Best Weight Distribution Hitch 2017 [Reviews and Comparison]
If you’ve ever driven a vehicle that was towing a trailer, you may have had the white-knuckle experience of driving along the highway while the trailer starts to sway.
It may have been from the wind, including from a passing semi truck, or it might have been because of the roadway itself. In any case, it’s easy to feel as though you might lose control of the vehicle in that kind of circumstance.
In this article, I'll review the best weight distribution hitch, which is the simple mechanical way to overcome this problem.
These systems improve the safety of the connection between a vehicle and a trailer by helping to redistribute the weight of the trailer more evenly across the axles of the vehicle.
Weight Distribution Hitch Comparison Chart
|Equal-i-zer 90001000||TW: 1,000lbs|
|Built-in sway control|
|Eaz-Lift 48058 Elite||TW: 1,000lbs|
|Pro Series 49903||TW: 1,000lbs|
|Built-in sway control|
|Andersen Mfg 3350||TW: 1,400 lbs |
|Reese 49902 Pro Series||TW: 750 lbs |
|Built-in sway control|
The Mission of a Weight Distribution Hitch
Given the system’s name, we can tell that this is one automotive accessory that really has a fairly straightforward role to play.
A weight distribution hitch is a system that prevents load-towing vehicles from being thrown off-balance or otherwise compromised while driving. It does that by both repositioning and reinforcing the connection between the vehicle and the load.
By moving the connection point either higher or lower, the weight distribution hitch can keep the whole system level, with the weight of the trailer balanced well within its base of support.
It ensures that all of the vehicle’s wheels and those of the trailer itself receive nearly balanced pressure from the weight. This helps maintain traction and maneuverability.
What happens when the weight of a trailer is not well distributed? The trailer hitch can dive downward, which also lifts the towing vehicle’s front wheels up, and reduces their contact with the roadway.
This can be disastrous when it comes to emergency braking and steering, as well as reducing visibility.
The hitch could also be lifted upward, having the opposite effects on the front wheels of the towing vehicle. In this case it would also make the trailer more prone to swaying from side to side, which could also be catastrophic if it sways too far.
Related: Best Fifth Wheel Hitch
Understanding Weight Measurements
In order to prevent these imbalances, it’s necessary to understand two types of weight measurements that apply to trailers and towing vehicles.
The first is the Gross Trailer Weight (GTW), or the combined total weight of the trailer and all of its contents. That includes all cargo, fuel, provisions, every single thing being supported by the wheels of the trailer.
Different weight distribution hitches will have different capacities to tow larger or smaller trailers according to this measurement.
The other measurement is Tongue Weight (TW), which is the measurement that most affects whether a trailer and towing vehicle system will dive or sway.
Tongue weight is a variable measurement that usually comprises about 10 to 15 percent of the trailer’s gross trailer weight, and it refers to the proportion of gross trailer weight that most directly affects the trailer hitch by being closer to the hitch than the axle of the trailer.
Tongue weight also refers to weight loaded in the trunk or bed of the towing vehicle behind the rear axle, closest to the trailer hitch.
It’s important to be aware of both tongue weight and gross trailer weight whenever towing any kind of load, because they can dramatically affect the balance, maneuverability, and overall safety of the vehicle involved.
That brings us to how weight distribution hitches help. They aren’t necessary for all trailers; in fact, for smaller loads a simple weight-carrying hitch will do the job just fine.
A good rule of thumb, however, is that as the gross trailer weight approaches and surpasses 50% of the weight of the towing vehicle itself, it becomes increasingly necessary to use a weight distributing hitch.
At and above certain gross trailer weights, a weight distributing hitch is required by law.
3 Main Factors to Consider
- The first is the weight capacity of the hitch.
This refers to both tongue weight and gross trailer weight. Every hitch has a rated capacity for each of these numbers, and the best idea is to match these weights as closely as possible to the hitch’s capacity without exceeding them.
Using a hitch that is rated for weights far above those being carried can result in unpredictable weight distributions; a dangerous situation. Surpassing the rating, too, can be dangerous as the hitch won’t be able to effectively do its job and redistribute the weight.
- The second factor to consider is the choice of spring bars the system employs.
Weight distribution hitches generally use either rounded bars, or trunnion bars. Trunnion bars tend to give a higher weight rating, whereas round bars tend to provide more clearance for the trailer hitch and easier setup.
The best way to decide which of those two styles is best for your situation is to consult with someone who may already have experience using them with a trailer similar to the one you want to use.
- The third factor is sway control.
Sometimes this is an option, and sometimes it’s included as part of the basic weight distribution system. Each product will vary.
Generally, the weight distribution system itself will reduce sway naturally, and it may not be necessary to use additional sway control, but it’s available just in case there is still swaying going on.
With that, let’s take a look at the weight distribution hitches for review.
Weight Distribution Hitch Reviews
1. Equal-i-zer 90001000
The Equal-i-zer is probably the best weight distribution hitch there's on the market, period.
I mean, you're still going to stress the day prior you head to a week vacation where you're going to do a few thousand miles towing an RV, but the minute you hit the road with this hitch you'll be like "hell yeah, right choice".
Featuring two solid steel bars mounted directly on the metal brackets, it makes it very sturdy.
One of the common issues with this kind of hitches is making sharp turns. Some chain models force us to remove the sway bar, we don't need to with this model.
It's rather noisy when we do take sharp turns, which make sense considering the bars, but it withstands them very well.
It comes with a 2" shank and sadly NO ball which is a bit of a bummer, but not like every ball fits every trailer so, understandable anyway.
The sway control on this is unbeatable. It's just so smooth and you feel totally in control the whole time.
Installing the Equal-i-zer takes a bit of effort though. You're going to need a torque wrench and sockets. There isn't a lot of clearance between the bar sockets and it makes it quite hard. The brand recommends contacting an authorized dealer to get this done for you
The rest is fairly easy, you can pretty much do with watching the Youtube video underneath.
The hitch is very quiet when driving straight, that's no problem, but you can expect it to make all sorts of incredible noises coming from the L bracket when you take turns. It does prove that the thing works, but the first time you'll s**t a brick or two.
To find it a downside, I'd like the ball to be adjusted in height with hitch pins instead of bolts (way slower)
As mentioned in the table above, the maximum tongue weight is 1,000lb and the maximum gross trailer weight is 10,000lb.
- Highest quality available on the market.
- Stabilizing trunnion bars are solid spring steel
- 4 points of steel-on-steel friction to reduce sway
- Rigid sway control vertical brackets
- Does not include hitch ball
- One of the heaviest hitches we compared
2. Eaz-Lift 48058 Elite
Likely my favorite hitch from Camco, this weight distribution hitch comes with the same specifications as the equal-i-zer, 1,000lbs tongue weight and 10,000 gross trailer weight maximum.
The hitch ball height is adjustable on shank, it comes with multiple holes , giving a grand total of around 6" of vertical adjustment.
I'd advise you take the sway bar off when doing tight turns. It'll start groaning like a stabbed boar.
With the bars made of 100% (very) heavy duty steel, this unit really is solid.
Installation is a piece of cake. Check the video below to see how darn easy it is.
- #1 Best-selling weight distributing hitch on Amazon
- Comes with a 5-year manufacturer’s warranty
- Round bars with vertical chains and sway control pre-installedShank included
- Some parts may be Chinese
3. Pro Series 49903
This weight distribution system comes with a friction sway control, that helps controlling sway when passing by vehicles or getting side wind.
It comes with round forge steel spring bars that are engineered for superior flexibility. It has adjustable spring bar tension.
With the help of a rivet and washers you can adjust the tilt of the head for the needs of your particular trailer.
Shank is made of solid steel and is adjustable in height with bolts again, like the equal-i-zer.
It's designed for a maximum trailer gross weight of 10,000lb and 1,000 of tongue weight.
- 6th best-selling weight distribution hitch on Amazon
- Includes hitch ball and sway control ball
- 10-year limited warranty
- Powder coated steel
- Heavy, but a little less so than other hitches
4. Andersen Mfg 3350
With an even higher capacity than the previous hitches of 14,000 gross trailer weight (and a classic tongue weight of a 10% from that) this Andersen hitch is probably one of the simplest units I've ever seen.
It's also the quietest I've ever tried too. There's literally not a single sound when you drive using this hitch.
A unique feature of this hitch is the anti-bounce urethane springs that absorb and dampen trailer bounce, adding an extra-ridiculous amount of smoothness whilst towing.
While most hitches that come with solid steel spring bars weight around 100lbs, this hitch is barely 60lbs, which is a major major difference when it comes to handling and installing the thing by yourself.
Installation itself is also probably the simplest I've come across for a weight distribution hitch. It was a matter of 30 minutes before I finished.
It's also one of the most expensive hitches on the market, which isn't a surprise considering that this is one of the best pieces of engineering in this category.
- Highest weight capacity hitch we compared
- Lightest product weight hitch we compared
- Smallest dimensions of hitches we compared
- Simple chain link design
- Single friction point can rotate 360 degrees, no loosening required.
- Can double as a standard ball mount without weight distribution
- Limited lifetime warranty
- Reduces both swaying and bouncing
- One of the most expensive hitches we compared.
- Most negative reviews on Amazon of hitches we compared
- Lowest percentage of 5-star reviews on Amazon of hitches we compared
5. Reese 49902 Pro Series
This is another weight distribution system with friction sway control, extremely similar to the third hitch I've reviewed.
Head pivoting is also adjusted through a rived with washers, and the height adjustment is done with a thick heavy duty bolt.
Parts are very heavy on their own, as they are made of solid steel.
The spring bars are also made of solid steel with extra flexibility, and are very easy to install.
The spring bars attach to the spring brackets via a heavy duty steel chain.
Simply lower the brackets, get the chain hooked, and with the help of a pry bar, pull them up again. Quite straightforward.
On the following video you can have a look at the unit being installed and get a feeling of how easy it is.
- Includes friction sway control unit.
- One of the heaviest hitches we compared.
- Lowest tongue weight capacity of hitches we compared
- Fewest reviews of any kind for any hitch we compared
Choosing among these five hitches was a difficult challenge. Each of them seems like it would be better than all of the others in certain specific circumstances, but all of them would do well in most normal circumstances.
Each of them had some drawbacks (some more than others), but all of them are no doubts the best weight distribution hitches you can buy in 2017.
As far as price, there's pretty much two ranges. High end, being the equal-i-zer and the Andersen mfg, and the other three units at a more affordable range, yet still high quality.