Best Weight Distribution Hitches: Top 3 Products for Safe Towing
A trailer can be a fantastic idea for vacation or for increasing the weight capacity and space, but it also requires a set of extra tools to ensure your safety. Tools like an electric trailer jack or a weight distribution hitch make for the bare minimum and are crucial in helping you drive to your destination without any unpleasant incidents.
Since we already talked about the first tool, today we’ll have a look at some of the best weight distribution hitches and how to choose them.
But first, let’s make sure everyone understands that a weight distribution hitch is not designed to increase the weight capacity that your vehicle can tow. Its purpose is to (as the name says it) distribute the weight of a heavy trailer (also known as tongue weight) across a larger plane. As a result, the weight is spread across the axles of the trailer and the vehicle, instead of pressing against the rear of the vehicle.
This leads to better control of the trailer during driving and ensures a smooth ride, without the trailer sagging or wobbling behind. However, this tool does not make for poor driving skills or extreme weather conditions, so make sure you understand its limitations before considering purchasing one.
While it may look a bit pricey, the Andersen 3350 hitch is a silent, no-sway, no-bounce trailer equalizer that’s worth every penny!
The design is simple, easy to understand, and features high-
grade materials that resist the push and pull motion of a vehicle towing a trailer. Many users consider this to be extremely advanced in term of weight distribution hitches, and we agree.
The system uses a true motion-dampening system that will keep your trailer from swaying or bouncing around while you try to focus on the road. With this system, you may as well forget you’re towing a loaded trailer.
The system comes with a 2-5/16″ ball included, a pin removal, and can be used as a standard ball mount if you don’t need to use the weight distribution. Furthermore, the ball and coupler move as one single piece, which means you don’t need to grease the joints for lubrication.
The Andersen 3550 is rated at 14,000 lbs. GTWR (Gross Trailer Weight Rating) when using the 2″ rack and 16,000 lbs. when using the 2-1/2″ rack. It distributes up to 1,400 lbs. tongue weight and can be installed with an 8” drop/rise adjustable shank (this item is optional and needs to be purchased separately).
Finally, the system allows you to back up with the trailer attached to the vehicle, which is a feature not many trailer equalizer systems have. This is possible because the sway control system self-adjusts based on the moves of the vehicle.
This system promises drivers a smoother ride due to the adjustable ball mount and shank, interchangeable bars, and positive latching action.
The system comes with a 2-5/16″ hitch ball and one sway control ball, both of which are pre-installed and torqued according to the specifications mentioned on the hitch head. You also get U-bolts and a chain package, which come pre-installed on the spring bars. This means that, even though this is a kit, most of the elements are pre-installed and any mounting hardware you’d need is included. So, there won’t be that much work for you.
The EAZ LIFT 48069 weight distribution hitch supports a maximum tongue weight of 1,200 lbs. and a max GTRW of 12,000 lbs.
The materials used for this kit are durable, which means that, even though it is a more affordable version, you are not wasting your money on low quality. However, it doesn’t have the same features that are included in a more expensive design.
Available in several tongue weight versions (600/1,000/1,200/1,400/1,600 lbs.) and in several configurations (with or without a hitch ball), the Equal-i-zer control hitch is one of the best products on the market. The system is capable of providing both sway control and weight distribution.
The 4-Point sway control system is durable and makes this the best-performing trailer equalizer system on the market. The weight is distributed to all the axles, keeping the front of your vehicle firmly on the road. As a result, you have maximum traction while driving, and you don’t need to worry about reducing the performance of your brakes.
Also, the shank allows for a 3″ drop and a 7″ rise and fits 2″ trailer hitch receivers, providing for the safest towing possible.
The system is designed with high-quality American steel, which ensures you that there won’t be any problems whether you need to make a quick maneuver or you’re driving on a feisty wind. Also, there’s no need to consider add-on sway control devices, you can back up the vehicle with the trailer attached, and you can easily take a tight turn.
Finally, the Equal-i-zer hitch will work with almost any bumper-pull trailers from boat, horse, trailers, RVs, and even utility trailers. Furthermore, because the shanks come in an array of sizes, you can custom fit it to any receiver height.
Do I Need a Weight Distribution Hitch?
This type of system is not necessary for all situations, but if the total weight of the trailer is over 50% of the weight of the vehicle, then it’s best to have a weight distribution hitch installed.
When towing a heavy trailer, the tongue weight will put pressure on the axle of the vehicle, which leads to a sagging rear and the front of the vehicle raising. This means your steering, traction, and braking will be affected. Furthermore, if this is a long trip, driving will become incredibly stressful and tiresome, which can only add to the danger factor.
Therefore, you’ll feel a huge difference between before and after installing the weight distribution hitch. The vehicle will be easier to control, and you won’t feel the trailer swing around in the back. It also helps improve steering and braking, which are the main systems affected by a heavy trailer.
Quick tip: before even considering towing a heavy trailer, make sure your vehicle is in top shape. This means checking the tires, suspensions, brakes (have a look at our bleeder kits reviews), and battery. Everything must be in the best condition, and the trailer’s weight must not be higher than the maximum towing capacity of your vehicle!
Choose the Best Weight Distribution Hitches for your Needs
As you can see from our reviews, each system is rated based on the GTWR or the maximum tongue weight (or both in some cases). This is a clear indication of the type of trailer equalizer you’ll need, and it should always be a bit higher than what’s specified in the vehicle’s instructions.
However, it’s important that you match the weight tongue with the rating of the hitch system. If the hitch system is rated for a way higher tongue weight, it can make it unpredictable, which is not something you want on the road. On the other hand, if the tongue weight is higher than what the distribution system can handle, then it won’t distribute the weight as advertised. This means it won’t do its job and there’s absolutely no reason in buying and installing it.
Other features to consider in a weight distribution hitch are sway control and ease of installation. Many modern designs offer both weight distribution and sway control (which is something to look for). Also, an easy installation process makes these devices more accessible to all sorts of drivers.
How does Sway Control Works?
Trailer sway can be caused by a series of factors, from passing other vehicles to high winds, to a poor loading of the trailer (when weight is not properly distributed across the entire surface). Regardless, if the trailer starts swaying, driving will become extremely stressful, which is why modern weight distribution systems try to tackle this issue.
To check if a weight hitch has sway control, check for the following built-in systems:
- 2-points or 4-points of sway control – 4-point systems have an extra secure connection between the head and the spring bars to prevent swaying.
- Dual cam (these are sliding devices that suspend the bars and lock into position).
- Systems that use friction to reduce sway – these use friction pads and frictional resistance to reduce and eliminate any side-to-side movement before it endangers your driving.
Based on these, the trailer can self-adjust when swaying happens, and your driving won’t be affected. Otherwise, if your weight distribution hitch doesn’t have a built-in sway control system, you will have to purchase and install it separately.
These bars are used to distribute the weight from the trailer to the rear and front axles of the towing vehicle and trailer. According to our reviews, you’ll see there are two main types of swing bars: rounded and trunnion.
With rounded swing bars, you get more clearance and easier installation, but they won’t work too well with bumps and potholes. On the other hand, trunnion bars are more effective for higher weight rating, but they can be difficult to adjust once installed.
Now, if you want a system that’s a bit more special, Andersen hitches replace sway bars with dampers and chains, which helps reduce the bounce of the trailer.
Towing anything must be done with caution and following the specifications of your vehicle and trailer. Since the sway of a loaded trailer can easily render the towing vehicle out of proper controls and braking, it’s crucial that you use the best possible tools to avoid dangerous situations.