What Type of Trailer Hitch Do You Need?

What Type of Trailer Hitch Do You Need?
February 16, 2021
What Type of Trailer Hitch Do You Need?

The world of trailer hitches can be confusing. However, many hitches are made for specific vehicles, which allows you to use the year, make, and model of your vehicle to find the right hitch. Then, you simply need to choose the correct receiver size and weight capacity for the proper application. B&W Trailer Hitches offers several trailer hitch options to fit all of your hauling needs.

In this guide, we’ll mainly take a look at the best hitches for specific towing applications.


What is the Best 5th Wheel Trailer Hitch?

Fifth wheel hitches are similar to what you would see on a semi-truck. This type of hitch puts the trailer’s tongue weight over the truck’s rear axle instead of behind the bumper. This setup reduces the risk of jack-knifing in an emergency braking situation. It also allows you to take tighter turns. These types of hitches also have much higher tow ratings vs. ball and gooseneck hitches. There are two main types of fifth wheel hitches:

  • Stationary or fixed position hitch
  • Sliding hitch

The one you choose generally depends on the size of your truck. If you have a full-size truck, then a fixed position hitch is usually the best choice. Stationary hitches don’t move backward or forward. However, sliding hitches move just enough to keep the trailer from hitting the truck’s cab in turns. These are more appropriate if you have a truck with a smaller bed.

Fifth wheel hitches also have different jaw types--single jaw, double jaw, and sliding bar jaw. Single jaw hitches remove all slack from the connection, which means there’s almost zero play between the trailer and truck. This gives you the smoothest towing experience, and fewer moving parts are usually always the safer bet.


Best Hitch For Heavy Equipment Trailers

If you’re looking to tow a trailer with heavy equipment like an excavator or a bobcat, then you’ll probably want a Class V trailer hitch with a max GTW (Gross Trailer Weight) of 10,000 to 25,000 pounds. These are the biggest and most heavy-duty hitches designed for behind-bumper towing. You can still tow a smaller item with the Class V hitch by getting an adapter. The receiver openings on Class V hitches are usually 2.5 inches, but some are only two inches, and the largest ones are three inches and designed to be welded to the tow vehicle’s frame.


Best Hitch For Towing Livestock Trailers

When it comes to livestock trailers and horse trailers, it depends on the size of the trailer. For a large horse trailer, a Class V hitch might be the best choice as mentioned in the previous section. These hitches are often used for large toy haulers and multi-car trailers as well. However, if your horse trailer is smaller than the max GTW for a Class V hitch, you might only need a Class IV hitch. These have a max GTW between 5,000 and 12,000. The standard receiver opening is 2 x 2 inches, but like the Class V, you can get an adapter to tow smaller items with smaller receiver openings. Class IV hitches are typically used to tow larger campers, boats, toy haulers, and medium horse trailers.


Best Hitch For Towing Boats

If you need to tow a large boat, then the Class IV of the previous section might be your best bet. However, if you have a medium-size or smaller boat, then you can step down to Class III. This is the most common type of hitch due to the wide weight range with a max GTW of 3,500 to 8,000 pounds. These hitches have 2 x 2-inch receiver openings just like Class IV. These hitches are great for a large number of towing applications, including:

  • Midsize campers
  • Motorcycle trailers
  • Snowmobile or jet ski trailers
  • Lawn maintenance equipment
  • Utility trailers

Class III hitches can also be used on a wide variety of vehicles, including sedans, crossover SUVs, large SUVs, midsize trucks, and heavy-duty trucks.


Best Hitch For Towing Trailers With Small Equipment

If your small equipment consists of lawn maintenance items or similar, then you might need a Class III hitch, depending on the total weight. But, you might also be able to get away with a Class II trailer hitch with a max GTW of 2,000 to 3,500 pounds. These hitches typically work for small trailers with a few pieces of equipment as well as small boats and small pop-up campers. They can be used easily on lighter vehicles too. The receiver opening is 1.25 inches.


Best Hitch For Mobility Scooters

Perhaps you only need to tow a mobility scooter, a few bikes, or a small cargo carrier. For many small passenger cars and subcompact crossovers, the Class I trailer hitch is all you need. These have a max GTW of 1,000 to 2,000 pounds and a 1.25-inch receiver opening. You might be wondering if you can use Class II accessories with a Class I hitch, but you actually can’t. Class I receivers have a stopper that is built in so that the accessory shanks only slide to a certain point. Class II accessories have a longer shank, which keeps them from going all the way into the Class I receiver.

In other words, you can’t use a Class II accessory in a Class I hitch, but you can use a Class I accessory with a Class II hitch, which ultimately makes Class II hitches more versatile.

Come to PartsHawk for a great selection of replacement and performance vehicle parts, including B&W trailer hitches, ball hitches, gooseneck hitches, and B&W companion 5th wheel hitches. As one of the most trusted names in online auto parts sales, Partshawk has you covered for any repair or replacement parts.