In this article, we take a closer look at the best roof racks for your Subaru Forester.
We tested and compared a lot of the highest rated roof racks out there, looking for the absolute best ones for Subaru Foresters. We considered features like the build quality, load capacity, and even the design of each rack to make our recommendations.
Our top contender is MaxxHaul’s steel roof rack for Subaru Foresters. This rack combines the best of all worlds with a durable build, sturdy fit and great load capacity.
If you’re not sure which of the hundreds of roof racks is best for your Subaru Forester, don’t worry. We have over a decade’s worth of experience testing and reviewing vehicle accessories and can help you make the most worthwhile choice.
Keep reading for more information about the best roof racks for the Subaru Forester.
MaxxHaul Steel Roof Rack
This alloy steel roof rack from Maxxhaul is a jack of all trades. It features a robust build, impressive load capacity, and plenty of space to carry cargo on your Subaru Forester.
Tubed alloy steel is used for this roof rack’s construction. It has also been treated with a special black powder coating that eliminates the threat of rusting and corrosion. So feel free to park your Subaru Forester in the driveway or in the swimming pool, because this rack won’t rust.
The low weight is another great feature of this roof rack. It makes it a lot simpler and faster to mount it onto the Subaru Forester. It also frees up more space to store cargo and heavy equipment securely.
Speaking of loading up the roof rack, it is rated for a good 150 lbs of weight. That is already pretty good and easily accommodates stuff like suitcases, coolers, camping equipment, etc. But our testing found that you can load even more weight if you distribute it evenly over the Subaru Outback’s roof.
Installation is a breeze thanks to the lightweight build but also the inclusion of U-bolts. The U-bolts are capped in thick rubber, helping keep your cargo more secure at speed. Our stress testing of the rack did not find any creaking, shifting or weird noises.
The rack comes fully assembled with all of the necessary mounting hardware included in the box. It will bolt right on to your Subaru Forester, and we did not need more than 20 minutes to get it ready for action.
Maxxhaul gave a lot of thought to the aerodynamics of this roof rack. It is designed to be sleek, despite the larger size. The low profile shape does a good job of reducing wind resistance and drag. We did not notice any wind noise in the Subaru Forester’s interior and there was no significant drop in fuel mileage.
We’ve raved enough about this roof rack. But there is one slight issue we found. Specifically, the branding on the front is a bit large and looks out of place on the Subaru Forester. Other than that, it is a solid roof rack.
- Tubed alloy steel construction
- U-bolts provide a secure fit
- Two different sizes offered
- Easy installation with cross bars
- Rust resistant finish
- 150 lbs load capacity
- Universal fit design
- Roof rack comes fully assembled
- All mounting hardware included
- Branding on the front is a bit loud
Universal Roof Rack Crossbars by StayThere
The StayThere universal roof rack is another one of our favourites for the Subaru Forester. This unassuming roof rack is surprisingly heavy duty and has an impressive load capacity. The affordable price is also really appealing.
It may look a bit flimsy at first, but this rack is a wolf in sheep’s clothing. It uses high quality aluminium for most of the build, cutting weight and adding rigidity. The result is a more durable rack with great fitment.
Aluminium is also corrosion resistant, so you won’t have to worry about the rack attracting rust. Moreover, this rack just looks a bit sexier with its metallic finish and low profile design that fits right in with the Subaru Forester’s roofline.
At first, we didn’t expect much from this budget roof rack, but it really surprised us. The load capacity is rated for 200 lbs, which is on the higher side for Subaru Forester roof racks. That load capacity enables you to load up heavier stuff like luggage, professional equipment, and anything else you can think of on your Subaru Forester.
And all that from a roof rack that barely weighs 8 lbs? We almost spit out our coffee!
Moving on to installation, we can report that this universal roof rack is one of the easiest to get up and running. It does not require any drilling or other major modification to the Subaru Forester’s bodywork and you won’t need more than 10 minutes to get it installed.
Now, let’s talk about aerodynamics. The StayThere rack seems to have taken inspiration from the world of motorsport because this roof rack would look right at home on Lewis Hamilton’s F1 race car.
The perfectly shaped curves reduce air resistance and drag. We did not hear any excessive wind noise inside the Subaru Forester’s interior either. Fuel mileage was not affected enough to be of any consequence.
We also appreciated the locking mechanism this roof rack is outfitted with. It ensures a more secure fit and also discourages curious lowlives. Rubber inserts are a nice addition that give the rack more grip while also protecting your Subaru Forester’s paintwork from scratches and dents.
Finally, we are huge fans of universal racks like this. Not only will it fit most models of Subaru Forester, it will be a more snug fit thanks to the adjustable size.
- Aluminium construction
- Only weighs about 8 lbs
- Over 200 lbs load capacity
- No rusting or corrosion
- Easy installation
- Aerodynamic design
- No wind noise
- No excess drag
- Lockable design
- Rubber inserts for scratchless fitment
- Adjustable fit
- Fits almost all Corolla models
- Only one colour available
Leader Accessories Upgraded Roof Rack
Leader Accessories’ Upgraded roof rack delivers a lot of utility. It is very well built and also takes aerodynamics into account. The larger surface area is ideal for carrying even irregularly shaped items on the Subaru Forester.
This rack opts for high strength alloy steel that is further reinforced for added durability. We would have liked to see aluminium at this price point but alloy steel works quite well. It provides a firm and secure fit with the Subaru Forester, giving us a lot of peace of mind.
Rusting is a major concern with alloy steel, but Leader Accessories address that with a black powder coating. This keeps the alloy steel from rusting and also reduces the appearance of scratches on the rack. And personally, we think it just looks cool on the Subaru Forester.
The luggage carrier is larger and more spacious than most other options for the Subaru Forester. Whether you are going on a weekend camping trip or a cross country haul, you won’t run out of space with this rack.
Loading capacity is also really impressive. The manufacturer rates this for around 150 lbs, but we used even distribution and secure luggage ties to our advantage and loaded up even more weight onto the Subaru Foretser.
Doing so, we did not notice any bending or flexing, and the whole rack stayed secure even at speed.
This carrier is larger than the average Subaru Forester roof rack, so you might be concerned about aerodynamics. But it uses a unique wind deflector piece up front, reducing drag and wind resistance. Moreover, we did not notice any buffeting at speed, and there was no wind noise in the Subaru Forester’s interior.
We did notice an unremarkable drop in mileage of around 0.3 miles per gallon, but that really shouldn’t be a deal breaker.
Installing the Leader Accessories rack onto the Subaru Forester is a piece of cake. You are provided with all of the necessary equipment in the box and no drilling or cutting of the Subaru Forester’s body work is required. We appreciate the inclusion of U-bolts which make the whole process so much simpler.
So to sum up, this is one of the best racks you can buy for the Subaru Forester. It is well built with plenty of space for cargo, it is easy to install and gives you very secure fitment.
- Alloy steel design
- Black powder coat
- Corrosion resistant
- Larger cargo area
- Integrated wind deflector
- No wind resistance or noise in the cabin
- Easy to install
- 150 lbs load capacity
- U-Bolts for easier mounting
- Slight drop in mileage
YITAMOTOR Roof Rack Cross Bars
Here we have an awesome roof rack for the Subaru Forester that features a high quality build and impressive load capacity. It also undercuts the competition when it comes to price.
We liked the build of Yitamotor’s Subaru Forester roof rack. It is mostly made of aluminium with some plastic bits here and there for adjustability. The aluminium construction keeps this roof rack pretty lightweight. It also allows the rack to be more compact, freeing up space for your luggage.
Aluminium does not rust or corrode as easily as steel and other materials. This is especially useful for you if you need to park your Subaru Forester out in the driveway where it could get rained on.
This roof rack is shaped to cut through the air as easily as possible. As such, our Suaru Forester did not experience too much air resistance with it installed. Wind noise was also low, though we did get a slight whistling sound in the Subaru Forester’s interior sometimes.
Load capacity is rated for around 150 lbs. We were able to load suitcases, surfboards, fishing equipment, and so much more onto the rack without it bending or showing signs of strain.
The installation process is where we hit a bit of a snag. While it is easy to mount onto the Subaru Forester thanks to the low weight, we did experience some confusion with the included instructions. However, we did not need to drill into the car or do any other major mods. All said and done, we had the rack ready to go in about 30 minutes.
There are soft rubber pads integrated into the aluminium bars. These help keep the racks in place, while also providing a less abrasive contact point with the Subaru Forester’s paintwork.
We also appreciate the stainless steel screws which keep the rack firmly in place on top of the Subaru Forester. Even fully loaded up and driving at highway speed, the rack did not shift or move around on top of our Forester.
So that’s the Yitamotor roof rack for Subaru Foresters. It is well built and budget friendly, and keeps your luggage secure. It isn’t the quickest to install, but is well worth the wait.
- Aluminium construction
- High quality ABS plastic components
- Lightweight and durable
- No wind resistance
- 150 lbs load capacity
- Rubber inserts add a lot of grip
- Stainless steel screws for better fitment
- Installation is relatively quick
- Budget friendly
- Instructions are not easy to follow
MOSTPLUS Roof Rack Cross Bar
Mostplus is a company that makes some of our favourite vehicle accessories and their roof rack for the Subaru Forester continues that trend. It is a well built piece of hardware that brings a lot of utility to the table.
When it comes to build quality, Mostplus keeps on impressing us. Here we have another well built aluminium roof rack that manages to be lightweight and rigid at the same time. Besides structural rigidity, the aluminium build also makes this roof rack rust proof.
The heavy duty clamps used here make for a very secure and firm fit with the Subaru Forester’s roof. They keep the rack in place even when it is fully loaded up and the Subaru Forester is moving at highway speed. We did not experience any bending or flexing and the cargo stayed in place even around tight turns.
Installing this roof rack on the Subaru Forester is very straightforward and won’t require professional work. All of the mounting hardware is already provided in the box and there is no need for drilling or cutting of the Subaru Forester’s panels. All we needed was a screwdriver and some music to pass the time (The Weeknd’s new album has been on non stop repeat for us!)
Now let’s talk about the load capacity. Mostplus rate their roof rack for around 150 lbs. Again, with some creative packaging, you can get away with a bit more, though we wouldn’t recommend going too far over the limit.
Aerodynamics are just as important as structural rigidity or load capacity when it comes to roof racks. And that is one area where this roof rack for the Subaru Forester disappointed us just a bit. While the design is very low profile and compact, allowing for more cargo space, it comes at the cost of some wind noise in the Subaru Forester’s cabin. We got a persistent low droning sound in the cabin over 75 mph.
Other than that, there was no air resistance or buffeting, and our Subaru Forester’s mileage was virtually unaffected. Soft rubber padding keeps your Subie’s paint work pristine and your cargo contained. One drawback is that this roof rack is only really meant for Subaru Forester models from 2014 to 2019.
- Aluminium build
- Lightweight design
- Rust proof
- Heavy duty clamps
- No shifting of rack at speed
- 150 lbs load capacity
- Rubber feet for added grip and security
- Easy to install
- No drilling or cutting required
- All mounting hardware is included in the box
- No wind resistance or buffeting
- Only compatible with 2014-2019 models