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Snugtop vs Leer vs A.R.E. -- verdict

Discussion in '2nd Gen. Tacomas' started by Joemomma, Jan 15, 2013.

  1. Joemomma

    Joemomma [OP] New Member

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    I've searched to the ends of the internet for opinions on camper shells and have found little consensus, tons of anecdotes and lots of hyperbole, but not many thorough, detailed testimonials.

    When all was said and done, after scouring the internet I felt I was still at square one.

    The best thing I did was get off my ass and go the the dealers for all three shells. Seeing firsthand the (sometimes huge) differences in build and hardware quality and strength made my decision extraordinarily easy.

    If you're like me, when you buy a Tacoma, you plan on driving it til it dies. Then rebuild the engine and drive it some more. And the same principle applies to anything I put on my truck--I want to do it right the first time and would rather pay a premium for quality than deal with the hassles that may come from saving a few bucks on accessories.

    If you're interested in knowing which camper shell is hands-down the best quality, regardless of price, here's my very well researched 2 cents on the matter:

    Snugtop.

    I looked at all three and there was no comparison. The available features, design, build quality and hardware quality on Snugtops are head and shoulders above ARE and Leer.

    The biggest benefits, for me, were the following:

    - Snugtop's 1" resin-filled honeycomb roof construction. Go to a Snugtop dealer and see a cut-away for yourself. This is standard on all Snugtops. Leer and ARE do not even come close. The Snugtop roof is built with a very thick layer of fiberglass, resin-filled honeycomb material, thick layer of fiberglass, and a very thick layer of color-matched gel-coat.

    - Snugtop's window hinge design, hardware and build quality. The Snugtop fiberglass where the hinge attaches to the shell is heavily reinforced. The fiberglass all around and under the hinge mount is about 3 times thicker than the rest of the fiberglass (Leer and ARE do not have this). The hinges are about 2+ times bigger and much stronger than the Leer and ARE hinges. The hinges have 2 mounting bolts per hinge (Leer only has one per hinge).

    - Snugtop's one piece rear window and channeled rain gutter. I've had camper shells with metal framed rear windows. Eventually over time, they all leaked. The camper shell got old and lost just enough shape that the window frame and rubber seal on the shell frame did not completely line up. Either that or the hinge got old and sloppy and the metal framed window did not properly line up with the shell frame. This meant rain very easily got in through the gaps. Also, the metal framed windows always drained into the bed of my truck.

    - Snugtop's water seal. Snugtop has 4 rubber gaskets between the shell and the bed rail. The shell also overhangs the side of the bed so that water drains over the side and not onto the bed rail. Leer has a slight overhang and ARE has none.

    - Snugtop's available features. Snugtop offers a few features that I like, that ARE and Leer do not offer-- oversized sliding windows and sliding, removable screens.

    I just asked a friend who's had a Snugtop on his Tacoma for 10 years. He said he loves it. It keeps him dry. He was even rear-ended a few years ago and the shell survived, intact.

    I'm not knocking Leer or ARE. If you're sticking to a budget, they're both good options.

    But if you want the best quality and a shell that will keep you drier and happier for 10+ years, I recommend Snugtop.
     
  2. OZ-T

    OZ-T All of those moments....will be lost.....in time

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    Can you get a reinforced roof with the Snugtop models capable of carrying 400lbs ?
     
  3. friction

    friction Well-Known Member

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    OEM Cruise, 5100s @.85, Century Ultra shell, TRD covers, TRD skid.
    Unfortunately, Snugtops are all but impossible to get east of the Mississippi. They do look purty, though.
     
  4. JustMe

    JustMe Active Member

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    You can order the top reinforced with a 500LB rating. I know it part of the sportsman package, not sure if you can order the reinforcement by by itself.
     
  5. OZ-T

    OZ-T All of those moments....will be lost.....in time

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    OME 885x , OME shocks and Dakars , Wheelers SuperBumps front and rear , 275/70/17 Hankook ATm , OEM bed mat , Weathertech digifit floor liners , Weathertech in-channel vents , headache rack , Leer 100RCC commercial canopy , TRD bedside decals removed , Devil Horns by Andres , HomerTaco Satoshi
    Cool
     
  6. Larry

    Larry Well-Known Member

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    never had a Snugtop shell...

    but I have had 2 Snuglid hard tonneau covers on past trucks. I ordered them both from Snugtop and had them shipped.

    they were both top notch quality and water tight.
     
  7. stractman

    stractman Well-Known Member

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    the front range, CO
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    another vote for snugtop.

    got sliding glass with removable screens so i can always have a dog head sticking out the side (unfortunately, there is permadrool on the side of the bed). carpeted headliner is comfortable and looks good. the light is hooked into power so i always have light. i only need a key turn to open the rear glass window, no latches sticking out to deal with. the window that butts up against my cab folds down. it also has a sliding glass mini-window so you can have a pass-through to your cab from inside the shell. finally, i have rack rails mounted on the shell. i've hauled huge bookcases and dressers on that rail using yakima bars. now i use it for my fatcat 6 snow/ski carrier.

    yes, it's pricey. this thing has lasted years and still looks brand new. i love my snugtop. get it with all the options you want so you don't have to go back and drill into it with substandard fitting/seal.
     
  8. DSYLEXC

    DSYLEXC Well-Known Member

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    snuglid on my 2012...no issues
     
  9. skidooman

    skidooman I'm your huckleberry

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    Love my snugtop. Also they're the only ones that have skirted sides, all glass rear door and windoors for a short bed, all in one shell.
     
  10. TacoSkeet

    TacoSkeet 'MERICA

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    I had a snugtop and my buddy had a leer and then an ARE. neither the ARE or LEER compared to the snug. Its legit!
     
  11. kdewit

    kdewit Active Member

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    I think snugtop recommends the reinforced top if you put a rack on and want to carry up to 200 lbs. Anyone have thoughts on that?
    Also, who has the remote opener option tied into your truck remote? Sounds like a good option to me!
     
  12. oZmonKey

    oZmonKey Big Metal Hubajube

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    poopernickels.

    According to Snugtop website, nearest dealer is in Missouri.
    They guesstimate ~$650 just to freight it over.
     
    Last edited: Apr 25, 2013
  13. 2xR

    2xR Well-Known Member

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    Just picked up my Century topper yesterday. It's actually made by Leer and is about 15-20% cheaper than the equivalent Leer. I have had 3 Leers and one ARE previously and the Century is absolutely top notch!!!

    ImageUploadedByTapatalk1366903279.701844.jpg
     
  14. skidooman

    skidooman I'm your huckleberry

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    Looks good. Should get a vinyl guy to continue those graphics up the shell.
     
  15. 2xR

    2xR Well-Known Member

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    That's what I was thinking!!!
     
  16. TRDsport253

    TRDsport253 Well-Known Member

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    I like that topper. What's the between that and the Leer 100XL? Is the back door different?
     
  17. SLOsquirrel

    SLOsquirrel Well-Known Member

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    None... Yet
    I like my Leer. Looked at all of them also.

    IMHO leer is built just as well and looks better. The large overhang on the snugtop looks a lil funky to me.
     
  18. GuapOh

    GuapOh Well-Known Member

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    Skid Plate, Hood Protector, Wheel Locks, Snugtop XV, Yakima Rack, Weathertechs, Sick Speed Shifter, Avid Bumper, Avid Sliders, Bilstien 5100's, TSB Spring packs
  19. Sparky2012

    Sparky2012 Active Member

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    I bought the commercial leer 100RCC about a year ago. I’ve had no problems but the fit and install wasn’t as good as I thought it should be, but I know I’m overly anal on that stuff. I really dislike the fact that it has two different keys. One for the canopy door and a different one for the side tool box option that I got. Dealer said that that’s a common complaint but Leer won’t change it.

    I was bitching to the installer kid about it a little bit as he was cursing the install alignment. He told me that out of all the brands they carry, snug top had the best fit and quality in his opinion. I told him that I want the commercial grade for the roof load rating and the ARE commercial topper had avery flimsy tool box so I went with the Leer. That’s when I found out that Snug Top made a commercial grade but they just don’t advertise it. I wish the sales person would have told me that! If I had to do it again I would get the Snug Top.

    Just My 2 cents.
     
  20. OZ-T

    OZ-T All of those moments....will be lost.....in time

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    OME 885x , OME shocks and Dakars , Wheelers SuperBumps front and rear , 275/70/17 Hankook ATm , OEM bed mat , Weathertech digifit floor liners , Weathertech in-channel vents , headache rack , Leer 100RCC commercial canopy , TRD bedside decals removed , Devil Horns by Andres , HomerTaco Satoshi
    I love my 100RCC
     
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