Top 3 Jeep Hard Top Hoists Reviewed
One of the best features of owning a Jeep Wrangler is driving it with the top down.
There is nothing like experiencing the outdoors in a Jeep with the wind in your hair and the sun on your face.
But removing a Wrangler top is not a simple task – especially if you need to do it by yourself.
If you find yourself struggling to remove your Jeep’s hardtop this summer, you might need a hardtop hoist to help you prevent injuring yourself (or the hardtop, for that matter).
While topless Jeeps are incredible, we all would rather not try and get the top off of a hardtop Jeep. Bulky, unwieldy, and nearly impossible to remove without a team of friends, trying to remove a hardtop without the right equipment can damage your car, the hardtop itself, or even your back. On top of that, the removed hardtop needs to go somewhere, meaning you lose precious garage space.
The answer to all your Jeep problems and more is easy: specialty hoists whose only purpose is to remove Jeep hardtops.
They make removing the top of your Jeep a cinch, and can store your hardtop up in the air so you don’t lose precious garage space, and can make sure your Jeep’s top is safe and sound while you’re enjoying the road.
Here is our list of the top hoists that will help make your life so much easier this summer. By sifting through a number of models, types, and price ranges, we narrowed down our choices to three hoists that rise above the rest.
At the very top of our recommended list is the Harken Jeep Hoister.
With both lift and storage capabilities built into the hoister itself, the Harken unit easily made the top of our list. Paired with an easy-to-use design and an unbeatable price, it’s clear to see why this holds our number one spot.
But that doesn’t mean the other items on our list don’t deserve their chance to shine. While they may be more specialized than the jack-of-all-trades Harken, they might fit your unique needs better than other lifts.
Here are our top picks and how they stack up:
Click on each image to get more in-depth info on each hoist, or keep reading for our reviews of each of the Top Jeep Hard Top Hoists.
And to make the Harken Jeep Hardtop Hoist even better, besides being the best choice it is also the most affordable. Designed for both safety and convenience, this lift is made to be used by a single person, meaning you can spend less time fighting against your Jeep and more time on the road.
This lift’s 6:1 mechanical system makes lifting anything a breeze. Perfect for hardtops of all sizes, this hoist features an even weight distribution design, meaning you don’t have to worry about lopsided lifts. With safety features that include steel hardware, double-braided rope, and a failsafe mechanism to keep your hardtop from falling in the case of a slipped rope, the Harken Hoister makes safety its number one priority.
Don’t just take our word for it! Customer reviews of the Harken Jeep Hoister have been overwhelmingly positive, with 90% of customers giving it a 4 or 5-star review. Customers raved about the ease of use and safety features, saying “it makes taking the Jeep top off much easier” and “this lift is amazing.” We tend to agree.
The Harken Hoister is not just the best lift out there, it is also the most affordable as it comes at a great price.
- Designed for one-person operation. Made in USA!
- Raise and lower with a single control rope
- Patented design lifts and lowers loads evenly, regardless of weight distribution
- Self-locking safety cleat grips instantly if the rope is accidentally released
- Stainless steel hardware, double-braid rope for strength, durability, long life. Everything is included for easy installation
Featuring an electric winch to lift your Jeep hardtop off with ease, this is the most expensive, but easiest and quickest hoist on our list. One of the marked benefits of this hoist is that one person can operate it, but what you gain in speed you lose slightly in versatility.
The hoist itself uses an electric winch to raise the top off of your Jeep in about three minutes. One of the nice features of this list is the foam-covered hooks, which help protect the paint on your hardtop from being damaged or dinged in the process. Thanks to the Lange Original Power Hoist’s “turnkey system” this lift requires no drilling.
Much like the Harken Jeep Hoister, the Lange Original Power Hoist A Top has stunning reviews from satisfied customers. The real reason it doesn’t make the top of our list is its price. If money isn’t an option, or you prefer the speed and convenience of the electric lift, this is the right hoist for you.
At the end of the day, the Power Hoist is an amazing product, if a little on the pricey side compared with other options
- Remove & store your Jeep JK Wrangler's hard top with the push of a button.
- Nothing to drill or attach to your top.
- The rear Smart HookTM allows you to lift and store your hardtop with the rear window closed.
- No more pulled muscles, strained backs, dropped or damaged tops, or pinched fingers.
Brought to you by Smittybilt, a reliable hoist, and winches company, this lift is no laughing matter. Featuring a 200 amp 1/3 horsepower AC motor, this hoist can lift half a ton as easy as you’d lift a broom.
Like the Power Hoist, this fancy lift is a one trick pony made for lifting only Jeep hardtops. However, with a little creativity, it could be used to lift objects of a similar size and make, but you didn’t hear that from us.
Unlike the previous two hoists, customer reviews weren’t always out in force for the Smittybilt. Ranking in a little lower than the others, customers mentioned that the lift raised and lowered too quickly, making storing and replacing the hardtop a tricky business.
However, this lift will still help you remove and store your hardtop without needing a small army of helpers. And the price is reasonable, too.
Hardware to Help Remove Your Wrangler’s Top
Getting the right hardtop hoist will make enjoying your Jeep Wrangler that much easier. But even the best lift doesn’t change the fact that removing a hardtop has a long list of steps, some more annoying than others.
One of the easiest ways of speeding up hardtop removal is by swapping the generic fasteners with a quality Jeep hardtop thumb screw and nut kit. These handy-dandy little tools replace the stock screws and bolts, meaning you can reattach and remove your top all you want without lugging around a set of tools. Even if you only use your Jeep twice this summer, this is $10 you’ll never regret.
- Set of 6 thumb screws with RUBBER BACKED washers simplify hard top removal (NO TOOLS REQUIRED). Installs in seconds.
- Improve interior appearance with styled thumb screws.
- No loose parts. Fasteners store in the body holes when top is off (RUBBER backing protects paint).
- Thumb screws are made of durable nylon head with 1 inch long steel stud.
- Washer is galvonized steel with RUBBER BONDED BACKING. RUBBER keeps washer from falling off stud.
Brackets to Help Store Your Wrangler’s Doors
The only thing better than riding in your Wrangler without the top is to remove the doors, too. But storing the doors in your garage is a pain, as they are unwieldy and easily damaged. The solution is a set of Jeep Door Hangers – the perfect accessory to a hardtop hoist.
- THE ORIGINAL, Arc Off Road, Patent Pending (Serial #16/044,693 and 29/625,722), Jeep Door Hangers, built to hold your 60 lb. doors. These are intended to hang a hard full door, will not work with half or soft doors.
- SUPPORT AN AMERICAN COMPANY!!! 100% of our product is made in the USA. Everything from our SOLID USA STEEL, all the way down to the boxes, packing foam, instructions and hardware.
- BEWARE OF KNOCKOFFS: Beware of cheap knockoffs that look similar in pictures. If they don't PROUDLY STAMP "MADE IN THE USA" it is because they are not! They are low quality, made in China, and will leave you stranded if something goes wrong. Most don't even understand the functionality of our system supporting the door within the window channel. JEEP DOORS WEIGH OVER 50LBS
- As of July 2018 we have proudly partnered 100% with Made in the USA SPAX Fasteners, and include 4 heavy duty Power Lag Screws with Every Set.
- Designed to sit in the window channel, works with rain guards & will not damage your window seals
What Makes A Good Jeep Hardtop Hoist?
Before you run out and buy yourself a time-saving amazing new Jeep hardtop hoist, there are a few things to keep in mind. To start, not all Jeeps are created equally. That’s why you have a hardtop. Joking aside, you want to make sure any hoist you invest in fits your exact Jeep model. While you might not think the difference matters, the slight design and size differences in your hardtop could lead to complications if you’re not using the right winch. No one wants dinged paint or worse, a cracked hardtop. Make sure to check the hoist specifications to ensure your hoist and hardtop work together perfectly.
Next, making sure you have enough space for your hoist is also key to getting the most out of it. Garage, barn, or other indoor space, you want to make sure your new hoist won’t get stuck on the ceiling, literally.
Make sure to measure your space’s ceiling height before you invest in a new hoist. While a 10-foot ceiling is usually the limit, check your product specifications. There is nothing more frustrating than realizing you’ve run out of space. While roofs that are too tall can be worked around, a short roof will leave you up the creek.
Also, pay attention to the installation process for each hoist. A proper lift installation can take hours, and an improper installation could cost you thousands in repairs. While a lift will save you time in the future, keep in mind there is some setup and practice involved.
Lastly, find out how your hoist is powered. While most hoists come in only two versions (electric and hand powered) you still want to be prepared for your option of choice. Although a hand-powered option is cheaper than an electric hoist, you may find yourself in need of a few extra push-ups next time you use it, so keep that in mind.
Jeep Hardtop Hoist Video
Here is a YouTube video showing the Harken hoist in action:
Jeep Hardtop Removal
Jeep hardtops are made to be removed, and as such taking the top on and off is a relatively simple process. Without a lift, it can take two or three people to remove the top, but a hoist can cut this down to one person. No matter your Jeep model, the process is fairly standard across the YK, TJ, JK, and JL. However, keep in mind the number of doors on your Jeep; the 4-door model has an extra step.
Jeep Wrangler Hardtop Removal
Removing the hardtop off of a Jeep Wrangler is, thankfully, not rocket science. Here are the steps so you can get a good idea of the process:
- If you have a 4-door model, remove the freedom panels before taking off the hardtop. To remove these panels, unlock each of the 6 black clips holding the panels to the frame. Remove each panel one at a time, beginning with the driver’s side and working your way around.
- On either side of the light, unscrew the two bolts on the sounder.
- Make sure to unplug the rear wiper and washer fluid wires.
- On each side, unscrew the three bolts holding the hardtop to the vehicle. There should be six bolts total.
- Remove the top of the Jeep, being careful not to move too quickly. Unless you are using a hoist, this will take at least two people.
To reattach the hardtop, follow these steps starting at the 6th step and working backward.
Hardtop Removal Video
Here is a how-to video showing the visual steps to removing a hardtop from the latest Jeep Wrangler. While they manage to remove the top without a hoist, the general process is still identical.