Thule vs Yakima

I’ve got a 200 Honda Civic (4dr) with sunroof. I’m planning to get a roof rack and am asking for any imput you all have to share. Is there a noticeable difference b/w the two brands? one better for a sedan like mine?..stuff like that! Thank you in advance!

Flat bars vs round bars.

And you can put Yakima equipment on Thule bars and vice versa. If you get Yakima bars do a search on p-net for ways that people have devised to keep the bars from rotating.

Yakima has better support
I have used both Thule and Yakima. Both are good, but I found it much easier to contact Yakima for questions, and have experienced much better customer support. Try calling each for questions and see if you get a similar result.

I have one of each
Yakima on my truck, and Thule on the wife’s car. I prefer the Yakima’s round bars. Even as close as the bars are on the Prius, the curve of the roof line means that the flat sides of each bar do not line up, meaning that (for my canoe at least), the gunnels are sitting on a corner of the bar instead of the whole bar. Since brackets are designed to be in line with the bar, they do not solve this issue. This is not an issue at all with round bars.

It also is not an issue using either bars for the kayaks since they are sitting in saddles and not on the bars. If you’re using saddles, then either bar set works fine.

For whatever reason, I also find the Thule bars to be a lot noisier too, but OK that is being just too picky.

A round bar is a stronger bar too. My Thule bars seem plenty sturdy for the job, but I trust the Yakima bars more for strength.


Coke v. Pepsi
Both have their partisans. Some choose a boutique soda instead (Saris, Malone.)

I have a Yakima system and have been happy with it. I know lots of people with Thule systems who are happy with those, too.

I agree . . . . .
I too have found that I get MUCH better customer service/support when dealing with Yakima versus Thule. IMHO, the hardware for the Yakima J-Cradles seems better, too.

Interestingly, when I originally ordered my complete system from Yakima, they candidly told me that Thule’s bow and stern lines were better than their own and that that I should buy the lines from Thule. That kind of honesty is rather unusual in a very competitive market.

When I had a problem with my equipment, Yakima stood behind their product and Thule did not.

So yes, they are both very good companies but I give the nod to Yakima.

I like Thule personally, but not much difference between the two, after all they both make their products out of metal and plastic. Thule does have a few more innovative products like the hullovator, but it won’t matter on your civic. About the comment of Thule bars being more noisy, that’s only because the bars are longer and they make more noise in the wind. On the bright side you can cut them to whatever length you want them.

2000 Honda
I have extensive miles on a 2000 Honda Civic (no sun roof). I used a Saris rack and had nothing but great things to say about them…until they stopped making roof racks. The only advantage Yakima would have had over Saris would have been a slightly wider spread on the bars - the round Yakima bars would have negated the curving roofline of the Civic.

Vote another for Yakima.

My thule bars are over a full foot shorter than my Yakima bars.


I’ve owned both
…(and in full disclosure, I sell both, but…)

They’re both good. Competition, in this case, serves to keep both of them on their toes, and if one of them comes up with something really cool, the other will have their own version of it soon (waiting to see what Yakima’s version of the new Thule Slipstream will look like…;-).

Thule has an advantage on gutterless cars in having the most tailored fit. The clips and rubber pad are designed to perfectly fit your roofline and door opening. But they take a little longer to put on and take off (maybe 3 or 4 minutes to get everything tightened down or removed). Yakima isn’t as exact a fit, but the Q System is quite a bit quicker to put on and off - less than 30 seconds. Flip up the clasps on one side of the car, and you can lift the whole thing off. For cars with rounded roof lines, the Yakima round bars are a huge advantage - your accessories will always line up.

Price is usually about the same one or the other, so there’s no big diff there. Changeover costs if you go from one car to another are also about the same (the clips for a gutterless car are about $50 either way).

In short, pick 'em.

I’ve also had both
I started with Thule, went to Yakima when I traded vehicles (left the racks on the old one, since they came with the camper shell), and went back to Thule. I went back because - at least for the kayaking-specific products - I thought the Yakima stuff was a little flimsy. Just my opinion, of course. It DOES, indeed, seem to be a Coke vs. Pepsi argument.

A testament to the quality products made by both companies is that you don’t see many brands OTHER than these two.

I have Thule
If I had to do it all over again, I’d probably get Yakima for the round bars; my roof is curved, so that the flat surfaces of the two load bars point in a slightly different direction (one towards the front, one toward the back), with the result that the boat makes contact with only the inner edge of each rack. Not ideal. A round bar allows the racks to be parallel.

On another note, unlike others on this thread I have had nothing but good experience with Thule customer service. For example, when the Outrigger II didn’t fit my load bar they sent me a new bar. Since I was over warranty, they didn’t have to do that, but did. Must have been in a good mood that day. :slight_smile:

Thule rusts easier
I’ve got a Thule bike carrier on my Yakima roof rack (along with a newly mounted kayak carrier). The Yakima roof rack is standing up well to the elements, but a lot of the metal hardware on the Thule bike carrier is rusting! This is inexcusable for something that is meant to spend most of its time outdoors.

my Thule bike racks
show no sign of rust

I got the Thule bars that fit my car
if I had needed it, I could have gotten the Thule bars that were a foot longer

Bought my Yakima racks in '83. Still
going strong on about the 7th or 8th vehicle. Mine are the long bars and have been on everthing from big vans to a Corolla. Now, the reside on an F150. Never had a problem with noise because they are too long.

Wow, thank you all!
So, within a day I have gotten super great feedback and I can’t thank you all enough!! I’ll keep you updated with which prize I chose. Thanks again…pnet rocks! :slight_smile:

I have used both the only thing I like
better is the round bars. With the Yakima round bars I can lay my Thule cradles down when not in use.