Picking a UTV Windshield: Full, Half, Hybrid? What’s Best?


Choosing the correct UTV can be extremely stressful, and once that is done you think that you are good and ready to go. That is not always the case, there are so many customizable elements that come with UTVs! One thing that I really struggled to decide upon was which windshield to buy.

I recommend a Hard Coated Polycarbonate Hybrid Full Windshield, but the UTV windshield you choose, totally depends on what you use your vehicle for and the terrain you are in.

It is important to know the different benefits to the different sizes, materials and how they will benefit you in your adventures. There will always be benefits and drawbacks to each of the different options, that is going to work with your environment and vehicle usage.

Full Windshield

A full windshield is going to give you the best coverage, this is going to be the best for dusty terrains. When you are driving 30 to 40 miles per hour in the dirt. (Which is what I am most familiar with.) The dirt is in your eyes, mouth, and hair. It will leave a full coat of dirt on you.

There are going to be some downsides to this. Have you ever gone on a mud ride? Your goggles are going to be caked in mud and you are going to need to pull over at some time to wipe them off. Now imagine that on a full-sized windshield. Also if you do not elect to have doors or windows, the dust will come in through the sides and create a bit of a dust tunnel. Lastly, it is going to be an expensive option.

The positive of staying warm in colder weather, this can also be part of the negatives when it comes to the full-sized windshield. If it is a hot day and you are going fast, you will not get the airflow you need. It is going to get really hot!

Full Vented Windshield

These are going to be extremely similar to the full-sized windshield, but they are trying to eliminate the negative side that comes with the lack of air flow. There are a few different options for these vents.

This can be seen as a literal vent in the bottom of the windshield that can be opened and shut when you need it. This can also be seen as some openings in the bottom corners of the windshield. I personally prefer the actual vent.

The benefit of a windshield is the protection from mud, and dirt, etc. But when you have openings, on the bottom sides of the windshield, your hands are going to get dirty. Also, the airflow can be extremely cold, I prefer to have the option to cut it off when wanted.

Half Windshield

These are a fun middle ground, that blocks a lot of the dirt from your eyes but also allows you to get the airflow. One negative side of having a full windshield is how it can take away the feeling of riding outside and makes it more car like.

The half windshield is going to be great to protect the body of the riders, but it is going to give you the right amount of flow. Half windshields do give you the option to have it fully mounted or to have it easily removable from the vehicle, they are also going to be a lot cheaper than their full-sized equivalents.

VehiclesFull WindshieldHalf WindshieldHybrid Windshield
Cost$400-$600$100-$150$200-$500

Hybrid Windshield

These are my favourites, they give you the most versatility. They are also known as the flip down windshields. That is the more common term, they are usually fully sized windshields that can separate to then become half sized.

They can easily reassemble or breakdown even while you are in the middle of the drive to protect you from the elements or to give you the airflow that you need.

The Hybrid Windshields are going to be the most expensive of the options, they will usually need to be installed on your vehicle. They will have the most components of their products.

Flip Up

There are different options under the umbrella of Hybrid Windshields, they have different benefits to them. The flip up options is great if you want to be able to shift between full windshield to half or no windshield in the middle of the ride. The downside is when you are on a bumpy ride, it might fall down in the middle of the process.

Fold Down

The fold down methods are great to lock down if you do not want to have the window up during the ride. It is not easy enough to bring it up during the ride, but they will stay put during the ride.

Full tilting

The full tilting options are very nice to have, they can separate into two half windshields and combine to one full windshield. You can just flip up the top half of your windshield to have more accessibility.

Full Enclosures

An enclosure is the combination of windshield, doors, windows. Making the vehicle more car-like and protects you from the elements.

Cloth Enclosures

These are great cheap options, they can wrap around the entire cab. This includes the front windshield, back windshield, and doors that all zip up around the entire cab.

The positive to this is that it protects from the elements for cheap. There is a negative to this. The dirt gets stuck in the zippers making it hard to open and close. There are years that I remember trying to open the windshield/window on the back of our Yamaha Rhino with its stuck zipper, but it is an inexpensive option.

Hard Full Enclosure

The hard full enclosures have tempered glass or polycarbonate options for both the windshield, back window, and the windows on the doors. That is strong and easy to clean. These will also have sturdy roofs and doors. They completely protect you from the elements. There are options to give you airflow through the windows and the back windshield.

Many of these new enclosures now have defrosters and even air conditioners in the cab to make you more comfortable.

This can also be seen as negative if you love going out on trails it does not feel the same in a hard full enclosure. You do not get the same feel as you would driving without the full cab.

Windshield Materials

There are four different materials that you can use in all three different styles. They are going to be different prices and going to have different pros to each.

Strength of the Glass

Each of the different glass options are going to have different positives and drawbacks. It is important that you know why you are using this vehicle to decide which glass is the most cost efficient for you.

OptionsStrengthClarityscratch Resistance
Acrylicweakclearistleast scratch resistant
Safety Glassweakestclearhighest scratch resistance
Polycarbonatestrongleast clearless scratch resistant
Hard-Coated Polycarbonatestrongless clearscratch resistant

Picking the right glass is so important for your UTV. When I was younger I was almost turned off from UTVs as a rock flew up from the wheel of our friends UTV and shattered the glass while I was sitting in the passenger seat.

Luckily no one got hurt, but it really slowed down my decision to purchase my own vehicle. That is why I chose to go with the Hard Coated Polycarbonate even if it is the most expensive of the options. But each of the options has its place in the UTV world.

Acrylic

These are going to be the cheapest of the three different options. They are the cheapest but they are still great options. They are not as durable as the Polycarbonate options, but they do not break often. They do scratch when you are constantly washing them.

You need to be careful when you are cleaning it, there are only certain brands and products that you should use on your acrylic windshield. The Plexus cleaning product is great to avoid scratching the windshield. Acrylic is the clearest of the options, it can be even clearer than safety glass.

Uncoated Polycarbonate

This is going to be your more durable option, they are in the middle ground of options. It is around 25 X’s stronger than glass and you will not be breaking it on your rides. Uncoated Polycarbonate is going to scratch the easiest by far, and it is going to give you the most issues with clarity.

Polycarbonate does have another benefit, it has UV light protection. If you want more protection you can tint your windshield, but it is built into the polycarbonate.

Coated Polycarbonate

The coated is only a bit different than the uncoated, it is going to be scratch resistant. It will be easy to clean with most things. When you are on rides, you might have to stop and squeegee it off during your mud ride. This is going to be very scratch resistant. This is going to be the material that most of the competitors out there are using to make their windshields now. The coated polycarbonate, in terms of clarity, is going to be in the middle ground.

Safety Glass

This is the same material that is used on your traditional car. It will be easy to clean, but it is by far the most breakable. This is the best option for people who are trying to make their UTV street legal.

You are going to need to also have windshield wipers and wiper fluid built into your UTV. It will be the most expensive of the options, and it is not great for people who are wanting to ride the trails. It also is going to be the most scratch resistant of the different options.

Window Tinting

You can find windshields that are tinted, they are harder to tint than your traditional vehicle. There aren’t too many spray kits for these, but I recommend buying them pre-tinted for a clear and consistent coating.

It gives you UV protection for your ride, that will protect you and your family from getting sunburned. It will affect the clarity, but not by enough to make a huge difference.

Windshield Mounting

There are different options for mounting, this depends on the different windshield that you choose. If you are handy, you can save a lot of money in this outdoor recreational world.

Some of the windshields just pop on with velcro like options, this can be in both half and full windshield options. The hybrid options can be a bit harder than the easy pop- on half and full windshields. They usually do come with an installation kit for you to figure out what you want to do with your vehicle whether that is doing it yourself or outsourcing it to someone with more experience and knowledge.

What options do I have for my vehicle?

There are many different brands that offer windshields either through the company or there are companies that make universal sized windshields. They have different price ranges but usually use the same types of materials to create the windshield. They all prefer polycarbonate options, especially the hard coated options.

BrandsPrices
Polaris$54-$700
Kawasaki$54-$700
Can-am $60-$600
Koplin$120-$400
Clearly Tough
$200-$400
Rogue Powersports$160-$350
Seizmik$250-$550

Koplin

Koplin is one brand that is great at creating universal windshields and other universal UTV accessories. The majority of their products are easily attachable to their different vehicles. They have a ton of different options, that fit many different brands.

Polaris

Polaris creates many different options for their vehicles, including the razor and the rangers. Their mounting options are very easy for Polaris owners. They are almost exclusively made out of coated polycarbonate materials and are highly durable.

You can find UTVs from Polaris that are already going to have the windshield on it. If you are buying this new, ask them about the different options of windshields you can switch it out for. Make sure you are getting the best fit for you and your adventures.

Kawasaki

Kawasaki does not have as the wind of a range as Polaris when it comes to windshields. They are easy to apply to their vehicles. They do seem to be more expensive than universal options.

Can-am

There are great options for Can-am options from the company. They are great at having all the different options. They have different options for detachable windshields full sized, flip ups, and half windshields. They are not going to have as many options as the universal brands that specialize in windshields.

Flare

This is a new brand, that has an entirely different design than the basic flat design for the UTV windshields. They created a rounded half windshield that really does have great airflow over away from the passengers.

They have specific clamps that are only with their company that is firmly set but they are easy to take on and off the vehicle.

Clearly Tough

Clearly Tough is a smaller company found in the Utah area working to make a different fold down hybrid windows. These options do necessitate for you to pull over to change your windshield from the upright position to the down and locked position.

Rogue Powersports

This is not an actual windshield, it is a windscreen. This is an inexpensive option that is great for different needs. It does not create the wind tunnel that a lot of customers have been struggling with.

They do not block the vision that comes when you are going through a mud trail. They also protect you from bugs or rocks or branches that come at you when you are on new terrain.

The negative is going to be that there is not UT protection that comes with acrylic and polycarbonate windshields.

Seizmik

Seizmik is famous for their Versa-Fold windshield, which is created for the different Polaris Rangers. They are a hybrid windshield that falls into the fold down category. But unlike a lot of the other fold down options, they are easy to adjust mid-ride.

They are made of polycarbonate and you can choose if you want them to have the hard coating. Something that they do is put the hard coating on both the inside and outside of the windshield.

Windshield Accessories

Something that is always certain is that you can always add something new to your vehicle. There are always new accessories for sale. But there are some great additions to the windshield.

Many of the windshields are just attached to the frame of the UTV creating space for more accessories that can attach to the frame. This allows for optimal customization. The windshields that are mounted on does still allow you to make adaptions.

Windshield Wiper

This is pretty obvious that you can have wipers onto your windshield. This is great for when you are on long rides, it is nice for muddy rides. There are one or two wiper options that are easy to install yourself. If you have polycarbonate or glass windshields they are great to have and they do not scratch even if you are constantly using them. These can only be installed if you have a full windshield.

You can even get windshield wipers that are hand operated if you do not want to mess with the mechanical part of the installation.

The brand Wash’n Wipe is a great new company that has created UTV windshield wipers with the fluid kit all set into the hardware, this can be found as just the wiper product or already installed in their polycarbonate windshield they produce.

Squeegee

If you do not want to mess at all with the installation of windshield wipers, please get some form of a squeegee. They are going to be the easiest way to clean your windshield on the road, they are especially great at removing the mud that so quickly cakes up on your vehicle.

They are cheaper options to clean your windshield than installing a windshield wiper. The negative would also be that you are going to have to stop your ride to allow you to see through the windshield.

Wiper Fluid

This goes hand in hand with your wipers, is that you are going to want wiper fluid to clean your windshield throughout the ride. These are both required if you make your vehicle street legal in many states. This will give you the clarity you need for the entire day.

Windshield Lighting

There are also different lighting options that can be mounted onto the windshield to give more lighting. It can add better lighting for hunting or late night trail rides.

They can be great just added to the rough or they can be mounted into the actual full windshield.

Dust Deflectors

Dust deflectors are attached on the side of windshields that are used to deflect the wind and dust more from the driver and passengers. They are great if you do not want to add doors to your vehicle but it also wants to stay warm from the cold air blowing as you travel in your UTV.

These are my favorite accessory to have, if you have the full sized windshield I say these a are a necessity. If not you will create a vacuum like feel in your UTV. And you will still be covered in just as much dust as if you did not have a windshield.

Rear View Mirror

These mirrors can be attached to the roof of your vehicle, but also if you have a full-sized mounted mirror you can easily mount a rear view mirror on your windshield. There are great kits, that allow you to do it yourself.

Rear Window

There are different options for your rear window as well. They are nice to have to protect you from the elements. There are also a lot of cheap options as well. There are canvas options, they are great cheap options for rear windows.

You can find them for under fifty dollars and easily install them, usually, they are just Velcro on the back of the UTV. They can also be a part of a roofing kit.

There are half windshield options as well for the rear window. You can find them in polycarbonate, acrylic, and plastic. They also have venting options for the full sized options.

In the rear they also have caged options for the rear, this is more common in the racing models.

Choosing the Right Windshield

Now that you have seen the different options, you have to make the decision of which one is right for you. This is going to be a personal choice, according to where you live and where you drive your vehicle.

If it is cold, and you are driving in lighter snow. This would be the time to pick up a full enclosure with full windshields.

A full windshield is a great option if you are driving in desert areas, and are trailing through a lot of dirt.

The Hybrid is great for terrains that are in the middle ground. This is where I grew up camping, in a single ride you would go from a red dusty road, where you would want a full windshield. Then you get to beautiful trees and want to have the airflow you want. Then pull it back up when you are in the mud and don’t want to be covered in mud.

The half is great when you are in the middle ground and want the protection but also want the airflow.

Insurance on Your UTV Windshield

You can get insurance on your UTV, there are many different options of coverage. If you want your windshield to be covered as well you will need to get the accessories and custom parts/equipment. This will protect if your windshield is stolen off your vehicle if it is an easily detachable option or if it cracks or breaks.

Even with the more intensive options, UTV protection is usually cheaper than you think. The most expensive options are still around the 20-50 dollar marks.

UTV Windshield Warranties

Each brand is going to have different warranty options, and you can, of course, purchase different warranties with your windshield. They usually only cover damage to the windshield or clamps that come with the different windshields. Seldomly do they ever cover theft or if you make customizations yourself.

If you do choose to install your own windshield, accessories they are going to be less lenient with warranties and replacements because of user error. In my experience in the outdoor world, the smaller companies are going to be more willing to work with you and obviously it is going to be easier to contact them and talk to a real person.

I have tried to contact certain companies about questions, and I have never received a response. That is always going to be my plug: look closely at the different options. Just because you bought a Polaris Ranger does not mean you need the Polaris windshield.

Geoff Southworth

I am a California native and I enjoy all the outdoors has to offer. My latest adventures have been taking the family camping, hiking and surfing.

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