Why Magnetic Ski Racks? 2023 Buyers Guide with Examples
Need a ski rack to transport your skis or snowboards, but don’t have a set of racks already fixed to your car?
In my automotive career, I've tested a fair share of magnetic ski racks in a wind tune to measure its aerodynamic impact.
And now, I would like to introduce you to the world of magnetic ski racks - a lightweight and versatile solution that provides all the benefits of a permanent ski rack but are simple remove when not in use.
In this article, I'll guide you through the best magnetic ski racks on the market, arming you with battle tested insights and recommendations. From their unique features to installation tips and everything in between, I hope this article can be your guide to finding the right magnetic ski rack.
What Are Magnetic Ski Racks and How Do They Work?
Like traditional ski racks, magnetic ski racks allow you to safely transport your ski gear on the roof of your car.
They differ in one dramatic way, however.
As their name suggests, magnetic ski racks aren’t permanently fixed to your car, and instead use a powerful magnetic force to stay in place while in use.
The ski rack can then be safely removed from the top of your vehicle when no longer needed, making them a flexible solution for carrying skis and snowboards.
Benefits of Using a Magnetic Ski Rack
There are a number of reasons why you might choose a magnetic ski rack over a traditional ski rack.
- Easy to install
- Doesn’t take up much space
- Can be used for both skis and snowboards
- Very secure
- Will not damage your car’s paint
Roof-mounted magnetic ski racks and snowboard carriers are ideal for cars that cannot accommodate roof bars or for car owners who simply do not want roof bars permanently fixed to their vehicles.
They are quite easy to attach to your car and, due to their small size, do not take up much space when stored. The magnetic roof mountings are all extremely secure, and lockable, and will not damage your paintwork.
There are solutions for a variety of ski and snowboard combinations, so you’re likely to find a magnetic roof-mounted ski and snowboard rack that satisfies your requirements.
If the magnets and carrying mechanism are no longer required, they may simply be removed from the roof and temporarily stored in the trunk.
Another benefit of magnetic ski racks is that they can be utilized in a variety of ways. The magnetic ski carrier can not only be attached to vehicle roofs, but it can also stick to any suitable surface and maintain optimal grip.
Also check out: Best Ski Racks for Your Garage
Are Magnetic Roof Ski Racks Worth it?
Why worth it?
These racks are particularly suitable for occasional skiers or snowboarders, small groups, and those who prioritize ease and portability over capacity. They are convenient with their easy installation and removal, eliminating the need for tools or permanent fixtures.
They're especially beneficial for cars without roof rails or crossbars, and their compact design often results in reduced wind noise.
Why not worth it?
They might not be ideal for frequent skiers with multiple equipment as they restrict the number of skis or snowboards they can carry.
As these racks can be more easily removed, not all models offer locking mechanisms. Their magnetic strength varies, with cheaper models potentially lacking the grip needed for higher speeds or heavier loads.
How to Install a Magnetic Ski Rack
Installing a magnetic ski rack onto the roof of your vehicle is easy and takes just 6 simple steps.
We’ve outlined each of these steps below, but you can also watch the included video tutorial to assist with the setup.
This video shows you how to set up the Menabo Aconcagua magnetic ski rack, however, the process remains largely the same for all brands of magnetic ski racks. You can also read more about the Menabo Aconcagua rack later on in this guide.
- Step 1: Read the safety and warranty information before setup
- Step 2: Before installing your carrier, clean the surface of your vehicle’s roof and the magnetic sheets.
- Step 3: Determine the installation position. When on the roof, the entire magnetic pad must be in contact with the roof.
- Step 4: Mount the accessory on the front part of the vehicle’s roof using the safety strap. There should be a distance of at least 70cm (27.5”) between the front and rear carriers.
- Step 5: On the handle on the magnetic plate, insert the keys into their locks and turn each counter-clockwise to open. Then, pull the arms up to place your skis or snowboard on the rack. Gently close the arms to secure these, then turn the keys clockwise within the locks to lock the arm and its contents in place.
- Step 6: Make sure to remove the keys from their locks before driving.
How to Remove a Magnetic Ski Rack
Thankfully, removing the magnetic ski rack is just as easy. To remove the carrier, simply pull the hook upward to break the magnetic seal, then gently lift your ski rack off your vehicle.
Tips for Keeping Your Skis Safe and Secure on a Magnetic Ski Rack
There are a number of precautions you must take to ensure your magnetic ski rack remains firmly attached to your vehicle, thus keeping your skis both safe and secure.
Firstly, the roof surface near the racks must be free of debris, dirt, snow, and ice. Otherwise, the magnets may not hold correctly, resulting in damage to the surrounding paint. The magnetic plates must be placed on the flattest available roof surface. These should also be firmly attached. Only when the adhesion is strong enough will the magnets hold properly.
In terms of vehicles with a sunroof, take special care. The magnetic ski racks should be entirely supported by the sheet metal surface. You should also never open the sunroof while the rack is on the vehicle.
The distance between the straps must be adjusted so that the skis on the front straps do not tip out when the binding comes into contact with the rear straps. Furthermore, to avoid damage, you must always pack the skis with the tips facing backward.
Under impact loads, the plates can bend or the permanent magnet material can break, therefore follow the manufacturer’s recommendations for the maximum weight your magnetic ski racks can bear.
Buyers should also follow the appropriate speed limit on highways to prevent the magnetic ski racks from coming loose. On average, magnetic ski racks can withstand speeds of around 125 mph.
Best Magnetic Ski Racks
When it comes to the best magnetic ski racks currently on the market, there’s only one brand we feel confident in recommending: Menabo.
Menabo produces two highly rated magnetic ski racks to suit a variety of needs: the “Aconcagua” and the “Himalaya”. Let’s take a look at each of these products below.
1. Menabo Aconcagua 3.0 (Best Overall)
The Menabo Aconcagua 3.0 Magnetic Ski Rack is Menabo’s top-of-the-line rack, as well as one of the highest-rated magnetic ski racks on the web.
It allows you to safely transport up to 3 skis or 2 snowboards and even comes with anti-theft features, such as a lockable mount.
Even though this rack is Menabo’s high-capacity rack, it’s still lightweight and compact, measuring 15 x 11 x 22 inches.
With its high-quality craftsmanship, secure fit, and ability to transport multiple skis or snowboards, the Menabo Aconcagua 3.0 really is as good as it gets.
It has been tested for a maximum speed of 80 mph to ensure it remains in place at higher speeds. Despite its higher price range than many other magnetic ski racks on the market (including Menabo’s Himalaya model), you really do get what you pay for.
Users most love the fact that this magnetic ski rack is extremely easy to fix onto the roof of basically any passenger car, all without the use of tools.
Many state they got it working within less than 10 minutes and they don’t have to worry about it stripping the paintwork off their car. Additionally, it’s a handy rack for those wanting to take a quick day trip to the ski fields but doesn’t want the added hassle that comes with setting up their gear on their car using permanent ski racks.
The most common complaint about these magnetic ski racks is that many consumers believe it would be easy for theft to occur, due to a somewhat “flimsy” locking system.
As a result, many recommend not leaving snow equipment attached to the mounts overnight or while the vehicle is unattended for long periods of time.
Despite fears over theft, Menabo’s Aconcagua 3.0 does try to counteract this problem with lockable mounts.
The pros certainly seem to outweigh the cons, however, as you simply cannot beat the rack’s ease of setup and compatibility with almost any passenger vehicle.
2. Menabo Himalaya (Most Affordable)
The second offering in Menabo’s range of magnetic ski racks is the Himalaya, which is designed to carry 2 pairs of skis and 4 ski poles, but no snowboards. It’s also compatible with all roof carriers and is both lightweight and compact, measuring 17.5 x 8.5 x 13.5 inches. It too has a universal magnetic grip and is equipped with an anti-theft system.
For those who aren’t interested in transporting snowboards or additional pairs of skis, the Himalaya model still offers many of the benefits of the Aconcagua 3.0—just with a cheaper price tag.
Its rubber sole and strong magnet ensure a firm and scratch-free fixation to your vehicle, while rubber straps keep the skis securely in place.
Unlike other magnetic ski racks on the market, users state this rack doesn’t give them that whistling wind noise while driving at higher speeds.
It weighs just 9 pounds, so is easy to lift onto and off the car. Aside from its affordable price point, its quick, easy, and tool-free setup is its other biggest selling point.
While there’s not a lot to dislike about this product, some consumers are quick to point out the same issue with the Aconcagua 3.0 in relation to a potentially flimsy anti-theft locking system.
This is more due to the fact that the rack is easy to unmount from the car when needed, which could leave thieves using this to their advantage.
For those who don’t need the larger carrying capacity of the Aconcagua, Menabo’s Himalaya model is the next best thing on the market for those requiring a rack for their skis.
Its magnetic fixtures make it simple to take off and put on, making it a total breeze for road trips to the ski fields.
Bottom Line for Magnetic Ski Racks
If you're in need of a ski rack to transport your skis or snowboards but don't have a set of racks already fixed to your car, magnetic ski racks are the perfect solution.
They offer all the benefits of a permanent ski rack but are lightweight and versatile enough to be easily removed when not in use.
In this article, I have provided a summary of the best magnetic ski racks available on the market.
I have also covered a wide range of other information that you'll find helpful when setting up your magnetic ski carrier or deciding on whether magnetic rack in the best fit for you.
Make sure to properly secure your skis or snowboards using the magnetic ski rack and follow all local laws and regulations.