Updated for 2019
If you have been looking at travel trailers you have probably heard about a weight distribution hitch and that you probably need one.
Putting First Things First- What is a Weight Distribution Hitch?
The first thing that we need to discuss is what is a weight distribution hitch? In simple terms, a weight distribution hitch is a device that hitches the truck and trailer together. A weight distribution hitch typically uses torsion bars (often called spring bars) that attach to the hitch head and the trailer frame and redistribute tongue weight across the the truck axles and the trailer axles.
Here are some reasons to use a weight distribution hitch
- Your trailers tongue weight requires a weight distribution hitch to be used (there should be a label on your trucks receiver that tells you what your weight carrying and weight distribution tongue weight ratings are)
- Your tuck sags way to much in the back after you hitch your trailer up
- Your steering feels to light while towing
- Your truck experiences a lot of proposing when towing
Sizing your Hitch
All hitches that use spring bars come in different weight ratings. How I personally like to size my spring bars is by taking the Gross Weight of my trailer and I figure how much my tongue weight could be in a worst case scenario.
Here is how I work the math.
If my trailer is 7,000 lbs loaded I take the 7,000 and multiply it by .13 on my calculator. The .13 represents 13% which is how much my Tongue weight may be.
7,000 x .13 = 910
I now know that my maximum tongue weight would be about 910 lbs fully loaded.
Once I know what my tongue weight is at a worst case scenario I size my spring bars one size up instead of one size down.
For me, I would purchase 1,000 lb or 1,200 lb spring bars.
A Sway control device or a sway bar is an add on device that can help minimize sway or “Wiggle” that you feel when towing your trailer. Chances are if you have a standard weight distribution hitch now all you may need is a sway bar to help take that little bit of wiggle out of your combo.
Here is an example of a sway bar on Amazon
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What are the different types of weight distribution hitches?
There are several different types of weight distribution hitches. One advantage of using a weight distribution hitch is that it can as simple a standard weight distribution hitch or it can be a highly advanced hitch with integrated sway control. We will look at three categories of hitches for the remainder of this article.
- The Best Weight Distribution Hitches have built in sway control
- The Better Weight Distribution Hitches have add on sway bars
- The Basic Weight Distribution Hitches do not include sway bars and only function as a weight distribution hitch. The good news is that you can add on sway bars at a later time if you find that you need them.
The Best Weight Distribution Hitches
- The BlueOx Sway Pro– This hitch is considered one of the best weight distribution hitches on the market. There is very little grease involved and users report that this hitch is very easy to set up
- The Reese Straight Line Hitch– This hitch is the latest version of the Reese Dual-Cam hitch. This hitch has been around in one form or another for decades. It utilizes cam arms that mount under the trailer frame and settle into crooks into the spring bars. This hitch functions so well because it proactively controls sway and works to prevent sway before it even begins.
The Better Weight Distribution Hitches
- The Eaz-Lift Elite Weight Distribution Hitch– This hitch is the one that started it all! The Eaz-Lift company pioneered the weight distribution hitch. This uses the original technology that takes a standard weight distribution hitch and adds on a sway bar. With this kit you get everything you need to be towing in an afternoon. Also, you don’t break the bank. You can have this hitch mailed to your home for well under $250.00-$300.00
- The Husky Weight Distribution Hitch– This hitch is very similar to the Eaz-Lift Elite and functions in the exact same way. Between these two hitches I would buy the one I could get the best deal on.
Basic Weight Distribution Hitch
- The Reese High Performance Trunnion Weight Distribution– I recommend this basic weight distribution hitch over any other hitch. The reason is because of upgradability. You can add a sway bar to this hitch and make it perform like a better hitch or you can add on the Reese Dual Cam sway control and make this hitch a Straight Line Hitch which is one of the best in the market. If you are on a budget and want to upgrade your hitch later this is the hitch to buy.
As you can see, purchasing the right weight distribution hitch is not rocket science and you do have options. In the end I recommend either the BlueOx Sway Pro or the Reese Straight Line Weight Distribution Hitch. These hitches have sway control built into them and will serve you for years.
See you on the open road!