Ball hitches are small components found at the rear end of your truck, and you need them to haul just about anything. While many vehicles come with these components and many aftermarket options are available, how do you know if you have the right one? Knowing what ball hitch size you need, how to find the size, and what you’re hauling are all important factors to consider before you attach anything to your vehicle.
Thankfully, there are a few common ball hitch sizes that are used for most vehicles. Each size has its perks and drawbacks, so read on to learn everything you need to know about ball hitch sizes.
- What Is a Ball Hitch?
- What Are the Standard Ball Hitch Sizes?
- What Are the Benefits of a Ball Hitch?
- How to Choose the Right Ball Hitch Size
- Get the Right Ball Hitch Size
What Is a Ball Hitch?
A ball hitch, sometimes known as a ball mount, is an attachment that connects a trailer to a hitch. These mounts are usually located on the back of a truck, and they’re shaped like a ball, hence the name. Ball hitches come in several sizes, and they’re made with different types of materials. This means that you need the right ball hitch with the right material to couple with the trailer. Failing to do so can result in damage to your vehicle, losing your trailer, and several other problems.
Aside from the ball hitch, your vehicle is also at risk of problems if it doesn’t have the towing capacity to haul a trailer. Always make sure you monitor the weight rating of your vehicle, the hitch, and even the trailer before you attempt to tow anything. Doing so will keep you, your vehicle, and your trailer safe.
What Is a Ball Mount?
Ball hitches and mounts are usually referred to as the same thing. However, you’re usually dealing with separate pieces. The ball mount is the mounting component to which you attach the hitch. You can slide the ball hitch of your choice into the mount to connect the setup. This allows you to choose different hitches for every situation. While the phrases are used interchangeably, it’s important to keep this difference in mind when you’re shopping for ball hitches and mounts.
What Can You Tow With a Ball Hitch?
Ball hitches are useful for towing small boats, RVs, and most small trailers. They’re not perfect for towing everything, but the ball mount design makes it one of the smoothest towing options for these applications. This is because the trailer coupler slides right over the ball hitch, which protrudes out from your bumper. So, you’ll have plenty of control for towing a wide range of trailers and vehicles.
As long as the vehicle you’re towing with can handle the weight and you have the right ball hitch, there aren’t many limits to what you can add to a trailer.
Can a Ball Hitch Go on Any Car?
Yes, ball hitches can usually go on any vehicle. However, that doesn’t mean you should slap a ball mount onto the back of your Toyota Camry. It’s important to understand how much weight your vehicle can tow. Otherwise, you might damage your engine, axles, powertrain, or trailer. Plus, you can hurt someone if you’re going uphill and the trailer disconnects. Always be careful when choosing the appropriate ball hitch for your vehicle.
Always make sure you consider the weight before towing with a ball hitch and get the right hitch size.
What Are the Standard Ball Hitch Sizes?
Ball hitches come in several sizes. Depending on what you’re towing, you may need a different ball hitch. In fact, the wrong ball hitch won’t even attach to the trailer you plan on moving. One of the most important metrics to measure is the ball diameter because it’s a good measure of how much a ball hitch can handle.
Learn more about the most common sizes below.
The one and seven eights ball hitch is usually the smallest ball mount you can find. These hitches are still made with durable materials and can handle a lot of weight. The average weight rating for a hitch of this size is 2,000 to 3,500 pounds. This means you can tow some small trailers, boats, and cars. You’ll struggle to tow any large RVs or anything that has a lot of weight to it.
That said, this is a great ball hitch to start with if you want to get used to having some cargo behind your truck.
A two-inch ball mount is the next tier up when it comes to ball hitches. They have a slightly higher weight rating than 1-7/8″ hitches and can couple with a wide range of trailer types. These hitches can handle an average weight of 3,500 to 12,000 pounds. With a 2-inch ball hitch, you have a wider range of things to tow. Examples include mid-size trailers, RVs, and smaller boats.
While this seems like a limited amount of options, this is typically what you use a ball hitch for. Larger things are usually towed by other hitches or larger vehicles with more towing capacity.
The next ball hitch to focus on is the 2-5/16″ hitch, which is almost good enough for larger towing loads. It can handle a weight between 5,000 and 10,000 pounds, which is enough for towing small boats, cars, and other vehicles. This is one of the most common ball hitch sizes for towing bikes, ATVs, and other off-road vehicles. For most vehicles, this is usually the biggest you should go unless you’re towing something huge like a 20-foot boat.
The three-inch ball hitch is one of the biggest hitches you’ll find. They’re made from strong materials and designed to haul gooseneck trailers. In fact, 3-inch ball hitches are usually made with raw, heat-treated steel. This helps them haul up to 30,000 pounds (21,000 pounds on average), which is their usual rating. That said, these hitches are overkill for smaller trailers.
We recommend a 3-inch hitch for people who are doing a lot of towing and need a professional part. These hitches are exceptional but also expensive, so keep this in mind.
What Is the Most Common Ball Hitch Size?
The 2-inch ball hitch is the most common size. It can tow most types of trailers and handle a decent amount of weight. Plus, they’re affordable and pair well with modern trucks like the Ford F150 or the Chevy Silverado. These trucks have a lot of towing capacity, which can be leveraged well with a 2-inch ball hitch.
While some hitch sizes are more common than others, all of these standard ball hitch sizes can be found on a wide assortment of vehicles. In other words, they’re all popular, aside from the 3-inch hitch ball.
Are There Any One-Size-Fits-All Ball Hitch Sizes?
No, there is no one-size-fits-all option for ball hitch sizes. Every truck has a different towing capacity, and you need to make sure you choose the hitch that best suits your needs. For this reason, we always recommend following our tips for choosing the right hitch ball size. Never just get a random hitch ball mount and slap a trailer on. This can result in a lot of damage to your vehicle, the trailer, and even your safety.
Knowing about the common sizes will help you find the right ball hitch size without having to sort through dozens of options for niche applications.
What Are the Benefits of a Ball Hitch?
Ball hitches come with a lot of benefits that make them desirable for people who need to tow trailers.
We list the most notable benefits of using a ball hitch below:
- There’s a snug fit you can’t find with other hitches
- Rugged design that can handle a beating
- They’re easy to inspect for any issues or damage
- Lots of trailers are available for ball hitches
- Flexible tow weight range
- Mountable on most types of vehicles
These are only some of the benefits of ball hitches.
What Are the Drawbacks of Ball Hitches?
Ball hitches aren’t perfect for every situation, so it’s important to know what the drawbacks are before you start looking for one. You’ll have to compare and contrast the ball hitch to other hitches, but we list some notable disadvantages below.
- They stick out further than other hitches
- Couplers can move around on the hitch, which can make driving more challenging
- Mounting the hitch too high may cause your trailer to tip
- You need a pin for them to function
Despite some of these drawbacks, ball hitches are some of the best towing tools you can find.
How to Choose the Right Ball Hitch Size
Choosing the right ball hitch size is essential. Without doing so, you can end up with a trailer you can’t use. Additionally, you may end up with a ball mount that can’t handle the load of the trailer. In this case, you may damage your vehicle or the holder. Learn about the steps you need to take to find the right ball hitch below.
There are several towing classes you need to be aware of. These are classes that rate hitches and how much they can tow. Weight capacity aside, you need to know the class of the hitch before you mount it on your vehicle. This is because some hitches won’t fit on every vehicle. Learn more about each of the towing below.
- Class 1: Cars and crossovers
- Class 2: Cars, crossovers, and small vans
- Class 3: Vans, SUVs, crossovers, and trucks
- Class 4: Light trucks and SUVs
- Class 5: Light trucks, some heavy trucks, and SUVs
- Class 5 Commercial: Chassis cab trucks (flatbread, towtruck, landscaping vehicles)
Even if you know you want a standard ball hitch, it’s essential to know what class your vehicle is to find the right fit.
The towing capacity, the type of ball hitch you have, or even the trailer doesn’t matter until you know the coupler size. You’ll want to make sure the hitch ball you have matches the coupler you want. If you already have a trailer, you match the coupler size to the common ball hitch sizes to find the right fit. Many couplers will also tell you how big of a hitch ball they can fit with, but this depends on the brand.
Another way to find the coupler size is to measure the inside of the coupler. You’ll want to measure the inside opening and see how many inches it is across. The number you get is the appropriate size for a hitch ball’s diameter.
Match the Shank of the Ball Mount and Ball Hitch
Ball hitches connect to a shank, so they’re interchangeable. However, you need to have the right diameter to ensure that you can fit the hitch ball. So, measure the length across the hole from side to side to get the diameter. This is the size you’ll need if you want to connect a ball hitch. Otherwise, you’re in some trouble.
Match the Weight Capacity
The weight capacity of the hitch ball determines what you can tow. You’ll need a ball hitch with a weight limit that surpasses the trailer weight. This ensures that you have some wiggle room if you plan on towing anything heavy. Using a ball hitch that can’t accommodate the weight of a trailer will fail to be useful, and you can damage the shank, hitch, trailer, or your vehicle.
Finding the right hitch isn’t challenging as long as you know what to look for.
Get the Right Ball Hitch Size
Whenever you’re towing something or planning to attach anything to the back of your vehicle, having the right hitch is everything. The wrong hitch will result in damage to your truck, trailer, and just about anything else in the area. Additionally, it will cost you a lot of money to replace any damage, and new hitches or mounts aren’t cheap.
As long as you follow our tips, you shouldn’t have any issues with ball hitch sizes in the future. Always make sure you consider what you’re towing, how much it weighs, and how much your vehicle weighs before you make a decision.