The 5 Hitch Classes and Their Maximum Load Capacities

With the right towing hitch, you can make your vehicle into a road trip ready, trailer-hauling machine! But in order to choose the right trailer hitch, you must first learn which hitch class matches your towing vehicle. In fact, it is also important to consider a few additional factors that influence the hitch class you will need for your towing purposes. For starters, be sure to refer to your towing vehicle’s owners’ manual, as well as, the same manual for your trailer. The manual for your towing vehicle will provide its maximum tongue weight (TW) and gross trailer weight (GTW).

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

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

Once you have this information, you will have an easier time selecting the proper trailer hitch for your towing needs. You may also contact a local towing and recovery company for professional towing service if you are not comfortable setting up your own rig. For now, continue reading to learn the average towing capacities for all 5 hitch classes.

Hitch Classes

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

Class 1:

GTW = 2,000 lbs.

TW = 200 lbs.

Class 2:

GTW = 3,500 lbs.

TW = 300 lbs.

Class 3:

GTW = 5,000 lbs.

TW = 350 – 600 lbs.

Class 4:

GTW = 10,000 lbs.

TW = 600 – 1,800 lbs.

Class 5:

GTW = 10,000+ lbs.

TW = 600 – 1,800 lbs.

Additional Hitch Considerations

Now that you know each hitch class and their towing capacity, you can easily figure out which class you’ll need for your tow. Keep in mind that you must also match all other towing setup components with your correct hitch class, including the ball mount. When it comes to choosing a tow 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 come time to make a purchasing decision. Just trust recent reviews and read up on return policies and you should be just fine!

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