Roof racks help you get the most out of your Toyota Tacoma. Skiing, kayaking, biking, or just loading up the top of your car for a move or an adventure will be easier with roof racks.
Even the roomiest of cars can result in annoying games of Tetris when moving or packing up for your next ski trip.
A secure roof rack eliminates the need for a trailer and lets you quickly and easily carry a load of kayaks, bikes, cargo boxes, cardboard boxes, or anything else you can imagine, whether you’re headed down the highway or over a mountain pass.
Whatever cargo you need to carry, there’s a gear rack solution for you; so many, in fact, that it can be hard to find a rack which fits your car and does exactly what you want it to.
So, here’s our guide to the best roof racks for your Toyota Tacoma, along with some information on what makes each rack a good choice.
|#1||Toyota Genuine PT-278-35170 Roof Rack||14.78 lbs||100 lbs||2014-2016 Tacoma||Read Review||See Price on Amazon|
|#2||Frontrunner Toyota Tacoma Double/Slimline II Cargo Carrier||63.9 lbs||660 lbs||2005-2017||Read Review||See Price on Amazon|
|#3||Curt 18115 Roof Rack Cargo Carrier||29.1 lbs||150 lbs||All||Read Review||See Price on Amazon|
|#4||Rola 59752 Removable Mount GTX Series Roof Rack||10.45 lbs||110 lbs||2005-2013||Read Review||See Price on Amazon|
Selection Criteria: How We Ranked the Best Toyota Tacoma Roof Racks
Roof racks are typically fairly simple, and all of the picks on our list fit the Toyota Tacoma, as well as many other Toyota models. Depending on your needs, any one of these racks will likely work well for you. However, there are some features which may be more or less important to you depending on how you plan to use the rack.
Typically, roof racks are comprised of long, load-bearing bars, risers, and some form of securing and attaching hardware. The most important feature for most people to consider when buying a roof rack is durability.
You definitely don’t want any piece of your rack to fail after repeat use, especially while driving down the freeway. However, if you only need to transport small, specific pieces of gear, it may be worth looking for a less expensive rack with a lower weight rating, since it will still do what you need it to and you can save some money.
Some specific gear – kayaks, bikes, or skis, for example – can work better with specific types of racks. We prioritized versatile, durable racks in our list, but this is still something worth thinking about.
We also looked for racks which would be easy to install and wouldn’t cause damage to the roof or doorways of your vehicles. While different racks attach differently, we looked for options which users report having little difficulty installing and uninstalling.
In short, we ranked our list to prioritize roof racks which would:
- Maximize load bearing and durability
- Minimize resistance/provide an aerodynamic profile
- Maximize value (to get you the most functionality for your dollar)
- Minimize installation difficulty
Research and Reviews
Here’s our list of top roof racks for your Toyota Tacoma, ranked and optimized with the best first.
Our #1 Pick: Toyota Genuine PT-278-35170 Roof Rack
- Weight: 14.78 lbs.
- Capacity: 100 lbs.
- Models: 2014-2016 Tacoma (May also work with other years; results vary)
- High points: comes directly from Toyota, sturdy, easy installation
- Low points: sometimes causes leaking if improperly installed, instructions can be hard to follow
Why it’s our top pick:
This is a long-lasting, secure, and lightweight option. It has a low profile and can carry multiple types of cargo easily, from packages through kayaks. It’s modular, enabling cargo mounts on the sides, top, or bottom of the rack, with cross bars as well as long-way bars.
What the experts say:
Some people do have difficulty installing this rack with the provided instructions, which are hard to follow. However, there are good instructions online, and once you do a little research, installation is fairly straightforward.
The rack feels secure and long-lasting, and works well for a truck bike rack, or for anything from furniture to kayaks. It’s designed for the 2014-2016 model Toyota Tacomas, but is very similar to models for years near these ranges; be cautious when gambling on buying a rack for a model year it isn’t designed for. It can be much less expensive to buy an out-of-date rack, but there’s no guarantee it will fit or work safely.
Features and considerations
The cross bars are plastic. While durable, lightweight, and waterproof, this material does limit the weight capacity of the rack; it’s only rated to 100 lbs., which can limit what you can haul with it.
The installation kit for this rack comes with silicone caps to insulate holes you’ll need to drill in the roof of your vehicle. Use caution when applying these and ensure that the seal is solid to avoid rain leaks.
It comes with over 40 accessories to accommodate virtually any kind of gear, toy, or cargo. The installation kit includes a tray, mounting brackets, and wind deflector. There’s also a limited but lifetime warranty.
The Next Best: Frontrunner Toyota Tacoma Double/Slimline II Cargo Carrier
- Weight: 63 lbs.
- Capacity: 660 lbs.
- Models: 2005-2017
- High Points: High weight capacity, highly versatile, great customer service, very lightweight, no drilling required for installation
- Low Points: Expensive and heavy
Why it’s a top pick
It looks great, works well, and offers virtually unlimited weight capacity. Your car’s weight limits will likely be exceeded before this rack.
In other words, you can safely carry kayaks, canoes, water tanks, surfboards, furniture, etc. without worrying about exceeding the weight limits of the metal.
It’s also easier to install than most other options. In short, this is a highly functional, high-end, easy-to-use rack.
What the reviewers have to say
This is a fan favorite. The company is known for great, responsible customer support over the life of the product. It doesn’t require drilling holes in the roof of your truck, works with a wide range of Toyota Tacoma model years, and has a clever design which enables greater versatility.
It is heavy to ship and install, but this is generally a minor inconvenience at worst. It’s also quite expensive (almost three times as much as our #1 pick), but in many ways, you get what you pay for.
Features and Considerations
One of the major selling points of this rack are the 500+ accessories offered by the company. Right out of the box, this rack is highly functional, since items can be secured at multiple angles.
With the added accessories, there are few items which couldn’t conceivably be secured to this rack. You can also add brackets for light bars. It only works with 2005-2017 Toyota Tacomas, and can sell out at some locations – it’s worth waiting for it to come into stock on Amazon, but this isn’t always possible depending on where you live.
Our Next Favorite: Curt 18115 Roof Rack Cargo Carrier
- Weight: 29.1 lbs.
- Capacity: 150 lbs.
- Model year: any
- High points: Solid construction, holds small cargo well, expandable space, durable and lightweight
- Low points: Doesn’t fit big gear, requires crossbars, can rust.
Why it’s a top pick:
This is a great choice if you need to haul smaller items that won’t fit in your trunk or which would damage the inside of your vehicle. It offers nearly 11 square feet of cargo space and you can expand it even wider. It’s easy to install and works with virtually every model of Toyota Truck.
What the reviewers say:
This is a popular and easy-to-use choice which works well right out of the box. The wind spoiler helps make it more aerodynamic, and it feels very sturdy when installed: once attached, it doesn’t seem to move at all.
The only common complaint is that the inside of the crossbars, since they aren’t powder-coated, can rust over time if rainwater works into the bars. This can cause rust water to leak onto the car. It’s possible to easily fix/prevent this issue by sealing the bolts with silicone or other waterproof coatings, but this is an annoying hassle for some people.
Overall, this is a well-known, affordable, and highly functional rack.
Features and Considerations:
The brackets of the roof rack cargo carrier are designed for universal application and easily mount onto most types of roof rack base rails; you will need to have rails in order to install this rack, if you don’t already have them, but it is adjustable to different widths to accommodate multiple car models.
The 4″ high walls surrounding the cargo basket keep items more secure and provide an attachment point for cargo bag straps. With the extension piece installed, this cargo rack expands to 16 square feet, providing a lot of extra room for storing bulkier items. CURT also offers a cargo net to hold items in place, or a waterproof UV-resistant vinyl cover which can keep cargo dry even during long road trips.
- Weight: 10.45 lbs.
- Capacity: 110 lbs.
- Model years: 2005-2013
- High points: Inexpensive, includes anti-theft mechanism
- Low points: Relatively low weight capacity, can be less durable than other options
Why it’s a top pick:
This is an affordable, sleek, minimalist option which is adjustable for different models and big enough to carry kayaks, sups, and other gear securely. It’s lightweight and fairly straightforward to install, and there’s an anti-theft feature which fully locks down your gear.
What reviewers say:
Rola is a less well-known manufacturer of car racks, but this is still a relatively popular and well-liked option. It’s fully removable, which can be a nice feature if you need to install different racks for different functions or just don’t like the idea of permanently altering the profile of your vehicle.
The fact that it is removable makes it a less durable option than some of the others on the list. It’s rated to 110 lbs., but becomes a little less reliable at weights close to that limit. Some people have reported that the hardware bends when the weight limit is reached, so if you plan to repeatedly carry multiple kayaks or other heavy gear, this might not be the best choice.
However, for most people, this is a low-stress, secure way to tote gear on top of your Toyota truck.
Features and Considerations:
The lockable covers come with the rack; the T-bolts will also lock using an optional add-on accessory. This can be more than worth it for the peace of mind afforded by using this rack to secure your gear.
This model also includes rubber pads which minimize damage to the car’s roof, an unusual feature and essential for removable racks, which often rub against paint.
It works with most recent models of Toyota Tacoma, but double-check dimensions before ordering to make sure it will fit with your specific car.