A fifth wheel hitch is a coupling that is designed to connect your fifth wheel trailer to your towing vehicle.
These hitches are usually u-shaped and are specifically designed to be able to support a significant amount of weight, making them the most suitable hitch types for towing vehicles as heavy and cumbersome as fifth wheel RVs.
The automotive accessory market is constantly expanding, and as such, it can be difficult to determine which of the wide variety of fifth wheel hitches available will perform best with your specific vehicle combination.
If you have a fifth wheel RV that you’re excited to get out on the road, check out our list of the 5 best fifth wheel hitches to help you make the best purchase! We’ve also put together a buyers guide and FAQ section for extra guidance.
Top 5 Best Fifth Wheel Hitch
OUR TOP PICK
B&W’s Companion RVK3500 fifth Wheel Hitch comes highly recommended by customers and RV experts alike.
This hitch has a GTW (Gross Train Weight) of 20,000 lbs. This measurement indicates the maximum combined weight of the towing vehicle, trailer, and cargo. This high GTW and the hitch’s metal construction makes this a strong and durable option.
The RVK3500 features a fully articulated head for unrestricted pivot movement. It also includes 3 vertical adjustments, from 16.25 inches to 18.25 inches, providing 4 inches of adjustment with 3 coupler positions.
The ease with which this fifth wheel hitch can be maneuvered and adjusted contributes to its overall ease-of-use, which is a huge selling point
This trailer hitch is built with a wide stance, which improves its stability while the polyurethane bushings help to minimize rattling for a smooth and quiet trip.
Additionally, the RVK3500 is easy to install and release due to its cam action latching handle.
- High GTW of 20,000 lbs
- Metal construction
- Fully articulated head
- 3 vertical adjustments
- 3 coupler positions
- Wide stance for stability
- Polyurethane bushings minimize rattling
- Cam action latch handle for easy installation and release
- Very heavy and difficult to handle
The 16115 E16 fifth wheel hitch from CURT is another highly reviewed hitch which is generally considered to be one of the best on the market.
With a GTW of 16,000 lbs which has been tested in accordance with SAE J2638 specifications, you can be sure that this is a strong and durable fifth wheel hitch model.
This hitch features a dual-pivot head which allows for 10 degrees of lateral movement. This reduces the jerkiness that can often come with the territory of trailer towing.
In terms of security, this hitch is a very good choice because of its automatic locking feature.
The 16115 E16 also features an anti-rattle skid plate to prevent excessive rattling.
Additionally, the metal construction of this model is complemented by its Carbide black powder coat. This is an underestimated but important feature. The powder coating helps to protect the metal structure from a variety of different types of wear, from scratching and chipping to corrosion.
Best of all, this fifth wheel hitch incorporates standard legs that are compatible with any standard fifth wheel base rails, making this a highly versatile piece of equipment.
- GTW of 16,000 lbs
- Metal construction
- Carbide black powder coating
- Dual-pivot head
- Automatic locking feature
- Anti-rattle skid plate
- Compatible with any standard fifth wheel base rails
- Some reports of product damage during shipping
One fifth wheel hitch that often doesn’t get as much attention as it deserves (despite very high review ratings) is Andersen’s Ultimate Fifth Wheel Connection.
This fifth wheel hitch has a substantial GTW of 24,000 lbs, making it an incredibly strong (and, therefore, durable) choice.
Although its superior strength might lead you to believe that this model will be proportionally heavy, this hitch is actually extremely lightweight at just 55 lbs, making for easy maneuvering and handling.
The design of this hitch makes it compatible with all standard gooseneck hitch brands while the 3 height adjustments allow for extra adaptability and versatility. The ball construction also allows for more pivot action, which contributes to this model’s superior maneuverability.
This model is designed to allow complete installation in as little as 5 minutes thanks to the inclusion of the patented ball funnel. Additionally, the greaseless coupler helps to keep your hands clean during installation.
For maximum security, Andersen includes a remote latch cable with the purchase of this hitch, so you can be confident in this hitch’s ability to tow your fifth wheel safely and securely.
- High 24,000 lbs GTW
- Durable aluminum construction
- Lightweight 55 lbs design
- Ball design for increased pivot action
- 5-minute installation
- Includes patented ball funnel
- Includes remote latch cable
- May require a torque wrench for installation
B&W proves its superiority in the fifth wheel hitch market once again with the RVK3300.
This hitch model has a GTW of 20,000 lbs and three coupler positions for increased adjustability.
Designed specifically to fit a Ford truck bed, you can be confident in the fact that this model is perfectly suited for the intended purpose. This feature also indicates that the RVK3300 has been designed for maximum safety, as exemplified by its increased compatibility with heavy-duty truck builds, which are the recommended models for fifth wheel towing.
B&W promises a smooth and secure ride with this fifth wheel hitch, thanks to its two-piece, cast locking jaws, which latch securely in place and simultaneously reduce rattling and other noise.
The noise reduction is enhanced by the polyurethane bushings.
Like the RVK3500, this model features a cam action latching handle that makes release on uneven surfaces that much easier.
- 20,000 lbs GTW
- 3 coupler positions
- Two-piece, cast locking jaw mechanism
- Polyurethane bushings for noise reduction
- Cam action latching handle
- Some reports of damage during shipping
- Less affordable than some other fifth wheel hitch models
Finally, CURT’s 16245 Q24 fifth wheel hitch makes our list for its ergonomic, user-friendly, and highly effective design.
This fifth wheel hitch model has a very generous GTW of 2,400 lbs, meaning it will be suitable for the majority of trailer and tow vehicle combinations.
The spherical, axial bearing enables pivot action in any direction and has also been designed to reduce unnecessary noise, providing a quiet towing experience.
This is also a versatile design thanks to its compatibility with all industry-standard fifth wheel base rails and its 3 easy-access fittings.
The dual-action jaw mechanism contributes security and stability, as well as 360° kingpin contact, which helps with noise reduction.
A significant selling point of this fifth wheel hitch is its user-friendly, ergonomic design, which enables easy installation and overall handling.
The short-throw handle has been designed to make coupling easier and is also fully lockable for added security.
Moreover, the inclusion of the 3-position coupling indicator provides additional control over the coupling process. It indicates the coupling status of both the hitch and trailer and shows when it is ready to tow.
- 24,000 lbs GTW
- Compatible with standard fifth wheel base rails
- Spherical axial bearing
- 3 easy-access fittings
- Dual-locking jaw mechanism
- Lockable, short-throw handle
- 3-position coupling indicator
- Heavy construction makes handling more difficult
Best Fifth Wheel Hitch Buying Guide
Strength and Durability
A fifth wheel hitch, by nature of its intended purpose, is a heavy-duty piece of equipment. Therefore, two of the most important factors to consider when purchasing a fifth wheel hitch are strength and durability.
The first indication of a strong and durable fifth wheel hitch will be its GTW (Gross Train Weight). As we’ve already mentioned, the Gross Train Weight is the maximum combined weight of the towing vehicle, trailer, and cargo, that the hitch is able to support.
All of the fifth wheel hitches on our list have a GTW of somewhere between 16,000 and 24,000 lbs.
With the average fifth wheel camper weighing between 12,000 and 15,000 lbs, these GTW measurements should be sufficient. However, if you’re considering purchasing a fifth wheel hitch with a GTW of nearer to 16,000 lbs, it’s definitely worth checking your vehicle owner manuals to make sure that this will be enough.
The other main factor that will affect the strength and durability of a fifth wheel hitch is the construction material.
An all-metal construction (which is standard for trailer hitches) is likely to ensure both durability and strength.
However, as with any piece of metal equipment that is likely to be exposed to the elements, it’s worth investing in a model that has some kind of corrosion-resistant powder coating to ensure that the durability of your hitch is not compromised by rust. This kind of coating also helps to protect against minor impact damages such as scratching and paint chipping.
Of course, another crucial consideration to make before purchase is whether a given fifth wheel hitch is compatible with your RV and towing vehicle.
The key factor to look for in terms of compatibility is how universally the hitch you are considering fits with industry-standard fifth wheel base rails (or, in the case of a gooseneck design, like Andersen’s Ultimate Fifth Wheel Connection, its compatibility with standard gooseneck hitches).
However, it is always wise to check before purchase that the hitch is specifically compatible with your vehicle(s) to eliminate any potential for disappointment.
Naturally, you’ll want your fifth wheel hitch to be as easy to use as possible.
For increased overall ease-of-use, you’ll need to prioritize a few different factors: namely, ease of installation, ease of release, and ease of maneuverability.
For a fifth wheel hitch model that is easy to both install and release from the back of your towing vehicle, look for features such as a cam action latch handle, as featured on B&W’s RVK3500.
This type of latch makes for easy connection at the point of installation, but also facilitates easy release, even on uneven surfaces, which typically make both the attachment and release processes more difficult.
Also on the subject of installation, the more lightweight the construction of your hitch, the easier it will be to handle and, consequently, install.
There is an important balance that needs to be struck here between durability and lightness. Whilst the all-metal, heavy construction that is common with trailer hitches can improve durability, it can also make handling very difficult.
Therefore, we recommend looking for fifth wheel hitches made of lightweight metal such as aluminum where possible, since this metal is very strong and durable whilst not being overly heavy.
The ease of maneuverability of a fifth wheel hitch will generally be dictated by the pivot action of its head. A fully articulated head, therefore, is a really useful feature to have in a fifth wheel hitch because it allows for smooth turning in any direction needed.
Having multiple coupling placements can also significantly improve the ease-of-use of your fifth wheel hitch. Multiple coupling options mean that you can adjust the attachment of your hitch to your vehicle for maximum convenience.
Security and Stability
Security and stability are of the utmost importance in a fifth wheel hitch.
A lack of stability or security during the towing process can, at best, result in a noisy and
uncomfortable trip. At worst, an insecure, unstable fifth wheel hitch can be incredibly dangerous, leading to potential road accidents.
All of the fifth wheel hitches on our list have been designed with security and stability in mind in order to provide the safest and most comfortable towing experience possible.
That being said, there are a few features you should look out for to make sure that your fifth wheel hitch is stable and secure.
First, it’s a good idea to check that your desired fifth wheel hitch has been tested according to the appropriate industry standards. This will be standard practice for reputable brands like the ones featured on our list, such as B&W, CURT, and Andersen.
However, for added peace of mind, you should ideally check the product descriptions for security testing that complies with specifications such as those outlined by SAE J2638.
Features such as wide stance and even weight distribution help to keep the hitch stable during operation.
Dual-action jaws are known for their superior strength, so if you want a fifth wheel hitch that is guaranteed to stay firmly attached, this is a good feature to look out for.
Moreover, included security and safety features such as lockable handles and latch cables will keep your hitch securely attached to both your RV and towing vehicle.
A particularly useful additional feature for security when it comes to fifth wheel hitches is a coupling indicator, as featured on the CURT 16245 Q24. This indicator will let you know whether your fifth wheel is coupled or uncoupled, and will indicate when your hitch is ready for towing.
This feature will improve the overall safety of your fifth wheel hitch by reducing the likelihood of inadvertently beginning the towing process before the hitch is fully coupled, thus minimizing the risk of accidents.
Frequently Asked Questions
What vehicle can I use to tow my fifth wheel RV?
Generally speaking, trucks are the only vehicles that should be used to tow a fifth wheel RV.
There are a variety of trucks that are suitable for towing fifth wheels. These suitable truck models include ½ and ¾-ton models, as these are the best suited to towing significant amounts of weight.
Other types of vehicles, such as an SUV or larger van, may also be capable of towing a fifth wheel RV. However, these vehicles are more than likely to require the use of an automated safety hitch.
If you’re hoping to use a vehicle other than a truck to tow your fifth wheel, it is imperative that you do extensive research beforehand to ensure that you have the right specialized hitch for the job and that your desired towing vehicle actually has the towing weight capacity required.
In the vast majority of cases, we and towing vehicle experts strongly recommend only using trucks to tow fifth wheel RVs, for your own safety and the safety of your vehicles.
Are fifth wheel hitches universal?
This is a complicated question that needs to be approached from a couple of different angles.
As we’ve mentioned in the Compatibility section of our buyers guide, many fifth wheel hitches are designed to be compatible with all industry-standard fifth wheel base rails.
These hitches are, therefore, somewhat universal in the sense that they can be used for all fifth wheel hitches with industry-standard rails.
However, whilst most base rails are made to the same industry standard, this is not the case for all models. Some will be specific to certain vehicles.
Therefore, the short answer is that whilst most fifth wheel rail-mounted hitches will be compatible with all industry-standard rails, they are not completely universal accessories.