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Types Of Boat Tops | Which One Is Best For You?

Choosing to add a boat top is one of the best ways of preserving your boat’s value and enjoying shade as you spend your day on the waters. Since there are various types of boat tops, knowing what differentiates each model is crucial, as this will come in handy when selecting the best option for your watercraft. In this article, we look at seven types of boat tops.

1.   T-Tops

t-top boat top

T-Tops provide full standing height for the boat operator and can provide helpful additional storage and extra protection for your center console.

T-tops are designed to provide overhead cover by fitting around a boat’s center console. These boat tops are getting quite popular among boat owners as they offer full standing-height shade while protecting your center console from harsh elements.

In addition to providing weather protection, top-quality models like Stryker T-Tops are built to improve the looks of your boat and make your fishing trips more exciting as they offer additional overhead storage.

You will also have the freedom to opt for a folding T-top, especially if you store your boat in a garage with a standard door or have to use low clearance bridges in your area.


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2.   Bimini Tops

bimini top boat top

Bimini tops can be deployed when needed, are foldable and are primarily used for protection from the sun.

Bimini tops are free-standing open canvas structures supported by metal frames that sit over a boat’s cockpit.

Unlike T-tops that are designed to remain standing after installation, Bimini tops are foldable and only deployed when needed.

These boat tops are also primarily used to offer protection from the sun as they are not covered on the front or sides.

Bimini tops also come with storage solutions that can help hold wakeboards and inflatable tubes.


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To get the most out of your Bimini top:

  • Avoid leaving it out indefinitely
  • Fold it when not in use to improve its lifetime
  • Use a brush and hose to remove debris from your canvas to keep it looking at its best
  • When going at high speeds, don’t keep the bimini top deployed


3.   AFT Covers

aft boat curtain

AFT covers offer great protections from the elements and are a great way to stay warm and dry on the water.

AFT covers are enclosures attached to the back of a boat’s top extending to the aft, where they are secured.

These covers offer protection from the sun and other elements like wind, rain, and spray.

AFT covers can contain windows, side panels, and doors to allow visibility and user access while providing privacy in the aft deck area.

As such, they are a great way to stay warm and dry while enjoying the waters, which is an extra plus for boat owners who regularly take and teach kids about the outdoors.



4.   Convertible Tops

convertible boat top

Convertible tops differ from Bimini tops in that they can extend and cover the seating areas as well as the helm.

Convertible tops are designed to cover a boat’s entire open windshield area and are primarily used for protection in foul weather.

The main difference between these boat tops and Bimini tops is that they are attached to the windshield and can extend to cover the seating and helm areas.



Convertible boat tops are also commonly used on small powerboats and speedboats, and can easily be removed when they are not in use. They are easy to set up, remove and store.

You can make a convenient pathway to the bow with a walk-through zipper at the center of the window. You can also add front doors for more visibility and enclosures and curtains to enhance protection against the elements.

5.   Camper Tops

camper boat top

Camper tops cover the entire open areas of a boat and can be removed when needed.

Camper tops are enclosures attached to the back of a Bimini or convertible top to cover the back of a boat. It comes with its frame and helps enclose the entire open area of a boat, so everyone on board is protected against harsh elements.

Since it is not necessary to use camper tops at all times, these enclosures can easily be removed and set up to suit your needs.

A camper top converts your open boat into a cozy cabin on the water, protecting you and your passengers against rain and wind and offering shade during summer. T



To find a boat camper top that best suits your vessel, pick the depth or length, width, and height that sufficiently accommodates the boat and your needs.

The height and the depth/length help you establish how much shade a camper top will provide.

You should also look at the coverage area when the camper top is opened or deployed and where it will fall when closed and folded at the boat’s rear part. Ensure sufficient space behind and in front of the deployed top to set up eye straps for securing the hold-down straps.

6.   Storage Covers

storage cover boat top

Storage covers are just what they sound like… they protect your boat when it’s not in use.

Storage covers are meant to protect your boat when it is not in use.

Typically, storage covers work by protecting open and vulnerable areas of your vessel, and the most common options in the market are:

  • Cockpit covers, which are used to enclose the area from behind the windshield to the back of the boat
  • Tonneau covers, which are tight-fitting canvas tops mainly used on speed boats to protect the open bow areas. Some boaters leave these covers on even when they are out on the water and only remove them when they want to use the bow area
  • Bridge covers, which are commonly used on powerboats with a flybridge to cover the helm, instrument panel, and seating areas
  • Bow-to-stern covers, which are used to cover the entire extent of your boat from the bow to the stern


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7.   Full Top Enclosure

full enclosure boat top

A full top enclosure boat top will provide weather, sun and water protection.

Full top enclosures are an all-in-one boat top that gives you the benefits of having a Bimini top, bow cover, windshield connector, and aft covers by providing a full enclosure of your boat.

Since it is made of multiple pieces, it offers the flexibility of choosing whether you want total protection against harsh elements or want a specific part open to suit your needs.



For example, you could decide to leave the aft covers or side windows open so that you can enjoy fishing or a little sunshine.

A full enclosure boat top provides weather protection, UV rays protection, and sea spray and water protection. Combining styles and colors can help you create an eye-catching boat top that sets you apart from others.

Final Thoughts On The Different Types Of Boat Tops

As a boat owner, one of the best accessories you can invest in is the right boat top. When considering your purchase, always consider the intended use and ensure you order a fully customized model that suits your boat’s size.

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