light tabs that allow you to install auxiliary lighting. You’ll be able to light your way even on trips through the forest! Such a design is definitely the best solution for camping trips, but it certainly has unlimited uses.
CargoLoc Universal Roof Top Cross Bar Set
|CargoLoc 2-Piece 60" Universal Collapsible Aluminum Roof Top Cross Bar...||$64.99||Check on Amazon|
If you’re traveling light, you don’t need sturdy steel to back you up. For those that don’t need a heavy-duty construction, we recommend this aluminum Jeep roof rack. It’s one of the best roof racks out there in the budget price range.
While aluminum is naturally rust-free, it’s susceptible to dents. However, this rack sports a similar capacity to many steel models while promising superb performance. You can use it to store and carry up to 150 lbs without running into the risk of denting.
Some roof racks are permanently attached to the car roof, but this one is easy to remove and install whenever needed. Each one of the crossbars comes apart into three pieces, so you can easily store this roof rack in the trunk when it’s not being used.
The manufacturer has opted to use not just one, but two security mechanisms that ensure all of your items will arrive safely. For one, the bars have heavy-duty clamps that attach safely to your car. Secondly, there’s a keyed locking mechanism that keeps them put.
If you want something sturdy for aluminum but cheap for both aluminum and steel, you can’t go wrong with this one.
Mild Steel Roof Rack Basket
|53 inches x 43 inches Mild Steel Roof Rack Top Cargo Carrier Basket||Check on Amazon|
When buying a Jeep roof rack basket, your main focus is, and always will be, security. You want something that doesn’t rattle against the roof of your vehicle and something that does a great job of helping you pack. This trustworthy roof rack delivers on both accounts.
Made out of heavy-duty steel with a weather-resistant black coating, this product measures 53 x 43 x 5″. This is a standard size that will fit most Jeep vehicles, but be sure to check your model first. The bottom bars are just as sturdy as the ones on the side and there are loads of them. This means that the risk of anything slipping past them is almost non-existent.
If you’re not a fan of assembling hardware, you’ll love that this is a one-piece design. This great design also lends itself to the durability of this roof rack. You don’t run into the risk of any part breaking off, as they are all perfectly connected. This multi-layered protection covers all of the 150 lbs of cargo this model can carry.
We mentioned noise before, and it’s true — noise levels were taken into account in the creation of this product. Thanks to the plastic wind fairing, wind noise is reduced. This, in turn, lowers the vibration and allows you to drive in peace without constant sounds bothering you.
Reese Explore Rooftop Cargo Basket
|Reese 1391300 Explore Rooftop Cargo Basket, Easy Assembly 125 Lb....||257 Reviews||$107.51||Check on Amazon|
For those that really tend to travel light, we suggest the most lightweight item on our list. Reese can carry up to 125 lbs. Despite the slightly lower-than-normal capacity, it is made out of heavy-duty steel and is sure to last you years. What makes it stand out?
The first thing you’ll like is, undoubtedly, the construction. The design is great & highly aerodynamic, with the angled front windshield that protects your car from annoying vibrations. This also helps the basket stay put even during windy days. The entire construction, windshield included, is made out of heavy-duty steel combined with black powder coating.
One of the main selling points for this crossbar rooftop cargo basket is the fact that it’s adjustable. It can fit most cars, SUVs, trucks, vans, and numerous other large vehicles. If you own more than one car or you might be swapping soon, you don’t have to worry about compatibility. This one will fit just about any Jeep.
Heavy-Duty Kayak Rack by MrHardware
|2 Pairs Heavy Duty Kayak Rack-Includes 4 Pcs Ratchet Tie-Mount on Car...||$119.85||Check on Amazon|
Jeep owners often use their cars beyond the occasional grocery trip. In fact, Jeeps are perfect for camping and other trips. If kayaking is on your to-do list and you want to prepare in an easy way, we think you’ll love this kayak rack from MrHardware.
Kayaks cannot be stored in a normal rooftop rack, which is why some manufacturers produce these specialty-made types. Two pairs of kayak mounts carry your boat safely across thousands of miles. You can use this with most Jeeps, including Wrangler, Wrangler JK, and Unlimited.
This top-carrier can be trusted to deliver the kayaks safely even under the worst of conditions. Thanks to a 600lbs breaking strength, the kayaks remain fastened even when it’s really windy. Made out of steel, the construction is secure and features adjustable padding.
Like most other steel roof racks, this one too comes with a weather-resistant coating. It’s also easy to install and safe to mount. You don’t have to worry about scratching up the surface of your car with this kayak rack.
Jeep Grand Cherokee Top Rail Roof Rack
|Compatible with Jeep Grand Cherokee 11-18 Aluminum OE Style Roof Rack...||$88.89||Check on Amazon|
Some Jeeps are harder than others to shop for a roof rack. One such model is the famous Grand Cherokee. If you want to make sure you don’t run into any compatibility issues, this aftermarket solution is the best option for you.
This product mounts directly on your car’s factory roof rails. No drilling is required, so you avoid permanent damage to your car for the sake of installing a roof rack. The installation itself is made simple thanks to the direct bolt-in system.
Being an aluminum roof cart, it’s slightly less durable than its steel counterparts. On the other hand, it can still carry up to 150 lbs, rivaling the competition. Keep in mind that the load has to be distributed evenly for the rack to sustain it.
When you get this model, you get everything you need to install it. After a breezy mounting, you’ll be all ready to go!
To make a choice you’ll be happy with, it has to be informed. And what better place to get all your information on Jeep roof racks than right here? Refer to our FAQ sections if you have any lingering doubts!
Can you put a roof rack on Jeep Wrangler?
The manufacturer did not equip Jeep Wrangler with a roof rack. Jeep also does not produce any factory options for roof racks. However, there are many aftermarket systems that fit Jeep Wrangler vehicles to a T.
Why are roof racks so expensive?
Roof racks are quite pricey mainly due to the large number of materials used in the manufacturing process. A roof rack is a heavy piece of car equipment, meant to carry huge loads. This is why some models are more expensive than others — the better the material, the more expensive the roof rack.
A roof rack takes your Jeep from super-spacious to a true truck. You can transport anything, from furniture to skis to massive amounts of luggage, on the top of your Jeep car. All that remains is picking a roof rack to fit your needs.
Don’t hesitate now and get the best Jeep roof rack available. It will come in handy on your next vacation!