- 1 Top 5 Best Trailer Hitch
- 2 Best Trailer Hitch Buyer’s Guide
Looking for the best trailer hitch, particularly the right ball mount for your rear receiver hitch, we went through nearly 20 products, evaluating them for their towing (and carrying) capacity, construction, durability, and versatility.
Our analysis showed that the CURT Trailer Hitch Ball Mount 45036 was the best bargain as it can support a gross trailer weight of up to 7,500 pounds. Its computerized drop-and-rise design, solid steel make, and durable coating establish it as a highly sought-after ball mount. Keep reading to find out more about our top choice and four other ball mounts we recommend.
Top 5 Best Trailer Hitch
#1 CURT 45036 Trailer Hitch Ball Mount
Award: Top Pick
WHY WE LIKE IT: This Class 3 hitch ball mount is made from CNC formed steel and comes with a factory-torqued trailer ball. It is easy to install into a hitch receiver with a 2-inch tube and is even secured with its own pin and clip.
Produced by one of the top American trailer hitch manufacturers, the CURT 45036 has a gross trailer weight of 7,500 pounds and a tongue weight of 750 pounds. The robotically welded mount with a 2-inch drop has a black carbide powder coating that can withstand rusting, ultraviolet ray damage, and chipping. It measures 8.25 inches long from the hitch pin hole to the trailer ball platform’s hole.
The product comes with a chrome-plated hitch ball that measures 2 inches in diameter, as well as a 5/8-inch hitch pin with clip. CNC, or computerized numerical control, was used to produce the steel for this product. It is the most modern and precise way to fabricate metal with complex curves and bends. The ball is pre-torqued, so you can immediately couple it with your trailer after sliding the mount on your hitch receiver and pinning it. Another great accessory for your truck are the best truck floor mats, which help keep your truck clean.
#2 Reese Towpower 21536 Trailer Hitch
Award: Honorable Mention
WHY WE LIKE IT: This Reese product’s patented anti-corrosion metal shield finish with drop-and-rise features makes it an excellent product despite its lower weight capacity.
The Reese 21536 is another Class 3 product, although its capacity (6,000 pounds) and tongue weight (600 pounds) are less than those of our top pick. But like the CURT 45036, this ball mount also fits into hitches with receivers that have 2-inch openings. With its 2-inch drop and a 0.75-inch rise, you can use this ball mount in drop-and-rise positions as well. The chrome hitch ball is larger than the CURT 45036’s at 2 5/16 inches.
According to Reese, the 9-inch shank length of its ball mount provides drivers with the needed clearance between their towing vehicles’ bumpers and the trailer’s front frame. However, some owners think it could’ve been made longer. Reese has a helpful feature on its website where you input the make and model of your specific vehicle, and it then narrows down its large bumper hitch selection into products that are intended for your car. For another great option, be sure to check out the B W Companion Fifth Wheel Hitch that has a five year warranty. This hitch for your vehicle provides 20,000 lbs GTW of towing capacity and requires no mounting rails to secure itself to the bed. This product also has a solid build in a powder finish that’s corrosion-resistant for long-lasting durability. Your vehicle can also benefit from the best truck bed liner mats to protect your floor area and help with messes.
#3 MaxxHaul 70067 Trailer Hitch
Award: Most Customizable
WHY WE LIKE IT: This MaxxHaul product offers 8 different levels of towing positions. and all but assures that your towing vehicle and trailer will have a secure connection for many years to come, thanks to the durable steel construction and black powder-coated finish.
The MaxxHaul 70067, which fits into 2-inch hitch receivers like our first two products, has a maximum gross trailer weight capacity of 5,000 pounds and a tongue weight of 500 pounds.
Its drop level can go down to 5 inches, 6 1/2 inches, 8 inches, and 9 1/2 inches from the top of the shank. Or you can flip the mount platform over to rise 3 3/4 inches, 5 1/4 inches, 6 3/4 inches, and 8 1/4 inches from the shank. The product comes with 2 5/8-inch diameter hitch pins and corresponding clips. Its ball platform has a hole diameter of 1 inch.
While most ball mounts with hollow shanks require anti-rattle kits to reduce the sound made by the ball mount vibrating in the receiver, this product makes minimal to zero rattling noise. For a ball hitch with a shiny steel finish to give your vehicle some style, there’s the Andersen Hitches Rapid Hitch 3410. This dual ball style hitch uses 2-inch and 2-5/16 inch balls, so this product is versatile and rated for weights of up to both 8000 lbs and 10000 lbs. This ball mount is suited for Class III and Class IV trailer hitches. The best transmission jack is another must-have accessory for your truck.
#4 CURT 45900 Trailer Hitch Ball Mount
Award: Most Heavyweight
WHY WE LIKE IT: This Class 4 best-rated adjustable hitch features a two-headed ball with adjustable drop and rise. Its high weight rating i a multi-level rise and drop, an anti-rattling mechanism, powder coating, and pins and clips make it a top pick.
You can choose between two balls of the CURT 45900 to match the loaded capacity of your trailer. It has a 2-inch ball that can support 10,000 pounds and a 2 5/16-inch ball that can support 14,000 pounds. This ball mount can be moved up and down a 9-hole channel for a maximum drop of 6 inches and a maximum rise of 5 1/4 inches. The dual balls are covered with zinc plating for rust protection. This will make sure your RV, and your best RV mattress, are safe on your next road trip.
The ball mount’s shank uniquely features two holes—11 inches and 12 inches from the ball—so it can be adjusted for length to improve your turning clearance options. Lastly, a rubber bumper in between the trailer ball attachment and the 9-hole channel makes for quiet towing. CURT overall makes several trailer hitches of various class types, from Class I, II, III, all the way to Class V Commercial Duty. These are all quality options, including the 114242 Class 1 Trailer Hitch with 1-1/4” Ball Mount with 2” Trailer Ball. This is a light-duty towing receiver for smaller vehicle types, has a weight capacity of 2,000 lbs, and can be useful for adding extra cargo space with a hitch-mounted bike rack or cargo carrier. Note that this product comes with a limited lifetime warranty. And when towing, don’t forget to pack the best car jack in your trunk when travelling
#5 Reese 7031400 Trailer Hitch
Award: Best Tri-Ball Mount with Hook
WHY WE LIKE IT: The Reese 7031400 offers you various towing applications with its 3 hitch balls and 1 tow hook. Whether you’ll use it for work or recreation, this product will give you many years of service with its solid steel construction, weather-resistant black powder coat finish, and long shank.
The three trailer balls include a 1 7/8-inch ball with a gross towing weight of 2,000 pounds, and tongue weight of 200 pounds, a 2-inch ball with a gross towing weight of 6,000 pounds and tongue weight of 600 pounds, and a 2 5/16-inch ball with a gross towing weight of 10,000 pounds and tongue weight of 1,000 pounds, making it a class 4 ball mount. The gross towing weight for its built-in tow hook, useful for recovering vehicles, is also 10,000 pounds.
The ball mount is easy to set up because the hitch balls and hook are welded solidly onto the shank, eliminating the risk of coming loose or being stolen. You just need to choose your desired hitch ball or hook and make sure that it’s on top of your mount when you hook it up to your receiver. The shank is 8 inches long. While you’re at it, you may want the best trailer tires, to make sure your truck is ready for anything.
Like the Reese Towpower 21536, the Reese 7031400 also has a protective powder coating.
How We Decided
Because rear receiver hitches are the most common type of trailer hitches, we selected the most common accessory that provides a secure connection between your towing vehicle and trailer—the ball mount.
A ball mount or ball hitch usually comes with a trailer or hitch ball attached to it, although some are available with only a platform and ball hole. Both options are featured in this buying guide, particularly with the inclusion of the MaxxHaul 70067, which has no ball.
We wanted to make sure that the items on the product list will provide you with as many opportunities to tow various loaded trailer weights as possible, so each ball mount class is represented here, except the heaviest, Class 5, which can carry a maximum of 20,000 pounds.
Not only are dual balls and tri-ball mounts shortlisted in this best trailer hitch article, but we also featured products that could be raised or lowered to accommodate various trailers or coupler heights.
Finally, all five ball mounts are made of industrial-grade steel with powder coating that will survive the demands of road travel, whether they are used for short or long trips.
Best Trailer Hitch Buyer’s Guide
The Most Important Factors to Consider
- Gross Towing Weight
Your ball mount is classified according to 2 weight capacities—the gross towing weight (GTW), or the weight of your fully-loaded trailer, and the tongue weight, or the maximum weight a trailer can exert downward on the ball mount. The capacity of your hitch ball must be the same or greater than the loaded trailer being towed.
- Tongue Weight
Your ball mount’s tongue weight (TW) capacity must also be equal to or more than the tongue weight of the trailer. This refers to the downward force that the tongue, or the forward extending part of your trailer that includes the coupler, applies to the hitch of your towing vehicle. You can use tongue weight scales and Weigh Safe ball mounts to take this measurement. Trailer sway, also referred to as fishtailing, happens when there’s not enough force exerted by the trailer tongue on the hitch ball. You can distribute the load inside your trailer to remedy this. On the other hand, you’ll have a hard time steering your tow vehicle if this force is too heavy. The tongue weight must never go over the allowable payload of your towing vehicle. Experts recommend that it must be 10% to 15% of the GTW.
- Ball Mount Class and Hitch Receiver Opening Size
After you know how much weight the accessory needs to support, you can determine the ball mount class that will suit your needs. Each class fits into a specific hitch receiver opening size:
- Class 1
- Can support up to GTW of 2,000 pounds and TW of 200 pounds
- Normally used by compact to full-size cars, minivans, and sports utility vehicles towing small trailers, mobility scooters, kayaks, and canoes
- For hitch receivers with a 1 1/4-inch opening
- Class 2
- Can support up to GTW of 3,500 pounds and TW of 525 pounds
Normally used by vehicles under Class 1
- For hitch receivers with a 1 1/4-inch opening
- Class 1 ball mounts can be used with Class 2 hitches
- Can support up to GTW of 3,500 pounds and TW of 525 pounds
- Class 3
- Can support up to GTW of 8,000 pounds and TW of 800 pounds
- Normally used by full-size cars, trucks, large SUVs, and minivans pulling utility trailers, midsize campers, lawn maintenance equipment, boats, motorcycles, and snowmobiles
- For hitch receiver with an opening size of 2 inches. Adapters are available so you can use ball mounts to hitch receivers with 1 1/4-inch openings to receivers with 2-inch tubes
- Class 4
- Can support up to GTW of 12,000 pounds and TW of 1,200 pounds
- Normally used by heavy-duty trucks and SUVs for towing large boats and large campers
- For hitch receivers with an opening size of 2 inches
- Class 5
- Can support up to GTW of 20,000 pounds and TW of 2,000 pounds
- Normally used by commercial and heavy-duty trucks for towing equipment haulers and multi-car trailers
- For hitch receiver with an opening size of 2 inches, 2 1/2 inches, or 3 inches. Reducer sleeves are available so you can insert ball mounts into receivers with 2-inch openings into 2 1/2-inch tubes
- Class 1
- Hitch Ball Size
Your chosen hitch or trailer ball must have the same diameter as that of your trailer coupler or the mechanism bolted onto the end of a trailer tongue so that the trailer won’t bounce loose.
The diameter of the trailer ball—the most common are 1 7/8 inches, 2 inches, and 2 5/16 inches—is usually etched on the coupler, tongue, or hitch frame.
- Hitch Ball Shank
Measure the diameter of the shank or the threaded part of the ball that’s bolted into the hole of the ball mount, which is inserted into the receiver tube of your hitch. The ball will come loose if the shank is too thin for the hole. The shank must also be long enough so that at least 2 of its threads can be seen once the hitch ball is installed and the nut is fastened.
- Hitch Pin
This metal rod, which is normally shaped like an “L,” is inserted into the side of the hitch receiver and passes through the ball mount shank to keep your mount secured inside the receiver tube.
Because your trailer hitch will be regularly subject to the sun, rain, and dust, choose a product with powder coating as it can withstand rusting, scratching, and chipping.
Trailer Hitch FAQs
How can I level the height of my ball mount with the tongue of my trailer?
- Measure the distance from the ground to the top of your vehicle's hitch receiver tube.
- Measure the distance from the ground to the inside top of your trailer's coupler, ensuring that your trailer is level. Then subtract the height of your hitch ball from this measurement.
- Subtract the measurement you got in number 3 from number 1. For instance, your measurement for step 1 is 23 inches, your measurement for step 2 is 15.5 inches (i.e., the ground-coupler height is 18 inches minus the height of the ball, which is 2.5 inches), then 23 inches minus 15.5 inches equals 7.5 inches. The result represents the amount of "drop" needed for your ball mount. Others just subtract the height of the coupler's bottom part from the height of the top of the receiver tube. Your ball mount must be in the drop position, with the platform for the hitch ball down, if your hitch is higher than your coupler. Meanwhile, you can flip over the platform of your ball mount to the rise position if your trailer's coupler is higher than your hitch.
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