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Towing 101: What are the Different Trailer Hitch Classes?

If you’re interested in getting a hitch for your vehicle because you’re ready to do some heavy hauling, you need the right class hitch. Are you familiar with what you’ll need? Don’t worry! We have a handy breakdown to help!

Class I Hitch

Class I hitches are typically rated up to a maximum of 200 tongue weight and 2,000 pounds towing. Hitches in this entry-level class traditionally come in a 1 ¼” receiver. Most vehicles in this hitch class include compact cars, sedans, and smaller crossovers. Class I hitches are perfect for smaller accessories or towing small trailers.

Examples: jet ski, bike rack, cargo trays, small tent camper

Class II Hitch

These hitches are similar to Class I, but have the ability to handle more weight. They can handle around 350 pounds tongue weight and a maximum of 3,500 pounds towing. Hitches in this class usually come in both 1 ¼” and 2” receiver sizes. Vehicles in this hitch class are usually sedans and SUVs.   

Examples: small campers, two jet skis, small boats

Class III Hitch

Now you’re stepping up into the big time! These hitches are what you normally see on small trucks and more capable SUVs. These hitches tend to be rated at around 500 or even 600 pounds tongue weight and up to a maximum of 5,000 pounds towing capacity. At this point, you can start using weight distribution to help even out the load you are towing, prevent sag around the tongue of the trailer, and be able to tow more weight. This will come in handy if you plan on hauling heavier trailers for the examples listed below.

Examples: medium sized campers, utility trailers, boats, heavier cargo trays

Class IV Hitch

If you have a large truck and a strong hitch, you are probably in Class IV. These hitches are typically rated around 800 up to 1,000 pounds tongue weight and a maximum of 10,000 pounds towing. That is some pretty serious towing power! This class is where you start getting into the heavier towing for large recreational cargo and even commercial work.

Examples: small travel trailers, utility trailers, large boats, toy haulers

Class V Hitch

This class is available for hitches is made for large SUVs, pickup trucks, and vans. These hitches are typically rated around 1,000 to 1,500 pounds tongue weight and 20,000 pounds towing capacity. They are available in 2” and 2.5” receivers. This is for when you are doing the heaviest towing. You may need weight distribution, sway control, and the Receiver Air Hitch to help make your towing experience more enjoyable. Yes, the right hitch can actually make it easier to drive down the road!

Class VI – VII Hitches

You’ve made it to the top! The highest class available for hitches is made for large SUVs, pickup trucks, and vans. These hitches are typically rated around 2,000 to 3,000 pounds tongue weight and 30,000 pounds towing capacity. They are available in 2”, 2.5” and 3” receivers. This is for when you are doing the heaviest towing. You will need weight distribution, sway control, and the Receiver Air Hitch to help make your towing experience more enjoyable. Yes, the right hitch can actually make it easier to drive down the road!

Examples: large trailers, equipment haulers, multi-car trailers, large boats, horse and other animal trailers

Hopefully looking at this list tells you everything you need to know. You should be ready to order a new hitch! If you still have a few questions, you can also reach out and ask. Give us a call at 1-866-448-2475 and we’ll help you find the right class hitch for your towing needs.

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