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Tow hitch ratings

by Carl Lundquist

CLASS 1 hitch

Considered a light duty hitch for towing no more than a 2000 pounds trailer with no more than 200 poundsweight bearing on the tongue of the trailer.

Class 2 hitch

A medium duty hitch tows up to 3500 pounds with a maximum tongue weight of 300pounds.

Class 3 and 4 hitches

Heavy duty hitches, up to 10,000 pounds, with a weight distributing rig (spring bars) or 6,000 pounds without such.

Class 5 hitch

Extra heavy duty hitches, up to 14,000 pounds WD or 10,000 poundswithout

Hitch boxes

  • Class 1 and 2 use 1-1/4" hitch boxes.
  • Class 3 and 4 use a 2" box.
  • Class 5 uses a 2-1/2" box.


Ball size

The ball size depends on the trailer pulled and range from 1-7/8", 2", and 2-5/16".

  • 1-7/8" is for trailers up to 2000 pounds.
  • 2" is for up 3500 pounds with a 3/4" shank or 6,000 pounds with a 1" shank.
  • 2-5/16" is for 6000 pounds with a 1" shank and 6-10,000 pounds with a 1-1/4' shank depending on the stamped load rating.


Class 3, 4, and 5 hitches are generally used with load distributing rigs and load distributing ball mounts that can be adjustable or welded. Such ball mounts are a heavy chunk of steel and not usually found in auto parts stores where one can usually find class 1 or 2 weight carrying ball mounts.