Hard top or soft top? - Jeep Wrangler Forum
Jeep Wrangler Forum

Go Back   Jeep Wrangler Forum > JK Jeep Wrangler Forum > JK General Discussion Forum

Join Wrangler Forum Today


Reply
 
Thread Tools

Please support our sponsors and let them know you heard about them on WranglerForum.com
Old 12-22-2013, 03:48 PM   #1
Newb
 
Join Date: Dec 2013
Posts: 6
Hard top or soft top?

I would like some input on advantages and disadvantages of each.

I have never had a Jeep before, i live in the Boston area, which of course gets snow. I take the train to work, so i don't drive all that much during the week. My vehicle would be parked outside.

Mike7300 is offline   Quote Quick Reply
Old 12-22-2013, 03:55 PM   #2
Jeeper
 
JTPhoto JK's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jun 2011
Posts: 1,046
Images: 3
Softtop is lighter and more fun in the summer. Until you've have experienced Jeep life with a softtop it is hard for us to explain. Hardtop is more practical in winter if you have snow in your area. Hardtop is a bit more secure.

__________________
Jeff _(OIIIO)_

08 Black and Khaki JK Sahara Unlimited, Dual Tops, MyGig, Tow pkg, Trax-Lok Rear Diff,
Mods -- 3.5" Rock Krawler front springs, 2.5 TerraFlex BB, PitBull Rockers 35x12.50x17 on BlackRock Vipers, AEV Premium Bumper,
JTPhoto JK is offline   Quote Quick Reply
Old 12-22-2013, 04:11 PM   #3
Jeeper
 
Roadglider09's Avatar
 
Join Date: Dec 2011
Location: Central Florida
Posts: 140
I've had both. There is much less road noise with the hardtop, possibly retains more cabin heat in winter, although living in Florida I wouldn't know, better view out the rear than the soft top.
But the freedom panels, while easy to take off, are bulky, cumbersome, and difficult to store on the fly. It takes 2 people to remove the hard top, and you can't take it off once you've left home.

The soft top does suffer from a lot more road noise, but it it goes up and down at a moments notice no matter where you are.

I'm on my 2nd JKU, sold the hard tops off both off them and went with the softop.

Just my opinion. Of course, I could be wrong.
__________________
2012 JKU Crush, RIP
2013 JKU Deep Cherry Red
2014 JKU Sahara in Granite Crystal

"Welcome to Lake County. We don't lawyer up, we load up."
Roadglider09 is offline   Quote Quick Reply
Old 12-22-2013, 04:21 PM   #4
Jeeper
 
Join Date: Dec 2013
Posts: 90
When I traded my Wrangler for my Cherokee I told myself two things- I'll get another Wrangler someday and I will never go through another New England winter in a soft top.

Maybe they've improved the tops recently, but in my opinion the investment in the hard/dual top is a necessity, especially where you live.
managuense is offline   Quote Quick Reply
Old 12-22-2013, 04:23 PM   #5
Jeeper
 
Jancie's Avatar
 
Join Date: Dec 2013
Location: Salt Lake City, Utah
Posts: 536
I just bought a hard top but then again I live in Utah where it snows a lot! I didn't want the weight of the snow on top of the soft top. Besides I can always get a soft top later.

Price the difference - you can get the vehicle with a hard top from the dealership for $995 but if you go to buy it later it will cost you at least $2K. I have been quoted everything under the sun from $1700 to $2500 for a hard top.

Yes, it is bulky to take the back portion off but on youtube there are videos showing you how you can rig up straps, etc. in your garage and take it off by yourself. It ends up hanging from the ceiling of your garage. But then again I wouldn't know what having a garage is as ours has been taken over by junk since we moved in back in 2000.

I figure come the summertime I will take off the hardtop all together and buy a bikini top or something similiar in case I get hit with rain.

I drove both at the dealership and yes....there is more road noise with a soft top but hey.....you are buying a jeep ....it doesn't matter!
Jancie is offline   Quote Quick Reply
Old 12-22-2013, 04:41 PM   #6
Jeeper
 
tartangirl's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2013
Location: NJ
Posts: 389
Quote:
Originally Posted by Mike7300 View Post
I would like some input on advantages and disadvantages of each.

I have never had a Jeep before, i live in the Boston area, which of course gets snow. I take the train to work, so i don't drive all that much during the week. My vehicle would be parked outside.
I live in NJ and i Had the hardtop on my 2012 JK. Freedom Tops are cumbersome to take off. They are relatively easy to store in the vehicle, as the storage bag straps and stows behind the rear seat. We get a good amount of snow here, but not as much as Boston. I did like the Rear defrost and windshield wiper in winter. I found hat I did not take the Freedom panels out very often, especially on shorter trips. It just wasn't worth the effort. When I originally wanted a Jeep, I thought it made sense to buy one with a hard top. I planned on buying a soft top, but then there was the issue of storing the hard top.

I sold the 2012, I ordered a 2014 JK with a soft top. Now I could take the top completely down, and that's why I wanted a Jeep in the first place.

In addition, The soft tops on 2012+ have the Sunrider feature that lets you just pull back the top over just the front seats. This is a really cool feature for top down driving on short trips. Easier than removing and re-installing Freedoom Panels.

After taking delivery on December 5, 2014, NJ has had 3 or 4 snow storms and was very cold. The heat in the Jeep is awesome and will warm up the cabin fast and you will stay warm in winter. The only thing I missed was rear windshield washer for all the road that accumulated on rear plastic window. We had warm weather today so I just hosed off the rear window.

You'll just have to figure out what works best for your particular situation, but I hope you found this info helpful.
__________________
2014 JK Sport Flame Red
6 speed man/tow/connectivity

tartangirl is offline   Quote Quick Reply
Old 12-22-2013, 04:47 PM   #7
Jeeper
 
Hawaii 5-0's Avatar
 
Join Date: Apr 2010
Location: Amherst, Ohio
Posts: 443
I bought my JK used with dual tops. Living in northern Ohio where it snows, I would not go without a hardtop in the winter. At the end of April, the soft top goes on for the summer.

I have a hardtop hoist in my garage, and I can remove/install it by myself. If I didn't have room for a hoist in my garage, the hardtop would be a huge pain in the ass.
Hawaii 5-0 is offline   Quote Quick Reply
Old 12-22-2013, 04:50 PM   #8
Jeeper
 
Old Dogger's Avatar
 
Join Date: May 2012
Location: Phoenix, Rattlesnake Country
Posts: 3,249
I like the hard top, because it is quieter, and if you want to see the sky, well it takes just a couple of minutes to pull the tops off! Plus it just looks better!
Old Dogger is offline   Quote Quick Reply
Old 12-22-2013, 04:52 PM   #9
Jeeper
 
toddb's Avatar
 
Join Date: Oct 2013
Location: Rhode Island
Posts: 75
Both is the way to go in New England. A Jeep is just not a Jeep if you can't put the top down or off in the summer, and it's a lot warmer in the winter with the hard top. Get both, no need to just have one or the other.
toddb is offline   Quote Quick Reply
Old 12-22-2013, 05:04 PM   #10
Jeeper
 
rla1999's Avatar
 
Join Date: Aug 2013
Location: Fort Lauderdale, Florida
Posts: 111
Quote:
Originally Posted by Mike7300 View Post
I would like some input on advantages and disadvantages of each.

I have never had a Jeep before, i live in the Boston area, which of course gets snow. I take the train to work, so i don't drive all that much during the week. My vehicle would be parked outside.
In my case, I decided to go with the hardtop since, to me, it's looks better than the soft top. Now, living in Florida it would be best to have a soft top. Sometimes I feel I should have gotten the soft tops. I take the freedom tops all the time and really like to feel the breeze. I have been dying to take the back top off but it's not easy to do. You need two people and space in a garage. The weather is great now but I just have not had a chance to take it all down; only the freedom tops. It helps to have the storage bag for the freedom tops since you can easily take them off and store them behind the rear seats.

Since you live in Boston where it snows, you are better off with the hardtop, I think.
__________________
2013 Black Jeep Wrangler Rubicon
rla1999 is offline   Quote Quick Reply
Old 12-22-2013, 05:27 PM   #11
Jeeper
 
Get your jeep on's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2013
Posts: 180
We went with both, we leave the hardtop with the Mopar headliner on the & the winter. Keeps it warm and really cuts down on road noise. We are planning to switch to the soft top and April and run the soft top for the summer monts. It does take two people to take the hard top off and on, but we are only doing it twice a year.
Get your jeep on is offline   Quote Quick Reply
Old 12-22-2013, 05:35 PM   #12
Jeeper
 
85CJ's Avatar
 
Join Date: May 2013
Location: MD
Posts: 257
Get Dual tops

All good points above for both tops. If you must or can only get one top, get the hard top. A soft top is much cheaper to add later.
__________________

2013 MOAB edition, AEV 2.5 DualSport lift, Pintlers, Procal, 35" Duratracs, 4.56 Yukons, LSD, rear locker, auto, dual tops, Truck-Lites....
85CJ is offline   Quote Quick Reply
Old 12-22-2013, 05:57 PM   #13
Jeeper
 
Coachfarnen's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jun 2013
Posts: 113
Do yourself a favor and get the Trek Top NX.... Best investment I made. It gives any jeep a way better appearance. Plus if you wanted you can just turn around and sell your original top and the money you make can go towards a new top. Trek comes in a regular canvas material or a Twill which is awesome and really lessens road noise. Good Luck whatever you choose
Coachfarnen is offline   Quote Quick Reply
Old 12-22-2013, 06:06 PM   #14
rotaredoM

WF Supporting Member
::WF Moderator::
 
panthermark's Avatar
 
Join Date: Aug 2011
Location: Chicago-land
Posts: 9,645
Images: 13
Get both
__________________
2013 Sahara Unlimited
Billet - Auto - 3.73 - Connectivity - Painted Hardtop - LSD - Remote Start - Saddle Leather - Side Airbags

I may mall crawl...but I look good doing it.....
panthermark is offline   Quote Quick Reply
Old 12-22-2013, 07:19 PM   #15
Jeeper
 
TRAUMAhead's Avatar
 
Join Date: Apr 2012
Location: Cen Cal
Posts: 534
Bought the Jeep with a hardtop, switched to a Trektop NX and the hardtop hasn't been back on since. Mainly switched to a softop so I could remove the top solo (no garage space for a hoist). The only con I have with a soft top is when going 75+ mph or there's headwind, I get a lot of wind noise right where the header meets the windshield. Still on a quest to lessen the noise.
TRAUMAhead is offline   Quote Quick Reply
Old 12-22-2013, 07:27 PM   #16
Jeeper
 
MBeshada's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jun 2012
Posts: 119
I got both with my TJ. What a pain. I would put the hard top on in November and put the soft top back on in March. The hard top takes up a lot of space in the garage. My wife got me the HOSS system which takes up a lot less space but it is still a pain. It is at least a two person job to remove the hard top and and the top gets heavier each year that I get older. I hate imposing on someone else to help. I only have a one car garage so leaving it hanging with removal straps was not an option. Got a 2013 earlier this year. Only wanted the soft top this time. I don't notice any more road noise than I did with my TJ hard top. No regrets.
MBeshada is offline   Quote Quick Reply
Old 12-22-2013, 08:22 PM   #17
Newb
 
Join Date: Dec 2013
Posts: 6
I usually listen to music loud when i drive, so im guessing the roadnoise won't bother me.
I think i would prefer a soft top, seems easier to take off, wont take up storage room like a hard top...the only thing i worry about is snow. Would too much snowfall on the jeep ruin the soft top? I just want to get a sense of the issues with having a soft top in a northeast climate.

Can you get the Trek Top NX when you buy the jeep, or you have to buy it seperate?
Mike7300 is offline   Quote Quick Reply
Old 12-23-2013, 12:34 AM   #18
Jeeper
 
TRAUMAhead's Avatar
 
Join Date: Apr 2012
Location: Cen Cal
Posts: 534
Trektop NX is only available separately.
TRAUMAhead is offline   Quote Quick Reply
Old 12-23-2013, 04:27 AM   #19
Jeeper
 
Dave S's Avatar
 
Join Date: Nov 2012
Location: Massachusetts
Posts: 120
I live in Mass. (Worcester County) and have owned several Jeeps through the years. The last couple that I bought I have made sure to have both hard and soft tops. I did own a YJ that I parked outside year round with only a soft top, including during the infamous April Fool's Day Blizzard where I had over 3ft. of snow piled on top of it. The main issue I have with running a soft top through the winter is that you get salt spray build-up on the soft top plastic windows and it is difficult to clean them without scratching them badly.

If you plan on parking outside with a soft top, remember that it is not as secure as a hard top. There are plenty of mods to create secure storage areas inside of your Jeep, but if you are stuck with on street parking, it is something to factor in.

For me though, I could not go through the summer without a soft top. It is awesome to be able to drop the top and enjoy the nice weather. One of the cons of owning both is that you need storage space for them. It is easy to change them if you have a space you can set up a hoist or have a friend that can help you with the hard top. I have a hoist in my garage so I can install/remove my hard top by myself very easily. If I could only choose one, I would buy the Jeep with the hard top and add a soft top later. There are many quality affordable aftermarket soft tops, not so true about the hard top.

No matter which option you choose, welcome to the Jeep world!
__________________
2002 Jeep Wrangler TJ
2012 Triumph Tiger Explorer
2013 Jeep Wrangler JKUR
Dave S is offline   Quote Quick Reply
Old 12-23-2013, 05:31 AM   #20
Supporting Member

WF Supporting Member
 
mcgee10's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jun 2012
Location: West Michigan
Posts: 809
Mine goes from hardtop in winter to no top the rest of the year. It goes on in October and comes off in April.
__________________
2012 Sport Auto 3.73
ACE rock sliders
Eaton Tru-trac Front and rear
17 inch ATX Ledge wheels
285/70/17 Duratrac
Cheap is never a good thing when it comes to your Jeep
mcgee10 is online now   Quote Quick Reply
Old 12-23-2013, 06:19 AM   #21
Jeeper
 
Join Date: Mar 2013
Posts: 372
We traded in (2) soft top versions for hardtops. Quieter, easier to clean, no plastic scratches and MUCH easier rear door access. The three piece tops allow us fresh sun and air when the weather cooperates. For a $995 option, it is a bargain.
Xena1 is offline   Quote Quick Reply
Old 12-23-2013, 07:21 AM   #22
Jeeper
 
Join Date: Jul 2013
Location: Westchester County, NY
Posts: 72
If you are parking outside, I'd go with the hardtop no question. The main reason being security. Anyone can walk up to the outside of the soft top and just unzip the windows out. I had a '13 JKU with the soft top and loved being able to fold the top back or take the windows out. Also prefer the look of the soft top. I just traded that JKU in for a '14 with the hardtop and so far I really like it. It is much quieter than the soft top. I'd say comparable radio volume levels would have to be around 20-21 in the soft top compared to 10-11 in the hard top to sound the same to the driver. The ability to flip the back glass up in the hard top to fit larger things in the back is also very nice. With the soft top, you would have to unzip the back plastic to get anything over maybe 15ish" in the back. If you start with the hard top, you are also pre wired for the rear wiper/defroster and can swap to the soft top any time. If you start with the soft top and want to buy the hard top later, you would have to get all the wiring done as well. Hope this helps.
GreggNY is offline   Quote Quick Reply
Old 12-23-2013, 05:04 PM   #23
Jeeper
 
Michel347's Avatar
 
Join Date: Apr 2013
Location: Laurentians, QC, Canada
Posts: 429
You are most probably near Boston, I love Boston CH games, but not too sure about the winters you get. Here I wouldn't spend winters without a hardtop, especially after the week we just had. But I wouldn't imagine my summers without the soft one, so get both.
__________________
2012 Wrangler JK Sport 2dr, man 6 spd, 3.73 diff
Michel347 is offline   Quote Quick Reply
Old 12-23-2013, 05:15 PM   #24
Supporting Member

WF Supporting Member
 
MTNJeep's Avatar
 
Join Date: Apr 2013
Location: Morris County, NJ
Posts: 483
Both!
I love the soft top, but hate it in the winter. Hard top in the winter, you take it through the carwash. Soft top hand wash in the summer.

Can't imagine a Jeep in summer with a hard top.
__________________
2013 JK Rubicon - Dualtops, Full and Half Doors | AEV 2.5" DualSport XT w/ Geo correction brackets | Teraflex Monster TrackBar | 315/70/17 Duratrac's on Fuel Anza wheels | Fox 2.0 ATS Stabilizer | more... & more...

2014 JK Sport - 100% Stock, for now
MTNJeep is offline   Quote Quick Reply
Old 12-23-2013, 05:54 PM   #25
Jeeper
 
LemonLite's Avatar
 
Join Date: Nov 2012
Location: Fort Lewis, WA
Posts: 375
Quote:
Originally Posted by JTPhoto JK View Post
Softtop is lighter and more fun in the summer. Until you've have experienced Jeep life with a softtop it is hard for us to explain. Hardtop is more practical in winter if you have snow in your area. Hardtop is a bit more secure.
^^This right here...I'm on my first Jeep and have a soft top. Winter here in upstate NY has been a mixture between heavy snow and ice. So far I haven't had any problems with the soft top. One of my favorite things back when it was (warm? 60's), was leaving the actual top on and taking the side panels off. I think I will most likely run my Jeep like this in the summer for two reasons. First being that I don't care for the sun beating on my head, and second because the fear of bird sh*t.

Here's a picture of my soft top the other day after we got hit with the ice storm.



Heater works great.
LemonLite is offline   Quote Quick Reply
Old 12-23-2013, 06:29 PM   #26
Jeeper
 
Join Date: Jul 2013
Posts: 471
Quote:
Originally Posted by LemonLite View Post
^^This right here...I'm on my first Jeep and have a soft top. Winter here in upstate NY has been a mixture between heavy snow and ice. So far I haven't had any problems with the soft top. One of my favorite things back when it was (warm? 60's), was leaving the actual top on and taking the side panels off. I think I will most likely run my Jeep like this in the summer for two reasons. First being that I don't care for the sun beating on my head, and second because the fear of bird sh*t.

Here's a picture of my soft top the other day after we got hit with the ice storm.



Heater works great.
This is exactly why I will no longer run a soft top in the winter. Its a PITA when it is frozen because you can't scrape the windows. If you don't baby them they get scratched all over and they get hard to see out of. It looses its cool factor real fast.
Also it is a lot less secure so if the jeep is outside all the time it just depends on if that matters to you or not.
peanut09 is offline   Quote Quick Reply
Old 12-23-2013, 06:38 PM   #27
Jeeper
 
LemonLite's Avatar
 
Join Date: Nov 2012
Location: Fort Lewis, WA
Posts: 375
Quote:
Originally Posted by peanut09 View Post
This is exactly why I will no longer run a soft top in the winter. Its a PITA when it is frozen because you can't scrape the windows. If you don't baby them they get scratched all over and they get hard to see out of. It looses its cool factor real fast.
Also it is a lot less secure so if the jeep is outside all the time it just depends on if that matters to you or not.
Defroster on high for 5-10 minutes, no issues. It is however a PITA when I'm running late to work, which happens more than I like to admit, lol. If I get rid of my current Jeep one day, I might go with a hard top. Only for the convenience of accessing the rear "cargo" area, folding up the rear "window" can be a pain. But on the other hand, when it's nice outside, going topless happens in under 5 minutes. If anyone is debating this topic than Roshambo someone for it. Winner gets the hard top, loser gets the soft top, or vice versa.
LemonLite is offline   Quote Quick Reply
Old 12-23-2013, 06:40 PM   #28
Newb
 
Join Date: May 2013
Posts: 10
if I still lived up North it would be hard top winter and soft spring, summer and fall. Had a cj with both and it was like two different jeeps. 2014 hard top and 05 soft top. if I sell the 05 I will get a soft top for the winter here in Florida
Puggle is offline   Quote Quick Reply
Old 12-23-2013, 08:02 PM   #29
Newb
 
Join Date: Dec 2013
Posts: 6
How much are the windows to replace if someone steals them?
Im not concerned about parking on street overnight, i live in a safe area. But maybe if i park somewhere and go into a store or something and someone takes my windows.
Mike7300 is offline   Quote Quick Reply
Old 12-25-2013, 10:19 AM   #30
Newb
 
Join Date: Dec 2013
Posts: 6
One idea could be to buy it with a hard top, and then buy the Trek Top NX as the soft top right? Especially if i want a Trek Top anyway.

Mike7300 is offline   Quote Quick Reply
Reply

Quick Reply
Message:
Options

Register Now

In order to be able to post messages on the Jeep Wrangler Forum forums, you must first register.
Please enter your desired user name, your email address and other required details in the form below.
User Name:
If you do not want to register, fill this field only and the name will be used as user name for your post.
Password
Please enter a password for your user account. Note that passwords are case-sensitive.
Password:
Confirm Password:
Email Address
Please enter a valid email address for yourself.
Email Address:

Log-in

Human Verification

In order to verify that you are a human and not a spam bot, please enter the answer into the following box below based on the instructions contained in the graphic.



Thread Tools

Posting Rules
You may post new threads
You may post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are Off




» Network Links
»Jeep Parts
» Featured Product

All times are GMT -5. The time now is 07:36 AM.



Jeep®, Wrangler, Liberty, Wagoneer, Cherokee, and Grand Cherokee are copyrighted and trademarked to Chrysler Motors LLC.
Wranglerforum.com is not in any way associated with the Chrysler Motors LLC