Trailer couplers are a part of a trailer hitch, which is the mounting point for your trailer that locks onto the hitch ball to safely tow your 5th wheel or travel trailer. It has a special design that allows the trailer to be towed and safely make turns with your vehicle. There are 2 widely used types of trailer couplers, the A-shaped tongue and the straight tongue. However, you can choose different mounting styles for your trailer coupler and pick the preferred latching mechanism.

Mounting Styles For Trailer Couplers

There are 3 mounting styles for the straight tongue couplers and 4 different styles for A-frame tongue couplers. 

Straight Channel

This is a style for the straight tongue and it’s the most basic one. However, it still does the job excellently and can tow between 2,000 and 21,000 pounds. You can see how to set up the straight channel coupler here.

Foldaway Style

This style also goes on straight tongues. Using this style is easy and all you need to do is to remove the pin and clip. It can also save some space for storage when you fold the trailer tongue. The weight capacity is between 5,000 and 9,000 pounds.

Round Tongue Style

This mounting style coupler locks on by sliding into the round shank tongue and welds on it. It has a collar loaded with springs to make sure it fits perfectly. It can tow between 5,000 and 12,500 pounds which is ideal for utility trailers with light generators.

A-frame Coupler Style

As the name suggests, it’s used for A-shaped tongues and it’s made to withstand heavy duty towing. These types of trailer couplers have towing capacity between 5,000 and 21,000 pounds, which makes them perfect for a medium-large size trailer.  

Flat Mount Style

The flat mount is used for A-shaped tongues as well. It’s a trailer coupler that can tow very heavy trailers including a boat trailer. This heavy duty coupler has a towing capacity of 14,000 and 25,000 pounds.

Adjustable Tongue Mount

This type of coupler can adjust to the height of various tow vehicles. It requires an additional bracket to mount on your trailer which is usually sold separately. It can tow between 6,000 and 21,000 pounds. 

Lunette Ring Mount

The lunette ring mount is used for A-frame trailers. It’s a very strong mount that can tow between 12,000 and 45,000 pounds which makes it excellent for large trailers or 5th wheels with huge gross trailer weight.

Gooseneck Coupler

This trailer coupler is specially designed for gooseneck trailers and it’s perfect for very heavy trailers. It’s minimally invasive and most often used in agriculture and commercial towing. It can tow between 20,000 and 40,000 pounds. 

Brake Actuator

This type of coupler is specially designed to help with hydraulic brakes because it has a connector that can operate the brakes on the tow vehicle. It’s a great option because it adds extra stopping power to your vehicle. It can tow between 5,000 and 20,000 pounds. 

The Standard Trailer Hitch Ball Sizes

There are 4 sizes that are considered to be standard for a trailer hitch ball. The size is actually the diameter of the hitch ball and the most common ball sizes are 1-⅞”, 2”, 2-5/16”, and 3”. 

How To Choose a Trailer Ball

The selection of ball mount will depend on a few things including how much weight you need to tow, the size of the receiver tube of the trailer hitch, and how much rise and drop is needed to remain safe on the road. Once you have this information you can choose the right trailer ball size for your specific needs.

What is a Hitch?

A hitch is a part that is attached to the chassis of your towing vehicle. The trailer coupler attaches to the hitch allowing you to tow your 5th wheel safely. The hitch can be a ball, pin, or a pintle and it’s specifically designed to give way for swiveling to make towing your trailer safe and secure. 

Weight carrying vs Weight Distributing Hitches

The weight-carrying hitches are designed to bear the tongue weight of the trailer on the rear part of your tow car. They are safe for towing trailers and 5th wheels that are small to medium size. Weight distributing hitches are often used for towing much heavier trailers because they are designed to evenly spread out the weight between the towing vehicle and the heavy trailer which significantly improves the steering and brake control you have over your vehicle.   

Types of Trailer Hitches

There are 6 different categories for weight-carrying hitches and only one category for weight distribution hitches. To start we will take a look at the weight carrying categories first.

Receiver Hitch

These hitches are usually already installed on most tow vehicles and they are further categorized into classes depending on the weight they can tow. They are installed in the rear and they can come in different sizes starting from 1”x1” up to 2 ½”x2 ½”. The receiver hitches are built to be durable and offer safety and strength. These hitches are further categorized into 5 classes which differ in the amount of weight they can tow. 

Front-mount Hitch

This hitch is most often used by people who love camping because it offers a better vision of the road. It’s also very good if you have a boat and you need to get it in or out of the water. Because it allows you to have a better vision of what you are doing it’s much easier to tow your boat trailer to the dock where you can place it in the water. Here’s a video explaining how to use a trailer coupler that is often used for towing boats. 

Bumper-mount Hitch

This hitch is not attached to the vehicle frame. Instead, it’s attached to the bumper which offers better flexibility and more adjustments. With this type of hitch, you can tow different loads including camping trailers, boat trailers, and so on. 

5th Wheel Hitch

This hitch can withstand huge loads and it’s usually used for heavy-duty towing. It can tow between 15,000 and 30,000 pounds which makes it perfect for large travel trailers. The thing to note about the 5th wheel hitch is that it uses a kingpin connection instead of a ball and a coupler connection.

Gooseneck Hitch

The gooseneck hitch is similar to the 5th wheel hitch. It uses a ball and coupler connection which is more advantageous than the kingpin connection because it’s easier and more convenient to use. It has a less intrusive mechanism which allows complete truck bed use when you are not towing your vehicle. This type of hitch is also used for heavy loads and they can easily withstand towing large trailers. 

Pintle Hitch 

The pintle hitch is a completely different mechanism that requires a lunette so you can attach your trailer to your vehicle. This type of hitch is also able to pull a lot of weight and it can be used for towing large travel trailers but it’s mainly used in the construction industry because it tends to be very loud. 

Weight Distribution Hitch

The weight distribution hitch is added to the rear receiver of your towing vehicle and it helps by spreading the weight evenly between the trailer and the tow vehicle. The weight distribution hitch can improve your control and steering which ultimately helps you stay much safer on the road. This hitch can also increase the towing capacity of your vehicle so it’s perfect if you own a very large travel trailer.

Knowing the different types of trailer couplers and the various hitches you can use to tow your trailer or 5th wheel may come in handy when deciding which one to buy. Choosing the right one for your specific needs will significantly increase your safety on the road and make sure you can enjoy your trip.