Soft Top vs Freedom Hard Top vs Dual Top

BFLYER

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Long time listener, first time caller...Just ordered a 2019 Sahara today, so these questions may be a little late.

I've never owned a Wrangler. I figure the soft top/top down is one of the many reasons one owns one. I really struggled with this aspect of the build - which top to buy. Seems I see a lot of the black hard tops on the road, and I live in North Carolina. I do Not have a garage so setting up the pulley system is not an option. It will be my daily commute to work vehicle plus my fun on the weekends and trips vehicle.

I changed my order configuration three times before deciding on the Dual Top Option, which includes the Black Freedom Hard Top and the Premium Soft top. How difficult is it to switch out the tops? Do I really need the pulley/lift set up to remove the hard top? Once I go soft, will I want to go hard? (Or is it the other way around?) Should I change my order before it's too late?

These are the questions that plague me!





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Soft top if you want the Sunrider/safari mode/convertible versatility; hard top if you don't; dual top if you have money to burn.
 

Angelarm35

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This is my first wrangler - and I went with the soft top because like you, I have no garage to store a hard top in/install a pulley system. So far, even with the very oppressive summer heat/humidity we have had, I have been super happy with the soft top, the climate control is really good. It's quieter than I thought it would be and the ease of the sunrider position has made my rides a lot of fun. That being said, I'm still new to the wrangler and have to get through a winter season with a soft top, but have been assured that the climate system will do it's job in the winter as well. I have the remote start, so that shouldn't be an issue. I am a little concerned about frost, etc., in the mornings and a little concerned about snow. Sometimes we get a lot of snow, sometimes we don't.
 

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2 people can remove the hard top in just a few mins. Jeep has a video of 2 surfer girls doing it at the beach. If you do not have a garage then where are you going to store it?
 
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BFLYER

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2 people can remove the hard top in just a few mins. Jeep has a video of 2 surfer girls doing it at the beach. If you do not have a garage then where are you going to store it?
Yeah, that is a good question. I've been wondering the same thing.
 

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If you’re uncertain and don’t want to spring for the dual top group right now, at least order the hardtop from the factory since this will get you all of the switches, wiring, etc. for the rear wiper and defroster (they won’t be there on a soft top only vehicle from the factory). These would be expensive to add later.
 
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BFLYER

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If you’re uncertain and don’t want to spring for the dual top group right now, at least order the hardtop from the factory since this will get you all of the switches, wiring, etc. for the rear wiper and defroster (they won’t be there on a soft top only vehicle from the factory). These would be expensive to add later.
Thank you! That makes me feel better about my decision.
 

RussJeep1

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I've never owned a Wrangler.
Ditto

I figure the soft top/top down is one of the many reasons one owns one.
Agreed...or perhaps stated in more generic terms, the ability, hard or soft top, to have exposure to the world above.

I really struggled with this aspect of the build - which top to buy.

You wasted angst. I'll explain below and put you at ease.

Seems I see a lot of the black hard tops on the road, and I live in North Carolina.



Fair point, if I may also add what you don't see: how many of these hard top owners may also be Dual (i.e. Soft) top owners or wish they were.;) I by the way have no data on OEM top purchase decisions for the JL. I wish I did. I am also a Dual Top owner.

I do Not have a garage so setting up the pulley system is not an option. It will be my daily commute to work vehicle plus my fun on the weekends and trips vehicle.

A couple of things. There are many ways to get a hard top off without a pulley system let alone even a helper. Yes, they will cost more money. Excellent posts exist on the board about them, from the Top Lift Pro to the Freedom Jack, to DIY solutions https://www.google.com/search?biw=1....gws-wiz-img.-0shDjxAFgQ#imgrc=gMFfBk6EM8yjjM: . Conflict of interest: I am biased towards the Freedom Jack but I don't profit from its sales. I like it because it was least expensive although I think the Top Lift Pro and others excellent products. I reviewed the Freedom Jack on YouTube. Search "Freedom Jack Review."

Then again, with 4 hands you can remove the hard top's rear with no devices. At 20% lighter than the JK's its about 100 pounds. Some guys can even take it off themselves, but height, upper body strength and technique are a must. Videos of same can also be found on YouTube.

The hard top can be left outside, apart from the rig, especially if covered, especially if it doesn't have headliners. It's not ideal. It is doable.

I changed my order configuration three times before deciding on the Dual Top Option, which includes the Black Freedom Hard Top and the Premium Soft top.
@BFLYER Brian: let me put your mind at ease. I think you're going to be happy with this decision. I think this is one of the better places to throw money when it comes to accessorizing your Wrangler. When you amortize the cost of this over the life of the rig it's unlikely you're going to miss the money. If you sell the rig, the Dual top will up what you can ask for it.

But say I'm wrong (and you love and keep the rig.) Parting with either top, at very competitive rates will not be hard via mediums like Craigslist.

Let me play a money trick on your head...true story. You were subsidized by FCA for buying the Dual Top, as are people who just buy the Hard or Premium Top.

The rig comes with the basic top. When you choose something else in tops you are essentially giving back to FCA the basic top to outfit on another rig, and that action causes reduction in price of your option by FCA. And by getting the Dual tops you got the Premium Soft top.

Heck, you may even want to see one of the tops one day because you found the Bestop Sunrider for the Hard top all the sunroof you need. You may want to sell the Hardtop because you find the Premium top just fine all year round. You may want to sell the soft top to buy the Bestop Sunrider or Trex NX top, or another 3rd party top. Some people like these Bestop designs because, among other reasons, they can be open and closed from the interior of the rig.


Bestop is taking pre-orders on the Sunrider now, and hopes to thereafter ship the Trex NX top late 2018/early 2019. There's posts on the board about this.

So don't think your decisions are cast in stone. The adage, "what does a Wrangler do after purchase?" "He/she upgrades it, often rings very true. ;)

How difficult is it to switch out tops.



The soft top I found a breeze, and I'm no bodybuilder. See above concerning the hard top.​

Do I really need the pulley/lift set up to remove the hard top?


See above.


 
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RussJeep1

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Most people's regret is seasonal. And for different reasons and tops.

Arizona owners may crave the hard top with headliners in summer , of all times of year paradoxically enough, for heat control.

Most of the rest of us can't wait to get the soft top on after the last snowfall and Spring arrives. And we tend to keep it on longer or all year with the Sunrider replacement for the hard Freedom Panels.

You're new: I need to define a word with double meaning in the Wrangler world. Sunrider is both the first position of the OEM soft top, and a Bestop brand's product that replaces the hard top's Freedom panels.


Should I change my order before it's too late?
No. Chances are you are going to love having both tops. If I'm wrong, active markets exist for you to sell that which you don't like.

These are the questions that plague me!




They shouldn't. If you were buying jewelry for a significant other and couldn't decide on two pieces, and the store owner said, "pay for one, take both, return the one your love doesn't like," would that bother you?



 

K2500Z71

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I use a Racor storage lift for my top. The soft top is sitting on top of it in this pic but the hard top hangs from the bottom of it during the summer months.

A9C6E960-C8EC-48D3-8375-7FAE1EC2A884.jpeg
 

YoBub

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Long time listener, first time caller...Just ordered a 2019 Sahara today, so these questions may be a little late.

I've never owned a Wrangler. I figure the soft top/top down is one of the many reasons one owns one. I really struggled with this aspect of the build - which top to buy. Seems I see a lot of the black hard tops on the road, and I live in North Carolina. I do Not have a garage so setting up the pulley system is not an option. It will be my daily commute to work vehicle plus my fun on the weekends and trips vehicle.

I changed my order configuration three times before deciding on the Dual Top Option, which includes the Black Freedom Hard Top and the Premium Soft top. How difficult is it to switch out the tops? Do I really need the pulley/lift set up to remove the hard top? Once I go soft, will I want to go hard? (Or is it the other way around?) Should I change my order before it's too late?

These are the questions that plague me!
You have very good advice above. The dual top option gives you good flexibility.

When we stored the hard top in our garage, I fashioned a hoist with ratchet straps and a simple pulley. It worked and was cheap, but not great. If that was a permanent solution I would have bought a commercial product.

Now that we store our top in a storage locker, my 20 year old son and I just lift it off. We have a JKU so the top is heavier, but it is quick and reasonable for us.

We are in Chicago so the hardtop is on Thanksgiving through March, and soft top during the summer.

You are on the right path! Enjoy!!
 

ralphwiens

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I bought the dual top for my 2013 jku 5 years ago, initially bought the hard top because I wasn't sure how the soft top would handle snow here in southern Virginia. I had it on for two months (out of the last 5 1/2 years) found that the premium soft top works fine in the snow. Will only order a premium soft top for my jl.
 

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I went with the dual top group. Jeep comes with the Hardtop and the Soft top and bit in a box.

I went this route so I would have both, get the wiper wiring and hose with the hardtop and have the Premium soft top for summers, this way you save around `1500 bucks if you just order the hard top and then decide to order the softtop down the road.

Per storage, I have a garage and will build a cart with caster wheels, will ask my friends or neighbor to come over twice ayear to remove and or install, looksl like a 10 minute job. If i didnt have the garage, I would simply get a couple saw horses, put the top in the backyard on the saw horses and throw a tarp over the Hard top.

To me the whole point of having the Wrangler is the convertible, the Hard top is good for the winter.
 

Columbus104

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Here's all you need to know. Because you went with the black freedom top and the black premium soft top, they could pair with any color of Jeep. And there's a huge secondary market for those parts. So once it comes in, experiment with both. I have a dual top, and I only swap once per year (put the soft top on in spring, switch back in autumn). But if you're finding that you're not using one, just sell it. Likely to get around $2k for the hard top or at least $1500 for the soft top.
 

twisty

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I struggled too. Dual top cost is a tuff nut but might be worth it. Being in Carolina vs where I am has a whole different mindset. I live in jersey too so I had a hard top and bought a soft top for my CJ. The soft top was noisy and a pain to take off and on so was kind of a waste despite how fun it was to have off. I did it rarely.

The newer TJ tops were easier for sure and I left it off for months at a time here in az. Still it wasn't fun to put back on. Way easier then the CJ

Prior to getting my JL 4d I drove both types. The soft top was quieter then the hard top. ITs a jeep so I don't care all that much but of course given a choice quieter is better.

What it came down to for me was that I bought the 4 door to carry more stuff. The 4 doors made carrying stuff easier but that plastic window rear entry was likely to be way more of a pain then a hard fixed flip up window the hard top comes with. So I went hard top, If I had a 2 door I likely would go soft top.

So as improved as the soft tops are it wasn't enough for me on the 4 door. Plus since my weather here is what it is, I can hoist the top off and leave it off for about a half year and not really need a soft top.
 

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