Minivans were designed to offer the ultimate in convenience and space. Whether you’re planning a minivan camper conversion or just need to use your vehicle for hauling adventure gear, installing a roof rack can make all the difference.
Still, deciding on which roof rack is the best option for your needs can be a stressful experience. Don’t worry, though — we’ve compiled a list of the best minivan roof racks we could find.
Below, you’ll find a range of different choices, from simple, affordable crossbars to fantastic gear carriers. We’ll also go over some of the things you should take into consideration as you’re shopping around.
What is a Minivan Roof Rack?
This might seem like a dumb question, but there are all different types of minivan roof racks, so it’s worth investigating. For starters, there’s a big difference between roof rails and roof racks.
Roof rails are a common sight on many cars, SUVs and minivans — they’re those raised ridges that run from the front to the rear of the vehicle. On the other hand, a roof rack usually comprises crossbars that run across the width of the vehicle. What’s more, crossbar roof racks often attach to roof rails.
In all cases, a minivan roof rack will give you a ton more cargo space, which is especially important if your vehicle is your tiny home on wheels! However, unlike a Sprinter van roof rack, which is more of a platform, a minivan roof rack won’t give you the option of having a deck.
That said, a cargo basket roof rack will give you the option of storing luggage, water canisters, and just about anything else you can think of, so we’ve included a couple of options below.
Our Top 3 Minivan Roof Rack Picks
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The Best Minivan Roof Racks
Yakima is known as one of the industry leaders among manufacturers of vehicle racks and gear storage solutions. For good reason, too — these guys have decades of experience and consistently produce durable, high-quality rack systems.
The Yakima JetStream crossbars are made from lightweight aluminum and feature an aerodynamic teardrop shape. That’ll really reduce noise and drag when you’re cruising down the freeway.
Available in three different sizes, these crossbars work with all the gear mounts and attachments that Yakima produces. Still, you’ll have to purchase mounting towers separately. What’s more, if your minivan doesn’t have factory-installed rails, installing the JetStream crossbars might take a little more time, effort, and money.
You’ve most likely heard of Thule, seeing as its roof racks and cargo boxes are among the most popular options out there. Thule products are relatively expensive, but it’s a case of really getting what you pay for!
The Thule AeroBlade rack system is another crossbar type roof rack that’s been designed to reduce noise and drag. Essentially, that means your fuel economy won’t take a huge hit with these bars installed. Plus, the Thule AeroBlade is incredibly strong, thanks to a specially designed internal structure.
Unlike the Yakima roof rack above, the AeroBlade comes with a pre-assembled foot, so mounting the thing to your vehicle’s roof rails shouldn’t cause any major headaches. What’s really cool is the included AcuTight Tensioning Tool, which indicates when the rack is properly and securely attached. Finally, Thule offers an extensive range of compatible accessories, including cargo boxes, baskets, and rooftop tents.
If you imagined a roof rack for your minivan would have to cost the earth, think again! Sure, Amazon’s in-house roof rack system isn’t going to be as advanced as a Yakima or Thule product. Still, if simple, straightforward, and effective is what you’re after, look no further.
Made from sturdy and lightweight aluminum, these crossbars can handle a load up to 165 pounds, which is pretty impressive. Plus, you’ll get a built-in locking system so you won’t have to worry about the roof rack getting stolen.
The Amazon Basics roof rack comes in two sizes, and should work with most minivans. That said, you’ll need to have factory-installed rails with enough of a gap between the rail and the roof.
Seeing as this roof rack is so inexpensive, it shouldn’t come as a surprise that installation can be quite tricky. However, we think this is an awesome product if you’re on a tight budget.
You’d be forgiven for thinking that an inflatable roof rack seems like an entirely questionable idea. However, the HandiRack really does work! In fact, this is one of the most popular roof racks out there.
Made from high-quality, rugged nylon, the HandiRack comes with everything you need (including a pump), and can be inflated and installed in just a few minutes.
This inflatable roof rack uses sturdy straps to attach to your vehicle, and there are D ring anchor points to help you secure your cargo. Best of all, the HandiRack has a maximum weight capacity of 175 pounds, making it ideal for transporting kayaks, bikes, and other adventure gear.
We love the HandiRack, and think it’s a great solution for those who need a simple and affordable roof rack
In an effort to improve aerodynamics, most roof rack manufacturers have moved away from square-shaped crossbars. However, this type of design definitely has its advantages when you need to safely transport all kinds of outdoor sports gear.
The SportRack Complete Roof Rack System features flat surfaces, and comes completely pre-assembled and ready to install. There are multiple variations available, many of which require no roof rails. Instead, the versatile hook and foot system can attach straight to the roof of your vehicle with no drilling needed. Plus, there’s even a built-in locking mechanism.
Featuring durable stainless steel construction and a 130-pound weight capacity, the SportRack roof rack is a great option. Moreover, this rack system works with a variety of accessories, including bike racks, ski and snowboard racks, and cargo bags and boxes.
Although the SeaSucker Monkey Bar Roof System is the most expensive roof rack on our list, it’s also one of the most innovative we’ve ever seen.
Made from rugged powder coated aluminum, this adjustable roof rack will fit on just about any vehicle. The system is based on 6-inch SeaSucker vacuum mounts, which can be moved to any position. This makes the Monkey Bar roof rack extremely versatile. Plus, installation is a breeze — you simply position the roof rack where you want it and create a seal.
The SeaSucker Monkey Bar comes with all the hardware needed, and works with a wide range of other accessories. You may experience some noise and drag, but users have reported that this isn’t too bad. Also, it’s a good idea to routinely check the vacuum seal, just in case.
Available in two sizes, this awesome rooftop cargo basket is made from heavy-duty powder coated steel. If you’re looking for a ton of extra storage space for your minivan, the MaxxHaul roof rack is definitely going to deliver.
The MaxxHaul can be attached to most crossbars, thanks to the simple U-bolts. Plus, all the assembly and mounting hardware is included, so installing this thing should be pretty straightforward.
We love the MaxxHaul’s aerodynamic design and weatherproof materials. What’s more, with a maximum weight capacity of 150 pounds, this roof rack is ideal for large items like a cargo bag.
The Rhino Rack XTray is another metal rack that’ll add a ton of extra storage space to your minivan. We happen to love the sleek aesthetics of this roof rack, and it’ll definitely enhance your vehicle’s vibe!
Like the MaxxHaul, this cargo basket features universal mounting, so it should attach to your vehicle’s crossbars. Thanks to its two-piece construction, the X-ray is easy to install, and its durable black powder coating means it’ll be weather and scratch resistant.
A cool feature of this lightweight and solid cargo rack is its removable wind deflector. This not only improves aerodynamic performance but also protects your cargo and minivan camping gear from dirt and bugs.
If you’re on the lookout for a versatile solution for transporting water sport gear, the INNO rack might be the way to go. This awesome gear rack can be used to carry surfboards, kayaks, canoes, and more. Plus, you’ll get cool board pads to help protect your stuff.
INNO is a Japanese company with over 30 years experience in the rack and gear accessory sector, and it definitely shows. Seriously, the INNO rack is extremely well-designed. The floating strap system makes it easy to load and unload your gear, and the ratcheting straps tighten with integrated hand knobs. Add in the integrated locking system, and you can be sure your boards will be safe.
The INNO rack features a universal mount system, so it can be used with square, round, aero, and factory-mounted crossbars. Everything is really nicely padded, so all your adventure gear will be protected from scratches and dents.
If you’re looking for a straightforward and inexpensive storage solution for non-bulky items, you might want to consider Rightline Gear’s range of rooftop carriers. Rather than a roof rack, these are simply gear bags that attach to your car’s roof rails. That said, you can attach the Car Top Carrier to a roof rack if you have one installed.
These awesome gear bags come in a variety of sizes, so you’re sure to find one that works. Even better, the Rightline Gear Car Top Carrier is fully waterproof and weatherproof. In fact, the urethane-coated zipper and PVC semi-coated mesh material ensure that zero moisture will find its way inside.
How To Choose a Minivan Roof Rack
As we’ve already seen, there are tons of options when it comes to minivan roof racks. That means it can quickly get overwhelming when you’re trying to decide which roof rack to buy. Never fear, though — we’ve come up with a list of things to consider so that you’ll be better equipped to make an informed decision!
Obviously, price is usually the number one consideration when you’re thinking of buying anything. That is unless money’s no object. In that case, feel free to skip ahead! In any case, minivan roof racks range in price from super affordable to really quite pricey.
You’ll likely pay more for a roof rack with a specialized aerodynamic design, especially if it’s produced by a big-name manufacturer. Still, if you don’t mind a little noise and drag, there are tons of options available. Don’t forget that you may have to spend extra on mounting accessories, depending on your vehicle and the roof rack you end up going with.
It almost goes without saying that you’ll need to precisely measure your minivan’s roof before you purchase a roof rack. Not only that, you’ll need to measure your factory roof rails if you’re going with a roof rack that’s rail-mounted. Don’t forget to take any rooftop vent fans or solar panels into consideration — those will impact the type of roof rack you can use.
Any roof rack will add weight to your vehicle, so choose carefully if that’s a concern. There are plenty of lightweight aluminum options on our list, and these will definitely have less impact on your fuel economy than steel racks.
Aside from thinking about the weight capacity of your roof rack, you’ll need to determine your minivan’s maximum payload capacity. Whatever the number, don’t forget that it includes all cargo and passengers. For the most part, minivan roof racks can carry between 130 and 180 pounds, which should be enough. With that said, you will need to evenly distribute the weight.
If you’re looking for a simple crossbar-style roof rack, there are multiple options in terms of design. As we already mentioned, a teardrop design will likely cost more, whereas some folks prefer the versatility of a square design. Either way, you’ll likely want a roof rack that’ll enhance the look of your vehicle while performing well.
As we already mentioned, an aluminum frame is going to be lighter than a stainless steel roof rack. However, aluminum isn’t going to be as sturdy and durable. In most situations, aluminum will work for your needs, but if you’re going to bed hauling really heavy-duty gear, we’d recommend a stainless steel roof rack.
Ease of Installation
Taking ease of installation into account really comes down to how much effort you’re willing to put in and how permanent you want the roof rack to be. Some roof racks can be easily removed and reinstalled, meaning you don’t always have to suffer any potential negative fuel economy effects.
On the flip side, there are roof racks that need to be permanently installed to your minivan’s roof. Of course, this won’t be an issue if you’ll be using the roof rack every day, but if it’s just for weekend surfing trips, you’re perhaps better off with an affordable option like the HandiRack.
For the most part, roof racks give you the opportunity to add on loads of different accessories. From cargo boxes to bike racks, there’s so much your roof rack can carry! However, not all racks will offer the compatibility you need, so make sure to check beforehand. Figuring this out just means you’ll need to plan ahead — decide which accessories you might want to have in the future, and take it from there.
Conclusion on the Best Minivan Roof Racks
We hope you’ve found this guide to the best minivan roof racks useful. Whether you need a way to transport bikes, snowboards, or just create a little extra room inside your minivan camper, you should be able to find a great option on our list.
Just make sure to do your research before buying, seeing as not all racks will work with every minivan. Also, pay close attention to your vehicle’s maximum payload rating!