Thinking about buying a Jeep Wrangler but don’t know whether you should get a hardtop or a soft top? One of the great things about Jeep Wranglers is their ability to wear-many-tops, and even if you're primarily planning to go top-less, you'll likely be grateful for any type of top in the event of a sudden storm. Here are the pros and cons of having a Jeep Wrangler hardtop vs soft top.
Pros: Sturdy, protective, secure, quieter
Hardtops are easily the most durable of the Jeep Wrangler tops. Since they are solid and stronger than soft tops, they will typically last longer. Hardtop Jeep Wranglers can also provide more insulation, shielding you from the chilly winter wind or the hot summer sun. This also allows for a quieter ride compared to a soft top Jeep Wrangler, which would typically be louder. With a hardtop, you also have the option to install a roof rack so you can carry all your outdoor, off-roading necessities. Hardtops offer more protection and security for your personal belongings versus soft tops.
When it comes to Jeep hardtops vs soft tops, it’s important to consider the purpose of your Jeep Wrangler. Is your Wrangler for everyday commuting or off-roading expeditions? For everyday commuting, perhaps a hardtop is a better option than a soft top as it provides better security, protection, and a more comfortable ride.
Cons: Difficult to remove, requires storage
Hardtops aren’t without their downfalls, though. You will need someone to help you remove the hardtop as it is at least a two-person job, and removing the hardtop is easier than putting it back on, which will probably take longer. This might deter you from wanting to take off the top when it’s nice outside and will make it difficult to switch back and forth. While hardtops will usually last longer than soft tops, they are more expensive to replace in the event that you would need to buy a new hardtop. Since hardtops don’t fold down like soft tops, you will have to find a place to store them when your Jeep is topless.
Wrangler Soft Tops
Pros: Easily removable, portable, versatile
While Jeep Wrangler hardtops may offer more protection in comparison to soft tops, soft tops offer more versatility. Soft tops are easily removable due to their lighter weight, which is extremely helpful when you need to put your top back on quickly. Soft tops are foldable, so you can store them right in your Jeep Wrangler for easy access. If you’re out off-roading with the top off and suddenly a thunderstorm rolls through, a soft top will allow you to swiftly put the top back on and save your seats from getting soaked. For the off-roading Jeep Wrangler owners, soft tops are perfect for all your outdoor activities while still offering a way to cover up when needed.
Cons: Little protection, louder
So while the Jeep Wrangler soft top offers more accessibility than the hardtop, there are also some negatives to consider. Due to the lack of durability, soft tops will need replacing more often than hardtops. However, soft tops are significantly cheaper than hardtops, which balances it out. Since soft tops are more flexible, they are also less insulated. Not only will cold air seep through the soft top in the winter, but heavy snow can also weigh it down. Because of the lack of insulation, soft tops are also louder than the hardtops. This might be something to consider when choosing between a Wrangler soft top vs hardtop if you are using your Jeep Wrangler to commute a far distance on a daily basis. With a Wrangler soft top, not only is there less protection against the elements, there is less protection for theft of your valuables left in your vehicle. For Jeep Wrangler lovers who plan on going topless more often than not, the soft top is probably your best bet as it is the simplest to remove and provides the most versatility.
If you're specifically thinking of a new Jeep, read this article for a more detailed analysis of JL Wrangler top options, which changed a few key things.
Still having a difficult time deciding between a Jeep hardtop vs a soft top? Here’s a simple solution — get both! One of the perks of owning a Jeep Wrangler is being able to have both a hardtop and soft top. If you live in an area that experiences all four seasons, it might be a good idea to have both a hardtop and a soft top so you can switch them out when necessary. During the fall and winter, a hardtop would be a better option due to the colder temperatures and the potential for snow weighing down the soft top. Once spring rolls around, you can swap your hardtop out for a soft top, and then you will be able to go topless at a moment’s notice!
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