A 5th wheel hitch is an essential piece of equipment for those who own pickup trucks and need to tow heavy loads, such as RVs, campers, or large trailers.
These hitches provide a stable connection between the tow vehicle and the towed unit, allowing for improved control, maneuverability, and safety while on the road. Having the right 5th wheel hitch can considerably minimize chucking and make towing a breeze.
In this article, we will explore various options for the best 5th wheel hitches and their pros and cons, aiming to help readers choose the perfect hitch for their towing needs. We will also address the installation process, maintenance tips, and other relevant information to ensure a safe and enjoyable towing experience.
Our Top Picks
CURT 16120 A16 5th Wheel Hitch, 16,000 lbs
B&W Trailer Hitches Companion RVK3500
Pro Series 20K 5th Wheel Hitch
CURT 16120 A16 5th Wheel Hitch, 16,000 lbs
The CURT A16 5th Wheel Hitch is designed with the user in mind, featuring a self-resetting handle and extra-wide head for easy coupling and uncoupling. It also boasts patented head technology that provides full articulation, allowing for controlled towing of the 5th wheel camper.
One of the standout features of this hitch is the built-in three-position coupling indicator which conveniently shows if the hitch is coupled, uncoupled, or ready to tow. This can significantly reduce the stress and guesswork when preparing for a trip.
However, some users have reported that the packaging is less than ideal, and the hitch might arrive with scuffs and scratches. Additionally, the increased movement in the hitch compared to other models may take some getting used to. It is important to note that the base rails and brackets required to mount this hitch are sold separately.
In conclusion, the CURT 16120 A16 5th Wheel Hitch offers a combination of reliability, stability, and user-friendly coupling for towing a 5th wheel trailer. Despite some minor drawbacks, its features make it a solid choice for those in need of a dependable hitch.
- Self-resetting handle and extra-wide head for easy coupling
- Patented head technology with full articulation for controlled towing
- Built-in three-position coupling indicator for clear hitch status
- Some users report poor packaging
- May require getting used to more movement than other hitches
- Base rails and brackets sold separately
B&W Trailer Hitches Companion RVK3500
The B&W Trailer Hitches Companion Fifth Wheel Hitch is designed to provide users with a smooth and secure towing experience. Thanks to its fully articulating head, it allows for effortless front to back and side-to-side pivoting, making it easy to adapt to different terrains and situations.
One of this hitch’s remarkable features is its cam action latching handle that enables easy release even when parked on uneven surfaces. Additionally, the polyurethane bushings incorporated in the design ensure a quiet and rattle-free towing experience, perfect for long drives.
Be aware that the hitch is heavy, which can make it difficult to move in or out of the truck bed. Some users might require assistance for this task. Also, the powder coating may not be very thick, which can make it prone to chipping.
In conclusion, the B&W Trailer Hitches Companion Fifth Wheel Hitch – RVK3500 is a reliable and efficient hitch for those who value smooth tow experiences despite its minor drawbacks. It is made in America and backed by a Limited Lifetime Warranty to ensure customer satisfaction and peace of mind.
- Fully articulating head for easy pivoting
- Easy-release cam action latching handle
- Quiet, rattle-free towing with polyurethane bushings
- Heavy, making it challenging to move in or out
- Powder coating may be thin, susceptible to chipping
- Vague instructions for assembly
Pro Series 20K 5th Wheel Hitch
The Reese Pro Series™ 20K Fifth Wheel Hitch is designed to provide a secure and reliable towing experience. With its polished metal finish and sturdy construction, this hitch can handle travel trailers weighing up to 16,500 pounds, making it suitable for long trips across the country.
One of the key features of this hitch is its easy installation process. Many users report that it took them only 30 minutes to install, requiring minimal effort. However, it is important to note that the rail kit is not included and must be purchased separately.
While the Reese Pro Series™ 20K Fifth Wheel Hitch offers a smooth towing experience for the most part, some users have reported that the head plate may not remain level during use. This can be a concern, but overall, the hitch has received positive reviews for its smooth operation and secure locking mechanism.
In conclusion, the Reese Pro Series™ 20K Fifth Wheel Hitch is a solid choice for those who need a durable and reliable hitch for towing heavy loads. Despite minor issues with the head plate and installation instructions, its ease of use and secure locking mechanism make this hitch a worthwhile investment.
- Easy installation
- Suitable for heavy loads
- Smooth towing experience
- Rail kit sold separately
- Head plate may not remain level
Andersen 3220 Aluminum Ultimate 5th Wheel Connection
The Andersen Hitches Ultimate Fifth Wheel Connection offers a lightweight solution for towing trailers, thanks to its aircraft-grade aluminum construction. Weighing only 35 lbs, it makes installation and removal convenient and manageable for one person.
This hitch is incredibly versatile, as it is compatible with all standard brands of gooseneck hitches and offers three height adjustments to fit most trucks.
The easy hook-up is another standout feature, as the patented remote latch/unlatch cable allows for unhitching without needing to access the truck bed. Additionally, the ball-funnel ensures simple and accurate hook-ups, even with three-inch off-center balls.
It’s also important to note that the hitch requires retorquing, so investing in a quality torque wrench is a must.
Overall, the Andersen Hitches Ultimate Fifth Wheel Connection is a strong contender for those seeking a lightweight, versatile, and user-friendly hitch option. Its high weight capacity, coupled with easy installation and removal, make it a compelling choice. However, potential buyers should keep in mind the potential need for additional adapters and the importance of retorquing.
- Lightweight aircraft-grade aluminum construction
- Adjustable height for compatibility with various trucks
- Easy hook-up with patented remote latch/unlatch cable
- May require additional adapters for some RVs
- High price point compared to some competitors
- Retorquing necessary – a good torque wrench is required
5th Wheel Hitch Buyer’s Guide
Types of 5th Wheel Hitches
When it comes to towing with a pickup truck, one of the most popular and effective hitch systems is the 5th wheel hitch.
These hitches provide a secure connection between the truck and the trailer, offering stability, weight distribution, and maneuverability. There are several types of 5th wheel hitches available, each designed to address specific needs and preferences.
- Fixed Hitches are the basic and most common type of 5th wheel hitch. They are mounted directly onto the bed of the truck and provide a solid connection with the trailer. Fixed hitches are often preferred for their durability, simplicity, and stability. However, they may not be ideal for trucks with short beds, as they limit the turning radius of the vehicle.
- Sliding Hitches are designed to accommodate trucks with short bed lengths. The hitch can be moved, or “slid”, towards the rear of the truck during tight turns to prevent contact between the trailer and the truck cab. This added flexibility can help avoid potential damage while maneuvering in tight spaces. One drawback to consider is the added weight and complexity of the sliding mechanism.
- Gooseneck Hitches are another alternative for towing large or heavy trailers. They use a ball hitch system, similar to a traditional hitch, but are mounted in the bed of the truck like a 5th wheel hitch. Gooseneck hitches can offer more towing weight capacity and are preferred for some types of trailers such as horse or livestock trailers. However, they may not provide the same stability and weight distribution as a 5th wheel hitch.
- Rotating Hitches are designed to allow the hitch to rotate about a vertical axis, providing a smoother connection between the truck and trailer. This can result in improved handling and stability while towing. Rotating hitches often come with higher weight capacities, which can be beneficial for larger trailers.
- Andersen Hitches are a unique type of 5th wheel hitch that utilizes a lightweight yet sturdy aluminum construction. They are designed to be easily installed and removed in a matter of minutes, making them a popular choice for those who require flexibility in their towing setup. The Andersen hitch also features a cam-action latching handle, which ensures a secure and effortless connection with the trailer.
Choosing the Right 5th Wheel Hitch
When it comes to selecting the perfect 5th wheel hitch for your truck, there are several essential factors to consider. Understanding these elements will help ensure that the hitch you choose will be reliable, safe, and efficient for use with your trailer and pickup truck.
One of the primary considerations when choosing a 5th wheel hitch is the weight capacity. Your hitch should be able to handle the weight of your trailer without any issues. To determine this, you need to check your vehicle’s towing capacity, the gross trailer weight, and the hitch’s weight rating.
Keep in mind that the hitch capacity must not exceed the towing capacity of your pickup truck. Therefore, it’s essential to find a balance between these factors to ensure safe and efficient towing.
Truck Bed Length
Truck bed length plays a vital role in determining the best 5th wheel hitch for you.
If you have a short bed truck, a slider fifth wheel hitch is an excellent option, as it moves forward and backward to provide an optimal ride when going straight and optimal turning angle while maneuvering the vehicle. On the other hand, for long bed trucks, this feature is not necessary, and a standard hitch will suffice.
Remember to also take into account your personal preferences and budget while choosing a 5th wheel hitch.
There are a variety of options available in the market, and while some offer advanced features and greater convenience, they may also come at a higher price. Carefully weigh your needs and constraints to find the best hitch for you and your trailer.
Installing 5th Wheel Hitches
Installing a 5th wheel hitch can be a manageable task if you have the right tools and follow a step-by-step process. With proper preparation and guidance, most truck owners can complete this hitch installation on their own.
To install a 5th wheel hitch, you will need to have access to the underbelly of your truck bed. Start by removing any obstructions, such as the spare tire, heat shield, or other components that may be in the way. This will give you ample space to work with the hitch components and rails.
Next, determine the ideal location for your hitch based on your truck’s make and model. Most installation instructions will provide guidance on the optimal placement for optimum towing performance. Once you have determined the correct position, attach the base rails to your truck bed. These base rails act as the foundation for the hitch system and will hold the mounting hardware for the actual hitch.
With the base rails in place, you can then focus on the hitch itself. Attach the mounting system to the base rails following the manufacturer’s instructions. Ensure that all parts are securely fastened and tightened to prevent any issues while towing. It is crucial to follow all safety precautions and guidelines when working with these components.
Safety and Stability of 5th Wheel Hitches
Fifth wheel hitches provide a significantly higher level of safety and stability compared to other hitch types. This can be attributed to their unique design and connection points between the tow vehicle and the trailer. One key characteristic that sets 5th wheel hitches apart is the way they distribute weight and force.
Fifth wheel hitches are strategically placed over the rear axle of the towing vehicle, allowing for a more stable ride by evenly distributing the hitch weight. This design greatly reduces trailer sway, a common issue that can lead to loss of control and accidents while towing.
Many 5th wheel hitches come with an anti-rattle skid plate, which minimizes noise and vibration during towing. This feature not only provides a quieter and smoother ride, but also helps to reduce wear and tear on both the hitch components and the trailer itself.
Another important safety feature of 5th wheel hitches is their automatic locking mechanism. Upon connecting the hitch to the trailer, the locking mechanism securely engages, minimizing the risk of accidental disconnection while on the road. This ensures that the trailer stays connected to the towing vehicle at all times, drastically reducing the chances of accidents caused by trailer detachment.
Frequently Asked Questions
Are removable hitches recommended?
Removable hitches can be a practical and convenient option for certain truck owners. They provide an easy way to convert your truck bed back to a flat surface when the 5th wheel hitch is not in use.
This can be particularly useful for those who use their trucks for a variety of purposes and need the flexibility to switch between hitching up a 5th wheel trailer and hauling cargo.
However, it is crucial to ensure that the removable hitch is properly installed and maintained to avoid any safety concerns. Some brands are known for their easy-to-remove design and secure mounting. Keep in mind that your towing capacity and gross trailer weight should be considered before selecting the best removable hitch for your specific needs.
Wrapping up the Best 5th Wheel Hitch for Towing
When it comes to finding the best 5th wheel hitch, it is crucial to consider various factors such as compatibility, weight capacity, and ease of installation. Different types of hitches cater to different needs and preferences. Therefore, it is important to evaluate the specific requirements of the trailer and the towing vehicle to find the most suitable option.
In conclusion, taking the time to find the best 5th wheel hitch is an essential step in ensuring a safe and enjoyable towing experience. By investing in a quality hitch, drivers can have peace of mind knowing that they have chosen a reliable and efficient solution for their towing needs.
Considering a life on the road? Check out Full Time RV Living: A Comprehensive Guide to Life on the Road next!
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Hey there, I’m Ryan, the face behind Beyond The Tent.
With decades of camping experiences, my journey into the wilderness began on the rustic trails of a farm in southern Minnesota, where my childhood was filled with explorations and camping by a picturesque river.
My family’s adventures across the United States, from the majestic Colorado mountains to the serene national parks and the pristine Boundary Waters Canoe Area of Northern Minnesota have given me a broad perspective. With each journey, whether in state parks or private encampments, and through the homely comfort of our camping trailers, we’ve amassed a trove of stories, experiences, and invaluable camping wisdom.