Hardtop vs soft top with hard doors

AndyG

TJ Addict
Jul 30, 2018
1,068
806
Alabama
#1
I've had 7 Jeep's , all rag tops except an xj.

My TJ has hard doors and soft top.

It works great and is light years ahead of the old snap on top days , by far.

I have always wanted a hard top to some degree , and really don't know why , like being at one party and thinking the real excitement was at the other one across town I guess.

Has anyone heard both and do you have strong feelings about either?

On the other hand , I really am not itching to take my soft top parts off and store them, etc.

My Jeep is garage kept and not a daily driver.

I know in the summer , it's going to be the rag top , up and down.
 

TJ_2000

TJ Enthusiast
Mar 22, 2017
222
177
US
#2
You’re in my exact shoes. But I’m a few steps ahead of you. I was soft top and hard doors only for about 7 years. Finally found a hard top for super cheap and I’ve had it on the Jeep for about 4 months now. I can honestly say temperature wise is no different. Sound is better if you have an old top but I found my new frameless is just as quiet as a hard top. I do plan keeping the hard top though. Why? Save wear and tear on the soft top during the winter months.
 
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AndyG

TJ Addict
Jul 30, 2018
1,068
806
Alabama
#3
I drove one with an aftermarket top and it had a ton of wind noise .

I bet those bestop lined hard tops are pretty nice.
 

Jamison C

Thinks out loud too much
Supporting Member
Sep 1, 2018
112
88
Sedona, AZ
#4
I was rocking the original dealer soft top up until a few weeks ago, and it was pretty worn out. Bought a good factory hardtop just for winter and the sound quality is dramatically different, though I'm sure a brand new Bestop twill soft top could easily compete. I think it insulates sound and temperature much better and the rear wiper and defrost are definitely handy features.

It's great for winter and that's exactly why I bought it, but you can bet your ass I'll be getting a brand new twill top come springtime.

Like you said, up and down up and down :)
 

glwood

TJ Expert
Supporting Member
Sep 16, 2016
5,002
4,515
Albuquerque, NM
#5
Mine came with the hard top, with the oem sailcloth soft top wrapped in the original vinyl sleeve from the factory, still mounted behind the rear seat, untouched in 12 years. Needless to say, brand new, never been put up. It's a very nice top, and so is the hard top. I like how you can change tops completely twice a year. I have, however, seriously considered selling both tops to replace with a Bestop black twill soft top.
 
Jun 7, 2018
29
28
Newnan, Ga
#6
I would spend the money on the hardtop since it's not a daily driver, and you live in Alabama. We have to many days in the south where it is sunny and 70. It it was my daily driver, and you had an hour on the interstate I'd get a hardtop.

I've got a Bestop Twill top on my TJ, and it is quieter than the Rugged Ridge that is on my daughters jeep. Hers had the factory hardtop on it when we bought it, and the rugged ridge softop. The hardtop stayed on for about 3 days, now it stays on a shelf I built in the garage
 

WDE

Member
Feb 8, 2018
45
36
Auburn, AL
#7
Mine is also a garage kept, non-daily driver in Alabama. I have no desire or need for a hard top. I would not want to fool with taking it on/off or storing it when off. I have no issue with staying warm in our winter temperatures with the soft top, and the noise doesn't bother me (its a jeep). If I had to commute a significant distant on a daily basis, I wouldn't drive something with the aerodynamics of a brick.

Hard tops may have some pros, but those benefits are not important to me. Your needs/preferences might be different.
 
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AndyG

TJ Addict
Jul 30, 2018
1,068
806
Alabama
#8
Thank all of you and you really summed up about how I feel.

I'm going to keep it like it is for now.

I think it's going to be one of those things that I would appreciate if it fell in my lap and all but I know about April the thing would have no use .
 
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AndyG

TJ Addict
Jul 30, 2018
1,068
806
Alabama
#10
Sort of what goes on is you go out and get the ultimate capable convertible and then turn around and try to figure out how to make it an not one doing this .

I can certainly understand for someone who lives up north in has a commute that hardtop would make total sense and as far as security there's no question it's a good move.
 

Cal

TJ Enthusiast
Jun 29, 2018
143
62
Hoover, AL
#11
I just bought my 01’ Sahara back in June and it came with an aftermarket BesTop hardtop with the lining on the inside and it was pretty nice but I developed a cracked head (as the vast majority of 01’ 4cyl do) and I decided to sale the hardtop because I also preferred the look of the full doors with soft top combo. Long story short I worked out a deal with a guy for his BesTop sailcloth soft top (frame and all) and $625 for my hardtop. The money went towards a new head and the new soft top is amazing. I live in Alabama so a soft top seems more...I guess suited for my climate.
 
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AndyG

TJ Addict
Jul 30, 2018
1,068
806
Alabama
#12
Yes I think we spoke I was prepared to give you the same amount of money he was giving plus the cost of the soft top in the spice color you wanted.... I would have been glad to had 1400 or so in that particular top.

I'm glad it worked out for you, the soft tops now are really good and they don't pop much at speed if the fan is on a little bit to pressurize the cabin.
 
Likes: Cal

RubiconMike

TJ Enthusiast
Supporting Member
Oct 25, 2018
171
167
Santa Cruz, CA
#14
I run a hardtop in the winter and a soft top in the summer. The hard top is warmer, quieter, and provides better security than the soft top. I have an attached garage that is 5 feet lower than the house, so the ceiling is 5 feet higher than would be normal. I have an electric winch rigged up and a frame that fits the hard top. I winch the top up to the ceiling and let it hang there all summer.

I have both the factory soft top and a Rampage Trek Top (formerly Viking top). I really like the Trek Top, it doesn't use a frame, it drapes over the factory roll bar. When you take the windows out, they store in a bag in the top, which becomes a safari top.

Hanging around
vlcsnap-2018-12-07-10h25m33s125.png


Lowering it
vlcsnap-2018-12-07-10h24m41s576.png


Rampage (Viking) top
20160912_120042.jpg
 
Likes: AndyG and Cal

gasiorv

New Member
Sep 28, 2018
4
7
Memphis, TN
#15
I am a little different. Access to the back is the key to me and why I run my hard top in the winter.


I am in West TN so hot summers (with frequent afternoon showers) and milder winters.
For my daily driver (98 TJ), I have half doors and I run a safari top all summer with the door uppers in the back in case it rains. I throw on the trail cover when I get to work in the morning and it gets parked in garage at home. The biggest issue is removing the trail cover in the rain in order to drive home on some afternoons. In november, I install the hard top and it usually stays on until april, then put the safari back on. 99% of the time it is just me in the jeep and I have no rear seat installed so uppers and whatever else fits back there with no issues.

For my weekend warrior (04 TJ), I have hard doors and a newer soft top (trektop). I usually run the doors and top on to the trail and then remove them prior to hitting trail then reinstall to drive home. Most of the time my wife and son are with me and it is nice having the top and doors on when running down the interstate for a few hours, also a/c in summer and heat in winter makes wife happy.

Comparison - The trektop with hard doors is quiet, no flapping of the top or windows, the only wind noises I hear is up around 65 mph coming from the front corners. The hardtop with the half doors is probably a little louder but it is not from the top but just due to the fact that the seals on my uppers are starting to wear out (20 years old).

The big difference for me is that the hard top is MUCH easier to gain access to the back, just open the gate and open the hatch, very easy to get to everything in the back. With the trektop and the rear window being zipped and Velcro in place, it is not as easy. That is why I run the hard top in the winter on my daily driver, not due to noise but due to ease of access.
 

Flib

TJ Enthusiast
Apr 15, 2018
374
344
Nova Scotia
#17
I have both, I hate the hard top (more to do with the looks than anything), if I had windows for my soft top (coming soon) I would have left it on all winter.

I just picked up a set of half doors with the window frames and I'd have those on now too if they didn't need new windows.
 
#18
I have both factory tops. Like many I swap out the hardtop for soft during summer and vice versa in the winter. This was especially true when I was in Colorado but now that I am Tucson the Soft top will stay on longer once I get my hoist reinstalled to get the HT off. As for noise idk that I can notice that much difference but that could be from too much Rock, farm equipment, and gun fire in the 70's & 80's.

My hoist is a combination of @RubiconMike and @bobthetj03 and when the HT is off I store it in a corner of the garage on a cart I made. The ST and all its hardware is stored on a couple of wall brackets with the windows mounted vertically on the wall (in between the rails) to keep everything up and out of the way.
 
Likes: AndyG

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