Truck Pulling Travel Trailer

Best Hitches for Travel Trailers in 2021

For a Smooth, Sway-Free Ride

You've just found the ultimate encyclopedia on everything related to hitches and towing. Here at etrailer.com, we've installed and tested just about every trailer weight distribution hitch there is. To spare you the time, we've put together a list of our top hitch picks for you (you're welcome) under $2,000. We've carefully weighed features like sway control, installation ease, and price to determine which hitches made the cut, and we've boiled it down to a few choices that are guaranteed to give you a smooth, sag-free, sway-free road trip with your travel trailer.To make sure you're up to speed, here's a diagram of all the components that go into a travel trailer's hitch setup. Most setups feature a hitch receiver, shank, and spring bars.
Towing Setup - Hitch Receiver, Drop Hitch, Spring Bars
*NOTE: Ball mounts are often included in weight distribution hitch systems.
Without further ado, let's take a look at our favorite weight distribution hitches for travel trailers!
Weight Distribution HitchWhy Choose This Hitch?
Equal-i-zerBest Overall System
Reese Strait-LineBest Sway Control
Fastway E-2Best Value for Mid-Sized Trailers
Curt MVBest Entry-Level Hitch
Equalizer Weight Distribution Hitch

Equal-i-zer

WHAT WE LIKE: Best Overall SystemThis Is For You If:You're someone who wants the best, especially when it comes to something you've already heavily invested in (like your trailer). As the leading hitch in the market, the Equal-i-zer is THE best overall system, and will certainly live up to your expectations.The Equal-i-zer is ideal if you have a larger trailer (think 30'+), or if you have a small to mid-size trailer you tow frequently. The 4-point sway control will provide a great, controlled ride (if you're not familiar, 4-point systems provide 4 secure points of resistance on the trailer frame and head to prevent sway before it starts).This system is also a great investment if you have surge brakes, since not all weight distribution hitches work with these. In most cases, if you have a large trailer, this is the system we recommend for you.The Equal-i-zer's 4-point sway control system is one of the easiest sway control types to install.This Is NOT For You If:If you're looking for a budget buy for your small trailer, this isn't it. You really won't be able to get away from spending $400-$500 or more on a hitch if you have a large trailer, since you'll need a system with superior sway control. However, if you have a smaller trailer you don't plan on towing often, this system may be overkill.Although the 4-point sway control system is relatively easy to install compared to other systems, the Equal-i-zer takes a few steps back with its traditional washer design (you'll have to add or remove washers from the included spacer to tilt the hitch during installation). This isn't difficult, per se, but it is time-consuming and tedious. If you prefer an easier installation, consider a 4-point system with an upgraded washer assembly method like the Reese Steadi-Flex.
Reese Strait-Line Weight Distribution Hitch

Reese Strait-Line

WHAT WE LIKE: Best Sway ControlThis Is For You If:Much like the Equal-i-zer, the Reese Strait-Line is a great option for you if you have a 30'+ travel trailer, or if you have a smaller camper you plan to tow frequently. The Reese Strait-Line's dual cam system offers the best sway control due to the hitch's unique construction (curved spring bars resting over a cam that provides serious resistance to prevent sway).You might consider the Strait-Line over the Equal-i-zer if you plan on switching between trailers with differing weights, or purchasing a new trailer down the road, since the Strait-Line's spring bars are interchangeable. You can just purchase a new set of spring bars for the new trailer's tongue weight—no need to buy a whole new system.This Is NOT For You If:Like the Equal-i-zer above, this system is top of the line, so it may not be worth the investment if you have a smaller trailer you don't plan to tow often. The Strait-Line is also not compatible with surge brakes.Although the serrated washers are a step up from the Equal-i-zer's traditional system, the Strait-Line's integrated dual-cam sway control is one of the most difficult systems to install. If you're looking for a quick and simple installation, this isn't it.
Equal-i-zer vs Reese Strait-Line: Which Is Right For You?
These are essentially the best two systems on the market, and this makes it a tough choice, even for us! Although the Equal-i-zer is widely acknowledged as the best overall system, there's no denying that the Strait-Line has a unique selling point with its dual-cam sway control system.When helping our neighbors choose between systems, we typically fall back on these questions:
  • Do you have surge brakes? If so, go with the Equal-i-zer.
  • Is an easy installation important to you? The Equal-i-zer requires less fine-tuning.
  • Do you want the maximum possible sway control? The Strait-Line's dual cam setup has it.
Equalizer vs Reese Straight-Line Weight Distribution
Fastway E2 Weight Distribution Hitch

Fastway E2

WHAT WE LIKE: Value Pick for Mid-Size to Larger TrailersThis Is For You If:You have a mid-size trailer (24'-30') or a smaller trailer you tow frequently. Fastway's 2-point sway control system is a step up from traditional friction bars, but it's more cost-effective than the 4-point or dual cam sway control seen on the Equal-i-zer or Strait-Line. This makes the E2 ideal if you prefer a more budget-conscious choice. The E2 works with surge brakes as well.2-point sway control systems, like their 4-point counterparts, are among the easiest systems to install.This Is NOT For You If:You have a very large trailer (about 30'+). There is no friction or tension built into the system's head, so sway can still occur, particularly on trailers of this size. Still, this hitch is not entry-level, so if you have a smaller camper you don't plan on towing frequently, you may want to consider an even more cost-effective bar-style system (see below).This system's traditional washer head assembly is one of the more tedious installation tasks, so if you're looking for a quick and simple install, look for an upgraded washer assembly like serrated washers or a system with preset settings.
Curt MV Weight Distribution Hitch

Curt MV

WHAT I LIKE: Best Entry-Level for Small TrailersThis Is For You If:If you're looking for an entry-level, budget-friendly hitch, consider the Curt MV. The MV is best suited for smaller campers (under 24'), utility trailers, flatbed trailers, etc. that you don't plan on towing too frequently.Installation for the MV is more difficult than for other systems, so this is probably the system for you only if you're an undeterrable DIYer (or someone else is installing it for you). After all, it only has to be installed once.This Is NOT For You If:You have a larger camper (over 24') or a trailer with surge brakes. If you tow your trailer frequently and can swing the additional upfront cost, you may want to consider one of the other systems on our list.The MV is a friction bar style system, which means it uses friction pads inside the unit to create resistance once sway starts. It doesn't prevent sway, just corrects it after it starts. If you're looking for superior sway control, you probably want to consider at least a 2-point system.The MV might also not be for you if you're hesitant about a DIY installation. Between the MV's traditional washer assembly method and the friction bar style of sway control, this is one of the more difficult hitches to install.
Amber S.
About Amber S.As a content writer for etrailer, I might spend my morning loading and unloading a bike on five different bike racks to figure out which is easiest to use. I might be in the parking lot, taking pictures of an impressive RV battery setup our techs came across in the shop and discussing the benefits of the setup with the owner. I might spend an afternoon in a manufacturer training classes for some hands-on experience with new products, and then sit down to assemble all this information into a coherent article.At etrailer, one of our core values is that we are always learning, and I learn something new every day. I start each morning with the goal in mind of taking all of this information and figuring out the best way to answer the questions people ask us (and the ones they don’t know to ask yet), and helping people get the solutions they need to make their lives easier, safer, and more fun. I’m a DIYer at heart, so it brings me great joy to help a fellow DIYer find what they’re looking for, whether that’s a product, an answer, or a community.
Related ArticlesRelated ProductsWritten by: Amber S.Updated on: 4/26/21

Questions and Comments about this Article

Jim T.

In the past I had a 29' Prowler and towed with a Reese Dual Cam hitch, an older one with gold colored cams. Towed great, no sway and saved our bacon in a full on panic stop. Sold the trailer with the hitch a few years ago. I now have a 21.5' Micro Mini, a different truck, and initially bought a Reese Straitline. It towed well was not effected by passing semis but had a a small amount of sway in cross winds and although I didn't notice in steering there was a frequent wiggle, especially going down hill. I have to make a sharp turn when backing into the parking place at my home and once dropped one of the spring bars onto the street because it over ran the cam. I have since replaced the hitch with an Equilizer and life is good. Easier to hook up, no chance of dropping a spring bar, no wiggle. Last fall I towed North out of the Columbia River Gorge which is known for high winds and on that day the wind was strong. Although I was bucking a side wind I had zero control problems with the Equilizer installed. For me and my trailer and truck, I feel that the Equilizer is the superior hitch.

Mike C.

We have a 35 ft East to west trailer that when I scaled it on local elevator scales weight 9000#'s and the TW was 1360 #'s I can remove stuff from front storage compartment and get tongue weight to 1260. currently have eaz-lift hitch with 1200 shanks and double friction bars for sway. Wanting to upgrade to something better on sway control. Which WDH and sway would be best replacement? I noticed Reese straight-line was 12,000 and 1200 TW RP66560 which included shank. I noticed Equalizer and Reese steadi-flex at 14,000 with 1400 TW. , but not a straight-line until go up to 15,000 15 TW . Would 1500 be to rigid? If not which shank would I want. we pull it with a 2019 Silverado 1500. Thank you

Etrailer Expert
Reply from Jon G.

The tongue weight range for the 15K Reese Strait-Line is 800 lbs - 1,500 lbs so you should be in great shape with that option. For a shank you could potentially use the part # RP54970 but you'll want to take some measurements to make sure this is correct for you (see attached). Also, don't forget about a hitch ball like part # C40030 !

Reply from Mike C.

@JonG Thank you for the help. I will get measurements and get everything ordered. I really appreciate your time!!!

Etrailer Expert
Reply from Jon G.

@MikeC Anytime!

Neil T.

Hi, my wife and I recently bought our first travel trailer. The solution we need help with is this: we need to be able to open the truck tailgate to the fully dropped position while the truck is hitched to the trailer. The reason is that we have a "Decked" brand storage box in the bed of the truck. This has two drawers that pull out to the rear, and this is only functional when the tailgate is dropped all the way. Everything we need for a road side emergency is stored in these drawers, and we do not want to have to unhitch every time we need access. Our truck is a 2020 Ram 2500 (Off Road), our trailer is a Kodiak 2921 FKDS (dry weight about 6700 lbs) . Our current hitch that we bought with the trailer is the EZ2 round bar. Can you recommend a hitch that would work for our situation? Sway control is very important to us , and we do not want a hitch that requires us to remove parts before backing up the trailer. With my research so far the only possible solution I have found might be the Pro-Pride/Hensley hitch. These are both very expensive, and in one of your commentaries above you say that they are good hitches, just not the BEST solution. We are new to towing, so any help that you might be able to provide would be much appreciated. Thank you

Etrailer Expert
Reply from Kef G.

It sounds like you already have a setup that you're happy with, and the main reason for considering another WD system is for truck bed clearance. If that's the case, then you may only need to get a longer shank for your current WD system. As an example, the Equal-i-zer Weight Dist Shank, part # EQ90-02-4600 , has a 6" advantage over the standard shank that comes with the e2 WD system. That may be the best solution for getting the clearance you need.

Reply from Neil T.

@KefG Kef, thank you for taking the time to reply to our question. Your suggestion sounds like a simple fix. If we install this longer shank, will it increase or multiply the tounge weight that is applied to my truck hitch? I read on line that a square tube hitch extension does this, as the ball is moved further back from the truck there is greater leverage, and that you have to reduce the weight you are putting on the ball to avoid overloading the truck with additional weight. Does this same principle apply to using a longer shank? Or is the answer different because we are using a weight distribution hitch? Tounge weight is a concern for us, as the payload capacity is approx. 2,100lbs (yes, this is a 2500 series truck, but the heavier diesel engine strips about 500 lbs of capacity, and the softer "Off-Road" suspension also reduces cargo weight). We have decked box, fiber glass cap, cargo and two adults, good for about 900 lbs. This leaves us with a Maximum tounge weight of 1,200 lbs. Thank you for any information you can provide to help us work this out. Neil T.

Etrailer Expert
Reply from Kef G.

@NeilT Usually, extending your hitch out with a square tube, it doesn't increase the amount of weight on your hitch. Rather, it decreases the capacity of hitch, usually by 50%. That's the reason you have to be careful when using a hitch extender. That having been said, the longer shank that I recommended doesn't suffer from this problem. It works the same way as your existing shank. Of course, there may be slightly more sway because of the extension, but the built-in sway control of your WD system should offset this.

Mike K.

I was wondering if you guys considered the Blue Ox Sway Pro when you put this list together. Seems like it would compete with the Reese Steadi-Flex

Etrailer Expert
Reply from Chris R.

We absolutely did consider the SwayPro system. It's a really nice setup that works well, but we just feel like the Steadi-Flex performs a little better and offers a slightly easier install process as well.

Joseph A.

Did you consider Hensley and/or Propride hitches for this article?

Etrailer Expert
Reply from Chris R.

Yes, we did (and still do) extensively debate including the Hensley and ProPride hitches. They are excellent hitches. In creating our Best list we have to balance all the factors someone will face in purchasing, installing and using a product long term. Not just the maximum amount of potential marginal benefits they may or may not find in a product. The final question we ask is “if my neighbor was asking for a recommendation, is this the product I would suggest?” The answer when considering all the factors for Hensley and ProPride at this time is unfortunately is no, it is not the product I would sell my neighbor. Hensley and ProPride owners report a much improved towing experience, which is great. The question is would they have experienced the same improved towing experience and safety with less cost in time, complication and dollars relative to the other available options? The answer to that question is yes. We have worked with many thousands of travel trailer owners who have enjoyed the same benefit of safe, enjoyable towing experiences using the hitches that we included on the list.

Tom C.

I have a 36 travel trailer that weighs 10,000 lbs and had a terrible sway problem. I purchased a Pro Pride hitch and it was amazing. We can now travel comfortably on windy days with no problem. Surprised it was not on this list.

Etrailer Expert
Reply from Chris R.

We are always interested in helping people find the best solution for their specific setup. There are specific instances where a tow vehicle and travel trailer combination are more difficult to use together. Could be because of the size, shape, weight, front or back weight load in the trailer, even the wheelbase, size, ride height or suspension of the tow vehicle. What system did you try before the ProPride and would you be willing to share some more detail about your setup? We would love to learn more.

Joe L.

Good morning Amber,E-trailer is my go to company for products and advice for for travel trailer. Just read your article on controlling sway and I think you did us, your supporters and customers, us a disservice. I use a Hensley hitch and have for years. It is the hitch to eliminate sway. Actually saved us from a possible disaster during a blowout traveling 70mph. I realize you prefer to not promote the competition. I understand but thought you might appreciate my opinion. Thank you

Etrailer Expert
Reply from Chris R.

Thank you for your business, we appreciate if very much! And please do let us know if we can ever help with anything. With regards to the Hensley, I am glad to hear you have had a great experience using it and it performed when you needed it.You are correct in saying we don’t get excited about promoting products we don’t offer, but we are not afraid to do it. Our goal is to provide the best information possible to our customers. In this case the Hensley didn’t make the list because when considering all the factors of purchasing, installing and using the product it is not the best option. It is and excellent product, just not the best option.



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