- Updated Sep 08, 2018
- Writen by Edward Miller
- Table of Contents
4 Best Fifth Wheel Hitches: Sliding, Fixed and More
- Updated Sep 08, 2018
- Writen by Edward Miller
- Table of Contents
Trying to figure out the best fifth wheel hitch for your truck is not an easy task because there are so many fifth wheel hitch designs and setups out there.
A fifth wheel hitch offers you lots of opportunities, including more flexibility with your trailer size and with tighter turns. So, deciding on a fifth wheel hitch is often a good idea.
The problem though is knowing the right hitch to get and that's what this fifth wheel hitches review is all about. It comes with a list of the top offers in the market, plus a buying guide to help you make the right choice.
- 4 Best Fifth Wheel Hitches – Reviews
- How to Buy the Best Fifth Wheel Hitch
4 Best Fifth Wheel Hitches – Reviews
1. B&W Companion RVK3500 (20,000 lbs GTW & 5,000 lbs Tongue Weight)
2. Pro-Series 30056 (Affordable 4-Way Pivoting 5th Wheel Hitch)
3. Curt 16516 (Sliding Hitch for Short-bed Trucks)
4. Reese 30120 (Heavy-duty Hitch with A 20,000-lb GTW)
1. B&W Companion RVK3500
(20,000 lbs GTW & 5,000 lbs Tongue Weight)
2. Pro-Series 30056
(Affordable 4-Way Pivoting 5th Wheel Hitch)
3. Curt 16516
(Sliding Hitch for Short-bed Trucks)
4. Reese 30120
(Heavy-duty Hitch with A 20,000-lb GTW)
1. B&W Companion RVK3500 – 20,000 lbs GTW & 5,000 lbs Tongue Weight
- Weight Capacity: 20,000 pounds
- Jaw Type: Double jaw
B&W's RVK3500 is an ingenious system that converts your existing gooseneck hitch into a fifth wheel hitch without needing any rails on your truck's bed.
The only issue is that the gooseneck hitch needs to come from B&W and it's called the Turnover Ball gooseneck hitch. What you get though, is a cleanly mounted under-bed system that leaves no ugly rails on your truck bed.
You can simply remove the gooseneck ball and install this fifth wheel hitch, or you can leave your truck bed completely clean and ready for anything. The entire process of switching both hitches takes less than 10 minutes.
This fifth wheel hitch has a 20,000-lb rating with a 5,000-lb tongue weight. It features double jaws and polyurethane bushings for a quiet towing experience, and B&W backs it with a lifetime warranty.
On the flip side, you need the B&W under-bed mounting system, which is actually a gooseneck hitch, but if you need a clean truck bed for other activities and you can overlook this extra cost, then this is a great buy.
2. Pro-Series 30056 – Affordable 4-Way Pivoting 5th Wheel Hitch
- Weight Capacity: 15,000 lbs
- Jaw Type: Slide bar jaw
The Pro-Series 30056 is one of the top-rated fifth wheel hitches that come at a low price and is perfect for those on the search for a budget hitch. It additionally features lots of functions typical of more expensive hitches.
There is a 4-way pivoting head to make your travels smoother, and a jaw handle, which has a locking tab, though the padlock is not included in the package.
You can adjust the height from 13 to 17 inches so it can match different trailers. This hitch has a 15,000-lb towing capacity and a 3,750-lb tongue weight capacity.
Pro-Series backs it with a 10-year warranty and it's available with a choice of base rail kits.
On the flip side, it features a slide bar jaw mechanism, which is not the most efficient hitch jaw locking system. Its maximum towing capacity is also lower than the others at 15,000 lbs.
3. Curt 16516 – Sliding Hitch for Short-bed Trucks
- Weight Capacity: 16,000 lbs
- Jaw Type: A slide bar
Curt makes good hitches and it's one of the best fifth wheel hitch brands that you'll come across. This offer is for a Curt 16516, which offers a 16,000-lb towing capacity and can slide for up to 12 inches on your truck bed.
The hitch mounts on any industry-standard rails and it offers 4-height positions, making it easy to set up in just minutes. Curt further protects it all with a durable carbide powder coating to make it last longer.
You get an easy, single-handle operation for ease of use, an automatic locking mechanism for a secure but simple coupling, and a 4-way pivoting head with up to 10 degrees of movement.
Curt tests this hitch to adhere to the SAE J2638 safety standards and backs it with a lifetime warranty.
4. Reese 30120 – Heavy-duty Hitch with A 20,000-lb GTW
- Weight Capacity: 20,000 lbs
- Jaw Type: Double jaw
As the best-rated fifth wheel hitch in this review, this heavy-duty fifth wheel hitch additionally offers a top tow capacity of 20,000 lbs, plus a 5,000-lb tongue weight.
You can adjust it vertically between 13 and 17 inches, and its 4-way pivoting head makes it easier to hook up and to tow more smoothly on uneven grounds.
The disadvantage with this hitch is that although it comes with a rail kit, it doesn't come with a slider. It's also relatively costly, but it's strong, lightweight, and features a double jaw mechanism.
You can also decide to get it with a slider if you want, but if you've got a short bed truck, then you need the slider anyway. Although it comes with a rail kit, you might need an upgrade, depending on your truck and model, so check first.
How to Buy the Best Fifth Wheel Hitch
A fifth wheel hitch is a complex machine with a specialized function. This makes it necessary that you understand its different parts and the functions they offer because this knowledge will enable you to make the right choice of a fifth wheel hitch for your truck.
These important features of a fifth wheel hitch are as follows:
1. Sliding vs. Fixed Position Fifth Wheel Hitches
As their names suggest, sliding fifth wheel hitches slide a few inches forward and backward to get the best settings for any RV and the towing truck. They usually rest on two rails that make the sliding easy and are the best fifth wheel hitches for short bed trucks.
Fixed fifth wheel hitches, however, don't move. They are permanently fixed in place. Most of the fifth wheel hitches you'll see are of this fixed variety and asides from being stationary, they do allow a truck to turn and pivot without any issues.
Sliding fifth wheel hitches make more sense and offer the average camper more options, but they are also more expensive. It's left for you to decide if the extra flexibility is worth the extra price for you.
2. Towing Capacity
There are three different weights to consider here. The first is your truck's towing capacity because it's what determines the type and size of RV that you can pull.
The second weight to consider is your fifth wheel hitch's towing capacity, which can range anywhere from 15,000 to 30,000 lbs or more. You should note here that the hitch cannot exceed the truck in capacity.
Next, you'll need to consider the weight of the RV itself. Remember that most manufacturers will give you an RV's “empty weight”, that is, an RV with nothing inside it. After adding your television, generator, and air conditioner, you'll find that you've got more weight.
For this reason, always get a fifth wheel hitch with a few pounds more capacity than your RV. This way, your RV weight will still fall within the acceptable range after you've loaded it.
3. 2-Way vs 4-Way Pivot Head
Pivoting means turning around a fixed point and in this case, the fixed point is the fifth wheel. Pivoting allows you to tow your RV more smoothly than without.
Fifth wheel hitches can come with 2-way pivoting heads or with a 4-way head. A 2-way pivoting head allows your truck and RV to pivot forward and backward independently of one another. Such a hitch is ideal for smooth paved roads.
If you plan on taking a rougher ride through uncharted territory though, then a 4-way pivoting hitch might do you well. With a 4-way hitch, your truck and RV can turn in all directions independent of one another.
This means both forward and backward, as well as left and right. Do note that these movements are different from the normal left and right turning of a vehicle on the road.
4. Single vs. Double Jaw Hitches
A jaw is the closing mechanism that shuts tight and holds the trailer's kingpin to the hitch. A single jaw is a one-piece locking mechanism, while a double jaw uses two jaws to lock in the kingpin.
Each type of jaw has its advantages and disadvantages. Single jaws are generally considered superior to double jaws, but they are mostly available from 25,000-lb hitch capacities and above.
Double jaws, however, are usually found on hitches rated 20,000 to 24,000 lbs. They use a simpler but less effective mechanism to lock in and pull a trailer.
The third type of jaw is the slide bar jaw. Manufacturers use this type mainly on hitches rated below 20,000 lbs and they usually cost less than other hitches with other types of jaws.
5. Mounting Style
Although most people only consider the top part of a fifth wheel hitch when planning to buy one, you should know that fifth wheel hitches attach to a set of rails, which get mounted directly to a truck bed.
You should, therefore, check that the fifth wheel hitch that you're considering comes with a rails kit, else you'll have to get it separately.
Secondly, you'll find universal and custom rail kits designed to fit into factory drilled holes that connect directly to your truck's frame and make it easier for you to install the package. If it's a universal rail kit, then you may need to drill some holes by yourself.
This is a personal issue because you alone know your budget. If you're not on a budget, then feel free to buy the best 5th wheel hitch you can afford.
If you're on a budget though, then you'll want to take your time and consider the features that matter to you most, since these features will help you to make the right choice and get yourself the best fifth wheel hitch for the money.
7. Gooseneck Issues
You could also have plans to tow both a fifth wheel trailer and a gooseneck trailer with the same truck. In this case, there are many different types of gooseneck and fifth wheel adapters to choose from.
We've come to the end of this best fifth wheel hitches review and you've seen the best offers in the market, as well as the detailed buying guide to choosing the right hitch.
Depending on your truck and on your trailer type though, your needs will be unique to you. So, it's left for you now to choose.