5 Best Weight Distribution Hitches for RVs
A weight distribution hitch is absolutely necessary to ensure that your towing vehicle is always level and running smoothly. It enables you to tow the maximum weight capacity possible without experiencing any sagging or swaying.
Weight distribution hitches (WDH) can be complicated. Even if you’ve gone through examples of weight distribution hitches, it’s possible that you still don’t understand what they are or what you should be looking for.
A WDH is a device used to connect the towing vehicle to the trailer or RV. It’s supposed to keep the RV in a stable position, preventing it from swaying or falling into imbalance.
Essentially, it ensures that the weight of the load in the vehicle is evenly distributed, balancing the load on the front of the RV to the axle.
All vehicles towing heavy RVs need a weight distribution hitch. However, it becomes absolutely crucial in the following situations:
- If your RV is over half the weight of your vehicle.
- The back of your vehicle starts sagging when you use it for towing purposes. As such, the rear of the vehicle is lower than the front. This will cause your front wheels to rise, obstructing your ability to brake effectively and increasing braking distance. In this case, you’ll need a weight distribution hitch to level them out.
- Your RV sways, even a little. Without a weight distribution hitch, your RV might start swaying and lane wandering as a result of high winds, passing vehicles, and downhill grades.
- If the towing vehicle’s headlights are pointed upwards.
- If the weight of the RV makes it hard for you to stop or steer your rig with complete control.
- You need to be able to tow to your vehicle’s highest weight capacity.
If your towing vehicle is less than half the weight of your trailer, it’s highly recommended that you get a weight distribution hitch. It’s crucial for safety and helps minimize sway drastically.
Over the course of the years, I have used dozens of the best weight distribution hitches on the market. Some have been efficient and some have been downright dangerous. In this article, I give you a detailed overview of the best weight distribution hitches for RVs.
Best Weight Distribution Hitches (WDHs) on the Market
1. Blue Ox BXW1500 SWAYPRO
The Blue Ox BXW1500 SWAYPRO is a premium-quality weight distribution hitch for RVs. It has a weight capacity rating of 15,000 lbs of Gross Trailer Weight and 1,500 lbs of Tongue Weight.
This weight distribution hitch comes with a top-shelf sway control system and a pre-adjusted hitch head that can hook on to most trailer couplers. The possibility of sway is almost completely negated with the use of chain-link adjustment torsion bars.
Due to the powerful anti-sway feature built into this distribution hitch, you should turn off your towing vehicle’s anti-sway feature as the two might counteract each other. I was initially engaging my towing vehicle’s anti-swaying feature and it caused the trailer to squeak and sway a little. Upon contacting Blue Ox, they recommended turning off my anti-sway, which helped greatly. Essentially, this weight distribution hitch prevents any sway from building up in the first place.
This hitch comes equipped with all the basic components, including a shank and a pin. The shank is 2 inches in width but Blue Ox can also be contacted to swap it out for a 2.5” shank, if necessary. The drop bar provided by Blue Ox is 7”, but they can again be contacted to swap it out for a 14” drop bar. Blue Ox is quite accommodating to its users’ needs. Furthermore, while backing up, the trailer’s chains do not have to be removed, a feature that came as quite a relief.
Some people are concerned about getting clamp-on chain brackets as it is wrongfully believed that they can slide on the frame under the load. However, I have used this weight distribution hitch extensively, logging hundreds of miles, and have not experienced any slipping of clamps on the frame.
You must ensure that the clamps are installed such that the chains are at a 90-degree angle to the trailer tongue. You must also ensure that the bars run parallel to the frame. The only reason the clamps can slip is if they are not tensioned correctly.
The only real issue I have with this weight distribution hitch is the wrench provided with it. I found it hard to operate and handle, so I eventually got myself a new custom wrench. But that’s an extremely minor issue if you’re being nit-picky.
- Has a strong anti-sway feature in place.
- Blue Ox is accommodating of its users’ concerns.
- Easy to install.
- The provided wrench isn’t very efficient.
2. Andersen Hitches 3324
The Andersen Hitches 3324 is one of the best “no sway” weight distribution hitches on the market. It has a weight capacity rating of 10,000 lbs of Gross Trailer Weight and 1,400 lbs of Tongue Weight, making it suitable for moderately sized RVs.
For sway control, this weight distribution hitch makes use of a cone assembly that the hitch ball can be attached to. When the trailer turns due to factors like wind or swerving, the ball rotates within the cone assembly. This increases friction and reduces sway considerably.
This hitch uses a simple chain mechanism instead of the complicated spring bar style weight distribution system. In traditional hitches, the spring arms provide the force that distributes the weight at different points in the RV.
However, in order to hook the spring arm, it must be connected to the hitch head assembly and trailer frame, and these points of contact creak and groan whenever there are turns or if they’re not lubricated well enough.
Furthermore, lubricating these parts considerably might lower the noise, but they will also impact sway control, which gets you stuck in a Catch-22 — you reduce the noise too much, and you lose the sway as well.
The Andersen Hitches 3324, in doing away with the spring arms system altogether and incorporating a chain mechanism, negate the noise produced altogether, and you don’t have to grease three points of contact. In fact, you are recommended not to lubricate any of the parts because that can negatively impact the anti-sway mechanism.
Assembly and disassembly of the product is extremely easy. To disconnect the RV from the tow vehicle, you have to simply drop the tongue jack, loosen the nuts, and disconnect a pin that holds the set together. Since this hitch uses fewer components, it’s also a lot lighter than its competitors, weighing just about 60 pounds.
The Andersen Hitches 3324 come with a hitch ball size of 2″ and 2 5/16”. Their standard drop/rise height is 4” or 8” and they provide frame brackets in sizes ranging from 3” to 8”.
There are users who complain about an inability to distribute the weight evenly enough. However, that largely happens whether or not the hitch has been set up incorrectly. If you follow the instructions clearly, you shouldn’t experience any distribution issues.
- Extremely easy to install.
- No greasing required and it’s perfectly silent.
- Comes with a ball mount accessory.
- No bars necessary to install.
- The ball mount can also be used independently of the weight distribution hitch.
- Weighs just about 60 pounds.
- Suitable for moderately sized RVs of up to 10,000 pounds only.
3. Fastway e2
The Fastway e2 is the best budget option for weight distribution hitches. It has a weight capacity rating of 10,000 lbs of Gross Trailer Weight and 1,000 lbs of Tongue Weight, making it suitable only for lightweight RVs.
This weight distribution hitch is a far better option than a simple ball mount as it offers great weight distribution properties. However, it’s only equipped with a linear 2-points of friction — where the spring arms meet the L brackets. As such, with only 2 points of friction, it doesn’t have as strong a control over sway as do more advanced weight distribution hitches. It’s suitable for smaller vehicles, but if you’re towing an RV to the hitch’s maximum capacity, you will have to get an external anti-sway accessory.
The 2-point sway control has yet another disadvantage. The control comes from the metal-on-metal friction between the spring arms and brackets. Whenever these joints move, there’s a sharp creaking sound. Furthermore, it’s not advisable to lubricate this part because it will lower the sway control as well.
The Fastway e2 uses a traditional trunnion spring arm system for weight distribution. However, it’s also available in a cheaper round bar option. The trunnion bar version, however, is recommended even though it’s slightly more expensive because it provides greater ground clearance.
The installation and setup of this hitch is slightly complicated, especially since it relies on the friction of the spring arms to provide sway control. During the process of installation, you have to raise and lower the RV or trailer twice while connecting or disconnecting the weight distribution hitch.
Furthermore, using a manual tongue jack for this process can be a difficult and painful process, requiring a lot of exertion from your arms and back.
One of the advantages of this weight distribution hitch is that you don’t have to disconnect it while backing up. However, if you’re going up a steep hill from a flat street, or if there’s another similarly drastic transition in grade, then it’s recommended to disconnect the hitch. This is necessary because the weight distribution bars aren’t meant to experience sharp vertical angles between the towed and towing vehicles.
It comes with a 2” shank that can fit into 2” receivers and it accommodates a drop/rise of 1” to 7”.
- The trunnion spring arm provides greater ground clearance.
- No additional anti-sway features necessary.
- Generates noise and should not be lubricated.
- Only two friction points available for sway control. This means it cannot prevent sway completely.
- Hitch ball has to be bought separately.
- Bars have to be stored separately when not in use.
- Difficult to install.
- Not suitable for larger RVs.
4. Equal-i-zer 4-point
The Equal-i-zer 4-point is similar to the Fastway e2 in a lot of ways, but it’s a lot more advanced and has better sway control. It has a weight capacity rating of 10,000 lbs of Gross Trailer Weight and 1,000 lbs of Tongue Weight, suitable for moderately sized RVs and trailers.
These use the traditional trunnion spring arm system for weight distribution. This is the ideal system because it provides ground clearance and makes sure that the vehicle doesn’t sag. However, with greater control and weight distribution comes greater complexity.
Installing the Equal-i-zer 4-point can be quite a painful process as it involves mounting the hitch ball by raising the vehicle by using a tongue jack and lining up the trailer with the tow vehicle, followed by a number of equally complicated steps.
Furthermore, disconnecting this hitch is equally painful and complicated. You can get the instructions from their manual, but despite the their clarity, the execution leaves something to be desired.
You do not, however, have to disconnect the hitch when you’re backing up or during poor weather conditions. Furthermore, in most cases, you can even go uphill or scale slight inclines with this hitch in place. However, if you have to enter a steep incline, it’s best to disconnect the hitch beforehand.
The best aspect of this weight distribution hitch is the sway control. There are 4 points of friction in this anti-sway system — two points of linear friction (between spring arms and L brackets) and two points of rotational friction (at the hitch head). Once you use this hitch, you don’t need any add-on anti-sway accessories.
However, with 4 points of metal-on-metal friction, the production of noise is heightened as the joints move against each other every time there’s a bump or turn. The noise produced is quite jarring. You can mitigate it by occasionally lubricating the joints. However, you should be careful while doing so as you might reduce the sway control by removing the friction. You can also use a Sway Bracket Jacket to reduce or muffle the noise.
All the Equal-i-zer 4-points come with 2″ shank that fit into 2″ receivers and provide a drop/rise of 3” to 7”.
- No need to disconnect the hitch while driving in bad weather, riding up steep inclines, or backing up.
- Uses trunnion spring arms for greater ground clearance.
- Has a 4-point sway control system for complete control.
- Generates noise.
- Needs to be lubricated often.
- Bars have to be stored separately when not in use.
- Hitch ball has to be purchased separately.
- Difficult to put together.
5. EAZ LIFT 48058
The EAZ LIFT 48058 has a weight capacity rating of 14,000 lbs of Gross Trailer Weight and 1,400 lbs of Tongue Weight. This weight distribution hitch is extremely easy to install since all the components and accessories are already pre-installed.
It comes equipped with a round bar spring arm, hitch ball, and sway control. The hitch ball available is 1-5/16” and the sway control ball is built into the hitch head. The hitch ball height is adjustable, and you can tilt the hitch to facilitate proper flexion of the torsion bars.
The sway bar should be engaged once the trailer and tow vehicle are already joined, and it should maintain a straight line with high tension. You can control the sway depending on how firmly you fasten the screws. If you want to keep some sway, you can loosen the screws and tighten them if you want to completely eliminate sway. However, you should not back up with the sway bar still attached.
One of my biggest issues with this weight distribution hitch is that it doesn’t eliminate sagging completely. If you go anywhere close to the stated weight capacity, you’ll find that your vehicle starts sagging.
Even though they promote themselves for having a GTW and TW of 14,000 and 1,400, it’s actually a lot closer to 10,000 and 1,000 pounds. This is quite a dangerous bit of false advertising and the primary reason I have knocked an otherwise great hitch so far down this list.
- The shank and ball mount and extremely flexible, ensuring that the trailer remains in line during all circumstances.
- It comes equipped with a steel machine tampered spring arm.
- The spring arm can be changed.
- The sway control can be released.
- The installation is fairly simple if you following the instructions closely.
- The ball and shank mount are heavy.
- You might experience sagging at the rear of the towing vehicle if you try to reach the upper limits of the weight capacity.
- Cannot back up with the sway bar attached.
Which Factors to Consider when Buying Weight Distribution Hitches?
The following factors are important to consider when buying weight distribution hitches for RVs.
Weight Capacity Ratings
All weight distribution hitches have a tongue weight and a gross trailer weight rating. The Tongue Weight (TW) is the total weight of the RV and that of the cargo loaded behind the rear axle of the vehicle. The Gross Trailer Weight (GTW) is the total weight of the trailer, including that of its load. The TW should be about 10 to 15% of the GTW. If the TW is too much, the vehicle will sag. If the TW is too little, the vehicle will sway.
You must find a TW and GTW that’s right for your vehicle and towing needs. A weight distribution hitch with swaying control can help minimize risk.
You should also avoid the temptation to buy a hitch with the greatest weight capacity rating. The higher the rating, the more still it will be. A still setup is fine for a large trailer, but it can cause issues in a lighter vehicle and may lead to wearing of components. As such, you should choose a weight capacity rating that’s close to your vehicle and trailer.
Ease of Installation
You should get a weight distribution hitch that can be install manually without complications. Furthermore, get one with a clear set of instructions that doesn’t require professional help every time you need to tow an RV. You should aim for an installation time of 30 minutes to one hour, no more.
You should aim for a weight distribution hitch that’s durable and comes from an established brand offering a strong warranty. It should last you a long time and if something happens, you can get it repaired without additional cost.
All weight distribution hitches have a sway control system. This is necessary as sway can be caused by various issues like poor spring bar tension, high winds, passing vehicles, poorly loaded trailers, etc.
Wight distribution hitches with inbuilt sway control are 2 point, friction, dual-cam, and 4 point. All these weight distribution hitches come with inbuilt sway control systems. As such, you won’t have to install a separate sway control.
Out of these the most powerful sway control systems are dual-cam and 4-point sway control.
Dual-Cam Sway Control
In this sway control, a sliding tool suspends the spring arms. One of the cam bolt’s end is hooked to the trailer’s frame and the other to the lift bracket. The spring arm is also attached to this joint.
To ensure that your tow vehicle and trailer remain in place, the dual-cam sway control system keeps the spring bars in place and enables movement. The specific adjustment is made based on the circumstances:
- During cornering, the cams unlock and slide to facilitate full-radius turns.
- During straight-line movement, the cams lock in place and prevent the trailer from swaying in high winds.
- During sudden turns, the cams automatically retreat to a straight-line to provide stability.
4-Point Sway Control
These sway control systems work on the basis of a safety connection established within the head where the spring arms are fastened so as to provide tension. Some weight distribution hitch brands like Equalizer depend on friction between the frame brackets and the spring arms to enforce stability on the trailer when it sways.
Weight distribution hitches differ based on the type of spring arm used. Spring arms are devices that distribute the RV’s tongue weight from the rear of the towing vehicle to the axles of the trailer or RV being towed.
Spring arms distribute the weight by being lifted up and being bent, thus distributing the weight of the RV. They are available in two types based on their mechanism — trunnion spring arms and round bar spring arms.
Trunnion Spring Arms
Trunnion spring arms retract back from the hitch head, giveing them greater clearance. These are generally favored over round bar spring arms and also cost more. The arms on these spring arms are square-shaped.
Round Bar Spring Arms
These spring arms connect under the hitch head and curve till they run parallel to the ground. As such, they have to be bent, and they can occasionally experience ground clearance issues. These are not recommended for low-lying RVs and trailers.
Components like spring arms, lift brackets, and shanks are used with all weight distribution hitches. They are a necessity. However, weight distribution hitches can be further helped with various other components. These include a hitch receiver lock, lubrication, safety chain hanger, etc. These supplementary components can help you in different situations. We will explore all of these additional components. However, you should take them into consideration when purchasing a weight distribution hitch for an RV.
What are the Components of a Weight Distribution Hitch?
The trailer hitch connects to the vehicle’s mainframe and provides the 2×2 receiver opening. The shank has to hook to this opening. They are categorized as Class V, IV, or III based on the amount of weight they carry.
Before purchasing a weight distribution hitch, you should check the weight rating on the trailer hitch. It will bear markings for weight distributing and weight carrying; this will represent the hitch’s weight capacity.
The shank hooks into the trailer hitch, as mentioned above. It forms the connection for the weight distribution head assembly. This device is available in various different lengths, drops, and rises, and they are all set to ensure that the RV or trailer is even with the tow vehicle’s height.
The head assembly is the part that connects the bolt holes to the shank and provides a place for the ball and spring arms to mount on. It comes with three components.
- Hitch Ball Platform: This is used for mounting the hitch ball for trailer hookup. The bar-style sway control device is attached to the ball on the head, either to the left, the right, or on both sides, depending on the type of hitch ball platform used.
- Spring Arm Connection: Weight distribution heads are available in the form of heads for round spring bars and for trunnion spring bars. Round spring bars are clipped on to the head whereas trunnion bars are hooked to the back or sides of the head.
- Head Adjustment: This device is used to tilt the head assembly when necessary.
As explained, spring bars or arms distribute the weight evenly between the rear of the towing vehicle to the axles on the trailer. These bars come in rounded and trunnion styles and are used for complete installation.
Lift brackets are attached to the trailer’s frame and used to connect to the spring arms and hold them in place. They are available in the following types:
- Snap-Up Brackets: Most brackets use chains to connect the spring arms to the trailer. The chains connect the lift brackets to the trailer’s frame and they come with a snap-up design.
- Friction Sway Control Brackets: The advanced weight distribution hitches come with these brackets with an inbuilt ability to control sway.
- Blue Ox Latch Brackets: These function based on rotating brackets. You have to attach the chain to the bracket and turn until it’s fastened in place. The bracket will be engaged as soon as the lock pin is fastened.
Do I Need to Purchase any Additional Hitch Accessories?
The accessories mentioned below are not necessary for weight distribution hitches. However, they can be useful and make your hitches even more efficient.
Hitch Receiver Lock
A pin is used to attach the weight distribution hitch to the receiver on the towing vehicle. The pin is usually not locked, so anyone can remove the hitch from the vehicle.
Hitch receiver locks enable you to lock the pin so only you can detach the weight distribution hitch. These are usually quite reasonable and well worth the price. Some weight distribution hitches even provide them in addition to the hitch so you might want to keep a look out for those.
Hitch Ball Lubrication
The area where the hitch ball meets the trailer coupler needs to be well greased and lubricated to keep it functioning to optimal capacity. Whenever there’s an uneven surface or the vehicle turns, these components move against each other. The metal-on-metal contact, over an extended period of time, can cause them to wear out quicker if you don’t keep them well lubricated.
When you tow your vehicle, it’s possible that the shank of the weight distribution hitch might rub against the tow vehicle’s receiver and cause friction. This movement causes a rattling sound and eventually wears out both the shank and the receiver.
The hitch stabilizer, also known as an anti-rattle device, is used to minimize this movement of shank and prevent the components from either rattling or wearing away.
Safety Chain Hanger
The safety chain hanger provides protection if your safety chain tends to either hang low or drag on the ground when you’re towing a vehicle. This plastic device essentially lifts up the sagging safety chain by the middle.
It’s available in two sizes — Class 3 and Class 5 — depending on the weight distribution hitch you’re using and how wide the hitch is.
These hangers are securely designed. They break free if the safety chain is stretched, thus not an obstacle to the chains impairing functioning at their optimum capacity.
What do you do with the large greasy spring arms when the RV is not connected to the towing vehicle? This is a common issue that all weight distribution hitch users suffer from.
That’s where the EzStoreHitch comes in. It’s a place to store the spring arms and the hitch when the weight distribution hitch is not in use.
Furthermore, after storing the hitch and the spring arms into the EzStoreHitch and locking them with the hitch receiver lock, you can be ensured that no one would steal them.
Trying to remove the hitch can be extremely messy and greasy. No one wants to do it. However, with a HitchGrip, you can remove or install the hitch to the tow vehicle ergonomically from a distance.
HitchGrips are designed from industrial-grade resin and are suitable for 2 5/16″ ball hitches with standards shanks. This tool can drastically enhance the ease with which you operate the weight distribution hitch.
Trailer Coupler Lock
Your RV or trailer can potentially be stolen when detached from the main towing vehicle. This is true because the coupler can easily be hooked to someone’s hitch ball and they can tow it away.
A trailer coupler lock prevents this from happening. It prevents the coupler from being hooked into. Thieves can still drive away with your RV, but they’ll have to annually break the coupler lock using power tools, which will be a lot more time-consuming and make more noise.
This device is quite expensive, but it’s well worth it for safety.
How much can my Vehicle Tow?
All vehicles are rated to tow a maximum weight capacity. Different vehicles have different capacities, and it’s important to stay within that capacity. To figure out your vehicle’s specific capacity, refer to your owner’s manual. You can also find the information on the manufacturer’s website.
How to Control Sway?
The possibility of trailers swaying back and forth is one of the major issues towing vehicles have to deal with. A little swaying can simply be an annoyance and make it hard to drive. However, if the swaying gets to be excessive, it can cause the trailer to fall over or go off-lane and cause an accident. The following tips and strategies can help you minimize swaying or control it.
Excessive tongue weight is the primary cause of swaying. Your tongue weight should be 10 to 15% of the trailer’s weight. If your RV weighs 1500 pounds, your tongue weight should be around 150 pounds. You can test the weight of your RV from a commercial scale.
Ensure that your vehicle and your trailer’s tires have the correct air pressure, neither too much or too less.
Friction Sway Control Tool
A Friction sway control is used to minimize the effects of turning sharply or of high winds. These tools provide resistance to the vehicle in relation to the direction of the turn or the wind, counteracting its effects.
As much as possible, avoid towing vehicles through areas with strong winds. If you experience sudden high winds or swaying, take the following actions:
- Maintain a steady steering wheel. Do not make any turns or try maneuvering too much.
- Keep a steady and low speed. If you speed up, the trailer will sway even more.
- Reduce the sway gradually by engaging the trailer brakes.
- Pull up slowly on the side of the road and check why the sway is occurring.
If you follow the aforementioned tips, you’ll be able to handle swaying well and remain safe.
Towing an RV on the open road needs to be handled with a lot of care. If you’re towing heavy loads, as you probably are with an RV, it’s necessary to upgrade to a weight distribution hitch for RVs. It’s important to mitigate swaying to minimize the chance of an accident.
I hope this article has helped you decide which is the best weight distribution hitch for your RV. In addition to the best weight distribution hitches for RVs, I’ve also provided a detailed Buyer’s Guide so you can make an informed decision.
After installing the relevant weight distribution hitch, be sure to fasten it with a hitch lock. Now you can enjoy driving down the open roads in complete safety!