The endless dilemma soft top vs. hard top

S2k Chris

Well-Known Member
First Name
Chris
Joined
Aug 1, 2018
Messages
409
Reaction score
801
Location
Arlington Heights, IL
Vehicle(s)
AP1 S2000, JLU Sport S
but you can flip the soft top as well, that's what I am saying. it takes maybe 10 seconds to disconnect the bottom from the vehicle, then you just flip it up, lay it on top of the car.
But putting it back on is what's annoying. Is it the end of the world? No. Is it more of a PITA than just flipping the HT glass up and down? A million times yes.





Advertisement

 

Kraty1

Well-Known Member
First Name
Dave
Joined
Aug 21, 2018
Messages
532
Reaction score
584
Location
Batavia IL
Vehicle(s)
2018 Jeep Wrangler Unlimited JL
Occupation
Sales & Marketing
I’m all about the soft top convenience in the warmer months and the hard top in the cold. Purchased as hard top and thenbought a used (never opened) soft top and a garage hoist. Love the versatility!
 

ads75

Well-Known Member
Joined
Jun 29, 2018
Messages
855
Reaction score
1,060
Location
Reading, Pa
Vehicle(s)
2019 2Door JL Rubicon in Mojito, 2016 Acura RDX
I’m all about the soft top convenience in the warmer months and the hard top in the cold. Purchased as hard top and thenbought a used (never opened) soft top and a garage hoist. Love the versatility!
I only have one winter in my soft top, but by no means do I think someone needs a hard top for winter weather, at least for Pennsylvania or other states with similar weather. Heat definitely isn't a problem in the winter, especially with heated seats/steering wheel.
 

Kraty1

Well-Known Member
First Name
Dave
Joined
Aug 21, 2018
Messages
532
Reaction score
584
Location
Batavia IL
Vehicle(s)
2018 Jeep Wrangler Unlimited JL
Occupation
Sales & Marketing
I only have one winter in my soft top, but by no means do I think someone needs a hard top for winter weather, at least for Pennsylvania or other states with similar weather. Heat definitely isn't a problem in the winter, especially with heated seats/steering wheel.
Figure I have it, might as well use it. And since automatic car washes aren't good for the soft top, and I can't wash it in my driveway in the Chicagoland winter, back to the hard top it is. Now if I didn't have the hard top, then that would be a different story.
 

four low

Well-Known Member
Joined
Feb 1, 2017
Messages
2,042
Reaction score
2,149
Location
central New York
Vehicle(s)
2018 JL
The Hard Top is continuing to evolve, side windows will have sliders, be removeable, that's in the planning stage now. RetroFit Off road has them for the JK, and the JL soon. That, and the Bestop Sunrider are upping the versatility of the hard top. The glass liftgate is a must for a 2 door in my case, constantly loading dogs and cargo in the back, seat removed.
 

Shots

Well-Known Member
First Name
Winchell
Joined
Jul 6, 2018
Messages
1,851
Reaction score
2,333
Location
N.E.Ohio
Vehicle(s)
Wrangler Sahara (JLU), Renegade Limited (BU)
That looks pretty sweet. I mean the freedom panels are alright but my jeep is 2DR so there's barely any space to store them lol.... .
I agree with Eric. The sunrider for hardtop is amazing. I was a bit deterred by the price too but you can find some good deals on the forum's marketplace.

Now that I've got one I can't believe I waited so long to get one. Yes, the Freedom Panels are nice and it's not that hard to take them on/off, but the biggest issue is storing them. I actually made my security enclosure with storing them in mind, and it still wasn't all that convenient. Now with the sunrider I've got the front open all the time. The best part is when you get to your destination you just flip it closed (don't even have to latch it) so your seats don't bake, then flip it open when you get back in to leave.

Also as Eric mentioned, it is a little more difficult to remove the hardtop with it, but it's a 5 minute process instead of 2-3 minutes. Not a big deal, only a matter of a few extra bolts. If you're the type to go topless all the time though, the dual top option may be a better choice.
 

Rahneld

Banned
Banned
First Name
Ronald
Joined
Jan 26, 2019
Messages
1,114
Reaction score
654
Location
Boston
Vehicle(s)
JL Wrangler
I used to love the soft top on my 2018 JL. It was quiet, solid, and extremely easy to go topless back and forth. The beauty of it was for road trips, I absolutely hate driving on southern California freeways with a topless jeep, the noise is disturbing. With a soft top you can drive on the freeway with top on and good music :rock:, then once you get out of the freeway pull over and in 1 minute you are topless. We did it when we went to Yosemite last year. Top on for the drive, and top off during our vacation, was amazing.

I couldn't find a soft top for my 2019 JL, they are just very hard to find on 2DR jeeps around LA. So I went hard top with headliner. I really like it, and it is even quieter. But am I ever gonna go topless on a Roadtrip? not gonna happen.... The hardtop is actually very easy to remove, it only takes 5 mins or so, but you either go top on or topless, there's no back and forth switching.

I looked into buying a soft top to have the option but the best top doesn't look that great to be honest, as it can't even go full topless like the mopar soft top. I also watched the installation video and it looked very annoying with brackets and a bunch of things that would take like 2 hrs to install, so if I wanted to go back to hard top I would have to go through the same painful process.

This really boils it down to buying a mopar soft top, it is expensive but might be worth it. Can you have the mopar soft-top brackets installed while with the hard top on? so if I wanna go with a soft top for a trip all I have to do is take the hard top on, leave it in the garage and put the soft top windows on? Somewhere in the jeep manual it says that "having both tops installed is a safety concern and it is not advised", I am not sure if this includes simply having the sliding brackets installed, not the entire thing.
Having read the entire thread I think purchasing the soft top, perhaps in addition to your hard top, or acquiring the Bestop Surinder product is best play for you, if not the lessor of all evils--as mentioned by above posters.

While reading through your original post I would have an idea, only to find it shot down by another constraint you seem to desire. For example, you like the quiet of the hard top but you like the ability to completely take down a soft top..

.."so much for the Bestop Sunrider product I say to myself," thinking it's less $ than owning a complete soft and hard top.

How often do you see yourself changing between tops? Unlike you I live in four seasons and am both a Dual and Bestop Sunrider product owner, along with a hard top removal product. I transition 5 times a year, none of which I see as that overbearing an install given their infrequency to my mind. You seem to think such an install harder (which is fine), maybe because it is potentially more frequent for you in sunny California. For me it's that hard top in the winter, Sunrider product in early Spring and late fall, and soft top in the summer. You mentioned concern over where to store the Freedom Panels, I surmised, intra-rig. I don't. They sit in the garage when the Bestop Sunrider is installed.

For you, top choice may be more of a "what kind of trip am I taking?" driven.

Somewhat joking, somewhat serious, maybe you want to also do a job on my bucket list, disassemble a hard top into flat pieces for J. Sherb did:

https://expeditionportal.com/forum/threads/converting-a-factory-jk-jku-hardtop-to-modular.160775/

Even then the top face of the hardtop is hard to store intra-rig when disassembled.

Final thought. You talk of the ease of pulling over to the side of the freeway to get out of your rig to take your top down. The Bestop Sunrider can be open and shut without leaving the rig, even if it doesn't expose the back seats to the sky. Then again, the Power Top and the Mytop would do that too https://mytop.us/, much that top installation, not taking the soft top down or up seems to be your issue.

I think you're going to need to prioritize the most important factors and money you have towards this issue. All choices seem to have their pros and cons.
 
Last edited:

TJ2018

Well-Known Member
First Name
Eric
Joined
Nov 2, 2018
Messages
2,099
Reaction score
9,971
Location
Orange County, CA
Vehicle(s)
2018 Punk'n JLUR; 2020 Silverado Trail Boss
Vehicle Showcase
1

wolfdog

Well-Known Member
First Name
George
Joined
Apr 14, 2018
Messages
447
Reaction score
314
Location
Southern Massachusetts
Vehicle(s)
2006 Yamaha FJR1300, 2015 Cherokee TH, 2018 JLU Sahara
Occupation
Maritime Artisan, Mayflower II
Screw the soft top and Hart top panels, the Bestop Sunrider should be on the original order sheet for JK options!! Best deal ever, we love it on the JL and they've been available on JK's for awhile, I sure would've liked one on my last JK!! Panels been hanging in their bag in the garage since March!

If you are a soft top nut I guess ya gotta do it? Why not Bestop, why wouldn't a rgular Bestop be the same as the MoPar, Bestop makes them for MoPar???? My Sunrider is made of the same fancy twill material as the best Mopar top?

Go Jeep!!!
 

The Fixer

Well-Known Member
First Name
Steve
Joined
Aug 7, 2019
Messages
323
Reaction score
281
Location
North Jersey
Vehicle(s)
2018 Mojito! JLS, 2018 Firecracker JLUSS
Build Thread
Link
Occupation
Teacher
I couldn't find a soft top for my 2019 JL, they are just very hard to find on 2DR jeeps around LA. So I went hard top with headliner. I really like it, and it is even quieter. But am I ever gonna go topless on a Roadtrip? not gonna happen.... The hardtop is actually very easy to remove, it only takes 5 mins or so, but you either go top on or topless, there's no back and forth switching.

I looked into buying a soft top to have the option but the best top doesn't look that great to be honest, as it can't even go full topless like the mopar soft top. I also watched the installation video and it looked very annoying with brackets and a bunch of things that would take like 2 hrs to install, so if I wanted to go back to hard top I would have to go through the same painful process.

This really boils it down to buying a mopar soft top, it is expensive but might be worth it. Can you have the mopar soft-top brackets installed while with the hard top on? so if I wanna go with a soft top for a trip all I have to do is take the hard top on, leave it in the garage and put the soft top windows on? Somewhere in the jeep manual it says that "having both tops installed is a safety concern and it is not advised", I am not sure if this includes simply having the sliding brackets installed, not the entire thing.
First, to answer your question, the slider mechanism for the top is part of the drip rail, so you would not be able to leave it in place and bolt the hard-top on. That same piece comes down behind the door and makes up the channel for the front edge of the removable rear windows.

It is odd that Bestop does not sell the OEM version they manufacture for Jeep separately, only the Trektop version with the slanted rear window, but maybe there is some legal reasoning behind it in their contract with FCA.
 

Thill444

Well-Known Member
Joined
Jul 26, 2019
Messages
196
Reaction score
240
Location
New England
Vehicle(s)
18 Shelby GT350, 19 Wrangler Unlimited, 18 Odyssey
I wanted both. So I bought a hard top since it comes with the correct wiring, plumbing, etc and is harder to add later vs a soft top. I plan on just buying either a barely used soft top for summers or wait for a good holiday sale.
 
OP
entropy

entropy

Well-Known Member
Joined
Sep 19, 2018
Messages
1,432
Reaction score
1,895
Location
Los Angeles
Vehicle(s)
Jeep Wrangler Sport S JL 2-D
Build Thread
Link
Occupation
Data Scientist
  • Thread starter
  • Thread Starter
  • #27
But putting it back on is what's annoying. Is it the end of the world? No. Is it more of a PITA than just flipping the HT glass up and down? A million times yes.
Have you tried it? it literally takes seconds to put it back too, it snaps right in.
 
OP
entropy

entropy

Well-Known Member
Joined
Sep 19, 2018
Messages
1,432
Reaction score
1,895
Location
Los Angeles
Vehicle(s)
Jeep Wrangler Sport S JL 2-D
Build Thread
Link
Occupation
Data Scientist
  • Thread starter
  • Thread Starter
  • #28
Having read the entire thread I think purchasing the soft top, perhaps in addition to your hard top, or acquiring the Bestop Surinder product is best play for you, if not the lessor of all evils--as mentioned by above posters.

While reading through your original post I would have an idea, only to find it shot down by another constraint you seem to desire. For example, you like the quiet of the hard top but you like the ability to completely take down a soft top..

.."so much for the Bestop Sunrider product I say to myself," thinking it's less $ than owning a complete soft and hard top.

How often do you see yourself changing between tops? Unlike you I live in four seasons and am both a Dual and Bestop Sunrider product owner, along with a hard top removal product. I transition 5 times a year, none of which I see as that overbearing an install given their infrequency to my mind. You seem to think such an install harder (which is fine), maybe because it is potentially more frequent for you in sunny California. For me it's that hard top in the winter, Sunrider product in early Spring and late fall, and soft top in the summer. You mentioned concern over where to store the Freedom Panels, I surmised, intra-rig. I don't. They sit in the garage when the Bestop Sunrider is installed.

For you, top choice may be more of a "what kind of trip am I taking?" driven.

Somewhat joking, somewhat serious, maybe you want to also do a job on my bucket list, disassemble a hard top into flat pieces for J. Sherb did:

https://expeditionportal.com/forum/threads/converting-a-factory-jk-jku-hardtop-to-modular.160775/

Even then the top face of the hardtop is hard to store intra-rig when disassembled.

Final thought. You talk of the ease of pulling over to the side of the freeway to get out of your rig to take your top down. The Bestop Sunrider can be open and shut without leaving the rig, even if it doesn't expose the back seats to the sky. Then again, the Power Top and the Mytop would do that too https://mytop.us/, much that top installation, not taking the soft top down or up seems to be your issue.

I think you're going to need to prioritize the most important factors and money you have towards this issue. All choices seem to have their pros and cons.
Thanks for your input. Here's is the thing, yes I like how quiet my hardtop with the headliner is in the freeway. I live in southern California so going almost anywhere involves getting on the freeway, and california freeways are big, fast, and absurdly loud. Once I am out of the freeway I like going topless, but the freeway is there almost anywhere I go.... I can stand regular road noise no problem, it is just the freeway road noise what I can't stand, it is too disturbing.

For daily driving I don't mind the full top, or a short trip to the beach and taking freedom panels out it is alright. But if I am planning a trip to the sierras, I would love to have a top on during the roadtrip and topless while in the sierras. I don't know, maybe I'll just have to buy a the mopar premium soft-top. It is not a cheap option so I might just wait to see what else comes up.
 

wolfdog

Well-Known Member
First Name
George
Joined
Apr 14, 2018
Messages
447
Reaction score
314
Location
Southern Massachusetts
Vehicle(s)
2006 Yamaha FJR1300, 2015 Cherokee TH, 2018 JLU Sahara
Occupation
Maritime Artisan, Mayflower II
I know it should be another thread but... why the slanted tops??? Not only do they look crappy, look like a bow in the back collapsed (sorry ahead of time to owners!) but also you lose a ton of space?? Just askin'?

I'm sure Bestop does not sell an OEM top cuz of contracts with FCA?

Go Jeep!!!
 

Advertisement




ATO4x4
 



Advertisement
Top