If you've ever been towing a trailer and suddently it started to sway... oh boy, you know the feeling.
White knuckles, adrenaline rush, please dear Lord help us.
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
|IMAGE||PRODUCT||Lift Capacity||Best Feature|
|Top Unit||1. Equal-i-zer 90001000
||Lift Capacity: TW: 1,000lbs GTW: 10,000lbs||Best Feature: Built-in sway control||VIEW ON AMAZON|
|Editor's Choice||2. Andersen Mfg 3350
||Lift Capacity: TW: 1,400 lbs GTW: 14,000lbs||Best Feature: Silent operation||VIEW ON AMAZON|
|Budget Choice||3. Eaz-Lift 48058 Elite
||Lift Capacity: TW: 1,000lbs GTW: 10,000lbs||Best Feature: Easy installation||VIEW ON AMAZON|
|4. Pro Series 49903
||Lift Capacity: TW: 1,000lbs GTW: 10,000lbs||Best Feature: Built-in sway control||VIEW ON AMAZON|
|5. Reese 49902 Pro Series
||Lift Capacity: TW: 750 lbs GTW: 10,000lbs||Best Feature: Built-in sway control||VIEW ON AMAZON|
Top 6 Best Weight Distribution Hitches - Reviews
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
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
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
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.
Weight Distribution Hitch Installation
Hitches often come with installation instructions. Still, you might find it challenging to follow some of the steps. Here is a simplified guide on how to set up a WD hitch.
Determine the height of your vehicle and trailer
Look for a spot with a level surface and park your vehicle and trailer there. Pavements and parking areas are good options. Use a tongue jack and a level to verify if your trailer is leveled to the ground.
Measure the height of the trailer and vehicle and write it down. Confirm the distance of the surface to the top of the trailer coupler, as well as the gap between the floor and the base of your trailer's front and rear bumpers. Record the measurements you got.
Assemble the shank and ball
Slide the shank into the trailer hitch's receiver tube. After that, place the head assembly onto the shank and elevate it such that the top of the ball is one to three inches above the coupler height you recorded. Ensure the trailer ball is already attached to the head assembly during this step.
This is to provide some room once the vehicle sags as a result of the trailer's pull weight. To hold the unit in place, use a mounting bolt at the bottom, but do not secure it in place with a nut yet.
Secure the attachment
Get two washers and place them on the adjustment rod. Insert it into the lower hole on the head with the head tilting downward.
Rotate the head assembly up into the shank's mounting position. Usually, the angle is either slightly leaned back or vertical. To get the right angle, adding or removing washers might be necessary.
Place the second bolt into the hitch head's top hole and tighten the bolts with nuts and washers.
Certain WD hitches let you skip this step because they have a specific mechanism that makes the setup easier.
Couple the trailer
Lift the coupler until it has sufficient space to allow the ball to slide beneath without any issues. The coupler's contact with the ball should be enough for the former to latch.
Let the jack support some of the vehicle's weight. Use the trailer jack to lift the coupler about three inches to have more room during the installation of the chains beneath the trailer.
Operate the snap-up brackets
Using the chains as a reference, position the snap-up brackets on the frame of the trailer. Secure the brackets to the frame with the help of the bolts that come with the package.
After that, fasten the chains to the brackets. Ensure the number of chain links between the snap-up brackets and spring bars is consistent on both sides. Utilize the lift handle to keep them in place.
Adjust the trailer jack until the trailer's full weight is supported by the hitch. Check the lengths between the floor and the bumpers again. The distances must be around half of the original.
Once everything checks out, uncouple the trailer and adjust based on the specifications recommended by the manufacturer.
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.
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.
Last Updated on 05/13/2022