A trailer, when left unhitched and unattended, makes for a very juicy target for the opportunistic thief. Trailers are valuable by themselves, and may also contain precious cargo. The ideal solution to prevent theft would be to never leave it out of your sight. But alas, when you are out having fun on the weekends or taking care of serious business, you cannot always stand guard. In these situations, all you can do is take the best possible precautions. And a trailer hitch lock is a must buy.
Best trailer hitch lock
Do you have an RV that you take on weekend camping trips? Looking for some hitch locks for trailers? Or maybe you have a trailer that you use to haul your favorite toys, like a bike or jet ski, some weekend fun? Does your business involve using trailers to haul goods or tools around town? If any of these situations apply to you, then you need a best trailer hitch lock.
And since i am talking about protection against theft and burglary, you need the best trailer hitch lock your money can buy, not just ordinary, mediocre products. Here i have created a shortlist of the best hitch locks for trailer out in the market to help you get what you need. And to make your shopping experience easier, i have also compiled a comparison table of my top 5 hitch locks.
|Trimax UMAX100||from 1-7/8", 2", to 2-5/15"||7 pin, high security key|
|Model No. 389DAT||1-7/8" , 2" and 2-5/16"||The advanced locking mechanism|
|Blaylock TL-33||2" and 2-5/16"||A patented design for extra security|
|Tow Ready (63228)||2"||Design Shields Lock From Tampering Devices|
|Tough Auto Adjustable & Universal||from 1-7/8" to 2"||Steel Safety Locking Pins|
Trimax UMAX100 Premium Universal Trailer Lock – Best Trailer Lock
The UMAX100 is an interesting choice from Trimax. It has a few notable flaws and might seem like a bad choice for some people. But for a lot of the trailer owners out there, this hitch lock has enough features to keep them interested.
The UMAX100 is a universal lock, meaning it can fit into any coupler, regardless of their size. Whether you have a 1-7/8″ or 2-5/16″ coupler, it will fit. If you don’t know the exact size of your trailer hitch couplers, this may be a great option for you.
One of the advantages of the lock is its imposing size and design. It looks heavy duty, with a combination of hardened steel and black ballistic nylon covering. Seasoned thieves will, of course, break it with enough time and opportunity, but that is the same story with any lock out there. If you want a sense of security from a lock that can deter your casual/opportunistic thief, this may be just the lock you need.
The cover also helps soften any blows from a hammer or hard object thieves may use to try and break the lock.
And that is a major annoyance when it comes to hitch locks. You want the lock to be as tight and secure as possible, to prevent the thieves from being able to insert thinner wires or chains into the coupler to haul the trailer with.
And depending on your tastes and preferences, that ballistic nylon covering might remind you of cheap plastic. All-metal locks inspire more faith than anything covered with what looks like plastic, don’t you think?
And if you do lose the key, or want to make a duplicate just in case, you might face some hassles. The UMAX100 key is of a rather unusual design and size. As a result, you may not find the appropriate die size at all local locksmiths. This is more of a minor inconvenience, but it is nevertheless, worth mentioning here.
So in conclusion, is the TRIMAX lock worth your money? Well, it is the most expensive lock on my list, but still quite affordable at an asking price of around $50. If you want an imposing looking deterrent, and one that fits most trailer hitch couplings, the UMAX100 is a good choice. Especially if you have multiple trailers, this lock is a quite useful one to have around.
Master Lock Coupler Lock 389DAT – Best trailer tongue lock
The Master Lock brand is quite well known in the US, having been around since 1921. Though they shifted almost all of their manufacturing to China and Mexico in the 1990s, they still handle some manufacturing at their Milwaukee plant. Does this hitch lock live up to its brand name? Can it be called one of the best trailer security locks? Let’s find out.
Overall, the 389DAT is not a very impressive lock, but it does have a few things going for it:
The all metal construction with a thick paint job on top doesn’t look half bad, to be honest. It does stand out clearly when installed on your trailer couplings. So, there is some level of visible deterrence in play here.
Being a universal lock, it can be installed on a wide range of trailer couplings. The versatility such a lock provides can be useful if you have more than one trailer in your garage. And the lock is also designed in such a way, that it fits snugly on to couplings of different sizes.
This takes care of a common issue related to universal locks.
The price also works in its favor somewhat. The 389DAT can be had for as low as $30, which is quite cheap for a lock. After all, you mainly need these locks as a deterrent, not actual protection anyway. The lock also comes with a set of two keys, which is quite useful.
While all that is fine and good, the 389DAT cannot hide from its drawbacks either:
The deterrence factor at play here is quite unimpressive. The lock looks quite flimsy when you put it on the coupling. In fact, it looks as if it can be taken off with one clean swing of a sledgehammer.
Truth be told, most locks can be taken down easily with a sledgehammer, and even the best trailer hitch locks may hold out for no more than 4-5 minutes. But still, you need them to look big and imposing, and this one looks neither big nor very impressive.
And though they say that the 389DAT is a universal lock, you have to watch the size of your trailer when you buy this one. It will only fit properly on smaller trailers, with hitches rated below 8,000 lbs. It may not fit on couplers with thicker than average flanges either.
In my final estimation, the Master Lock 389DAT is not a very impressive product. If all you need is a cheap deterrent for use on your trailer that you keep locked in your garage, this may be a great choice. But in other situations, there are much better products available, often at lower rates.
Blaylock TL-33 Coupler Lock – Best trailer coupler lock
Blaylock is a reputed American brand that specializes in industrial and commercial grade aluminum products, including thief hatches, trailer hitch locks, tie down brackets and other custom castings. The TL-33 is a unique locking system in my list regarding its design. Does it do its stated job well? Read the review to find out.
The advantages of the Blaylock TL-33 include the following highlights:
For starters, Blaylock is a known brand, and this is an all-American product, manufactured here in the US itself. At a time when a lot of these locks are sourced from Chinese manufacturers, the TL-33 offers genuine American manufacturing quality.
That is a level of flexibility not commonly provided by other hitch locks. Couple the TL-33 with an expensive padlock and you have a system that is probably more secure than any other lock on my list.
And all that security hinges on the material used to craft this lock system. Blaylock has used aircraft-grade aluminum, and the device is rated for both business and consumer use.
The TL-33 also uses a very simple design that is easy to play around with. The lock system can fit on any 2″ or 2-5/16″ inch couplers. Despite the simple design, the lock itself looks quite sturdy and bulky and should help deter casual thieves.
While a highly rated product, the Blaylock TL-33 does suffer from the following drawbacks:
The TL-33 alone costs $33, and when you add the extra cost of a good quality disc lock or padlock, the result may put it out of the budget of some buyers at least. And the choice of lock used also needs careful consideration. The TL-33 has drilled holes for the actual lock to be hooked through. Not all locks will fit through these holes.
The overall looks and finish is also an issue. If you like quality workmanship on the products you buy, the TL-33 may disappoint you with its rough edges and below-par finish. The lock does look bulky and imposing, but it doesn’t look premium.
And the lock system may be a tad loose on the larger 2-5/16″ couplers. Unless you get the positioning and placement spot on, this lock might leave enough space for would-be thieves to simply hitch your trailer to their car using a chain or cord.
But on the whole, if you need the best security for your trailer, the TL-33 from Blaylock might be a right choice. With the right selection of third-party locks, you can have a very secure lock system in place. It leaves the choice of quality of the actual lock and key in your hands, and ultimately, that is an excellent thing indeed.
Tow Ready ‘Gorilla Guard’ Coupler Lock – Best lock for trailer hitch with 2″ couplers
Universal locks have several important drawbacks when it comes to fitting correctly on all hitches and couplers. When you know the actual dimensions of your trailer coupler, buying a lock manufactured exclusively for that size is a more secure option. The Tow Ready is a Chinese-made lock that looks quite sturdy and capable. Let’s see if it keeps up in performance.
The lock is designed especially for 2″ couplers. So you don’t have to worry about the correct fit. In this regard, it offers better performance than most other universal locks in the market. There is a very little play on offer for thieves once the lock is in place. And even though it is rated for 2″, it can even work on many 2-5/16″ couplers as well.
And the overall build quality is also quite decent. Staying true to the Gorilla moniker, this lock has an all-black finish. The overall quality of the finish is excellent. The lock uses heavy duty metallic construction and is quite robust. Even dedicated thieves will need some time to bust this one open.
As far as the cons of the Gorilla Guard are concerned, most of them revolve around the keys:
Just as the downward facing keyhole makes it hard for someone to pick the lock, it also makes it more difficult for you to open the lock using keys! You will often find yourself fiddling with a finicky locking mechanism that seems to have a mind of its own.
The lock mechanism seems to be a bit fragile, and prone to breaking after several months in some instances. Local locksmiths can not easily duplicate the keys, and you will have a problem if you end up losing one.
And though this lock is rated for 2″ couplers, it will not work on all 2″ couplers out there. For starters, thanks to the rounded design, the lock will only fit trailer hitches with a rounded lip. And it also needs the flanges surrounding the coupling to be quite narrow. Wide flanges may not fit at all.
On final estimation, the Gorilla Guard has its flaws, but it does the job as promised satisfactorily. If you can live with the issues related to the keys, this may be a great option for your trailers with 2″ couplers.
Tough Auto Trailer Hitch Lock – Best trailer ball lock
To round off my list, we have another universal hitch lock, this time from the Tough Auto brand. When you mainly need a decent deterrent against thieves looking for easy pickings, an affordable hitch lock is all you need. But does the Tough Auto universal hitch lock have enough quality to go along with that reasonable price tag? Read on to find out.
Regarding fit and finish, the Tough Auto lock is a trailer hitch ball lock, with a beautiful paint job and elegant design. There are no rough edges on this lock; everything looks smooth and well made. Yes, it does look a bit lacking when it comes to sturdiness, but not by too much. The paint ensures that it can take a lot of punishment out in the sun, rain, and snow. Plus you also get the option to choose from some vibrant colors as well!
The lock is easy to access and use, and functions very smoothly on the whole. I didn’t face any niggles at all while opening or closing the lock. The system is also very easy to install on your trailer coupling.
As for the negative bits, there are just a few worth mentioning:
The “universal” part of the branding was found to be lacking in real world conditions. The Tough Auto lock had a tough time with couplers of the 2-5/16″ variety, so if you have that particular size, this lock may not work for you.
The overall sturdiness of the contraption is not great, as already mentioned. It doesn’t inspire too much confidence when you look at it. As a basic deterrent, this lock might work, but if you want something more substantial, there are better options in my shortlist.
To conclude, the Tough Auto hitch lock is a bit of a lightweight in almost all departments. It is light in construction, light on your pocket, and even light on pros and cons as well! So overall, this is a well-balanced product. There is not much to hate about it if your budget is between $20-$25. It offers decent value for money, as long as you don’t expect heavy duty protection from it.
Trailer Hitch Lock Buyer’s Guide
To begin with, let’s explore the need for this kind of lock, or rather, the utility that it provides to you, the consumer.
If a trailer doesn’t have a tow hitch lock, anybody can just come in your absence and hitch it to their vehicle and take it away without raising any suspicion. But when you have a solid enough lock on the couplers, the would-be thief has to use force to rip it off. This activity can take time and can raise the alarm if spotted by people. This is the raison d’etre of the trailer hitch lock. Its overall utility is based on the following two concepts:
Deterrence Vs. Protection
All locks, no matter how tough they are, can be broken. All the thief needs is time and opportunity. A hitch lock can drastically increase the time required to steal the trailer, and increase the chances of discovery of the theft in progress. This is the deterrence aspect.
Depending on their price and build quality, hitch locks offer varying levels of protection. The cheaper steel locks tend to be flimsy and may shatter after just a few blows with a sledge hammer. The more sturdy options made of high-grade steel and aircraft aluminum can last for minutes, and require noise drillers and blow torches. The longer it takes for the thief to break a lock the better.
Universal Vs. Pin/Deadbolt Locks
Trailer hitch locks are available in these two major designs. The Universal lock is quite popular because it can fit into wide array of trailer couplers of different sizes and designs. They have a metal ball that fits into the coupler, with a bridge/rod above it that can be locked to keep the device firmly in place. Coupler sizes usually range from 1-7/8″, to 2″, and 2-5/16″. These locks are useful if you have multiple trailers.
Deadbolt or pin locks are designed to fit into holes that are drilled into the couplers. So you will need to know the exact dimensions of your hitch couplers to choose one of these. They often offer a tighter fit than universal locks.
Locking System Options
Most trailer hitch locks come with their locking mechanisms built into the device. When you buy these, you are basically at the mercy of the brand/manufacturer. If the locking mechanism fails, you are stuck with a faulty device. Look for locks that have protected keyholes. Since trailers stay outdoors, your lock requires adequate protection from the elements.
Some lock systems are designed to work with third-party padlocks or disc locks. These offer some flexibility to the consumer. You can buy one of these, and add your expensive lock and key system for extra protection.
Not An Ideal Stand-Alone Security System
If you want the optimal protection for your trailers, never depend on a trailer hitch lock alone. You should always use it in conjunction with other locks and anti-theft mechanisms on your trailer. For example:
Add another lock to the hitch level mechanism;
Then use heavy-duty chains to lock your trailer wheels, (or use a cable lock system),
And use more secure RV lock keys (if using an RV)
Measures like these will increase the time needed for a thief to steal your trailer, and thus create a potent deterrent against theft attempts.
A trailer hitch lock is an affordable and efficient deterrent against trailer theft attempts. But they cannot guarantee 100% security against thieves. The best you can do is find the best fitting trailer hitch lock for your model, then add a bunch of other lock systems to create a complete security system. In any such system, a trailer hitch lock will be the lynchpin, since it is what prevents somebody from simply towing away your trailer with impunity and ease.