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Best 5th Wheel Hitches: Haul More with Your Pickup Truck

Make towing a breeze with a quality hitch that’ll support even the heaviest of loads.

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BYHeather Fishel/ LAST UPDATED ON June 15, 2022

If you’ve been relying on a bumper tow hitch to haul heavy gear, trailers, and other items, it’s time for an upgrade. While plenty of hitches can satisfy your basic towing and hauling needs, your pickup truck can become even more capable with a fifth-wheel hitch installed. Other hitches can only do the work you need up to a certain extent; with a fifth-wheel hitch, however, you’ll be able to do more. Designed for trucks that need to perform medium to heavy-duty towing, these hitches are an improved design that can carry your extra-heavy load close to your truck’s own rear axle. Fifth-wheel hitches can carry more weight, and they can really wow when you’re turning, looking for increased reliability, and on-road security.

Best Overall

B&W Companion

Summary
The best high-end fifth wheel hitch to buy if you want a good amount of towing capability and reliability.
Pros
  • The design of the head allows it to fully articulate front to back and side to side
  • Good articulation range for uneven terrain
Cons
  • The hitch is heavy compared to lower-end models
  • Installation may require more than one person to position the hitch
Best Value

Curt E16

Summary
A great fifth wheel hitch to consider if you don't need a complete kit that includes the base rails.
Pros
  • The design of the hitch uses many industry-standard components (like the base rails), making it compatible with different accessories and mounts
Cons
  • Comes as an incomplete kit
  • Will need to spend more money on base rails
  • Shipping is problematic at times.
Honorable Mention

Curt E16 with Base Rails

Summary
The complete package to check out if you are starting from scratch with a new fifth-wheel setup.
Pros
  • Head offers a little bit of articulation for uneven terrain
  • Has a high degree of heavy-duty construction
Cons
  • Difficult to install for the first time
  • The included base rails may require professional installation to avoid damaging the truck
Best 5th Wheel Hitches: Haul More with Your Pickup Truck

Summary List 

Best Overall: B&W Companion

Best Value: Curt E16

Honorable Mention: Curt E16 with Base Rails

Best Easy Coupling: CURT Fifth Wheel Hitch

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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Our Methodology

To choose the best fifth-wheel hitches available, I looked for those made by top names within the towing and hauling space. From there, I narrowed down the many products available by looking at key details like towing capacity, vehicle fitment, ease of installation, and if the hitch could handle everyday needs like smooth, controlled turns, disassembly, security on uneven terrain, and adjustability (particularly vertical adjustability). I also looked at user reviews to better understand how each one of these fifth wheel hitches performed when installed, both for moderate loads to extra-heavy loads and in various types of terrain. 

Best Fifth-Wheel Hitch Reviews & Recommendations

Specs

  • Brand: B&W
  • Vertical Load Weight: 5,000 lbs
  • Gross Trailer Weight: 20,000 lbs

Pros

  • Fully articulating head
  • Vertical adjustment range of 2 inches
  • Hook-up hitching connection rotates on uneven roads
  • Durable, high-quality construction

Cons

  • Best to have installed professionally
  • Tough to move around and position

The B&W Companion Fifth-Wheel Hitch represents the high-end quality and versatility you can expect from options that sport this price tag. While the expensive isn't something to ignore, the Companion offers a lot of value that budget options tend to lack. Beyond the quality construction, the highlight of the hitch is the full articulating head that offers adjustments from the front to back and side to side. The hitch also sports a vertical adjustment range between 16.25 and 18.25 inches. The articulating head makes the fifth-wheel hitch quite versatile when it comes to pulling a heavy trailer or other loads. The head allows the hook-up hitching connection to rotate when traveling on uneven terrain, improving the quality and safety of the ride. The included instructions are fairly easy to follow, especially in the assembly phase that's required before you can install the hitch onto a truck bed. The hitch comes disassembled in two separate packages. Installation takes just a few minutes on a properly equipped truck but does benefit from a second pair of hands or professional installation given the weight of the hitch itself. Given the heavy-duty construction, the hitch is a bit difficult to move around to get it into position for mounting. If you are new to fifth wheel hitches, it's a good idea to have a professional install it the first time around.

Specs

  • Brand: Curt
  • Vertical Load Weight: 4,000 lbs
  • Gross Trailer Weight: 16,000 lbs

Pros

  • Simple to mount
  • Quiet on the road
  • Automatic lock adds security
  • Works with any universal rail

Cons

  • Incomplete kit
  • Can be damaged in shipping

Well-known for high-quality construction quality, Curt's Black E16 Fifth-Wheel Hitch is no exception when it comes to durability. Rated for 16,000 pounds (gross trailer weight) and 5,000 pounds (vertical load weight), the E16 is designed to simplify the installation process while saving the customer a few hundred dollars over most $1000+ options. The hitch is designed to work with a universal rail. The design of the hitch not only promotes simple mounting (using industry-standard legs that lock into the base rails), it also emphasizes quiet and reliable operation. The dual-pivot head offers around 10 degrees of lateral movement for uneven surfaces and terrain. There is also an automatic lock that kicks in once everything is coupled together. Lacking base rails, the hitch is mainly sold as a solution for trucks with existing rails, but base rails are available from Curt. Beyond the incomplete kit, the main drawback of the hitch is the shipping process. There are many reports of unreliable shipping, with many boxes arriving damaged. The hitch itself tends to arrive just fine, but we recommend checking the integrity of the welds, bolts, and individual parts (such as the legs) before mounting it to the base rails for the first time. If you notice any damage, it's best to return it for a replacement or for another model.

Specs

  • Brand: Curt
  • Vertical Load Weight: 4,000 lbs
  • Gross Trailer Weight: 16,000 lbs

Pros

  • Dual-pivot, auto-locking head
  • Includes base rails
  • Moves easily on uneven terrain
  • Heavy-duty construction and materials

Cons

  • Not the easiest to install
  • Heavy and may require help to mount

Curt's Complete E16 Kit offers the complete package of a fifth-wheel hitch and included base rails at a budget price. As a result, we recommend this kit not just as our honorable mention but also as a perfect start-from-scratch type of kit for first-timer fifth-wheel buyers. Since the hitch comes with base rails, compatibility isn't much of an issue, making it a perfect option if you don't know all of the ins and outs to buying your first fifth-wheel hitch. Like many of Curt’s hitches, the E16 has a dual-pivot, auto-locking head that offers 10 degrees of movement on the lateral side. While it doesn't articulate as much as higher-end options, the head offers enough freedom of movement to work on slightly uneven terrain. With its heavy-duty construction and design, the hitch is rated for 16,000 pounds of gross trailer weight and 5,000 pounds of vertical load. On the negative side, this hitch isn't the easiest thing to install the first time you want to use it. Proper installation first involves mounting the base rails to the truck's frame, which is best left to a professional if you want to save some time and headache. Once the base rails are on, mounting the hitch is easier. The weight of the hitch, however, may warrant the use of an extra pair of hands to avoid damaging the hitch or the truck bed if the weight escapes your control.

Specs

  • Brand: Pro Series
  • Vertical Load Weight: 5,000 lbs
  • Gross Trailer Weight: 20,000 lbs

Pros

  • Vertical adjustment range of 3 inches
  • Floating head pivots four ways
  • Thick, 5/8-inch skid plate
  • Backed by 10-year warranty

Cons

  • Some assembly required
  • Not a fit for truck beds under 6 ft long

If you’re looking for a no-frills fifth-wheel hitch, then you’ve found it in this one. It can tow up to 20,000 pounds with a vertical load limit of 5,000 pounds. The hitch height is adjustable between 13 and 17 inches. The floating head can pivot in four ways to give you a full range of motion. What’s nice about this hitch is that it has a thick skid plate at 5/8 inches. It also comes with a ten-year warranty. The double jaw completely surrounds the king pin to ensure you have a secure and stable connection. One downside of this hitch is that it requires some assembly before you can install it. To make this more frustrating, the instructions aren’t very clear. This hitch will not fit in truck beds that are shorter than six feet. Unless you use it with a sidewinder. It also won’t fit trucks that have a step side or flare side bed.

Specs

  • Brand: Demco
  • Vertical Load Weight: Not specified
  • Gross Trailer Weight: 18,000 lbs

Pros

  • Easy to mount in tight spaces
  • Up to 14 inches travel distance
  • Three vertical height adjustments
  • Fits all industry-standard rails

Cons

  • Doesn’t allow for all 90-degree turns
  • Very heavy

This bed mounted fifth-wheel hitch is a compact size to make mounting a breeze in tight spaces. Operating it from outside the bed of your truck is easy with the large pull pin or manual slide. It can give you up to 14 inches of travel distance to provide you with more room when working in tight spaces. It has three vertical height adjustments and an 18,000-pound towing capacity. What makes this hitch stand out is that it can fit all industry-standard rails. It also doesn’t require a locking plate. You’ll like that it has a lower profile design and is lighter weight. This gives the hitch greater versatility and maneuverability. Unfortunately, this hitch may not allow for 90 turns in all situations. You’ll want to confirm whether or not this is possible with your setup. Despite this hitch being lighter than others, it’s still heavy to regularly move in and out of your truck bed.

Specs

  • Brand: PullRite
  • Vertical Load Weight: 4,000 lbs
  • Gross Trailer Weight: 16,000 lbs

Pros

  • 50 percent more range for turns
  • Automatically adjusted slider
  • Powder-coated for corrosion-resistance
  • Backed by a 5-year warranty

Cons

  • Pin locking system is easy to damage
  • Hooking up trailers has to be done carefully

This fifth-wheel hitch from PullRite is capable of towing up to 16,000 pounds, with the pin weight capacity or maximum vertical weight capacity is 4,000 pounds. The hitch is powder-coated black to give it increased durability and corrosion resistance. A five-year warranty covers your hitch. What makes this hitch stand out is that it can move up to 50 percent farther when making a turn than manually adjusted slider hitch designs. It can move up to 14 inches when making a turn. Unfortunately, you can bend the pin locking system while hooking up to it. If this happens, you’ll need to contact the company for a replacement. This can happen when you hook your trailer up too high. You also need to keep the trailer within 20 degrees of center while hooking up. This can limit how you hook up to the trailer.

Specs

  • Brand: Curt
  • Vertical Load Weight: 6,000 lbs
  • Gross Trailer Weight: 24,000 lbs

Pros

  • High-quality construction
  • High towing capacity
  • Built-in three-position indicator
  • Head tilts and turns in any direction

Cons

  • Not compatible with turret-style pin boxes
  • Automatic latching system may not work automatically every time

Our Verdict

The B&W Companion is the best high-end fifth-wheel hitch, and it’s a fantastic pick if you’re looking for serious towing capability and long-term reliability. Built to last and to carry heavy loads seamlessly, this is a hitch your truck will find secure and strong. If you’re looking for good value for your money, the Curt E16 hitch is another good option. It’s not a complete kit, but it’s affordable and highly reliable, giving you a great fifth wheel base.

Consider Secondhand

When we start shopping for tools and products, we never overlook the secondhand market. In fact, it’s usually the first place I look. Whether you’re scrolling through Amazon’s Renewed section, eBay for car parts or tools, or flipping through the pages of Facebook Marketplace and Craigslist, you have hundreds of thousands of used tools, parts, and gear ready to be shipped to your doorstep. Refurbished to like-new status, they’ll be willing to give you many more years of faithful service all while saving you money. 

If those options don’t have what you need, your local salvage yard is great for car parts, while swap meets are a great resource you should tap. Just Google either and head on down.  

Secondhand Tips

To make your secondhand search easier, here are two tips to finding the best deals and making sure your new-to-you stuff wasn’t destroyed by the previous owner. 

  • Look closely at any hitch for signs of stress, like wear, cracking paint, or a binding jaw to ensure you aren’t getting a weak or overly worn product.
  • Opt for secondhand hitches from brands known for long-term reliability, like Curt and B&W to ensure you’re getting plenty of longevity. 

Things to Consider Before Buying a Fifth-Wheel Hitch

As you shop for a quality fifth-wheel hitch, it’s important to consider what you’ll be hauling as well as what your truck can safely pull. But with the right hitch, you’ll find you have plenty of versatility, and plenty of convenience. Keep the following in mind as you look for the perfect fit for your vehicle.

Types of Fifth-Wheel Hitches

Pivoting Head

The head of a fifth-wheel hitch is where a trailer slides in and connects to the hitch, creating a secure connection when towing. An articulating head is recommended so it can rotate with the trailer on uneven terrain. Some heads use a two-way pivoting mechanism that twists along one axis. More expensive options have a four-way pivot head that articulates along two axes for even more stability. A self-aligning head with height adjustment is also good for getting the right connection.

Mounting System

To mount to a truck, a hitch needs some base. Many hitches use a rail kit, either sold separately or as a complete package. The rails tend to bolt directly into the frame of the truck for the best stability. Other mounting solutions also exist, including under-the-bed and above-the-bed mounting systems that use a bracket or base to attach the hitch directly.

Weight Rating

In combination with the towing weight capacity of the truck itself, the weight capacity of the hitch is important to consider. Higher-end hitches can have capacities upwards of 20,000 pounds for large trailers. Smaller capacities do exist, but this can limit the usefulness of a fifth-wheel hitch compared to heavy-duty ball hitches in terms of sheering towing capability. 

Jaws

The jaws on a hitch create a secure hold around a trailer to stabilize the load and reduce noise and movement when towing. Most designs offer single- and dual-jaw varieties. Single-jaw units have a one-piece design that offers a more secure hold for heavy loads (greater than 25,000 pounds) but can produce more noise. Double-jaw designs, on the other hand, are preferred for lighter trailers when noise reduction is paramount. 

Fifth-Wheel Hitch Pricing 

There are a few budget fifth-wheel hitches you can find for under $250. The build quality tends to be decent, but you will notice a lack of useful features like fully articulating heads. Most options also lack base rails here. Spend between $250 and $500, and you’ll find a few high-quality hitches (lacking base rails) along with lower-end kits that include all of the parts required to mount the fifth-wheel hitch to a truck. And for $500 or more, you’ll find some of the very best hitches. For the most part, options here have the highest pulling capacities and the greatest range of movement in the head.

FAQs 

You’ve got questions. The Drive has answers.

Q. Can I install a fifth-wheel hitch myself?

A. The hitch installation can be a DIY process, although professional installation tends to be recommended if you don't have much experience with automotive work.

Q. Do fifth-wheel hitches work with bed liners?

A. Plastic bed liners typically don't work with fifth-wheel rails. The loads can damage the plastic, causing it to disintegrate and loosen the hitch itself. Spray-on liners, however, can work with installation rails without the worry of damage.

Q. How does a slider hitch work?

A. The hitch slides around its base, moving forward or backward depending on the need. Under normal driving conditions, you can position the neck near the front or middle of the base for better stability. If tight maneuvering is required, you can move the neck towards the gate to clear room with the cab.

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