Aeroblade vs. Whispbar

In Gear by Tanner V.

The Leading Brand

Thule Aeroblade Edge

Thule Aeroblade Feature Image

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The Industry Disruptor

Whispbar (Yakima) Flushbar

Yakima Flushbar feature image

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Image
About the Author
Hi Everyone! My name is Tanner, and I am the founder of kayamping.net. I started this website as an outlet to pursue my hobby of kayaking, camping, and exploring the world at large. Every post here is written and curated by me so stop-in, have a read, leave a comment, and most importantly, get going on your next adventure!
There is no debate that the Thule Aeroblade and Whispbar are the top two crossbars on the market. Traditional crossbars use round or square bars that cause drag on a vehicle.
Drag impacts the vehicles fuel efficiency and creates significant noise at higher speeds.
To combat these problems, Thule and Whispbar created aerodynamic wing design that allows air to move freely around the bars. In turn customers enjoy a quieter ride with better gas mileage.

Article at a Glance

Bottom Line: Whispbar is hands down the best aerobar on the market. The rebranding of Whispbar to Flushbar after Yakima's acquisition of the company only improved the product in terms of installation instruction and customer support.
Our tests revealed the Flushbar is significantly quieter than the Aeroblade. Considering the two crossbars are priced similarly, it is a no brainer to go with the Flushbar.
Our Pick
Yakima Whispbar Flush Bar Roof-Rack System
Thule AeroBlade Edge Flush Mount Rack (1 Bar)
Product
Whispbar (Yakima Flushbar)
Thule Aeroblade
Overall Score
Noise Rating
Value
Ease of Installation
Accessories
Look
Our Pick
Yakima Whispbar Flush Bar Roof-Rack System
Product
Whispbar (Yakima Flushbar)
Overall Score
Noise Rating
Value
Ease of Installation
Accessories
Look
Thule AeroBlade Edge Flush Mount Rack (1 Bar)
Product
Thule Aeroblade
Overall Score
Noise Rating
Value
Ease of Installation
Accessories
Look

Key Feature Comparison


To find out which is the best, we compared the Aeroblade and Whispbar across 6 different criteria.
  • Ease of Installation
  • Road Noise
  • Value
  • Look
  • Weight Rating
  • Dimensions

Ease of Installation

This section is trying to answer the question: How difficult is it to install this rack by myself?

You won't need a mechanic to install these bars!

To study this we will look at the Aeroblade Edge and Whispbar Flushbar specifically.
  • Tools Needed
  • Installation Time Required
  • How to Do It

Tools Needed

Both crossbars come with all the tools you need to fit the crossbars onto your roof. A tape measure maybe necessary to center the bars on your roof. Otherwise the fit included fit guides will have everything you need.

Installation Time

The Whispbar and Aeroblade Edge have very similar installation processes. Both units come with two boxes when purchased - the crossbars and a fit guide. To find the fit guide, you must enter your Make and Model information into the Yakima or Thule website.

30 minutes is plenty of time to install either set of crossbars. This is a generous estimate too. We are talking from box arriving at your door to car is ready to go = 30 minutes. It will take the majority of people far less time.

How to Install the Thule Aeroblade Edge

Installing the crossbars is a straightforward process that most should be able to pick up and do. You won't need an engineer in the family for the Aeroblades!
1. Loosen clamp
2. Place on roof rails
3. Tighten clamp to roof rail
4. Press down the t-slot rubber stripping
5. Place feet covers and tighten in place

How to Install the Yakima/Whispbar Flushbar

Overall the Whispbar is a bit more complicated to install than the Aeroblade. The Whispbar has a few different screws that you have to manage. This creates a need for more organization that the Aeroblade demands.However, the installation in itself is still a simple process.
1. Level mounting plate
2. Attach feet to the crossbar by tightening two screws
3. Place bars onto roof rails
4. Tighten screws
5. Place foot cover and lock

Road Noise

WOW! Watch this video below to see the difference between round, square, and wing shape crossbars. The mind boggling results prove wing shaped crossbar produce far less drag and noise than conventional bars.

The second take away is that not all wing bars are created equal. Whispbar absolutely blows the aeroblade out of the water. It's truly a night and day difference.

The Overall Look

It is not too often you look at the roof tops of cars when you're driving on the road. A crossbar set shouldn't be a distraction from the style of your car. It should either not draw attention or add a subtle feel of adventurism. Like a good pair of pants should add to your outfit style without distracting unless that is what you are intending.

Rugged vs. Sleek

You want get an unintentional distraction with either the Aeroblades or Whispbar. In fact, the two looks rather similar to each other. Both sets can be purchased in silver or matte black with black feet.
There is no distinguishing between the two, which is a great thing for consumers because both look sharp and smart.

Value

The price you pay for the crossbars matter. These crossbars should be thought of an investment because they will often outlive the vehicle they are first assigned to.
Yakima and Thule fill their traditional market segments in this area. The price difference between the two is massive with no clear rationale.
Whispbar is the clear winner in price. It is HALF the price of the Aeroblade Edge.

Specification Comparison

Whispbar
Aeroblade
Weight Capacity
165 lb.
165 lb.
Crossbar Weight
10 lb.
11 lb.
Length
Depends on variation
Depends on variation
Width
3.5 in.
3.125 in.
Height Above Roof
1 in.
1.125 in.
Usable Crossbar Space
2-4 in. less than crossbar length
2-4 in. less than crossbar length
Warranty
Limited Lifetime
Limited Lifetime

The two crossbars are so similar they are looking at their own reflections

The results: The Monkey in the Mirror

The specification reveals the two products are almost identical. There is slight variation between width and height measurements but this results to almost no difference to the user. The dimensional differences are negligible for all intents and purposes.

How much weight can my car's roof carry?

A quick word on weight rating. A car only handle a load equal to the weakest of its parts - roof, crossbar, carriers.
The average vehicles roof has a maximum dynamic load of 165 lbs. This means the roof will hold up to 165 lb. of total weight while the vehicle is in motion (dynamic).
To further define it:

Roof max weight rating = crossbar weight + carrier weight + cargo weight (kayaks or gear)

 Every variable above has it's own weight capacity that must be considered. Just because your crossbars can carry 200 lb. of gear that does not mean your roof can!
SUV roof rack loaded to the maximum weight capability.
The best way to find your car roof weight limit is to check your vehicles owner's manual. The manual is your only official source so please consult it before blindly trusting internet retailers.
If you need more information, I found this article does an excellent job of explaining vehicle roof weighting.
To put this in the context of Whispbar vs. Aeroblade:
Thule Aeroblade Edge = 12lbs, max load 165lbs.
Whispbar flushbar weight = 11lbs., max load 165 lbs.
A slight edge to the Whispbars for being approximately 1lb lighter which allows for 1 more pound of toys.

Accessories

Crossbars are a support structure used to carry other items on the roof of the vehicles. While the wing bar shape is not totally new technology as of 2019, there are still some carriers that cannot be adapted to them. By themselves crossbars are useless so you need to know if they place nice with others.

What are T-Slots?

Both the Aeroblade and Whispbars have a channel that runs the length of the crossbars called T-slots. These channels are used to attach different types of carriers to the bars quickly and seamlessly.

T-Slots are covered by a rubber stripping to reduce drag.

T-slots are an improvement over old carrier attachments because they lock the carrier to the inside of the bar without the need for screws and brackets. Rather than wrapping around the bar like a hand holding a pull-up bar, the T-slot channel lets a piece of metal enter the crossbar then rotate so it cannot be lifted out.

The Drawback of T-Slots

The channel necessary for T-slots presents a drag problem that both companies addressed in a similar fashion. They implemented a rubber lining to fill the channel and prevent drag. Thule calls their rubber liner WindDiffuser technology while, Whispbar has no special name for it.

The Whispbar's rubber stripping removed the drag created by the channels.

Aeroblade vs. Whispbar T-Slot Stripping

Despite Whispbar missing a branding opportunity to give their liner a fancy engineering name, their liner is better in form and function. To use Whispbar's T'slots you simple push the rubber down into the channel and attach your carrier. Thule's WindDiffuser requires you to cut their liner to make room for the t-slot inserts. This isn't terribly difficult to do but it becomes cumbersome if you have multiple attachments. Additionally, cutting the liner will eventually create the need to purchase more stripping at some point in the future. A pain you won't feel with Whispbar.

The Whispbar made by Yakima is the quietest crossbar on the market.

T-slots mean no tools are required to attach and remove things like kayak carriers or cargo boxes. Whispbar took advantage of this by creating QuickDock technology which allows Whispbar products to be attached in under 30 seconds. Thule carriers have yet to embrace anything like this, but that is beyond the scope of this article.

Fitting Kayak Carriers

The quick dock technology is easier than the Aeroblades because of the design of the weather stripping on each. Whispbar's strip gets pressed down by the quick dock pegs. When the carriers are removed the pegs lift out of the channel and the weather stripping fills the gap again. This could potentially be a long-term issue for the whispbar has the stripping loses its springy-ness and fails to cover the gap with age.

The Whispbar made by Yakima is the quietest crossbar on the market.

Check out the Best Kayak Carriers to go with your crossbars!

On the Aeroblade the weather stripping must be cut to insert a carrier into the T-slots. Then the stripping is feed back through the channels on either side of the carriers pegs. If you have multiple carriers with pegs than the Aeroblade stripping could get cut up so much you don't know what to do with all the pieces.
The Whispbar totally gets the thumbs up on this category. No hassling with replacement strips sounds great to me.

Sunroof Considerations

If you car has a sunroof, make sure you buy the crossbar system with at least 2 inches of clearance. Note this is only a rule of thumb and you should check your sunroof height for yourself. 90% of people install crossbars and never take them off. Chances are you won't either so make sure the crossbar you choose will fit ALL of your needs.



  • Best Bang for the Buck

Specification:

Dimensions: 49.6" - 60"L x 6.7"W x 5.9"H

Weight Capacity: 165 lb./75 kg.

Colors: Steel or Black

Pros & Cons

  • Quietest Crossbar on the Market
  • Great Value
  • T-Slots for Lightening Quick Attachments
  • Sleek Design
  • Easy Installation
  • Locking mechanism sold separately

The Review

The Whispbar is quite simply, the greatest crossbar ever designed. It does everything of the Thule Aeroblade with almost no drawbacks.

Whispbar represents someone looking at the complaints of users and answering the call. The blades are so quiet you won't even know they are there.

The value on these bars is astonishing. The price point puts them in the premium category of crossbars but not by much. Crossbars are an investment and should be treated as such.

The sturdy 165 lb. weight capability gives it the strength to handle any load you throw at it. Your getting a sleek, light weight crossbar capable of carrying any load you hand it.


Whispbar and Thule Variations

Thule 750x vs 760x series

  • 750x series are attached to pre-existing raised roof rails.
  • 760x series are attached directly to the roof of the vehicle either clamped to the roof or screwed to a roof mount bracket.

The last number in the series (denoted by an "x" above) is the size of the crossbar. Different sized roofs need either longer or shorter crossbars.

Finally you may see the letter "b" added to the end of the series code such as 7601b. The "b" indicates the color of the bar is black. Series without the "b" are the default color of aluminum (silver).

Whispbar S series and Yakima Sizing

Yakima changed the sizing names of the Whispbar when they ended the Whispbar line and began the Yakima Flushbar/Railbar series.

  • If you find true Whispbars online they are sized S1 - S42
  • Yakima simplified the S1 - S42 sizing code to range between 3x Small and 3x Large

The only difference between the sizes are the lengths of the bars and their weight.

As with the original Whispbar the only thing that changes is the length and weight of the bar.

The Company Behind the Crossbar - Sweden vs. New Zealand

Thule

Thule - pronounced [tool-e] - based in Malmo, Sweden, and designs a wide variety of transportation focused products. A reputation of quality and long-lasting products has made Thule the world’s most popular supplier of roof rack systems.
Thule creates products of the finest materials that are designed to add to the vehicle’s appearance and functionality. For these reasons people often buy Thule and stay with them for life.

Whispbar

First introduced in the Australia/New Zealand markets in 2006, Whispbar quickly grew in popularity. In 2010, Yakima purchased the company and spread Whispbar’s innovative designs across the global. Whispbar produced a variety of products for car roof racks, and became famous for the creating the quietest crossbar ever. Unfortunately, a rebranding effort in 2016 lead Yakima to merge Whispbar’s top designs into their own products and discontinue everything else in the North American markets.
Whispbar products can still be found in dwindling inventories across the web so buyers must act quickly. Fortunately, the Whispbar Flush and Rail variations have been exactly copied to the Yakima Flushbar and Railbar, making them still widely available.