Deciding between a Jeep soft top or hard top?
Perhaps your open air Jeep doesn’t have a top yet. Or the top you have is damaged, or you’re tired of freezing in the winter, or sweating inside during the summer.
With so many options for Jeep tops, we’ve covered a few benefits of both hard and soft tops to help you decide.
Jeep Hard Top Benefits
Better Protection – A hard top is going to protect you better from the outside elements like rain, snow, cold, the hot sun, or city bus fumes. You’ve got your own little flight cabin inside to listen to some tunes, and enjoy a small amount of quiet. A hardtop pretty much gets you sealed in better than a soft top.
Durability – A hardtop typically lasts many years, usually the life of the vehicle. They can take a lot of punishment. It’s not often one actually has to be replaced because it failed in some way or fell apart from age.
Storage Space – With a hard top, you can carry all kinds of gear on top, and get some good use out of it. You can opt for an aluminum half rack or a black rugged rack for your kayak or bike. Heck, you can even get a hard top tent on top of your Jeep! So there are quite a few options and advantages to using a hard top.
Security – With most hard tops, especially newer Jeeps, such as the JK Wranglers, it’s easier to lock up the vehicle and keep a few items inside. It’s less likely the vehicle will be broken into.
A downside of a hard top is that they are rarely removed. So, if you like outside mountain air, you’ve got to get a Jeep friend to help you get the top off and on. It can definitely be a weekend killer.
Jeep Soft Top Advantages
Versatility – There are many kinds of soft tops, from full tops, half tops, bikinis, flip tops, and a wide variety of combinations. Picking out a soft top is almost like picking out your best clothes for a hot date. There are so many ways and combinations to enjoy a soft top on a Jeep. You can go formal and include doors, or casual without doors, or even in between, with half doors. You can remove the side or back windows, or choose a cover made of mesh, twill, or black diamond. The options are nearly endless. So unlike a hard top which probably only come in one style, a soft top can be chosen to accent your kind of Jeep Life.
Cost Savings – Soft tops come in all kinds of styles. The summer ones are very low cost, almost next to nothing compared to the price of a new hard top. You could get several kinds of soft tops for the price of one hard top. Which means, you might have a few extra dollars in your Jeep fund for other things like wheels, tires, etc.
Get Back to Nature – A soft top gives you the freedom to get fresh air, to smell the woods in the mountains and the surf breeze on the beach. Let your hair down, put your feet up on the dash, and kick back. It’s just you and your Jeep. If you like to enjoy the great outdoors, you won’t see much of it trapped inside a hard top. A soft top can be adjusted in just a few minutes to help you escape and get back to your wild side.
The downside to a soft top, is, depending on what kind it is, they will only last for a certain amount of time. They can get damaged and worn over years of use, and won’t last as long as a hardtop would. And of course, there is little security as far as leaving valuables inside.
Still having trouble deciding? Why not explore a soft top that looks and acts like a hard top? The Bestop Trektop Pro allows you to remove the rear side windows and the rear tailgate window (which is real glass by the way). So you can still get some fresh air. The front Sunrider portion of the top flips back. There are no zippers, and it weighs less than a hard top. The rear glass uses assist struts to hold the window open for you, Just like a hard top.
Evaluate the Pros and Cons and choose based on the style and preferences that best fit you needs.
Which type of Jeep top do you prefer and why? How do you use yours?