The 4 Best Roof Racks for Cars without Rails

Getting a roof rack for your car will open a world of possibilities if you’re into the outdoors. 

You’ll be able to haul your bike, snowboard, kayak, or even a roof box if you wish. They’re a great upgrade. 

But finding the best option for you can take a little bit of work. Not to worry! There are some great values available. 

Let’s take a look at the 4 best roof racks for cars without rails:

1. MPH 2Pcs 49" (125cm) Universal Fit Oval Black Adjustable Aluminum Window Frame Roof Rack Rail Cross Bars Utility Cargo Carrier 3 Pairs Mounting Clamps

Speaking of value, this is our number one choice. For a more affordable price point than similar models, you get a solid steel setup. 

This has different mounting brackets to fit every roof type. So if you end up needing to put this on another vehicle, chances are it will fit. 

The adjustment knobs on the side lock into place when you’ve got them set properly. And this grips under your door frame. That’s the most common method of attachment for universal racks.

All mounting hardware is included. This is rated up to 150lbs. So it’ll be strong enough for your bikes or even a roof box. Overall we think this is our favorite when you factor in the price!

2. SportRack Complete Roof Rack System, Black

The SportRack is a solid choice for any car owner. But make sure to check their fit guide.

If they have soemthing for you, great. Then the SportRack is one of the most popular universal rack options. There is a handy fit guide we’ve included below that you should check before making an order. 

This can hold up to 130 lbs and is a tool free install. This is black painted steel. Aluminum might be the superior outdoor metal for its resistance to water, but it doesn’t have the strength that a roof rack needs. Which is why most of these options will be steel.

Just make sure as you use your racks that you paint over any metal that gets paint chipped off! Rust is metal’s worst enemy. 

3. Seah Hardware Universal Roof Rack Cross-Bars 2 PC. 48 Inches

When you see how affordable this Seah roof rack is, chances are it’ll bring you a smile.

This is perfect for those of you who aren’t going to use your rack heavily but still need it for a few trips a year with how quickly it’s able to be removed. 

This is a tension fit. Those straps fit under your roof onto the interior of your car. It’s an interesting setup with extremely favorable reception. The actual crossbar component is made of steel.

Setups is extremely simple and should take you under ten minutes. This is strong enough to carry a roof box. 

4. HandiRack Universal Inflatable Roof Rack Bars (Black); Tie-downs Included; Fits Most Cars and SUVs

An inflatable roof rack is a neat innovation!

Handirack has made a temporary solution that uses air to protect your hood from that heavy gear. A kayak will fit on your vehicle easily after install. 

This is similar to Seah’s rack in that it tightens underneath your roof. Although it’s slightly more expensive. This comes with a pump for when you need it. For us, we think Seah’s rack has a similar purpose and is a bit cheaper. 

But if you’re carrying a kayak it seems to work great. 


What can I use a roof rack for?

A roof rack is the base for other mounts to add functionality to your car. Once you have a roof rack you can for example, purchase a kayak mount. All the accessory mounts first require a roof rack. Once you have it, you’re set. 

That’s why it is so important to get one that has a decent load capacity. We recommend avoiding plastic components or overly cheap options unless you just need it for a couple of uses.

If you aren’t comfortable mounting your bicycle on your roof there are many trunk carrying options as well. Some include a hitch and some don’t. We have an article on that here!

Should I get a roof box for my roof rack?

A roof box is a great addition for those who plan to go camping or want to carry their snowboard safely for example. They are pretty expensive though. 

Just because you have a roof rack doesn’t mean you need the priciest option. There are cargo bags you can strap to your hood for that extra carrying space as well. 

They’re much much MUCH more affordable as a roof box as well.


Hopefully, this guide helped you to make up your mind on a roof rack for your vehicle. There are plenty of great options here and it’s a very useful addition to any vehicle. Now you can strap on your roof box and set up a campfire!

For us, we think the MPH carrier is the best value for long term use, but the Seah Hardware is also a nice affordable option.

Whatever you choose, let us know how it works out for you. Thank you for stopping by, we appreciate our readers. 


I'm the owner of Beast Auto. I live in Phoenix, Arizona. I love anything automotive related, and taking road trips all across my beautiful state.

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