Best Weight Distribution Hitch
Buyer’s Guide, Comparison and Advice
A lot of people have never even tried to pull a trailer behind their vehicle before. But maybe you’ve saved up for a new RV, and you can’t wait to get on the road. Or you’ve recently been hired at a new job, and pulling heavy machinery is a job requirement. Whatever your situation, if you’re looking for information on the best trailer hitches for weight distribution, you’ve come to the right place.
Weight Distribution Fast Facts
Let’s start with some basic information about trailer hitches, what they do, and why weight distribution is so important.
What’s in a hitch?
A trailer hitch connects a truck or other vehicle to a trailer. That’s it! Simple, right? Well, in principle it is quite simple – but in reality, there’s quite a lot of science involved. A hitch must not only be strong enough to tow a set amount of weight (horizontally), but to bear a certain amount directly over the hitch – or more accurately, directly over the tongue of the trailer. This is known as tongue weight. Every trailer hitch will have a specified load weight, and a set tongue weight as well. These are the two most important specifications for a trailer hitch.
Why does it matter?
Load weight and tongue weight matter because they directly affect the ideal weight distribution for a given trailer. Why is weight distribution important? Too much weight on the tongue puts too much weight on the rear tires of the towing vehicle; this reduces control, hinders braking, and generally makes towing unsafe. The good news is, that an overloaded tongue is relatively uncommon. The bad news is that having too much weight in the rear of the trailer is far more common, and just as dangerous. When there’s too much weight in the rear, a trailer can fishtail – ricocheting back and forth and pulling the towing vehicle out-of-control. That’s the most dramatic result of an overloaded back end, but it can also lift the tongue of the trailer and rear of the vehicle up in the air, reducing the contact between the rear tires and the ground and the control the driver has.
What’s the best ratio?
Two ratios to keep in mind. First, for the trailer itself, you should always have 60% of the weight in the front half of the trailer (towards the tongue), and 40% in the rear. With that established, you should also aim to keep roughly 10% of the total load weight in the very front – over the tongue. So if you’re hauling a 10,000-pound load, 1,000 pounds of it should be over the tongue. Actually, the ideal is closer to 12%, but that 2-percent difference won’t hurt you. It’s just something to keep in mind.
When do I need a Weight Distribution (WD) hitch?
The general rule of thumb is that you need a weight distribution system anytime your towing weight exceeds 50% of the weight of the towing vehicle. If your load weighs more than half of what your truck does, you’ll probably be needing a weight distribution hitch.
What to look for
Now that you know a bit about how weight distribution works, and why it’s important, we can get down to the important things to look for when you’re buying a trailer hitch designed to help you with load distribution.
This one is obvious, but worth repeating. You want something that it manufactured to a high standard, able to put up with heavy loads. While there are plenty of bad choices out there, all the ones on this list are tried and tested, so you can rest easy on that front.
This one goes back to that ratio. How much of a load are you planning to haul? Keep in mind, vehicles have a towing limit also, so don’t try to pull more than your truck can handle! If you’re hauling a variety of loads, buy a hitch for the heaviest one; don’t try to make do with something intended for a lighter load.
To help reduce any tendency to sway or fishtail, many hitches come with some form of built-in sway control. Most of the ones on this list fall into that category, and most will be adjustable. Note that not all sway is caused by an unbalanced load; poor road conditions, passing semis, and even heavy winds can cause large trailers to start to sway. If you’re hauling a large enough load to need a weight control hitch, you probably also need sway control as well.
A quick word: most of these hitches are both heavy-duty, and just plain heavy. Don’t plan on changing them out quickly or carrying them around in the back of your car just in case: they’re made from iron and steel and designed to handle ton after ton of weight, so they’re weighty pieces of engineering. However, some are a bit easier to handle than others, and for the purposes of this rundown we’ll also be noting which ones come with a ball for the hitch, and which don’t.
Best Weight Distribution Hitches
# 1. Anderson Hitches No Sway Weight Distribution Hitch
This one’s a bit different! The Anderson hitch uses an unusual clamping and chain system to reduce sway and keep good weight distribution. However, it works! Reviews speak of highly impressive sway reduction in particular. And the unique design means a surprisingly light hitch – only 60 pounds, one of the lightest on the list. There’s no reduction in performance, though; depending on the ball size used, the Anderson hitch can handle between 14,000-16,000 lb gross load weights, with 1400 on the tongue.
- Lightweight (60 lbs!)
- Innovative design
- Superior performance
- Few complaints about the hitch itself, but some quibbles about Anderson customer service
Despite its unusual design – or perhaps because of it – this is one of the best weight distribution hitches on the market. It receives particularly high marks for anti-sway capabilities, and the lightweight design is an added bonus.
# 2. Pro Series Reese 49902 Weight Distribution Hitch
An older-style weight distribution hitch with solid marks across the board. Reese hitches have been around for a while, and the reputation they have for quality is well-deserved. 750 lb limit on the tongue weight means this hitch is perfect for lighter loads where weight distribution is still a crucial issue. The round bar system does give a bit of noise in the turns, but this is a tried and tested hitch system with solid performance straight out of the box.
- Easy installation
- Proven system
- Quality manufacturer
- Fairly light (750 lbs) tongue weight
- Groaning noises during turns
If you’ve got a 10,000-lb load, this probably isn’t the hitch for you. But if you’re below 7500 lbs, and you still need the control and safety of a proper weight-distributing hitch, then this one’s a winner!
# 3. EAZ Lift 48058 Weight Distribution Hitch
Another “oldie but goldie,” this is an old-style hitch with sway bars for your big trip. Slightly heavier-duty than the last one on the list, with a 1,000 lb tongue weight and 10,000 gross vehicle weight. The price point on this one, like the Reese hitch previously, will appeal to hobbyists and RVers.
- Easy installation
- Easy to adjust tension on sway bars
- Some issues with durability
For heavy loads, but relatively infrequent use, this is probably a fantastic choice. For a casual user or hobbyist, the hitch should hold up well and is available at a budget-friendly price point, in a kit that comes with everything you need to get pulling right away.
# 4. Reese Strait-Line 66074 1200-pound Trunnion-Style Weight Distribution Kit
Trunnion-style hitches use a slightly different design for the sway bars. In a trunnion style hitch, the sway bars mount more easily and give better ground clearance. They also usually do a bit better at actually distributing the weight. Why would anyone ever get an older round-bar hitch, then? Trunnion systems typically cost a bit more – that’s the biggest difference. In this case, the Reese Strait-Line WD kit, the tongue weight is up to 1200 pounds, with the total load weight limit all the way up to 12,000 lbs.
- Trunnion-style hitch system
- High weight limits
- Higher price point
- 1 ¼” diameter shank hitch ball not included
- Heavy – over 100 lbs
A nice upgrade from the older, friction-style round-bar hitches, with a correspondingly higher weight limit on the tongue and the total load. Note that these trunnion style hitches, especially ones rated for heavier loads, start to be quite heavy on their one; this one tips the scales at over 100 pounds.
# 5. Equal-i-zer 4-point Sway Control Hitch
High marks go to Equal-i-zer’s 4-point sway control, which gets good reviews for pretty much doing what it says – using the trunnion bars to offer improved control and sway resistance. This particular hitch is rated for 1000 lbs tongue weight and 10,000 gross, but the same hitch is manufactured in different specifications. This system can be purchased with anything from a 400/4,000 to a 1600/16,000 weight rating (tongue and load). Of course, the price point is correspondingly higher – the 1000/10,000 load rating for this trunnion-style hitch is about three times the price of one of the older round-bar systems with the same weight rating.
- Excellent control
- Trunnion-style system
- Higher price point
- Some complaints about missing parts
A highly versatile hitch system available in almost any rating for any load, including extremely heavy ones. High marks for quality, with few complaints about part failures: this is a well-made hitch for heavy loads.
# 6. Husky 30849 Round Bar Weight Distribution Hitch with Sway Control
A round-bar system, but well-reviewed for ease of use, price, and installation. Husky is a well-known tool manufacturer with a solid reputation which seems to apply to its trailer hitches as well. This one is rated for 1200 lbs tongue weight and up to 12,000 towing weight.
- Great price point
- Easy installation
- Round bar system, not a trunnion style
If you’re set on a round-bar system, you won’t go wrong with this one. Even the customer service receives high marks, with quick replacement of any parts damaged or missing (typically from the shipping process).
# 7. Fastway e2 2-point Sway Control Trunnion Hitch
Fastway’s e2 2-point system weighs 103 pounds, comes with a 10-year warranty, and provides dependable sway control at a much cheaper price point than other trunnion hitches. High-quality construction throughout; even the instructions accompanying the hitch are detailed and clear.
- Clear instructions
- High weight limits
- Trunnion-style hitch system
Ostensibly less control than some other hitches on this list, but still the newer trunnion-style system. This hitch offers excellent sway control at a price neatly between a round-bar system and a more comprehensive 4-point trunnion system.
# 8. Blue Ox BXW1500 SWAYPRO Weight Distributing Hitch 1500lb Tongue Weight for Standard Coupler with Clamp-On Latches
This WD hitch from Blue Ox is a beast. Nearly 100 pounds of metal forms an older round-bar WD system, but it’s still rated for 15,000 and 1500 on the tongue. This hitch can handle heavy trailers, RVs, and more, and receives high marks for durability. An added bonus for this Blue Ox hitch is that there’s no need to remove the sway bars when reversing, as is often the case with WD hitches. A fairly high price point, but to be expected with a high load rating.
- Heavy load limits
- High price point for a round-bar hitch system
Great hitch for the person who has a heavy load to pull but can’t afford a true trunnion-style system.
# 9. Curt 17007 Round Bar Weight Distribution Hitch
14,000-lb weight distribution system from Curt, a well-known and well-respected brand. A round-bar system, but one that is well-reviewed with good marks for quality and durability. The kit comes with the necessary adjustment bar, which is a nice touch.
- 14,000 load weight
- Includes adjustment bar
- Round-bar system
A tried and tested towing system. High-quality bars and chains, easily adjustable to level the load and reduce sway. You won’t go wrong with this system.
# 10. Ultra-Fab Products 35-946236 Round Bar Weight Distribution Hitch with Sway Control and Hitch Ball - 1000 lb. Capacity
Ultra-Fab might not be the most well-known name in hitches, but this hitch is worthy of recognition with the big boys. A far lighter hitch – only 30 pounds! – but still able to handle 1000 pounds on the tongue and a 10,000 pound load.
- Heavy-duty construction
- Lighter than other hitches
- Unclear instructions in some places
- Some complaints on customer service
A slightly less-known brand, but good reviews for quality. A lighter hitch with a decent load limit, excellent for lighter or mid-sized loads.