I was looking at hoists as well, and I personally ended up building one using two block and tackle pulley systems. It's a breeze to use, inexpensive (relatively), and can easily be done with one person. The rope is long enough that it doesn't really matter how tall your garage is...you can just hoist it up to the top if you like. The felt pull on these is maybe 15-20 pounds at most. I personally think it feels lighter than that. The pulley systems are 4-1 (meaning the felt weight of each side is divided by four.
I have two of them instead of one for a few of reasons:
1. Spreads the load of the hanging weight from my garage beam (2x4)..so each side is only holding 1/2 the top weight.
2. Keeps it from turning. It doesn't matter what angle I come into the garage at I can grab the top, hoist it up, and it will auto align straight with the garage.
3. Two pulley systems means even less weight for me to pull...essentially 1/8 of the overall weight. Having two means I can lift each side a little at a time (but that's also the down side of two..I have to go back and forth). It only takes a few pulls on each side to clear the jeep tho.
4. Redundancy. If one side fails for whatever reason...the other side should maintain. Not saying that would ever happen...or that there would be no badness from one failing...but it makes me sleep better.
I was going to go cheap at first. These block and tackle pulley hoists can be found at Harbor Freight for $12 each. I then realized that not only the $1500 (I don't really know) hard top is depending on these holding up as well as the $35K jeep parked under it. ;-)
I decided to go with these: Tuf-Tug Rope Hoist Block and Tackle - Tractor Supply Co.
They were a little pricey...but they come with a very nice friction lock that I really, really like. I couldn't have made my own pulley system with this nice of a friction lock...so I didn't bother. It makes it super easy. Just pull and it locks in place. Pull again...and it locks. Easy to unlock as well. Nothing to tie off when it's lifted. I do have a little safety rope that I clip on when it's fully hoisted if it's going to be hanging for a while.
Anyway...you can probably find similar block and tackle systems for less....but just make sure it's good quality.
As far as the straps on the top.. I am using some nylon straps from Harbor Freight. I can't remember what they were called, but they are flat nylon straps, sorta like a tow strap....with loops on both ends. They were just a smidge shorter than I needed, so I have a small loop of climbing rope that is making up the rest of the length to connect the ends together where the hoist clips in.
Sorry for the long post...but I spent a lot of time thinking about this, and I am very happy with what I ended up with. While it was still about $120 to make...it's not going to fail me or fall apart in a year.
---------- Post added at 09:28 PM ---------- Previous post was at 08:40 PM ----------
Originally Posted by Jax2A
If I do, I'll do mine DIY. No expensive precut kit for me. I'll see how this winter goes first. I do plan to run a Spider Shade (or something similar) over the front seats and leave that in place even when the hardtop is on the Jeep.
I am running the full SWS and have been leaving it on when the hard top is on. It takes a little more time to get the freedom panels on/off, but leaving the SWS on full time is working for me so far. I only have the hard top, so it goes on and off often...sometimes daily depending on the forecast or what/where I am planning for the day.