The 5th wheel hitch is designed to be installed on the bed of a pickup, which enables a trailer hitch to extend over the rear bumper. Once properly hitched up, the weight is distributed between the cab of the truck and the rear axle.
The best 5th wheel hitch is the CURT 16245 Q24 Hitch, which can be used for towing up to 24,000 LBS and features a dual jaw system for 360 degree kingpin contact.
Before choosing your fifth wheel hitch, you will need to determine the trailers gross weight and the max king pin weight. With regards to your truck, you will need to measure the length of the truck bed as many fifth wheel hitches can be fairly large.
Table of Contents
- Best 5th Wheel Hitch
- CURT 16245 Q24 Fifth Wheel Hitch
- B&W RVK3500 Slider 5th Wheel Hitch
- CURT 16521 A16 5th Wheel Hitch with Roller
- Reese Pro Series Fifth Wheel Hitch
- Pulliam Enterprises 2900 Superglide
- 5th Wheel Hitch Buying Guide
Best 5th Wheel Hitch
|5th Wheel Hitch||Type||GTW Rating|
|CURT 16245 Q24||Fixed||24,000 LBS|
|B&W RVK3400||Slider||20,000 LBS|
|CURT 16521 A16||Slider||16,000 LBS|
|Reese Pro Series||Slider||15,000 LBS|
|Pulliam Enterprises 2900||Slider||18,000 LBS|
For those that drive a short bed truck and want to install a 5th wheel hitch, you will need to go for a sliding hitch instead of the standard. The difference is that a sliding 5th wheel hitch is able to move around on the bed and reduce the risk to the trailer hitting the cab, which would happen when backing up.
The weight capacity of most 5th wheel hitches range from 15,000 LBS and 30,000 LBS, which is much more than a weight distribution hitch will be able to handle.
From hauling large RVs to heavily loaded trailers, this type of hitch will improve maneuvering massively. Below is a list of the best 5th wheel hitches that contain both fixed and sliding examples to fit a range of truck beds.
CURT 16245 Q24 Fifth Wheel Hitch
Curt are a major brand in the trailer and hitch industry with various different products available. The 16245 Q24 5th wheel hitch by Curt is a high performer and is rated for hauling fifth wheel trailers of up to 24,000 LBS.
Other features of the CURT 16245 Q24 Fifth Wheel Hitch include:
- Fixed design rated at 24,000 LBS GTW
- Self aligning head that provide a wide opening
- 360 degree tilt for a smoother ride
- Dual jaw connection to prevent chucking
- Securely mounts onto most base rails
- Limited lifetime warranty
One unique selling point of this hitch is the 360 degree tilt, which allows the hitch head and coupling point to tilt at any direction. This results in a much smoother and quieter ride out on the road.
Overall, the CURT 16245 Q24 is the best 5th wheel hitch you can buy with excellent features that result in a smooth and quiet ride. The reason why it’s not as popular as it should be is primarily down to the large expense of purchasing it. On the top of the hitch, you must also purchase rails, which adds to the total cost but it will be the ultimate hitch for your fifth wheel trailer.Check it Out
B&W RVK3500 Slider 5th Wheel Hitch
If you have a short bed truck and want to be able to tow using a 5th wheel hitch, you will need to opt for a sliding hitch. The B&W RVK3500 is a great choice and provides 12 inches of movement for extra turning clearance.
Other features of the B&W RVK3500 Sliding 5th Wheel Hitch include:
- Maximum capacity of 20,000 LBS
- Requires no rails for easy removal/installation
- Polyurethane bushings to reduce rattles and noises
- Three vertical adjustments and three coupler positions
- Dual jaw connection
- Cam action latching handle
- Limited lifetime warranty
Compared against a standard fixed alternative, it is more expensive but tight maneuvers are much easier and you reduce the risk of the trailer forcing its way into the cab, which will be a costly mistake.
Overall, it is the best 5th wheel hitch for short bed trucks but the price may be an issue as its the most expensive in this article. However, the sliding mechanism, limited lifetime warranty, ease of installation and other features should provide you with peace of mind.Check it Out
CURT 16521 A16 5th Wheel Hitch with Roller
Curt also offer a sliding 5th wheel hitch known as the 16521 A16, which has a gross trailer weight of 16,000 LBS. In terms of sliding, it allows for 12 inches of travel on the truck bed and rolls on wheels and solid rods that are designed not to bind.
Other features of the CURT 16521 A16 Slider Fifth Wheel Hitch include:
- Interlocking dual jaw type
- Ergonomic handle that self-resets
- Full articulation of the head
- Extra wide and self-aligning head opening
- Torsion spring and poly-torsion insert to keep the head stable
- SAE J2638 specification approved
- Limited lifetime warranty
Overall, the CURT 16521 A16 is an excellent all-round sliding 5th wheel hitch. It lacks in terms of the gross trailer weight when compared to the B&W alternative but it is much cheaper, which may be very beneficial to some truck owners.Check it Out
Reese Pro Series Fifth Wheel Hitch
For those on a budget and want a cheap 5th wheel hitch that can handle a large amount of weight and is easy to install, then the Pro Series 30128 is ideal. It is a budget solution that is developed by the reputable Reese brand.
Features of the Reese 5th Wheel Hitch include:
- Slider type that adjusts from 13 to 17 inches
- 4 way pivoting head for an easier connection
- Gross trailer weight of 15,000 LBS
- Wide stance and one piece leg configuration for extra stability
- Rounded side bar mechanism for automatic latching
Overall, it is a cheap fifth wheel hitch that is a fraction of the cost of some of the premium alternatives in this article The Reese ProSeries 30128 is by far the best bang for your buck and it will not leave you disappointed.Check it Out
Pulliam Enterprises 2900 Superglide
The Puliman 2900 Superglide is the most expensive 5th wheel hitch within this article but it does have a lot to offer. It is designed to work for even the shortest of short bed trucks and provide 14 inches of movement.
Other features of the Puliman 2900 Superglide include:
- Sliding hitch design
- 18,000 gross trailer weight capacity
- Heavy duty construction with a powerful grip
- Eliminates lever release or pin pulling
Overall, it is one of the best examples of a 5th wheel hitch available but the price is far too expensive for the average truck owner. Compared against the likes of B&W, CURT and Reese, it does not have the longstanding reputation too. However, it is still a well-made hitch that will haul your fifth wheel trailer smoothly and will be very long lasting.Check it Out
5th Wheel Hitch Buying Guide
Using a 5th wheel hitch is one of the best ways to transport a heavy trailer or RV safely and still have the ability to comfortable maneuver within tight spaces. However, the main disadvantage to the 5th wheel hitch is the fact that it is “semi-permanent” and will limited the use of your truck. They are mounted on the truck bed and usually sit in the center, which can make using the rest of the truck bed more difficult.
As you can imagine, there is plenty to talk about with regards to fifth wheel hitches and below is a buying guide discussing all the factors that you should consider.
All 5th wheel hitches will have a gross trailer weight rating (see table) and its crucial that you do not overload your hitch. Too much weight and you will simply break the hitch, which can be very dangerous on the road. The majority of GTW ratings range from 10,000 LBS to 25,000 LBS with the larger capacities being more expensive.
Your vehicles rated towing capacity is also another rating that so many people forget to check. If you have a low towing capacity on your truck, you are probably best upgrading your truck before purchasing a fifth wheel hitch.
It is dangerous to tow over your towing capacity and if you were to be pulled over by the police, you’d be in a big trouble. Performance will also be an issue as steering and stopping the vehicle will be much harder.
We highly advise going for the highest rated 5th wheel hitch that your vehicle can handle. This ensures you are able to use a range of heavy trailers in the future without the need of upgrading. We also recommend that you purchase a trailer brake controller inside the cab for added control and to comply with the US law.
Fixed v Sliding 5th Wheel Hitches
You will notice that we have recommended both fixed and sliding hitches within this article. If you do not already know the difference, in short, the sliding fifth wheel hitch moves (usually between 10 to 15 inches) to ensure adequate turning clearance without hitting the cab. This type of mechanism is needed for short bed trucks with a length of 6.5 feet and below.
As good as a sliding 5th wheel hitch is, the fixed mechanism also has many benefits. These include cheaper price tag, they are much lighter and also they do not “chuck” as much because there is less moving parts.
If you have the room on your truck bed, we recommend going for a fixed hitch but if you have a short bed truck, the slider mechanism is the one to go for.
Gooseneck vs Fifth Wheel
The main difference between a gooseneck hitch and a fifth wheel hitch is that a gooseneck connects via a coupler whereas the fifth wheel uses a king pin and pin receiver. Most gooseneck hitches are primarily used for industrial trailers whereas the fifth wheel alternatives is used for recreational use.
Installation of the Hitch
Before you purchase any fifth wheel hitch, be sure to take accurate measurements. If you have a short bed truck, you will want to purchase a sliding hitch instead of a fixed alternative. You will want to mark the gap between the rail positions and the cab because they must be at least 4.66 feet for a long bed and 3 feet for a short bed truck.
You will then need to measure the distance between the tailgate and the hitch, which should be around 2.35 feet for a long bed and 2.19 feet for a short bed truck.
Once the measurements are complete and you have marked out where the correct position is, you are then ready to install the hitch and rails. Most provide an installation kit with everything you require but be sure that the rails are included.
Due to the large amount of different types of hitches and installations, it is difficult to provide a guideline to correctly installing the hitch. To give you an idea, here is a guide to the installation but it is best to follow the manufacturers exact instructions for peace of mind.
There are three main types of hitch jaw mechanisms and they include a slide bar, double jaw and single jaw. A slide bar jaw is found on most of the cheaper fifth wheel hitches and although it’s very secure, it does suffer from king pin noises and the dreaded chucking due to the fact its a looser connection.
Double jaw mechanisms suffer far less noise from the king pin. It is also more comfortable as the king pin is held tightly but there still might be slight movement.
Finally the single jaw is the simplest and quietest due to the kingpin being completely held by the hitch jaw. This results in a better ride and is the go to hitch mechanism for many experienced towing drivers.
If security is a big concern, there are many trailer locks that will work with fifth wheel hitches to further secure your trailer.
Hitches can come with a range of pivoting options, which include single, double and 4 way pivoting. This allows the hitch to move left, right, forward and backwards, which helps absorb energy from going up or down hills and on tough terrain.
Often this comes with a premium price but it’s a worthwhile feature to have when tackling a range of driving terrains or conditions.
Regular maintenance and inspection of your 5th wheel hitch is essential. Due to the heavy duty usage and the time it spends outdoors, it will require lubrication upon all the moving parts. This will avoid trouble in the years to come.
The best way to lubricate the hitch is to use an automotive grease gun and spray the skid plate and other moving parts. Before doing so, you may want to remove any corrosion by using a rust converter and any aged or dirty lubricant present.
During installation of the 5th wheel hitch, you may notice various scratches that were hard to avoid. To ensure these do not get worse and to improve the appearance, we highly recommend using a spray on truck bed liner. This will hide the scratches and improve the appearance around the mounting location of the hitch.
For safely hauling heavy trailers and RVs with your truck, a fifth wheel hitch is a must. They are easy to install and relatively cheap considering the build quality and what they are used for. Our recommendations within the article are high performers and popular among experienced towing drivers.
Curt, Anderson, B&W and Reese are all the major brands within this sector and the best of what they have to offer are listed within this article.