What Are the Different Classes of Receiver Hitches?

Adjustable channel mount Curt receiver hitch.

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Do you dream of easy, seamless towing for a variety of jobs, outdoor adventures, and more? With the right equipment, smooth towing experiences can become a reality. One of the essentials you’ll need to get started is a receiver hitch. Receiver hitches are towing components that allow users to attach other towing accessories, such as a ball mount, to the vehicle’s underside rear. There are many different types of hitches for trailers, the most common being receiver hitches. They can carry up to 20,000 pounds and come equipped with a tube for various accessories. Within the category of receiver hitches, there are five different classes of hitches, each based on their towing capacity and receiver tube size. As the class number increases, so do the towing capacities and receiver tube sizes. Depending on your vehicle and purposes for towing, the appropriate receiver hitch class for you will vary.

Receiver Hitch Sizes

At this point, you might be wondering, ‘What class receiver hitch do I need for my vehicle?’ To discover the answer to this query, let’s ponder the different classes of trailer hitches.

Curt TruTrack weight distribution system receiver hitch

Class 1 Receiver Hitches: Small but Mighty

Out of all the receiver hitch sizes, this class of trailer hitches is the smallest. Class 1 hitches contain a receiver tube opening that ranges from 1”- ¼”. They might come equipped with a fixed tongue mounted to a trailer ball, or they’re simply mounted to a regular ball mount. These trailer hitches typically work well with smaller passenger cars and crossovers. Sometimes they have a fixed tongue directly mounted to a trailer ball instead of a ball mount. The vast majority of Class 1 trailer hitches can safely tow up to 2,000 pounds. However, every hitch is individual, and towing capacities can vary. Whatever your towing needs are, there are many reputable, high-quality Class 1 trailer hitches to explore!

Class 2 Receiver Hitches for Lightweight Towing

The next category of hitches is Class 2 hitches, but they’re certainly not second-class. Like Class 1 hitches, Class 2 trailer hitches have receiver tube openings that usually range from 1-1/4″ x 1-1/4″. They commonly reside on full-size sedans, minivans, and crossovers, and sometimes small SUVs or pickup trucks. This class of receiver hitches is best for lightweight towing. Most class 2 hitches can handle up to 3,500 pounds of trailer weight.

Class 2 Curt receiver hitches are a great option to simplify installation and optimize towing capacity. With a durable powder coat finish, this gadget carries up to 3,500 pounds of trailer weight. Whether you’re taking the family boat down to the water or hauling the camper to the canyons, these reliable Class 2 Curt trailer hitches will help get you there.

What Is a Class 3 Receiver Hitch?

Tray-style bike rack mounted on a vehicle.

This middle-of-the-road receiver hitch class is commonly found on full-size pickup trucks and SUVs. Most Class 3 hitches come with a 2″ x 2″ receiver tube opening and a towing capacity of up to 8,000 lbs. Many Class 3 hitches work well in tandem with a weight distribution hitch. Out of all of the receiver hitches out there, Class 3 hitches are the most versatile. They allow you to work with a variety of trailer types and load sizes.

Draw Tite manufactures an incredibly high-quality Class 3 receiver hitch with a sleek and aerodynamic design. This Class 3 Draw Tite trailer hitch is rated for up to 3,500 pounds, suitable for trucks, vans, and SUVs. Ball mounts, pins, and clips are easily removable and customizable, making this receiver hitch adaptable for your various towing needs.

What About Class 4 Receiver Hitches?

Class 4 trailer hitches most often serve full-size pickup trucks and SUVs. Their receiver tube openings are 2″ x 2″ and possess a capacity to carry approximately 10,000 pounds. They may be able to carry up to 12,000 pounds with certain weight distribution hitches.

As far as Class 4 hitches go, the Draw Tite Max E-Loader Class 4 Hitch is a standout. It’s reasonably priced, easily installable, and lightweight yet durable. This Class 4 Draw Tite hitch is perfect for all kinds of trucks, vans, and sport utility vehicles that need to reliably hold hefty loads of 10,000 pounds or less. This highly tested and trusted product will provide you with reliable towing while on the road, so you can rest assured.

The Curt Class 4 Super Duty Trailer Hitch is a rugged, rough-and-tumble hitch built to last through many adventures and jobs. This carbon steel, black powder-coated Curt receiver hitch is incredibly durable and resistant to chips, UV rays, and rust. It comes with a 2” x 2” receiver that accepts ball mounts, tow hooks, and other heavy-duty towing parts. Whether it’s hauling a utility trailer or pulling a full-length camper, this uniquely versatile Curt receiver hitch is fit for the job!

Last But Not Least: Class 5 Trailer Hitches.

Aluminum ball mount receiver hitch for trailers.

This class of trailer hitches is certainly not the least of them. Whereas Class 4 hitches only work with 2” receivers, Class 5 trailer hitches work with receivers between 2”-1.5”. Class 5 trailer hitches have the highest weight ratings out of any of the other receiver hitch classes. This is why they most often thrive on full-size pickups and commercial trucks.

If you’re looking for a reliable, well-trusted brand, Curt receiver hitches carry two distinct types of hitches within this class: Xtra Duty (XD) and Commercial Duty (CD) Class 5 hitches. The Curt Xtra Duty Class 5 Hitch features 2″ receivers and can tow up to 17,000 pounds, while the Curt Commercial Duty Class 5 Hitch employs a 2-1/2″ receiver, equipped to carry as much as 20,000 pounds.

Overall, this class of hitches is rated to carry loads as high as 20,000 pounds. So, if you want your heavy-duty trailers to do some heavy lifting, a Class 5 hitch is the choice for you!

So, What Class Receiver Hitch Do I Need?

A vehicle with a tray-style cargo carrier holding a cooler.

If upon learning of these different receiver hitch classes, you find yourself wondering, “What class receiver hitch do I need,” you can check the label located on your hitch. Another option is to take into account receiver hitch dimensions and calculations of your vehicle’s towing capacity. This will allow you to decipher which of the receiver hitch sizes will work for your vehicle and trailer. With a little research and some smart shopping, you’ll be well on your way to equipping your vehicle with the most effective towing essentials!

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