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> Choosing the Right Hitch Class

Choosing the Right Hitch Class

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If you’re in the process of shopping for a  trailer hitch, you’ve likely noticed that they’re categorized according to a class system. To choose the best hitch for your needs, it’s important to understand both the differences between the five trailer hitch classes and some of the key terms associated with trailer towing.

Key Terms

Gross Trailer Weight (GTW): The weight of a fully loaded trailer. Each hitch class has a maximum gross trailer weight threshold.
Tongue Weight: Also referred to as “hitch weight”, this is the amount of weight imposed on the hitch when the trailer is coupled. Tongue weight for a travel trailer can be 10-15 percent of overall weight; fifth-wheel hitch weight is usually 18-20 percent of the overall weight.
Gross Vehicle Weight Rating (GVWR): The total weight your vehicle is capable of carrying. This rating is set by the vehicle manufacturer.



If you’re interested in learning more about terms associated with towing, check out our Hitch Terms Glossary.

Class I

Image of a class I hitch
Class I hitch

Common Applications: Subcompact and compact cars, midsize cars, small trucks, minivans, and CUVs
Tongue Weight: Up to 200 lbs
Gross Trailer Weight: Up to 2000 lbs




Class II

Image of a class II hitch
Class II hitch

Common Applications: Midsize cars, small trucks, sedans, minivans, and CUVs
Tongue Weight: Up to 300 lbs
Gross Trailer Weight: Up to 3500 lbs




Class III

Image of a class III hitch
Class III hitch

Common Applications: Small trucks, full-sized cars, vans, and SUVs
Tongue Weight: Up to 600 lbs
Gross Trailer Weight: Up to 6000 lbs




Class IV

Image of a class IV hitch
Class IV hitch

Common Applications: Full-size trucks, full-size vans, and SUVs
Tongue Weight: Up to 1,200 lbs
Gross Trailer Weight: Up to 12,000 lbs




Class V

Image of a class V hitch
Class V hitch

Common Applications: Full-size trucks, full-size vans, and SUVs
Tongue Weight: Up to 1800 lbs
Gross Trailer Weight: Up to 18,000 lbs