Reviews

Best Trailer Hitches: Turn Your Vehicle into a Workhorse

Add capability that is otherwise unused

With decades of combined experience covering the latest news, reviewing the greatest gear, and advising you on your next car purchase, The Drive is the leading authority on all things automotive.

The Drive on YouTube The Drive on Facebook The Drive on Instagram

The Drive and its partners may earn a commission if you purchase a product through one of our links. Read more.

BY Christopher Rosales / LAST UPDATED ON October 5, 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
LEARN MORE
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
LEARN MORE
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
LEARN MORE
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
Trailer hitch fixed on a car
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

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.

Learn more

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 main one is that it offers a segment-leading 675-pound tongue weight capacity with a 4,500-pound gross trailer weight towing capacity. 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.

Specs:

  • 675 pound tongue weight
  • 4,500 pound gross trailer weight capacity
  • 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. 

Specs:

  • 500-pound tongue weight
  • 5,000-pound gross trailer weight capacity
  • 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
Most User-Friendly
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.

Specs:

  • 500-pound tongue weight
  • 5,000-pound gross trailer weight capacity
  • 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
Most Versatile
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.

Specs:

  • 600-pound tongue weight
  • 6,000-pound gross trailer weight capacity
  • 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
Most Durable
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.

Specs:

  • Up to 800-pound tongue weight on some vehicles
  • Up to 8,000-pound gross trailer weight capacity on some vehicles
  • 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

How We Selected the Best Trailer Hitch 

When it comes to trailer hitches, there are many factors to consider. We looked at more than a dozen of them 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.

Our product selections, rankings, and awards for this story are based on research. 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. We also consider price and specification in the context of the segment. And, of course, we rely on our institutional knowledge of the automotive landscape to weed out weak products.

Buying Guide/What to Look For 

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.

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.

Other Considerations

  • Vehicle Model: Aftermarket hitches can be tricky to install since vehicles have different mounting points, bolt holes, and frame designs. Bolt-on hitches, in particular, need to be designed to work with a particular model in order to have a quick and easy installation process. So, it is helpful to search for a hitch with your vehicle's make and model in mind. You will save yourself some time, money, and headache by finding the right hitch for your vehicle.
  • Installation: The way a hitch attaches to your vehicle will influence how safe and stable it is when towing a trailer. Many factory-installed hitches, for example, come welded or can be bolted onto the vehicle (as an upgrade). While welding is typically stronger, bolts offer a quicker installation process. That is why many aftermarket hitches use bolt-on designs; some that don't even require pre-drilling into a vehicle.

Tips

  • 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

Q. Does the hitch ball mount matter for towing?

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?

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?

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.

Final Thoughts

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.