What Is The Best Weight Distribution Hitch? (2020 Guide)
You love trucking around your trailer or boat when it’s time to hit the vacation spots on the weekend. But you know that you can’t tow your valuable investments using a subpar weight distributing hitch because doing so will put them at risk.
Finding a great weight distributing hitch isn’t easy, however — you’ll need to understand your own towing needs before you can find the right hitch.
In this article, we’ll round up the best weight distribution hitches on the market so that you’ll be ready to transport your accommodations safely and easily.
What Are Our Top Picks For Best Weight Distribution Hitch?
- Weight Distributing Hitch Reviews 2020
- #1 Pick – Husky 30849 Round Bar Weight Distributing Hitch with Sway Control
- #2 Pick – 10K (RB) Fastway
- #3 Pick – Pro Series Reese 49902 Complete Round Bar Weight Distribution Kit
- #4 Pick – EAZ LIFT 48058 1000 lbs Elite Kit
- #5 Pick – Husky 32218 Center Line TS with Spring Bars
- #6 Pick – Andersen Hitches 3350 No Sway Weight-Distribution Hitch
- #7 Pick – Equal-i-zer 4-point Sway Control Hitch
- #8 Pick – Blue Ox Weight-Distribution Hitch
- #9 Pick – Camco Weight Distribution Hitch
- #10 Pick – Ultra-Fab Products Round Bar Weight Distribution Hitch
- Frequently Asked Questions
- Which features should I look for in a weight distribution hitch?
- How should I install my weight distribution hitch?
- What’s the difference between chains and struts?
- Should I pick a different hitch depending on what I plan to tow?
- How safe are weight distribution hitches?
- How durable are weight distribution hitches?
- What Weight Ratings Do I Need to Consider?
- What Are The Main Types of Spring Bars?
- How Can I Limit Trailer Sway?
- Do I Need a Regular Hitch or a Weight Distributing Hitch?
- What is a Trailer Hitch Head?
- Wrapping Up
Weight Distributing Hitch Reviews 2020
#1 Pick – Husky 30849 Round Bar Weight Distributing Hitch with Sway Control
This Husky Weight Distributing Hitch may be a bit difficult to use, but its weight rating of 12,000 lbs will ensure that your trailer stays towed behind your towing vehicle at all times.
- Bolt and ball style assembly
- Includes lift brackets
- Includes assembly chains
- Confusing assembly
Thanks to its 8-inch height adjustment capacity, you’ll be able to hitch your trailer safely to the hitch even when it’s an oversized load. You may need to fiddle with the setup, but otherwise, it’s great for small or mid-sized trailers.
The only issue is that this weight distributing hitch includes a trailer ball with sway control, but it’s only one sway axis. So, if you want to double up on your sway control, you’ll need to purchase the additional ball and install it yourself.
#2 Pick – 10K (RB) Fastway
The 10K (RB) Fastway weight distributing hitch is a multifunctional and easy to install weight distributing hitch that you can count on for the majority of your hitching needs.
- Easy to install and use
- Robust sway control system
- Helpful backing up features
- Not weatherproof
The Fastway hitch makes your life easier by helping with the most difficult parts of every tow: backing up and turning. The weight is evenly distributed and pivots cleanly as you turn while locking while you back up.
So, if you aren’t an experienced tow driver, you will have an easier time when you use this hitch.
In the long term, you may find that this weight distributing hitch isn’t as durable as others, however. The hitch isn’t weatherproofed, which means that it may rust or decay more rapidly than it otherwise would.
#3 Pick – Pro Series Reese 49902 Complete Round Bar Weight Distribution Kit
The Pro Series Reese Round Bar Weight Distribution Kit is an effective DIY solution for your weight distributing and towing needs.
- Limited lifetime warranty included
- Pre-installed and torqued sway control ball
- Includes basic mounting hardware
- Substantial assembly required
The components in this distribution kit are high quality, weatherized, and complete with a limited lifetime warranty that you can have confidence in. You won’t need to worry about factory defects or weather damage reducing your hitch integrity.
You shouldn’t approach this weight distributing hitch unless you’re competent to assemble it yourself, however. While mounting hardware is included with this kit, the instructions aren’t as clear as they might be for a mass market weight distributing hitch.
#4 Pick – EAZ LIFT 48058 1000 lbs Elite Kit
The EAZ LIFT Elite Kit is great for light lifts over short distances, like what you’d need to truck around your small boat.
- Eaz Lift ride-smoothing features
- Eaz List easy-adjust ball mount
- Dual-chain design
- Only 1000 lb capacity
The chains on this weight distributing hitch means that the small bumps on the road won’t get translated to your tow vehicle or the thing you’re towing, unlike with rigid-design hitches. On the other hand, there’s a tradeoff for the added easy riding.
The maximum weight capacity of this weight distributing hitch is only 1000 lbs as a result of it being a chain-based system rather than a rigid design. You should only use this hitch to tow small boats and other things that are fairly lightweight as a result.
#5 Pick – Husky 32218 Center Line TS with Spring Bars
When you need a heavy duty weight-distribution hitch for the long haul, this Husky Center Line TS will keep your baby boat or trailer dutifully following behind your car.
- Heavy duty stability
- 12,000 lb capacity
- Triangle design
- Poor shock absorbance
The duplicated two-strut design of this weight-distribution hitch means that it has unparalleled stability, very high weight capacity, and extreme levels of durability. Make no mistake; the sheer weight of this hitch may make your gas mileage a bit worse.
But, your trailer will be secure during your towing operation. You may find that the shocks from the road are translated directly into your tow vehicle, however.
The heavy-duty construction of this weight-distribution hitch does not include shock absorbance for your tow vehicle, only for the tow vehicle being towed.
#6 Pick – Andersen Hitches 3350 No Sway Weight-Distribution Hitch
When you’re looking for a lightweight weight-distribution hitch that you can easily attach to your bumper when you need to do an easy tow, the Andersen 3350 is a great choice.
- No-pry bar installation
- Quiet towing
- Lightweight hitch
- Weak strut attachment clamps
For a chain-based weight-distribution hitch, this Andresen 3350 is rated for a surprisingly high 16,000 lbs. Likewise, for a chain-based hitch, this hitch is remarkably quiet.
Rather than suffering through a series of clanks and rattles from the chain with every bump that your tow vehicle drives over when you use this hitch, your ride will be as quiet as a mouse. This should engender confidence in your hitch in a way that you simply wouldn’t have in others.
The only issue with this hitch is that the strut attachment clamps aren’t optimal. While they aren’t about to break off, you may find that they develop fractures if they get struck by rocks or other obstacles on the road.
#7 Pick – Equal-i-zer 4-point Sway Control Hitch
The Equal-i-zer 4-point Sway Control Hitch has multiple inflections on the joint which makes smooth cornering with a big load more graceful than ever.
- Great for oversized loads
- Easy to customize to your ride and your load
- Good shock protection during deceleration
The strength of this hitch is its ability to take corners smoothly and without introducing any yaw, which can lead to your load tipping over in extreme instances.
The only downside to this hitch is that it’s a bit noisier than others with a similar two-strut design. The reason is that each of the four inflection joints for the hitch are a source of squeaking and clanking.
You may find that a little bit of lubricant makes the hitch a bit quieter, so don’t be afraid to experiment.
#8 Pick – Blue Ox Weight-Distribution Hitch
The Blue Ox Weight-Distribution Hitch comes with 1,000-lb or 1,500-lb tongue weight ratings. The 1,500-lb tongue weight model is a heavy-duty hitch with a 15,000-lb gross trailer weight rating (GTWR).
- The Blue Ox Weight Distributing Hitch can handle a heavy-duty workload.
- It is ideal for users who frequently carry heavy loads.
- The sway control hitch features provide a smooth and safe ride.
- The trailer comes with everything you need, and you can use it right out of the box.
- The Blue Ox is one of the most expensive weight distributing hitches on the market.
- Some users complain of a stiff ride.
The Blue Ox Hitch can tow up to 15,000, including the weight of the trailer. This trailer hitch also comes with a state-of-the-art sway control system, which can prove vital if you are hauling a heavy load. If your cargo does not have sway control features, it could potentially sway into barriers, swing outside of your lane, or make your tow vehicle difficult to control.
Such a heavy-duty hitch will provide a relatively stiff ride, but a steel spring system gives the users of this hitch a softer, smoother ride that they might expect from a lighter load.
This hitch is for people who plan to tow heavy loads frequently. It comes with a few conveniences. For example, unlike some other weight distributing hitches, you do not have to remove the sway bars chains when you reverse your tow vehicle. Also, the head comes pre-adjusted so that you can use this hitch right out of the box.
You do have to pay a premium for this muscle. The Blue Ox is on the higher end of the price spectrum. However, it provides excellent value for those who plan to use it frequently and demand high performance from their weight distributing trailer hitch.
#9 Pick – Camco Weight Distribution Hitch
The Camco Weight Distribution Hitch has a 1,000-lb tongue weight rating, and it is rated to carry loads of up to 10,000 lbs.
- The Camco Weight Distribution Hitch can carry loads of up to 10,000 lbs.
- It comes with everything you need to start using it.
- Adjustable sway control provides a safe and stable ride.
- The Camco Weight Distribution Hitch is on the high end of the price spectrum.
- Some users say that the installation process is complicated when you use the provided directions. Additional guidance is available online.
The heavy-duty design of the Camco can handle regular use and safely transport loads up to five tons. This product comes with everything that you need to use the weight distribution hitch out of the box. However, some users complain that the process of attaching the hitch is less-than-straightforward.
Like other quality heavy-duty hitches, the Camco is on the expensive side of the price spectrum. However, it provides reliable performance. If looks are important to you, you may appreciate that the Comco weight distribution hitch has an attractive design compared to other hitches.
#10 Pick – Ultra-Fab Products Round Bar Weight Distribution Hitch
The Ultra-Fab has a steel construction and a powder coat finish, so it is both durable and rust-resistant.
- The Ultra-Fab Products Round Bar Weight Distribution Hitch has a reasonable price tag.
- The steel construction can carry heavy-duty loads of up to five tons.
- This hitch is ideal for occasional use, and it provides an excellent value for people who pull trailers on a seasonal basis or those who only occasionally need to haul a trailer.
- The Ulta-Fab Products Hitch has a three-year warranty. Other high-quality hitches come with a 10-year or lifetime warranty.
- The hitch is heavy compared to its competitors.
- Some users complain that it is noisy when in use.
The Ultra-Fab Products Round Bar Weight Distribution Hitch has a 1,000-lb tongue weight rating and a sway control system that minimizes fishtailing. This best weight distribution hitch has a reasonable price tag. It is a quality budget option when compared to other heavy-duty weight distribution hitches.
The trade-off for the lower price tag is a heavier weight, average quality engineering, and a three-year warranty, which is less than some other weight distribution hitches with the same towing capacity.
Frequently Asked Questions
Which features should I look for in a weight distribution hitch?
You’ll need to look for the following features in your weight distribution hitch:
- Maximum load capacity
- Hitch weight
- Cornering ability
- Ease of installation
- Sound level
Maximum load capacity is the feature that will probably catch your eye first when you are looking for a weight distribution hitch. Your first instinct will be to guess at the weight of your boat, trailer, or other towable item and then to compare it to the weight rating of the hitch.
This isn’t a wrong move on your part, but the maximum load capacity isn’t as relevant as you might think. Your weight distribution hitch needs to be rated for the thing you’re planning on towing, but it isn’t difficult to find hitches that have capacities in the tens of thousands of pounds.
Instead, you should think about the relationship between a hitch’s load capacity and its other features.
Cornering ability is a critical concern because a subpar weight distribution hitch may torque on the wrong axis as you are making a sharp turn — or at least a sharper turn than you should be making when performing a tow.
The cornering ability of your weight distribution hitch is linked to the number of inflection joints on the hitch.
Chain-based hitches tend to have only one inflection point, which means that their tolerance for making sharp turns at speed without dumping your load is much less than hitches with multiple inflection joints.
The more inflection joints your hitch has, the smoother it will corner at higher speeds and with heavier loads. You will still need to drive carefully, but you will have a larger margin of error. Unfortunately, adding inflection joints has a cost: weight.
Hitch weight is a bigger concern than it may seem because some kinds of hitches weigh a substantial amount. If a heavy-duty hitch system weighs around 200 pounds, it can add as much as 10% to the total weight of your tow vehicle before you start towing anything.
This means that it’s easy to overdo it when it comes to purchasing a weight distribution hitch. Your instinct to purchase the biggest and baddest hitch will lead to your gas mileage plummeting whether or not you’re towing your boat.
When you pair the weight of the distribution hitch with its ease of installation, the balance of your purchasing decision may change. Many weight distribution hitches are very difficult to install, requiring an advanced set of tools and a substantial amount of elbow grease to get everything mounted.
This means that if you install a difficult to dismount weight distribution hitch, you’ll be stuck with the poor gas mileage you get unless you’re willing to invest a lot of effort into removing it.
Durability is a minor but important concern for your weight distribution hitch. If you can’t trust your hitch, you shouldn’t buy it.
Sound level is another minor concern. The more complex the mechanisms of the weight distribution hitch, the more likely the hitch is to make squeaking and clanking noises, especially when you’re driving over imperfect terrain.
Simplicity doesn’t necessarily mean that the hitch will be silent, however. Chain-based hitches can clank and rattle whether or not they have a mechanical problem. In contrast, simple and rigid weight distribution hitches can be silent until they start to break.
How should I install my weight distribution hitch?
No matter which weight distribution hitch you purchase, you’ll need to install it. You can either install it on your own or get the help of a professional. If you have any doubt about your competency when it comes to installing a weight distribution hitch, hire a professional.
Otherwise, there’s a relatively simple protocol when it comes to installing your best weight distribution hitches: follow the manufacturer’s instructions. Aside from the manufacturer’s instructions, there are a few best practices which you can use.
First, don’t be afraid to add a little bit of lubricant to the moving parts within the hitch. Any metal part which is in contact with another metal part is eligible for a bit of tuning up, including the ball-point of the hitch.
When you add lubricant during installation, it will last longer and reach deeper parts of the metal than it would reach if you were to apply it after it is assembled.
Second, use the tools which are provided with the hitch, if they exist. Many hitches include all of the tools you’ll need for installation, including a jacking mechanism where applicable. Using the tools that are designed for the kit guarantees that you’re using the right tool for the job.
When you do need to use a tool that isn’t included with the kit, you should take care to use the exact tool that is suggested by the manufacturer’s instructions. While it’s unlikely you’ll be able to install the hitch without the right tools, you may find that you need less effort when you use them.
Third, be sure to keep your digits clear of the hitching mechanisms while you are installing it. Many of the hitches require screwing things in and seating mechanisms in such a way that it’s possible to pinch your fingers if you aren’t careful.
What’s the difference between chains and struts?
Chain-based weight-distribution hitches tend to be:
- Easy to install
- Not very durable
- Incapable of hitching the heaviest weights
- Worse at handling corners and backing up
- Bad at absorbing shocks from the road
In a nutshell, chain-based hitches are more mobile but less capable. The chain-based hitches can be dismounted and thrown into the trunk to await your need, typically without too much hassle on your part.
In contrast, strut-based weight distribution hitches tend to be:
- Quieter when new and louder when worn
- Difficult to install
- Highly durable
- Capable of towing the heaviest weights
- Great at backing up and handling sharp corners
Strut-based weight distribution hitches are bulkier and more serious of the two types. Many strut-based hitches have multiple inflection joints to ease cornering and backing up, but they’re heavier and more difficult to mount and dismount.
If you have a large boat or trailer, you may need to use a strut-based hitch out of necessity because of their higher weight rating. For smaller towables, many strut-based hitches are overkill, however.
How many inflection points should my weight distribution hitch have?
The answer is that it depends on how much you’re willing to compromise on the hitch’s weight so that it will turn corners and back up more effectively. Each joint adds smoothness to turning at the cost of weight. You can expect each additional joint to reduce your gas mileage by 1-3%.
The other concern depends on the loads you’re towing. The taller and more top-heavy your towable loads will be, the more you should consider a hitch with multiple inflection joints. More joints and stronger joints prevent torquing during turns from causing too much yaw on your load.
When your load yaws too much during a turn, it can fall over and cause a huge mess. This is mostly a concern for large and relatively top-heavy loads like RVs. So, especially if you plan on towing these loads on subpar and winding roads, more joints will be favorable than fewer joints.
Your choices range from one-joint hitches to hitches with four or more joints. One joint is probably sufficient for slow and careful driving with most loads that are within the hitch capacity.
But, if you plan on highway driving with a serious load, the four-joint hitches are not extravagant.
Should I pick a different hitch depending on what I plan to tow?
Yes. Beyond what we’ve already discussed, there are more or less three categories of things you will want to tow:
- Short, flat, and light loads
- Medium height and medium weight loads
- Tall and extra heavy loads
Short, flat, and light loads include most small motorboats, rowboats, ATVs, and similarly sized loads. These are the least demanding, and more or less any tow hitch will do the trick as long as you don’t drive too aggressively.
The medium and heavy categories are where you need to pay the most attention. With a medium load you may be well-served by a lightweight chain-style weight distribution hitch, but you may find that you have higher peace of mind when you opt for a heavier hitch.
You might also be able to find a great chain-style hitch that has other features you appreciate, however.
With heavy loads, you’ll need the heaviest hitches. The same goes for extra wide loads — the heavier the hitch, the safer you’ll be when carrying an extra wide load, especially when you’re turning corners or slowing down on the highway.
How safe are weight distribution hitches?
Weight distribution hitches are safe, assuming you follow a few basic rules:
- Install the hitch properly and according to the manufacturer’s instructions
- Drive more slowly and more carefully than you would otherwise
- Drive around corners by counterbalancing your load before the turn and slowing down more than you would otherwise
- Ensure that your load is firmly attached to its dolly or to the hitch
- Don’t drive with a load when road conditions are poor
There have not been any major accidents caused by weight distribution hitches failing when they are used and installed properly. However, when they are used incorrectly or not respected during driving, the chance of accidents rises precipitously.
Heed these rules, especially if you want the thing you’re towing to remain in good condition. But remember: the safety of your weight distribution hitch affects other drivers on the road, too. Follow the rules and use the hitch properly for the sake of everyone else.
How durable are weight distribution hitches?
Most weight distribution hitches are extremely durable and only fail after a long period of use and considerable abuse. Rust is the biggest killer when it comes to choosing the best weight distribution hitch.
While some hitches are produced with stainless steel or other rust-resistant materials, most are only protected by a surface coating. Underneath the surface, the metal will be vulnerable.
This means that the more you use your weight distribution hitch in inclement conditions or on poor roads, the faster it will decay. Even with intense usage, you should feel confident that more or less any weight distribution hitch will last you at least ten years.
Chain-based hitches tend to decay more rapidly than strut-based hitches because they have more exposed surface area and more weak points at which catastrophic failure can occur.
Don’t let this dissuade you from purchasing chain-based hitches, however: rust is a very slow killer. It’s entirely possible that your
Weight distribution hitches rust from the outside in, and there is only a minute chance of rust accumulating without you noticing. There isn’t much you can do to protect your hitch from the toll of nature aside from keeping it clean.
Some people apply anti-rust products to their weight distribution hitches on a yearly basis, which you may find is helpful if your hitch is exposed to a lot of environmental stressors.
What Weight Ratings Do I Need to Consider?
There are two weight ratings that you need to consider when purchasing a weight distributing hitch: tongue weight rating and gross trailer weight rating (GTWR). The tongue weight is the amount of downward force that the trailer puts on your tow vehicle when in use. The gross trailer weight rating is the maximum amount that the hitch can safely pull.
For most best weight distributing hitches, the tongue weight is 10 of the gross trailer weight rating). Many hitches, for example, have a tongue weight rating of 1,000 lbs and a gross trailer weight rating of 10,000 lbs.
Higher weight rating numbers are not necessarily better. You merely need a hitch that can safely accommodate the things that you need to pull. You would not need to invest in a heavy-duty hitch capable of handling five-ton loads if, for example, you only had to pull a small boat.
The weight includes the weight of the trailer frame and its cargo.
What Are The Main Types of Spring Bars?
There are two main types of spring bars on a hitch. These features evenly distribute the towing payload. The kind of spring bars depend on the design of the hitch and the amount that you plan to tow.
The first type of bar is a square-shaped design. It is known as a trunnion bar. A rear axle trunnion bar is the best option for increasing your towing capacity and towing weight ratings. In other words, if you haul heavy loads regularly, your towing system should have a trunnion bar design.
The other type of spring bars is a round bar. This type of bar has a design that allows it to slide into the hitch ball mount, which attaches the trailer to the tow vehicle. The round bar provides a lot more clearance to hook up the trailer.
The type of spring bars that you need depends largely on what you are towing and the type of trailer frame that you use.
How Can I Limit Trailer Sway?
A weight distributing hitch helps with the up and down movement of a trailer. Sway bars, which are the main components of a trailer sway control system, are meant to limit the side-to-side movement of the rig. This system is vital for maintaining control of your cargo during operation. Side to side movement is not the only thing that is dangerous for the trailer, which could hit cars or obstacles on either side, but also for your towing vehicle, which is more difficult to control when the payload shifts from side to side.
Some types of trailer frames are more susceptible to swaying than others. However, any trailer that has a profile could be vulnerable to cross-winds.
The draft from passing cars can cause a trailer to sway. Another common problem comes from cross-winds, which can push the cargo carrier in one direction and then cause it to swing in the other direction when it corrects. However, this movement gets limited when you use sway bars.
Do I Need a Regular Hitch or a Weight Distributing Hitch?
Your need for a weight distributing hitch depends on what you are towing. Most vehicles capable of towing heavy loads publish hauling requirements in their owner’s manuals. If you haul loads over a certain weight, you need a weight distributing system and sway control. Most insurance companies will require you to abide by these manufacturer’s instructions if you want to get coverage under your auto insurance policy. In general, it is a good idea to follow the safety standards and weight guidelines set out by the towing vehicle manufacturers.
If the weight of your trailer is 50% or more than that of your towing vehicle, you can benefit from a weight-distribution hitch. You can also do a visual test. If the rear of your car sags when you hook up a trailer, you could also benefit from weight distributing.
Weight distributing systems can also help you control your trailer easier. If you have trouble stopping or steering when pulling a load, you may wish to get a specialized hitch.
It would help if you kept in mind that the weight distributing hitch does not increase your towing vehicle’s towing capacity. It merely makes it easier to handle the trailer. You will still need to make sure that your loads are under the maximum weight that your towing vehicle can safely haul.
What is a Trailer Hitch Head?
A trailer hitch head can also be known as a hitch ball mount. The hitch ball mount is where you attach your trailer to the hitch. Ball mounts often look similar, like a metal ball sitting on top of your trailer hitch.
These features may all look similar, but you do need to be sure that your trailer hitch head fits with the coupler on your trailer. The coupler is the front-most part of your trailer’s frame, and it goes through the bottom of the ball mount.
Now that you know everything about weight distributing hitches and you have a few examples of great hitches, it’s time to find the right hitch for your needs.
Keep your intended usage case in mind, and try to avoid anything you’ll have trouble installing unless you plan on working with a professional.