Unless you’re driving a museum-quality display, most cars are designed to be utilized, not just driven. More individuals are planning road vacations, kayaking expeditions, and deep backcountry explorations than ever before. Whatever type of adventure you want, you’ll undoubtedly need a lot of “things.” Most vehicles are designed to transport a reasonable amount of gear. Still, unless you’re driving a full-size truck, you’re not going to be cramming a kayak or two weeks’ worth of mountain biking gear (complete with bikes!) into your vehicle.
That’s where a nice roof rack comes in handy since there’s no better way to increase your vehicle’s functionality and cargo space. Roof rails are currently standard equipment on many new sport utility vehicles and even some sedans. You may significantly increase your vehicle’s gear-hauling potential by installing one of these top roof racks onto those existing rails.
The finest roof rails and roof racks are readily detachable. When you aren’t using them regularly, you should remove them because they will reduce your gas mileage by a few miles per gallon. Modern aero bars have far lower wind resistance than square or even circular bars. However, the best area bars are also more costly. They also include quick-release towers that attach semi-permanently to attachment points built into the roof of your car.
Trips to the home improvement store are what I see my friends utilizing a set of car roof bars for the most. Even a huge SUV won’t fit an eight-foot piece of timber or pipe. Even if it can, you don’t want to rip up your interior or have a massive, heavy, unprotected item pointed at your windshield.
Most recently, I took this summer driving to Maine. I brought all my camping gear, clothing, bike, and everything else I would need to be on the road for 3 months! For this trip, I bought a roof rack that could hold my bike! It truly was a lifesaver, and I didn’t have to break down my bike to fit it in my car!
Roof rails are standard on certain automobiles, making installing a roof rack or cross bars considerably easier, and you can almost always purchase a car with them already fitted. On the downside, you may have a smaller selection of aftermarket crossbars, or you may be forced to buy 4Runner accessories from the manufacturer or dealer. Depending on your model, some Toyota 4 Runners come with a roof rack already installed!
Before you begin looking for roof rack cross bars, you’ll need to know two things: the width you want and the capacity of your car. Many current automobiles have tapering roofs, which may need varying widths in the front and rear. While crossbars are commonly rated at 165 pounds, owner’s manuals generally specify a maximum weight of 100 pounds. Also, regardless of what the description says, don’t expect to utilize your sunroof or moonroof.
These roof racks are picked based on their durability, ruggedness, and capabilities. Each roof rack on this list is compatible with the Toyota 4 Runner, although you may need to check if you drive an older model! Without further wait, here are the best Toyota 4Runner Roof Rack models for all sorts of automotive activities, assuming you already have roof rails to get you started.
How to Choose the Best Roof Rack?
This may seem obvious, but you should start by determining which roof racks are compatible with your car. Most manufacturers employ straps or adjustable clips compatible with a wide range of roof and square roof racks. There are factory standard and aerodynamic racks available for purchase; just make sure they suit your car.
Interesting Read: How to Find the Best 4Runner Roof Rack if You own a 3Rd Gen 4Runner.
Although it’s not an attachment you’ll need to remove very often, ease of installation is a crucial consideration when picking a roof rack. For the roof rack to be correctly placed into roof rails or crossbars, certain goods will necessitate the tightening or fastening straps. However, like those from Thule or Yakima, certain models employ a universal mounting mechanism that tightens with a knob turn. It’s up to you to determine if the price difference is worth the convenience.
You should also consider how much weight a roof rack will add to your car, as well as how much weight it can hold. Check your car’s rules to see how much weight you may put onto the roof, and bear in mind that how the weight is distributed is also crucial. When a car’s roof carries 150 pounds of uniformly distributed weight, it’s not the same as when all of the weight is concentrated in a tiny location.
If you’ve done any type of roof rack shopping, you’re probably aware that they come in various forms and styles. The simple line is that not all roof racks are created equal, and you’ll want one that will work for the items you intend to haul.
Roof racks for recreational equipment, such as bikes, are common. Still, there are also cargo-box-specific options that might help you optimize your vehicle’s capacity. Choose the appropriate choice for the cargo you intend to transport in your vehicle.
Yakima JetStream Aerodynamic Crossbars
I bought the Yakima JetStreams with my own money while looking for crossbars for my own automobile. The selection was swayed by the companies more than 40-year reputation, limited lifetime guarantee, and high-quality, innovative goods over its primary competition, Thule.
The JetStream roof rack has been on a Mazda5 for more than five years, and it still looks new. I had to purchase a set of Skyline towers to fit into the bar ends and four Landing Pads to permanently mount to the factory roof attachment points because this minivan didn’t come with factory rails. It wasn’t a cheap investment at roughly $450. Still, I’ve used them a lot since then and especially like how effortlessly and securely they lock and unlatch from the roof. When it takes to go around the automobile, one person may put them on or take them off.
Assembly was difficult, and I had to make numerous tweaks to get them to fit perfectly. Still, after that, we’ve only done a once-a-year double check on the pads’ tightness. They create very little wind noise, and the reduction in gas mileage is less than 1 MPG.
They come in 50-, 60-, and 70-inch widths and are compatible with the whole Yakima ecosystem, including several unique attachments. The Yakima JetStream Crossbar is a roof rack crossbar that strikes a mix between aerodynamics and durability.
- Pros: Limited lifetime guarantee, aerodynamic teardrop design, anti-slip insert, lockable towers available, numerous accessories compatible
- Cons: It takes a long time to assemble and install, there are a lot of distinct pieces, and it’s pricey.
Thule AeroBlade Edge Raised Rail Roof Rack System
Thule’s Aeroblade Roof Rack is a direct rival to the Yakima, designed to make less noise at highway speeds while still providing maximum capacity. Unlike the Yakima, the Thule roof rack includes a pre-assembled foot, eliminating one step from the installation procedure. Because of this, the price for a whole set is more than Yakima, which is why it is ranked second. Thule also offers a wide range of accessories, ranging from baggage baskets to fishing rod holders to rooftop tents.
These Thule crossbars are made of lightweight materials. They can hold up to 165 pounds, comparable to the maximum carrying capacity of most roof racks on the market. As a result, it’s a solid choice for big equipment and luggage. Thule’s roof rack crossbars are also easier to install. They come with their AcuTight Tensioning Tool, which allows you to verify if the rack is fully fastened.
Thule, a Swedish firm, manufactures most of its goods using renewable energy in the United States (and the remainder in Europe) and gives a limited lifetime guarantee.
Putting it really straightforward, Thule is one of the best companies to get a roof rack from! They’ve got high-quality products that are made sustainably! Our world is worth a few extra dollars!
- Pros: Up to 165-pound capacity, lifetime guarantee, tensioning tool, and the aero design
- Cons: Quiet, yet noisier than Yakima, and costly
YITAMOTOR 54″ Universal Crossbars
These YITAMOTOR 54″ universal marine-grade aluminum crossbars are a clever and simple way to add extra storage space to your car.
These crossbars are adjustable from 34.5″ to 49.5″ to accommodate the great majority of automobiles and SUVs on the road. YITAMOTOR crossbars are worth looking into if your car already has higher side rails with a gap.
This set of crossbars is rated to hold up to 150 pounds of additional weight when used together. They’ll let you attach a roof bag, install a luggage basket, add bicycle carriers, and take care of a variety of additional baggage-carrying demands.
There is no drilling necessary to install these adjustable crossbars since they integrate with your existing side rails. Only an Allen wrench (included in the package) is required for installation. Simply leave a 1.5″ to 2.5″ space between your vehicle’s elevated side rails and the mounts to allow them to fit correctly. Then you simply tighten everything down with the Allen wrench that comes with it, and you’re ready to go.
The low-profile design of the YITAMOTOR crossbars reduces wind resistance and noise once fitted.
- Pros: Easy to install, light, less wind noise than other options
- Cons: More expensive than other options for a similar value
Reese Explore Roof Rack Cross Bar
These simple, heavy-duty square steel roof rack cross bars from Reese (the same manufacturer that produces trailer hitches) are available in various sizes. For less money than one aero bar, you can obtain a pair of 48-inch bars with universal strong steel U-bolts that clamp onto existing elevated factory rails.
They’re certified at 110 pounds, and the clamp that holds them on also allows you to modify the width to fit. Although the 48-inch width may not be adequate for larger SUVs or trucks, and you won’t be taking them on and off all the time, Reese may be the way to go if you don’t want to spend a lot of money and just want a simple rack that will carry your goods.
- Pros: Affordable, requires no special hardware, and is straightforward to install
- Cons: Narrow body, requires rails with a lot of clearance underneath, bolts exposed to weather
Inno Surf, Kayak, Canoe, and SUP rack
This Inno specialized roof rack can carry numerous types of gear, including kayaks, canoes, windsurf boards, paddleboards, SUPs, and long and shortboards, making it ideal for water activity enthusiasts. The Inno Racks Water Sports rack is designed to be universally compatible with round, square, and factory roof rails. It also has a one-of-a-kind locking mechanism. This is perfect if you’re searching for a quick and secure solution to install your water sports gear.
This roof rack saves time and effort by having the biggest lever and ratcheting mechanism in its class. It also has Inno’s keyed cam locking system, ensuring that your gear is always securely fastened to the rack. The floating strap system keeps all of your stuff safe while also making it simple to unload when necessary. With substantial cushioning on the cross rails and adjustable corner cushions, Inno protects your gear from scratches and scrapes. We’re not sure why fishing rods, especially big diameter ones like surf rods, aren’t recognized as a use case.
- Pros: Keyed lever and cam locking mechanism, floating strap for quick loading, fits with a variety of water sports equipment, installs on crossbars or factory roof rails
- Cons: High noise levels, minimum rail width of 24 inches, ineffective for other sorts of loads
Yakima Whispbar Through Bar Roof Rack System
The Whispbar Through Bar Roof Rack System roof rack from Yakima is a more economical version of the aero bar that gives exceptional aerodynamic performance and has towers, so you don’t have to attach it to normal roof rails. SmartFoot mounts that are cushioned are also available, helping to minimize scratches on your car. Because the bars can simply be removed from the mounts that came with them, they may be utilized with various mounts.
This rack accommodates up to 165 pounds and has built-in SKS locks for further protection, in addition to its aerodynamic performance. Like other Yakima aero bars, the Whispbar roof rack cross bars feature up to 70% less drag than traditional bars, resulting in less noise and more efficiency. This roof rack is supplied in pairs and is adjustable, so make sure you obtain the proper set for your car.
- Pros: Extra safety with built-in SKS locking, good aerodynamic efficiency, integrates SmartFoot mounting
- Cons: If installation instructions aren’t strictly followed, the product may be destroyed.
Perrycraft Aventura Black 48″ Roof Rails
If your car doesn’t come with roof rails from the factory, Perrycraft’s Aventura Black Roof Rails are a great method to add a roof rack to your vehicle. These roof rails have a raised design and can handle several types of roof rack crossbars. They have a maximum weight capacity of 220-lb. As a result, it will function with a variety of crossbars, including Perrycraft’s numerous possibilities.
These roof rails, designed for trucks, SUVs, and minivans, come in a variety of length and crossbar configurations and are made of T-6 aluminum with a UV protection powder coat finish. These roof rails are also one of the most durable options available. Perrycraft backs them up with a limited lifetime warranty if anything goes wrong. You must permanently attach them using the self-sealing stainless-steel screws provided. It may appear difficult, but all you need is a marker, a drill, and a screwdriver to get started.
- Pros: Made in the United States, with a capacity of 220-pounds. T-6 structural aluminum powder-coated in a variety of sizes and configurations
- Cons: You’ll need to drill through your roof.
Amazon Basics Universal Cross Rail Roof Rack
You can’t go much simpler or more basic than Amazon’s in-house brand if you merely need roof rack crossbars to fit onto your current (or newly installed Perrycraft) roof rails. At a fraction of the price of a premium Yakima or Thule crossbar, Amazon’s pair is a bit of a do-it-yourself project, requiring you to build almost everything, but that’s part of the cost savings.
The 52-inch set is made of ultra-light aluminum, weighing 6.6 pounds, and rated for a normal 165-pound load. Although we’ve seen Starbucks orders that cost more, they come with locking clamps to prevent theft.
There are certain compromises in terms of simplicity of assembly, installation, and removal. The guarantee is just one year, but if you only require a pair of roof rack cross bars for occasional usage, it’s difficult to go wrong.
- Pros: Affordable, has locks and is made of corrosion-resistant metal.
- Cons: Difficult to assemble and install
Apex Steel Universal Side Rail Mounted Roof Cross Bars
The Apex Steel Universal Side Rail Mounted Roof Cross Bars are a step higher than the Amazon Basics, but they’re still not a bargain. Powdercoated steel and a more adaptable mounting method that fits with lower-profile side rails are included with your upgrade. However, they are light-duty roof rack cross bars with a weight limit of 130 pounds that you should not exceed.
They include a basic twist-locking mechanism that allows for quick installation and removal. Still, it does not give locking security and is not as sturdy as some other attachments. Rubber-coated feet protect your roof rails from scratches and gouges while also holding firmly to keep you from slipping. Although we assume they are built by Pelican, the Apex crossbars do not appear to be covered by a guarantee.
- Pros: Easy installation, several mounting choices, square tubing is simple to lash to
- Cons: Only works with elevated roof rails, extremely noisy at high speeds, light duty
SportRack Complete Roof Rack System
Roof racks with square mounts aren’t as widespread as they once were. They have poor aerodynamics, making them unpopular with drivers who want to get the most mileage out of their vehicles. They do, however, offer advantages, particularly when it comes to hauling specialist sporting equipment. The SportRack Complete Roof Rack System is one of the better solutions if you need a roof rack with a flat surface. You don’t have to have pre-installed roof rails to mount it as a full system.
This 130-pound capacity system is totally customizable thanks to the flat form of the square bar. It works with a wide range of racks and holders, from standard bike racks to specialist bike racks, ski and snowboard racks, and even kayak racks. Although it is inexpensive, it has several contemporary features such as a no-tool installation method, the ability to secure it to your car’s roof, and compatibility with most modern vehicles. As suggested by the carmaker, this rack may be put directly on the location markings above the doors because it doesn’t require roof rails.
Just bear in mind that, due to its non-aerodynamic design, this roof rack may be loud and may not fit many vehicles.
- Pros: Mounts on the bare roof, suggested for specialty racks, easy installation, many sizes available, meant to be fastened to the car
- Cons: Loudness, varying automobile location installation markings, and perplexing directions
Question: Can Roof Racks Be Removed?
Answer: Roof racks may be removed after installation, regardless of the model purchased. Roof rails, on the other hand, are often either permanent or semi-permanent. Roof rack crossbars that are the best can be removed in seconds, and roof rack and accessory attachments may be removed just as quickly. When your vehicle isn’t in use regularly or going to the car wash, you should remove the roof racks and crossbars.
Question: Is a Roof Rack Dangerous?
Answer: A roof rack is not a risky item when properly placed. They can, however, be harmful if you don’t account for overhead clearance. Furthermore, driving with a roof rack at high speeds in windy weather may make your vehicle less stable. To assist such dangers, pay close attention to the manufacturer’s recommendations. When traveling with a roof rack and goods, keep in mind that conditions will differ according to where you live.
Of course, you can never be too cautious when it comes to safeguarding your luggage. Combined with cam buckle straps, a decent pair of ratchet straps can secure practically any load.
Question: What Tools Do I Need to Install a Roof Rack or Cross Bars?
Answer: Most contemporary roof racks do not require specific equipment to install. If they do, they will be included, such as an Allen wrench. In the worst-case scenario, you’ll need a screwdriver or a pair of pliers to make adjustments that are difficult to make by hand. A stepladder or at least a stepstool will undoubtedly make everything a lot simpler.
Sports and cargo racks are often installed with a locking cam system or rubber straps, while some older designs may need fitting nuts and screws.
Question: Does the Shape of the Roof Rack Influence Car Performance?
Answer: The overall aerodynamics of your vehicle will be affected by adding a roof rack and subsequent load to the roof. As a result, your vehicle’s fuel efficiency suffers, and it drags more. The performance of the vehicle as a whole may be harmed as a result of the extra weight. Most significantly, keep in mind that traveling with a roof rack and goods may need slower speeds for safety reasons. Some items promise to be more aerodynamic than others, so if fuel efficiency is important to you, pay particular attention to the aerodynamics of a roof rack.
Teardrop-shaped crossbars, in our experience, are significantly quieter than square or round tubing, which very likely translates to improved mileage.
My final decision is the Yakima JetStream Aerodynamic Crossbars. For multiple reasons, the Yakima seals the deal on my personal list. First of all, it barely reduces my car’s mileage and doesn’t even begin to produce any wind noise. Frankly, I don’t even notice that I have a roof rack on my car, as it performs normally.
Secondly, the lifetime guarantee is a huge bonus. Knowing that this product is under warranty while using it gives the user some peace of mind. It definitely is a more expensive choice, but in my opinion, at its price point, it’s worth the quality.