Jeep Wrangler Hard Top vs Soft Top

Jeep Wrangler Hard Top vs Soft Top

Which is the better option: Jeep Wrangler hard top vs soft top? Jeep Wranglers are one of the most popular Jeep vehicles, whether you’re into off-roading or not. The vast customization options contribute to the immense popularity of the Wrangler. One of the key features that you can easily customize to design your own Jeep Wrangler is the top. Many options are available on the style and material for the top, allowing you to design a unique Jeep Wrangler that also fits your driving activities or style.

This guide explores the advantages and disadvantages of choosing a Jeep Wrangler hard top vs soft top. You will gain insight to help you pick the right style.

Key Highlights

• A Jeep Wrangler hard top is the ideal choice if you want more durability, security, and better insulation.
• Hard tops are more expensive and are difficult to remove or replace.
• A Jeep Wrangler soft top is made of materials that allows it to be folded away when you want to take off the roof.
• Soft tops are less durable and are not ideal for driving in cold weather conditions.
• Hard tops are easy to clean and maintain, while soft tops require more precision cleaning as they are vulnerable to damage when cleaning.

Jeep Wrangler Hard Top vs Soft Top

Jeep Wrangler Hard Top

The hard top version is the more popular choice for Wrangler owners. Hard top materials offer durability and delivers excellent insulation during cold weather driving. Hence, hard tops are more in demand in colder regions or those that experience heavy snow during winter. The rigid material of hard tops are designed to be stronger and last longer than the soft top versions.

The Jeep Wrangler hard tops can be purchased as one-piece, two-piece, or single body versions. However, expect them to be heavier than soft tops.

Advantages of a Jeep Wrangler Hard Top

Choosing a Jeep Wrangler hard top offers several advantages to your overall driving experience.

• Security
• Durability
• Insulation
• Storage

Let’s discuss those benefits more in-depth here.

1. Security

Security is the main benefit you can enjoy when choosing a hard top Wrangler. It prevents unwanted access to your vehicle while eliminating the need to install additional security features, which is often the case with soft top vehicles. The hard top materials can’t be gouged or vandalized just as easily as soft top materials.

2. Durability

The increased durability of a hard top material makes it an excellent choice over soft top Wranglers. When you live in cold climate regions, it is easier to clean any debris like snow. In general, it is easier to clean a hard top material as you don’t have as many considerations in choosing cleaning products and how you clean them. Thus, you can enjoy a longer lifespan with hard tops than you would with soft tops.

3. Insulation

Insulation is a well-known benefit that hard top Jeep Wranglers have over the soft top versions. The thicker fiberglass material can hold heat in the winter and also lock in the coolness from the A/C in the hot summer days. Aside from keeping the interior of the Wrangler comfortable no matter the season, it can keep away nasty smells and fumes from the outside. As a bonus, you need not worry about water leaks during heavy rain or power washes.

Nowadays, you can find many hard tops made with removable panels for added customization and versatility, if you want better ventilation.

4. Storage

Choosing a hard top Wrangler provides additional storage to your Jeep. You can install roof racks on the hard top, which can also be easily removed when not in use. It makes the Wrangler the ideal companion when you need to carry extra supplies for your off-road adventure.

Jeep Wrangler Hard Top vs Soft Top

Disadvantages of a Jeep Wrangler Hard Top

Now that you know the advantages of having a hard top Jeep Wrangler, it’s essential to know potential drawbacks to help you decide on the right top material.

• Expensive
• Difficult to Remove
• Lack of Versatility

1. Expensive

Hard tops on a Jeep Wrangler are more durable and secure, but this comes at a price. They are expensive and so you must consider this cost when you need to replace them. Thankfully, they last longer than soft tops but you must budget for it in the future.

2. Difficult to Remove

For some reasons, if you want to replace your hard top with a soft one, it will be difficult to remove your current top. It requires at least two persons to get the job done, depending on the roof size and weight. Installing the replacement top is more difficult than removing it, and you need special tools.

3. Lack of Versatility

Having a hard top limits your versatility in using your Jeep Wrangler. For example, you cannot go topless on the fly, just as you would with a soft top version.

Jeep Wrangler Soft Top

The Jeep Wrangler soft top is growing in popularity, especially among hardcore off-road enthusiasts. The flexibility of removing or replacing the soft top draws Wrangler owners to this version.

The soft top is made with durable materials that are enough to protect the occupants from the elements, but it is not as protective as the hard top materials. What sets the soft top Wrangler apart from the hard top versions is that the former allows the driver to open up the roof when the weather is fine. Think of it as a convertible car wherein you can put the roof down.

Soft top Jeep Wranglers are easier to install and customize. Many Jeep Wrangler models with a soft top have additional features, such as storage pockets, interchangeable materials and colors, and roll back sunroofs. These customization options appeal to Wrangler owners that want to customize their off-road SUV’s look and functionality.

Advantages of a Jeep Wrangler Soft Top

When does it make sense to choose a Jeep Wrangler soft top? It’s the best option if you want to enjoy these benefits:

• Convenient
• Affordable
• Versatile
• Easy to Store

1. Convenient

Jeep Wrangler owners choose the soft top version for its ability to conveniently take the top off when you want to experience nature while off-roading. Nothing beats connecting with nature and being as close to the elements as possible, especially on a fair-weather day. However, you can easily put the top back on when bad weather looms.

It’s the convenience factor that Jeep Wrangler owners embrace and love about this particular type of off-road vehicle.

2. Affordable

Soft top materials are more affordable than the hard top versions. Thus, it is a clear choice for budget-conscious Wrangler owners. It is a practical consideration without sacrificing the look and quality, as you can find many soft top materials that are durable and nice-looking.

3. Versatile

The malleability of soft top materials makes them a versatile choice for Jeep Wranglers. You can easily remove them and store them if you want to go roofless, especially when you have great weather. They are as easy to install when you need protection from the elements.

4. Easy to Store

Storage is a breeze with a soft top material on the Jeep Wrangler. You can fold it and store even with a limited space. On the other hand, hard tops use up more space in the garage so there is less planning involved.

Disadvantages of a Jeep Wrangler Soft Top

Soft tops seem like the best choice for the Jeep Wrangler. However, it’s not the perfect choice as there are potential disadvantages that should influence your decision.

• Noisy
• Lack of Security
• Prone to Damage
• Unsuitable for Cold Weather

1. Noisy

The lack of insulation and the lack of rigidity in the soft tops mean they can be quite noisy when you’re driving. The flapping noise on the material is a result of the breeze coming into contact with the top when the vehicle moves at a certain speed. It won’t be much of an issue when you are off-roading but it can be annoying when using it for everyday commute.

2. Lack of Security

The soft material is easy for other people to gouge or damage with any sharp object. When driving a soft top Jeep Wrangler, you must be cautious where you park it to prevent unwanted access, or you must install additional security features to deter thieves.

3. Prone to Damage

Nothing compares to the experience of taking your Jeep Wrangler to off-road destinations. However, you must be extra cautious when driving with a soft top because the material is more vulnerable to damage than hard tops. It can also be a safety risk so you have to be cautious about where you are driving as the top material won’t protect the occupants from impact as much as hard tops do.

4. Unsuitable for Cold Weather

Do you live somewhere that experiences harsh winters? You might want to think twice before choosing a soft top Jeep Wrangler. The lack of insulation in soft tops means that cold air can permeate inside the Jeep, even with the heater on.

In addition, snow that accumulate over the top of the Jeep Wrangler can weigh down on the material and cause damage that significantly reduces its lifespan.

Jeep Wrangler Hard Top vs Soft Top

Maintenance of Jeep Wrangler Hard vs Soft Top

Knowing how to properly care for your Jeep Wrangler top, regardless if it is hard or soft top is critical to extending its lifespan. However, it is crucial to know the differences in how you clean and maintain each material type to avoid damaging the materials.

Maintenance for Jeep Wrangler Hard Tops

• There are no specific requirements on which soap or cleaner to use on hard tops. However, you must avoid using harsh cleaners as it can deteriorate the hard top made of fiberglass materials.
• Use a polish to keep the hard top looking clean and shiny.
• Remove dirt and debris on the hard top as you see them.
• Apply a trim protectant to make it more resilient to damage.
• Store the hard tops properly to protect it from damage when not in use.

Maintenance for Jeep Wrangler Soft Tops

• Always keep the top clean to avoid any debris causing holes, stains, and abrasions on the material.
• Use a zipper lubricant for the zippers on the soft top so they won’t easily break or rip.
• Avoid smacking any part of the soft top during winter as the material is more vulnerable to damage.
• Avoid automatic car washes and clean it only by hand or using a foam brush.
• You can use any type of soap or fabric cleaner to clean the soft tops. However, the ideal tool is a soft horse hair brush.

Jeep Wrangler Hard Top vs Soft Top: Which is Right for You?

Using the information provided here, you can make an informed decision on the right top for your Jeep Wrangler. That’s the beauty of owning a Jeep – it gives you flexibility to choose whatever fits your driving and off-roading style!

Whether you choose a hard top or a soft top, follow the maintenance tips recommended here to ensure they will last long and you can enjoy your Wrangler for more adventures. It’s also best to get a Jeep Warranty to enjoy peace of mind as you take your vehicle to any off-road terrain, ensuring that you are covered from damage and you can drive worry-free!


Is Jeep soft top waterproof?

Yes. Even though the material is fabric, it is designed to be waterproof and leakproof.

Are hard top Jeeps safe?

Yes. Hard tops are designed to protect you from damage and impact. It is more durable than soft tops.

Can you replace a Jeep soft top with a hard top?

It is possible to convert your Jeep Wrangler from a soft top to a hard top. It is one of the advantages to owning a Jeep Wrangler.

How long does a Jeep soft top last?

A soft top Jeep Wrangler is designed to last for five to 10 years, depending on the level of care and maintenance.

How heavy is a Jeep Wrangler hard top?

It depends on the design, size, and materials. Most hard tops range from 60 lbs to 140 lbs.

Are Jeep Wrangler hard tops removable?

Yes. Both soft and hard tops are removable.


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