5 Best Model 3 Roof Boxes That Can Accommodate Your Gear

By Zac Ludicrous •  Updated: 02/10/22 •  11 min read

Why limit the amount of stuff you can carry inside your Model 3 when you can put a roof box on your car and throw extra cargo there? There are several things you can do to optimize the use of your Model 3, so don’t worry about its limited storage capabilities.

But before installing a roof box, you need a roof rack. 

Like the Model S and Model X, the Model 3 has a glass roof, which makes installing a roof rack seem impossible. 

But not anymore. Tesla has finally developed an OEM roof rack for the Model 3 that blends seamlessly with the vehicle and allows you to mount attachments such as cargo boxes.

Now that rooftop cargo boxes can easily be installed on the Model 3, let’s take a look at the best ones out there to help you pick which one perfectly fits your needs.

But before making a decision, do you really need a roof box?

Why Do You Need a Roof Box

It’s pretty simple. Roof cargo boxes are built to carry extra storage that cannot be carried inside your car, frunk, or trunk. The roof of your Model 3 provides extra space, so if you have a lot of stuff to carry, especially during long road trips and outdoor adventures with your family or friends, a roof box will surely come in handy.

Most roof cargo boxes are designed to carry up to 165 pounds depending on their size, but you have to check the cargo box manufacturer for the actual weight limit.

Quick Summary: Our Top Picks for Model 3 Roof Boxes
IMAGEPRODUCT
Yakima SkyBox Aerodynamic
  • 100% American made
  • Trusted and proven brand in the Tesla community
  • Dual-sided opening
VIEW ON AMAZON →
Thule Force XT Rooftop Cargo Box
  • One of the leading brands
  • Quick-mount system
  • Catchy design and aerodynamic
VIEW ON AMAZON →
INNO BRA1210BK Shadow 16
  • Made in Japan and is proven high-quality
  • Low-profile and a perfect fit for the Model 3
  • Has universal crossbar compatibility
VIEW ON AMAZON →
Thule Pulse Rooftop Cargo Box
  • Well-known and trusted brand
  • Available in 4 different sizes
  • Fits 5–7 pairs of skis/3–5 snowboards (up to 215 cm)
VIEW ON AMAZON →
SportRack Vista XL Rear Opening Cargo Box
  • Unique design and opening
  • Large capacity on space and weight
  • Fits most rack systems
VIEW ON AMAZON →
best roof box for model 3
Credit to Greg Foltz

Best Model 3 Roof Boxes

After comparing more than three dozen roof boxes used by Tesla owners, I came up with the five best roof boxes for the Model 3. 

Best Overall:

Yakima SkyBox Aerodynamic

Yakima is arguably the leader in roof boxes when talking about the Model 3 and Model Y. They have cargo boxes in different types and designs, but the SkyBox is always mentioned in Tesla forums and social media groups. 

The Yakima SkyBox is easy to install, and its SuperLatch™ security ensures that its lid is tight and secure.

Made of high-quality ABS plastic, Yakima roof boxes are proudly American made, being manufactured in Riverside, California. 

“I just installed a Yakima Skybox 12 on my Model 3 and aside from the increased WH/Mile, which is normal due to additional drag, there are no significant issues with range.” 

Daniel Cambay

The SkyBox opens on both sides for easy access and is available in five sizes: Lo, 12, 16, 18, and 21 cubic feet.

If you are planning to bring your snowboards and skis of up to 185 cm, no problem stuffing them inside the SkyBox. It can fit gear for up to three campers.

The only drawback of this product is that it is in high demand and always on limited stocks. Also, if you are buying directly from the Yakima website and you are from Alaska or Hawaii, you are out of luck as they do not ship to these states. You have to contact a local dealer.

“Skybox 15 for me is the best bang for the buck. It is easy to clean and scratch-free. I got mine in November 2020 and it fits perfectly.”

mT3Silvia

Pros

Cons

✅ 100% American made
✅ Trusted and proven brand in the Tesla community
✅ Dual-sided opening
✅ Available in five sizes

❌ Limited supply due to high demand

Runner-Up:

Thule Force XT Rooftop Cargo Box

Thule Force XT is probably the coolest-looking box the brand has ever made. The sonic alpine finish turns heads with its high-gloss aerodynamic top. 

The top portion is made of an acrylic cap to give it a shiny look. They also put a UV package in it for weatherability and resistance to the sun. 

The bottom of the cargo box is made of utility-grade all-purpose acrylic. Its aerodynamic shape is designed to reduce drag for better mileage.

The Thule Force XT Rooftop Cargo Box is available only in one size, 18.5 x 90.5 x 35.5 inches, and has a total storage capacity of 22 cubic feet. It is bigger than its sister, Thule Pulse Rooftop Cargo Box (also included in this list), which has a maximum of 14 cubic feet of space.

The LED lights on both sides have motion sensors and will turn off after 30 seconds without any motion. The internal tie downs have straps to stabilize the cargo inside.

Here’s a video of the installation process from The Tesla Swede YouTube channel: 

Just 3 minutes of quick and easy to do tutorial, wow!

Pros

Cons

✅ One of the leading brands
✅ Quick-mount system
✅ Catchy design and aerodynamic

❌ Available only in one size
❌ Thule is a premium brand, so expect higher cost compared with other competitors

Best Budget Option:

INNO BRA1210BK Shadow 16 

If you are looking for a smaller roof box to keep your dirty and wet gear out of your car, the INNO BRA1210BK Shadow 16 Low Profile Cargo Box fits the bill. This box is designed for people who don’t need a tall roof cargo box or something that is heavy when empty. It perfectly fits the Model 3. 

I love the Innorack box because it is slim and stylish. It also looks aerodynamic with a smooth finish so if matching colors with your car is your thing, you can wrap it easily!

Perry Knowk

Because the box is slim and small, driving your Model 3 with the INNO box on the roof is like driving without it as there is not much of a difference. The noise is also minimal due to its aerodynamic design. The lid fits perfectly, so the inside is always dry during the rainy season.

Although the INNO BRA1210BK Shadow 16 is low-profile, it can hold six snowboards (or eight skis or two surfboards) and two pairs of boots and other smaller gears, making it the ideal rooftop box for hiking and skiing.

The box comes with simple but adequate installation instructions, so anyone, even non-technical owners, could install it seamlessly.

Pros

Cons

✅ Made in Japan and is proven high-quality
✅ Low-profile and a perfect fit for the Model 3
✅ Has universal crossbar compatibility
✅ Dual-side opening

❌ Not recommended for heavy and bulk cargo

Premium Choice:

Thule Pulse Rooftop Cargo Box

Thule is one of the most popular brands when it comes to roof cargo boxes, racks, and other outdoor and transportation products, and its Pule Rooftop Cargo Box is one of its leading products.

It is currently available in two different sizes, 14 cubic feet and 11 cubic feet.

One of the unique features of the Thule Pulse is its PowerClick Quick-Mount System. The integrated torque indicator prevents you from breaking the plastic when the needed torque is reached as it clicks, telling you to stop tightening during the installation process.

Thule rooftop cargo boxes are often compared with Yakima in terms of quality, and many Tesla owners are recommending the brand.

Similar to the Thule Force XT, the Thule Pulse is also easy to install and comes with a complete installation guide.

Pros

Cons

✅ Well-known and trusted brand
✅ Available in 4 different sizes
✅ Fits 5–7 pairs of skis/3–5 snowboards (up to 215 cm)
✅ Quick-mount system

❌ Not for people looking for cheaper options

Notable Mention:

SportRack Vista XL Rear Opening Cargo Box

SportRack Vista XL is a product you probably rarely hear about, but its unique design and opening make the product worth including in this list.

With 18 cubic feet of inside space, the roof box can carry lots of outdoor equipment like camping gears, tents, and even skis and has a total maximum weight capacity of 45 kilograms.

What makes this rooftop cargo box stand out is its rear opening that puts you away from traffic harm’s way when opening or loading something alongside the road.

SportRack Vista XL fits all SportRack roof rack systems and other factory racks. Just check the fit guide first before buying for a perfect fit.

Pros

Cons

✅ Unique design and opening
✅ Large capacity on space and weight
✅ Fits most rack systems

❌ The rear opening might not be for everyone, especially for shorter people

Buying Guide and FAQs

If you haven’t bought or used a roof cargo box before, answers to the following questions might help you more in deciding what product to buy and knowing how to use and take care of your cargo box.

Should I buy a roof box or just rent?

It depends on your needs. If you always use it, then it’s better to buy. If you seldom use it, like two to three times a year, I suggest you rent one.

Roof bag or roof box, which one should I buy?

Roof boxes and roof bags have different uses. Roof boxes are sturdy and water-resistant and can store longer objects like skis and snowboards. Roof bags are good for smaller items like shoes, clothes, and other camping equipment like sleeping bags and kitchen aids. Again, what to buy depends on what you need.

Can I install a roof box in a rented Model 3?

Check your leasing agreement or call your provider to verify. 

There are some who may allow it, but considering the Model 3’s roof is made of glass, some may still perceive it as a higher risk.

Are all roof boxes waterproof?

Most roof boxes are designed to keep your stuff dry, but there are some in which rain can slip through their opening, so check the reviews first or make sure you buy a product that has a cover that fits well. Also, confirm with the dealer if the product is totally waterproof.

Do I need a roof rack to install a cargo box?

Yes, a roof rack is needed to install a cargo box. All the five products we mentioned above have their own brand of roof racks, so it is always better to go with a product recommended by the roof box manufacturer.

How difficult or easy is it to install a roof box?

Installing a roof box is easy and not that complicated. Most products come with installation instructions, and even if you are not technically inclined, you will find the installation instructions easy to follow.

Does a roof box affect my insurance?

Since you are adding extra cargo on top, it can. Better ask your insurance company or tell them that you are using a roof box.

How do I clean my roof box?

Cleaning a roof box is easy using water and soap. The best way is to remove it first to drain it easily. You can also use Polytrol for sun damage.

Are roof boxes safe?

Yes, if it is mounted correctly. If not installed correctly, it can be detached while you are driving and can cause accidents or damage to other vehicles.

Can a roof box increase my battery usage?

Since roof boxes increase drag a little bit, yes, it can affect your battery usage, but there are other techniques on how to minimize it and increase efficiency like flipping it around. It is described in detail here.

What can I put in a roof box?

You can put almost everything, from clothes to outdoor equipment, skis, snowboards, golf clubs, and other gear that can be carried as long as it is not longer than your roof box and it doesn’t exceed its capacity.

Can I have a carwash with a roof box attached?

No. You have to remove your roof box before getting a car wash. This can damage both your car and the roof box. There are metals on your roof box, and the car wash can cause rust. Water can also slip inside the box and stay inside, soaking your stuff.

Can I install a bike rack beside a roof box?

If you have enough space, yes. Many people are doing this as long as your cargo is not heavy enough. But if you have 45 kilograms of cargo already inside your box, I recommend not. The roof rack has a maximum capacity, and too much weight can damage your roof rack or, worse, your glass roof.

Final Thoughts: Best Roof Box For Model 3

Whatever your life’s adventures, roof boxes can add much-needed storage space to your Model 3 so you don’t have to leave useful and important items behind.

For the best all-around rooftop box for the Model 3, go for the Yakima SkyBox Aerodynamic. 

Not only is it a favorite of the Tesla community for its proven quality, but it is popular among other vehicle owners as well, which says a lot about the product.

However, if you are shopping on a budget but still want a quality roof box, consider the INNO BRA1210BK Shadow 16.

Zac Ludicrous

Mechanical engineer by profession. TSLA shareholder before the hype. EV enthusiast all day long. Zac enjoys learning about the future of battery technology, autonomy, and EVs. He considers Tesla Model 3 the most important vehicle of the 21st century -- and is in a quest to improve the ownership experience of every Model 3 owner he possibly can.

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