Towing a trailer is more than the process of connecting it to your vehicle and starting the car. When buying a trailer hitch, there is a horde of considerations to ensure that you have the right hitch for the job.
Hitches come in handy when you have a boat, a recreational vehicle, horse trailer or any other form of a trailer. In this post, you will know which one is the best trailer hitch that you can buy right now.
Best Trailer Hitch 2017
There are different classes of hitches available, and as such, you need to choose the right one based on your needs.
A good hitch secures your trailer to your truck or small car. I took into consideration the following criteria: towing class, price, quality.
|Name||Class||Tongue weight capacity (lbs.)||Gross towing weight (lbs.)||Dimensions (in)|
|CURT 13013||3||500||5000||44 x 21 x 11|
|CURT 13065||3||500||5000||15 x 44 x 7|
|Reese 51206||3||350||3500||55.5 x 16.8 x 10|
|Reese 97234||3||600||6000||29.5 x 45.5 x 10.1|
|CURT 14090||4||1000||10000||43 x 27 x 8|
CURT Manufacturing 13013 Class 3 Hitch – Best Medium Duty Hitch
The Curt 13013 is a common hitch installed on full-size SUVs and pickup trucks. It is also commonly used on full-size cars, mid-size trucks, and minivans, making it versatile in use.
Being a class 3 hitch, it acts as a medium duty hitch that stays light on the car. Created with a trailer weight capacity of up to 5000 pounds and tongue weight capacity of up to 500 pounds, the hitch can be used in a variety of applications including boat, horse car, and recreational car towing.
The hitch was created to fit perfectly, given years of Toyota Tacoma such as Pre-Runner and X-Runner, but it still fits well on other car models.
The hitch sports a square tube frame with everything you will need for the installation. It is 2by2-inch receiver tube accommodates accessories such as cargo carrier, bike rack and ball mount fitting, all standard size trailers. This hitch, unlike the class two and class one hitch, can be used with weight distribution hitch. When used with WD hitch, gross trailer weight capacity shoots to 6000 pounds while the tongue weight capacity shoots to 600 pounds.
This hitch is recommended if you do medium duty towing.
CURT Manufacturing 13065 Class 3 Hitch – Most Versatile Hitch
It’s offered with enough strength to pull a trailer up to 5000 pounds with the ability to pull up to 7500 pounds when connected with a weight distribution hitch. The comparable tongue weight capacity of the hitch is about 500 pounds and increases to 750 pounds when the hitch is connected to the weight distribution hitch.
Created to fit perfectly on Jeep Grand Cherokee, with an exception of SRT and diesel models, this hitch was created strong to endure heavy duty towing.
You can use this hitch for utility trailers, large campers, single horse trailers and boat and livestock trailers. Caution is given to never go below the lowest weight capacity for towing components to stay safe. Created with a solid steel frame, the Curt 13065 stays strong and lasts as long as your trailer.
According to the manufacturer, the hitch undergoes thorough testing before its considered fit for market use. It is designed with double coating, liquid Bonderite coating, and high-gloss black powder coat. This keeps the hitch resistant to rust, UV damage and wear and tear.
The Curt 13065 is recommended for those with heavy duty towing needs and in need of a durable and versatile hitch.
Reese Towpower 51206 Class 3 Hitch – Best Custom-Fit Hitch
The Reese Towpower 51206 is created for custom-fit. The solid all-welded frame construction keeps the hitch strong and enhances safety and durability. The design of the hitch is computer aided, enhancing creation of a custom-fit frame.
Before release to the public, Reese Towpower tests their hitches for strength, safety and stress. This ensures that the hitch lasts for a long period.
The 51206 Hitch is designed to work with a high number of hitch accessories including ball and ball mount upping the number of applications.
The good thing is, installation is easy with no drilling required. Created to meet CSA, SAE-J684 and V-5 standards, that offers the best in safety and durability. With a gross towing weight of 3500 pounds and tongue weight capacity of 350 pounds, this hitch fits medium duty towing.
These three layers of the coating consist of dipped electro-static coat, rust inhibiting primer and a powder coating. This metal shield process finish is OEM compatible and offers corrosion protection.
One advantage of this hitch is that it is custom made to meet the specifications of your pickup truck, SUV, crossover SUV or minivan; this is great as it eases installation. This is why i recommend this hitch.
Reese Towpower 97234 Class 3 Hitch – Best All-Round Hitch
The Towpower 97234 mirrors the 51206 hitch model in most of the features but the towing weight capacity where the former can pull more. It is created with a two-square receiver opening that enhances connection to the car.
The solid all-welded construction makes the hitch stronger while enhancing its productive life. Just like the 51206 model, the 97234 comes with computer aided design. To this end, the hitch is custom made to fit the needs of specific car models.
Engineered and tested to provide trouble free towing experience, this hitch looks and works great. The hitch is compatible with hitch accessories offered by Reese Towpower increasing the number of applications that the hitch accommodates.
Just like the earlier discussed model, this model is created to meet all the hitch construction standards, enhancing safety and durability. Seeing that this is created for custom-fit, installation is easy with no drilling required.
Towpower 97234 has a growing towing weight of up to 6000 lbs with up to 600 lbs tongue weight capacity.
Created with 3-layered MetalShield protective coating, this hitch is able to withstand elements such as temperature, UV, rust, and humidity.
The first coat is that of a rust inhibiting primer, beneath is a dipped Ecoat electro-static coat insuring the total finish and lastly, is a powder coat to enhance the durability of the frame.
I recommend the Towpower 97234 thanks to its strong construction, its custom-fit design, and its price.
Curt Manufacturing 14090 Class IV Trailer Hitch – Best Heavy Duty Hitch
The Curt 14090 was created for heavy duty pulling. Being class IV, this hitch can accommodate pulling a load of up to 10,000 pounds. When attached to a weight distribution hitch, it accommodates pulling a gross trailer weight of up to 12,000 pounds.
This is great especially when towing multiple livestock. The tongue weight capacity of the hitch is up to 1000 pounds and when attached to a weight distribution system, the tongue weight capacity shoots to 12000 pounds.
Created with all American steel and a computer aided design, the Curt 14090 comes safe and long lasting. This does not, however, affect installation; you will still be able to install the hitch with no drilling required. The hitch is commonly used on commercial vans, SUV and large pickup trucks and has enough power to tow campers, large utility trailer, car haulers, cargo carrier and winch mount. However, the manufacturer advises against towing any load higher than the car’s recommended maximum.
The hitch was created as a custom-fit for Chevrolet Express and GMC Savana but can also fit other car models. Like other hitches designed by Curt Manufacturing, the 14090 comes with a square tube frame with all installation accessories; upping the number of applications.
To match the quality of other Curt trailer hitches, class IV goes through a rigorous finishing process, ensuring a smooth and seamless outer surface that is resistant to humidity, temperature changes, rust, UV damage and chipping. The protection is enhanced by the use of double coats, bonderite coat, and a black gross powder coat.
Hitches offer a safe way to haul a trailer. You may use a ball attached to your car’s bumper, but this can only haul a limited weight with no height adjustments. When you install a hitch, you get to adjust the height of the ball and you can carry heavier loads with ease. There are different reasons why one would need a hitch and there are different varieties of hitches to meet their needs.
Some of the needs of a trailer include pulling a horse trailer, pulling a bass boat to the lake and pulling parade float. When planning to buy a hitch, you need to know the specifications of the hitch you want to buy based on your towing needs and the vehicle that the hitch will be mounted to. There are a couple of other factors to be considered when purchasing a towing hitch as expounded below.
Make and Model of your Vehicle
There are trailer hitches that are custom-made, for instance, the Reese Towpower hitch models reviewed above. Granted, you will need to know the make, model and year of your vehicle. If there is a hitch designed specifically for your vehicle, that is the hitch you need to buy since some designs do not fit some vehicles. Again, you need to consider the towing capacity of your vehicle before deciding which hitch will work for your car.
The Quality of the Towing Hitch
Towing hitch manufacturers are different and so is the quality of their hitches. Some designs offer more benefits in terms of performance and durability. Most hitches, especially the heavy-duty hitches are made of all-welded steel and this gives them the strength needed to pull heavy loads. Buying a high-quality hitch makes all the difference in towing performance.
When a hitch is made of stainless steel, it offers a long productive life and safe towing. If the hitch comes with a powder coated finish, it stays resistant to rust, chipping, UV damage and other elements. You should also look at the welds to ensure that there are no weaknesses in the welding; weaknesses can lead to a fail.
To be safe, it is always great to buy a hitch from a company that offers a generous warranty on the finish of the hitch and on the frame. By so doing, you are guaranteed of a long productive life of the hitch.
Hitches come at different prices thanks to the high number of companies that create them. Your budget will determine the hitch you buy. While there are some hitches that cost as low as below $100, others cost as much as $300. However, even when considering the price of the hitch, it is important to consider the quality and the features to match the price to the performance of the hitch.
The best way to choose the right hitch for your trailer is to consider classes. Put simply, classes consider that different items to be towed come in different dimensions, sizes, and weight and as such categorize these items in 6 groups. Having the knowledge on classes will help you determine the hitch that will meet your needs with ease.
Class I is a light duty hitch pulling only up to 2000 pounds with no more than 200 pounds tongue weight. This is installed on passenger cars and small crossover SUVs. These are created with a 1.25-inch by 1.25-inch receiver tube for ball mount. To match their towing capacity, these hitches are used to pulling light to medium duty cargo, boats, motorcycles and small utility trailers.
Class II hitches are created with moderate duty receivers and are commonly installed in small trucks, mid-sized sedans, and minivans. Just like the class I hitch receivers, these are created with 1.25-inch by 1.25-inch receiver tube for ball mount, and they are rated for a gross towing capacity of 3500 pounds and 350 pounds tongue weight. You can use these to tow moderate cargo such as mid-sized boats, and small campers.
Class III hitch receivers are versatile and the most commonly used. They are designed to be mounted on pickup trucks, full-size SUVs, and minivans. They sport a 2-inch by 2-inch receiver tube for ball mount and they work well with a weight distribution system to increase their gross towing capacity. These hitches can pull weights up to 6000 pounds with tongue weight up to 600 pounds. You can use these to tow mid-sized campers, mid-sized boats, and utility trailers.
Class IV are heavy-duty hitch receivers; they are designed to tow heavy duty cargo. These are installed on heavy duty pickup trucks and large SUV vehicles. This class is rated for towing up to 10,000 pounds gross trailer weight and up to 1000 pounds tongue weight. Seeing that the hitch can be connected to a weight distribution system, the gross trailer weight can increase up to 12000 pounds. You can tow large campers, toy haulers and large boats with this hitch.
These are the heaviest duty hitch models, which are installed on the tow vehicle’s rear. Given the heavy duty nature of the tow hitch, they are mounted on heavy duty vehicles including commercial trucks. The hitches feature and 2.5-inch by 2.5-inch receiver tubes for ball mount and they can tow up to 12,000 pounds gross trailer weight with up to 1200 tongue weight. These come in handy in towing heavy duty loads such as full-size campers, car haulers, equipment trailers, large boats and almost anything else that may need hauling.
Fifth Wheel and Gooseneck
Fifth wheel and gooseneck are less common and are only used in industries. They are the strongest hitches in the industry with the capacity to tow up to 24000 pounds and 25000 pounds gross trailer weight respectively. They are created to pull the heaviest recreational vehicles, working trailers, equipment trailers and car haulers. The connection point of these hitches is on the bed of a 3/4-ton or 1-ton pickup truck just in front of the truck’s rear axle.
It is an unwritten rule that fifth wheel hitches are used for heavy recreational vehicles while gooseneck hitches are used for working trailers.
After knowing the different classes and choosing the class that will meet your needs, choosing a hitch will be easier for you. However, it is important not to forget to check the towing capacity of your vehicle so as to be on the safe side.
Towing Hitch Varieties
To meet the different towing needs, there are different types of hitches, each designed to accommodate the towing of a different item. Hitch manufacturers are making it easier to install and more efficient to tow a given item by creating a hitch that fits a given need perfectly.
Trailer Hitch Receiver
This is common in hitches from class I to class V. Here, the tow bar is mounted to the vehicle’s frame and the receiver works with ball mounts. The bar of the hitch, in most vehicles, is hidden under the bumper and only the receiver can be seen.
Fifth Wheel and Gooseneck Mounts
Fifth-wheel hitches install on the bed of a pickup truck. They can be installed with a sidewinder or a slider, which ensures the balance of the trailer when taking a corner and ensuring that the trailer does not hit the cab. The goose neck is also attached on the bed of a truck, but unlike the fifth wheel, the gooseneck leaves room on the truck’s bed.
Front Mount Hitches
These are more or less like the trailer hitch receivers but they are smaller and designed to be connected underneath the vehicle’s front. They are created to receive a ball mount and are commonly used on SUVs and truck. Some of the common uses include winch, snowplow and bike rack towing.
Specialty Trailer Hitch
You will get these if you need something special such as an invisible hitch, weld-on hitch, RV-bumper mount trailer hitch, and fixed tongue hitch among others. Each of these hitches is created to carry out a specific function and you can just if you need that specific function. Some of these hitches are not available on the market and have to be custom-made. You can always request for them from the manufacturer and you will be directed further.
Square or Round Tube?
In addition to choosing the type of hitch and the class, you will need to decide whether to buy a round or a square tube. Round tubes are sleek and streamlined, and they also create a clearance between the components attached to your vehicle’s frame and the bumpers and exhaust. A square tube, in some cases, will offer a towing advantage of up to 1000 pounds more in trailer gross weight capacity and 100 pounds more tongue weight. In most cases, the shape you choose is a matter of preferences as the differences in performance, most of the times, are negligible.
There are diverse reasons why people need trailer hitches including personal and professional reasons. There is a variety of towing hitch designs to meet the needs of different individuals. With so many hitches available on the market, it can be overwhelming to make a decision on which one to buy. Manufacturers are embarking on creating custom-fit hitches. Reese Towpower started custom-fit hitches, and the process continues to gain root with other manufacturers. This means that with time, buying a hitch will be as easy as knowing the towing capacity you need, and your vehicle make, model and year.