We scrutinized five popular weight distribution hitches with unique features and benefits to ultimately give our #1 ranking to the Andersen 3380 Weight Distribution Hitch.
Have you ever experienced trailer sway in real life? It’s a terrifying phenomenon often ending in the trailer and tow vehicle jackknifing and cartwheeling across the asphalt, endangering the people in the tow vehicle and other road users.
A quality weight distribution hitch (WDH) minimizes or eliminates trailer sway by distributing the gross combined weight of the towing vehicle and the travel trailer equally onto the axles of both vehicles for optimum vehicle-trailer stability. Friction force and friction material in the hitch limit trailer sway by acting against lateral trailer movement at highway speeds.
Our showcase’s six weight distribution hitches have distinct advantages for specific applications. We trust our findings help you choose the right WDH for your tow vehicle and travel trailer:
1. Andersen 3380 –Best Overall WDH
2. Weigh Safe True Tow –Best High-Tech WDH
3. Eaz-Lift ReCurve R6 –Best Ground Clearance WDH
4. Curt TruTrack 4P –Best Value Heavy-Duty WDH
5. Equal-i-zer –Best Four-Point Sway Control WDH
The essential function of a WDH is to enhance the driving stability and road safety of the truck-trailer combination via balanced load mass distribution and trailer sway control. A WDH should also be easy to install, operate, and service. The Andersen 3380 has all of these qualities, plus it’s the lightest middleweight WDH available commercially.
The Andersen 3380 is noiseless, greaseless, and has a unique sway control ball hitch and a shock-absorbing spring system that eliminate trailer sway and bounce. The design ingenuity and solid American engineering that characterize the Andersen 3380 captured our imagination – a robust but sleek WDH that wouldn’t look out of place at an RV Concourse d’Elegance.
The Andersen 3380 takes some beating in the innovation stakes. Still, our mini-reviews below bring you the best of the best from leading weight distribution hitch manufacturers, and each has something unique to offer. Let’s drop the coupler on the ball!
1. Andersen 3380 -Best Overall WDH
Unlike most weight distribution hitches that use steel bars, the Andersen 3380 uses two horizontal chains to create the necessary weight distributing leverage and tension between the ball and the trailer frame to level the rig and achieve optimum load distribution on all axles.
The chains are attached to a swivel plate connected to the ball receiver/housing base and extend to hanger brackets that secure the chains and a pair of urethane dampener springs to the trailer frame.
- The dampener springs absorb shock from bumpy roads, creating a smooth ride without the trailer bounce experienced with steel hitches.
The conically shaped ball stem sits in a ball housing lined with friction material. As more tongue load is applied to the ball, resistance to lateral movement increases, effectively eliminating trailer sway while still allowing maximum articulation of the vehicle-trailer combination at low speeds.
- With the Andersen 3380, you can back your trailer into a tight parking space without removing any components.
Weighing just 55 lbs, the Andersen 3380 is the lightest WDH on the market. But build strength has not been compromised. The unit has a gross vehicle weight rating (GVWR or GTW – gross trailer weight) of 14,000 lbs and a tongue weight (TW) of 1,400 lbs, enabling it to safely tow trailers up to 30 feet long.
The beauty of the Andersen 3380 is its design simplicity and ease of use. The hitch can be installed in under 30 minutes and, once set up on the rig, allows for easy decoupling without having to remove any parts from the trailer or towing vehicle.
The horizontal chain levers remain attached to the trailer frame/tongue and are easily loosened using a supplied socket, marked with specified torque settings. The swivel base plate is attached and detached from the ball housing using a safety bolt and cotter pin, an exercise taking less than 60 seconds.
The Andersen 3380 is grease-free, and the absence of metal-on-metal friction (typical in steel bar WDH units to achieve sway control) eliminates irritating noise. Yes – the Andersen 3380 is silent – a genuinely stealthy (some call it ‘polite’) WDH!
What’s in the package?
- A 2” or 2-5/16” Stainless Steel Ball.
- Two Tongue Brackets are compatible with 3” to 6” A-frame, Y-frame, and V-frame tongue designs.
- A 4” or 8” Drop/Rise Adjustable Steel Rack.
- A 2” or 2-1/2” Shank/Receiver.
- Two Motion Springs/Dampeners.
- Two Tension Chains.
- One Socket Head.
Watch an auto mechanic/RVer install the Andersen 3380 on a 35’ travel trailer and test it on a Cat scale to prove the system’s ability to distribute weight across all axles of the truck-trailer combination effectively.
The ease-of-use of the Andersen 3380, combined with the extra payload it allows due to its low weight, tops off a sophisticated WDH perfect for light to medium-duty towing applications.
Weight: 55 lbs
2. Weigh Safe True Tow –Best High-Tech WDH
The Weigh Safe True Tow is a heavy-duty weight distribution hitch that combines trunnion bar load transfer technology with a hydraulic weight gauge and a smartphone app. The app calculates the correct settings for optimum load distribution between all axles of the vehicle-trailer combination.
The ability to fine-tune the load placed on the hitch ball by the trailer coupler sets the Weigh Safe True Tow apart from the competition. An adjustable torque nut on the ball housing enables ‘live’ adjustment of the load placed on the hitch, effectively distributing (displacing) downward force both forwards over the rear axle of the towing vehicle onto the steering axle and rearwards to the trailer axle/s.
Installation of the Weigh Safe True Tow is relatively simple. Once the shank, rack, and hitch head are installed on the tow vehicle, the ball is secured to the ball housing, which incorporates the gauge/scale, a grease nozzle, and a swivel head with two trunnion bar receivers, and a load adjustment nut.
- The trunnion bar receivers and two hanger brackets create a four-point anti-sway friction system, managed by the adjustable torque/load distribution nut on the ball housing.
The Weigh Safe DTW (Distributed Tongue Weight) smartphone app requires the user to enter specific data to calculate the optimum Distributed Tongue Weight. Values, including trailer and tow vehicle GVWR, trailer tongue weight, and distances from the ball to the tow vehicle’s rear axle and trailer axle/s are used to ascertain the correct DTW.
- The optimum Distributed Tongue Weight is set by adjusting the torque nut on the ball housing.
In essence, the Weigh Safe ‘True Tow’ achieves a perfect leveling and load-sharing set-up between the axles of the vehicle-trailer combination, which optimizes traction and sway control.
The Weigh Safe ‘True Tow’ is rated to tow trailers up to 20,000 lbs (GVWR) with a tongue weight (TW) of 2,200 lbs.
Weight: 139.7 lbs
3. Eaz-Lift ReCurve R6 –Best Ground Clearance WDH
A common criticism of most weight distribution hitches is their low-slung nature, invariably characterized by a low hitch with trunnion bars riding a few inches above the road surface, effectively reducing the rig’s ground clearance. The Eaz-Lift ReCurve 6 addresses the need for a high ride height so favored by off-roading RVers.
The Eaz-Lift ReCurve R6 uses trunnion bars to achieve the necessary leverage, tension, and torque to level the rig and distribute weight across the respective axles. The R6 offers the most ground clearance of any WDH out there by placing the trunnion bars above the sway control mechanism (rather than below, as is the case with competitor brands).
The hitch and trunnion bars on the R6 sit at the same height as the trailer tongue, so there’s plenty of room for rocks and bumps in the road to pass beneath the rig without hindering or damaging the hitch.
A cam and ball mechanism in the swivel plate on the hitch ball housing creates Adaptive Sway Control in the R6. While most trunnion bar WDH systems rely on a set amount of friction to limit trailer sway, the R6 activates maximum friction when high-speed lateral trailer movement occurs, effectively locking the rig into a straight line.
When the rig is turning under normal conditions, the adaptive sway control mechanism automatically reduces the amount of friction applied to the trunnion bars, allowing for easy turning and parking.
- The adaptive sway control mechanism on the ReCurve R6 can be deactivated when road conditions become icy or slippery.
Rated to tow trailers up to 14,000 lbs GVWR with a tongue weight not exceeding 1,400 lbs, the ReCurve R6 will satisfy most boondocking enthusiasts with small to mid-size travel trailers and toy haulers.
Weight: 102,8 lbs
4. Curt TruTrack 4P -Best Value Heavy-Duty WDH
For a solid WDH with proven four-point anti-sway technology that doesn’t wake up the trailer park when you arrive at night, the Curt TruTrack 4P may be the budget-friendly hitch for you.
Manufactured using heavy-duty steel, the TruTrack is heavier than class rivals by 15 lbs or so, bringing peace of mind to RVers seeking sure-fire build strength and dependability in their WDH.
Using trunnion bars and a cam and spring system in the hitch to automatically control sway, the Curt TruTrack is suitable for travel trailers with a GVWR up to 15,000 lbs and a tongue weight not exceeding 1,500 lbs.
Weight: 120 lbs
5. Equal-i-zer –Best Value Light-Duty WDH
If it’s a solid reputation and a proud history you’re looking for in your WDH supplier, Equal-i-zer is the go-to shop. The Equal-i-zer WDH, best suited to light trailers, has a 4,000 lbs GTWR with a 400 lbs TW, and while it’s not the cheapest model out there, it has the solid support of a company that’s been in business in the US for over 70 years.
The Equal-i-zer has two trunnion bars with four-point sway control, established by the trunnion bars limiting lateral movement via friction on the heavy-duty hitch head connectors and hanger brackets.
- The Equal-i-zer has a lifetime warranty.
- The kit does not include a hitch ball, which needs to be purchased separately.
Weight: 102 lbs
What Causes Trailer Sway?
Trailer sway is caused by several circumstances affecting the vehicle-trailer combination as it travels at highway speeds, including strong crosswinds, air blasts from oncoming large trucks, poor wheel alignment, and uneven load distribution, which hampers tire traction and overall rig stability.
It’s important to remember that a travel trailer has large vertical walls that act like sails in windy conditions. Without proper load distribution, the hitch point acts as a hinge between the towing vehicle and the trailer when acted upon by lateral forces such as wind, which often results in dangerous trailer sway.
The risks incurred by not fitting a WDH are onerous.
A weight distribution hitch with integrated sway control manages the load distribution imperative for optimum traction and in-line tracking, while the anti-sway mechanism limits or eliminates lateral trailer movement at highway speeds.
Weight distribution hitches have evolved to a point where they are no longer the noisy, greasy, unwieldy beasts of yore. Today, sway control comes integrated with the WDH, allowing you to reverse into your campsite without removing any components. Most importantly, sway control technology has advanced to where it can now eliminate trailer sway.
For a WDH that checks all the boxes as far as safety is concerned, with unmatchable ease-of-use, elegant design, and silent operation, you have to choose the payload boosting Andersen 3380.
Good luck, and happy camping!
Check out our article on: Do I Need a Weight Distribution Hitch For My Camper?