About the Class 3 hitch
Buyer’s Guide, Comparison and Advice
If you are looking to attach a trailer to your SUV, sedan, or small truck or just want to tow heavy equipment, then you have come to the right place. Class 3 hitches are one of the most popular and versatile models of trailer hitches for towing trailers. They allow you to pursue your hobbies – from camping to motorsports, and so much more.
Before we get started with the basics of class 3 hitches, we first need to understand the different types of hitch classes to find the correct hitch.
Different Types Of Class Hitches
Trailer hitches come in various styles, each serving a specific purpose. There are five classes of receiver hitches, and each one is allocated a class from I (or one) to V (or five). The hitch class is determined by the thickness of the steel used to manufacture it. The higher a hitch’s class, the stronger it is.
When you are looking to buy a hitch, there are two things you need to consider. Firstly the loading capacity of the hitch. Class I hitches have a maximum towing capacity of 2 000 pounds, whereas a class V can tow up to 12 000 pounds.
Secondly, you need to consider what you will be using the hitch for. Look at the vehicle and hitch specifications. Hitch classes I, II, and III, are perfect for everyday use with cars, SUVs, and crossovers. But when it comes to heavy-duty towing, a class IV hitch and class V hitch are ideal for getting the job done.
Let's take a more in-depth look at the five classes.
Class I hitch is ideal for cars and crossovers. They have a towing capacity of up to 2 000 pounds with a maximum trailer tongue weight of 200 pounds.
A class II hitch is perfect for cars, crossovers, and minivans and boasts a towing capacity of up to 3 500 pounds. These hitches have a maximum trailer tongue weight of up to 350 pounds.
Class III hitches attach onto crossovers, vans, SUVs, and trucks. They have a maximum towing capacity of 8 000 pounds and a trailer tongue weight of up to 800 pounds. Class III hitches have a weight distribution system of up to 12 000 pounds and a maximum weight distribution tongue weight of 1 200 pounds.
Class IV hitches attach onto trucks and SUVs and are commonly found on heavy-duty pickups that are specifically designed for towing heavyweight. Class IV hitches can carry weight loads of up to 10 000 pounds with a maximum trailer tongue weight of up to 1 000 pounds. IV hitches share the same weight distribution as class 3 trailer hitches.
Lastly, class V hitches are ideal for trucks and SUVs but can carry weight loads as heavy as 17 000 pounds with a maximum trailer tongue weight of 2 550 pounds. Whether it is a class V Xtra Duty or class V commercial duty hitch, their weight distribution system ranges from 17 000 pounds to 20 000 pounds with a weight distribution tongue weight varying between 2 400 pounds and 2 700 pounds.
Trailers equipped for class V trailer hitches generally come with a unique five-wheel design for even weight distribution.
Different hitch classes also have different receiver opening sizes. A class I hitch receiver opening is smaller and approximately 1-1/4 inch, while trailers for larger vehicles have wider receiver openings around 2-1/2 inches.
Class 3 Hitch Fast Facts
Let’s take a look at what a class 3 hitch is and some of its benefits.
What is a class 3 hitch?
Class III hitches are ideal for larger trailers found on passenger cars, SUVs, vans, crossovers, and full-size trucks. They are sturdy and have a specific trailer weight range from 3 500 to 8 000 pounds.
Class 3 trailer hitches also boast a higher tongue weight capacity ranging from 350 to 800 pounds. A curt hitch has a square receiver opening around 2 inches. However, not all class 3 hitches are made equal. The weight capacity and weight distribution system depend on the hitch’s specifications. This is why you need to check the specifications before buying a hitch.
If you have a class III hitch, it does not mean that you can exceed your hitch’s towing capacity. For even weight distribution, you should utilize a specialized weight distributing hitch.
You can attach a class III hitch to your vehicle’s frame. They operate similarly to class I and class II hitches but are designed to be used on larger vehicles. They are ideal for towing boats, campers, landscape trailers, or even for mounting bike racks or a cargo carrier.
Why are the benefits of a class 3 hitch?
A class 3 hitch is ideal for general towing. They are incredibly versatile and can tow various trailer types and load sizes.
A class 3 hitch can tow a gross trailer weight of up to 8 000 pounds, with a maximum tongue weight of 800 pounds.
Most class III hitches are also compatible with a weight-distribution hitch which improves the weight capacity and control.
You can even get a custom fit class 3 trailer hitch that is designed to fit your vehicle’s model and make. This will prevent it from standing out and looking like an eyesore.
The class 3 trailer hitch can be used on full-size cars and trucks and is designed for light to medium duty towing jobs. It is ideal for towing midsize and full-size pickup trucks, vans, cargo carriers, and SUVs.
What To Look For in a class 3 hitch
Now that you know what a class 3 hitch is, we can take a closer look at some of the key features you need to keep an eye out for when buying a class 3 trailer hitch.
The trailer hitches receiver size is an essential factor to consider for anyone looking to buy a hitch because the hitch ball mount and hitch accessories come in 1-1/4 inches or 2 inches, depending on the class of hitch system you are using.
It is ideal to buy a class 3 with a 2-inch receiver as this allows for maximum compatibility and variety.
Weight Capacity & Tongue Weights
Weight ratings are also essential as not all class 3 hitches meet the maximum towing capacity of 8 000 pounds and 800-pound tongue weight rating, set by the SAE standard.
Weight ratings depend on the type of vehicle you are using. Cars have lower ratings, but trucks are near the maximum or in class IV.
You should easily install your trailer hitches at home with basic tools. A well-designed trailer hitch should bolt on your bumper or vehicle frame with no difficulty and come with the necessary hardware and instructions. They should also be barely visible and easily blend into your vehicle’s appearance. Easy hitch installation means good hitch design, durability, and high quality.
It is essential to factor in the accessories you want to use to choose the best trailer hitch that will meet those needs. Let’s take a look at three of the most popular trailer hitch accessories.
A ball mount or ball hitch is a receiver hitch accessory that provides a connection for hooking up a trailer. It consists of a shank and a trailer ball platform. The shank is inserted into the receiver tube, while the platform provides a solid mounting point for the trailer ball.
A ball mount is the most common trailer hitch part.
A hitch ball, also known as a trailer ball, is the immediate connection point between your vehicle and the trailer. It allows you to turn corners and smooth travel over bumps and hills.
A tow hitch tow bar or trailer hitch is a device attached to the chassis of a vehicle for towing. It can come in the form of a tow ball that allows the swiveling and articulation of a trailer or a tow pin or tow hook used for large vehicles like trucks.
Best Class 3 Trailer Hitches:
#1 CURT Class 3 Trailer Hitch 2-Inch Receiver, Compatible with Select Dodge
The CURT class hitch 3 is a highly rated, custom fit hitch for your vehicle design which promotes seamless integration and a reliable connection for you to pursue your passions! The hitch can hold a bike rack, cargo carrier, tow hook, and so much more.
This class 3 hitch has dual-layer rust, chip, and UV resistant finish making it more durable even in the harshest weather conditions. It has a weight carrying capacity ranging from 2 000 to 20 000 pounds. You have a choice between three-receiver tube sizes- 1-1/4 inch, 2 inches, and 2-1/2 inches.
It is ideal for a van, truck pan, SUV, and even a passenger car.
- Versatile design
- Handles a maximum trailer tongue weight and carrying capacity
- Easy to install
- Few complaints about the bolt sticking out too much
This is a sturdy and extremely versatile trailer hitch that is designed for vehicle-specific mounting. It offers a wide weight range making it compatible with SUVs, passenger cars, and pickup trucks. The bonus is that it has a durable finish with a liquid A-coat and black powder coat.
#2 Draw-Tite Trailer Hitch Class III, Compatible with Select Hyundai Tucson
Draw-Tite is a premium brand known to deliver outstanding products. Their trailer hitch class III is no different. It is a solid, wholly welded custom hitch that allows you to tow your heavy equipment wherever you go safely. It features a 2-inch square receiver opening for maximum strength and durability.
- Sturdy design
- 2-inch receiver opening
- Easy to install- no welding or drilling required
- Can handle a gross trailer weight of 3 500 pounds
- Maximum tongue weight of 525 pounds
This hitch CURT class cannot meet the SAE standards of a maximum weight capacity of 8 000 pounds despite the solid design. However, it is ideal for a full-size car and towing lightweight items. The hitch also has a clean appearance and can easily attach to a vehicle frame or bumper.
#3 CURT Class 3 Trailer Hitch, Compatible with Select Acura MDX
This CURT hitch class 3 is rated 4 000 lbs gross trailer weight with a tongue weight of 400 pounds. Its versatile design offers a variety of towing options. The hitch can hold a bike rack, cargo carrier, ball mount, tow hook, and so much more! It meets the SAE standards for safe towing capacity.
- Sturdy design
- Easy to install
- It can only handle a maximum gross trailer weight of 4 000 pounds
- Maximum trailer tongue weight of 400 pounds
Although it can’t carry a maximum of 8 000 pounds, this CURT hitch is still a solid and durable design that can safely tow light to mid-weight items. It offers a range of receiver tube sizes from 1-1/4 inch to 2-1/2 inches.
#4 Reese Towpower Multi-Fit Receiver Hitch
The Reese Towpower hitch boasts a maximum of 8 000 lbs gross trailer weight and a tongue weight capacity of 500 pounds. It is completely welded for maximum strength and safety. The design has a metal shield black coating which provides ultimate protection against corrosion.
It is a versatile trailer hitch, compatible with various vehicles, including Chrysler, Ford, and Dodge, among many others.
- Sturdy design
- Includes an owner’s manual
- Multi-fit hitch
- Few complaints about it being difficult to assemble
Being a universal hitch increases its compatibility, making the product more difficult for users to figure out how to put it together. Drilling may also be required when assembling the hitch.
#5 Draw-Tite Max-Frame
These trailer hitches are rated 6 000 lbs gross trailer weight, with a weight distributing capacity of 10 500 pounds. It features a round tube max-frame which is specifically designed for vans, trucks, and sport utility vehicles.
It can hold a bike rack, motorsport equipment, and many other things!
It is custom-built according to your vehicle’s manufacturer and model to ensure the perfect fit and improve towing performance.
- Exceptional sturdy design
- Easy to install
- Fits perfectly
- Limited lifetime guarantee
- Some reviews mention the bolts not fitting the bumper or vehicle frame.
The Draw-Tite Max-Frame certainly delivers the perfect fit! Its stylish design is protected with a durable black powder coat finish. The hitch has an easy bolt-on installation with no welding required and also comes equipped with a hardware kit and owner’s manual. The brand also offers a limited lifetime guarantee.
#6 Reese Towpower Multi-Fit Trailer Hitch Class III, Compatible with Select Chevrolet, Dodge, Ford, GMC Trucks
The Reese Towpower Multi-Fit hitch is ideal for medium-duty towing with a rating of 5 000 lbs gross trailer weight and a tongue weight of up to 500 pounds. It features a 2-inch square receiver tube opening and is suitable for use with a weight-distribution hitch of 6 500 pounds.
With this multi-fit hitch, you can tow with a passenger car, medium-duty pickup truck, full-size van, or SUV. It is engineered for versatility and functionality.
- Universal hitch compatible with many vehicles
- Bolt-on installation
- Sturdy design
- It comes with an owner’s manual
- Few reviews mention that it is difficult to install
The Reese Towpower multi-fit is a universal hitch that you can use on several vehicles. However, because of its versatile nature, it makes the towing setup a little tricky.
The hitch does boast high towing performance and meets the SAE standards. It also has a powder-coated durable finish which gives it a sleek look.
#7 Nilight Rear Trailer Hitch Receiver Class 3, Fits for 2003-2018 Dodge Ram 1500 & 2003-2013 Ram 2500/3500
The Nilight hitch class 3 offers heavy-duty towing capacity with a rating of 6 000 lbs gross trailer weight and a tongue weight of 600 pounds. It is welded into one piece to deliver maximum strength.
Its heavy-duty steel construction enhances its strength and durability. The hitch has a black powder coat and a carbon steel layer to protect against rust and corrosion.
- Easy to install
- It comes with an owner’s manual
- Equipped with hardware and a wiring kit
- Few reviews mention that the hardware is of inferior quality.
This Nilight trailer hitch offers a direct bolt-on installation with no drilling required. It perfectly fits with the original mounting points.
This product comes with a protective rubberized hitch plug to decrease the amount of dirt and debris entering it when it is not being used. It also features a hook ring design to prevent it from falling. All mounting hardware is included in this complete hitch package.
8 CURT Class 3 Trailer Hitch, Compatible with Select Ram 1500
The CURT class 13419 offers dependable strength with a rating of 6 000 lbs gross trailer weight and a tongue weight of 600 pounds. Its versatile design equips your vehicle with a 2-inch square hitch receiver, allowing for various towing options. It can accept a ball mount, bike rack, cargo carriers, and two hooks, to name a few.
The design has an open back receiver which allows for easy cleaning. This hitch is protected against rusting, UV rays, and chipping.
Aftermarket hitches like this one are tested according to SAE standards for improved safety while towing.
- Beneficial owner manual included
- Easy to install on a vehicle frame
- Sturdy, solid design
- Few reviews mention that the bolt was longer than it should be and therefore could not fit.
This CURT class 3 trailer hitch is ideal for long-lasting, heavy-duty usage. It is protected with a unique double-coated finish of rust-resistant liquid A-coat and a black powder coat. These two finishes are co-cured together for improved resistance to rust, chipping, and UV rays.
#9 Draw-Tite Trailer Hitch Class III, Compatible with Select Honda CR-V
It is designed to complement today’s SUVs, trucks, vans, and sport utility vehicles. This hitch can easily be attached to your vehicle’s frame without drilling or welding. It has a stylish design that will only enhance your vehicle’s rugged look by blending into its overall appearance.
The hitch can easily hold bike racks, cargo carriers, and so much more!
Its computer-aided design ensures the perfect fit and improved towing performance. The hitch has a 4 500 lbs gross trailer weight rating with a maximum tongue weight of 675 pounds.
- Incredible sturdiness
- Easy to follow owner manual
- Easy to install
- Few reviews mention that certain parts of the hitch were missing.
The Draw-Tite trailer hitch offers medium-duty towing and exceptional quality, with a 2-inch receiver tube and an all-welded hitch for maximum strength and durability.
It also has an A-coat base with a black powder coat finish to protect against adverse weather conditions and corrosion.
#10 CURT Class 3 Trailer Hitch, Compatible with Select Jeep Wrangler JL
This CURT class hitch has a rating of 3 500 lbs gross trailer weight and a tongue weight of 350 pounds. It has a 4 000 pound weight distribution capacity with a 400 weight distribution tongue weight.
The hitch features a 2 inch by 2-inch hitch receiver, which allows for various towing options. It can hold a ball mount, bike rack, cargo carrier, and much more.
This specific hitch offers a custom factory fit on selected Jeep Wrangler JL’s.
- Exceptional sturdiness
- Helpful owner’s manual
- Pretty easy to install
- Some reviews mention that the installation is not as straightforward as other reviews say
CURT produces heavy-duty hitches, and this one is well constructed with high-quality steel. The hitch is also protected with a dual-layer consisting of a liquid A-coat and a black powder coat for superior resistance to rust, chipping, and UV rays.