How To Install & Remove Soft Top on Jeep Wrangler?

7 Major Difference Between Hard top and Soft top on Jeep Wrangler you should consider before buying

When buying a jeep wrangler, there is always a decision to decide whether to get a hard top wrangler or a soft top jeep wrangler. Each of these has its own pros and cons depending on the choice that you will make.

In this article, we’re going to see the difference between Hard top and Soft top on jeep wrangler and also these differences will give us a complete overview of the advantages and disadvantages of both Hard top & Soft top that are the influencing factors for the decision that you will make. These differences can be broken down into the following.  

Price 

  • Hard top

Jeep wranglers with hard tops are slightly higher priced than wranglers with soft tops. This is because of the many durability advantages that the hard top has over the soft top. The cost of production for producing hard tops is slightly higher due to the material that makes the hard top.

  • Soft top

The soft top is made of less expensive fabric than the materials used to make the hard top. These production factors make a hard top jeep wrangler slightly more costly than a soft top jeep wrangler.  

Insulation according to the weather and insulation against sound

  • Soft top

The soft top on jeep wranglers is made of waterproof fabric, but it has very poor insulation in cold temperatures, especially during the winter when the temperatures are freezing, and there is.

When it is out, the cabin of a soft top wrangler is more freezing than a wrangler with a hard top. Cabins of soft top wranglers get awfully hot when the temperatures are high.  

  • Hard top

The hard top is made of materials that insulate against the cold. You will most likely depreciate the battery charge in a soft top wrangler as you’ll use the AC to heat up the cabin. Because the insulation that hard tops offer hot air cannot get in the cabin of the wrangler, unlike in soft top wranglers.

But this can be easily solved by opening the windows when driving, unlike in cold temperatures where you can’t do anything to heat up the cabin except turn on the AC to heat up the house.  

When driving a wrangler with a hard top, you will notice that road noise is minimal compared to a wrangler with a soft top. Hard tops offer better insulation against road noise and other noises, unlike soft tops. If you are camping or just find yourself sleeping in a hard top wrangler, noise from the outside is minimal.  

Practicality and Convenience

  • Soft top

Soft top wranglers take the win here as they are more practical than hard top wranglers. Soft tops are easier to remove than hard tops. You require no special tools to remove most of the time, and you can do it all by yourself.

When the weather suddenly changes, and you need to reinstall your top, people with soft tops have it easy as they can carry around the soft tops in their trunks, unlike the hard tops.

Only the 2 front panels can fit in the trunk as the rear panel is too large to fit. Even if you manage to carry around all three meetings, reinstalling them will be a harder task, even harder than removing the panels.  

Difference between the hard-top and soft-top for jeep wrangler

The soft top can also be removed from the roof and folded towards the rear. You do not have to remove it completely to get some sunshine or wind in the cabin. You can fold it towards the rear then fold it back in case the weather changes. This is something hard top wrangler owners can’t enjoy.  

  • Hard top

For hard tops, you need a couple of tools and some help removing the panels. This is because hard tops are heavy and are secured to the roll cage by a couple of screws, while the soft top mostly has zippers. Only the 2 front panels can fit in the trunk as the rear panel is too large to fit.

Even if you manage to carry around all three meetings, reinstalling them will be a harder task, even harder than removing the panels. 

Installing a roof rack on a hard top wrangler is better suited for this. Roof racks provide extra storage for whatever you need to carry and provide storage for whatever cannot fit in your wranglers, such as kayaks and large bags for adventuring.

Installing a roof rack for soft top jeep wranglers is tricky, and it gets easily damaged if something pointedly falls from the roof rack. If your wrangler has a soft top and installing a roof rack, ensure you mount it according to the installation specifications given so as not to damage the top. Also, ensure that whatever is on the roof rack is well placed.   

With a hard top, you can carry some stuff on it but should not exceed a maximum of 150 pounds (around 70kg), but with the soft top, you can’t. Even if you carry something on a soft top, placing it will be hard as it will keep slipping when driving.

It’s not safe to take anything on the soft top, but if you do, ensure whatever you are carrying is spread across the three support bars and is tied down properly.  

Durability 

  • Hard top

This comes down to the materials that the tops are made of. Hard tops are more durable than soft tops. They can withstand weather changes that can affect the structure of the top.

Extreme weather temperatures weaken the bonds of the material; thus, the tops are susceptible to damage. But the hard tops can withstand such. Hails are also a threat to the wrangler’s shelter, but if you have a hard top wrangler, it will withstand the hail, unlike soft top wranglers.

But this does not mean that you leave your wrangler outside during a storm. Always park your wrangler in an enclosed parking area.  

The hard tops can withstand physical damage such as scratches by twigs when off-roading in a bushy trail but only to a certain degree. Soft tops, however, are easily damaged. That’s why most wrangler owners with soft tops remove the tops when driving in such conditions.  

Difference between the hard-top and soft-top for jeep wrangler

Though when damaged, hard tops are expensive to replace or repair as compared to soft tops. Some owners even replace the hard tops with soft tops if the damage is too bad to be repaired and can’t afford a new soft top.

But there is always someone selling a hard top online, and you can get it for a fair price rather than buying a new one. Some owners go to the extent of having spare tops either as hard tops or soft tops or both of the same type in case something happens.  

  • Soft top

Soft tops, however, are easily damaged. That’s why most wrangler owners with soft tops remove the tops when driving in conditions that can damage the soft top.

There is a threat of the soft top blowing off or tearing when driving fast if you don’t install it properly. Ensure you install it properly, and if you have, it is rolled back to ensure it is firmly held in place to prevent it from blowing off.  

Safety 

  • Hard top

The nature of the hard top provides better safety in case something hits your wrangler from the top or during an accident. The wrangler has a rigid roll bar, but the hard top offers extra protection, unlike the soft top.

  • Soft top

The soft top crumbles in easily upon impact as it’s not strong enough to sustain the pressure.  

Weight  

  • Hard top 

Hard tops are denser than soft tops; thus, wranglers with hard tops will weigh slightly more than wranglers with soft tops. But this does not change anything about the driving feel of the wrangler or the fuel economy, as the difference in weight is too small to affect such aspects of the wrangler.  

Security

  • Hard top

Whatever you have in your wrangler and its cabin components are better secured if it’s a hard top. It is harder for a thief to get through a hard top than a soft top.

  • Soft top

Soft tops can be easily cut through, and the thief gets whatever he wants. But this does not mean that hard top wranglers cannot be vandalized too, always ensure your wrangler is in a secure parking spot.  

Conclusion

When you factor in all of these, you find that one is biased more than the other, depending on the advantages you liked. But you should also consider the disadvantages when deciding whether to buy a hard top or a soft top jeep wrangler.  

When making a choice, you should prioritize your preferences and utilize your wrangler’s top. If you are planning to have extra storage on the top, go for a hard top wrangler or if you are planning to do open-top highway cruising or trail driving, go for a soft top wrangler.

Though a hard top is preferable sometimes when off-roading in bushy trails, it provides protection against some hazards and is safer in case the vehicle rolls over.  

Difference between the hard-top and soft-top for jeep wrangler

The hard top is also suitable for city driving and parking as it is more secure than the soft top wrangler. If you do city driving, consider a hard top wrangler.

Most people avoid the hard top because it is hard and tiring to remove, but it becomes easier once you do it a couple of times. You find that you don’t even require help from someone else to remove it, as you can use a hard top hoist to remove the hard top.  

The weather in your location matters a lot. Having a hard top wrangler is recommended if you live and mostly drive in a place with harsh winter weather, and a soft top is best suited for areas with hot or balanced weather conditions as you can remove it and reinstall it quickly if need be.