The best thing about Jeeps is that they’re open to various customizations. Other than being the best vehicles for off-road excursions, Jeeps are designed to wear many tops. But, when it comes to deciding which top to consider, most Jeep owners often find themselves trapped in between Jeep hardtop vs. soft top.
Even to those people that enjoy going topless, a Jeep’s top is something you’ll have to think of at one point in life especially when you want to stay protected from the elements. The amount of protection a Jeep top offers is essential during heavy storms, or when it’s raining or snowing heavily.
But, just as we’ve mentioned, thinking about whether to take the soft top or the hardtop route can be very overwhelming if you’re not well informed. For that reason, this guide has done all the hard work for you by discussing the major pros and cons of both hardtops and soft tops. So, if you’re ready, then let’s begin.
But First, What Are the Benefits of Having a Jeep’s Top?
Just before we get to our main topic, we would like to discuss some of the major benefits of having a Jeep top as opposed to going topless. So, which are some of the benefits you’re likely to enjoy?
One benefit of both soft-top and hardtop roofs is that they can be removed entirely to restore your Jeep’s natural state. So, if you’re driving in hot summer weather, you can easily remove the top to allow sufficient airflow in and out of the Jeep’s interior.
Also, if the temperatures are low and you want to take advantage of the little available sun, removing the top is something you can consider. On the other hand, if the weather becomes a little hostile, then you can consider restoring the top to avoid being soaked in rain, snow, or heavy storm.
Just as we’ve mentioned above, Jeep tops offer immense protection against the elements. This gives you full freedom to drive under inclement weather without any problem. This is quite different with topless Jeeps where you’ll be denied the freedom to drive under such hostile weather.
Features and Benefits of Jeep Hardtops
If you’re the type of person that commutes daily, then a hardtop is perhaps a better option for you. The best thing about their hardness is that it offers immense security to your Jeep’s interior. They’re also less noisy and sturdier than soft tops. So, what are some of the features and benefits of hardtops?
- Offer Better Protection
The first benefit of installing a Jeep hardtop is the amount of protection they offer to your Jeep’s interior. You see, most Jeep hardtops are made of a sheet molding compound (SMC) that consists of fiberglass molding. Since fiberglass is tough and very steady, it’s able to offer immense protection to your Jeep’s interior against inclement weather.
From a security point of view, a hardtop offers additional security to your valuables in case of a burglary attack. So, this is helpful if you’re parking your Jeep in regions that have a high rate of insecurity.
- Lasts Longer
Other than being safe, hardtops are extremely durable as compared to soft tops. The hard fiberglass material used is more resilient to scratches, tears, and other cruel punishments that occur when driving off-road. While soft tops demand frequent replacement, hardtops can last for a long time and can only demand a replacement following old age.
If noise is one of the factors that piss you off when driving, then a hardtop can provide more insulation that will keep the noises out. Now, when it comes to noise, there are two benefits that hardtops offer as opposed to soft tops.
First, hardtops are relatively quieter when driving at high speeds. That’s because of their weights which tend to keep them intact. Secondly, they provide a soundproofing advantage that keeps the noises out when driving on noisy and busy highways.
- Comfort and Insulation
If you’re driving your Jeep in cold regions, then a hardtop is a better alternative to a soft top. Since hardtops are thicker, they provide more insulation to your Jeep’s interior during the winter months. This way, you’ll relax comfortably inside the Jeep’s cabin without feeling any cold.
- More Storage
Lastly, hardtops offer additional storage space at the top where you can store some of your accessories depending on the nature of your drive. For instance, if you’re getting ready for kayaking, fishing, or camping, you can add a half rack at the top to store some of your accessories such as a bike, a kayak, a tent, or a surfboard.
- Hard to Remove
The worst thing about hardtops is that they’re very difficult to remove and put back. In fact, according to most Jeep owners, removing a hardtop and setting it back requires more than one person to accomplish the job due to its sheer size. So, to avoid the hefty task, most people prefer to leave the hardtop intact even when the weather permits them to go topless.
- More Expensive
Although hardtops are durable, the cost of replacing them can be twice as high as that of buying a new soft top. So, if you’re looking to replace a damaged hardtop, then you need to be ready to dig deeper into your pockets.
- Demands More Storage Space
In case you’ve decided to remove your hardtop to go with a roofless setup, then you’ll need to find some additional space to store your hardtop. Since a hardtop cannot be folded, as it’s the case with soft tops, you need to find extra space in your garage to store it.
|More solid||Demands more storage space|
|Secure||Hard to remove|
|More durable||Fewer market options|
|Best for winter|
Features and Benefits of Soft Tops
To those that love the convenience of a soft top, there are several benefits you can enjoy here such as faster removal of the Jeep’s roof when you want to go topless. They’re also easy to store and are more affordable than their hardtop counterparts. So, here are some of the features and benefits of soft tops.
- Easy to Remove
One benefit of a soft-top is that it offers an increased convenience of removing it and mounting it back on your Jeep. If you’re looking to enjoy the freedom of open air, then a soft-top allows you to remove the roof easily without experiencing any problems.
For instance, if you live in South Florida where the climate is tropical, you need to have a flexible top that can be mounted faster to prevent rain from soaking your seats.
- Folds Easily
Although they’re disliked for being light and too thin, soft tops offer a convenient mode of storage when they’re removed from your Jeep. They can easily be folded and stored in your garage without taking too much space.
- Lots of Aftermarket Options
This is another huge benefit of choosing soft tops over hardtops. Although hardtops are available in multiple colors, they only have one style and that’s it. But, with soft tops, there are lots of different aftermarket options to choose from such as bikini tops, half tops, and full tops.
With so many options available, Jeep enthusiasts will have something to fit in their Jeep models regardless of whether they’re two-door, four-door, or no-door.
The final benefit of considering soft tops over hardtops is the overall cost of procuring them. Most soft tops are two times less costly than hardtops. At such low prices, you can easily buy a soft top at an affordable price and remain with extra funds to buy other Jeep mods and accessories.
- Too Loud
One of the toughest setbacks you’ll have to deal with when it comes to soft tops is unbearable noise when driving on the highway. First, soft tops are not insulated. This means that most of the outside noise will get inside the cabin when driving. Secondly, they’re very light, which causes them to vibrate more when driving.
- Limited Durability
Although Jeeps are designed to handle any off-road challenge, their soft tops are not equally as durable. When exposed to outdoor elements such as extreme UV rays, rainstorms, and scratches from shrubs and hanging branches, soft tops can wear out in a very short time. You’ll hence have to replace them more often.
- Security Vulnerability
Another setback with soft tops is that they’re less secure. So, if you happen to leave your valuables inside the Jeep, a thief can easily get through a soft-top making your Jeep an easier target. This is different from a hardtop, which is extremely difficult to get through.
- Winter Weakness
Due to their thin construction, soft tops can be the worst option to consider during cold winter months. These types of Jeep tops lack the necessary insulation that can keep cold air out. As a result, this exposes you to extreme cold even when the car’s heater is on.
Secondly, the structural integrity of soft tops is quite delicate. This causes snow to weigh down the roof, and in extreme cases, break it in case too much of it gathers on top.
|Easier to remove||Too loud|
|More market options||Less durable|
|Easy storage||Less insulation during winter|
So, are you still stuck in this Jeep hardtop vs. soft-top jargon? Well, the best way to solve this dilemma is by getting both of these Jeep tops and switching them any time you need to. For instance, if you’re driving during summer, then you can mount a soft top as it’s able to convert into a topless with less effort.
On the other hand, if the weather is snowy or rainy, then you can switch to a hardtop. With a hardtop, you’ll stay safe throughout winter without getting exposed to cold temperatures.
So, with that said, we believe you’re now well aware of the major differences between hardtops and soft tops and which between the two will suit your drivability better.