The Best Weight Distribution Hitches For 2023
(Camp Addict does NOT accept payment from any company to review or endorse their products.)
By Marshall Wendler
Andersen Weight Distribution Hitch
Equal-i-zer Weight Distribution Hitch
Fastway e2 Weight Distribution Hitch
Hey, you just found the ultimate guide to understanding weight distribution hitches.
We will show you what is the best weight distribution hitch, in our opinion (and why).
Then you will learn what a load distribution hitch is, how they work, and why you likely need one for your trailer - everything you need to know about these products.
Undoubtedly, load-leveling trailer hitches are typically not well understood by consumers.
The one thing to understand is that a correctly set up weight distributing system will ensure your tow vehicle and trailer work together to ensure safe towing while minimizing the stress and strain on your vehicles.
The best load leveling hitches help the vehicle used to tow your camper maintain proper steering and brake control by transferring part of the trailer's weight to the front axle of your tow vehicle and back to the trailer's axle(s).
All of our recommendations are anti-sway weight distribution hitches, which help prevent what is shown in this video:
Let's learn about RV tow hitches and what to look for when purchasing one.
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Do I Need A Weight Distribution Hitch?
Great question. Short answer: Almost certainly.
But let's find out for sure if you need a weight distribution hitch (WDH):
Weight Distribution Hitch Reviews
We've narrowed down the field to the best weight distribution hitch with sway control.
All of the below-reviewed load equalizing hitches have sway control built-in. We feel strongly that any trailer that needs a WDH for towing also needs sway control.
Any hitch that didn't include sway control as a design feature was eliminated from our review. And those add-on sway control bars?
Um, yeah, not exactly the best choice, so we don't even consider any hitch that uses these as their sway control mechanism.
Through personal experience, we feel that the Andersen Weight Distribution Hitch is the most worthy of serious consideration.
As a bonus, it eliminates the hassle of conventional spring arms. (Kelly has used an Andersen and e2 weight distribution hitch kit and overwhelmingly prefers the Andersen.)
Read on to learn more about why we picked the below three as our top-rated weight distribution hitches.
Which Weight Distribution Hitch Is Best?
The best weight distribution hitch for most people is the Andersen hitch. We like this trailer stabilizer hitch style as it is a lot easier to deal with because it doesn't use heavy steel spring bars.
Read on to learn why we feel it is the best sway control weight distribution hitch for most recreational vehicle owners.
- No deal breakers
The Andersen 'No-Sway' Weight Distribution Hitch revolutionizes how a load equalizing hitch works.
They did away with the traditional spring bar style weight distribution bars and replaced them with a much simpler chain mechanism.
This results in a much lighter, silent, and easier-to-use setup that deserves a hard look.
The above 'Pros' highlight some of the reasons why we feel Andersen hitches make the best weight distribution sway control hitch.
Best Traditional Style Weight Distribution Hitch
Equal-i-zer Weight Distribution Hitch
- Requires periodic greasing
- Initial setup can be a bit tricky
The Equal-i-zer hitch is a pioneer in weight distribution hitches with sway control.
Progress Manufacturing, the maker of this weight distribution system, has been in business for over 70 years, and they have been making the Equal-i-zer hitch for a long time.
In other words, they have a proven system for spring bar style weight distribution hitches.
If you are looking for a proven system that thousands of trailer owners have used over countless towing miles, the Equal-i-zer WDH is the right choice.
Our top choice, the Andersen WDH, offers some advantages to this spring bar system but controls sway and distributes loads using different methods.
If you like systems that have been around for decades and are a bit leary of newer technologies, the Equal-i-zer hitch is the way to go.
Best Budget Weight Distribution Hitch
Fastway e2 Weight Distribution Hitch
The Fastway e2 weight distribution hitch is manufactured by Progress Manufacturing, which also makes the Equal-i-zer WDH.
The e2 line of hitches offers similar weight distribution properties as the Equal-i-zer hitches (but not as good anti-sway capability) for less money.
The Fastway e2 RV hitch is a MUCH better option than having a simple ball mount (weight carrying hitch) and is a definite step-up from a less effective spring-bar weight stabilizing hitch that doesn't come with any sway control ability.
Hensley And ProPride Hitches
The above-reviewed weight equalizing hitches use friction to control trailer sway.
Friction can only do so much. It helps control sway. It doesn't prevent sway. (Yes, there is a difference)
If you want to truly prevent trailer sway, you need to pay the big bucks and go with a different kind of anti-sway weight distribution hitch.
True Sway Prevention
There is only one type of hitch on the market that claims to truly prevent trailer sway - the Hensley Hitch.
Sounds great? Well, there's a catch: It's EXPENSIIIIIIVE!
Worth The Cost?
A Hensley Hitch will set you back anywhere from 5 to 10 times the cost of one of the top weight distribution hitches reviewed above.
These babies cost in the neighborhood of $2,500+. Yikes!
Are they worth the extra cost? Some think so. Camp Addict Marshall has a Hensley Cub (the lighter weight version for trailers up to 6,000 pounds gross weight).
It's worked great for him for over seven years, but as of late, he has been yearning for something a little easier to hitch up with.
Tongue Weight Consideration
Besides the extra cost, a Hensley Hitch is heavier than a traditional anti-sway hitch, which adds weight to the trailer tongue.
Many recreational vehicles cannot afford to have this extra weight at the front of the rig.
Hensley is the original manufacturer, while Pro Pride claims to have an updated version of the Hensley design.
Which is better? That's up to you to decide if you wish to go the Hensley route.
Guide To Weight Distribution Hitches
Weight distribution hitches (also known as a WDH) are made for trailers of all types... horse trailers, RV camping trailers, boat trailers, etc.
What Is A Weight Distribution Hitch?
A weight distribution hitch distributes the tongue weight of a towed camper from the tow vehicle's rear axle to its front axle and a lesser extent, the trailer's axle(s).
This keeps the vehicle and the trailer level when in a towing configuration. Why is this important?
Because you need to keep the weight on all of the axles of your tow vehicle distributed evenly. Same as if there were no camper attached.
So, if you DON'T use a camper weight distribution hitch, you risk negatively altering the performance of your tow vehicle's steering and braking.
How so? Check out the photos below.
Notice how the first photo shows the tow vehicle squatting down, unloading the front axle of the Jeep?
As you can see, weighing down the back of your tow vehicle will cause the front end to rise. Your steering is controlled from your front end.
Also, the most effective portion of your brakes is in your front end. Therefore, things can go wrong quickly if your vehicle's front end doesn't have its usual contact with the pavement due to being too heavy in the rear.
Your braking distance will be longer, and you may not be able to steer as effectively.
None of these bode well for you on the road with thousands of pounds dragging behind you.
Here's an excellent visual video to further help you understand why a weight distribution hitch is helpful with control and braking.
How Weight Distribution Affects Braking And Handling
How Does A Weight Distribution Hitch Work?
We aren't going to get into the nerdy, technical details of how a weight distribution hitch works. Instead, we will give you a high-level overview of the wizardry behind these hitches.
First, a weight distribution hitch does just that - it distributes weight.
Haha, you feel enlightened now? Not so much? Fine, we'll dig deeper.
When you hook a trailer up to a tow vehicle, the forward weight of the trailer (known as the trailer tongue weight) rests on the hitch ball attached to the said tow vehicle.
As a result, all of the tongue weight bears down on the rear axle of the tow vehicle, often causing squat.
Weight Distribution Hitches Explained
As explained in the above section, this squat takes the weight off the front end of the tow vehicle.
The result is diminished braking and steering control.
Thus, a weight distribution hitch, through the use of spring bars (or chains in the case of an Andersen Weight Distribution Hitch), 'magically' lifts the rear of the vehicle and 'puts back' weight onto the front axle.
How Is The Weight Distribution Accomplished?
The tongue weight applies downward pressure on the hitch, and the spring arms counteract this force via an upward pressure.
The net result is that with a properly adjusted trailer weight distribution hitch, the front axle will have pretty darn near the same weight on it with the trailer hooked up as it does without a trailer being towed.
As a result, the front axle can do its job (steer and brake) even with a trailer in tow. No squatting, and properly distributed weight, make for a safer towing environment. It greatly reduces your chance of having an accident when towing a trailer.
Another Explanation Of Weight Distributing Hitches
Weight Distribution Hitch Ratings
RV weight distribution hitches have two ratings: tongue weight and maximum trailer weight.
Generally, you can use the trailer's gross weight rating (the maximum weight it can be loaded to) to determine the needed camper hitch weight rating.
For example, my travel trailer is rated for a maximum weight (GVWR) of 5,700 pounds. So I am using a travel trailer hitch rated for up to 6,000 pounds.
Therefore, you should try to match the load equalizer hitch rating as close to your trailer's weight as possible and not go over by too wide of a margin. DON'T choose a hitch rated for less than what your rig could be loaded to.
The tongue weight rating is based upon a certain percentage of the maximum trailer load allowed, so it should be fine if you choose the proper weight rating for the travel trailer towing hitch.
Can A Weight Distribution Hitch Be Too Big?
Yes, a weight distributing hitch can be too big (rated to handle more weight than you need).
Why not use the largest weight-rated hitch you can get your hands on? Because the heavier the hitch weight rating, the stiffer the setup will be.
A stiff setup is great if you have a heavy trailer, but a super-stiff set up on a light camper is not necessarily a good thing.
Why? Because it can lead to a stiffer ride, which may lead to premature wear of components. Furthermore, it will result in an uncomfortable bouncing ride for the tow vehicle occupants.
Here is something many people don't consider - using a camper towing hitch rated for a considerably heavier trailer than what you have means the steel spring bars will be rated to provide a lot more force than your trailer's frame is designed to handle. This can (and has) caused the frame to collapse/break near the front of the rig. Yikes!
Choose a trailer weight distribution system with a weight capacity equal to, or not much over, the maximum gross weight of your trailer.
With the Andersen hitch, weight rating is based on the hitch ball and receiver hitch size, and one kit (of a specific ball and receiver size combination) fits a wide range of trailer weights.
This makes it MUCH easier to figure out what kit is suitable for you if you go with an Andersen camper tow hitch.
Types Of Weight Distribution Hitches
Weight distribution hitches typically use steel spring bars (arms) to distribute the trailer tongue weight from the rear axle of the tow vehicle to the front axle.
There is an exception- the Andersen RV trailer hitch uses chains for the 'arm.'
Many camper trailer hitch types use vertical metal brackets to connect the arms to the trailer. Others make their 'brackets' out of vertical chains. (Seen in the second photo below)
This guide focuses on travel trailer tow hitches that use vertical brackets because they also offer sway control.
Sway control is certainly important when you are towing an RV requiring a trailer load leveling hitch.
Weight distribution hitches are available with two styles of spring arms:
- Round bar
Trunnion: Trunnion arms come straight back from the hitch head, giving them better ground clearance than a round bar setup.
The arms are square in shape, and a trunnion weight distribution hitch will typically cost more than an equivalent round bar hitch.
Round Bar: These arms connect underneath the hitch head and curve back until they are parallel to the ground.
The bent style puts them closer to the ground, sometimes causing ground clearance issues in lower trailers.
Indeed, Camp Addict Kelly used to have a round bar weight distribution hitch and struggled with ground clearance issues with her hitch from day one. So, keep this in mind if you have a low-riding rig.
Sway Control: Built-In VS Add-On
A weight distribution hitch can either:
There's a big difference between these two options. Let's explain.
All the best travel trailer hitches reviewed above have sway control as part of their design.
Having an all-in-one system is the best option. Why? Because it won't have the limitations that an add-on sway control device has.
Also, a trailer hitch with sway bars built-in is typically much more effective at controlling trailer sway than using an add-on device.
How Built-In Sway Control Works
A camper hitch with sway bars built-in commonly uses friction between the spring arms and the spring arm mounting brackets (that attach to the trailer frame) to control the sway.
Others incorporate friction points where the spring arms meet the hitch head.
The best sway control hitch will utilize multiple friction points (at the hitch head and the spring arm mounts) to reduce the possibility of trailer sway.
The spring arms are under a great deal of tension, forcing them down onto the brackets as they do their job distributing the weight of the trailer tongue to the front axle of the tow vehicle.
Any side-to-side movement of the trailer due to sway causes a great deal of friction between the spring arms and the brackets, which helps limit sway.
Add-On Sway Control
An add-on sway control device is a friction arm added as an afterthought.
It attaches to one side of your weight distribution hitch, between the trailer frame and the hitch head mounted on your tow vehicle.
You can make a friction adjustment by turning a handle. Turn it one way to add friction sway control and the other way to reduce friction.
Add-On Sway Bar Drawbacks
There are several drawbacks to this type of system.
Progress Manufacturing claims that the built-in anti-sway capabilities of their Equal-i-zer hitch are equal to 8 add-on sway bars (you can usually only install up to two, so you can see the difference).
Now that you have the best weight distribution hitch for your RV, it's time to consider a few accessories that may make your life a little easier.
These are optional, but there might be something here that you find helpful.
Hitch Receiver Lock
Your weight distribution tow hitch has a pin that holds the hitch in the receiver.
If you have a non-locking pin, there is nothing to prevent someone from easily stealing your hitch from your tow vehicle.
Many hitch receiver locks on the market provide a locking pin, and below is just one example of this type of pin.
While this will not prevent someone who is VERY determined to have your hitch, it will slow them down and make them work for it.
It's worth the low price of a hitch receiver lock to give yourself more protection.
Hitch Ball Lubrication
Most trailer hitches need to be greased where the hitch ball meets the trailer coupler.
There is movement at this 'joint' whenever the tow vehicle and trailer are turning or whenever there is an uneven road surface.
If you do not use a quality grease at this connection, you will have metal-on-metal contact and subsequent wear.
The two traditional style weight distribution hitches reviewed above require this lubrication.
The Andersen weight distribution hitch does not, which is another advantage it has over the others (no greasy hitch ball to collect dirt and get grease on you and your clothes).
Trailer Hitch Stabilizer / Anti-Rattle Device
The shank of your weight distribution most likely doesn't fit nicely and snugly into the receiver of your tow vehicle, which causes slight movement between the two as you tow your recreational vehicle down the road.
Over time, this slight movement will cause wear on both your travel trailer stabilizer hitch shank and your tow vehicle's receiver (wear shown below). It can also cause a rattling sound that can be very annoying.
However, you can use a hitch stabilizer (hitch tightener) to eliminate this movement and save this wear on your hitch parts.
Additionally, it eliminates the rattling/ clanking sound that this play makes. Talk about a win-win!
The StowAway Hitch Tightener (below) is for 2-inch receivers. This is what I've successfully used to eliminate hitch noise.
StowAway Hitch Tightener Demonstration
Safety Chain Hanger
Do your safety chains hang low? Sure, they probably occasionally drag on the ground.
If so, the safety chain hanger by GR Innovations (made in the USA) is the perfect solution.
Camp Addict co-founder Kelly considers it one of the best RV accessories you can get! For whatever reason, keeping the chains from dragging is very satisfying.
It's available in two sizes (for either a Class 3 or a Class 5 hitch - the difference being how wide of a hitch the hanger can straddle).
The safety chain hanger is a simple piece of plastic that allows you to lift up the center of a sagging safety chain.
It doesn't interfere with the operation of the safety chains should a disconnect happen.
The hanger would break free if the safety chains got stretched out.
GR Innovations supplied Camp Addict with both sizes of safety chain hangers so that we could try them out.
Camp Addict co-founders Marshall and Kelly have been using them for quite a few years now, and they work very well to keep the chains up off the ground.
For Class 3 Hitches (orange)
For Class 5 Hitches (yellow)
Trailer Coupler Lock
When your camper is not connected to your tow vehicle, it is a potential target for theft.
The entire RV, that is. Think about it. Your rig is sitting somewhere with a nice, inviting coupler waiting for a hitch ball to connect to it.
Anyone can hitch up to your trailer and drive away.
There are many coupler lock solutions on the market, and most can be easily defeated by anyone with a crowbar or a reciprocating saw.
If you are serious about locking your coupler, consider a locking solution like the Coupler Vault Pro.
This lock is almost impossible to break into, and most thieves will give up before they can tow your camper away.
Yes, it's pricey, but your trailer is way more expensive than this 'insurance.'
Coupler Vault Pro by MegaHitch Lock
Your Dealer Is Probably Clueless
Many rely on their dealer to help them choose and install a tow stabilizer hitch.
This seems reasonable since they should know what they are doing, right? Ha. (Don't make us laugh.)
This is a big reason why Camp Addict exists.
Because of lack of knowledge on the internet and MAJOR lack of expertise by salesmen at RV dealerships.
Here is Camp Addict Co-Founder Kelly's experience with her 'knowledgeable' dealer and how they screwed up many things with her weight distribution hitch.
Yes, there are SOME very top-notch RV dealers out there who can sell you the right equipment, install it correctly, and show you how to use it.
But many more dealerships employ sales associates AND installers who know very little about what they are doing. RV hitches can be confusing, yes.
You would hope a dealer that is in the business of selling travel trailers would have a clue about weight distribution hitches.
Or at least care enough to learn or have people on staff that have a clue. This wasn't the case with Kelly's dealer.
Kelly's Hitch Purchase Experience
"The dealer I (Kelly) purchased my travel trailer from did the installation of a Fastway e2 stabilizer tow hitch.
I relied on them to tell me what I needed, what weight capacity was required, and to install it. I knew nothing about it, so I let them do the picking for me, and they did.
(I didn't even know they came in different weight capacities). They managed to mess up ALL of it.
Here are some things they screwed up:
All the issues mentioned above were eliminated when I installed an Andersen weight distribution hitch.
It works much better for the ground clearance challenged trailer I have."
Here is a video of Kelly explaining the issues she's had with her Fastway e2 travel trailer anti-sway hitch:
Kelly's Hitch Issues (Thank You, Dealer!)
The e2 Install Fix
Kelly's e2 weight distribution hitch issues caused by the installing dealer doing a hack job have been rectified.
We spent a fair amount of time installing and adjusting it per the manufacturer's instructions after replacing the brackets with undamaged ones.
This resulted in better clearance between the spring bar brackets and the ground and a trailer that rides level (it slightly nosed down before).
Kelly still wasn't in love with the e2 anti-sway trailer hitch, but she was not as annoyed as she was when there were ground clearance issues.
Her beef with it was how much of a pain in the rear it is to attach and detach, and bottoming out caused the L brackets to come off, hence causing the bar to come off the bracket.
The frame brackets also bent, rendering them useless.
Also, the bolts holding the hitch to the shank often loosened, causing the ball to be too low. All these constant problems, All. The. Time.
It is an inherent problem with the style of the hitch, which is why we recommend the Andersen weight distribution hitch, which Kelly now uses.
Kelly is VERY happy with my Andersen hitch. It took a little getting used to, but now she is SO much happier.
Frequently Asked Questions:
What Is The Difference Between Weight Distribution And Sway Control?
Weight distribution is where a hitch distributes some of the tongue weight applied at the truck's rear to the truck's front axle and to the trailer's axle(s).
In other words, weight distribution creates a level towing configuration and safe weight balancing to ensure tow vehicle control isn't compromised.
Sway control limits or prevents the towed trailer from moving (swaying) left and right due to external forces (such as wind or a large passing truck) or improper cargo loading.
A trailer hitch with sway control will use friction to counter swaying. It cannot overcome severe cargo loading problems or incredibly high winds. Still, it works very well if your RV is loaded correctly and you aren't driving excessively fast or aggressively.
Does A 3000-Pound Trailer Need A Weight Distribution Hitch?
A 3000-pound trailer may need a weight distribution hitch if the tow vehicle requires one for a trailer this size (most full-size trucks require a load leveling hitch for trailers above 5,000 pounds) or if you are experiencing one of the following conditions:
Can I Tow More With A Weight Distribution Hitch?
No, a weight distribution hitch does not increase towing capacity. You can not magically tow a heavier trailer than what your truck is rated to handle just because you are using a leveling hitch.
Does A Weight Distribution Hitch Reduce Sway?
A weight distribution hitch isn't intended to reduce sway. Instead, it distributes some of the truck's rear axle weight to the front axle and the trailer's axle(s).
However, the best hitches for travel trailers will have a friction sway control component that helps reduce trailer sway.
So while the best RV hitch doesn't have the primary duty of sway reduction, it will have this capability designed into it.
Can You Back Up With A Weight Distribution Hitch?
You can back up with a weight distribution hitch with built-in sway control. There is an issue backing up with a hitch with an add-on sway control bar, which is one of the reasons why we do not recommend this type of setup.
All of the best weight distribution hitches we recommend allow you to back up without having to undo anything.
You are now armed with the knowledge to answer the question, "When do you need a weight distribution hitch?"
We also let you know what is the best hitch for a travel trailer.
You can read the individual reviews to learn how to select the right weight distribution hitch size for your particular RV.
Now you better understand why using the right equipment to tow your camper is essential and the things to consider when choosing the best hitch.
After all, it's an essential piece of equipment to keep yourself and others safe on the road as you tow your home away from home to the next great camping spot.
We hope you have many safe miles of towing ahead of you!
Author: Marshall Wendler
As the co-founder of Camp Addict, Marshall Wendler is a seasoned expert in the world of RVing, with years of hands-on experience living the full-time RV life in his travel trailer. From 2014 to 2020, Marshall learned the ins and outs of the lifestyle and has enjoyed sharing his knowledge and expertise with others. After a brief hiatus as a part-time RVer in 2021 and 2022, Marshall is back on the road full-time, embracing the vanlife and all the exciting possibilities it brings. He particularly enjoys the freedom and flexibility of boondocking and is excited to share his technical insights with the Camp Addict community. Whether you're a seasoned pro or new to the RV world, Marshall has valuable insights and information to share, and is here to help you navigate the exciting world of RVing with confidence and ease.