Inno Racks Shadow 16 Review
Our Analysis and Test Results
One key feature that sets this cargo box from the others in our minds is how low of a profile it has compared to some of the other options. It definitely is designed with an eye towards skis, snowboards, or other long skinny pieces of gear. While this doesn’t necessarily give it much more fuel economy, it does lead to a much cleaner and sleeker look when mounted to the roof of your car.
Ease of Use
First and foremost, we rated and compared how easy to use the Inno Shadow 16, focusing mainly on the installation and removal process, but also taking into account the ease of loading gear and any other convenience features this cargo box may have. It performed quite well, earning a solid score.
While it is considerably quicker and easier to install this cargo carrier than any of the models with U-bolts, it can take a bit of time to figure out the clamps the first time you get it on a car. On top of that, it also is more finicky than the options with one-piece clamps.
The Shadow 16 mounts to your crossbars with four metal fittings; one side has a hook, and the other has threads. The hooked side goes around the rounded part of the plastic base, which can be conveniently rotated to accommodate a wider range of crossbars. The threaded side pokes up through the base and is secured with a plastic knob that encapsulates a hex nut. It is possible to use these fittings to mount the cargo carried entirely from the inside but it can be a bit tricky to get everything aligned without holding the metal clamp from underneath or having a second person help.
However, you can get the Shadow 16 on and off a car in a fairly hassle-free way once you get the hang of it and a bit of practice.
One key feature has that the Shadow 16 has that we can’t stress enough when it comes to convenience is the ability to open on both sides. While it might not seem like much, being able to access your gear from either side of the car is nearly invaluable in our experience.
We weren’t huge fans of the opening system, with the small push button feeling a bit more finicky to use than some of the models with a larger molded handle but, all in all, we did find the Shadow 16 to be one of the easier models to use.
Next, we rated and scored the durability of each cargo carrier. For this test, we looked at how much wear and tear each cargo box sustained during our testing process, how floppy the lid is, and how confident we are that the cargo box will keep your gear safe from rain or snow. The Shadow 16 did fairly well, earning an above-average score.
We didn’t notice any major damage to this cargo carrier after our tests, even after subjecting it to a decent amount of abuse when it came to being stacked up in a garage for storage — potentially even tipping over a few times. It does have a gloss finish that makes scuffs and scrapes a little more noticeable but nothing too bad. We like that the lid is reasonably stiff for a cargo box of this size.
However, our biggest complaint with the Inno when it comes to durability is the larger than average openings for water to creep in. True, these are on the underside of the cargo box, and it includes rubber gasket material to cover the gap after the install.
We still found this box to have a higher water intrusion potential than some of the others.
Our next series of tests looked at the security of each cargo box. Now, we will be the first to admit that a dedicated thief could get into any of these products with enough time and the proper tools, so you will want to keep that in mind when it comes to what you leave in your roof box, how long you leave it for, and where you park. However, we feel the Inno is just about as good as any that we have tested so far, earning it a top-notch score.
A key point is that you can’t remove the keys from the Inno while it is unlocked, which is the most salient point in our mind when it comes to security with these products. We also like that the lock is installed at the factory, preventing mistakes from a DIY installation.
Our final metric for these products focused on their appearance. We base our scores on the aggregated opinion of multiple judges and the available colors for each cargo carrier. The Inno Shadow 16 finished out our review with a great showing in this regard, earning an above-average score.
This cargo carrier looks particularly sleek in our minds, maintaining a very low profile on your vehicle with the recessed clamps. It’s available in two different colors: black and white, with a glossy finish. We also like that the lid has a slight contrast with the base.
While it isn’t the cheapest cargo carrier around, this product does have a lower than average price tag and can be a good value if you are shopping on a budget but still willing to pay for a few convenience features.
We like the Inno Shadow 16. This compact and sleek cargo carrier is easy to install and opens on both sides, all while having ample space for your skis and boards. It seems quite durable and secure to use and — even better — doesn’t look too shabby on most cars.
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