We are reader supported. When you purchase through links on our site, we may earn an affiliate commission. Also, as an Amazon affiliate, we earn from qualifying purchases.
Hardtops are available in many different shapes, weights, and sizes. So you are having a wide range of styling options to choose from with tons of aftermarket support that enhance the specs and features of your Jeep.
The hardtop on a 2 door Jeep will add an extra weight of 140 lbs, while the 4 door variant will take on an extra weight of 218 lbs on average. It might fluctuate a little depending on your exact trim level.
Having the hardtop certainly has its benefits but it’s not like it doesn’t have any drawbacks to it. Here we will go in detail on what are the pros and cons of having a hardtop instead of the soft top
Let’s analyze how the hard top competes with the soft top. It is to be noted that the hardtop doesn’t come as a standard option so you are paying extra for that.
Is it really worth it to pay an extra $1000 for a Black Hardtop or $2000 for a Color Matched Hardtop? Or should you really go for the $4000 option of Sky One-touch Power Roof? We will be answering all of your concerns regarding this subject matter.
Having Jeep As Your Daily
The first thing that comes in mind after dealing with the price tag would be practicality. With the hardtop, your jeep can easily be the daily that you can take to the mountains and do offroading sections to your heart’s content.
Hardtop offers more comfort and insulation which makes the ride tilt towards the luxury spectrum when compared to the soft top. Another factor is personal preference, you can have whichever top you like and we would inform you of its pros and cons.
The hardtop requires removing the following:
- 6 Torx screws
- Header latches
- Rear fastener knobs
- L-shaped locks
- The wiring harness of the doors and windshield washer.
It’s not the easiest job but it’s doable, but not a one-person task for sure. The removal of the hardtop requires 2 or more than 2 people as the whole back roof is one giant panel that a single person won’t be able to lift.
For instance, the “DV8 Offroad Ranger Fastback” for Jeep Wrangler Unlimited JK weighs 300lbs. There are some aftermarket pulleys available that can be installed in your garage making this removing/installing process much easier.
But if you want the looks of hardtop no matter what, and you would like to remove that alone, luckily there is an option for you as well, “The Sky Onetouch power roof.”
The Sky Onetouch power roof requires only one person to remove the top and it’s quite easy as well. It’s literally one press of a button and your roof is no more. It goes all the way back and you can easily remove the side windows as well without a hitch.
The hardtop offers much more insulation from the outside, thus reducing the wind/road-noise, especially when you are on the highway.
Putting the hardtop back on is as tedious as taking it off. If the weather goes bad in the middle of your adventure and you realize that you are topless, even worse, your removable top is way back at your house then you are done for.
On the contrary, the hardtop does provide a nice warm cabin during winters which the soft top is unable to. During snow and rain, the hardtop is the best option, while during nice and comfy weather, having a soft top is not a bad idea either.
Having A Roof Rail
With the hardtop, it’s much easier to have your roof rails set up and ready to go. While on the soft top, you would be needing some extra modifications to have the roof rail mounts in place.
So if you are going Overlanding and you need to haul a lot of stuff then the hard top definitely seems a better choice but it’s not like you can’t have the roof rail on the soft top, it’s just that it requires some extra materials to put it on.
With an added weight, your jeep might not be able to give you the best of the acceleration if time attacks are your thing. To win races, you would be needing to shed some weight and by having the hardtop, you do the opposite.
The soft top comes standard, plus it’s relatively a lighter option and can easily be removed and put back on without a sweat.
If we look at the amount of safety given by the hardtop compared with the soft top then it’s obvious that the hardtop wins significantly in this category. The soft top can easily be breached by a thief looking for a catch.
The hardtop on the other hand provides adequate safety to your Jeep and as well as your belongings inside of it, as you are having an extra layer of security.
Can I Have Both The Soft Top And The Hard Top At The Same Time?
There is a way to have both the soft top and the hardtop mounts on the jeep but it will require some modifications. You would have to improvise and make some holes if necessary. A lot of people have done this already so it won’t be that hard.
The problem occurs due to the size of the railings, and both tops just won’t fit together with the same holders, so for that, you would have to add some more clips here and there. Even with the clips though, the fitment would be off and the Jeep would look weird.
But even then, if you are having a soft top under the hardtop, and you would want to remove the soft top, then you have to remove the whole hard top first. You can buy a hardtop separately as well and later on replace your soft top if necessary.
During this modification, it’s also advised to check the tailgate seals for any possible cracks or bends that might allow water seepage into the cabin.
Can I Use Soft Top In Rain?
The simple answer to that is “Yes”, you can use a soft-top even in rain and in winter as well. To your surprise, the hardtop has leakage issues just like the soft top if not worse.
The hardtop tends to make a stream of water coming directly into the cabin when you open the door during and/or after rain.
While the soft-top actually disperses that water quite well when the door is opened during rain. Other leakages from the seals might happen as well and the hardtop is equally susceptible to leaks.
The reason why the soft-top better channels the water is due to its tight-fitting that hugs the body panels firmly and keeps the water adhered to the body when it’s streaming down the line.
While on the other hand, the hardtop has some gaps in-between that throws the water stream off of the body, directly into the cabin as the corner above the door panel has this angle which is the culprit.
Which Hardtops should I go For
You should 100% go for the factory ones. You can have a hardtop later on as well whenever you want, from factory. The cost will be higher as compared to other aftermarket or even recommended ones.
The factory ones are very less likely to leak with an exception of Mopar. It’s notorious for leaks and you should definitely avoid the Mopar hardtop/soft tops.
It has been reported quite a lot that these Mopar ones often leak and cause the owners a lot of unnecessary headaches. So yeah, go for the OEM except for the Mopar. There are other options available as well.