Thule Pulse cargo box is less expensive alternative to the Force XT model from same manufacturer which arguably offers best value for money when it comes to rooftop cargo boxes. Force XT is not exactly cheap but it’s well designed and sturdy which is what you want if you plan to use your cargo box for years to come. So it Thule Pulse worth it if you want to save some money?
Thule Pulse model comes in 3 variations: Alpine (11 cu. ft.), Medium (14 cu.ft) and Large (16 cu. ft.). We will mainly focus on the Large model as it’s most popular variation of Thule Pulse and makes more sense when compared to Force XT.
Thule Pulse Large has 16 cubic feet of storage capacity. To put things in perspective it’s actually roomier than trunks of most cars. For example latest Honda Civic and Toyota Corolla has trunk space of 15.1 cubic feet whereas Toyota Camry only around 13 cu. ft.
Thule Pulse is made of ABS which is basically plastic. It’s actually sturdy enough although lid id somewhat wobbly when you open it. The box itself is sturdy enough to last for years so there are no complaints in this department.
Thule cargo boxes are the fastest and easiest to install. It uses Easy-Grip mounting knobs which can be adjusted and allows you to install the box in couple minutes. Unlike Thule Force XT knobs in this model doesn’t click when they are tightened enough.
Minimum load bar spread for mounting is 23.65 inches or 600 millimeters.
Unlike Thule Force XT which opens from both sides Thule Pulse opens only from one side – passenger side obviously (so if you pull over on highway you can safely take out your items if necessary).
The fact that it only opens from 1 side might be a slight inconvenience at times but it won’t be that big of a deal for most really.
Thule Pulse has automatic opening hinges (internal lid lifters) meaning they stay open on their own making loading/unloading easy – they are ball joints so they swivel
It also has nylon straps that you can grab to close the box so you don’t have to reach for the top of the box which could be problematic if you aren’t tall.
Thule Pulse can only be opened with a key and you can’t remove the key unless box it latched – nice safety features.
However this is where you will find the biggest flaw of this box. Although locking mechanism works flawlessly in any weather or temperatures the key is flawed – it’s cheaply made and feels clumsy to insert in the lock.
It’s in fact so cheaply made that some consumers have complained about it breaking which can be a major issue if it happens while you are on a trip. It’s really frustrating that a box that overall is so well made and designed has this 1 small flaw that couldn’t be that expensive to fix yet can cause a big headache.
Thule Pulse is very weather and water resistant – it’s unlikely any water will get inside the box in heavy rain and if it does only small amount will get inside. Lock seems to work in any weather or temperatures. Box remains put in heavy wind.
Aerodynamics (Mileage & Noise)
Due to aerodynamic design it barely affects mileage of your car and increase in noise is so small you might not even notice it.
Thule Pulse is made in USA.
Thule Pulse Large vs Thule Force XT XL
Thule Pulse Large
Thule Force XT XL
16 cu. ft.
18 cu. ft.
Clicking Head knobs
Dimensions (L x W x H)
76″ x 33″ x 16.5″
82.75″ x 33.75″ x 17.25″
Thule Pulse does miss some features that Force XT has but overall it’s a great cargo box. It does have 1 flaw though – key for unlocking it is cheaply made and can possibly break at some point.