Soft top only folks- any regrets?

RichD

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Im going with a soft top right now in the snow and ice. No problems. Fairly quiet and toasty warm. Love the classic look of the soft top.
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Shots

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Well, I'm kinda poaching here (I have the hardtop), BUT before you all dismiss me I had a soft-top as a rental when I was in Hawaii years ago. No it wasn't a JL, but the changes to the JL top isn't what I wanted to comment on anyway.
The only downside I saw to the soft-top was that it's not particularly secure. I guess if you want to be technical, a hard top isn't either because glass breaks. Regardless, I think a thief is a bit more likely to unzip (un-hook for the JL) or cut the vinyl window rather than breaking the glass of a hardtop. It's quieter and less obvious than shattering glass. When I had the soft-top someone did exactly that, and stole a bag from the cargo area. Fast forward to when I was buying my JL, and I opted for the hardtop for the slightly improved security. It's also worth noting that I installed security tint on all my windows (doors and hardtop), so mine is pretty secure.
I'd say the soft-top is fine choice, but so is the hardtop. They've both got pros and cons.
Soft top is probably best if you want to have the top off/down a lot. I installed an electric hoist in my garage so my hardtop comes off in a 5 minutes or less by my self, but that's because I made it possible. The soft-top offers that "out of the box".
The soft-top offers more flexibility. Unlike the hardtop, you can remove the soft-top and it goes with you. If you take the hardtop off, you have to leave it behind, so you need to consider. Although, you can take off the freedom panels and easily take those with you.
Hardtop windows can be tinted, which looks good and conceals the interior. IMHO, they also offer a bit more security.
Hardtop can be bought or painted in colors other than black adding some flexibility to customization.
The hardtop back window is more convenient than the soft-top back window for loading stuff. On the flip side, if you want to haul a long item you can roll up the back window of the soft-top and have the item hang out the back. It's debatable if you can leave the back glass open to haul an item with the hardtop. Some people do it regularly, some say don't do it at all because it may break the back glass. I've done it once, but that was before I had a trailer, so I don't plan to do it again.
Soft-top windows don't have the risk of shattering, thereby leaving your top partially open. Worst case with them if they're cut is to tape it up until you can get it fixed.

At the end of the day, is the soft-top a good choice? Sure, it's a classic design that's been proven, and still very popular. I doubt you'll regret it, but I don't regret the hardtop either. So I think either way you go, you should be happy with it, because both are great choices.
My only recommendation, if you opt for the soft-top is to buy or build a "trunk" or lock box for the cargo area to secure stuff that won't fit in the console or glove box. These are actually a good addition for any top, so you can secure items when the top is removed, but I'd buy/build one with a soft-top sooner than later.
 

obwahn

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Soft top only, even here in VT. No regrets. Still comfy in this crap weather. During the summer the windows spent a whole month in the house. I had to put the top up twice for a short sprinkle. Love this thing!
 

JIMBOX

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I agree about the rear window/remove for loading--sometimes and IF THE SIDE WINDOWS ARE CORRECTLY INSTALLED --the PREMIUM SOFT TOP is relatively quiet !

RIGHT--SAFARI MODE is outstanding in the desert-

W.E.

JIMBO
 

bamchenry

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Have both. Hard top JLU and soft top JL.

The back window is a total pain in the soft top for loading. Especially when the weather is bad. The road noise is non trivial.

Love dropping the top in the summer. Even in the halfway position.
 

Bubba33

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Agreed on that. Could be annoying specially when you have to open it and close it quite often during the day - I just leave it open and drive it like I stole it. Fak it. Lol

I bought mine with the dual package (since that's how it was built) but I put the soft top almost immediately and I've never looked back. Sometimes I think of selling my hard top since it's only collecting dust in the garage, and also very bulky.

Pros:
- You can open to the sunrider position in less than 1 minute.
- you can lower the whole thing in less than 5.
- put it back up in a blink of an eye.
- Honestly, you look way cooler when you have the top down.
- If you want to go naked, the windows aren't as bulky and heavy as the freedom panels on the hardtop... and we all know you cannot get the hard top off your Jeep by yourself, whereas the soft top is easy-peacy.

Cons:
- Back window is a PIA.

Mid-ground:
- Noise level. Let me put it this way, in a scale from 1 to 10 where 1 is bad and 10 is good - I'd give the wind noise a 5... maaaaybe a 4 if you are going 70+ MPH, but c'mon it's a Wrangler, so chances are you will only do this once or twice in your lifetime, lol. The few days I was running the hardtop, the wind noise was also noticeable so in reality there's not a very dramatic difference between these two.

OP - Go for it! Fak it. YOLO.
 

Bubba33

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I have both and tomorrow will have the sunriderfor the hard top, no more freedom panels. Just put the hardtop back on a couple weeks ago. The soft top is great, most groceries we can load under the back window. One thing if you just get the soft top and then go to a hard top, you dont get all the wiring for back wiper or washer.
 

robaw

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I think a big part of this decision depends on how far north you live. I went the dual-top route since I see below-freezing weather for at least 4 months out of the year, with various amount of snow/frost/ice. If I lived in the "southern half" of the US I would probably go soft top only, but having no rear defroster or wiper in the winter where I live would be rough (although still possible I suppose).

Just my $0.02 worth...
 

wv18jl

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All my previous Jeeps had hardtops.

Said I would never have a softop.

This one was setup exactly the way I wanted except for the softop.

I am pleasant surprised.

And absolutely love being able to take the sides off in minutes.

Everyone who knows me says "see I told you it wasn't that bad".

:giggle:
 

Hayseed_JLUR

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JK has not had the hard top back on in a few years.
JL has no hard top and no regrets.
 

_olllllllo_

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oh - and it can get kinda chilly at night... but what do I know about chilly? I live in AZ so whenever it gets below 70 - I am already putting a jacket on :giggle:
We put the seat heaters on at 65° and below. People don’t realize that getting used to 105°+ in the summer changes your perspective on what is cold. I am removing the hard top before Christmas and switching to the soft top. Will see if I ever switch back. If I don’t all future Jeeps will only have the soft top.
 

#4Jeep 1st Wrangler

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Loving my soft top.... No looking back !
Weather forecast calls for 53 degrees Monday... Will probably put it down for one last time/ride
25 degree high temp Wednesday ( will probably leave it up that day...ha)...
Gotta love Cleveland weather
 

@minutemen

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We put the seat heaters on at 65° and below. People don’t realize that getting used to 105°+ in the summer changes your perspective on what is cold. I am removing the hard top before Christmas and switching to the soft top. Will see if I ever switch back. If I don’t all future Jeeps will only have the soft top.
I still open the windows if the temperature is above 0°F, forget heated seats :CWL:.
 
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