View Full Version : Bimini top or Hardtop?

09-21-2015, 08:33 AM
My wife and I looked at three boats this weekend. Each boat had something we liked and some things that we would change. The one boat we really liked, especially my wife, had a Bimini-top over the sundeck. Another boat we looked at had a hard top, which I really like. The Bimini-top canvas was about 10 years old and fairly dirty. I'm sure each has their advantages and disadvantages. The boats are all in covered slips. What does everyone out there prefer, and why?
Ron and Marybeth

09-21-2015, 09:02 AM
My boat came with a bimini top over the upper helm. To keep the canvas clean and out of the sun, I put the bimini away at the end of each trip. More and more, I found that I was driving from the lower helm rather than take the time to put up the bimini on the upper helm. I tried leaving my bimini up between trips, but a high wind came by and bent my bimini frame and cost me a few hundred dollars for repairs.

About two years ago, the canvas on my party top just behind my bimini was getting old and coming apart. I decided to spring for a hard top that replaced both the bimini at the front of the boat and the party top just behind it. Having now had both bimini and hard top, I prefer the hard top. The hard top will last the life of my boat, while the canvas products last about 12 years. I look to make my boating trips more fun with fewer chores. While setting up the bimini at the start of a trip and putting it away at the end of a trip didn't take all that much time, it is one more chore that I don't miss.

09-21-2015, 09:43 AM
That's the way I'm looking at it too, lower maintenance and don't have to worry about it much. I really don't know why she likes the canvas more than the hardtop, other than the aesthetics of it. By the looks of the canvas right now I'd say we'd have to replace it within a couple of years, which is another expense I'd rather avoid. But then again, that may be the perfect time to deep six the canvas and spring for the hardtop...hahaha

09-22-2015, 05:00 AM
I prefer the bimini just for the fact that sometimes I like to be in the sun while driving up top. if it does last even 7 years who in this day and age keeps one that long. they both work well,its just a matter of choice.

09-22-2015, 06:44 AM
Are you talking about a bimini over the helm or a party top over part of the upper deck?

09-22-2015, 08:26 AM
Hard tops are worth more money when you go to sell them

09-22-2015, 01:07 PM
I'm asking about the party top....canvas or hard top? I'm not too concerned too much about the area above the helm. I'm assuming the hard top would have more advantages over the canvas.

09-23-2015, 06:29 AM
Hard tops are very nice. Also, pricey. They are a $10,000 to $15,000 option if you order them when building a new boat. I have no idea what the aftermarket cost would be. I agree with OHB that a hard top is worth more, but they are like everything else on a boat - subject to depreciation. If this is a boat you are going to keep for a while or if you are going to have to replace the canvas (really Sunbrella fabric) at a few thousand dollars, it probably makes financial sense.

09-23-2015, 07:37 AM
In a covered slip, Sunbrella biminis will last 10+ years. Fabric will cost less, but the sun can still bake you under the bimini when out on the water.

Fiberglass hard tops are nice, but they will require waxing, like the rest of the boat. They do a much better job of chopping down the heat when out in the direct sun. They weigh a LOT and add considerable cost to moving the boat over land.

09-24-2015, 06:32 AM
I have 4' x 8' x .125" white fiberglass panels underneath my black "canvas". The seams and edges are all sealed so it is waterproof. The white color really knocks down the heat. I have about $300 in it - poor mans hardtop.