What Size Hitch Ball for a Travel Trailer?

To tow most travel trailers, the hitch ball is used. 2-inch trailer ball or 2-5/16 inch trailer ball.A typical trailer, as well as an extendable trailer, use a 2’16” ball to tow. A 2” ball is recommended for smaller items such as teardrops or popup campers. 

These are not suitable for travel trailer towing applications.The average travel trailer weighs between 5,000 and 10,000 lbs. You can match the 2-5/16-inch to 2-5/16 inch ball weight ratings for a perfect match.

What size hitch ball for a travel trailer

As I was admiring my travel trailer ball, I began to wonder if it was universally available or if it was unique to my particular travel trailer. I did some research to find out.

You want to rent a trailer, but don’t know what size hitch ball is needed? The US has only three standard sizes: 1-7/8″, 2″ and 2-5/16″. It is important to know the weight rating of your hitch ball.

What are the most popular travel trailer ball sizes? Most travel trailer hitches need a 2 or 5/16″ ball to hold the trailers’ weight. Because teardrop trailers are lighter, smaller 2” balls are more common. You should always use the correct size ball because a smaller ball may allow the coupler bounce off of it.

Towers must be aware that not only the size of the ball is important to consider when towing. The gross weight each ball can carry is also important. Towers must also match the correct size coupler with their ball.

U-Haul offers so many trailers that it would seem difficult to find the right size hitch and weight. This is not the case. U-Haul trailers are able to be towable with either a 1-7/8″ or 2″ ball. Weight capacity is the only thing that you should pay attention to. The 4×7 Utility trailer requires a hitchball that is rated at 2,000 pounds. 

The Auto Transport is the largest trailer available. It will need at least a 5,000-pound hitch ball. However, depending on how heavy the vehicle and trailer are combined, it may require a greater weight capacity. If your hitch ball measures 1-7/8″ or 2″, and has a 5,000 pound capacity, you can tow any U-Haul cargo trailer. To tow a vehicle, your hitchball capacity must equal or exceed its total weight. Learn how to determine the rating of your hitchball.

2” Balls vs. 5/16’s Balls

The ball’s size can impact how heavy it can tow and what kind of jobs it can do. A larger size (between 2 and 5/16″) will typically have a greater towing capacity. For lighter duty jobs, the 2-inch size is often considered a good choice.

However, this does not mean all 2” and all 5/16’s” balls can be made equally. Different weight ratings are given to 2” balls than 2” balls.

What is a weight rating and what does it mean? Each ball is assigned a weight rating that indicates how much weight it can tow. This is important as it will affect the amount of load you can pull.

The weight of the load that you plan to tow will determine the size of the ball. A 2 and 5/16″ ball is required if you plan to tow more than 8,000 pounds. However, if you have to tow 7,000 lbs you can choose either a 2 or 5/16″ ball.

You need to make sure that the ball is not just 2″ or 2 and 1/2”, but also for the weight of what you are towing.

Is that weight rating flexible?

It is important that you don’t estimate how much weight you can pull. A 2” ball rated at 4,050 lbs can pull only 4,000 pounds, not 4,050.

Don’t try to increase the weight that your ball can carry. If your ball is trying to support too much weight, it can cause injury and make others unsafe.

It is best to determine your trailer’s gross weight. This is not an estimate. It is the actual fully loaded weight of your trailer (or camper) as it is, with all gear.

You can find the weight of your trailer by looking up its product number. You can then weigh the items that you plan to tow.

Towing is safer when you have exact measurements than estimates.

Different types of trailer balls

Different types of trailer balls

We’ve mostly been talking about the size of the balls in this post. But there are other options for trailer ball purchases that could expand your towing options.

There are three options for purchasing trailer balls:

  • Standard Ball
  • Switch Trailer Ball
  • Tri-Ball

The Sizes of Trailer Balls

1 7/8″ Ball

This ball size is not suitable for towing a tent trailer or travel trailer. The 1 7/8″ ball can tow up to 2,000 pounds. It is therefore not suitable for towing a travel trailer or tent trailer. However, it will tow small utility trailers. You can choose from a variety of shank sizes, including 3/4″ and 1″.

2″ Ball

Trailer balls of 2 inches are the most commonly used size in towing. However, they do not have sufficient capacity to tow a travel trailer. They can tow 3,500 to 8,000 pounds. They are available in three sizes: 3/4″, 1″ and 1 1/4″.

A 2” ball is the best ball to use if you have a tent trailer. You can use the ball universally if you need it to tow a larger vehicle, such as a boat or a bigger tent trailer.

2 5/16″ Trailer Ball

The most common size for a travel caravan is between 2 and 5/16 inches. This category includes most travel trailers, toy haulers and expandable trailers. It has a weight range of 6,000 to 40,000 pounds.

A brake controller will also be required. To ensure that the ball fits their towing capacity, they are available in 1 and 1 1/4 inch shank sizes. Make sure the receiver you buy fits your shank size.

Ball Height

When setting up your towing setup, it is important that you know the ball height. Towing your trailer should be easy. 

Drop hitch is required if your truck is taller than your trailer ball. You will need the reverse if your truck is higher than your trailer ball. Many weight distribution hitches offer the possibility of multiple heights.

An adjustable ball hitch is a good option if you don’t need one. This will allow you to use your existing hitch on a different vehicle or trailer. This adjustable height model is suitable for both a 2” and a 2” ball.

Weight distribution hits

If your trailer’s hitch weight causes your rear end to drop, weight distribution hitches may be recommended. For more information on weight distribution hitches with steering control, see our article about top hitches.

What size ball should a tent trailer use for its roof? Tent trailers are usually lightweight so a 2″ ball is sufficient. A 2 5/16″ ball will be used for larger popup campers or expandable trailers.

Louis Gilliland

Louis Gilliland

He began his career as a mechanic, working on cars, trucks, and trailers in Michigan for over 20 years. He quickly developed a passion for towing and hitches and began specializing in that field. Louis started his own business installing hitches and providing towing services, quickly building a reputation as one of the best in the state. He also began teaching and training other mechanics on proper hitch installation and towing safety.