Most Common Travel Trailer Ball Hitch Size

Sharing is caring!

Thanks for your support! If you make a purchase using our links in this article, we may make a commission. And, as an Amazon Associate, I earn from qualifying purchases. See the full disclosure here.

Your travel trailer ball hitch is an essential part of your towing setup. Without it, your trailer isn’t going anywhere. But things can get a little confusing. Why are there four different sizes for travel trailer ball hitches? How do you know which one is right for you? How do you know you’re using travel trailer ball hitches correctly? We’ll let you know.

Thankfully, it’s not as complicated as it seems. Let’s take a look at the different sizes of ball hitch for travel trailers. Plus, we’ll look at some tips for using your travel trailer ball hitch and some of the best brands to buy. 

The 4 Most Common Travel Trailer Ball Hitch Sizes?

The most common travel trailer ball hitch sizes are:

  • 1-7/8 inch hitch balls are used for lightweight towing under 3,500 lbs. Some smaller trailers, particularly older pop-up campers, might use this ball. But otherwise, this size can’t handle enough weight for most RV towing.
  • 2 inch hitch balls are for medium-weight towing, with weight ratings up to 12,000 lbs. available.
  • 2-5/16 inch hitch balls are for heavyweight towing and can have ratings up to 20,000 lbs. (or slightly more). Because they handle more weight, these are the travel trailer hitch ball sizes you’ll see for most towable RVs. 
  • 3 inch hitch balls are only used for gooseneck towing. This type of towing hitch isn’t typically used for hauling fifth wheel RVs. 

For most RVers, the standard travel trailer hitch ball size will be 2” or 2-5/16”. Smaller travel trailers will usually use a 2” ball, while heavier trailers will need the 2-5/16” ball. 

Besides the diameter of the hitch ball, there are some other measurements you’ll see. Two measurements are the length and diameter of the “shank” – the threaded stem below the ball. There’s also the rise, which is the height the ball sits off its base. 

6 Tips For Using Your Travel Trailer Ball Hitch

When you use your travel trailer ball and hitch, there are a few things you should keep in mind for the best experience. Following these tips will keep you safe and help keep your trailer in good condition.

1. Watch Your Weight

It’s incredibly important to never exceed your towing system’s weight capacity. Going over by even a couple pounds can be incredibly unsafe. 

The weight limit of your trailer ball is referred to as the ball capacity. You can usually find this number on the top of the hitch ball or at the base of the shank. 

Keep in mind that your hitch ball isn’t the only part of your towing system. Your hitch and your RV trailer hitch ball mount also have their own weight limits. 

The weight limit for your hitch will be on a label somewhere on the hitch. The ball mount’s limit will usually be on a label on the front or along the shaft that slides into the receiver.

Your max weight limit is only as high as the lowest limit for all three. So if your hitch is rated for 10,000 lbs, your ball is rated for 8,000 lbs, and your mount is rated for 6,000 lbs, your towing limit is 6,000 lbs. 

2. Use Lubricant

Most Common Travel Trailer Ball Hitch Size Use Lubricant
A hitch ball that hasn’t been lubricated, causing it to rust

You can use your travel trailer ball hitch without lubricating it first, but lubrication is highly recommended. Lubrication ensures structural integrity and prevents noise, but it also keeps your ball from getting rusty. 

You should grease up your hitch ball at least twice a year. If you’re keen to keep the hitch ball in top performance, it’s recommended to apply some lubricant before leaving on a trip. When you put on a new coat, make sure you wipe off the old one first. 

3. Use a Hitch Pin Lock

You’d think that nobody would try and steal something as big as a travel trailer, but sadly, you’d be wrong.

A travel trailer is no small investment, not to mention that if it gets stolen mid-trip, you’re out of a place to sleep. So to keep someone from driving off with your home on wheels, it’s smart to use a hitch pin lock to keep your trailer safe.

A hitch pin lock will keep anyone from disconnecting your trailer from the trailer hitch or from connecting it to their vehicle when you’re not using it. There are two different kinds: receiver-style and coupler-style. 

A receiver hitch lock is a metal pin with a lock on one or both ends. These protect your trailer when it’s hitched up to your vehicle. However, they won’t help you when the trailer isn’t attached.

Coupler hitch locks protect your trailer even when it’s not attached to your tow vehicle. They’re like a big U-lock for your hitch. Without the proper key, connecting a trailer is impossible. 

4. Use a Weight Distribution Hitch

A weight distribution hitch is often recommended when you tow a travel trailer. These hitches help distribute the weight of your trailer evenly. 

With improperly distributed weight, most of the force is borne on your tow vehicle’s rear axle. This has a hugely negative impact on steering, traction, and your ability to stop. Or, you can also have the opposite problem. If you have too little tongue weight, your trailer will become more prone to sway. 

A weight distribution hitch uses a pair of spring bars that go from your flat-tow vehicle to the trailer. These springs apply leverage to spread the load out evenly onto your vehicle’s front axle and your trailer’s rear axle. This will give you a stable, level, and smooth ride preventing your vehicle from sagging.

Not all weight distribution hitches have sway control, but if your hitch does, it will also avoid a lot of sway. 

There are some minor downsides to weight distribution hitches including harder turns and more time spent hitching and unhitching. For larger loads and heavier trailers, it’s a good idea to use one. If you’re unsure if you need one, check your tow vehicle’s manual for guidance. 

5. Keep Everything Level

It’s absolutely essential that your travel trailer and tow vehicle level with the ground.

However, most vehicles and trailers won’t line up perfectly. The difference in height is referred to as the “rise” or the “drop” – depending on if the camper trailer ball hitch is higher or lower than the coupler. 

How to Calculate the Rise or Drop for your Ball Mount

To calculate the rise or drop of your ball mount, measure the distance between your trailer’s coupler and the ground to get your coupler height. Then, measure the distance between your hitch receiver to the ground to get your hitch height.

Subtract your coupler height from your hitch height and you’ll have your rise or drop. A positive number means a drop and a negative number means a rise.

For example, if you have a 17” hitch height and a 13” coupler height, you need a 4” drop. For the same coupler on a 12” hitch, you would need a 1” rise. 

You’ll need an RV trailer hitch ball mount that fits this number. Many ball mounts can be installed in either direction to give a drop or a rise. There are also adjustable travel trailer ball hitch mounts that can be set at whatever height you need. 

6. Always Match Your Hitch Ball and Coupler Sizes

Travel Trailer Ball Hitch Always Match Your Hitch Ball and Coupler Sizes
A trailer coupler attached to a hitch ball

Your RV trailer hitch ball size doesn’t mean a thing if it doesn’t match your trailer’s coupler. The coupler is the part of the trailer that connects to the hitch ball. It slides over the ball and is clamped shut to provide a sturdy hold that can still move with you on the road. 

The differences between travel trailer hitch ball sizes don’t seem too major. Couldn’t you just use a 2-5/16” coupler on a 2” ball?

The answer is absolutely not! Even that small difference can lead to your trailer detaching from your vehicle. That can result in a damaged trailer and could even put other people in danger.

Always make sure your coupler and your camper trailer ball hitch are the same sizes. Doing otherwise is a recipe for disaster. 

What are the Advantages of Using Adjustable Travel Trailer Ball Hitches?

What are the Advantages of Using Adjustable Travel Trailer Ball Hitches
An adjustable travel trailer ball hitch

Your hitch ball and your RV trailer ball mount can both be adjustable in different ways. 

Adjustable drop ball mounts let you change the height of the ball mount to meet the rise or drop required for your trailer to be level. This precision and control let you get everything perfectly level. 

There are also different kinds of ball hitches for travel trailers that can be adjusted in various ways.

A switch trailer ball is basically a trailer ball shank with a removable head. You switch out the different sizes of balls as you need them. 

There are also hitch balls that are double or even triple-sided. These have different sizes of hitch balls on a single mount. Simply rotate to the ball you need for any given circumstance.

If you only expect to tow the same trailer all the time, these different hitch balls might not be much use to you. But if you tow other things besides your travel trailer, they can really come in handy. 

The Best 5 Brands of Travel Trailer Ball Hitches

Now that you know all about ball hitches, let’s look at some options for the best ball hitch for a travel trailer. 

1. Equal-i-zer

Best Travel Trailer Ball Hitch Equal-I-Zer Weight Distribution Hitch
An Equal-i-zer weight distribution hitch

Equal-i-zer weight distribution hitch is one of the most popular brands of trailer hitches with 75 years of history. They were also the brand that created the first sway control hitch.

These hitches provide even weight distribution and their special “4 point sway control” to eliminate trailer sway. Plus, Equal-i-zers are 100% American made using high-quality American steel and include a lifetime warranty.  

The heavy-duty model is rated up to 16,000 pounds and has a great weight distribution system. The company recommends a 2 5/16 ball for the best pairing.

2. CURT

Best Travel Trailer Ball Hitch CURT Manufacturing Adjustable Travel Trailer Ball Hitch Mount
A CURT Manufacturing Adjustable Travel Trailer Ball Hitch Mount

CURT Manufacturing Adjustable Travel Trailer Ball Hitch Mount is an industry leader in manufacturing USA-made trailer hitches. They offer a huge array of hitches for any need and are all rigorously safety tested to give you peace of mind. 

CURT has any kind of hitch you could need including weight distribution hitches. If you need any accessories, like hitch locks or wheel chocks (if this is your first RV, you definitely need these), they’ve got you covered there too. 

This particular model comes with a 2 inch and 2 5/16 inch ball hitch. It’s rated at 14,000 pounds and can provide a 6-inch drop.

3. Weigh-Safe

Best Travel Trailer Ball Hitch Weigh-Safe-Adjustable-Hitch
A Weigh-Safe adjustable hitch 

Worried about your weight? A Weigh-Safe adjustable travel trailer ball hitch mount can give you some peace of mind.

Weigh-Safe’s claim to fame is that their hitches are the only ones on the planet with a built-in scale. This measures the tongue weight of your tow load, helping you balance your load and improve performance. Plus, Weigh-Safe makes all their products from high-quality materials to the highest specifications. 

4. Reese Towpower

Best Travel Trailer Ball Hitch Reese Towpower Starter Kit
A Reese Towpower ball hitch

Reese Towpower is a big name in towing that has been around since 1952.

RVers might know Reese Towpower best for their heavy-duty fifth-wheel hitches, which are a popular choice for you guessed it – fifth-wheel trailers. But they also carry just about any towing product you need, and it’s all covered by a 1-year warranty! 

Take a look at their starter kit with a 3-¼” drop mount and a 2” hitch ball rated for up to 5,000 lbs. 

5. Draw-Tite

Best Travel Trailer Ball Hitch Draw-Tite Starter Kit
A Draw-Tite ball hitch

Draw-Tite produces top-quality, rigorously tested trailer hitches and they’ve been doing it since 1946. This makes them one of the most trusted brands for travel trailer ball hitches.  Every Draw-Tite hitch is also backed by a lifetime warranty. 

Consider their starter kit with a 2” drop mount and a 2” hitch ball included, as well as a receiver lock.

Travel Trailer Ball Hitch Sizes Don’t Have to Be Confusing

Your travel trailer ball hitch is one of the most important parts of your whole towing system. One little ball is where your trailer attaches to your vehicle, so it’s important to have the right one.

For the majority of RVers towing a travel trailer, the suitable trailer hitch ball size is going to be 2″ or 2-5/16”. No matter what size you’re towing, it’s critical to ensure your setup is correct and calibrated for your rig. What your buddy is doing may not be exactly right for you.

Now you know everything you need to know about travel trailer ball hitch sizes, it’s time to hitch up and hit the road!


Related Reading:

Which RV is the Easiest to Drive?

35 Biggest RV Beginner Mistakes to Avoid!

RV Hookups Explained (Water, Sewer, Electric)

Best RVs and Campers for Beginners

RV Construction Methods: Which Is Best?


About the Author

Jennifer is a full-time RVer and part-time van lifer. She is one half of DashboardDrifters.com and the founder of RVSpotDrop, a web service for full-time RVers.

Jennifer Jennings ia an author for RVBlogger and RV Life

Sharing is caring!

Leave a Comment