The 5 classes of hitches and their maximum load capacities

With the right trailer hitch, you can turn your vehicle into a road trip ready trailer hauling machine! But to choose the correct trailer hitch, you must first know what kind of hitch matches your tow vehicle. In fact, it is also important to consider some additional factors that influence the kind of hitch you will need to tow. To get started, be sure to check your tow vehicle’s owner’s manual, as well as your trailer’s manual itself. Your tow vehicle manual will provide the maximum tongue weight (TW) and gross trailer weight (GTW).

TW = Total amount of weight that rests directly on the hitch.

GTW= Total mass of your trailer, including hardware and cargo.

Once you have this information, it will be easier for you to select the proper trailer hitch for your towing needs. You can also contact a local towing and recovery company for professional towing service if you are not comfortable installing your own rig. For now, read on to find out the average towing capacities for the 5 hitch classes.

Hitch classes

There are a variety of trailer hitches available on the market, all of which retain different features and capabilities for different towing applications and types of trailers. But all hitches can be classified into 5 classes, properly labeled Class 1 through Class 5. Look below for a guide to their maximum towing capacities. Roman numerals are generally used for hitch classes (i.e., Class I, Class II, Class III, Class IV, and Class V), but we have used numbers for ease of understanding.

Class 1:

GTW = 2,000 pounds.

TW = 200 pounds.

Class 2:

GTW = 3500 pounds.

TW = 300 pounds.

Class 3:

GTW = 5,000 pounds.

TW = 350 – 600 pounds.

Class 4:

GTW = 10,000 pounds.

TW = 600 – 1,800 pounds

Class 5:

GTW = 10,000+ pounds.

TW = 600 – 1,800 pounds

Additional hitch considerations

Now that you know each class of hitch and its towing capacity, you can easily find out which class you will need for your trailer. Note that you must also match all other trailer setup components to your correct hitch class, including the ball mount. When it comes to choosing a trailer hitch manufacturer, be sure to read customer testimonials and product reviews before making a final purchase. With so many manufacturers and brands to choose from, it can be overwhelming when making a purchasing decision. Just trust the recent reviews and read up on the return policies and you should be fine!

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