Congratulations on finding this article because you have identified a roof rack manufacturer outside of Thule and Yakima. You deserve the praise in finding the hidden gem of the roof rack world in Rhino Rack, the heavy duty rack brand. Most people never make it this far in their roof rack search because the big two dominant the marketplace.
The prize is discovering that Rhino Rack makes a very similar crossbar in the Vortex 2500 to the Aeroblade, but with key specification difference like price, carrying capacity, noise that might just sway your purchasing decision. There is no perfect product because every situation is unique to the individual.
30 Second Summary: Rhino Rack Vortex vs AeroBlade
The decision between the Rhino Rack Vortex and Thule Aeroblade will come down to noise tolerance, carrying capacity needs, and price sensitivity. The Vortex is noticeably louder than the Aeroblade, but not unreasonably in our opinion. However, the Vortex is 30-40% cheaper and has a carrying capacity of 220 lbs. versus the Aeroblade's 165 lbs. It's a battle of form versus function between these too crossbars.
Those who use their crossbars for large, heavier loads would likely perfer the Vortex crossbars. People who prefer style and comfort are better suited for the Thule Aeroblade.
|Highest carrying capacity in the industry||Key Difference||Low noise rating and sleek design|
|220 lbs.||Carrying Capacity||165 lbs.|
|Fits most vehicles and accessories||Compatibility||Fits most vehicles and accessories|
|2 colors (Black, Silver)||Colors||2 colors (Black, Silver)|
Vortex vs AeroBlade: Feature by Feature
The table above does the best job of explaining the key differences of the Rhino Rack Vortex vs Thule AeroBlade. Below we cover those same differences but in more detail.
Related Reading: Yakima vs Thule
Compatibility with Other Products
For most people the purpose of crossbars is to haul items that don't fit within the confines of your vehicle's body. Things like kayak carriers, roof baskets, and cargo boxes are common accessories to created to perform the hauling of the gear.
In order for these accessories to work safely, the carrier's footing or bracket must be compatible with the shape of the crossbar.
Historically, the new wing-like shape of aerobars presented a problem which limited the number of compatible products. Aerobars solved this problem by implementing top tracks to allow the accessories to attach inside of the crossbar itself.
Now crossbars with Top Tracks are the simplest to attach and remove accessories, making it the optimal design. Both products have top tracks and are compatible with a wide range of products. Vortex or Aeroblade owners should feel confident that most accessories will fit their crossbars. However, you should check the manufacturers website to confirm the fit before purchase.
Both products are categorized as "aero" bars due to their airplace wing-like shape. The aero bar shape is quickly becoming the most popular style of crossbar and replacing the older round and square shaped bars due to their noise reduction properties. However, this does not mean all aero bars are created equally.
The Thule Aeroblade has a tear drop shape with a round face that slopes into a point. This differs from the Vortex's symmetrical football shape. In comparison, the Aeroblade's design is 100% geared towards aerodynamics, while the Vortex sacrifices some aerodynamics for structural strength.
These crossbar shapes are what give the crossbars their essential properties. The Aeroblade is quieter and the Vortex is stronger.
Related Reading: Thule WingBar vs AeroBlade
As discussed in the Noise section, the shape of the Vortex lends itself to a high carrying capacity than the Aeroblade. The Vortex can tote loads up to 220 lbs. which is 55 lbs. higher than Aeroblades stated capacity of 165 lbs.
The Vortex is the industry's strongest aero crossbar. It's so strong it rivals the capacities of industrial heavy duty crossbars. There are no other crossbars with this much carrying capacity in an aerodynamic shape.
Truly, this discussion may not matter at all for most customers. Rarely will the average person need to haul this much weight on their roof so it may be more than you need.
Lastly, the carrying capacity is only as good as the max weight rating of the vehicle's roof itself. It doesn't matter if the crossbars can support 5,000 lbs of gear if the vehicle's roof caves in at 200 lbs. Check your vehicle's handbook before purchasing.
Please check the clearance required for your sunroof in the open position. There are loads of negative reviews online about this topic but a simple check is all that's required.
Measure the height of your sunroof and compare it to the gap size of the bottom of the back crossbar to the roof. If the gap is smaller than your sunroof you will be unable to open it.
The thing that attaches the crossbar to your vehicles are called towers or feet. The Vortex and the Aeroblade have multiple tower options that are all largely the same. The type of tower you need will depend on your vehicles roof and if you want integrated locks.
We recommend buying towers with locks because crossbar theft does happen. Without the locks, anyone with the proper wrench can remove your crossbars in a matter of minutes. Protect your investment and park with peace of mind.