Best Travel Trailer Hitch 2022
Choosing the perfect travel trailer hitch can be a long and arduous process. This guide will help you choose the right trailer hitch that is suitable for your vehicle's towing capacity and your trailer.
We'll discuss the pros and cons of different kinds of trailer hitches, how to ensure safe towing and sway control, and go over some of the basics of towing. With these tips in mind, you'll be able to figure out the best travel trailer hitch for your needs.
You'll need to know a few basic terms and measurements to choose the best tow hitch. We've provided a small glossary below to help make sense of the information.
Your Trailer Hitch Glossary
- __Curb weight - __The weight of the vehicle without cargo or passengers.
- __Gross vehicle weight rating (GVWR)- __The car's total weight with passengers.
- __Gross trailer weight (GTW)- __The trailer's total weight, including cargo.
- __Gross combined weight rating (GCWR) - __This is the trailer's total weight combined with the vehicle's weight.
- __Tongue weight (TW) - __The total force exerted on the hitch of the tow vehicle by the trailer when stationary.
Types of Trailer Hitches
Before you choose the best hitch, you'll need to understand the different types and what they are used for.
- Rear Receiver Hitch - A rear-receiver hitch is precisely as it sounds, attached to the tow vehicle's rear axle. This is the most common hitch found in cars. The weight rating for the hitch depends on the class (there are five, with the higher classes capable of towing more weight than the lower).
- Fifth Wheel Hitch - Only compatible with pickup trucks, this hitch type is mounted in the bed of the truck, and it is one of the most popular hitches for campers. This is essential for trailers that mount over the load bed but also provides extra support for normal towing.
- Gooseneck Hitch - Very similar to the 5th wheel hitch above, this is installed into the load bed of the pickup truck and allows for more movement and stability than many other hitch options. This is useful in vehicles that won't be converted for full-time use with a travel trailer as the truck bed is still usable.
- Pintle Hitch - Very high weight ratings set this hitch type apart; these hitches are most commonly used for heavy-duty towing.
Weight Distribution Hitch - Your best choice for a travel trailer hitch receiver, this is the most effective at reducing trailer sway. Spreading the weight of the trailer across multiple points lowers the strain on the trailer ball mount. This hitch comes with the standard hitch ball mount and safety chains that provide effective sway control.
Weight distribution hitches work sway bars to help stabilize the trailer, all while evening out the weight load across the whole of the tow vehicle to alleviate pressure on the vehicle's tires and axle.
Weight Distribution Hitches for Towing Travel Trailers
For safe, long-distance towing of a big object like a travel trailer, a class 3 weight distribution hitch is the best choice to go with to keep you, your family, and other road-users safe.
How to Determine the Ideal Weight Distribution on the Trailer Tongue
The 10-15% rule for tongue weight is crucial to safely towing anything, whether big or small. This rule states that your tongue weight should be between 10-15% of the trailer's weight, so you will need to determine tongue weight by the gross trailer weight.
Improper weight distribution could be fatal to you and your family as well as other drivers on the road. If your tongue weight is too low, you risk trailer sway. In extreme cases, the trailer could even become disconnected from the hitch.
If your tongue weight is too high, the tow vehicle will likely suffer damage from excessive wear and tear. It can also mean the stopping distance is greatly increased, to the point where you may be unable to stop in time.
Weight Distribution Hitches With Sway Control
Some kinds of weight-distributing hitch come with a built-in sway control that is operated using a button in your car or on your phone. Some trailers can also be fitted with aftermarket sway controls which can be used. However, the best option for control is using an inbuilt system that works mechanically with the trailer.
A weight distribution system is one of the best ways to control trailer sway. Many weight distribution systems use a 4-point sway control system to ensure that the driver does not lose control of the trailer and alleviate pressure on the tow vehicle and tires.
Spring bars are essential in preventing sway and keeping your travel trailer stable on the road, even if your tongue weight is slightly off.
What Size Hitch To Get?
When deciding what size weight distribution hitch is needed, you must determine the vehicle's towing capacity. Some trailers require a pickup truck to tow them, and others can be towed by any vehicle. Your vehicle will help you determine the size of the trailer.
Your car's capacity is based on the Gross Vehicle Weight Rating (GVWR) minus the curb weight of your car, which is not always the same as the towing capacity that a manufacturer might recommend in the vehicle's manual or online. This information is available on your vehicle's VIN (vehicle identification number) sticker.
This sticker will have curb and tongue weight information and the gross combined weight rating.
With this information, you can work out your car's towing capacity. For this, you will need to know the GCWR as well as the weight of all of the cargo and passengers that will be in the vehicle. Whatever is left after deducting the curb weight and cargo weight from the GCWR is how much weight your tow vehicle can handle.
What is the Best Hitch for Travel Trailers?
The higher the trailer hitch class, the higher the capacity of the hitch. Getting a higher option for travel trailers is recommended to ensure proper weight distribution and that your hitch can support your trailer weight.
You will also need to know your plans for towing, as your trailer hitch must suit your trailer perfectly. Height, weight and length will be determining factors in what kind of hitch you need; they will also help guide your plans for travel. Utility trailers will have different capabilities to an RV or similar.
Some trailers can be towed off-road, and some are solely intended for tar roads. Different hitches provide different strengths for the various types of towing to make driving with your trailer easier.
Here are some of the best trailer hitches on the market, but make sure they suit your trailer and tow vehicle before buying.
With various size options to choose from and customizations that can be made according to your specific needs, this is the most versatile and stable hitch to install at home. Guaranteed sway control and minimal bounce make this an ideal trailer for towing a travel trailer, especially if you are going long distances.
The hitch kit comes with two motion-dampening tension chains and urethane springs, as well as other accessories that make this a silent and versatile hitch for all purposes.
CURT's top weight distribution hitch this hitch is capable of towing a GTW of 14 000 lbs. Compatible with most class 3, 4, and 5 trailers, this hitch gives you the freedom to tow whatever you need to wherever you need it. This is rated one of the best weight distribution hitches, particularly since that can be installed at home easily.
Easy to install by yourself at home, all CURT products come with a lifetime warranty.
Our first round-bar hitch on the list is one of the more budget-friendly hitch options, but this does come with certain limitations. It does not include a hitch ball, and it is not recommended for bumpy roads or for off-roading.
Rated as one of the very best weight distribution hitches, this hitch specializes in minimizing sway and making for a smooth and even ride throughout. It is also highly recommended for its impressive ground clearance and versatility in towing options.
Designed to fit most cars, vans, SUVs, and trucks, this hitch is compatible with almost any kind of tow vehicle. Rated for up to 6000 lbs GTW, this hitch is versatile and can receive a ball mount, cargo carrier, bike rack, or tow hook. Most importantly, it can accept a weight distribution hitch to aid in sway control.
Compatible with any weight distribution hitch, this hitch is rated up to 6000 lbs gross trailer weight and is easy to install at home. This incredibly versatile hitch comes with a hitch ball and features a shank measuring 9 inches. It also allows for turning clearance for easy maneuverability.
The adjustable height of the hitch also helps to adjust the height of the trailer according to the tow vehicle.
If you're in the market for a hitch bar rather than a more simple hitch design, the CURT 13146 is one of the most sturdy bars on the market. Easy to install at home without needing the car to be lifted, this hitch is rated to tow 6000 lbs gross trailer weight and is compatible with most vehicles.
Whether you're a seasoned tower or looking to invest in a trailer hitch that's perfect for you, these are some of the most important things to look out for when buying a trailer hitch. We kept this in mind when we chose our top picks above.
Ease of installation
Not every hopeful tower wants to install their hitch themselves, but for those that do, we looked at how easy the hitches we chose are to install yourself and what is required for a safe and successful installation.
Beyond first attaching the hitch to the tow vehicle, we also had a look to see how difficult it would be to attach your travel trailer using the chosen hitch and how quickly you can be on the road.
Make sure that the tow hitch you buy is classed to carry the weight of the trailer. This includes ensuring that the trailer's tongue weight will be correct.
We chose our hitches above with the average weight of a camper or travel trailer in mind, using the average weight of a trailer (5200 lbs) and how much cargo would weigh, giving a minimum weight of 6000 lbs for each of the hitches above.
You'll need to know your vehicle's towing capacity before you look at travel trailers or hitches. Not every car can tow a travel trailer, and not every large trailer is compatible with every car. Always make sure your chosen tow hitch will fit your car. Your receiver hitch will need to be determined by your trailer.
Using the most common cars on US roads, we chose the above hitches for their wide range of compatibility with popular vehicles.
Steel hitches are widely regarded as the most durable and rigid of hitches, and their rigidity aids in sway control.
Many of the hitches we've chosen come with warranties or guarantees that make them good choices, as this means you can rely on their quality, and if something goes wrong, you have options to replace it.
Many states require safety chains by law, and towing a trailer without them could result in having your trailer impounded or a fine. And if your trailer does happen to become uncoupled, safety chains could be the difference between a minor scrape and a disastrous accident.
If your hitch or your trailer does not have them, it is essential to buy them to keep you and your cargo safe on the road. Your chains should be connected to the trailer tongue and from there connect with the tow vehicle.
Camco Heavy Duty Steel Safety Chain with Spring Hooks are top-rated safety chains if your trailer hitch or your trailer did not come with safety chains.
We've already gone over the types of hitches above, but making sure that you choose the best hitch type for your needs is essential.
A gooseneck hitch will probably not be your go-to tow hitch type for a travel trailer. A gooseneck hitch is more industrial, intended to be used for cargo much bigger than a travel trailer.
Similar to a gooseneck hitch, a fifth wheel hitch will probably not be your hitch of choice, as these are also usually rated for industrial, heavyweight towing. A fifth-wheel hitch is not common for travel trailers intended to be removed from the vehicle in-between use.
A pintle tow hitch might work for you if you drive on rough, uneven terrain or plan to go off-roading with your trailer. These hitches are often used by farmers or in industrial areas.
Most commonly used are bumper hitches, which will allow for a weight distribution system, 4-point sway control, and many other towing options that are not as heavy-duty as industrial and agricultural towing.
Our Best Buy
We give our choice of best pick to the CURT 13333 Class III Trailer Hitch. Easy to install at home, durable, safe, and versatile, this trailer hitch wins our vote.
With a lifetime warranty, CURT believes in their products as much as we do. The ability of the receiver hitch to take on multiple kinds of tow hitch makes this product a winner for towing travel trailers and any other add-on you can think of.
What is the best trailer hitch on the market?
We've looked at several trailers in this article; the best kind of hitch for a travel trailer is a weight distribution hitch. Otherwise, the market is saturated with different hitches, and finding the best one will depend on your vehicle and your needs.
What is the strongest trailer hitch?
A class 5 trailer hitch is the strongest hitch available. A class 5 is usually used for heavy-duty, long-haul trucking and towing.
What is the best CURT hitch?
CURT hitches are ideal for a medium-sized travel trailer or a boat. Most experienced towers vouch for the CURT 13333 Class III Trailer Hitch for towing a travel trailer or something of a similar size. This hitch is classified to carry a gross trailer weight of 6,000 lbs.
What is the difference between a Class 4 and Class 5 hitch?
The weight-carrying ability is the significant difference between the two classes. A class 4 hitch can handle 12,000 lbs, whereas a class 5 will handle closer to 20,000 lbs or more.
The tongue weight is also drastically different, with 1,200 lbs and 2,000 lbs respectively for the two classes. This impacts what kind of towing you can do and how to distribute the weight across your trailer frame.
The class 5 is specifically designed to handle enormous cargo and a large trailer and to withstand long trips in a variety of road conditions.
Do you need a special hitch to tow a travel trailer?
The trailer and what kind of attachments it comes with determines your required receiver hitch.
What class of hitch do I need?
If you are intending to tow a travel trailer or RV, you will need a class 3 hitch or higher.
Can I install a trailer hitch myself?
Absolutely! With the right tools, our trailer hitch installation guide, and the instructions that come with your hitch, an at-home trailer installation is more than possible.
Does installing a hitch void warranty?
No. The Magnuson-Moss Warranty Act, passed by Congress (1975), gives customers peace of mind that installing any aftermarket accessories to their vehicle will not void the warranty of the vehicle.
How much does it cost to put on a trailer hitch?
If you are not interested in installing your trailer hitch receiver yourself, a professional can install it on your tow vehicle for you at a cost of around $100 to $150.
One of the many benefits of a trailer hitch is that your ball hitch can be used for a bike rack or other vehicle mounts when not in use. Choosing the best trailer hitch is never easy because it is something that varies greatly according to your needs.
We believe that the all-rounder best choice for a trailer hitch, CURT 13333 Class III Trailer Hitch is the best option because it is so versatile and durable. The brand CURT is also widely considered one of America's best brands, and it's worth spending a little bit extra to get the quality they provide.
It is always essential to choose a hitch that is compatible with your vehicle, and choosing the best trailer hitch according to your requirements is paramount to safe towing.
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