If you're like me, you were confused by Thule coming out with the Wingbar and Aeroblade. At first glance, it feels like they are the exact same product. Almost but not quite.
For the quick answer, see the section directly below. For those wanting a more in-depth response, the rest of the article elaborates on the key differences between the products.
We also touch on why someone would want to choose one product over the other.
30 Second Summary: WingBar vs AeroBlade
Best For: The WingBar is best for people who intend to haul heavy loads over 165lbs and wide loads that extend passed the vehicle roofs.
If you are less industrious, the Aeroblade offers most of the carrying power with smoother finish and quieter ride.
Thule AeroBlade vs WingBar: Key Differences
The Thule WingBar is a newer, more rugged version of the Aeroblade because it has more usable space, improved top track rubber stripping, and higher weight capacity. Where the Aeroblade has a smooth front edge for aerodynamics the WingBar has a boxier edge for extra strength.
Related: For the most aerodynamic bar see Aeroblade vs Whispbar
The WingBar extends passed the side of your vehicle and connects to the top edge of the roof via a podium footing.
The AeroBlade stops at the edge of your vehicle and can connect with a podium style footing or a seamless footing in the AeroBlade Edge.
Top Channel (T-Slot)
The top channel on the Aeroblades have a solid rubber strip insert that must be manually cut to fit accessories such as kayak or bike racks. The newer WingBar improved the rubber stripping by creating a 2-strip design that allows accessories to fit in-between without any cutting.
Finally, the WingBar's weight capacity is 220 lbs compared to the Aeroblade's 165 lbs. This means the WingBar can hold 55 lbs more weight or about another kayak.
However, check your vehicle roof weight limit before you purchase. Many vehicles are only rated up to 165 lbs so the extra WingBar strength might not help your situation.
Related: Yakima Jetstream vs Aeroblade
Thule AeroBlade Edge vs WingBar EVO
Another point of confusion might be the terminology of Edge vs EVO so allow me to clarify.
The merits we discussed in the section above primarily were about the characteristics of the crossbar themselves. It did not go into much detail regarding the footing of the bar.
The footing is the removable portion of the crossbar that connects the crossbar to the roof of your vehicle.
Footings also house the locking mechanism (sold separately), which we will discuss later on.
In Thule language, Edge means a footing that attaches flush and on the ends of the crossbar.
There prevent the crossbar from extending beyond the side of the vehicle. Edge footings offer better aerodynamics at the expense of carrying space.
EVO means a footing that attaches to the bottom of the crossbar and allows the bar to run over the side of the vehicle.
EVO footings are better for accommodating wider loads because of more usable crossbar space.
Can you have an AeroBlade EVO or WingBar Edge?
Say you want to mix it up because Thule just can't get it perfect for you. Sadly, you are mostly out of luck.
The WingBar Edge does exist but only in the United Kingdom. As of 2020, there is no Aeroblade EVO option.
Frequently Asked Questions
Do WingBar and AeroBlade have the same T-track?
The T-tracks or top channels are the same but the bars have different thicknesses and slightly different shape.
Most Thule products will work on both bars, but you should check with Thule customer service to be certain before purchasing.
Track mounted XAdapt kits and 502 Aero Load Stops only work with the Thule AeroBlades.
Is it Worth the upgrade from square or round bars to Wingbar/Aeroblade?
Yes, the problem with round or square bars has always been about the poor aerodynamics which creates lots of wind noise at higher speeds.
The Wingbar and Aeroblade were created to solve this problem specifically. They are less noisy and impact fuel efficient less than traditional bars.
Standard crossbars reduce fuel efficiency by 2-3 MPG. Aerobars impact fuel efficiency about 1-2 MPG. This varies based on car and average driving speed.
Based on this math, Aerobars will pay for themselves after about 84,000 miles. Every mile after that will be pure savings.
Additionally, the Aeroblades and Wingbars have T-tracks which allows them to be compatible with a whole range of attachments.
Standard bars will eventually be phased out or upgrades because of this new technology.