Trailer Hitch Balls

Trailer hitch ball, lock washer, and nut

A trailer hitch ball is bolted to your hitch's ball mount and provides the attachment point for your trailer's coupler. The ball allows the trailer to pivot to provide smooth turning while towing. Trailer hitch balls are sold in various shank lengths and diameters, ball diameters and weight capacities to meet your towing needs.


Learn more about the following hitch ball topics:


Trailer hitch ball Shop for a hitch ball





Choose a Hitch Ball to Fit Your Trailer and Ball Mount

To choose the right hitch ball for your application, you need to know a few things about the trailer that you tow and your ball mount.


Ball Diameter and Capacity

Ball size and capacity listed on trailer coupler Ball size and capacity listed on trailer ball

Most trailers list hitch ball size (diameter) and maximum towing capacity on the tongue, coupler, or frame. Any hitch ball used to tow the trailer should have the same diameter and a maximum capacity the same or greater than that listed. Common hitch ball diameters are: 1-7/8", 2", and 2-5/16".


Trailer hitch ball Shop for hitch balls by diameter, below


Trailer hitch ball - 1-7/8 inch Trailer hitch ball - 2 inch Trailer hitch ball - 2-5/16 inch
1-7/8" 2" 2-5/16"



Hitch-Ball Shank Dimensions

Trailer hitch ball mount dimensions for hitch ball fit Trailer hitch ball shank diameter and length

Not only must the hitch ball fit your trailer, it also must fit your ball mount. Ball mounts have a platform that has a hole in it to receive the ball. The ball has a threaded shank that allows you to bolt the ball to the ball mount. (Most balls come with a lock washer and bolt for attaching the ball.)


Ball mounts vary in the thickness of the platform and the diameter of the hole. To fit different ball mounts, balls are available in a variety of shank lengths and diameters. Ball mounts do not usually list these 2 values, so you will have to measure. Common diameters are 3/4", 1", and 1-1/4", but there are a few balls available in several less common sizes. Once you know the diameter of the mounting hole in the ball mount, choose a ball shank diameter of the same size.


Hint: When choosing shank length, consider that the shank must not only pass through the ball mount, but it will have a lock washer and nut on the end. To ensure safety, the shank should extend past the nut by at least 1 thread.


Trailer hitch ball Shop for hitch balls by most common shank diameters, below


Trailer hitch ball - 3/4 inch diameter shank Trailer hitch ball - 1 inch diameter shank Trailer hitch ball - 1-1/4 inch diameter shank
3/4" 1" 1-1/4"




Ball Diameter Specifics


Hitch Ball DiameterSpecifications
Ball with 1-7/8 Inch Head
  • Capacity: up to 2,000 lbs
  • Shank diameter: 3/4" and 1"
1-7/8"
Ball with 2 Inch Head
  • Capacity: 3,500 lbs to 8,000 lbs
  • Shank diameter: 3/4", 1" and 1-1/4"
  • Most common ball size
2"
Ball with 2-5/16 Inch Head
  • Capacity: 6,000 lbs to 40,000 lbs
  • Shank diameter: 1" and 1-1/4"
2-5/16"

Recommended Torque Values for Attaching a Hitch Ball





Hitch Ball Construction

Hitch balls are made of several different materials and finishes, each with its own advantages and disadvantages.


Material and FinishCharacteristics
Chrome trailer hitch ball
Chrome
  • Steel ball with chrome coating
  • Popular
  • Economical
  • Chrome can wear off and allow rust to form
Stainless steel trailer hitch ball
Stainless steel
  • Rustproof material stands up well to water and salt exposure
  • More expensive than most other kinds of hitch balls
Zinc trailer hitch ball
Zinc
  • Steel ball with zinc coating
  • Corrosion-resistant finish stands up well to water and salt exposure
  • Cost less than stainless steel hitch balls
Raw trailer hitch ball
Raw
  • Heat treated or forged steel for superior strength
  • Heavy duty use
  • May be machined
Nickel finish trailer hitch ball
Nickel
  • Steel ball with nickel coating
  • Corrosion resistant finish
  • Non-magnetic
  • Plating method is less harmful to the environment than chrome electroplating




Built-in Rise

Some balls are made with a built-in rise that positions the ball slightly above the ball mount when the ball is installed. This rise can provide a way for you to gain height to tow a trailer that has a higher coupler. High rise balls typically add 1" or 2" of extra height.

Trailer hitch balls with and without extra rise

Trailer hitch ball with 2 inch rise Shop for a high rise hitch ball





Specialty Hitch Balls


Interchangeable Ball System Interchangeable Ball Systems

Gooseneck Ball in Truck Bed Gooseneck Balls

Pintle Hook and Ball Combo Pintle Balls



Recommended Items


Hitch Ball Grease Hitch Ball Grease

Ball Cover for 1-7/8 & 2 Inch Balls Ball Cover

Hitch Ball Wrench Hitch Ball Wrench



Questions and Comments about this Article

Tom W.

Just upgraded our TT. 7800 GTW. Our old hitch ball is 2" and says 5,000 lb on it. Do i need a new ball? Is it at risk of breaking off pulling the heavier trailer? Towed fine so far, but don't want to press my luck.

Etrailer Expert
Reply from Chris R.

If the loaded trailer weight exceeds that 5,000 pound capacity on the hitch ball then it needs to be upgraded/replaced. I've linked our full selection of 2" hitch balls below.

Franky

Should I grease my ball if I use a equalizer weight distribution system?

Etrailer Expert
Reply from Jon G.

That is correct. Basically unless you have a specialized hitch ball that is designed to be grease-less it's always good practice to apply a grease to the hitch ball to increase the lifespan and performance.

Reply from Franky

@JonG thanks for taking the time to answer my question.

Randy

I am looking for a 1-7/8" ball that will bolt to the bumper as my 2001 Ford truck did

Etrailer Expert
Reply from Jon G.

Here is a link to our selection of 1/7/8" hitch balls for you to filter through. You will want to choose one with the correct shank diameter to fit your application. If you need one that has a 1-1/4" shank then a bushing like part # F-2 is needed with a 1" diameter shank like what comes with hitch ball # C40002 .

Barry

Can you still use a ball after the chrome has worn off

Etrailer Expert
Reply from Chris R.

The hitch ball is going to rust a lot quicker once the chrome comes off, but the lack of chrome plating itself won't affect the ball's integrity. It will still be safe to use for towing - just make sure it's greased properly before each trip.

Paul B.

I need a trailer ball 1&7/8 in. 3/4 in.thread with a 2 in. Rise

Etrailer Expert
Reply from Chris R.

We have a pretty large selection of 1-7/8" hitch balls with a 3/4" diameter shank, linked below, but none that features a 2" rise. If you need a 2" rise to maintain a level setup with the trailer your best option will be to get this from the ball mount,

Claudio

Hi, i have a 2017 Ford F150, i need a ball to put on the bumper hitch, i tried with the 2" shank lenght but it seems to be short, any recomandations please. Thanks

Etrailer Expert
Reply from Chris R.

I tried to check into this and the manual for your F-150 only notes that the bumper accepts a hitch ball with a 1" diameter - it didn't mention any minimum shank length. I'm not sure how much more you need but the 2" # 63849 features a 3-1/4" long shank which I have to think would be sufficient.

Reply from Claudio

@ChrisR , thanks i already baught a 3 1/4 at uhaul a couple of days ago.

Tony

What about 2 5/8 balls? Is there a general rating for them or do they vary?

Etrailer Expert
Reply from Chris R.

Some people refer to the 2-5/16" hitch ball as a 2-5/8" unit, but they are actually the same thing. There's not actually a 2-5/8" hitch ball. So you would just follow the general specs (6,000 to 40,000 pounds) for the 2-5/16" ball above.

Reply from Tony

OK, Thanks! I am looking online to buy a trailer and the seller said it was a 2 5/8" ball. I told them that they are not common and they checked and said it is actually a 2 5/16". That I have, but I have to check what it's specs are.

Etrailer Expert
Reply from Chris R.

Great! Just let me know if any other questions come up.



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