Best Fifth Wheel Hitch: Top 5 Products Reviews
- Best Fifth Wheel Hitch: Top 5 Products Reviews
A fifth wheel hitch is the piece of equipment that lets you haul big and heavy loads (a trailer or a camper) without the need for a special license. It is usually mounted on the bed of a truck and uses an ingenious system to ensure safe and quick coupling between the truck and the trailer you want to tow.
If you already have a weight distribution hitch and think you can make do with that one, it is paramount that you read the instructions and towing weight limits for the product you own. If you’re thinking about hauling a camper or a large trailer, then you can’t risk using a system that was not designed to support heavy-duty towing.
The best fifth wheel hitch ensures your safety and the safety of other traffic participants while you’re on the road. So, before you dismiss the idea, have a look at our reviews and buying guide to make sure you have the right information.
The RVK3500 features a durable design, with a heavy-duty hitch that provides a smooth towing experience without sacrificing power or reliability. And, due to its compact size, it works with short bed and long bed trucks (besides the regular size trucks).
The B&W Companion RVK3500 is rated for 5,000 lbs. tongue weight and 20,000 lbs. GTW. Furthermore, the hitch can be attached to the turnover ball under-bed mounting system for easier and quicker use.
The system is easy to install and remove and comes equipped with a fully articulating head. This means it can pivot side-to-side and front to back to ease up the hook up with a camper or a trailer. Also, it uses a simple cam-action latching handle for easy release that lets you unhook the trailer without too much effort (ideal for tight places or unlevel sites).
Finally, the hitch is designed with polyurethane bushings which reduce the rattle and noise that’s characteristic to this type of towing experience. It also has vertical adjustments (from 16.5″ to 18.25″, 4″) that let users select the right height and coupler position.
The fact that it comes equipped with a dual-pivoting hitch head that provides 10° of lateral movement means your towing experience will be smooth and quiet. This is one of the reasons why so many people find it perfect for their needs. Of course, the low price is just as attractive, but there are other features to consider.
For instance, you only need one handle to make the coupling process, which makes the entire operation more secure and faster (there’s also an automatic locking feature). Moreover, it has four height adjustments for various truck bed heights.
Furthermore, the hitch is designed with carbide powder for protection against the elements, which means it is durable. Finally, the installation process is rather simple due to the legs that are ready to mount into your truck bed (it works with all industry-standard rails).
Curt shows up a second time on our list of reviews, but this time with a different 5th wheel hitch design. This is a 5th wheel to gooseneck adapter designed to fit into an existing 5th wheel base rails (industry-standard mount) on your truck. This way, you’ll be able to tow two different styles of heavy trailers without having to drill new holes in your truck bed.
The system features a standard 2-5/16-inch gooseneck ball, for easy coupling with trailers with a similar receiver. Since it sits in the back of your truck, the hitch will be exposed to the elements, which is why it is shielded in a highly durable carbide powder coat finish.
The hitch is rated for 25,000 lbs. Gross Trailer Weight and 6,250 lbs. vertical load.
This gooseneck hitch is made from aluminum, which means it is both durable and incredibly lightweight (for an easier installation process). In fact, it is so easy to mount that many people simply take it off when they don’t tow anything. This way, they get to use the full size of their truck bed.
Now, just because it is lightweight, it doesn’t mean it’s not powerful. The hitch is rated for 24,000 lbs. GTW and 4,500 lbs. tongue weight. It also features three height adjustments (16-3/4″, 17-7/8″, and 19-1/8″) and a greaseless coupler (no more dirty hands and clothes).
The 3220 hitch model works with short bed, standard bed, and long bed trucks, and it can swivel in any direction. Finally, the system doesn’t rattle or make too much noise while towing.
While it is the priciest option on our list of reviews, the Superglide hitch from Pulliam Enterprises solves the problem of towing with a super short bed (less than six feet) or with an installed under-bed gooseneck hitch. This happens because it works for standard base rails, which makes it incredibly versatile.
The hitch is sturdy and reliable (rated for 18,000 lbs.) and delivers a quiet performance even during a rocky ride. Finally, due to its ingenious coupling system, it eliminates pin pulling and lever pulling tensions, making the operation safer.
Still, you should keep in mind that this is a bit of a heavy and bulky system. So, once installed, you may not want to remove it too soon.
Why Choose a Fifth Wheel Hitch?
The purpose of a 5th wheel hitch is to allow a truck to carry heavy loads. Because the hitch’s attachment point sits on the truck bed and not the rear bumper, the weight is distributed differently (between the rear axle and the cab), which is why the truck can support it.
But, just like any other hauling system, the 5th wheel design must fit your needs and must be made from high-grade, durable materials. Also, they usually come with a kingpin and a plate that make the connection with the trailer’s system. The kingpin is locked in place but can still move around when you take turns or make maneuvers.
So, if you want to move your fifth wheel from one place to another or you just want to take your camper out for a trip, you will need a 5th wheel hitch to do the job.
How to Choose the Best Fifth Wheel Hitch
Due to the plethora of models on the market, choosing the best design can be easier said than done. Still, with our reviews and with the buying guides below, you should be able to find the best product for your needs.
Before you even consider buying a 5th wheel hitch, you need to know your trailer’s GTW and tongue weight. This means you need to know how much the trailer weighs loaded, included fluids and cargo. These data will let you know if the hitch of your choice is designed to haul the weight you’re estimating securely.
If the hitch is not designed for your trailer/camper, don’t invest in it! If you don’t respect the weight limit indications (exactly as specified by the producer), you risk the hitch breaking while driving, which can lead to horrible traffic accidents.
Some of the designs we reviewed feature heavy-duty materials that promise a long life, but also sacrifice ease of installation. On the other hand, there are designs that feature lightweight materials (usually aluminum) and are easy to install and take off as needed.
Of course, the main difference is felt in the final cost, but if you know you need a hitch that’s easy to install on your own, it’s best to save up and get the right product.
Also, you may want to look for one that fits with most standard rail systems (increased versatility) and has pivot arms with levels and clamps for release. This type of hitch makes it easier to take off, as you only need to keep the railing system, which doesn’t occupy much space.
However, when you install the rails, you may need to use an auto lift to gain access under the truck’s bed.
Adjustments & Flexibility
As you can see from the reviews above, the best models allow for some type of height adjustment. This means that it can accommodate different vehicles, so you won’t have any issues if you want to move it from one truck to another.
It also helps to get a product with a pivoting head, which ensures more flexibility on the road. Finally, if you own a short bed truck, you may want to choose a sliding hitch that lets the trailer move naturally without bumping into the towing vehicle.
Materials & Durability
The majority of models are made from some type of metal, but the ones that will last longer feature a combination of stainless steel and a protective coating that will stop the action of the elements. However, this doesn’t mean that an aluminum hitch won’t have a long life.
Most Common Types of Fifth Wheel Hitches
One of the reasons why many buyers get confused when they first start looking at these products is the large variety when it comes to types of hitches. But, once you learn their purpose and understand the differences between the main types, it’s a lot easier to make a decision.
As such, here are the most common types to consider:
This design works with gooseneck trailers and can be installed onto the rails of a regular 5th wheel hitch. It’s usually lighter and occupies less space than the standard design.
5th Wheel Hitch with Universal or Custom Rails
The difference here stands in the rail system required to mount the hitch. If you choose a design that works with universal rails, the installation will be a lot easier, as the rails usually fit most trailers. This also means you may not have to drill any holes in the truck’s bed.
On the other hand, custom rails may require a bit more work, but they are designed to fit your truck’s specifications. So, once they’re on, you don’t have to worry about anything else.
Single and Double Jaw
The single jaw design is easier to grip and doesn’t require too much effort to use. However, if you want a more powerful product that’s also double in flexibility, you should choose a double jaw design.
2-way and 4-way Pivot Head
The 2-way model only pivots in two directions (back and forth), and it is useful when towing the trailer on an inclined road. On the other hand, the 4-way model can also move from side to side, which makes the ride smoother and safer.
Now, if you want more versatility and flexibility, and the budget allows, we recommend going for the 4-way pivot head over the 2-way design.
There’s no doubt about it: the 5th wheel hitch is just as important as the fifth wheel itself as it makes sure your trip will be safe and smooth. However, to avoid any problems on the road, you must choose a model that fits the weight of the trailer, has the right elements to maintain stability (even on uneven terrains), and can be installed without too much effort.