05-14-2014, 10:26 AM
Join Date: May 2010
Location: Cordelia, CA
I've not had both, but I've debated getting a hard top. In the end, I've stuck with soft tops only, and been happy.
Hard tops have much better weather sealing. I've never been able to stop the water leaks at the front upper corners of the doors with my soft tops. I keep it garaged in the rainy season when home, so it does not stay wet all the time.
Hard tops keep heat and A/C in much better. A soft top has a lot of air entry/exit points. I compensate for very cold or hot weather by using a Bestop Windjammer, which makes the front area much smaller and easier to heat and cool.
Hard tops are a lot more trouble to remove and replace and store. You can't remove a hard top in the middle of a trip like you can with a soft top.
Hard tops are quieter for wind-noise but you hear more of the mechanical noises of the Samurai.
If I had a hard-top, I would only use it during the winter. I enjoy the variety of top options I have any time I want with soft tops in the dry season.
I have a Rampage 4 piece soft top that you can remove the windows from but still have the safari top. I also have a Breeze-O-Top mesh Safari top and cordura bikini top. It's nice to have options.
'88.5 Samurai JX, mostly stock