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2 Steps for Finding the Right Weight Distribution Hitch Size

For the best ride, you'll need a weight distribution hitch designed for your trailer's tongue weight. If you choose a WDH that is too light for your application, the hitch won't be effective. If you go too heavy, however, you'll suffer a rigid ride and a bouncy trailer.So how do you find that Goldilocks weight distribution hitch that's just right? Check out our video how-to, or read on below for a step-by-step explanation on finding the right weight distribution hitch size.
Truck pulling a camper with a weight distribution hitch.
Watch Now: How to Find the Right Size Weight Distribution Hitch
Diagram with arrow pointing to trailer tongue of camper being pulled by a truck.
Diagram with arrow pointing to truck bed of truck hauling a camper.
Example Part I:
Let's say our trailer tongue weight is 700 lbs and our cargo behind the rear axle is 200 lbs. Our total tongue weight is 900 lbs.

Step 1. Determine Your Total Tongue Weight

First, you need to figure out your loaded trailer tongue weight (TW). Your tongue weight is the downward force you're putting on the ball of the weight distribution setup with your loaded trailer, plus the weight of any gear behind the rear axle of your vehicle.Note that this is not the dry (unloaded) weight listed on your trailer spec sheet, but rather the fully loaded, ready-to-tow weight after you've packed in all the gear you want to carry.To determine your trailer tongue weight, you can use a scale like the etrailer tongue weight scale. Weigh Safe also offers a ball mount with a built-in scale. You can also use one of the other methods outlined in our help article, Determining Trailer Tongue Weight.Also add in the weight of any cargo (gear, coolers, luggage, etc.) you've added behind your rear axle.This sum will be the total tongue weight you have to work with.
Truck pulling camper with a green checkmark above the trailer tongue.

Step 2. Select a System with the Right Weight Capacity

We've broken out our weight distribution hitches by tongue weight on our website for your convenience. Once you have your tongue weight figure, simply select your TW from the list and choose a system.
Pro tip: It's best that your total tongue weight (sum of your trailer tongue weight and cargo) falls in the middle of your WDH range. This gives you a bit of wiggle room if your tongue weight varies between trips.For example, if your total tongue weight is about 1,000 lbs, a weight distribution hitch with a tongue weight rating of 800 - 1,200 lbs is ideal.
Still have questions?Give our experts a call at 800-298-8924, or contact us online. We're happy to assist any way we can!
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Related ArticlesWritten by: Amber S.Updated: 5/7/19

Lou V.

8/16/2022

I have a 2002 Toyota Tundra, V8, 4.7 liters, with towing capacity of 7200 Lbs. Tongue capacity of 720 Lbs. My camper weighs approximately 4500 Gross weight .I’m looking at the Huskey 32218 Center Line TS with Spring Bars - 800 lb. to 1,200 lb. Tongue Weight Capacity (2-5/16" Ball) Am I on right direction or is this more than I need? Thank you Lou

David B.

8/17/2022

It would be nice to know the exact tongue weight of the trailer Lou. I really can't give you a good range without knowing that. At 4500 pounds your tongue weight should be 10-15% of that so 675lbs at max and that may be a little low for the WD hitch. If you can find out the exact tongue weight I can get you specific details.

Lou V.

8/17/2022

Tongue weight of Hitch is 445 lbs

David B.

8/18/2022

With a tongue weight of 445 I would go with the Blue Ox TrackPro Weight Distribution w/ Sway Control - 7-Hole Shank - 6K GTW, 600 lbs TW # BLU36FR . The center line is a good WD hitch but 800lbs tongue weight at the low end will be to much and end up being counter productive.

Les D.

8/8/2022

I have a 2015 Heartland mallard m28 The gross weight is 6900 lbs The trailer dry weight is 6125 What type would you recommend

David B.

8/8/2022

Before I can make any suggestions I would need to know the exact tongue weight of the trailer. I suggest you borrow or get a scale like etrailer Tongue Weight Scale for Campers and Utility Trailers - 2,000-lb Capacity # e99044 . This will let you know the tongue weight then we can find a good fit for your needs. You could even use a bathroom style scale to find out your tongue weight. I will link you to an article that will walk you through how to set it up.

Dave S.

2/27/2022

Good morning, I have a 2019 Dodge Ram crew cab v6 bighorn. Online says tow capacity 7,730lbs. I’m going to be towing a 2022 Colman Lantern 214BH. Dry weight 4,544lbs GVWR 7,600 I believe I’m going to need weight distribution bars, I’m not sure which one I should go with. Are you able to help me.

Les D.

2/28/2022

First thing I would do is look at that sticker in the drivers door jamb where it tells your trucks cargo/payload capacity. This is where most folks blow the budget at. Also, find the official towing capacity. Finally, let us know which model you have. Classic or New Style, 1500, 2500, 3500? If all of that checks out, your tongue weight should be no more than 1000 pounds. From that I would recommend the Equalizer # EQ37121ET weight distribution hitch with sway control. Let me know what you find out.

Dave S.

2/28/2022

@LesD new style 1500 GVWR 6900 1722 cargo

Les D.

3/1/2022

@DaveS you say your trailer maximum weight is 7600 pounds. and that your truck is rated to tow 7730 pounds. Many would like a 10-20 percent cushion. It will work, but you will be a member of the "Highway Slow Lane Club". You also mention that your cargo/payload capacity is 1722 pounds. Your tongue weight will be around 912 pounds which leaves you (1722-912=810) 810 pounds for other stuff in the cab and bed like people, animals, kayaks, bikes, coolers, etc. Again, it will be close. Would be nice if your truck stated the GCVWR (Gross Combined Vehicle Weight Rating) which is the maximum weight of loaded truck and loaded trailer. Just the same, my sway/WD hitch recommendation stands.
See All (5) Replies to Dave S. ∨

Dwayne

2/5/2022

Hi there, I have a Rv trailer with GVW 7600 lbs and a tongue weight of 706. Is it true when the unit is shipped they don’t calculate the batteries and propane tanks as tongue weight? You have add this in after? Also I’m looking at buying a new E4 sway control set up. After I’m done figuring this out, should I be Using a 10,000 lbs with 1000 tongue max or going a little heavier to be at the half way point on the tongue with the following 12,000 lbs 1200 tongue max. Would it make a difference in handling? Thanks everyone

Les D.

2/7/2022

@Dwayne you are correct that a RV trailer's GVWR does not include dealer add ons like batteries and propane tanks. Batteries weigh around 50 pounds each, and 20 pound propane tanks weigh nearly 40 pounds each.

Dwayne

2/7/2022

@LesD so if I am 900-1000 pounds tongue weight approximately I should go with the E4 hitch 1200 lbs tongue 12,000 lbs max towing? Not the 1000lbs tongue 10,000lbs max towing. Going a little bigger won’t affect the handling? The E4 hitch 12,000 lbs one is rated 800-1200 tongue weight correct? Thanks so much!

Les D.

2/7/2022

Missing first piece of information - what is the GVWR of your trailer. This is the maximum allowed weight of the trailer and all contents, AND the battery and propane. You will find a sticker on your trailer (usually front drivers side) Once you have this weight we can calculate the 10-15% tongue weight it should be exerting. THEN we can find the right hitch for you. Sounds like you have a bigger trailer, so you definitely need a weight distribution hitch with sway control built in.
See All (7) Replies to Dwayne ∨

Steph G.

1/3/2022

I have a 2016 Jayco Jayfeather 20XTG with a dry weight of 3,981lbs, GVWR of 4,950 lbs, and a dry hitch weight of 370 lbs. I tow with a 2019 GMC Canyon crew cab 4WD with a tow capacity of 7,000 lbs. What size weight distribution hitch system should I get for this combo?

Les D.

1/4/2022

@ StephG if your GVWR is 4950 pounds, then your tongue weight will be around 12%, or 600 pounds, which is the figure to choose your WD hitch by. I would recommend the Equal-I-Zer # EQ37060ET WD system rated for 600 pounds tongue weight, and a 6000 pound trailer, with 4-point sway control. This will work with your electric brakes and allows backing up the trailer like most chain type WDH's.


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