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Old 09-18-2012, 10:05 PM   #1
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Hard or soft or dual?

I'm about to order a 2013 JKU. I like the idea of the dual top option, but wonder if one of them would sit in the garage permantly because I don't want to take the effort to switch. With that being the case, is one of them better/cheaper/easier to buy later if I change my mind? A quick review of CL showed soft tops, but no hard tops for sale.

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Old 09-18-2012, 10:23 PM   #2
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I've had both. I drove soft tops for 15 years and hard tops for the last dozen. If you have never owned a jeep, get a soft top. You'll know why when you are driving around with the roof down.

A hard top is great because the ride is far quieter, the vehicle and its contents are more secure, and you get conveniences...like a rear window defroster and wiper. That said, no top rocks...and that's really only easy with the soft top. Yes, you could get dual top and just swap the tops between seasons, but honestly, it's a pain unless you have a hoist and a place to hang it. I've driven soft tops through many winters and it is fine inside. The rear window covered in ice sort of sucks, but it's not that bad.

Dual top is a pricey option...but if you go that route, you will get two very high-quality tops. They OEM tops smoke most of the third-party tops that you would buy after the fact. That also gets you the hard top wiring, switches, and wiper fluid tube installed and run.

Again though, new jeep owner? Soft top or dual top...not just the hard top. The hard top only option is for old guys like me who are tired of the flapping and knifed windows and now are starting to worry about melanoma.

BTW, getting a factory hard top after the fact is very expensive. It used to be even worse when you also had to buy full size doors.

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Old 09-18-2012, 10:27 PM   #3
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I'd go with hard top or dual. It's much easier to add a soft top later if you don't get one on the front end.

If you go with the dual then your covered. They're easy to swap back and forth. Storing the hardtop when it's off is a consideration though.

I started with a soft top and decided later that it would be nice to swap to the hard top in the winter. It took a while to find a reasonably priced freedom top and I still need to add on the wiring harness.
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Old 09-18-2012, 10:31 PM   #4
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Thanks for the comments guys. It helps. I also found this post that provided a lot of details when searching for hoist hard top info. http://www.wranglerforum.com/f33/dua...it-183194.html
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Old 09-18-2012, 10:32 PM   #5
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I agree with scuba_steve. Soft top is much easier to pull off and on for going 'topless'
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Old 09-18-2012, 10:33 PM   #6
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Quick and Dirty Answer. I bought mine with the hardtop, because the hardtop opition was only $895.00 and to buy one aftermarket is over $2400.00. Then I got a Bestop Bikini with windsheild header for under $100.00 installed. No brainer there.

Now I have the Bestop Trektop NX on order for the winter and rain, which does not require a frame for $635.00. Do the math and you might see getting a hardtop from the jump is the best option.

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Old 09-18-2012, 10:38 PM   #7
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One final word of advice from an old jeep guy - chicks dig soft tops.




Well, right up until they get beaten to death with their hair, but that's why I always kept an extra baseball cap inside.
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Old 09-18-2012, 10:40 PM   #8
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Easier of the two when it comes to taking it off and on would be the soft top. Not only that it fold down in the back so its with you all the time.....for those sneaky rains that like to show up during the spring. But, your going to replacing your soft top every 4-6 years....some have gotten more. Hardtops last for the most part.....forever. Soft top can be taken down/put up with 1 person. Hardtop needs at least 2 people or only 1 person if you have the hoist lift installed in your garage. Hardtops are going to make the jeep more of "quiet" ride while soft tops tend to be "louder". Hardtop obviously is going to hold A/C / heat in better....but who wants to buy a jeep and be caught with the A/C on all summer with the top still on haha?!?!? Ive never known anyone thats had one, but the "2 or 3 piece freedom hardtops" look useful....again i dont know anyone that has one though....it def looks like it could save a hardtop jeep owner the hassle of taking the hardtop off every time. Again you looking at $400-$700 every time you feel the need to change your soft top from wear or $2000-$3000 on a hardtop.


Sorry for rambling hopefully some of those key points help you with your choice. Personally I have a soft top, sailcloth from best top has made me love my soft top.
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Old 09-18-2012, 10:45 PM   #9
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I have the 3 piece hard top and soft top. I just swap between seasons and if its nice and I have the hard top on, I just take out the panels and its like having a T top in ways. I bought my 09 with both and dont regret it a minute.
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Old 09-18-2012, 10:58 PM   #10
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If you can swing the space and the cost dual is awesome. I love the soft top for taking off quickly and all the way.

The hard top is better for security and crappy winter and lots of rain. I also figure that not having the soft top.on through winter will save a lot of wear on the soft top.
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Old 09-18-2012, 11:06 PM   #11
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One final word of advice from an old jeep guy - chicks dig soft tops.
Steve is right on. My wife was ready to leave me with the kids plus take the dog before she drove with the top down. Now we are in blissful harmony

OK...just a slight exaggeration
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Old 09-18-2012, 11:41 PM   #12
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I owned a 2007 JKU with Dual Tops for 5 years and the soft top stayed in the garage all but one season. The extra size of the JKU top makes it cumbersome to take on and off and storing it is a pain. I had the Boss storage dolly that stores it upright it but I have a very low ceiling in the storage portion of my garage and it just barely fit in there on the dolly. I just traded for a 2 door 2012 JK with dual tops and I'm loving the ease of switching them out. Much easier. Off course I've lost quite a bit of room but we're single and no kids to cart around so I can live with a 2 door.

On thing to consider is that if you can locate a dual top already on the dealer's lot chnces are it will already have been upgraded to a Sport S package which gets power windows and locks, nicer wheels and tires and mine already had u-connect installed and it was only a little more that just a hard top Sport with no extras.
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Old 09-19-2012, 01:45 AM   #13
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I got the dual tops. Soft top will be on March-October
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Old 09-19-2012, 06:18 AM   #14
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Originally Posted by blackbelt
I got the dual tops. Soft top will be on March-October
X2, doing the same thing on mine
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Old 09-19-2012, 08:30 AM   #15
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I don't think anyone mentioned location. OP is in FL according to his profile. In my opinion, I'd stick with a soft top only if dual top wasn't an option for cost or storage concerns.

Here in Ohio - while plenty cruise around all winter with soft tops - I will say I like having the ability to switch back to my hard top when it gets colder. I have room to store whichever top is not being used. I also built my own hard top hoist for less than $60 - and it is where my soft top is stored when it's off too. Swaps take about 15 minutes. Not hard at all and I do it easily by myself.

I love going top less in the warmer weather, but I also love the quiet and added warmth that the hard top provides when the weather is COLD.

In FL - I think you'd be plenty happy with just a soft top. Although - the LOOK of the hard top is pretty tight too...

And I just noticed you have a JKU...that extra length makes most of what I just said moot - lol. It's a bit more of a challenge dong take off/installation/swaps - from what I've heard...I'd still stick with soft top only if I was living in FL...
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Old 09-19-2012, 10:07 AM   #16
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Soft Top in the south, Hard Top/Dual in the north..

My tops stay off unless its raining practically year round.
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Old 09-19-2012, 10:23 AM   #17
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I'm a little surprised at the content of the replies. Most of these threads have a lot of people that say they bought dual tops and it was a waste because the hardtop just sits there all the time.

We got a soft top and never really considered the hardtop. The Jeep is my wife's daily driver, so she pulls it out of the garage in the morning and drives it to the parking garage at her office. If it had to sit outside most of the time a hard top may have made more sense, but if you have to leave the Jeep outside at home it probably means you don't have a place to store the top when it isn't on. I don't notice the soft top being too noisy, too cold, too hot or anything else that lots of people complain about. Of course, everything else we own is also either a convertible or has a loud exhaust on it.
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Old 09-19-2012, 10:24 AM   #18
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I'm still hunting for my first Wrangler and wrestled the same issue: hard top or soft top. I decided when I buy to get the hard top because it's much easier and cheaper to add a soft top later. In my case, I'm figuring a 2-door and I'd run around with the two front panels on (or a bikini top) in summer and carry a quick deploying tonneau /wind jammer combo for running into unexpected light rain. There are so many options, not to mention the decision to go manual or auto trans, but that's for another dozen threads. I recommend the hard top, but of course everyone's situation differs.
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Old 09-19-2012, 11:38 AM   #19
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Quote:
Originally Posted by WhiskeyMike View Post
I'm about to order a 2013 JKU. I like the idea of the dual top option, but wonder if one of them would sit in the garage permantly because I don't want to take the effort to switch. With that being the case, is one of them better/cheaper/easier to buy later if I change my mind? A quick review of CL showed soft tops, but no hard tops for sale.
Id go with the hardtop then buy an after market soft top. I sprung for an ORH Cargo top. MIxed reviews on here about them, i love mine. Had a small leak problem that was resolved by Tim from ORH Check em out

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Old 09-19-2012, 12:00 PM   #20
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Quick and Dirty Answer. I bought mine with the hardtop, because the hardtop opition was only $895.00 and to buy one aftermarket is over $2400.00. Then I got a Bestop Bikini with windsheild header for under $100.00 installed. No brainer there.

Now I have the Bestop Trektop NX on order for the winter and rain, which does not require a frame for $635.00. Do the math and you might see getting a hardtop from the jump is the best option.

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I got the hardtop ONLY TOO!

Then I got the Bestop Trextop NX. It's way better than the stock top and made by the same company as OEM softop (Bestop). No stupid frame to screw with, sunrider fold back option, door surrounds, and take off the back windows and you have a safari top.

Trektop NX is very adaptable and compliments the jeep well. Plus it looks awesome. Although I wouldn't run a soft top in most wintry states but Colorado is temperate and nice enough to do so if I choose.

I have all of the tops except bikini, where as some people on here haven't experienced the Trextop NX. If they did they might be on board with those of us who have!

Good call doing the research ahead of time

Good luck
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Old 09-19-2012, 12:06 PM   #21
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Plus if you get a hardtop and don't like it you can sell it easily, and probably make money on it based on what I've read in this post. Oh, and I've sold one if my hardtops on my last strictly a wheeler rig for $1400!
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Old 09-19-2012, 12:47 PM   #22
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My jeep is being delivered in a few days, I just got the hard top. Not a fan of how the soft top looks down on the unlimiteds. I will be ordering a trektop by next spring for the nice weather. Then depending on how expensive 4 half doors cost I will be getting those by summer time. Rockin it.
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Old 09-19-2012, 12:56 PM   #23
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If you think you will EVER want to use the hardtop... get it from the factory!! This way you will have the plumbing and wiring already installed to operate the wiper/defrost functions.

A soft top can be put on anytime... but it's far easier to do the hardtop with it's added features if you get it factory installed.
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Old 09-19-2012, 01:00 PM   #24
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no regrets whatsoever for the dual top. hard top will be going back on in a couple weeks. summer is over man!
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Old 09-19-2012, 01:17 PM   #25
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Originally Posted by WhiskeyMike View Post
I'm about to order a 2013 JKU. I like the idea of the dual top option, but wonder if one of them would sit in the garage permantly because I don't want to take the effort to switch. With that being the case, is one of them better/cheaper/easier to buy later if I change my mind? A quick review of CL showed soft tops, but no hard tops for sale.
It depends on where you live. I live in the MidWest and a hard top in the Winter is a luxury for sure. Come Spring, I will put the soft top on as well as the Spider Web Shade. It's cheaper to purchase both when ordering (I believe).
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Old 09-19-2012, 01:28 PM   #26
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JKU's come with soft tops? I don't think I've ever seen one on the street. Is the black portion of the JKU roof even removable, because I never see one without it.
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Old 09-19-2012, 01:44 PM   #27
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JKU's come with soft tops? I don't think I've ever seen one on the street. Is the black portion of the JKU roof even removable, because I never see one without it.
of course. just flip that top back and head out on safari. folds completely down just like the 2 doors.
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Old 09-19-2012, 01:49 PM   #28
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Love both of them here in Michigan. See easy to go topless in the summer or even windowless in a matter of minutes. Do like the 3 piece hardtop in the fall/winter.
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Old 09-19-2012, 01:52 PM   #29
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Sgt93 hit it - the hard top is a nice "luxury". I have no complaints with the extra sound or cool/warmer temps w/the soft top on - but, having the hard top on definitely makes a nice & noticeable difference to my senses. Fall begins Saturday...my hard top is already on. If it gets real nice out & I feel like going topless, it takes me 5 minutes to remove the hard top completely; or 15 minutes to do the hard top / soft top swap. I like having options.
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Old 09-19-2012, 01:59 PM   #30
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I must admit I have become a fan of the hard top. I had a soft top on my last two Jeeps and now have the Jeep Unlimited with the hard top and love it. A lot less noise and the front part comes off very easily. I am quite spoiled with my 2012 and loving every minute of it.

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