Best Fifth Wheel Hitches 2018 – Reviews and Buyer’s Guide
Granted, not many people can truly appreciate the importance of an excellent fifth wheel hitch. If you’re one of those curious about this machine’s seemingly ‘understated’ purpose you’d probably ask, “What could happen if I failed to choose the right fifth wheel hitch?”
Several unpleasant things could result from a subpar choice, anywhere between the scale of annoying and disastrous. A substandard fifth wheel hitch could possibly shatter from the sheer pressure of the trailer’s full weight. Even if you managed to get the mobile house tugged down the road, the wrong type of fifth wheel hitch could damage your truck (even in ways you can’t imagine) when the wheels start to spin slightly out of control.
Knowing the right type and brand of fifth wheel hitch is just as crucial as knowing the ideal pair of front and rear tires for a specific terrain and season. In other words, it practically keeps your pleasant vision of mobile home transportation from becoming a traffic nightmare.
The Selection Criteria
Considering your familiarity with your trailer and pickup truck, the key to buying the best fifth wheel hitch is asking yourself the following clever and pragmatic questions:
- Can I afford to buy it?
- Can it haul my mobile home properly?
- Can I install it with little or no help?
Based on these inquiries, you are looking at a reasonably priced fifth wheel hitch that has an impressive towing capacity and does not require more than one or two people to install within 24 hours. You can narrow down your selection by taking these exact figures into account:
- Retail Price: Between $400 to $850
- Towing Capacity: 20,000 lbs and more
- Product Weight: Not more than 150 lbs
The Best 5th Wheel Hitches
Based on several different sources online, it is relatively difficult to come up with a more objective fifth wheel hitch review. After all, the broad definition of “the best” has a ring of personal prejudice on the part of the appraising consumer.
There are plenty of popular brands to consider even exclusive within the narrow and most recent 2017 timeline. But if you could base your choices on the specific standards featured earlier, these are the following brands you should be looking for:
1. CURT 16130 Q20 5th Wheel Hitch
This fifth wheel hitch comes with a unique interactive color code in its indicator – one that is starkly reminiscent of the traffic light. The indicator lights up yellow as soon as you release the handle, informing you that it is ready for the attachment. If the display lights up red, it is informing you that the trailer is loosely hitched. But if the indicator lights up green, it is telling you that the king pin is locked securely and ready for the long haul.
This fifth wheel hitch boasts a sophisticated performance, one that is characterized by its distinctive spherical axial bearing. Even with a 20,000 lbs cargo in tow, this brand still stacks up to higher standards of road mobility.
2. Andersen Hitches 3200
This particular product occupies a special place in any decent fifth wheel hitch review due to its very unique form.
For one thing, consumers can testify its unbeatable rate in terms of how fast anyone can install it on the truck’s cargo bed.
Hooking up a trailer onto the pickup truck with this fifth wheel hitch also proves to be a breeze, courtesy of its unique patented ball-funnel system.
Unlike most fifth wheel hitch brands, the Andersen Hitches 3200 is one of the fewest products that guarantee a successful one-man installation process. Also, the remote cable assembly allows you to lock the coupler without having to climb up the cargo bed.
Despite its perks, one customer in an online review describes how the lack of safety chain got him pulled over by a Texan traffic enforcer.
Note: you should always include buying the safety chain kit to avoid trouble.
3. CURT 16047 Q24 5th Wheel Hitch with Ram Puck System Legs
Similar to the CURT 16130 Q20, this product also comes with its neat color-coded indicator status. This feature further enhances the superior hook-up security provided by its robust 360-degree dual jaws.
For the most part, this fifth wheel hitch guarantees a very smooth and noiseless hauling while driving at long distance.
Another important aspect that contributes to its distinctive hook-up performance is the self-aligning hitch head. It helps eliminate a number of errors resulting from a less than perfect coupling process.
This type of fifth wheel hitch is renowned for its durability. On top of its brawny legs, the entire body is lacquered in carbide black powder coating. It does not only exude a sleek exterior texture, the coating also guarantees a certain degree of resistance from scratch, rust, and ultraviolet rays. This product is one of the most heavy-duty towers in the market.
4. Reese 30120 Pro Series 20K Fifth Wheel Hitch
Among the many products manufactured by Reese, this particular fifth wheel hitch is notable for its comparatively affordable price.
The Reese 30120 Pro Series 20K is especially suited for pickup trucks with shorter cargo bed lengths.
Consumers can opt for a model that goes with an efficient slide that enables the hitch to provide ample room to maneuver during sharp turns.
You have to remember, though, that the slide option is considered as an upgrade – which means that most of its standard models are designed for a fixed position mounting.
Speaking of adjustments, this fifth wheel hitch comes with a slightly suspended head that allows 13 to 17 inches of height modification. For the most part, you won’t experience a significant problem comprehending its setup process. Despite the seemingly flimsy hitch head, its strapping double jaw system makes it possible to maintain a tighter hold on the trailer’s king pin.
5. B&W Trailer Hitches 3050 5th Wheel Companion Flatbed RV Hitch
This model is renowned for its robust 22,000 lbs towing capacity.
Unlike most of the fifth wheel hitch models sold in the market, this rendition of the B&W Trailer series does not come with a conventional mounting rail system. Instead, a gooseneck foundation is assembled under the truck’s cargo bed to provide a secure hollow that fits the bottom shaft of your fifth wheel hitch. This design favors a certain degree of versatility, allowing you to remove the hitch and make room for an empty cargo bed.
Imagine: this is one of the rarest models that allows you to temporarily repurpose your pickup truck as a parade float, a concert platform, or even a portable swimming pool.
Although you can remove the hitch from the truck bed when the mood strikes, you have to remember that this steel trailer harness weighs almost exactly the same as the average global body mass of an adult human being. If you’re not accustomed to lifting heavy weights, you definitely need an extra pair of arms to avoid an accident.
Like most of the Ram Puck renditions of the CURT Q design, this fifth wheel hitch is polished with a weather-resistant powder coat. Its steel exterior is capable of withstanding corrosion. As far as the hauling performance goes, the rubber padding allows minimal clatter on top of its secure tether.
Choosing the Best Fifth Wheel Hitches
Although many factors can shape your definition of the best fifth wheel hitch, every quantifiable aspect begins somewhere. As implied by the introduction, you begin by taking a closer look at your pickup truck and trailer.
One of the two basic points to consider when it comes to choosing a fifth wheel hitch is the Gross Trailer Weight (GTW). The GTW is the combined weight of the trailer and its king pin – with the latter’s overall burden measuring roughly 25% of the entire mobile home’s weight. If you own a mobile home weighing around 19,000 lbs then you’re looking at a total GTW of 23,750 lbs.
The length of the pickup truck is crucial in terms of your choice for a fifth wheel hitch. If you are driving a pickup truck with a cargo bed measuring less than 8 ft in length, then you need to buy a sliding fifth wheel hitch. For pickup trucks that have longer cargo beds, you can buy a fixed position fifth wheel hitch. The only purpose of the slide is to give enough room for the trailer’s pin box to pivot in tight swerves without violently crashing its nose through the truck’s back seat.
Understanding the Inclusive Items when Purchasing Fifth Wheel Hitches
Most of the time, fifth wheel hitches are compatible with several accessories that are necessary for an optimal towing performance. However, there are times when these items may not be included when you buy the hitch. Some of these things are the following:
- assembly/installation kit
- brake controller
- fifth wheel tailgate, having lower clearance and a notch for the trailer head
- hitch lock
- towing mirrors, allowing the driver to check the trailer while making turns
- warranty for the equipment
- lube or lubricant for the maintenance of the hitch
*Pictures are taken from respective manufacturers' website or from free image distribution services.