Sometimes you want to feel a fresh breeze on your face while you’re off-roading and other times you want the added security and protection of being covered. The awesome part about Jeep hardtops is that they can be removed and reinstalled whenever you like. Though they are not massively heavy, Jeep hardtops are bulky, unbalanced and hard to remove and reinstall without some help. The easiest way to remove and reinstall a Jeep hardtop is with a hoist.
We have reviewed several of the best Jeep hardtop hoist options, assembled a set of considerations to keep in mind and provided you with the answers to some of the most frequently asked questions about Jeep hardtop hoists to help you make a qualified choice.
What is a Jeep hardtop hoist and its benefits?
A Jeep hardtop hoist is a pulley system used to help lift a Jeep hardtop from your vehicle whenever you want to remove it or provide the necessary assistance to help you lower it back into place when you want to reinstall it. Several benefits come with the use of a Jeep hardtop hoist, like:
- Making it easier for a single person to lift the hardtop.
- Keeping the hardtop level when you are lowering it into place.
- Allowing you to store your hardtop in the top of your garage.
These benefits help to insure that your hardtop won’t become damaged during removal and installation. However, a hardtop hoist is also a versatile tool, which allows you to lift and store other heavy items like canoes, camper shells, sports equipment carriers, etc. as well.
4 Best Jeep Hardtop Hoist Reviews 2020
Harken Hardtop Hoister Systems
Harken is one of the most popular manufacturers of affordable hoister systems. Their 4-point hoister system is easy to install in your garage and allows you to lift and store just about anything you want to, including Jeep hardtops. All three of these Harken systems have the same type of features and benefits, but each is best suited for different applications.
Each utilizes a 4 point system which allows you to lift all four corners of your Jeep hardtop from a single incorporated point. The lifting mechanism is equipped with a braking system, which allows you to raise and lower items without fear of them dropping suddenly. In addition to lifting, these systems are designed for storing your hardtop in your garage as well.
The four lifting points are attached to the ceiling of your garage with a pulley system and utilize nylon cable for lifting. Nylon straps, with adjustable, easy-clip connections allow you to quickly secure the system under your hardtop so that you can safely lift the unit without causing damage. Let’s take a closer look at some of the features and benefits of each of the three systems in this group.
HARKEN 7803B 4 Point Hoister System
This is the mid-range hoister system in this group and the most popular. It is an affordable option for those who need a lift specifically designed for lifting a Jeep hardtop.
• Rated for weights up to 145 lbs.
• 10 feet lifting height capacity.
• Can be configured for 1, 2 or 4 point lifting.
• Provides a 6:1 mechanical advantage.
This hoister system is best designed for hardtops up to 145 lbs., which might exclude some of the heavier 4 door models or hardtops with rooftop tent systems.
Harken Hoister 200lb 12ft
Those who need to support a little bit more weight will want to keep this model in mind. The mechanical advantage of the pulley system on this unit allow you to lift a heavier hardtop with the same amount of effort as a lighter one.
• Rated for weights up to 200 lbs.
• 12 feet lifting height capacity.
• Can be configured for 4 point lifting only.
• Provides a 8:1 mechanical advantage.
This hoister model will better serve users with a 4-door hardtop or a hardtop with the additional weight of a rooftop tent system. Be sure to get an accurate weight of a combined hardtop and tent system before assuming that this system will handle the job.
Harken 60-Pound 4-Pt. Lift System
If you need something to lift the doors or a lighter canvas top, then this unit can help you with lifting and storing those items.
• Rated for weights up to 60 lbs.
• 10 feet lifting height capacity.
• Can be configured for 4 point lifting only.
• Provides a 3:1 mechanical advantage.
This system is really not designed for lifting Jeep hardtops, since the majority of Jeep hardtops weigh at least 80 pounds. Lighter weight roofs or other items like doors and panels can be lifted and stored as long as their combined weight is less than 60 lbs.
HARKEN Jeep Hardtop Storage Hoist Jeep Lift
Based on the same principle as the four-point hoister systems we just reviewed, this Harken Hardtop Storage Hoist Jeep Lift is another budget friendly option to keep in mind. It comes with some additional features to make removing and reinstalling your Jeep’s hardtop a snap.
- HOIST FITS ALL JEEP WRANGLER AND GLADIATOR MODELS: Your Jeep Wrangler accessories or Jeep Gladiator accessories are not complete without this garage ceiling storage system to quickly and safely store the hardtop and organize your garage. 10' ceiling height, 145lbs. max load.
- EASY TO INSTALL: Four point hoist kit comes with illustrated instructions and installation video.
- SAFEST HOIST DESIGN WITH ANTI-DROP SYSTEM: Patented system lifts evenly regardless of weight distribution. Pulley system reduces weight by 6 times for a 6:1 mechanical advantage. The self-locking cleat grips instantly to prevent accidental release if the rope is dropped.
- BONUS THUMB SCREWS FOR EASY HARDTOP REMOVAL: No tools needed using quick removal thumb screws/tee knobs (set of 6). Jeep hard top bolts fit all models 2007 and later. Thumb screws are made of durable nylon head with 1 inch long steel stud. Washer is galvanized steel with rubber bonded backing. Hoister box will appear previously opened so the T-knobs can be placed inside.
- QUALITY MANUFACTURING WITH 5-YEAR WARRANTY: High quality stainless steel hardware and double braided rope provide durability, ball bearing pulleys keep the system running smoothly. 60 years of innovation. Made in USA.
This model utilizes a four point hoist and pulley system, which is easily installed in the same way as the other Harken models. The pulley system allows a significant lift advantage to allow one person to raise and lower a Jeep hardtop without additional assistance. It utilizes a safe lifting pulley system with a brake to prevent loss of control while lifting and lowering heavy objects. This system is designed as a garage storage system as well.
Two woven nylon straps with adjustable, quick-snaps allow for quick and easy diagonal attachment underneath the hardtop of your Jeep. An added feature of this unit are the six included thumb screws, which can be used to replace the factory screws, making removing your hardtop even faster and easier.
• Rated for weights up to 145 lbs.
• 10 feet lifting height capacity.
• Fits all Jeep Wrangler hardtops.
• Provides a 6:1 mechanical advantage.
• Includes a 5-year warranty.
Those who need a lift, which is easy to install and will support a hardtop up to 145 lbs. will appreciate the user-friendly features, moderate pricing and convenience features a plus. For users with a hardtop over 145 lbs., this system is not quite up to the task.
Smittybilt 510001 Hard Top Hoist for Jeep CJ/YJ/TJ/JK
Lifting your hardtop is nearly effortless thanks to the Smittybilt 510001 Hard Top Hoist. This model will cost a bit more than the Harken models we just reviewed, but it accommodates a higher weight capacity and comes with an electric winch for lifting.
- 200 Amp 1/3 HP AC motor
- 1000 Pounds capacity
Designed for CJ, YJ, TJ and JK Jeep hardtops, this system utilizes an electric winching system, which lifts at a single point in the center of the lifting frame. It uses a 200 Amp 1/3 HP AC motor for lifting up to 440 lbs.
The lifting frame is constructed of heavy-duty, powder-coated steel tubing. It has a strong center backbone, multiple rubbers stops and cushioned rollers to prevent scratching and denting of your hardtop.
Accessories can be attached to a variety of different attachment points along the lifting frame. The lifting frame attaches to the hardtop at three points and allows for lifting and storage with the back window closed. Three legs with easy-roll castors allows for storage and easy maneuvering of your hardtop once it is off of your Jeep.
• Frame is rated for weights up to 1000 lbs.
• Electric winch motor will lift up to 440 lbs.
• Fits all CJ, YJ, TJ and JK model hardtops.
• Hardtop is stored on heavy-duty steel rack with easy-roll casters.
Those who do not have the space or do not want to store their hardtop in the ceiling of their garage might prefer this style of hoist and storage frame. This is a moderately priced offering with adequate power to safely lift all Jeep hardtops and accessories and is easy to install and use.
014-210 formerly 014-601 Lange Originals Power Hoist a Top Hard Top
Similar in design to the Smittybilt Hoist, but with a few unique features is the Lange Originals Power Hoist System. This system also allows for the attachment of accessories to its frame, but is designed only for JK models since 2007.
- 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 Hook 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.
The winch on this system is also electric for easy lifting. Its cable attaches to a single lifting point on the lifting frame, but there are a number of options available to find the perfect balancing point for your specific model. This lift comes with braking and safety locks to prevent accidental dropping.
The heavy-duty, powder-coated steel frame on this model is designed to support the weight of your hardtop and all of its accessories as well. Large durable, foam panels separate the lifting frame from the hardtop in order to prevent scratching and other damage, while also serving as a mounting frame for accessories.
You can lift your hardtop with the rear window closed using this model as well and it is designed to store your hardtop near the ceiling of your garage or carport until you are ready to reinstall it on your Jeep.
• Designed for Jeep JK model hardtops.
• Works with ceiling heights from 7 ft to 25 ft.
• Allows for lifting and storage with the rear window closed.
• Electric powered winch with a variety of lifting points on heavy-duty steel frame.
If you are okay with storing your hardtop in the top of your garage and want the ease and convenience of an electric powered winch, then this is an option worth considering. What might be a concern for some is storing such a heavy object on a single lifting point and its price point.
TopLift Pros Jeep Hardtop Remove and Storage Device
Those who don’t want to be bothered with installing a lift system in the ceiling of their garage or car port might be more inclined toward the TopLift Pros Jeep Hardtop Remove and Storage Device. When it comes to simplicity, this is a pretty straightforward option, but watch out for the price.
- 1. JL, JK ONE person, Extremely easy to use from the very start. Works with both 2 Door and 4 Door, fully adjustable for lifted suspension and wheel combinations.
- 2. No limited space in your garage. Low ceiling garage, no problem. We accommodate all, including public storage...
- 3. SAFE, SECURE AND VERY RELIABLE. Top won't drop due to a broken cable. Ours uses a gear and will catch if cable breaks, securing the top safely. Will NOT impede upon your top cosmetically, for it is completely internal and lifts the top up to where it rest comfortably without any stress on the top itself.
- 4. No Installation Cost incurred and You don’t have to permanently mount it to your hardtop to use it.
- 5. Enjoy your Jeep to its fullest, whether taking your hardtop off each week or every day, we make it easy for you. Also completely mobile to take with you on vacation...
Versatility is the key feature of this lift, which can be used just about anywhere, does not need to be installed on the ceiling of your garage, and will fit a wide variety of 2 and 4 door hardtop JK or JL models. This unit is built on heavy-duty, powder-coated steel tubing, which is strong enough to support the weight of any Jeep hardtop and its accessories. It is fitted with four, large diameter casters for smooth rolling.
The lifting frame on this unit is adjustable to fit various models and has cushioned support wheels to prevent damage to your hardtop. It utilizes multiple-joint leverage for easy lifting. The lift serves as a storage stand for your hardtop, which you can store anywhere you like, and with the rear window closed. This lift can also be adjusted vertically to accommodate lift systems that have been installed on your Jeep as well.
• No ceiling installation is required.
• Heavy-duty steel frame is fully adjustable to various 2 and 4-door hardtop JK and JL models.
• Used for lifting and storage where garage ceiling capacities are too low for hoists.
• Large diameter casters make for easy rolling.
Users who have vertical space limitations in their garage, or who don’t want to have to install a hoisting system will be pleased by the convenience of this lifting system. Some drawbacks are a decreased mechanical lifting advantage of this lift system compared to the others, and the fact that this lift is pretty pricey.
Jeep Hardtop Hoist Buying Guide
Purchasing a hardtop hoist may not require a major investment, but purchasing the wrong one and causing damage to your Jeep, yourself or your family can be very costly. There are several considerations to keep in mind before purchasing a Jeep hardtop hoist. Here are four of those most important considerations.
Your Available Space
When it comes to available space, you will need to think in three dimensions. Not only will you need to consider whether there is enough space in your garage to install the hoist so that it will function properly, but you will need to consider storage space as well.
Most hardtop hoists require a minimum ceiling height of 10 feet for installation and proper function. There are some, which allow for a minimum ceiling height of 7 feet, but they do not come with some of the features you might want. For garages with a ceiling height of 7 feet or less, the best option might be a portable hoist unit.
Space for storing your hardtop while it’s not on your Jeep might present some limitations as well. Ceiling storage systems are popular because they do not take up floor space in your garage, but if vertical space is limited, you will need to consider other types of storage racks and portable floor units.
How are you with tools and assembly? You will want to be able to answer this question with a good degree of confidence or know someone who can take care of installing your hoist system for you. Most hoist systems are not overly complicated to install, but some people might not have the skills or access to the tools to accomplish the task. Other users do not want to be bothered with installing a hoist system in their garage. If you fall into one of these latter categories, then a portable floor hoist model might be your best option.
When it comes to lifting the hardtop from your Jeep, there are three options: manual, manual-mechanical and powered-mechanical. If you have the available muscle (yourself and another person or two) and are willing to use it to remove your Jeep’s hardtop, then you probably have little interest in a hoist. However, those who require mechanical help should consider the remaining options.
Manual Mechanical Hoists
This option utilizes a system of pulleys and ropes or levers to provide you with a mechanical advantage over the weight that you are lifting. Mechanical advantage is measured in a ratio of how much weight the system will lift compared to how much weight you have to lift in order to operate the system. If you lift a 100 pound Jeep hardtop using a 6:1 mechanical advantage, you will have to put forth enough effort to lift 100/6 or about 17 lbs. If you can handle weight in the 15 to 25 lbs. range, then a manual mechanical system will work fine and save you some money on your hoist.
These hoists make use of an electric winch to do all of the lifting for you. Models featuring an electric winch work best for those who are either unable or unwilling to put forth the amount of effort that a pulley or lever system requires. With electric powered winches, you will need to look at the weight capacity of the motor and the ease of operating the motor, which is typically a cable attached to the winch with a remote control box. Keep in mind that if a motor cannot handle the weight of your hardtop and the accessories you might add to it, it will burn up and you will have to replace it.
A Note of Caution
With mechanical hoists, there is always the chance that the hardtop could fall, which could cause damage to your Jeep, or injury to yourself or some other person. Be sure that the mechanical hoist you select has necessary stops, locks and safety equipment to prevent this sort of issue.
Compatibility with Your Jeep
None of the above features or considerations will have any value if you purchase a product that is not compatible with your Jeep. Though they are not often major differences, the variations in model designs can make a difference when it comes to the safe and proper function of your hardtop hoist. Consequently, be sure to match up the hoist you choose with the proper model and model year of your Jeep in order to get the best results from your hoist system.
By Keeping these considerations in mind, you should be able to make a qualified decision when it comes to the purchase of the right Jeep hardtop hoist to fit your needs.
Frequently Asked Questions FAQs
Lifting a hardtop without doing any damage to it is an important aspect in maintaining the function and value of this particular component. Those who are a bit unfamiliar with the various aspects of Jeep hardtop hoists tend to have a lot of questions. For your benefit, we have anticipated the most common of these questions and provided answers to them.
Some hoists actually come with the addition of an electric winch as part of the system. Those which do not include a hoist system may or not be properly setup for adding a winch. If you think you might need a winch for your hoist, you might want to consider one that already has one.
The height of the attachment points makes no difference to the functioning of the hoist. However, the lengths of cable from each attachment point will be longer where the ceiling slope is highest. The critical part of an installation on a sloped ceiling is related to being able keep the hardtop level as you lift it and lower it into place, which can complicate things a bit.
The best option is to go with a system that will accommodate 4-door or 2-door tops. Be sure that there is adequate protection for freedom panels or you place a blanket atop the rear portion of your hard top, and then place the freedom panels upside down atop the blanket to provide the best protection while they are stored.
Regardless of what is attached to your hardtop, the concept is essentially the same. However, be sure to take into account the added weight of the rooftop tent and be certain that your hoist is rated to be able to handle it.
This is certainly a consideration to keep in mind when you have ceiling height limitations. Depending upon the mounting system dimensions, most hoists will raise your hardtop to a height that is between 6 and 8 inches from the ceiling, but others might save a little extra space.
The simplest design and ease of installation is to use two 2×6 boards for the hoist assembly, you can use angle iron, channel iron, metal studs or some other support for the system. Keep in mind that you will have to make adjustments during assembly.
Weight capacity can vary significantly from one hoist to another. A Jeep hardtop can weigh from 125 lbs. to 150 lbs. depending upon the model and model year of the Jeep, but the addition of doors and other accessories can add to that weight. Many manufacturers rate their hoists at around 200 pounds, but some have a higher or lower weight capacity. For the sake of safety, this is an extremely important feature to pay attention to before choosing a hardtop hoist.
The top rated models of hardtop hoists allow a single person to operate the hoist and remove the top without any assistance from a second person.
The minimum ceiling height for the majority of hoists is seven feet in order to get sufficient clearance for the hardtop, but there are some systems that require up to 10 ft. of minimum clearance.
The main difference between 2 and 4-door hardtops is their overall weight. When considering hoists you will want enough lifting and storage weight capacity to support the additional weight of a 4-door hardtop.
Some models come with an electric motor with a winch cable and some don’t. In reality, the advantages of the pulley system and weight distribution make it pretty easy to lift your hardtop without a motor. Be ready to pay extra for a hoist with a motor.
Some refer to this configuration as a hardtop with freedom panels. The best way to accomplish this task is by first removing the freedom panels, placing them on a blanket on the top of the back portion of the hardtop, and then hoisting the hardtop as usual.
Cable lengths vary from one hoist to another. Cable length considerations will make a big difference if you are lifting your hardtop in a shop with a high ceiling, but most hoists have an adequate amount of cable to accommodate the majority of garage ceiling heights.
No. You will have to take advantage of the structural members in the ceiling in order to mount the pulleys and hoisting system. Failure to do so will result in the ceiling tearing out and collapsing.
This feature can help when storage space is limited. The design of certain models will not allow you to close the rear window during lifting or after you have lifted it. Other models will allow you to open and close the rear window at will.
Getting the most out of your Jeep includes the option of being able to go off-roading with or without your hardtop attached. Removing a hardtop without assistance can be pretty difficult and reinstalling it on your Jeep next to impossible.
The best Jeep hardtop hoist systems make a significant difference when it comes to lifting, storing and reinstalling your hardtop and are the only way to do it by yourself. Our reviews, buying guide and frequently asked questions have provided you with enough information to choose the hardtop hoist system that will best suit your needs.
Last update on 2020-08-05 at 02:37 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API