A weight distribution hitch is certainly an essential amenity for any towing vehicle. It makes towing easier and much safer whether it’s a boat trailer, a horse trailer or a mobile home.
In this article, I’m going to share with you the best weight distribution hitches that I find really stand out among the many other options you can find out there.
My selection was based on the overall quality and effectiveness of each unit. Ease of installation is also another area that I checked as well as hundreds of customers experiences shared on several platforms.
To be honest, from my personal experience and constant use, my favorite pick is none other than the Andersen Weight Distribution Hitch. It’s simply the best weight distribution hitch with sway control.
What I love most about it is that it’s conveniently designed to offer a smooth operation. It has a well-adaptable spring framework that offers great stability and much more you will find out later on.
I am as well going to share everything you need to know about weight distribution hitches including what they are and how they operate which I’m will come in handy when evaluating different options.
So, if you are in the market searching for a weight distribution hitch, read on and hopefully, you find the perfect option that would give you the best bang for your buck.
Weight Distribution Hitch Comparison
Top 3 weight distribution hitches have sway control built-in.
|1. Andersen WDH||2. Equal-i-zer WDH||3. Fastway e2 WDH|
|Style||Chain style||Spring bar||Spring bar|
|Ease of installation||Simplest||A bit tricky||A bit tricky|
|Ease of use (hitch, unhitch & adjust)||Simplest||A bit tricky||A bit tricky|
|Noise level||Quietest||Can be noisy||Can be noisy|
|Others||No extras to buy||Hitch ball is an additional purchase||Hitch ball is an additional purchase|
Weight Distribution Hitch Reviews
1. Andersen Weight Distribution Hitch – Best Weight Distribution Hitch
Taking the first spot is the Andersen Weight Distribution Hitch which is one of the most advanced weight distribution hitches available in the market today.
It’s a combination of high-quality materials and innovative design and technology which are just some the factors that makes it my best overall choice when it comes to weight distribution hitches with built-in sway control.
One of the areas that set it apart is the sway control system. Andersen did away the typical spring bar style and replaced it with an advanced sway control system that uses a chain mechanism.
The best thing about this sway control is that it designed to automatically adjust itself according to the load. Therefore, as the tongue load increases, the sway control equally increases too.
Unlike traditional spring bars that have a solid arm that tend to bounce when you go over a little curve, the Andersen sway control has bushings that help eliminate that and they do a pretty good job.
Another first that Andersen has managed to pull in the industry with this new weight distribution hitch is its anti-bounce system. It’s actually a motion-dampening system that’s unique from the traditional spring bar system.
In spring bar systems, the leverage pushes the tow vehicle’s weight towards the front axle and this often ends up creating extra unwanted bouncing, especially after going through a dip.
In this Andersen’s motion dampening system, however, the leverage is front-to-back (not up and down like in the spring bar system). This unique design offers two important advantages.
First, it efficiently shifts the tow vehicle’s weight forward towards the front axle with no lifting at all. Secondly, the chains and the dampening springs absorb and dampen bounce by pulling at a right-angle to the up and down movement.
This greatly reduces vibrations and eliminates unnecessary bounce giving you a safer, comfortable, smooth ride even with a heavy trailer.
This is one of the features that make this weight distribution hitch an ideal choice for those who drive trailers on rough terrains. Plus it works just as good in reverse. No spring bars to fall off.
Another win for this Andersen WDH is that there’s no stressing about what size spring bar is right as there are none.
It’s a versatile unit with brackets that fits all 5 and 6-inch frames and all weights up to 14, 000 pounds, so no need to stock several models as it’s one model fits all.
When it comes to installation, it’s a fairly straightforward process provided you follow the instructions properly. It can take around 30 minutes when doing it alone.
The fact that it uses chains instead of solid bars, it’s far more lightweight compared to other hitches. Actually, it’s barely 60 pounds which is almost half the weight of spring bar WDH as they tend to weigh around 100 pounds.
Finally, you won’t have to deal with a bulky, greasy, heavy bars with this Andersen hitch. It’s a compact, grease-free system. The bolts and shanks work properly and smoothly without requiring any kind of grease.
To sum it all, it’s hard to find or point out a downside to this hitch as everything about it is built to great quality. It’s simply the best and most unique weight distribution hitch that does it’s work very well.
- Advanced sway control that auto-adjusts according to load
- An effective motion-dampening system that eliminates unnecessary bounce
- Can also serve as a standard ball mount for towing
- A grease-free system with the ball and coupler moving as one
- Lightweight and operates very quietly
- Easy to install plus ball mount is included
- Easy, one pin disconnect from the tow vehicle
- Falls a little bit on the high price end
The Andersen weight distribution hitch offers nothing but simplicity, convenience and safety when it comes to towing trailers.
It’s very effective at keeping both the tow vehicle and trailer even and stable at all conditions, plus it’s much lighter, quiet and easier to install.
If you are looking for a highly reliable hitch that offers more than most basic spring bar hitches available out there, then this Andersen model is an option I would certainly recommend.
2. Equal-i-zer Weight Distribution Hitch – Best Traditional Weight Distribution Hitch
The Equal-i-zer is yet another hitch that offers an efficient combination of weight distribution and sway control that ensures your trailer remains stable and straight. It stands out as the best traditional distribution hitch in the market and you’re going to find out why.
First, Progress manufacturing has utilized its integrated sway control system in this weight distribution hitch. The system basically comprises of a 4-point sway control mechanism and trunnion style spring arms and uses friction to prevent trailer sway.
This 4-point sway control system has two points of linear friction at where the spring arms (weight distribution bars) intersect the “L” brackets and two other points of rotational friction located at the hitch head.
It’s much similar to using 8 add-on anti-sway bars which makes it highly effective compared to other typical spring bar systems.
It provides high resistance to trailer sway while effectively distributing the trailer tongue weight throughout all the axles thus keeping the tow vehicle’s front firmly on the road and stabilizing the trailer, especially when negotiating corners.
The trunnion spring arms, on the other hand, offer great ground clearance than what most spring arms that utilize a round bar style provide.
Furthermore, the hitch itself is quite strong and has two solid steel bars that are mounted directly on its metal brackets which makes it very sturdy and safe.
The best part about this model aside from its effective sway control mechanism is that it’s compatible with almost any type of trailer.
This is mainly due to the 5/16 inch pre-torque trailer ball it uses and the sway control bracket which can fit trailer frames that are up to 6 inches tall.
In terms of weight ratings, this Equal-i-zer model is also not that badly off as it offers a maximum tongue weight of 1000 pounds and a maximum trailer weight capacity of 10,000 pounds which fairly decent.
As for the shanks, they are for 2-inch receiver openings but can accommodate a 3-inch drop or 7-inch rise. Even much better, the brackets are adjustable which gives you much flexibility and convenience when hitching the unit.
Moreover, with this Equal-i-zer hitch, no disconnection is needed when driving during inclement weather or in reverse which is very common for many models that feature a regular spring design with brackets.
However, this only applies to levelled ground. You will have to disconnect it when backing up on two different positions like when reversing on an incline from an even plane.
Installing the hitch can also take some time as there’s little allowance between the bar sockets hence making it a bit harder. Plus you will need a torque wrench and socket to set it up.
Are there any setbacks to worry about? Well, unfortunately, there are some issues that you might want to keep in mind.
First off, the disadvantage to the sway control mechanism used in this hitch is that it can be a little bit noisy. The metal friction between the “L” brackets and the spring bars tend to cause creaks and grinds, especially when making turns or driving through road bumps.
The good thing though is that the manufacturer offers a sway bracket jacket that can help reduce the noise should you find it too annoying.
Another notable setback is that the hitch is to suitable for towing on rough roads or through profound ditches and swales.
Any excessive strain on the hitch head and spring arms can lead to hitch fatigue or failure. Other than those two issues, there’s nothing else of great concern.
- An efficient 4-point sway control mechanism
- Spring arms offer great ground clearance
- Fully adjustable support brackets
- Compatible with multiple trailers
- Easy to use and to adjust to any angle
- Strong and durable steel construction
- Fairly easy to set up
- Can be a bit noisy
- Hitch ball not included
The Equal-i-zer weight distribution hitch is no doubt one of the best traditional weight distribution hitches. It well built with an efficient sway control mechanism compared to most other typical spring bar systems and it’s suitable for almost all types of trailers.
If you are thinking of getting a spring bar-style hitch, then is definitely an option worth considering. It’s highly durable and offers great value.
3. Fastway e2 Weight Distribution Hitch – Best Budget Weight Distribution Hitch
At the third spot is our best budget weight distribution hitch, the Fastway e2. This is yet another top weight distribution hitch from Progress manufacturing who are responsible for the Equal-i-zer WDH that we’ve just seen above.
However, unlike the Equal-i-zer model, the Fastway e2 is equipped with a 2-Point sway control mechanism and is available with either trunnion style spring arm or a round bar style spring arm.
The 2-point sway control system of this e2 model use only linear friction. No points of rotational friction like in the Equal-i-zer model. The two points are where the spring arms or weight distribution bars intersect the “L” brackets.
The steel-on-steel friction between these two parts helps prevent trailer sway and to facilitate even distribution of weight while towing.
It’s not as efficient as the Equal-i-zer model above, it does hold on pretty well provided you are not dealing with a very heavy trailer. It provides a more permanent sway control plus it works just fine when backing up or during tight turns.
Trunnion spring arms or round spring arms e2, which one is better?
Like I mentioned earlier, the Fastway e2 comes in either trunnion style spring arm or round bar style spring arm. Both styles utilize the 2-point sway control mechanism but have some slight difference that makes each of them stand out.
Around bar-style spring arm provides more stability but at the cost of less ground clearance. Trunnion style spring arm, on the other hand, offer much more ground clearance for proper levelling control from the trailer to the vehicle.
Plus, they have a wider variety of weight ratings. Therefore, if it’s more ground clearance you want, then the trunnion spring arm is a good option but if that not your top priority, then round bar style spring arm would do fine.
The Fastway e2 is designed to work with a majority of different trailers including RVs and boats. It’s compatible with trailers weights of up to 12, 000 pounds with 1,200-pound tongue weight.
The shanks that come with the e2 are adjustable too and are meant for 2-inch receiver openings. It’s a standard kit, so won’t work for you if your tow vehicle has a 2.5-inch receiver. It can accommodate up to a 1-inch drop or a 7-inch rise.
The brackets mounted at the frame of your trailer are adjustable too and do a pretty good job in keeping your trailer in line along with your tow vehicle and maintaining even weight distribution. It fits frames ranging from 2.5 inches tall to 5 inches tall with ½ inch increments. Anything more than that, then you can use with this hitch.
With all that said, one thing I noticed with this Fastway e2 model is that it has almost the same setbacks I saw in the Equal-i-zer model above.
One of them is the metal-on-metal friction between the spring bars and “L” brackets result in loud clinking sounds which can be quite noisy. Aside from that, the trailer hitch ball is also not included in this model just like in the Equal-i-zer WDH.
The e2 is, however, significantly easier to set up than the Equal-i-zer WDH and it’s quite light. It’s a solidly constructed, all-around great weight distribution hitch for most towing needs.
- The sway control works greatly
- Distributes weight evenly and efficiently
- No issues when backing up or making tight turns
- Compatible with a variety of trailers
- Comes in two varieties, trunnion and round style spring arm
- Easy to install and use
- Comes at a very pocket-friendly price
- Can be quite noisy
- Hitch ball is not included in the package
Although it’s a budget model, the Fastway e2 is a good quality weight distribution hitch with several nice features including a reliable two-point sway control system and adjustable brackets.
Its anti-sway capability might not be as superior as that of the Equal-i-zer WDH but it can still outperform most other typical spring bar systems that fall within the same range. It’s a functional and reliable hitch that any budget-conscious buyer out there will appreciate.
The Ultimate Guide to Weight Distribution Hitches
1. What is a weight distribution hitch?
A weight distribution hitch is a towing device which connects your trailer with your towing vehicle. It does more than just connecting. The hitch helps solve irregular weight distribution and prevents the trailer from swaying back and forth.
Driving a heavy trailer with an unevenly distributed weight can be really dangerous, especially at high speeds. That’s why a weight distribution hitch is very helpful as it gives you full control of your trailer while driving allowing you to smoothly brake and turn.
2. Do I need a weight distribution hitch?
If you are towing anything very heavy like a heavier cargo-carrying trailer, horse trailer, boat trailer, RV or camper, then you would certainly require a weight distribution hitch as well as sway protection, especially if you will be driving on the highway.
If whenever you are hauling your trailer you notice sagging in the rear end of the vehicle or if you experience any kind of wandering or a large amount of sway while driving, then you are an ideal candidate too.
You might also need to get a WDH if your trailer’s weight is 50% above that of your tow vehicle. Getting the best weight distribution hitch is one great way of saving yourself from the most common problems faced when towing heavier trailers.
Although there’s no hard rule that generally makes a weight-distribution hitch a requirement, if you have any the experiences or find yourself in a situation I’ve mentioned above, then you probably need to think about getting a weight distribution hitch.
3. How does a weight distribution hitch work?
Your travel trailer and your tow vehicle should be level with each other to facilitate equal weight distribution on both the tow vehicle and the trailer.
Without this, then your tow vehicle’s front end will rise whenever you connect it with a heavier trailer and very likely to sway side to side when dring on a highway at high speeds.
A weight distribution hitch works by applying upwards pressure to the receiver. With that, weight is moved to the front vehicle wheels hence taking weigh off the rear of the vehicle.
This results in great stability and control especially with regards to steering and breaking on your vehicle. The hitch particularly the spring bars or the chains help transfer the load to all the axles of the trailer as well the tow vehicle.
Therefore, you get a better weight distribution not to overload your rear axle and cause erratic vehicle handling.
4. How to choose the right weight distribution hitch?
You need to make sure you choose the right weight distribution hitch that’s appropriate for the weight of both your trailer and tow vehicle.
There are two critical weight ratings associated with towing that you need to keep an eye on when choosing a weight distributing hitch; gross trailer weight (GTW) and tongue weight (TW).
The gross trailer weight is actually the total weight of your trailer in its entirety after you’ve fully loaded everything including your firewood, camping gear and any other cargo. Any more weight you add to your trailer adds up to the gross trailer weight.
The GTW is not determined by the manufacturer but it’s hard to find. You can determine it by driving your fully loaded trailer onto a vehicle scale. You can use public scales as they are large enough to support the entire weight and size of a trailer.
Tongue weight (TW), on the other hand, is the amount of downward force exerted on the hitch itself by the trailer coupler. It’s the pressure exerted on the back of your tow vehicle by the trailer when it’s hitched up.
The tongue weight is widely affected by the positioning of the cargo in a trailer and it’s vital for attaining good control of the vehicle. When it’s too little, it can cause trailer sway problems and when it’s too much, it’s obviously bad.
Ideally, the tongue weight should be around 10 to 15% of your gross trailer weight. For instance, for a trailer that weighs 10,000 pounds, the appropriate tongue weight rating would be around 1,000 pounds. This way, your trailer gets to sit evenly with your vehicle.
To obtain the TW is quite easy as well because it can be measured using a household scale. Sherline LM 2000 trailer tongue weight scale is a good example of a reliable scale that can help you easily determine your trailer tongue weight.
In general, ensuring that you have the proper weight ratings for your trailer and vehicle is vital when it comes to choosing the right hitch. You need to make sure you pick the proper weight rated hitch based on the max capacity of your trailer.
5. Types of weight distribution hitches
- Trunnion spring arm
Trunnion spring arm consists of spring bars that are square and connected in the centre of the hitch ball mount. They don’t need a clip for fastening to the receiver.
One great thing about this spring arms is that they provide a better balance, especially when riding on unsteady terrain or during windy weather.
On top of that, they offer much more ground clearance compared to round spring arms which makes them a great option for low-riding trailers and vehicles or situations that need to have higher clearance.
- Round bar spring arm
Round bar spring arm utilizes round-shaped sway bars which are attached to the bottom part of the trailer ball mount.
They require clips to be kept in position and don’t offer much ground clearance but are equally as durable as the trunnion spring arm and would do just fine for most applications. They are a better choice for high-riding vehicles and trailers.
- Chains (no spring arm)
Chain style hitches don’t use sway bars, instead, they have dampers and chains that help reduce and mitigate trailer bouncing and swaying. A good example is the Andersen Weight Distribution Hitch which has a very efficient sway control and motion-dampening system.
6. Components of a weight distribution system
- Trailer hitch
The trailer hitch is the actual component of the system that attaches to your vehicle’s frame. Usually made of durable, heavy-duty material, it provides the receiver opening which the weight distribution shank is supposed to slide into.
- Weight distribution shank
The weight distribution shank is a metal rod designed to slide into the trailer hitch receiver. It connects the ball mount of the system to the trailer hitch.
The nice thing about the shank is the fact that it’s available in many different sizes, drops and rises, so you get to easily ensure that your trailer is leveled with respect to your vehicle’s height.
- Weight distribution head assembly
The head assembly is perhaps the most vital part of a weight distribution system. It attaches to the weight distribution shank and is the part that provides the attachment point for the spring bars. It also provides a place for the mounting of the hitch ball for the trailer hookup.
Different systems will different head assembly type, but most standard ones feature a built-in platform where friction sway control bars can be mounted.
Some offer a single-sided attachment while others have dual platforms that allow you to attach a sway control bar on both sides of your trailer.
There are even premium systems that come with a head assembly that feature sway control points to provide a much more stable ride.
- Spring bars (chains)
As I mentioned earlier, spring bars come in two types, trunnion and round. Same as the chains of the Andersen WDH, spring bars serve as stabilizers in a weight distribution system especially when negotiating corners.
They achieve this by slowly moving either in or out of the weight distribution head assembly as you turn right or left with your vehicle. They distribute the pressure on the rear of the tow vehicle throughout all the axles both on your trailer and tow vehicle.
- Lift bracket
A lift bracket is a bracket and chain system that mount to the frame of the trailer and are used to hold and secure the spring bars firmly to the trailer. They, however, offer additional trailer control since they also serve as stabilizers which helps to reduce sway.
7. Built-in vs. add-on sway control
There is a big difference between the two types of sway control which is worth noting. Weight distribution hitches with built-in swat control often utilize the friction between the mounting brackets which attach to the trailer frame and the spring arms.
Built-in sway control does a great job of transferring a trailer’s tongue weight to the front axle of a tow vehicle. Therefore, if the trailer moves side to side at all, the friction between the brackets and the spring arms increases which then helps limit any further sway.
An add-on sway control, on the other hand, is a friction arm device that you add on to your weight distribution hitch to help control trailer sway.
Generally, between the two options, the built-in sway control system is much more effective and efficient as it doesn’t have most of the limitations that add-on sway control devices tend to have.
You have to remove an add-on sway control whenever you want to back up or drive in reverse. Furthermore, when it comes to towing in slippery conditions like rain, gravel or sand, it tends to pose challenges, especially when making turns.
That’s not all. The add-on sway control is not compatible with surge or hydraulic trailer brakes. Fortunately for you, all the weight distribution hitches we’ve reviewed above have built-in sway control to give you that extra layer of security when towing your trailer.
8. Does a weight distribution hitch reduce tongue weight?
A weight distribution hitch works by distributing the tongue weight of the trailer up to the tow vehicle’s front axle thereby allowing it to sit more level and brake better.
In other words, a weight distribution hitch does not change the tongue weight of a trailer. However, you will need to ensure that the loaded tongue weight is well balanced in regards to the gross trailer weight.
If it’s too little, then the trailer is likely to move with the nose up plus the chances of swaying are high. If it’s excess, then the two-vehicle is likely to sug with the trailer riding nose down due to too much weight on the rear axles.
9. Does a weight distribution hitch increase towing capacity?
The weight distribution hitch distributes weight towards the front axles and in the process relieve some pressure off the hitch.
While it kind of allow your hitch receiver to hold a little more weight, it doesn’t really increase the towing capacity of your vehicle. It won’t change.
You should always make sure to check your manufacturers manual to see if there is maximum gross trailer weight allowable when you use a weight distributing hitch.
10. Weight distribution hitch vs airbags
A weight distribution hitch spreads the weight to all the axles including the front suspensions. Therefore, the load is shared equally throughout the system from the rear to the front axle.
An airbag system, on the other hand, spreads the weight or load across the rear axle. Both systems reduce the sag that usually occurs due to the trailer’s tongue weight.
However, the key difference between the two models is the fact that the WDH shifts some of the weight to the front axle which is something that doesn’t happen with the airbag systems.
Without this even distribution of the tongue weight, chances of running into problems when you make an emergency manoeuvre or a fast stop are very high.
You can even totally lose the steering control and braking capacity because when you brake hard, the trailer’s weight shifts forward pushing down on the hitch ball which ultimately causes the tow vehicle to lose front-wheel traction as it’s raised up.
For this reason, airbags should be avoided when towing large trailers. They are great but not as effective and safe as weight distribution hitches.
11. Hitch accessories
- Weight distribution hitch store
To ensure durability and optimum performance of your weight distribution hitch, you have to store it securely when not in use.
A tough and well-built tote like this Classic Accessories OverDrive tote is a perfect choice for keeping your hitch and tools safe and organized.
Another convenient way of securely storing your weight distribution hitch system is using a dedicated storage device like the EzStorHitch. It allows you to directly mount the hitch on your trailers A-frame, so no struggling to carry around a heavy hitch.
- Hitch receiver lock
A hitch receiver lock like the Master Lock 2866DAT is an essential accessory for any trailer owner out there. It helps keep your trailer receiver and hitch together thus preventing your trailer from opportunistic thieves. It’s really an essential accessory to have.
- Hitch ball lubrication
The trailer hitch ball tends to be impacted by erosion as well as reduced tolerances because of the direct metal to metal contact. Greasing this part is a very efficient way of maintaining the hitch ball in good condition for longer and a hitch ball lube like the Reese Towpower 58117 hitch ball lube can certainly help with that.
- Anti-rattle hitch device
If your trailer normally experiences uncontrollable wobbling and rocking, then an anti-rattle hitch device is an accessory you would need. It eliminates or reduces the annoying rattle that occurs during towing by tightening the hitch into a fixed position. The StowAway hitch tightener is a good example.
- Hitch grip
Hitch grip is a handy accessory, especially when it comes to the installation of a weight distribution hitch. It provides a non-slip, secure and balanced wat of moving and attaching the WD hitch ball mount to the trailer. One of the best options you can find in the market is the HitchGrip HG12 hitch coupling tool.
- Trailer coupler lock
To protect your valuables and ward off burglars, you need a secure lock and a trailer coupler lock is a perfect option. It’a special security device that prevents any vehicle from getting attached to your unattended trailer.
With trailer coupler lock like the MegaHitch lock coupler vault pro, chances of your trailer getting stolen are reduced to almost nill.
Towing anything on the highway or any other open road requires great caution especially if it’s a heavy trailer. Investing in a reliable weight distribution hitch is one of the best ways of ensuring you have a stable and safe ride.
All of the three hitches I’ve listed herein are very efficient and of great quality. There are not the only ones for there are so many other types available in the market.
Therefore, your decision will come down to your exact needs and the reasons why you are considering to get a weight distribution hitch.
With that said, if I’m to recommend the best overall based on my personal experience and that of many others, then it has to be the Andersen Weight Distribution Hitch. It simply offers the best value for the money.