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Best Weight Distribution Hitches For 2021

(Camp Addict does NOT accept payment from any company to review or endorse their products.)

You just found the ultimate guide to understanding weight distribution hitches.

Here you will learn what a weight distribution hitch is, how they work, and why you probably need one for your trailer. 

Below the guide, we also share with you the hitches we believe to be the best ones for a few given situations.

We also teach you everything you need to know about those products. 

(Just so you know, what you will learn on this page will help to prevent the below accident:)

Weight distribution trailer hitches are typically not well understood by consumers. 

The basic thing to understand is that the proper weight distribution hitch can inherently help to prevent sway.

It will also provide you with the most control over your steering and braking.

(We will later explain how a weight distribution trailer hitch helps prevent sway.)

Let us clarify: NOT all weight distribution hitches also have sway control.

Yes, SOME do have sway control included (including the ones we recommend below). 

How you pack your trailer also has a lot to do with sway issues.

We will get to that and more as you read on.

Already know all about this subject? Just looking for the reviews? Click the button below to jump down to the product reviews.

Do You Even Need a Weight Distribution Hitch?

Great question.

Short answer: almost certainly.

But let's find out for sure: Are you a candidate for a weight distribution hitch?

  • As a general rule, if your trailer weighs 50% or more of what your tow vehicle weighs, you need one. There are other factors to consider. Most travel trailer/tow vehicle combinations really should be using this type of hitch.
  • A weight distribution hitch prevents lane wandering caused by the trailer moving the rear of the tow vehicle (sway that isn't necessarily always dangerous but certainly is exhausting to have to constantly fight it). They will also help control dangerous trailer sway caused by high winds, passing large vehicles, or even steep downhill grades.
  • If your tow vehicle's rear sags, you need a weight distribution hitch. With a nose-high attitude (weight being lifted off the front axle), you lose some steering and braking control.
  • Your tow vehicle manufacturer may require a weight distribution hitch for certain trailer weights. For example, Toyota Tacoma requires one for trailers over 5,000 pounds. Chevrolet Silverado 1500 allows for an increased trailer tongue weight if a weight distribution hitch is used. Check your owner's manual for your vehicle's specific requirements.

The Ultimate Guide To Weight Distribution Hitches

Weight distribution hitches (also known as a WDH) are made for trailers of all types... horse trailers, travel trailers, boat trailers, etc.

Their job is to keep your tow vehicle and trailer level.

Why is this important? 

You need to keep the weight on all of the axles of your tow vehicle distributed evenly.

Same as they would be if there were no trailer attached.

If you DON'T use a weight distribution hitch, you risk negatively altering the performance of your tow vehicle's steering and braking.

Why so?

Check out the photos below.

Notice how the first photo shows the tow vehicle squatting down, unloading the front axle of the Jeep?

That's bad. 

Towing without weight distribution hitch

Without Weight Distribution Hitch

Towing with weight distribution hitch

With Weight Distribution Hitch

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.

The most effective portion of your brakes is in your front end. 

If your vehicle's front end doesn't have its usual contact with the pavement, well, duh.

Things can go bad quickly.

Your braking distance will be longer.

You may not be able to steer as effectively.

None of these bode well for you on the road with thousands of pounds pushing behind you.

Here's a good 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 are going to give you a high-level overview of the wizardry behind these hitches.

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 tongue weight) rests on the hitch ball that is attached to the said tow vehicle.

This means that all of the tongue weight bears down on the rear axle of the tow vehicle, causing squat (on many vehicles and dependent on the actual tongue weight).

Towing without weight distribution hitch

Tow Vehicle Squat From Trailer Tongue Weight

As explained in the above section, this squat takes the weight off the front end of the tow vehicle.

This affects braking and steering.

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.

Towing with weight distribution hitch

Weight Distribution Hitch 'Flattening' Things Out

How is this accomplished?

The tongue weight is applying downward pressure on the hitch while the spring arms are counteracting this force via an upward pressure.

Weight Distribution Hitch forces explained

Basic Physics Of A Weight Distribution Hitch

The net result is, with a properly adjusted WDH, 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.

This means that the front axle can do its job (steer and brake) even with a trailer in tow. 

No squat, and properly distributed weight, makes for a safer towing environment.

Weight Distribution Hitch Ratings

Weight distribution hitches come with two ratings: tongue weight and maximum trailer weight. 

The hitch weight ratings for trailer and tongue weight should be above what your trailer weighs as you have it normally loaded. (But not by too much.)

You should try to match the weight distribution hitch rating as close to your trailer's weight as possible and not go over by too wide of a margin.

Why Not Go Big With Your Weight Distribution Hitch?

Why not use the largest weight rated hitch you can get your hands on?

The heavier the hitch weight rating, the stiffer the setup is going to be.

A stiff setup is great if you have a heavy trailer, but a super-stiff set up on a light trailer is not necessarily a good thing.

It can lead to a stiffer ride, which may lead to premature wear of components.

But more likely, it may result in an uncomfortable ride for tow vehicle occupants.

Also, you will have to deal with much heavier spring bars, which are already a hassle to deal with.

This doesn't apply to the Andersen WDH as it doesn't use spring bars.

The Andersen weight rating is based on the hitch ball and receiver hitch size and one kit (of a certain ball and receiver size combination) fit a wide range of trailer weights.

It's MUCH easier to figure out what kit is right for you if you go with an Andersen WDH.

Types Of Weight Distribution Hitches

Weight distribution hitches typically use metal 'spring 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 WDH uses chains for the 'arm'.)

Many WDH's 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)

Weight distribution hitch components explained

In this guide, we focus on WDH's that use vertical brackets because they are the most popular type. 

Vertical brackets, as opposed to vertical chains, also offer sway control.

Vertical chain 'brackets' do not. 

Sway control is important when you are towing a trailer requiring a weight distribution hitch.

Chain style weight distribution hitch with add-on anti-sway control

Spring Arms With Chain Lift

Spring Arms:

Weight distribution hitches are available with two styles of spring arms:

  • Trunnion
  • Round bar. (Except for the Andersen, which replaces the metal arm with a chain)

Trunnion: Trunnion arms come straight back from the hitch head which gives them better ground clearance compared to a round bar setup.

Trunion Style Spring Arm weight distribution hitch example

Example Of A Trunnion Arm Weight Distribution Hitch

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. 

Round Style Spring Bar weight distribution hitch example

Example Of A Round Bar Weight Distribution Hitch

The bent style puts them closer to the ground, sometimes causing ground clearance issues in lower trailers.

Camp Addict Kelly had this style and struggled with ground clearance issues with her hitch from day one. Keep this in mind if you have a low-riding rig.

Towing Pieces and Parts

You will have to have certain parts before you can tow your rig with or without a weight distribution hitch:

1. Your tow vehicle WITH a hitch receiver (DUR!)

2. Your trailer (DOUBLE duh...)

3. A trailer hitch for your vehicle (this will come with a weight distribution kit)

4. The hitch ball (round thinggy that the trailer attaches to) sized properly to fit your trailer's coupler

5. Coupler (the part on your trailer that goes onto the ball - this will be part of your trailer's frame)

6. Safety chains

7. Trailer wire harness for lights/brakes and a receptacle on your tow vehicle to plug your trailer's wiring into

8. Breakaway Cable. This engages your trailer brakes in the event your trailer is disconnected from your tow vehicle. Connect ONLY to the tow vehicle itself, never to the receiver connected to the tow vehicle!

Each of these items is necessary to safely pull a trailer.

Trailer Hitch Receiver 'Classes'

Dangit- something else we have to know about? Yerp. Not all trailer hitch receivers are alike. Be very aware- they can vary in the amount of trailer weight they can handle.

trailer hitch receiver

Trailer Hitch Receiver

Trailer hitch receivers (the part of your tow vehicle that 'accepts' the trailer hitch) come in different weight classes, between 1 and 5.

Your vehicle's owner's manual will tell you what class receiver it comes equipped with and/or the weight it's able to tow.

Weight Distribution Hitch Bonus

Use of a weight distribution hitch on Class 3 through Class 5 hitch receivers may increase the maximum allowed trailer weight and/or the maximum trailer tongue weight.

Always consult your vehicle's owner manual for the maximum weights allowed for your exact vehicle.

Typically, you will not need a weight distribution hitch with a Class 1 or 2 trailer hitch as you will be towing a very light trailer.

Most of the time travel trailers that require a Class 3, 4, or 5 hitch will need a weight distribution hitch.

Always consult your tow vehicle's owner manual to see if there are any specific recommendations about weight distribution hitch use directly from the tow vehicle manufacturer.

OK, now you know which class receiver you have, or which one you need for the trailer you are looking at towing.

Let's move on to your vehicle's towing capacity.

How Much Can Your Vehicle Tow?

Boy oh boy, we get it.

MORE stuff to know! 

Yes, it's all-important, so let's continue on.

You've got this!

We are going to walk you through it. 

Your tow vehicle is 'rated' to tow and to carry only a certain amount of weight.

No, your Ford Ranger CANNOT pull that 30' travel trailer you have been eyeballing.

Why?

Well, it should be obvious just by looking at the two together.

But FYI, it's not rated to pull 9,800 pounds.

So how do you know, or find out, how much your vehicle CAN pull?

Your best bet is to look it up in your tow vehicle's manual.

If you don't have it, most manuals can be found on the manufacturer's website. 

Or, here's a convenient guide to vehicle tow ratings from Trailer Life Magazine.

You can search your vehicle and year to find your maximum towing weight (though this weight may depend on the equipment your particular vehicle is equipped with).

Weighing Your Travel Trailer

Your trailer will weigh differently depending on whether it is empty or full of your personal items.

Therefore, you have to know what your trailer weighs when it's loaded versus when it's unloaded (the amount the manufacturer claims your rig weighed when it left the factory).

Having an accurate weight ensures that your trailer isn't loaded above what its maximum weight rating is and that your tow vehicle has enough towing capability to safely pull your trailer.

It also will tell you what the weight rating your weight distribution hitch needs to be.

It's pretty important to weigh your trailer.

Actually, it's vital you know how much your trailer weighs!

You need to know how much your travel trailer weighs when loaded for a typical trip. 

This includes cargo, propane, and water.

This is because every weight distribution hitch is rated for a certain trailer weight.

You don't want to get a hitch rated too heavy or too light.

So you need to know your travel trailer weight and your tongue weight.

Typical bathroom scale

Um, You Need A Bigger Scale!

Yo- You're gonna need a scale to get a weight. How else do you expect to weigh your trailer? 

Where on earth can you find a scale big enough to weigh your travel trailer?

There are commercial scales at some truck stops such as Love's and Flying J, as well as at some highway weigh stations.

It may be prudent to call ahead and make sure they allow RVs to be weighed.

There is usually a fee involved.

Again, there are two weights you will want to get:

1. Trailer tongue weight

2. Trailer gross weight

Trailer Tongue Weight Measurement

There are 4 ways to measure your travel trailer's tongue weight: 

  • Commercial scale
  • Bathroom scale
  • Tongue weight scale
  • Weigh Safe Ball Mount. 

Of these methods, only one (commercial scale) will allow you to also get the trailer gross weight, so this is the method we recommend.

Weigh With Trailer And Tow Vehicle Loaded

Anytime you weigh your rig, have it loaded just as it would be when you typically use it. 

The same gear inside (personal items, food, etc), the same amount of water in the fresh tank that you have when you tow, and with full propane tanks.

This way you are getting an accurate and realistic weight.

The same holds true for your tow vehicle if you are using the commercial scale method and are weighing your tow vehicle to see how well your weight distribution hitch is setup.

It should be loaded as it normally is when you are towing your trailer.

Don't forget to include passenger weight!

Commercial Scale Method (to determine tongue weight and trailer gross weight)

Once you have located a commercial scale and verified they will let you weigh your RV, it's time to get busy!

Depending on if you have a weight distributing hitch setup or if you are looking to only to figure out your trailer tongue weight, choose one of the two methods to weigh your setup:

Figuring Out Tongue Weight Only

This requires two separate weighings. 

One with the trailer connected to your tow vehicle and one with just the tow vehicle (trailer not connected).

For the first weighing, you will need to press the call button and tell the clerk that this is your first weigh.

They may ask you for your truck number.

Just tell them that you are an RV.

When you are taking your second weighing, you will need to be very clear that this is a re-weigh.

If not, you may be charged the full price for the second weighing (re-weighs are usually cheaper).

QT commercial scale

Typical Commercial Scale

Travel trailer on commercial scale

Trailer And Tow Vehicle On Scale

Weigh as follows:

  1. Weigh your tow vehicle with the trailer attached. Position your setup so that the trailer axle(s) are on one weighing 'pad' and your tow vehicle's axles are on another weighing 'pad'. This will give you two separate weights on the printout you will get at the end. When checking tongue weight only, you don't care about the trailer weight number - just the tow vehicle's weight. This is weight A.
  2. Drive off the scale and detach your trailer from your tow vehicle. Drive JUST the tow vehicle back onto the scale, making sure it's on just one weighing 'pad'. (Tell the scale operator this is a 're-weigh' so you don't get charged the full amount for a second weighing.) This is weight B.
  3. Go collect your weighing slips from the scale operator (you will be getting two slips). It's time to do the math! Subtract weight B (tow vehicle without a trailer attached) from weight A (tow vehicle with trailer attached) to get the tongue weight.

Weight A - Weight B = tongue weight. It's really that simple!

Figuring Out Tongue Weight AND How Well Your Weight Distribution Hitch Is Doing Its Job

Figuring out how well your weight distribution hitch is distributing weight, as well as what your trailer tongue weight is, can be a bit more involved than getting only your tongue weight.

It's not very hard.

It just requires three weighings instead of just two when only figuring out tongue weight.

Spreadsheet To Help Calculate Trailer Weights

We put together a Google Sheet (spreadsheet) that you can use to calculate the tongue weight and to see if your weight distributing hitch is setup properly.

You will need to enter the weights that you get when you follow the instructions in the below section. The Spreadsheet can be found here.

(You will have to log into your Google account and you will be forced to make a copy of this Sheet so you won't be 'messing' with the original.)

A big THANK YOU to our reader, 'Jim'! He emailed us letting us know he took our original version and made it MUCH more useful by adding extra 'gee-whiz' stuff. We decided it was much better and we are now using it. Thank you, Jim!

This takes three separate weighings. 

  1. One with the trailer connected and weight distribution engaged (so weight is being transferred to your tow vehicle's front axle).
  2. One with the trailer connected and weight distribution disengaged (no transfer of weight to the tow vehicle's front axle). 
  3. And finally, you will be weighing your tow vehicle by itself (trailer not hooked up).

For the first weighing, you will need to press the call button and tell the clerk that this is your first weigh.

They may ask you for your truck number.

Just tell them you are an RV.

When you are taking your second and third weighing, you will need to be very clear that this is a re-weigh.

If not, you may be charged the full price for the second and third weighing (re-weighs are usually cheaper).

Weigh as follows:

  1. Weigh your tow vehicle with the trailer attached and the weight distribution bars/ mechanism engaged. Each axle will need to be weighed individually. You will weigh the trailer axle(s) on one pad of the commercial scale, the rear axle of the tow vehicle on another pad, and the front axle on a third pad. See the pictures and the video below to see how this is done. This will give you three separate weights on the printout you get when you are done weighing.
  2. WITHOUT moving your tow vehicle and trailer, disconnect the weight distribution bars/ mechanism. Take the second weighing. (Tell the scale operator this is a 're-weigh' so you don't get charged the full amount for a second weighing.) You will get another three separate weights on the printout you get when done.
  3. Drive off the scale and detach your trailer from your tow vehicle. Drive JUST the tow vehicle back onto the scale, making sure the front and rear axles are on separate weighing 'pad', just like they were for the first two weighings. (Tell the scale operator this is a 're-weigh' so you don't get charged the full amount for a second weighing.) This will give you a set of two weights on the printouts you will collect.
  4. Go collect your weighing slips from the scale operator (you will be getting three slips). Make sure you make notes on each of the three weigh slips which weighing they represent, so you know which is the one with the weight distribution bars connected, disconnected and the tow vehicle by itself.

It's time to enter all of these weights into the Google Sheets spreadsheet that we've created for you.

Tow vehicle on commercial scale

Tow Vehicle Axles On Separate 'Pads'

Travel trailer axle on commercial scale

Trailer Axles On It's Own 'Pad'

How To Position A Trailer On A Commercial Scale

Make sure to enter the correct weights in the correct spots.

Then the spreadsheet will do the heavy lifting for you.

Whew!

You are done!

You now know what your trailer tongue weight is.

You also know how well your weight distribution hitch is distributing the weight of the trailer to the tow vehicle's front axle.

Front Axle Weight

If your weight distribution hitch is properly set up, both of these statements should ring true:

  1. There should be very little difference between the front axle weight with your tow vehicle not connected to the trailer (tow vehicle weight alone) and the front axle weight with the trailer connected and the weight distribution hitch working to distribute the weight to the front axle.
  2. You never want the hitch to cause more weight to be put on the front axle than when the vehicle is not towing. The aim is to get the front axle weight when towing (and weight distributing hitch engaged) to be as close, without going over, to the front axle weight of the tow vehicle when the trailer isn't attached.

Bathroom Scale Method (to determine tongue weight)

For this, you will need:

  • A cinder block (or block of wood) that is the same thickness/height as your scale
  • Two small steel pipes
  • Bathroom scale
  • A piece of wood (4x4 preferably) that is at least 4 feet long
Figuring tongue weight

The above chart pretty well explains how to set up your scale system.

You can view the video directly below to see the process demonstrated.

The main constant is that you must put the tongue 1-foot away from the end that doesn't have the scale.

The other side can be 2, 3, or even 4 feet away from the tongue.

Keep it at a 2-foot minimum. 

The spacing you choose determines how you do your math.

If you use the above scenario, you are using a 2-foot scale-tongue gap and a 1-foot block-tongue gap. 

Therefore, you have a 2:1 ratio.

This means that the scale will only support 1/3 of the tongue weight.

In our example where you are using a spacing of 2 feet and 1 foot, you add the two distances together, which is three.

This is your multiplier.

Your math will be to multiply what the scale says by three.

For example, if the scale says 220, then 220 x 3 = 660.

Therefore your tongue weight is 660 pounds.

Say you use three feet in between the tongue and the scale, then you have a 3:1 ratio and will multiply the scale reading by 4 (3+1).

Thankfully, it's pretty simple math.

The idea of using this method is to keep the tongue weight from being directly on the scale and breaking it.

Most average sized travel trailers will have a tongue weight that is more than a typical bathroom scale can handle.

  • When using this method to figure out tongue weight, make sure that the trailer is level when taking the measurements, and that the 4x4 piece of wood is also level. Being level is the key to an accurate measurement.

Measuring Tongue Weight With A Bathroom Scale

Tongue Weight Scale Method (to determine tongue weight)

These scales are made just for this purpose but can be a little costly.

They are simple small scales made to take the weight of a trailer tongue up to the number of pounds they are rated for.

To use, simply place the scale under the tongue jack while the trailer is connected to the tow vehicle.

Then disconnect the trailer as usual (be SURE you have the trailer chocked!) and then get it level from front to back.

The scale will measure how much tongue weight is on your tow vehicle when connected.

Is Your Hitch Height Way Off? No Bueno.

This applies as long as your travel trailer is properly leveled when connected to your tow vehicle.

If your trailer is very unlevel, you need to get the hitch adjusted so that tow vehicle and trailer are at least close to level for the actual tongue weight to match what the scale says.

Sherline Trailer Tongue Scale

Weigh Safe Ball Mount Method (to determine tongue weight)

The Weigh Safe Hitch is a hitch with a scale built-in.

It's as simple as that. 

You connect the trailer to the hitch, and bammo.

You have a fairly accurate trailer tongue weight showing in the trailer hitch itself.

This option will be more expensive than the other methods but is also helpful as your tongue weight can change with varying cargo, water, and propane levels.

  • This hitch isn't compatible with any of the reviewed weight distribution hitches. It can be used to tow a trailer that doesn't require a weight distribution hitch. Unless you need such a hitch, this would be an expensive way to figure out tongue weight.
Weigh Safe hitch

Proper Cargo Weight Distribution

The worst thing you can do for your setup is to add a lot of weight behind the axle (wheels) of your travel trailer. 

As a general rule, you should have 60% of your cargo weight in FRONT of the trailer axle, and 40% of the weight behind the trailer axle.

Why is this?

The more weight in the back, the heavier your 'butt end' becomes (and the less weight there is on the trailer's tongue).

If the heavy butt end of your trailer gets pushed to the side a little by a sudden gust of wind, or a quick little correction, or a semi passing you, it can start to swing (sway) out of control.

This model car demonstration is the best thing we have found to help you understand what happens when you heavily load the rear of your trailer. 

Watch and learn.

What Happens With Too Much Weight At Rear Of Trailer

The below-reviewed weight distribution hitches all utilize a form of sway control.

This helps limit this trailer sway (swing).

However, these types of anti-sway systems are not foolproof.

They have limits to the amount of sway they can help with.

You also need to have your trailer's load distributed properly so that your trailer's tongue weight is within the proper range of 10-15% of the trailer's total weight.

You think the first video was a fluke?

Here's another example:

Handling Affected By Trailer Weight Distribution

As you can see, overloading the back end of your trailer is a no-no.

So how do you know how much your cargo weighs?

It's not like you weigh every little item that goes into or out of your RV.

That would be impossible.

It's simple to find out if your travel trailer is properly balanced.

You will need to know your trailer tongue weight, and the weight of your loaded trailer to figure this out (learn how to weigh your rig).

If your cargo is loaded properly, your trailer tongue weight should be between 10% and 15% of the total weight of your fully loaded travel trailer.

For example, if your trailer weighs 7,000 lbs fully loaded, a tongue weight of 700 to 1050 pounds would be perfect.

Actually, 12% is best, but getting exactly 12% may be difficult.

A few percentage points either way is OK.

Sway Control: Built-In VS Add-On 

A weight distribution hitch can either come standard with some sort of sway control built-in to the design, or it comes without any sway control and requires an optional, add-on device if you want to try to control trailer sway.

There's a big difference between these two options.

Let's explain.

All of the weight distribution hitches reviewed on this page 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, built-in sway control is typically much more effective than using an add-on device.

A WDH with built-in sway control commonly uses friction between the spring arms and the spring arm mounting brackets that attach to the trailer frame.

Others incorporate friction points where the spring arms meet the hitch head.

The spring arms are forced 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.

This helps limit sway.

Equal-i-zer weight distribution hitch

Spring Bar And Bracket Built-In Anti-Sway Capability

An add-on sway control device is a friction arm that is added as an afterthought.

It attaches to one side of your weight distribution hitch, between the trailer frame and the hitch head that is mounted on your tow vehicle.

You can adjust the amount of friction the arm has by cranking down on a handle.

Curt anti sway control bar

Add-On Anti-Sway Bar

Chain style weight distribution hitch with add-on anti-sway control

Add-On Anti-Sway Bar Installation

Add-On Sway Bar Drawbacks

There are several drawbacks to this type of system.

You must disconnect it to backup or to turn tightly.

Also, they have to be removed in slippery conditions (gravel, rain, ice, snow, sand, etc).

Oh, wait, it's raining?

Let me pull over and remove this device.

Plus, the add-on systems just don't work as well.

Progress Manufacturing claims that the built-in anti-sway capabilities of their Equal-i-zer hitch is equal to 8 add-on sway bars (you can only install one, so you can see the difference).

Summary

There you have it.

You are now fully armed to know if you need a weight distribution hitch, what kind of WDH you will want, and how to tow your travel trailer using one.

You know that you need one if the back of your tow vehicle sags, if you are towing a trailer of any appreciable size, or if your tow vehicle's manual specifically says to use one.

If you need to get a weight distribution hitch, you can find out which will work best for you by checking out the reviews directly below.

Be safe out there on the roads.

Don't pull your trailer at speeds faster than your travel trailer's tire ratings.

This is very dangerous and often leads to horrifying and unnecessary accidents due to blowouts.

And don't be crazy when you are towing.

You CANNOT drive 'normally' when you are towing a trailer.

If you don't like to follow rules, make this the one that you do.

Weight Distribution Hitch Reviews

We've narrowed down the field to the best options among the many available weight distribution hitches out there.

All of the below-reviewed weight distribution hitches have sway control built-in.

We feel strongly that any trailer that needs a WDH 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 weight distributing hitch that is most worthy of serious consideration.

It eliminates the hassle with the conventional spring arms.

Read on to learn more about why we picked these three WDH's for our 'best of'. 

Best Weight Distribution Hitch

Andersen Weight Distribution Hitch

Andersen weight distribution hitch

Pros

  • Easy to setup & adjust
  • Silent and no need to grease
  • Ball mount included
  • No bars to install or store
  • Can use ball mount alone if you don't need to use as weight distribution hitch
  • Light - weighs under 60 pounds

Cons

  • No deal breakers

The Andersen 'No-Sway' Weight Distribution Hitch revolutionizes how weight distributing hitches work.

They did away with the traditional spring bar style weight distribution mechanism and replaced it with a much simpler to use chain mechanism.

This results in a much lighter, totally silent, and easier to use setup that deserves a hard look.

The above 'Pros' highlight just some of the advantages of the Andersen WDH. 

Best Traditional Style Weight Distribution Hitch

Equal-i-zer Weight Distribution Hitch

Equal-i-zer weight distribution hitch

Pros

  • Unlike other spring bar WDH systems with add-on friction controls, you do not need to disconnect anything while backing up or driving in bad weather
  • Trunnion bars provide ground clearance
  • 4-point anti-sway system
  • Proven design that's been around a long time

Cons

  • Can be noisy
  • Requires periodic greasing
  • Have to store bars when not in use
  • Hitch ball is an additional purchase
  • 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 WDH setup, has been in business for over 70 years.

They have been making the Equal-i-zer hitch for a long time.

In other words, they have a proven system when it comes to spring bar style weight distribution hitches.

If you are looking for a proven system that has been used by thousands of trailer owners, over countless towing miles, the Equal-i-zer WDH is definitely the right choice.

Our top choice, the Andersen WDH, offers some advantages to this spring bar system.

If you like systems that have been around for decades, the Equal-i-zer hitch is the way to go.

Best Budget Weight Distribution Hitch

Fastway e2 Weight Distribution Hitch

e2 round bar weight distribution hitch

Pros

  • Low cost option
  • Trunnion bar option for greater ground clearance
  • Does not need add-on sway controls, unlike a chain-style spring bar WDH
  • Unlike other spring bar WDH systems that use add-on friction controls, you do not need to disconnect anything for backing or driving in bad weather

Cons

  • Can be noisy
  • Only 2 points of friction for anti-sway control
  • Hitch ball is an additional purchase
  • Have to store bars when not in use
  • Initial setup can be a bit tricky

The Fastway e2 weight distribution hitch is manufactured by Progress Manufacturing, who also makes the Equal-i-zer WDH.

The e2 line of hitches offer similar weight distribution properties as the Equal-i-zer hitches (but not as good anti-sway capability) at a more affordable price point.

The Fastway e2 weight distribution hitches are a MUCH better option than having a simple ball mount, and are a definite step up from the chain-style weight distribution hitches (that require add-on anti-sway bars).

Hensley and ProPride Hitches

The above-reviewed weight distribution hitches use friction as a means 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 pony up the big bucks and go with a different kind of weight distribution hitch.

Hensley Hitch

Hensley Hitch by Hensley Manufacturing

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! 

A Hensley Hitch will set you back anywhere from 5 to 10 times the cost of one of the 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 the last 6 years, but as of late, he has been yearning for something a little easier to hitch up with.

Ideally an Andersen.

Marshall's Hensley Hitch

Marshall's Hensley Hitch

Besides the extra cost, a Hensley Hitch is heavier than a traditional weight distribution hitch.

This adds weight to the trailer tongue.

Many trailers cannot afford to have this extra weight.

Two manufacturers make a Hensley-style weight distribution hitch. Hensley Manufacturing and Pro Pride Incorporated.

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.

Hitch Accessories

Now that you have that shiny new weight distribution hitch, 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 useful.

Hitch Receiver Lock

Your weight distribution 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. 

There are many hitch receiver locks on the market that provide a locking pin.

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 cause them to work at it.

It's worth the low price of a hitch receiver lock to give yourself a little more protection.

Master Lock 2866DATSC hitch receiver lock

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 in a turn, 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 type of 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).

Reese hitch ball grease

Trailer Hitch Stabilizer / Anti-Rattle Device

The shank of your weight distribution most likely doesn't fit nice and snug into the receiver of your tow vehicle, which causes slight movement between the two as you tow your trailer down the road.

Over time, this slight movement will cause wear on both your WDH shank and your tow vehicle's receiver (wear shown below).

It can also cause a rattling sound that can be very annoying.

Trailer hitch shank wear

Hitch Shank Wear

You can use a trailer hitch stabilizer (hitch tightener) to eliminate this movement and save this wear on your hitch parts.

It also eliminates the rattling/ clanking sound that this play makes.

Talk about a win-win!

The StowAway Hitch Tightener (below) is for 2" receivers.

This is what Camp  Addict Co-Founder Marshall uses.

StowAway Hitch Tightener

StowAway Hitch Tightener Demonstration


Safety Chain Hanger

Do your safety chains hang low?

Do they occiaionally drag on the ground? 

If so, the safety chain hanger by GR Innovations (made in the USA) is something you should take a look at.

Marshalls GR Innovations chain saver class 5

Safety Chain Hanger (For Class 5 Hitch) On Marshall's Hensley Hitch

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.

The hanger doesn't interfere with the operation of the safety chains should something happen where the chains were needed.

The hanger would break free if the safety chains get stretched out.

GR Innovations supplied Camp Addict with both sizes of safety chain hangers so we could try them out.

Both Camp Addict co-founders Marshall and Kelly have been using them for over a year and find them to work very well to keep the chains up off the ground.

(Kelly here- I FRACKING LOVE mine!!! I don't know what it is but it's verrrrrry satisfying to me to have the chains up like that.)

It's now one of my favorite RV accessories.

GR Innovations chain saver class 3

Safety Chain Hanger (For Class 3 Hitch)

GR Innovations chain saver class 3 in use

Safety Chain Hanger (Class 3 Hitch) In Use

Marshalls GR Innovations chain saver class 5

Safety Chain Hanger (For Class 5 Hitch) On Marshall's Hensley Hitch

For Class 3 Hitches (orange)

For Class 5 Hitches (yellow)


EzStoreHitch

One of the problems of a weight distribution hitch setup that uses spring bars is what to do with the bars once you are parked.

One solution is to install the EzStoreHitch (assuming you have space on your trailer's tongue area).

The EzStoreHitch gives you a place to store the spring bars and also gives you storage for your hitch while you aren't using them.

With the hitch stored in the EzStoreHitch and locked with your locking pin, both the hitch and the spring bars are secured from theft.

Nifty!

EzStoreHitch

EzStoreHitch Spring Bar and Hitch Storage


HitchGrip

The HitchGrip is a lightweight tool that allows you to easily and ergonomically lift your hitch to install or remove it from your tow vehicle.

With the HitchGrip you no longer have to touch a dirty, greasy hitch.

Designed to fit hitches with 2 5/16" balls with standard-sized shanks, the HitchGrip is made from industrial strength resin and has tungsten carbide tips that 'hold' the hitch ball. 

It's a pretty cool tool that makes a potentially dirty, back-breaking job a bit easier and cleaner.

HitchGrip
HitchGrip in use

HitchGrip In Use

HitchGrip Hitch Lifting Tool


Trailer Coupler Lock

When your trailer is not connected to your tow vehicle, though rare, it is a potential target for theft.

The entire trailer, that is.

Think about it.

Your trailer 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 trailer coupler lock solutions on the market.

Most can be easily defeated by anyone with a crowbar or a reciprocating saw.

If you are serious about locking your trailer coupler, consider a locking solution like the Coupler Vault Pro.

This lock is pretty darn hard to break into.

Most thieves are going to give up before they can tow your trailer away.

Yes, it's pricey, but your trailer is way, way more expensive.

MegaHitch Lock Coupler Vault Pro
MegaHitch Lock Coupler Vault Pro coupled

Coupler Vault Pro In Use

Coupler Vault Pro by MegaHitch Lock

Your Dealer Might Be Clueless

Many people rely on their dealer to help them choose, and install, a weight distribution hitch setup.

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.

Lack of knowledge on the internet and MAJOR lack of knowledge 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 there are many more dealerships employing salesmen AND installers who know very little about what they are doing. 

Weight distribution 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 and/or have people on staff that have a clue.

This wasn't the case with Kelly's dealer.

"The dealer I (Kelly) purchased my travel trailer from did the installation of a Fastway e2 weight distribution hitch.

I relied on them to tell me what I needed, what weight capacity was required, and to install it for me.

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 weight capacities).

They managed to mess up all of it. 

Here are some things they screwed up:

  • Fastway offers weight distribution hitches with gross trailer weight ratings ranging from 4,500 pounds to 10,000 pounds. Ideally, you would select a hitch that is rated just above what your trailer's maximum weight would be. Or more correctly, how much your trailer actually weighs fully loaded. My trailer only weighs (as it is loaded the way I use it) around 4,400 pounds. It weighs 3800 dry. Yet the dealer installed the highest rated (and most expensive) hitch at 10,000 pounds . This caused my setup to ride rougher and is harder for me to deal with the oversized spring arms.
  • The brackets that attach the spring arms to my trailer frame were installed upside down. This caused a gap between the bottom of the frame and the lower bracket bolt. There is supposed to be no gap here as a gap causes bowing of the brackets when you tighten the attaching bolts down to the proper torque. Guess what? Because of frequent bottoming out, both of my brackets had a very pronounced bow in them, rendering them unusable. I replaced them with a new pair from a friend who was ALSO not happy with his e2 and had purchased something else. 
Fastway e2 weight distribution hitch bracket bolt space

Gap Between Trailer Frame and Bottom Bracket Bolt

Bent Fastway e2 weight distribution hitch bracket

Spring Bar Bracket Bowing

  • The brackets themselves hang too low on my trailer frame. This is a design issue more than an installation issue. Because my trailer rides so low, it doesn't allow for sufficient clearance between the bottom of the brackets and the ground with the way the dealer installed the system. My brackets are constantly hitting the asphalt whenever I pull in/out of a driveway/gas station with any sort of slight dip. The brackets constantly hitting the ground, combined with there being a gap between the bolt and frame (as mentioned above), caused the brackets to bow. All because the dealer didn't properly install my WDH and caused my brackets to ride too low.

All of the above-mentioned issues would be eliminated if I had an Andersen weight distribution hitch installed. (UPDATE:  I now do, as of August, 2018.)

It is a much better choice for my ground clearance challenged trailer I have."

Here is a video of Kelly explaining the issues she's had with her Fastway e2 hitch:

Kelly's Hitch Issues (Thank You, Dealer!)

Kelly's e2 weight distribution hitch issues caused by the installing dealer doing a hack job have been rectified.

We spent a good 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, as well as a trailer that rides level (was slightly nose down before).

Kelly still wasn't in love with the e2 system, but she was not as annoyed as she was when there were ground clearance issues.

OK, she is still not happy with it.

Her beef with it was it was a pain in the rear to attach and detach, and bottoming out caused the L brackets to come off, hence causing the bar to come off the bracket. 

The 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 this All. The. Time.

It is an inherent problem with the style of hitch, which is why we recommend the Andersen weight distribution hitch.

(Update April 2019: I am VERY happy with my Andersen hitch. It took a little getting used to, but now I am SO much happier.) 

Conclusion

That's it!

You are new armed with knowledge on if and why you need a weight distribution hitch.

It's essential to use to keep yourself and others safe on the road. 

We also let you know which hitches we believe to be the best and why.

If you have any questions, please submit them to the comments below.

Read the comments first in case your question has already been answered there. 

We will reply to as many as we can.

Thank you, and Camp On, Addicts!

Camp Addict Kelly
Kelly Beasley

Kelly Beasley is co-founder of Camp Addict and loves sharing her enthusiasm for the RVing lifestyle. As a full-time RVer since May 2015, Kelly's playful writing style helps make learning about the sometimes dull subject of RV products a bit more interesting.


Marshall Headshot
Marshall Wendler

Camp Addict co-founder Marshall Wendler brings his technical expertise to help explain RV products in an easy to understand fashion. Full-time RVing since April 2014, Marshall loves sharing his knowledge of the RV lifestyle.

  • Good morning, I have been reading your article on weight distributing hitches. Thanks for the in depth information. One of the more informative articles I have seen. My wife and I have just purchased a 2016 Rockwood 2304DS. Gvwr for trailer is 6600 lbs. I have not purchased a weight distributing hitch yet. Unit has been winterized and dealer is storing for the winter. So I have a lot of time to decide on hitch. Have been looking at a Blue Ox model that is sold by dealer for us to use. I also have been reading your information on the Anderson hitch but am still not sure sure which would be best for us to purchase. Our tow vehicle is a 2019 Ford F150 3.5 l ecoboost,max trailer tow package and payload of 1940lbs. My hesitation with Anderson set up is how it actually works. Physics was never my strong subject. Could you provide some sites that would help with this. Thanks Tom Van Nus

    • Hi Tom,

      I glad you like the Weight Distribution Hitch page! There is definitely a lot to learn about the subject.

      The manufacturer’s page has some videos that may, or may not, answer your question.

      Another great source of information on how the hitch works is Andersen themselves. I’ve found them to be very helpful on the phone with questions. You can give them a call at 208-523-6460.

      Hope that helps! The Andersen is a great hitch and Kelly loves how easy it is to use.

  • Thanks for the info and your writing style!
    Question… what are your thoughts on the ReCurve R3 and R6… I am a newby and looking into this TWD stuff for the first time.

    • Hey Jay,

      Glad you like both the information and our writing style! We try and make otherwise boring topics a bit more fun. Though, I must admit, Kelly is MUCH better at this than I am.

      So the ReCurve R3 and R6… They sure do look intriguing until you dig a little deeper. Take a look at the instruction/installation manuals and you’ll see that they share some of the ‘gotchas’ as add-on sway control systems have, as we explain above in the Built-In vs Add-On Sway Control section.

      The instruction manual for both say the following: “With the ReCurve you also have the option to disengage the sway control function to prevent any unsafe maneuvering situations in adverse weather conditions which may produce slippery road surfaces.” Oh, joy. When the weather turns to crap, let me stop and disengage my sway control. Um, no thanks!

      In addition to the ‘gotta disconnect when the roads are slick’ good times, they further say this about how to store the ReCurve: “The ReCurve R3/R6 should also be stored with the preload removed from the (adaptive) sway system. To remove the preload repeat the disengagement steps.”

      So you have to disengage the sway control every time you disconnect the trailer from the tow vehicle. Hitching and unhitching is already enough of a pain, having to remember to do another step is just adding to the workload. Especially when the weight distribution hitches reviewed on this page don’t have such a requirement.

      For these reasons alone, we don’t recommend the ReCurve line of weight distribution hitches.

  • Thanks for the information. Very helpful. We’re in the process of purchasing our first travel trailer. NoBo 19.8 and plan to tow with a Toyota 4Runner. The dealer is trying to sell us a Husky Centerline Weight distribution hitch that they say includes a no-sway system. My brother has been towing trailers for years and recommends the EAZ Lift 48058, which definitely has a sway system. Can’t seem to find reviews on either. Do you have any thoughts on either?

    Thanks
    Josh

    • Hey Josh,

      Congratulations on your first travel trailer. It should bring you many years of great camping memories!

      Those two weight distribution hitches that you mention appear to have the ‘add-on’ style anti-sway system as opposed to the built-in style (which are included with the hitches reviewed on this page).

      We discuss why you should go with a built-in system versus an add on system in the text above, which you can find here.

      Best of luck with your new rig!

      • Thanks, Marshall. I see what you mean about add-on Sway control for the EAZ Lift. However, I was under the impression that the Huskey Centerline has anti-sway incorporated with the weight distribution hitch and it was not an add on. Every one I see has the trunion bars included. Is that not the same thing? I apologize for my lack of understanding.
        Josh

        • Hey Josh,

          Sorry about the delay in responding. Just noticed your reply now.

          Ah, yes, you are correct! The Husky website is, how shall I put this delicately, kinda confusing and hard to use. When I first looked I only saw their original weight distribution hitch that requires the add-on sway control.

          They do have the Centre Line (or is it Centerline as stated in the manual? Let’s hear it for consistency!) TS product that uses the same friction control system as the Equal-i-zer and Fastway e2 hitches we review here. Along with all the ‘joys’ that come with having to deal with spring bars.

          If this is the style of hitch you want to go with, then the Centre Line/Centerline TS appears to be a viable option.

  • Hi Kelly and Marshall,
    I just found your website tonight and I’ll say that I really like it.
    I came across it while trying to find something discussing safety chain length with a Weight distribution hitch.
    I was replacing the chains on my camper because they are old and worn out but more importantly, they were too short.
    I have a 2003 Jayco Kiwi 21C (dry weight 3270) that I pull with a Kia Sorento (5,000 lbs towing capacity for my model) with an aftermarket Uhaul hitch (also rated 5,000 lbs).
    The Jayco Kiwi bolts the chains under the hitch about 4 inches apart (they actually use just one long chain bolted in the middle).
    So, in the process of figuring out everything, I came across this whitepaper: https://www.linklock.net/wp-content/uploads/2018/09/Trailer-Safety-Chain-White-Paper.pdf that talked all about hitch failures and how your chains should be set.
    Now, after I got my new chains on, I needed to set length, so I decided to use their calculator ( https://www.linklock.net/application/) to determine what my chain length should be.
    Well, they come up with a length of 13 inches, which doesn’t come close to what I need to attach to my receiver.
    I got thinking about it and if, for some reason, my TT tongue did manage to life up off of the ball or hitch, there is no way that chains attached to the receiver on the truck could ever catch the tongue and keep it off the ground.
    That scarred me until I realized that almost all the common failures are much harder to happen while you are using a WDH. How can the TT tongue lift off of the ball when the torsion bars are pulling the TT tongue down (or more accurately pushing the hitch and the back of the truck up)?
    So, what kind of failures due we expect to happen while we have a WDH in play and how should we set up our chains to try to prevent it from being a catastrophic problem?
    I hope my question makes sense. I’m looking forward to hearing your response.
    Thanks,
    -Brenda

    • Hey Brenda,

      Glad you found, and like, Camp Addict!

      Unfortunately I cannot view those links as their security certificate has expired so my browser is having a fit and doesn’t want me to open what is now an unsecure website.

      There really isn’t much you can do about WHERE the safety chains attach as it’s pretty much set by the trailer manufacturer and the hitch manufacturer. What you can control is the length of the chain (as you are trying to do) and where the breakaway cable is attached. See this blog post that discusses breakaway cable attach points (and what can happen if the hitch fails).

  • I have had 3 trailers setup by Andy Thompson at Can Am RV using his recommended Elite WDH and one setup elsewhere using an Anderson WDH. On my Grand Caravan I towed a 22’ Airstream with the Elite WDH and a Livin Lite DBS 14 with the Anderson Setup. The dealer used the Anderson as they were concerned about damaging the hitch A frame with a conventional WDH as it is all aluminum. Although the Anderson was pretty good at sway control, it was not capable of the weight transfer required to tow with a front wheel drive mini van. Andy Thompson and Can Am RV specialize hitch setup and are the only dealer I have ever dealt with that take you out for a test drive after doing the trailer setup. They have done tests and do not recommend the Anderson WDH. Andy has published a series of articles called “Hitch Hints” that I recommend anyone interested in towing read. He is considered very controversial by many for some of his combinations but they have been doing this for over 50 years.

    • Thanks for the information, Larrry. It’s definitely a case of there is no one right setup for every tow vehicle and trailer combination. And yes, there are as many opinions about what the correct setup is as there are people towing. Best bet is to arm yourself with as much (good, useful) information and knowledge on the topic and then go get some experience yourself.

      You towed a 22′ Airstream with a Dodge Grand Caravan minivan??? Even the smallest Airstream currently available (16′ Bambi) has a GVWR that is touching the maximum a Grand Caravan can tow. The current 22′ Airstream is way over the weight limit that a Dodge minivan is rated to tow.

      Unless the 22′ Airstream in question was substantially lighter than the current production models, this is/was not a good tow setup. A Dodge Caravan isn’t an ideal tow vehicle for any travel trailer so it’s no surprise that the weight distribution hitch setup took some tweaking to be acceptable.

  • Thanks to the authors for this really great information on WD hitches.
    I read through all of it and was ready to shop for an Andersen hitch.
    But thank you commenter Scott (below) for the notice regarding Mr. Andersen’s ignorant anti-social behavior, which I did a search of to verify. A $1000 fine and an apology after public exposure? Please. If I had found out about this after buying an Andersen hitch, I would have regretted doing so every time I hooked up. It’s the Equalizer for me and I’ll never buy an Andersen product.

  • I was all set to buy an Anderson hitch, so many pros as you listed, but when I started reading about the owner defacing Corona Arch in Moab, I couldn’t give the guy my money. If he gave the company to his employees or something similar, I’d be all in.

    • Hi Scott,

      Yes, we totally understand where you are coming from. We were so disappointed when we heard the story.

      Still, our job is to educate and help consumers choose the best of ‘X’ in any given category, politics or personal failures aside.

      Though the owner acted like an ass, he still has what we believe to be the best products in more than one category.

      But we 100% respect your decision not to buy his products. We wish there were more people in the world who had morals like yours.

  • I bought a 30ft trailer, 7800 lbs loaded, towing with a 2008 Silverado 5.3L V8, ext cab, 6ft box with towing package. What’s your recommendation for weight/sway hitch?

    • Hi Darryl,

      I’d suggest you take a look at our top rated weight distribution hitch, the Andersen Hitch. On that page you will be able to pick the right part number for your particular setup. We explain how to do so.

  • Your articles are very informative and I love reading them. I bought a 16′ Travel Trailer that I will be pulling with an Expedition. The weight is 2584. Looking at the chart it appears that’s a Class 2. I am still confused as to if I need a weight distribution hitch or not. I would like to definite get sway bars. Am I missing something? Do I need to get a combination weight distribution and sway bars or can I get only sway bars? Thank you for your help.

    • Hi Marta,

      You might not need a weight distribution hitch. It depends on what your Expedition owner’s manual says as far as what trailer weight do they say you need a weight distribution hitch (WDH).

      As we mentioned at the start of this article, many manufacturers say anything above 5,000 pounds needs a WDH. Not sure what Ford says for the Expedition, but your trailer sounds like it’s well under 5,000 pounds.

      However, if your Expedition’s rear squats when you tow this light of a trailer, then that’s a sign you need a WDH. So that’s going to be something you will learn as you gain experience towing.

      You can buy just an anti-sway device by itself. For example, the Curt 17200 is one that can be used with, or without, a weight distribution hitch. I don’t have any experience with the Curt 17200. It was just the first example that came up when I did a quick Google search. You can talk to Curt directly to learn more about if this is a good solution for you.

      But if you end up needing a weight distribution hitch, you can get one with the built-in anti-sway and something like the Curt 17200 won’t be necessary.

      Have you tried towing this trailer yet? Just curious if you notice the Expedition squatting or if you notice the trailer wanting to sway.

  • Hello, great article and very, very informative. What do you know about the Husky Center-Line 32218? It is a WDH with sway control.
    Thank you,
    Rick

    • Hey Rick,

      That hitch is very similar in style and operation to the spring bar hitches that we review. I personally think ALL spring bar weight distribution hitches are a royal PITA since you have to deal with the spring bars both when connecting the rig and when not using the hitch (storage, etc).

      It is my opinion, and from use of both styles of hitches, that the Andersen Weight Distribution Hitch is a superior system all the way around.

  • I’ve been looking for different hitches but I don’t see your thoughts on the Trunnion Style Weight Distribution Kit that uses cam locks and duel cams.

    • Hey Zack,

      Both the Fastway e2 and the Equal-i-zer have trunnion bar options.

      They are just another version of spring bars, which I’m not a huge fan of but some people love. I like the Andersen much better for ease of use and storage (no damn spring bars to deal with).

  • Have Hensley Swift Arrow hitch. Love no sway, hitching up is a challenge sometimes. Question is how to secure hitch for theft prevention as I cannot find any product that would fit?

    • I have a Hensley as well and I don’t do anything for theft prevention. If someone is going to drive off with a trailer equipped with a Hensley Hitch, they will need the ‘stinger’ portion that attaches to the tow vehicle and ‘inserts’ into the hitch itself.

      Nobody, but a Hensley owner, has one of these. So the likelihood of someone ‘borrowing’ your trailer is really, really low.

      If you want some sort of theft prevention device you might consider something that goes around one or more tires. Like a ‘boot’. I don’t have any experience with something like this, so I cannot recommend a product.

    • Hi Wayne,

      Blue Ox weight distribution hitch wasn’t chosen as a top pick. 😉

      They are pretty pricey and we would much rather have the Andersen WDH for less money and not have to deal with the spring bars.

    • Hey Andrew,

      Thanks for sharing your final calculations. They look fine to me with the exception of the GVWR on the loaded trailer is a bit higher than specs, but the axle weight is well under. The rest of the weight difference is what is being supported by the Jeep’s trailer hitch. Depending on what state you live in (I really should do a blog post about this), the tongue weight either is, or isn’t, part of the overall trailer weight calculation. Or something along those lines. Again, I really should do a blog post on this so it’s ultra-clear in my head. Bottom line is that you are OK as far as the Bambi’s axle rating.

      The Jeep weights are fine too. So all is good there. I like how balanced you have the front axle weights comparing Jeep only and with WDH hooked up. Perfect!

      I found your calculations to be of particular interest because my previous tow vehicle was a 2014 Jeep Grand Cherokee. But I had the smaller engine and only had a tow rating of 6,200 pounds. I was really close to the limit with my trailer, and it showed while I towed. Not fun!

      Where did you find the GCWR of the Jeep to be 10,300 pounds? I could never find that number. I even contacted Jeep years ago and they were of zero help. Maybe it’s now published somewhere?

      If the 10,300 GCWR rating is correct, I was over by 600 pounds. Yikes! No wonder it was no fun towing with my Jeep.

      Also, your ‘Jeep only’ front and rear axle weights run about 400 pounds (each) higher than mine. Do you have your Jeep really loaded down? Still within limits. Just an interesting comparison between your weights and mine. Granted yours will be slightly higher because of the engine, but that doesn’t account for all the weight difference.

      Thanks for sharing this and happy towing!

      • Hi Marshall
        Depends on how you calculate the trailer weight to compare with the trailer GVWR. See my scratchings at the bottom of the original spreadsheet for 3 different ways. For the hooked up case, the 320 lbs might be considered an “equivalent” tongue weight. What say you?

        Addressing the GCWR. I also could not find an official number for the Jeep so I used this reference. http://tinyurl.com/y5m7rctv “According to Ford Motor Company, the GCWR is calculated by adding the following weights together: The vehicle’s listed curb weight, allowable payload, driver and passenger weight and trailer weight [source: Ford Motor Company].”

        https://docs.google.com/spreadsheets/d/1XtzdqzYHaqJur9_ftPTEOgX9rDDPkri6dD8QaNN0DVw/edit?usp=sharing

        Andy

        • Hey Andy,

          Yes, if you are looking for an equivalent tongue weight when the WDH is hooked up, that number would be 320. Though I’m not sure that number means anything because the traditional tongue weight is with WDH not engaged. That’s the one to use when figuring out percentage of tongue weight, etc. So that would be the one to use if you were in a state that allows you to take tongue weight out of the weight of the trailer for GVWR purposes. I think.

          My mind tends to want to explode thinking about this kind of stuff. So if you have a better argument, I’m all ears!

          Also a bit confused on the GCWR calculations that Ford uses. What do they mean by ‘trailer weight’? I assume that means the weight of a particular trailer. Which makes sense. You need to add the actual weight of the trailer you are pulling to the actual weight of the two vehicle. These two numbers combined let you know where you stand as far as being over or under GCWR. But GCWR has to be a fixed number determined by the manufacturer. All the trailer weight tells you is if your particular configuration (tow vehicle weight + trailer weight) is above or below GCWR.

          I still think one needs to hear straight from the manufacturer what the GCWR is. Without the manufacturer’s information, we the consumer are clueless.

          Again, I may be confused on this aspect as well. I’m willing to admit when I’m confused or don’t get something 100%, but I’m pretty confident that the GCWR has to come from the manufacturer. Just knowing the GVWR of the tow vehicle (or simply the weight in your current configuration) and the weight of the trailer does not get you to GCWR.

          Good conversation! Thank you for it!

  • Have a Hensley Arrow hitch. Store hitch bar in trailer compartment. How can I cover/protect open hitch with chains from trailer theft? Hensley rep laughed when I asked.

    • I assume you are concerned about someone getting the hitch ‘stinger’ from your trailer, put it on their truck, and steal your RV?

      I don’t worry about someone stealing my trailer since I have the Hensley installed. They would have to have a ‘stinger’ in order to steal it. And those that have these are few and far between. (Plus they would have to be able to get inside my rig and close the slide, etc, etc, etc.)

      You can always keep the Hensley hitch ‘stinger’ stored apart from your rig so that any thief would have to supply their own Hensley stinger in order to drive off with your trailer. And this is highly unlikely.

      There is no other way to secure the Hensley Hitch that I’m aware of.

  • Fabulous article! I’m looking at getting my first travel trailer and this fills in large gaps in my knowledge!

    I found one typo on the page: “Bathroom Scale Method” You note that “This means that the scale will only support 1/2 of the tongue weight.” No. The scale supports only 1/3 of the tongue weight. 1/2 the tongue weight happens when the tongue is smack-dab in the middle between the two sides. But the math you present is correct since you state to multiply it by 3.

    I have a question about the Hensley and ProPride hitches. It seems like a “stiffer” connection to the towing vehicle would attract higher forces. A gust of wind blows and the lateral force goes into the hitch immediately (no movement of the trailer allowed). In contrast, with a traditional anti-sway mechanism, the trailer “gives” a little bit (like a tree bending in the wind) and the force is absorbed over a short period of time (through the noisy friction devices). Are hitches and hitch receivers built for this greater peak force that the “rigid” hinges cause?

    • Hey Rolf,

      Thanks for pointing out that error! I got thrown off by the 2:1 right before it. And obviously a lack of coffee.

      That’s an interesting observation/question. I don’t know, but I’d assume that this is taken into account by the hitch manufacturers, but I’m no structural engineer, but make a damn good armchair one!

      The hitch manufacturers would be the ones to ask about this. But I can pipe in and say that I’ve been using my Hensley for over 5 years of full-time RV living. I have the Hensley Cub which is rated for trailers up to 6,000 pounds. Mines 5,700 pounds, so close to the max. My Hensley is ticking right along and it has experienced all sorts of conditions from cross winds to really rough Forest Service Roads. For what that’s worth…

      Best of luck with your first ever travel trailer! Buy wisely. Research the heck out of them. Buy a good brand. And most of all, enjoy the great outdoors!

  • Great article. Years ago I had a Hensley hitch and then I sold my trailer and got out of it for a few years. A few months ago I purchased the ProPride hitch and it really is an improvement over the Hensley hitch I had. That’s not really surprising considering it is the latest iteration from the same inventor, Jim Hensley. It’s so much easier to hitch up it isn’t even funny. There is no sway from passing trucks or wind. The adjustable stinger is a huge improvement as I use some tilt in the hitch head to get more weight transferred.

    • Glad you liked the page, Bill.

      Thanks for the first hand report on the ProPride. It definitely has some nice improvements over the Hensley.

      As mentioned on this page, I have a Hensley and have been using it the entire time I’ve had my Lance travel trailer (5+ years now). It’s worked great for me, but I could definitely benefit from of the product improvements found on the ProPride hitch.

      The biggest pain point for me with the Hensley hitch is the hookup procedure. Having to line up the ‘stinger’ just right in order for it to go in far enough. It looks like the same problem exists with the ProPride – sort of a nature of the beast issue. But, the fixed yoke does look like stability of the hitch head when not hitched up has been greatly simplified.

      Thanks again for the testimonial and Camp On!

      • The hitch opening on the ProPride is quite a bit larger than I remember the Hensley hitch being. I once spent over an hour hitching up my Hensley and I’ve never spent even 5 minutes getting the ProPride hitched up. You should contact them and get one for a review.

        • Hey Bill,

          The images on the ProPride website appear that it uses the same basic ‘stinger’ setup as the Hensley, but other better design features that make it easier to hookup. As long as I get the stinger into the hitch quickly, it doesn’t take long to hook up my Hensley. But when I first started using it, I sure had some struggles until I figured out the tricks.

          If ProPride wanted to send us a hitch we might consider it for review, but we have a policy with Camp Addict to not reach out for free review items (as so many other do). We either purchase the products we review, or we are contacted first by manufacturers. As I already have a Hensley, we won’t be purchasing a ProPride for review (no trailer to install it on that’s in need of a quality hitch, and it works the same basic way as the Hensley, so really no need to validate its performance).

          Glad that your ProPride is working out well for you! I do love how my Hensley performs.

  • Hensley Arrow solved a real problem for us. The combination of our particular vehicle and trailer was so bad that if wind speed was over 10 mph we didn’t dare go on the road. And on the expressway I had to constantly watch for big trucks and hold on tight and move as far right as possible to avoid sway as they passed me. The Arrow totally solved these problems. Was it expensive – yes but cheaper than buying a different car or trailer. And now I never even look to see if a big rig is coming. It’s really an unbelievable difference – couldn’t be happier.

    • Hey David,

      I love my Hensley and it was something I purchased before I hit the road over 5 years ago. With my then tow vehicle, a Jeep Grand Cherokee, I felt it was a vital piece of equipment in order to be able to tow my 24 foot travel trailer.

      Now that I’m using a Ram 2500 heavy duty pickup, I don’t ‘need’ the Hensley, but I still use it and it certainly adds to the safety factor I enjoy.

      What is your trailer and tow vehicle combination that you are using in which the Hensley made that kind of a difference?

  • Good article, thank you.

    When I first started towing I soon learned there is a lot you need to understand. In my opinion, one of the most important and one of the first things someone should learn about is pay load distribution and weight distribution hitches. If you don’t know about or understand “trailer sway” I would encourage you to become familiar with it as trailer sway can be very dangerous putting you and others in harms way.

    I knew nothing about payload distribution or trailer sway when I first started towing my camper (toy hauler). I just wanted to load it up, head to the camp ground and have fun!! A neighbor, who was experienced with towing, saw me loading up my motorcycle and came over to chat. My motorcycle is a full sized touring bike weighing approximately 900 pounds. Due to the design of my camper I have to load most of motorcycle’s weight behind the camper’s axle and off to one side. I had no clue what this would mean when pulling it down the road at 50 plus MPH.

    I asked my neighbor if he would take a ride with me and give me some pointers, he said yes so off we went. Breaking, turning, and other basis were going well. He then directed me to the highway. Highway traffic here is 70 plus MPH. I accelerated up the entrance ramp and attempted to merge into traffic; I was going approximately 55 MPH. I soon discovered some drivers did not want me in front of them and would not let me over. You know how that can go in a car, trying to merge over when you realize someone is going faster then anticipated (perhaps accelerating); the next thing you know you have to swerve to avoid being hit and you’re coming to the end of the entrance ramp. Well, experiencing that pulling a camper with an uneven payload adds a whole new dimension to the experience. The experience I’m referring to is “trailer sway”. Oh yeah…now that will make ya’ grab the steering wheel tight and pucker!!

    After that experience, I did my research and purchased the Hensley Hitch (Cub). Yes, it was way more money than I wanted to spend. I found it does what they say and for me it eliminated my trailer sway.

    Example: I pulled my camper through Hurricane Irma with wind guts well over 50 mph; although I felt the wind pushing me, the camper held steady. It was not a white-knuckle experience.

    Another time I had a tire blow out on the camper while I was traveling approximately 60 MPH and I didn’t even know it. It was approximately 20 miles down the road before I realized I had an issue (distance is what the tire store manager estimated I drove based on the condition of what was left of the tire and the condition of the rim).

    Hensley is a great system, expensive, but good. Is it worth it? When I add up the cost of the tow vehicle, the camper, the motorcycle, all the other gear the could be destroyed in the event of a trailer sway and subsequent crash, in addition to the risk to me, my family, and others, the potential hospital bills, loss of work, potential law suit…for me, it was worth the money I paid. You have to decide if it’s worth it for you.

    Safe travels my fellow campers!!

    • Glad you like the article, EZ! And thanks for the very thoughtful comment.

      I too have the Hensley Cub. It was the only way I was going to tow my 24 foot Lance Travel Trailer with my original tow vehicle, a Jeep Grand Cherokee. Not that I have a Ram 2500 Heavy Duty truck, it’s not as necessary, but I still love having it!

      We couldn’t agree more that cargo distribution is a HUGELY IMPORTANT factor! And why figuring out trailer tongue weight is vital – but only when your trailer is loaded as you would normally travel.

      It’s really scary to see how some of the trailers being towed down the road are improperly setup. Tow vehicles nose high, unlevel trailers, and even trailer sway. All this stuff makes you wonder why you don’t see more accidents involving improperly setup trailers.

      Seems like a lot of people are getting extremely lucky towing RVs that are either oversized for their tow vehicle, overweight in general, and with incorrect trailer hitches (or improperly setup hitches). Scary stuff!

      Thanks again for the great comment and Camp On!

  • My rig is a 26-foot enclosed ProLine trailer (all aluminum) that I use to carry up to four GoldWing-sized motorcycles, towed behind my ’12 F-150 Ecoboost with max towing package (max tow 11,300 lbs). I hadn’t read about using a WDH, but since the trailer weight can vary from 2500 lbs. (empty) to 6500 (with four bikes and some tools) I’ve decided to get a WDH. My thanks to you both for all the information you’ve provided and the comparison of the various types of hitch. That Andersen unit does look nice.

    • Hi Jim,

      Sounds like you’re a big motorcycle fan! I have an e-bike. Does that count? ????

      Great that you found our page, and we really appreciate the great feedback! The Andersen is great. I love it SO much more than my super maddening old e2 hitch, which you probably already read about.

      I don’t see how you can go wrong with it if you do get one. And it will keep your whole setup safer on the road.

      Thank you for the comment, and let us know how it goes!

  • When you describe the weighing of the TV and TT to get tongue weight, you do not mention when you keep the WDH on or off. When you measure the TV alone, do you have the WDH removed? This would increase the weight calculation of the tongue weight (The A-B value). If WDH is not installed on TV weigh (B) would be a lower value. Thanks

    • Hey Craig!

      Leave the shank portion of the hitch attached to your tow vehicle. This will give you the weight of the actual trailer tongue (otherwise you are counting the shank as part of the tongue weight, and for this calculation we can consider it as part of the tow vehicle).

      I guess you could make an argument that the shank is part of the trailer in that if you didn’t have the trailer, you wouldn’t need the shank. But this is overthinking (and over complicating IMHO) things.

      If we are looking for JUST the amount that the trailer applies to the back of the tow vehicle (in other words, the weight from the part that is connected at the hitch ball), then we have to leave the shank connected to the tow vehicle during the entire process).

      Short answer – leave the shank in during both weights. Hope my explanation explains why (at least in my mind) why this is so,

      Thanks for the question and Camp On!

  • Great article! How has the Anderson WD hitch worked out so far? How many trips have you guys used it on, what loads/setups, etc? I haven’t been able to get the company to answer me on whether it will distribute a 900 lbs tongue weight effectively to a Ford Raptor.

    • Thanks, Mathew! Kelly has been using the Andersen WDH since last August and likes it a heck of a lot more than her previous setup. Her trailer is in the 4,000 pound range with a tongue weight in the 400’s.

      She actually tows with a 2014 Ford Raptor, so funny you should ask about a 900 pound tongue weight on the same truck. Do you actually have a Raptor already, or you just thinking about getting one? It sounds like you either have, or are planning on getting, a pretty heavy trailer.

      I’m sure you’re aware of this already, but the Ford Raptor isn’t made to tow. It has a much reduced tow rating compared to other F-150’s. In fact, it can tow just 6,000 pounds with the SuperCab, or 8,000 pounds with the SuperCrew. Tongue weight limits are going to be around 10% of the tow weight, so 900 pounds is going to exceed the tongue weight limits.

      Also, 900 pounds is going to ‘eat up’ all available (or at least most) payload (depending again on the cab the Raptor has).

      Our recommendation would be to not use a Raptor to tow a trailer with a 900 pound tongue weight. You need a ‘normal’ F-150 (probably with a max tow package) or even a 3/4 tongue truck (depending on what the weight of the trailer is, how long it is, etc, etc, etc).

      You can try contacting Andersen at the following email address (though, they are most likely going to tell you what I just told you):

      customerservice@anderseninc.com

      Best of luck and Camp On!

  • Wondering what you use for a locking hitch pin .. read a lot of reviews on them and it seems that a lot of them freeze up after time and are hard to get on/off. Assume you want some sort of protective cover and keep the lock lubed ? Chris

    • Hey Chris,

      The one I’ve used is show in the hitch accessories section of the Camp Addict weight distribution hitch page.

      We remove our hitches when we setup camp so the pin is constantly being removed. Therefore it doesn’t have a chance to ‘freeze’ up. But I can totally see how that would happen if you never ‘use’ the locking mechanism. I’d use some sort of spray lube. Or just take it off when you aren’t using it.

      Thanks for the question and Camp On, Chris!

  • I have a 2017 Ford F150 with trailer sway control and use an Equalizer square bar hitch. The problem is this hitch set off several alarms on the truck (advanced track, hill decent, steering assist as a few). I spent 2 days at my Ford dealer accessing the problem and changing a number of parts under warranty before we discovered attaching the sway bars was causing the truck systems to issue fault warnings. Has your organization seen this problem?

    • Sorry to hear that you experienced this! We haven’t heard of this, and Kelly’s truck doesn’t have these bells and whistles (I use an Hensley hitch, which is an entirely different sort of weight distribution hitch).

      Have you reached out to the manufacturer of the Equal-i-zer WDH, Progress Manufacturing, to get their expert opinion?

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