Reviews

Best Trailer Hitches (Review & Buying Guide) in 2021

Add capability that is otherwise unused.

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BY Heather Fishel / LAST UPDATED ON November 8, 2021

A good trailer hitch opens a realm of possibilities for any SUV or truck. The ability to tow a trailer when needed makes long trips, moving, and camping much easier and allows you to use hitch-mounted accessories like a bike rack, a motorcycle carrier, or a cargo carrier that frees valuable interior space and comfort. Your vehicle may not come with a hitch from the factory, but that isn’t a "game-over" because there are plenty of aftermarket options to choose from. This guide will help you decide the best trailer hitches available now.

Best Overall
Draw-Tite Class III Hitch
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Summary
Summary

A heavy-duty hitch that fits a wide variety of small SUVs, vans, and cars.

Pros
Pros
  • High 650 pound tongue weight capacity that leads the segment
  • Limited-lifetime warranty and easy installation
Cons
Cons
  • Relatively low towing capacity at 4,500 pounds
  • Focused on hitch-mounted accessories
Best Overall
Draw-Tite Class III Hitch
Best Value
Curt Class 3 Hitch
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Summary
Summary

A low-cost hitch with great weight capacity and custom fits.

Pros
Pros
  • Durable construction 
  • Excellent rustproofing
  • Tested to stringent SAE J684 standards
Cons
Cons
  • Poor instructions can lead to an unnecessarily difficult install
Best Value
Curt Class 3 Hitch
Honorable Mention
Reese Towpower Class III Hitch
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Summary
Summary

An expensive but extremely capable hitch from a popular brand.

Pros
Pros
  • Lightweight and small design with decent weight capacity
Cons
Cons
  • Some customers have received incorrect hardware that required an extra trip to the store
Honorable Mention
Reese Towpower Class III Hitch
Closeup Of Trailer Hitch
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Why Trust Us


Our reviews are driven by a combination of hands-on testing, expert input, “wisdom of the crowd” assessments from actual buyers, and our own expertise. We always aim to offer genuine, accurate guides to help you find the best picks.

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Methodology

When it comes to trailer hitches, there are many factors to consider. We looked at more than a dozen and chose the best ones based on design, towing capacity, and the ability to fit a wide range of vehicles. Durability and warranties were also considered. In addition, we looked at price and brand name to ensure that this guide included hitches in a variety of price ranges as well as ones from well-known manufacturers. While we haven’t conducted real-world testing on all of these products yet, we’ve looked at consumer testimonials and data, tutorials, and general discussions on social media and in forums. And, of course, we rely on our institutional knowledge of the automotive landscape to weed out weak products.

Best Trailer Hitches Reviews & Recommendations

Best Overall
Draw-Tite Class III Hitch

There are many reasons why we picked the class three Draw-Tite hitch, but the fact that it offers a segment-leading 675-pound tongue weight capacity with a 4,500-pound gross trailer weight towing capacity was the main one. In a package designed for small SUVs like the Toyota RAV4 and Honda CR-V, compact cars like the Subaru Impreza, and minivans, the Draw-Tite is designed to fit nearly every popular model, which sweetens the deal. 


The high 675-pound tongue weight across most vehicle applications is a huge bonus with this hitch in that it helps smaller vehicles carry larger and heavier things without a trailer. Motorcycles and cargo carriers will be carried with ease by the hitch without ever worrying about needing extra capacity for safety and security. A limited lifetime warranty also guarantees replacement for workmanship defects if Draw-Tite determines a failure occurred. That said, the relatively low 4,500-pound towing capacity is a slight weakness but this hitch is clearly focused on hitch-mounted accessories but does not sacrifice much for towing.


Product Specs:

  • Tongue Weight: 675 pounds
  • Gross Trailer Weight: 4,500 pounds
  • Installation: Bolt-on installation

Pros:

  • High 675-pound tongue weight rating
  • Limited lifetime workmanship warranty
  • Rustproofing

Cons:

  • Relatively low 4,500-pound gross trailer weight rating
  • Not packaged well for shipping
  • Some report minor issues with the fit
Best Value
CURT 13323 Class 3 Trailer Hitch

The Class III hitch from Curt represents the best value proposition for the segment with a low cost and balanced performance. Featuring a 500-pound tongue weight rating, and a 5,000-pound gross trailer weight rating, this hitch bolts on to fit a huge variety of cars, trucks, and SUVs.


Curt’s hitch construction is reminiscent of heavier-duty class four hitches, featuring a durable steel plate, a square steel tube backed up with a rust-resistant coating, and a layer of powder coat to ensure long-term resilience. While the 500/5,000 pound TW/GTW is middle of the road overall, it represents huge capability relative to the price. That said, while the ability to fit a variety of cars, trucks, and SUVs is excellent, the installation isn’t always straightforward thanks to confusing instructions. 


Product Specs:
  • Tongue Weight: 500 pounds
  • Gross Trailer Weight: 5,000 pounds
  • Installation: Bolt-on installation

Pros:

  • Durable construction
  • Tested to SAE J684 standards
  • Excellent rustproofing

Cons:

  • Poor instructions
  • Not packaged well for shipping
  • Poor  packaging can cause issues with fit
Best Premium
Reese Towpower Class III Hitch

Reese Towpower represents serious name recognition in the towing industry and exists on the upper end of price, capability, and good design. While the 500-pound tongue weight rating, and 5,000-pound gross trailer weight rating, are average, the low profile design makes it great for those needing maximum clearance and for the hitch to remain lightweight. 


You will pay a premium, as the Reese Towpower is substantially more expensive than other options, though sales do occur and may help make it an extremely competitive proposition. That said, the provided hardware doesn’t always fit perfectly and could require extra time to be spent looking for hardware that fits. 


Product Specs:
  • Tongue Weight: 500 pounds
  • Gross Trailer Weight: 5,000 pounds
  • Installation: Bolt-on installation

Pros:

  • Lightweight and low-profile construction
  • Tested to SAE J684 standards
  • Excellent rustproofing

Cons:

  • May come with incorrect bolts
  • Expensive relative to competitors without a sale
  • Could have more weight capacity for the price
Honorable Mention
APS Assembly Class 3 Trailer Hitch

The APS Assembly Class III trailer hitch offers the largest available vehicle compatibility and weight capacities on this list. Whether it’s a Dodge Ram or a Nissan Rogue, the APS Assembly is capable of bolting directly to your vehicle. And it’s another hitch that boasts testing to the SAE J684 standards of safety, too.  


Large trucks get closer to a 600-pound tongue weight rating and 6,000-pound gross trailer weight, while small SUVs can get as low as a 300-pound tongue weight and 3,500-pound gross trailer weight. Along with relatively simple rust-proofing, the long-term durability may be somewhat questionable, though a quick extra spray of rust-preventing spray paint is an easy solution.


Product Specs:
  • Tongue Weight: 600 pounds
  • Gross Trailer Weight: 6,000 pounds
  • Installation: Bolt-on installation

Pros:

  • Heavy-duty construction
  • Tested to SAE J684 standards
  • Great price

Cons:

  • Relatively light rustproofing
  • Expensive relative to competitors without a discount
  • Weight capacity varies heavily across different vehicles
Honorable Mention
Draw-Tite 75547 Max-Frame Class 3 2-Inch Round Receiver Hitch

Yes, we’ve already looked at a Draw-Tite Class III hitch, but there are different applications built for different vehicles and the company is worth looking at for a second time. This particular hitch offers up as high as 8,000 pounds gross trailer weight and as low as a 3,500-pound GTW, depending on the vehicle. 


While the Max-Frame offers more peak performance, it generally represents a great alternative to the normal Draw-Tite Class III when the application allows. Generally, Draw-Tite does not overlap the two models and your vehicle will either use a Max-Frame or not. It still boasts the company’s rustproofing, as well as easy bolt-on installation for most vehicles. That said, the packaging seems like a routine issue and the installation can be confusing. Plus, you’ll have to see if this particular hitch works for your vehicle.


Product Specs:
  • Tongue Weight: 800 pounds (on some vehicles)
  • Gross Trailer Weight: 8,000 pounds (on some vehicles)
  • Installation: Bolt-on installation

Pros:

  • Heavy-duty construction
  • Tested to SAE J684 standards
  • Compatibility with many vehicles

Cons:

  • Difficult installation on some vehicles
  • Bad packaging for shipping
  • Weight capacity varies heavily across different vehicles
Best Corrosion-Resistant
TowSmart Towing Tri-Ball Mount Trailer Hitch

Even with the right care and maintenance, rust can strike any trailer hitch. The TowSmart Towing Tri-Ball Mount Trailer Hitch, however, is built to avoid all kinds of common corrosion as this hitch is constructed out of corrosion-resistant material so it can withstand water and extreme weather conditions. It’s also made with a patented anti-seize design and X-mount shape that reduces surface contact and works to channel moisture away. 


As a result, less rust should build up over time. But that’s not all that makes this trailer hitch special. It’s also three different hitch ball sizes in one single mount, giving you a 1 7/8-inch, a 2-inch, and a 2 5/16-inch ball—all without you ever having to swap out your hitch. Plus, you’ll love the 10,000-pound weight capacity on this hitch, which gives you even more versatility.


However, there is one place that rust-resistant protection may wear away over time, and that’s on the hitch balls. They’re covered with an anti-corrosion coating, but that can wear away or rub off.


Product Specs:
  • Tongue Weight: 1,000 pounds
  • Gross Trailer Weight: 10,000 pounds
  • Installation: Bolt-on installation

Pros:

  • Made from anti-corrosion material and a rust-preventing design
  • Includes three different sizes of ball mounts in one hitch
  • Able to withstand extreme weather
  • Features a lockrail system that works as a built-in wrench

Cons:

  • Corrosion-resistant coating may wear or rub off the hitch balls with time
Best Warranty-Backed
B&W Trailer Hitches Tow & Stow

If you’re looking for a trailer hitch that’ll last, the B&W Trailer Hitches Tow & Stow just might be what you need. This capable hitch can tow up to 10,000 pounds and is adjustable in height so you can achieve perfectly level towing. But when it comes to support, you’ll really love what this product offers, as it’s backed by a lifetime warranty. This can give you extra peace of mind, in addition to the durability and capability offered by the hitch. 


Constructed out of alloy steel with a powder-coated finish for added protection, this trailer hitch features a 5-inch drop and fits a 2.5-inch receiver. You’ll have two balls (one 2-inch, one 2 5/16-inch) for some added versatility in your towing capability, plus a 5-inch drop that’ll help you adapt to different trailer heights. Just note that this hitch actually doesn’t include a hitch pin, so you’ll need to buy one separately in order for it to work effectively.


Product Specs:
  • Tongue Weight: 1,000 pounds
  • Gross Trailer Weight: 10,000 pounds
  • Installation: Bolt-on installation

Pros:

  • Makes it easy to switch between ball sizes in just seconds
  • Backed by a lifetime warranty
  • Made with e-coat and powder-coat for added durability
  • Stows underneath your vehicle when not in use

Cons:

  • Doesn’t include a hitch pin, which is a must-have
  • Price is a bit high
Best for Jeep Wranglers
Tyger Auto Hitch & Cover Kit

Jeep Wranglers might be well-known towing vehicles, but they don’t actually come with a hitch, which is why you’ll need a product like the Tyger Auto Hitch & Cover Kit to make your vehicle even more capable. Designed for Jeep Wrangler two-door and four-door models, this hitch is built for perfect compatibility with your exact make and model. It’s constructed with a 2-inch receiver and rated for 3,500 pounds of trailer weight, and it includes details that are made for rough, dirty off-roading rides. The hitch is black powder-coated to provide long-term corrosion resistance, and it comes with a hitch cover to protect the receiver tube from mud, dirt, and pests. 


There are a few details to keep in mind with this hitch, though. It doesn’t include a wiring harness for your electrical connections, so you’ll have to purchase that separately. Additionally, while it’s a perfect fit for Wranglers, you’ll have to loosen your bumper brackets during installation to get stable installation.


Product Specs:
  • Tongue Weight: 350 pounds
  • Gross Trailer Weight: 3,500 pounds
  • Installation: Bolt-on installation

Pros:

  • Compatible with the factory bumpers on Jeep Wranglers
  • Powder-coated for corrosion resistance
  • Includes a hitch cover
  • Backed by a limited lifetime warranty

Cons:

  • Doesn’t include wiring harness
  • Installation does require removing factory-installed components
Best for First-Timers
BRok Trailer Towing Starter Kit

The BRok Trailer Towing Starter Kit is a great option if you’re getting ready to tow for the first time and aren’t yet an expert on hitches, their hookups, and all of the different equipment you might need. This comprehensive starter kit comes with everything you need to safely connect your car and your trailer, and it arrives pre-assembled, with the hitch ball already torqued onto the mount so you’re ready to hit the road ASAP. 


Every one of the components is made out of hot forged steel so you get strength and durability; the steel ball hitch also features a chrome finish, while the shank is powder-coated. Plus, as an added bonus for first-time users, there are measurements marked right on the receiver so you can configure the right length and drop. Just keep in mind that this kit doesn’t come with a wiring harness, so you’ll need to handle the electrical side on your own.


Product Specs:
  • Tongue Weight: 600 pounds
  • Gross Trailer Weight: 6,000 pounds
  • Installation: Bolt-on installation

Pros:

  • Pre-assembled so all you have to do is install
  • Hot forged, powder-coated steel adds durability
  • Bent-pin receiver lock keeps mount locked onto your car

Cons:

  • Doesn’t include wiring harness

Our Verdict on Trailer Hitches

You absolutely can’t go wrong with the Draw-Tite Class III Hitch, but the fact that it offers a segment-leading 675-pound tongue weight capacity with a 4,500-pound gross trailer weight towing capacity, lends even more credibility to the pick.

What to Consider When Buying Trailer Hitches

Whether you’re buying your first trailer hitch or upgrading an existing hitch, finding just the right fit for your trailer and your vehicle can take some time. If you’re wondering where to start and how to identify a quality hitch that’ll cover all your needs, check out our tips and advice right here.

Types of Trailer Hitches

Trailer hitches are organized into five classes that represent a general rating for tongue weight, gross trailer weight, weight distribution, and hitch receiver size. Hitch manufacturers rate hitches based on these classes as defined by the SAE standard. Most hitch ball mounts and hitch accessories will come in 1 1/4-inch and 2-inch sizes, which is the size of the square receiver on the hitch. They are as follows: 

Class I

This is a hitch receiver with a hitch receiver size of 1 1/4 inches,  a gross trailer weight rating up to 2,000 pounds, and a tongue weight rating up to 200 pounds.

Class II

This is a hitch receiver with a hitch receiver size of 1 1/4 inches, a gross trailer weight rating up to 3,500 pounds, and a tongue weight rating up to 350 pounds.

Class III

This refers to a hitch receiver with a 2-inch hitch receiver size, a gross trailer weight rating up to 8,000 pounds, a tongue weight rating up to 800 pounds, and a weight distribution hitch rating up to 12,000 pounds.

Class IV

A Class IV hitch receiver has a 2-inch hitch receiver size with a gross trailer weight rating up to 10,000 pounds, a tongue weight rating up to 1,000 pounds, and a weight distribution hitch rating up to 12,000 pounds.

Class V

A Class IV hitch receiver has a 2-inch hitch receiver size with a gross trailer weight rating of up to 17,000 pounds, a tongue weight rating up to 2,400 pounds, and a weight-distribution hitch rating up to 17,000 pounds. Class V isn’t officially designated by the SAE standard but some manufacturers rate their hitches as such — usually for construction work.

Trailer Hitch Key Features

Hitch Receiver

Hitch receiver size is a primary consideration for anyone shopping for a hitch, as a hitch ball mount and hitch accessories come in either 1 1/4 inches or 2 inches, depending on the class of hitch system you are using. The hitch class and receiver size are one of the most important considerations to make when deciding the level of utility you need. Generally, it is best to get a Class III with a 2-inch receiver if possible, for maximum compatibility and variety in the segment. It’s important to map out what sort of accessories and trailers you want to use before making any purchases; that way, you save money on something you actually will use. 

Weight Capacity

Weight ratings are just as important, as some Class III hitches don’t meet the maximum 8,000-pound towing capacity and 800-pound tongue weight rating as set out by the SAE standard. Weight ratings depend heavily on the type of vehicle being used, where cars will have lower ratings and trucks near the max or in Class IV. Make sure to factor in the trailers and accessories you want to use and get the best trailer hitch that fits those needs.

Ease of Installation

A trailer hitch is something that should be easily installed at home with simple tools. A well-designed trailer hitch should bolt on with no fuss and come with all required hardware and instructions. While you could get a shop to install it and deal with an ill-fitting hitch, it’s best to spend a few extra dollars to get the one that can be installed in your driveway. Not to mention, an easy hitch installation is a good sign of great hitch design, potential longevity, and high quality.

Trailer Hitch Benefits

Variety and Versatility

Sure, a trailer hitch is designed to allow you to tow an actual trailer. But having a hitch on your vehicle gives you so much more versatility than you might think. It’s the key to variety, or being able to haul and tow plenty of items. You can use a trailer hitch for so many purposes, like a mounted cargo carrier, bike racks, and other vehicles beyond trailers. You’ll be able to tow toys, cargo, and just about anything you need to travel or enjoy the outdoors. It just depends on the weight and types of jobs your hitch is rated for.

Makes Towing and Hauling Easier

With a trailer hitch, you’re able to tow a number of different kinds of trailers. But no matter what you’d like to pull behind your vehicle, a hitch will make it easier. You’ll be able to connect the trailer – whether it’s a cargo trailer or a camping trailer – to your vehicle in minutes, and you’ll have a stable connection that allows you to easily haul extra weight. Plus, you won’t have to worry about renting a vehicle or trying to figure out how you’ll haul your gear if you have a hitch on your own vehicle.

Adaptable to Your Vehicle’s Style

Worried your trailer hitch will stand out once it’s on your vehicle? It doesn’t have to. Whether you opt for a custom-fit hitch that’s designed to fit your make and model or you pick a hitch that blends in with your car’s style, you can easily find an option that doesn’t stand out. You can opt for a hitch that’s more hidden, that matches the color or trim of your vehicle or one that’s even designed to stand out. It’s entirely up to you.

Trailer Hitch Pricing 

The cost of a trailer hitch can vary quite a lot, as the price depends on the type of hitch you need, the towing class, your vehicle, and whether you’re looking for value or a premium product. On average, though, a decent trailer hitch will run you between $75 and $125. If you step up to the $150 to $200 price range, you’ll find even more options, including heavy-duty hitches and adjustable hitches.

Tips and Tricks

As with something you do for decades upon decades, you pick up a few tips and tricks along the way in terms of selecting the right product, and/or using it. That’s the case with us and trailer hitches. To help you bridge the information gap, here’s a selection of what we’ve learned along the way.

  • Pay extra attention to the weight capacity limits of your vehicle and any hitch you check out. Exceeding these limits makes towing unsafe for you and the people around you.
  • You will need a good ball mount or weight distribution hitch to complete your towing setup if you are starting from scratch. 
  • If you don't have much DIY or automotive experience, have a professional install your aftermarket hitch. Most local auto shops can handle bolt-on hitches.

FAQs 

You’ve got questions. The Drive has answers!

Q. Does the hitch ball mount matter for towing?

A. Yes, because they come in different ball sizes from 1 1/4 inches to 3 inches diameter and the hitch receiver can be 1 1/4 inches or 2 inches. Make sure to check the weight ratings on the hitch ball mount to make sure it works for your trailer.

Q. Is my car too small to pull a trailer?

A. Generally, most average-sized cars can handle a small trailer. If you drive a sports car of a compact car, however, you may be limited in the loads you can pull safely. Refer to your car's towing capacity to be sure.

Q. What's the difference between a trailer hitch and a weight-distribution hitch?

A. Both are designed to pull a trailer, but most trailer hitches use just a ball mount to connect to the trailer. This setup can make the towing less stable at high speeds or on rough roads. Weight distribution hitches add some extra bracing and can extend or contract to stabilize the load, so they can handle greater loads with extra safety.