The key to safe trailer towing is proper weight distribution and correct hitch setup. Fifth wheel trailers are more stable and easier to handle than conventional travel trailers.
Much of the fifth wheel trailer weight is carried directly by the tow truck’s rear axle. The hitch is usually rigidly installed in the bed of a truck.
Fifth wheel hitches are the most popular tools used to couple a tow truck to a fifth wheel trailer, and there are lots of reasons you would want to use them.
There are various models on the market, but choosing one that will fit your application isn’t a walk in the pack. In fact, there are a number of things you would have to consider.
This guide provides you with five top-rated 5th wheel hitches, along with important buying tips you can use.
- Top 5th Wheel Hitch
- Things to consider when buying
- Final Words
Top 5th Wheel Hitch
#1 B&W RVK3500 5th Wheel Hitch
This fifth wheel companion is going to be great for hooking up any fifth wheel trailers that you may have.
What is really nice about this masterpiece is that you can completely remove it from the bed of your truck, providing you complete access of the bed.
The jaws of the B&W RVK3500 are precision machined out of a cast material that gives you very tight tolerances between the kingpin and the fifth wheel head.
This eliminates all the slope in the rattle that people are accustomed to with some of the other fifth wheels on the market in the kingpin area.
Another thing that gives you a quiet and smooth operating ride is the fact that the head rides on top of polyurethane bushings on the top of the mounting arms.
This feature eliminates all the vibration and rattling that can be experienced between the head and the base.
The B&W RVK3500 also provides you with a dampening device on the passenger side. Basically, this device functions as a shock absorber.
- Fully articulated head promotes side to side and front to back pivoting
- Polyurethane bushings deliver rattle-free, quiet towing
- Cam action latching handle allows for effortless release on the level and non-level sites
- Three reliable vertical adjustments and three coupler positions
- Has a wide stance that improves strength as well as stability
- No mounting rails allow you to use your truck for other chores when not towing
- May not be compatible with gooseneck hitches
#2 Pro Series 20K 5th Wheel Hitch
The Pro Series 20K 5th Wheel Hitch is one of the trusted products in the industry backed by a reliable manufacturer’s warranty.
This fifth wheel hitch mounts to the bed of your truck using the above bed rail kit. The rails are attached to the frame using universal or custom mounting brackets. When the hitch is removed, the truck bed is open for normal carrying needs.
The weight rating of this hitch is twenty thousand pounds. Be sure to match the correct weight of the head with the vehicle gross combined trailer weight.
This model has a four-way floating head with a full five degrees side to side pivot for easy hookup on an even level. It has a slide bar mechanism for automatic self-latching.
In addition, it has a double jaw system that completely surrounds the kingpin, which significantly reduces wear and chucking.
Lubricated clamps side joints offer tight and efficient operation. Moreover, when towing with a short-bed truck, you would need the help of a slider.
- Can be mounted with universal or custom mounting brackets
- The four-way floating head allows for easy hookup
- Slide bar makes automatic self-latching simple
- Double jaw system reduces wear and chucking
- Side joints are lubricated for efficient operation
- Rail kit is not included in the package
- May need a slider when using short-bed truck
#3 B&W RVK3300 Companion 5th Wheel Hitch
This is the B&W companion OEM fifth wheel hitch for the Ford Super Duty prep package. It is a dual jaw design with a 20,000-pound weight capacity.
This hitch is engineered to fit the 2011 and newer Ford Super Duty trucks that come with the factory mounted towing prep package.
It will mount in your truck bed. It is a rail-free design, which means it will sit right into the four openings that are in the factory installed prep package.
It comes with one-inch thick dual jaws that provide a 360° jaw to kingpin contact, giving you less rattle and more security than the slide bar jaws.
The dual jaw system is operated by the simple to use cam action handle, which allows you to quickly release the jaws on the hitch, even when you are on even terrain.
This model has a fully articulating head, which will ease hookup and help reduce chucking. The head easily goes from front to back and side to side.
Also, it has a pair of holes on both sides, which provide you with additional height settings that fit your application.
- Rail free design is super easy to install
- 360° jaw to kingpin contact reduces rattle and improves security
- Simple to use cam action handle allows for easy jaw release
- Fully articulating head is remarkably easy to hookup
- Three vertical adjustments for different applications
- Polyurethane bushings offer a quiet towing experience
- Not suitable for Ford Super Duty trucks older than 2011
#4 Curt Q25 Black 5th Wheel Hitch
The Curt Q25 is one of the quietest fifth wheel hitches on the market with an impressive tow capacity of twenty-four thousand pounds.
This heavy-duty tool is engineered for the Ford puck system. Normally, you need quarter-turn anchors and Ford’s legs to be able to mount it onto the bed platform of your Ford truck.
The Q25 features a spherical axial bearing that allows for a full three hundred and sixty-degree head movement, reducing rattle and improving security.
Operating this model is just as easy and as smooth as a ride. An extra-wide head opening and a self-aligning head make it easy to couple your trailer.
Dual locking jaws supply 360 degrees pin contact and a color-coded three-point lock indicator system makes it easy to see when your kingpin is locked into place.
This hitch is finished with a durable carbide powder coat that will look amazing in any truck bed.
- Spherical axial bearing allows for easy tilting of the head
- Continuous lubrication through integrate grease fittings ensure smooth operation
- Coupling indicator allows you to see the coupling status
- Short-throw handle promotes easier coupling and ergonomic operation
- Lockable handle improves security
- May not fit the short-bed of F250
- Pins may not lock effectively
#5 PullRite SuperGlide 5th Wheel Hitch
This hitch is designed to give you sufficient clearance between the cab of your truck and the nose of your fifth wheel.
This prevents your trailer from running into your truck when taking tight turns. This improves the safety of your trailer on the road.
It is a suitable choice for short bed pickups that actually fits on industry standard rails. Removing the hitch is easy when you want to free bed space for other applications.
This model has a locking jaw design that is specially engineered to wrap all the way around the kingpin. So, you don’t have any bump in when you are down the road and the trailer is shaking.
As the name suggests, this is a super glide tool and it has an automatic sliding feature that most fifth wheel hitches do not have.
- Fits industry standard rails
- Has an automatic sliding feature for taking tight corners
- Easily removal when clearing the bed for other applications
- Locking jaw design reduces rattle and chucking
- Short-throw handle allows for ergonomic operation and easier coupling
- Re-hooking may be extremely difficult if the hitch was unhooked out of alignment
- You may have to buy rails separately
Things to consider when buying
Fifth wheel hitching is a simple affair compared to traditional trailer coupling. All you have to do is choose a hitch that will not overburden your truck.
There are some decisions you have to make concerning the kind of hitch, the structural strength needed to manage your rig, and so on.
Standard vs. Newer Fifth Wheel Hitches
The standard 5th wheel hitch appears simple, but remarkably solid. Coupling is easy, and the fifth wheel allows the trailer to move up and down in parallel with the truck.
Swivel is included, allowing the rig to take corners with the truck at different rotational angles as both vehicles slide through the corner.
Newer 5th wheel hitches come with all the features of standard designs as well as the ability to tilt. This greatly improves the performance of the hitch.
Should your truck be on a surface that is not parallel to that of your trailer, contemporary hitches allow a significant amount of twist.
You can choose both standard and contemporary designs. However, we recommend the newer designs for pulling large fifth wheels over poorly constructed roads.
The ability of newer designs to tilt slightly makes coupling much easier.
Long-Bed vs. Short-Bed Trucks
Long-bed trucks provide the finest towing experience. A longer bed is usually better since you will not have to put up with a heavy slider hitch.
Short-bed trucks are the most popular new truck models because they allow you to choose extended cab models.
Short-bed trucks don’t have long wheelbases that make them difficult to drive and maneuver.
The problem is that if you position the weight of the trailer at the kingpin over the axle to provide proper weight distribution, the trailer seems to be too close to the cab to allow shorter turns to be made.
When you use a short-bed truck to tow fifth wheel trailers, there have to be some means of moving the trailer away from the cab to allow shorter turns.
The cost of unintended contact between your truck and the trailer can be significant when you consider the damage to the truck cab, front of the trailer, and the potential for injury to passengers.
Manual vs. Automatic Slider
There are several companies providing manually adjusted slider type fifth wheel hitches, but the drawback is that they are a hassle to use.
They don’t always function like you hope they would. With a manual slider hitch, you are accepting the responsibility of never forgetting to adjust the slider manually.
No matter the situation, you have to stop before making your turn, get out of the truck, and climb up on the fender to unlock the hitch.
There is obviously a lot of drawbacks to manual slide hitches. So, you should consider electronic or automatic slider hitches.
A fifth wheel hitch with an automatic slider keeps the pivot point at the axle of the truck, providing the safe towing advantages of fifth wheel trailers.
When making short turns, a hitch with an electronic slider will automatically move back as fast as you turn. Regardless of whether you are towing forward or in reverse.
You must match the ideal truck weight to a fifth wheel trailer for the coupling to be effective and safe.
Over half of all the trucks and/or trailers that are out on the road exceed at least one of their weight ratings. This is an unsafe situation.
So, when you are getting ready to buy a new truck and trailer that you can couple using a fifth wheel hitch; make sure you correctly match the two together.
Get a towing guide for the truck. What’s the maximum weight of a trailer this truck can tow? Don’t buy a trailer based on the unloaded vehicle weight.
Before you buy a 5th wheel hitch for your RV, ensure that you have chosen the right one for the Gross Trailer Weight and Tongue Weight.
The hitches are also divided into weight carrying and weight distributing. A weight distributing fifth wheel hitch is normally used for heavier trailers with a high tongue weight.
There are also other different weights as well as acronyms that you need to have a clear understanding of in order to ensure safe towing.
Fifth wheel hitches are easier to hook up, make for easier maneuvering than ordinary hitches. They also pull a trailer without the sway you normally get with typical hitches.
However, there are various important factors that must always be considered when using 5th wheel hitches for towing.
For example, you must not exceed the weight limit (mostly the Gross Trailer Weight and the Tongue Weight Ratings) in order to avoid unsafe situations.
You must also know all the ins and outs of using a short-bed truck versus a long-bed truck, and a manual sliding hitch versus an automatic sliding hitch.