How to Find the Best Weight Distribution Hitch with Sway Control
Whether it’s the unbridled sense of boundless adventure or the sheer joy of simply hitting the open road, there really is a lot to be said for simply hitching a camper to the back of your vehicle and heading out wherever your instincts take you.
Yet as fun as all that can be, make no mistake about it, the RV lifestyle isn’t without its dangers.
That’s where adding the best weight distribution hitch with sway control can really prove to be worth its weight in gold.
Even without hazardous weather conditions and the countless perils presented by an untreated road surface, sometimes the very nature of towing a camper behind you can present a whole new world of challenges.
Towing a weight that far exceeds that of your vehicle can cause any number of dangerous situations that pose a threat not only to your rig but also to your very safety.
It only takes an excessive bout of swaying in especially strong crosswinds to find yourself in the kind of trouble that even a good RV roadside assistance service may not be able to get you out of.
A hitch with sway control eliminates most of those dangers, allowing you and your loved ones to enjoy a smooth, safe journey from start to finish.
Of course, it’s all well and good me telling you that, but what exactly is a weight distribution hitch anyway?
How do you even know if a particular brand has a sway control feature?
Most importantly of all, how do you know which hitch is best suited for you and your camper?
It’s these exact questions -and a few more besides- that we’re going to answer today.
We’ve tasked our RV experts with picking out the very best weight distribution hitches with sway control currently available on the market.
We’ll present them to you in our comprehensive guide below, but before we do that, let’s address some of the key things you need to know before investing money in a hitch of your own.
What is a weight distribution hitch?
Whether you’re heading to the hills with your favorite dirt bikes stowed safely in a top toy hauler, or journeying out into the forest in your beautiful teardrop camper, towing any kind of large weight is going to make driving a little more dangerous than usual.
If there’s too much weight on the tongue in proportion to the overall weight of what you’re towing, then this can cause the back-end of your vehicle to dive downwards towards the ground, causing all kinds of damage to your vehicle and making it much more difficult to control.
At the same time, you could also find the front of your vehicle raising up, particularly if you need to hit the brakes in a hurry. As this happens, braking traction and steering control are both reduced. Again, this can result in a whole myriad of problems.
A weight distribution hitch will alleviate this problem by taking some of the pressure off the tongue and spreading the weight evenly across all of the axles on both the trailer and the towing vehicle.
With the weight evenly distributed, you’ll find it easier to steer, brake and generally navigate the open road.
What is sway control?
Even with all that being said, a weight-distribution hitch on its own isn’t the perfect solution to all towing hazards.
The faster you drive, the more likely your trailer is to sway back and forth, and we’re not talking about law-breaking speeds here either.
Simply accelerating up to 65 miles per hour has been known to cause many a camper to begin swaying wildly. This can be scary at best, and downright hazardous at worst.
So, surely the straightforward answer to that problem is just to ensure you drive safely, right?
Even if you’re the safest driver out on the road, several different issues -from other vehicles on the road to crosswinds, a badly-loaded camper or even excess tension on the spring bar- could all cause sway.
With that in mind then, looking for a hitch with sway control can prove to be essential in eliminating that problem, ultimately providing added peace of mind and protection for you, your passengers, and your vehicle.
Do all hitches come with sway control?
Given everything we’ve discussed so far, it may come as a surprise to learn that sway control isn’t yet a universally standard feature in all hitches.
Though we hope that this does become the case one day, for now, we advise anyone to look around and check whether the hitch you’re thinking of buying has this feature.
To help you out, we’ve made sure that our guide to the best weight distribution hitches contains only those models that come with sway control included.
Understanding weight ratings for weight distribution hitches
Before we get into the guide itself, there’s one other very important thing you need to know.
As you go through the guide, you’ll see that we often make reference to two different terms:
Gross Trailer Weight (GTW) and Tongue Weight (TW).
Here’s what both of those terms actually mean.
Gross Trailer Weight (GTW)
As you may have figured out already, Gross Trailer Weight refers to the entire total weight of your trailer. That includes any modifications and its contents.
When you’re shopping around for a good quality weight distribution hitch, you’ll need to be sure that its GTW matches that of your trailer.
It’s generally OK if the GTW exceeds the trailer weight (though not by too much), but if it doesn’t at least match it, then it won’t be powerful enough for your needs.
Tongue Weight (TW)
Tongue Weight is the term used to describe the amount of downward pressure that the trailer tongue forces onto the hitch of the tow vehicle.
Generally, experts say that a good TW for any trailer should be between nine and fifteen percent of the GTW.
Though this may sound a little complicated, your tongue weight can be easily calculated, and all good hitches will tell you exactly what kind of weight they’re suitable for.
Best Weight Distribution Hitch With Sway Control – An Overview
Without further ado, let’s take a look at the very best weight distribution switches with sway control currently available.
Below, we’ll offer our in-depth look at each of our top five picks, weighing up the pros and cons to help you decide which one is best suited for your particular needs.
However, if you don’t have time for that right now, here’s a quick look at the basic facts that you need to know.
GROSS TRAILER WEIGHT
$580 – $630
$150 – $300
$290 – $425
$300 – $400
$250 – $350
Universally acclaimed for its best in class sway control system and unbeatable durability, the Blue Ox SWAYPRO is by far and away the hitch to beat if you suffer from excessive swaying while out on the road.
Like all the best weight distribution tools, Blue Ox make their industry-leading hitch in a variety of models to suit various tongue weights.
So, if you have a much smaller camper, you may want to consider either the 750 lbs tongue weight or 1000 lbs model.
For the sake of this review, however, we’re going to focus on the top-end 1500 lbs model as it truly does serve as the perfect example of why the Blue Ox brand are so well respected in the RV game.
Other than the remarkable sway control, the one thing we really like about the SWAYPRO is its durability.
Constructed from heavy-duty steel with tough-as-nails, chain-linked adjustable torsion bars, this is one hitch that’s built for some seriously extensive use.
So, if you’re planning on really clocking up the miles on your next big trip then you can rest assured that the SWAYPRO has you well and truly covered.
The positives don’t end there, either.
Out of all the options we considered, Blue Ox’s weight distribution hitch proved to be one of the easiest to install.
The kit comes with everything you need to get it set up, including clear, detailed instructions.
Best of all, it comes with a pre-adjusted hitch head so there’s no need to spend ages fine-tuning it to your trailer. Simply put it in place and off you go.
Oh, and did we mention that it’s super quiet?
Trailer towing can be a noisy endeavor, especially when you’re using a hitch, but this one remains well lubricated to ensure an enjoyable, noise-free journey.
So far, so good, but we have to say, all of this quality comes at a cost.
Retailing at well over the $500 mark, the Blue Ox SWAYPRO is the most expensive hitch on our list by a good $200. As such, this may be out of the running for those of you on a more modest budget.
That said, the SWAYPRO is so well built and does such a good job at both weight distribution and sway control that buying this one model now could say you hundreds of dollars in replacing an inferior model later down the line.
Blue Ox BXW1500 SWAYPRO specifications:
- Gross Total Weight (GTW): 15,000 lbs
- Tongue weight (TW): 1,500 lbs
- Price range: $580 – $630
- Amazon customer rating: 4.2 out of five stars
Blue Ox BXW1500 SWAYPRO pros
- Pre-adjusted for easier installation
- Made from heavy-duty steel to ensure long-lasting durability
- No noise when towing
- Best-in-class sway control.
Blue Ox BXW1500 SWAYPRO cons
More expensive than other models.
With prices starting from around $150, the Camco EAZ Lift Elite Kit is undoubtedly a more affordable option than our first-placed Blue Ox SWAYPRO, but don’t mistake low cost for low quality.
A firm favorite among the RV community, the EAZ Lift is one of the strongest weight distribution hitches on the market and combines rugged durability with a level of flexibility and simplicity that makes it a leading contender for the number one spot.
In the end, we gave that spot to Blue Ox thanks to its excellent sway control, but this one more than gives it a run for its money.
One of its best features is the adjustable round bar that prevents bouncing, minimizes noise, and even helps to reduce swaying, though there is also an integrated sway control system.
We’re also big fans of the fact that this one comes pre-fitted and expertly pre-torqued so that you don’t have to deal with fine-tuning once it’s installed.
That being said, it comes as no surprise that for many other people, a key selling point of the Camco EAZ Lift is the quality.
With other hitches, a cheap price usually equals a cheap product, with less-than-stellar materials and lackluster construction.
With this one, that’s certainly not the case.
Camco is one of the oldest and most well-respected automobile brands in the United States. You don’t get to achieve that kind of longevity and you don’t get to earn the kind of high reputation that Camco have by producing poor-quality products.
These are solid, strong hitches, and if you’re still not convinced, they also come with a five-year warranty for added peace of mind.
As with the SWAYPRO, the Camco EAZ Lift does technically come in various sizes to suit all weights up to 14,000 GTW.
However, in our experience, we’ve found that Camco doesn’t make as many of some sizes as others, meaning there’s limited availability on models such as the 14,000 GTW hitch.
Camco EAZ Lift Elite specifications:
- Gross Total Weight (GTW): 10,000 lbs
- Tongue weight (TW): 800 lbs
- Price range: $150 – $300
- Amazon customer rating: 4.5 out of five stars
Camco EAZ Lift Elite pros
- Low cost but still high quality
- Pre-installed and pre-tuned to the correct settings
- Made from solid steel to ensure durability.
Camco EAZ Lift Elite cons
- EAZ Lift hitches for larger trailers seem limited in availability
- More complicated and time-consuming to install than other models.
Combining weight distribution and sway control into a single unit, the Husky Center Line TS is often favored for its lightweight, compact stature.
Yet despite being one of the smallest hitches on our list, Husky still packs a pretty powerful punch with their high-caliber product.
We especially like it can be fully adjustable to work with tongue weights of between 800 lbs and 1,200 lbs, making it one of the more flexible products we’ve featured here today.
This is especially a good deal because if you do decide to upgrade -or even downsize- your camper, you won’t have to buy a new weight distribution hitch. Simply adjust the size of this premium brand hitch and you’re good to go.
Elsewhere, the design and manufacturing of this one really helps it to stand out from the crowd.
Built with lift brackets, spring bars and head, all of the individual components come together effortlessly to create a smooth, quiet drive with zero trailer sway.
Though the Center Line TS is mostly easy to install, you may find that, if you do happen to get stuck, you run into one of the biggest drawbacks of the Husky brand.
Numerous online reviews report that the company’s customer service can be somewhat lacking at times, creating a somewhat frustrating experience.
The only other drawback is the price. With the cheapest options starting at just under $300, you’ll certainly find more affordable options out there, but as a long-term investment, this is a pretty good deal.
Husky Center Line specifications:
- Gross Total Weight (GTW): up to 12,000 lbs
- Tongue weight (TW): up to 1,200 lbs
- Price range: $290 – $425
- Amazon customer rating: 4.5 out of five stars
Husky Center Line pros
- Combines weight distribution and sway control in a single unit
- Adjustable to cover multiple tongue weights
- Doesn’t produce noise leading to a quieter, smoother drive.
Husky Center Line cons
- Higher cost
- Manufacturer customer service reported being lacking.
Like others on this list, the Fastway e2 2-Point Sway Control hitch comes suited to a variety of weights, so it doesn’t matter how heavy -or how light- your camper is, you’ll be able to take advantage of Fastway’s outstanding quality and ease of use.
What’s more, it also comes in both trunnion and round bar models so you can attach just about any kind of trailer to any kind of tow vehicle.
The best part is that doing all of this is a breeze. Most of the parts you’ll need to come pre-configured and installed.
However, there is one big drawback here.
Unlike other brands, Fastway requires you to buy the required hitch ball separately, adding to what is already a pricey piece of kit.
If you can overlook this flaw, however, then you’re guaranteed a great towing experience with the Fastway e2.
Whereas other hitches make turning and backing up a pretty cumbersome endeavor, the e2 doesn’t have that problem. There are no restrictions here, so you can take sharp turns and reverse into spots without having to detach the hitch.
Overall, a good quality product whose only noticeable drawback is that you have to buy a separate ball for it.
Fastway e2 specifications:
- Gross Total Weight (GTW): 10,000 lbs
- Tongue weight (TW): 1,200 lbs
- Price range: $300 – $400
- Amazon customer rating: 4.4 out of five stars
Fastway e2 pros
- No need to detach for backing up or turning
- various models catering to all TW and GTW ratings
- Available in both round-bar and trunnion design.
Camco EAZ Lift Elite cons
Hitch ball sold separately.
Last but by no means least, don’t count out CURT when it comes to world-class towing products.
Much like Camco, the brand is at the very forefront of the industry and have spent the past three decades carving out a name for themselves as pioneers of gooseneck, 5th wheel, and weight distribution hitches.
Of course, it’s the latter of these three that we’re concerned with today, and for good reason.
The 17063 MV Round-Bar is a solid, heavy-duty hitch that serves as the perfect solution for long-haul trips.
It’s already solid construction is reinforced with forged steel spring bars to provide additional power and durability, while the carbide black powder coated finish protects against long-term corrosion.
All combined, this means that you can take your camper out on some very long trips, safe in the knowledge that your hitch is going to provide all the support you need no matter how far you go.
Meanwhile, the adjustable head ensures that your trailer remains level with your vehicle mile after mile, cutting out sway en route.
By far the biggest selling point, however, is the unique self-lubricating system with a grease zerk for exceptional noise reduction and overall smoothness.
Available in models suited for up to 14,000 lbs gross trailer weight, the Curt 17063 starts at $250, which also makes it one of the better low-cost options out there.
Curt 17063 specification
- Gross Total Weight (GTW): 14,000 lbs
- Tongue weight (TW): 1,400 lbs
- Price range: $250 – $350
- Amazon customer rating: 4.1 out of five stars
Curt 17063 pros
- Self-lubricating system to ensure smooth, quiet towing
- Forged steel spring bars for added strength
- Adjustable two-inch shank to fit any trailer.
Curt 17063 Elite cons
Lacks proper instructions making installation more difficult.
So there you have it, our complete guide to the five very best weight distribution hitches with sway control.
As you’ll see from the above reviews, any one of these models will serve as an invaluable piece of kit to help keep you, your loved ones, and your vehicle safe while you’re out taking that trip of a lifetime.
Having said that, if you have the money to spend then there’s a lot to be said for investing in our number-one ranked Blue Ox BXW1500 SWAYPRO Weight Distributing Hitch.
Despite costing around $600, it’s premium quality construction combines with an industry-leading sway control system make it a seriously good choice for anyone planning to clock up some serious miles.
Don’t have that much money to spend on a hitch?
You could do far worse than looking at the Camco EAZ Lift Elite Kit.
As we said in our review, it was a very close call between Blue Ox and Camco, and though the SWAYPRO eventually won out, EAZ Lift proved to be a great option for those who want quality construction and a smooth journey at an affordable price.
Distribution Hitch Frequently Asked Questions
By now, we’ve given you almost all the information you could possibly need to make an informed decision about the best hitch for your rig.
Still, with so many different things to consider, it makes sense that you may still have questions.
If that’s the case, you may find the answers you’re looking for in the following FAQ.
How do I know if I even need a distribution hitch?
One of the easiest ways to check whether or not you need a distribution hitch is to simply check the laws in your home state, or at least in the states you’re planning on traveling through.
In many states, weight distribution hitches are a legal requirement for trailers that exceed a certain weight.
Even if there’s no legal obligation, many experts recommend that you use a hitch if you’re going to be towing a trailer that weighs anywhere over 50% more than the weight of your tow vehicle.
We’re inclined to agree with those experts on this one. The heavier your tow, the more invaluable a hitch is going to be, making it easier to steer and brake with no swaying involved.
If you’re still not convinced that you really need a hitch, take a look at your vehicle the next time you hitch your camper to it.
Does the rear of your vehicle sag or dive?
Does the front end raise up so that’s off the ground?
If so, that’s being caused by the tongue weight being transferred onto the rear axle of your vehicle. Not only does this make it difficult to drive, but it can also cause long-term damage to your vehicle, making a hitch practically essential.
What else can I do to avoid trailer sway?
While a good sway-control hitch will go a long way in keeping sway to a minimum, there are some basic RV maintenance tasks that you can carry out to help prevent it even further.
Keeping tires at the appropriate pressure
If your tires aren’t properly inflated then this can lead to an increase in sway. Before you head out on the road, be sure to check all the tires on both your tow and your tow vehicle and inflate where necessary.
Ensure appropriate weight distribution
If you’ve loaded up all of your luggage into your camper and then hitched it to your car this could contribute to a pretty rough driving experience.
Ensure that weight is carefully distributed and that you don’t have too much of it at the front or back of the trailer.
While we’re on the subject, be sure to tie down any loose bags or other heavy belongings as these could roll around throughout your camper and cause sway.
Will I be able to tow more weight if I have a distribution hitch with sway control?
Please note that the idea of a hitch isn’t to help you tow more weight, it’s to help you tow the weight you already have in a much safer way.
Every hitch comes with boh GTW and TW ratings, both of which are the absolute maximum weight the hitch is capable of handling. Sometimes, this rating might be higher than the weight you usually tow, but that doesn’t mean you can suddenly go bulking up and adding all kinds of heavy modifications to your camper.
Ultimately, the amount of weight you can tow comes down to how much muscle your car has.
How do I determine the towing capacity of my vehicle?
Your vehicle’s towing capacity is the absolute maximum amount of weight that it can tow legally and -most importantly- safely.
This capacity is generally calculated by using your vehicle’s curb weight as well as the maximum weight of your trailer plus its cargo. The power of your vehicle’s engine will also play an important factor.
If all of that sounds confusing, or if math was never your strong suit, to begin with, don’t worry:
These days, it’s pretty easy to discover the maximum towing capacity of your vehicle.
If you still have the original documentation from the manufacturer then you should be able to find the details you need in there.
If not, a call to your car dealer should suffice. Alternatively, simply head online. Type in the make and model of your vehicle along with the words ‘towing capacity,’ and you’ll find the information you need in no time.
Did you enjoy this guide? If so, you might want to check out our take on whether the Gooseneck or 5th Wheel Hitch is better for today’s camper owners. Alternatively, get set for a peaceful night’s sleep with our Tochta mattress review.