What is the Best Sway Control Hitch for Me?

If you've ever white-knuckled your way down the road while your trailer swayed freely behind you, you know why you need sway control for your weight distribution hitch.Of course, knowing you need sway control and knowing which type you need are two different things. Friction bars, dual cams, electronic, 4-point and 2-point sway control—how do they work, and which one is best?Below, we'll go over the different types of sway control, how they work, and what their benefits are, so you can choose the best system for your needs.
Read on for the following:
  • Our Top Sway Control Picks
  • What Types of Sway Control Are Available?
  • 4 Questions to Ask When Choosing Sway Control
The best sway control system for you depends on what you plan to tow, how often you plan to tow it, and how much you're willing to spend.If you're looking for a quick recommendation, check out our top picks below. Otherwise, read on for an overview of the different types of sway control, then we'll help narrow down what works best for you.

Our Top Picks - Systems with Integrated Sway Control

Weight Distribution Hitch with Sway Control

What Types of Sway Control Are Available?

All sway control is designed to prevent or limit trailer sway. However, different systems achieve this in different ways. Read on for more information on the following:
Weight Distribution Friction Bars
Friction Bar Sway ControlFriction sway control bars attach to your trailer frame at one end and a small hitch ball on the WDH head at the other end. The unit provides tension to help keep the trailer in line, and an interior bar telescopes in and out as your trailer moves. When your trailer begins to move out of line, the friction pads inside the unit create resistance to help reduce any further side-to-side movement.The number of friction bars you need depends on your trailer size and weight. If your trailer has a GTW of 6,000 lbs or less, a single friction-style sway control can be used. If your trailer's GTW is between 6,000 lbs and 10,000 lbs, you will need 2 sway-control units (one on either side of the trailer). You will also want to use 2 units if your trailer is 26' or longer.
When to Use:Recommended as an entry-level, economical sway control option, especially for those who tow infrequently. Best suited for smaller campers (under 24'), utility trailers, flatbed trailers, etc.What To Know About Friction Sway Control:Pros:
  • Economically priced
  • Great option for towing small trailers
Cons:
  • Not compatible with surge or hydraulic trailer brakes
  • Must remove friction bars before backing up, or damage can occur
  • In slippery conditions (rain, ice, gravel), turn the unit's on/off handle counterclockwise until all tension is removed to ensure both vehicle and trailer turn properly
  • Reactive—stops sway after it starts
2-Point Sway Control
2-Point Sway Control2-point sway controls are built into weight distribution systems. Unlike bar-style friction sway control, 2-point sway control systems do not use chains. Rather, 2-point sway control systems include brackets on either side of the trailer frame, which act as resting points for the spring bars and provide additional tension. Friction occurs when the spring bars move forward, backward, or side to side along the brackets, creating resistance and limiting the movement of the spring bars.These systems combat trailer sway as soon as it begins by creating enough resistance to force your trailer to remain in line. Typically, they rely on the downward force of the spring bars to apply frictional resistance to the brackets on both sides of the trailer frame.Some 2-point systems make use of steel-on-steel friction, which provides locomotive-like functionality. Others use friction pads (similar to brake pads), which offer automotive-like friction. Friction pads are quieter, but steel-on-steel provides more friction.
When to Use:Recommended as a step up from friction bars, 2-point sway control is great for larger (24'-30') trailers and campers, as well as smaller trailers that are frequently towed.What To Know About 2-Point Sway Control:Pros:
  • Can back up without disengaging system
  • Can be used with surge (or hydraulic) brakes
  • Typically easier to hook up than systems with chains
  • Great option for towing mid-size trailers
  • Overtightening/undertightening is not an issue (unlike with friction sway systems)
Cons:
  • Costs more than friction-style systems
  • Does not provide as much control as 4-point or dual-cam systems
4-Point Sway Control Weight Distribution Hitch
4-Point Sway ControlLike 2-point systems, 4-point sway control systems are built into the weight distribution hitch. Also like 2-point systems, 4-point systems feature 2 brackets on the trailer frame that provide resistance (rather than snap-up brackets and chains, like friction bar systems). These are proactive systems that combat sway before it begins.However, 4-point systems take this a step further and also include another secure connection point at the head, where the spring bars are held tightly in place to ensure adequate tension. These comprise the other 2 points of the 4-point system. The additional resistance ensures that adequate tension is applied throughout the system.
When to Use:Recommended as an upgraded system for additional convenience, comfort, and trailer control. Ideal for larger trailers (30'+) or small to mid-size trailers that are towed frequently.What To Know About 4-Point Sway Control:Pros:
  • Provides additional control compared to 2-point or friction-style systems
  • Can back up without disengaging system
  • Can be used with surge (or hydraulic) brakes
  • Typically easier to hook up than systems with chains
  • Great option for towing larger trailers
  • Overtightening/undertightening is not an issue (unlike with friction sway systems)
Cons:
  • Costs more than friction-style and 2-point systems
Electronic Sway Control

Electronic Sway Control

Electronic brake controllers are available from Hayes, Tuson, and Lippert.These systems can be used in setups with or without weight distribution. They operate by activating your trailer brakes based on the degree of sway and the trailer's speed. Electronic sway control is proactive, stopping sway before it begins. Installation can be more complicated with the addition of wiring (however, the Hayes system offers plug-and-play installation).
When to Use: Recommended trailers without WDHs (not all trailer manufacturers approve the use of WDHs). Or, if your current WDH and sway control aren't doing enough, you can add an electronic system onto your existing system.What To Know About Electronic Sway Control:Pros:
  • Provides more control than friction systems
  • Some systems are plug-and-play
  • Prevents sway before it begins
  • Most systems feature one-time self-calibrating setups
Cons:
  • Not compatible with surge (or hydraulic) brakes
Dual-Cam Reese Strait-Line Sway Control
Dual-Cam Sway ControlSpring bars with curved ends can be used with dual-cam stabilizers. With this kind of system, the curve in the bar rests over a cam. If the spring bars move, they quickly settle back into place. Dual-cam systems are proactive in that they stop sway before it starts.
When to Use:Recommended for campers 30' and larger, as well as for smaller campers that are towed frequently. Dual-cam systems offer the smoothest, most controlled ride.What To Know About Dual-Cam Sway Control:Pros:
  • Provides more control than other systems
  • Can back up without disengaging system
  • Typically easier to hook up than systems with chains
  • Great option for towing larger trailers
  • Overtightening/undertightening is not an issue (unlike with friction sway systems)
Cons:
  • Not compatible with surge (or hydraulic) brakes
  • Costs more than other systems
Weight Distribution Hitch Setup

4 Questions to Ask When Choosing Sway Control

1. How big is your rig?

Bigger rigs act likes sails, catching more wind from passing vehicles and, as a result, experiencing more sway. With a camper under 24', you can probably get away with a basic form of sway control, like friction bars (although for your own comfort and convenience, you may prefer an upgrade.) The bigger your rig, however, the better your sway control will need to be.

2. How often do you want to tow?

If you only tow every once in a while, you may want to consider a more economical system, like friction bars, particularly if you have a small camper.However, if you tow frequently, we highly recommend an upgrade for the additional convenience and ride quality, even if you're towing a smaller camper. A 4-point or dual-cam system will always control sway better than a 2-point or friction bar system. Plus, you won't have to remember to remove the system to reverse, hook up and disconnect them each time you tow, or loosen the system when the weather is bad (looking at you, friction bar systems!).

3. Do you have surge brakes?

Surge brakes typically require a certain type of integrated sway control. If you have surge brakes, you'll need a weight distribution system compatible with them.

4. Do you care about backing up?

Technically, you can back up with friction bars—you just have to get out of your vehicle and disengage the system first. This isn't the case for many other systems, though. Friction bars are more economical, but with 2-point and 4-point systems, you won't have to remember to disengage the system each and every time you want to reverse. The convenience and avoidance of potential damage to your system can be worth it in itself.
What is the Best Type of Sway Control - Chart
Expert Vs Expert
Expert - Jameson C.
-Jameson C.

Which is better: the 4-point Equal-i-zer or Reese dual-cam system?

The two systems you mentioned are basically the two best systems available for weight distribution. Either one will work great for you as long as it is properly rated for your setup and is properly installed/set up.Personally I like the Reese Strait Line system since they use spring steel for the spring bars that are designed to bend and then go back to their original shape. Equalizer bars will still flex back too but since it's not spring steel it will be a more rigid flex. I also like that the dual cam setup of the Strait Line systems works to proactively stop sway before it starts. The Equalizer system uses friction to slow the movement of sway but does not actually work to keep the vehicle going straight like the dual cams do.That being said there are several people out there who swear by the Equalizer as the best system around. It gets debated pretty frequently on forums. But for the reasons I mentioned (and because you don't have to lube the Strait Line systems ever) I would go with the Strait Line system over the Equalizer. View full answer
Expert - Bob G.
-Bob G.
The Equal-I-zer, # EQ37100ET, and Reese Strait-Line, # RP66084, weight distribution systems are both top notch systems that will get the job done for you, but I usually tend to lean towards the Equal-I-zer systems for a few reasons.First, Equal-I-zer does not require any drilling to install on most trailers. It offers the maximum amount of ground clearance because the frame brackets mount around the frame rather than below the frame like the Dual Cam sway control of the Strait-Line system. Also, the setup is pretty straight forward. The Strait-Line system can take some fine-tuning to make sure it is set up for maximum effectiveness. If you have to remove your spring bars for any reason, such as a tight turn or hazardous road conditions, the Dual Cam arms will hang freely unless they are secured.Finally, Equal-I-zer has focused solely on perfecting weight distribution and they have developed quite a following in the towing community. Reese is also a pretty big name in the towing industry, but weight distribution is just one of many different product lines that they offer. Again, the Strait-Line is an effective and proven system, but I have found the ease of use of the Equal-I-zer system to be more appealing. View full answer
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Related ArticlesRelated ProductsWritten by: Amber S.Updated: 5/7/19

Questions and Comments about this Article

Karen W.

I bought a 13' Fleetwood Prowler Lynx. Electronic brakes. Hauled it 6 hrs to get it home from dealer and got a 'bit' of sway. Nothing serious. Wondering if I need a sway bar? And what kind? 2000lb dry weight.

Etrailer Expert
Reply from Victoria B.

If you are experiencing enough sway that you are concerned about being able to tow your camper safely, then a sway bar is a great option. If you're having issues with the trailer's tongue weight sagging the rear of your tow vehicle, then a weight distribution system with sway control is an ideal solution. I have linked all of our systems that will work well with a tongue weight around 200 lbs. If you aren't having any issues with tow vehicle sag, then a friction sway control bar like the Curt # 17200 or the Reese # 83660 is the way I would go.

Rene S.

To my understanding the Weight Distributing System is one job more than just holding the TT to the TV which transferring some of the weight to the front. my question is why if I am equipped with an Electronic Sway Control I don’t need the WD which mean that there will be no more transferred weight to the TV front end. So I will lose the solid steering feel and start to light the top of trees and also incoming drivers. For me the WD should be used with the Electronic Sway Controller. But no need to get a WD/Anti sway Hitch system but only a WD Hitch and the Electronic Anti Sway Controller.??..

Etrailer Expert
Reply from Jon G.

I'm not sure why vehicle manufacturers say to not use a WD when the vehicle has a sway control system. I have the same mindset as you to be honest. The only thing I have to say is that I've heard of people using a WD system regardless, but it is worth noting that doing so will likely void the warranty for your vehicle if some damage were to occur.

Reply from Rene S.

@JonG, the manufacturers say that WD may damage the Unibody due to the torsion forces applied on it. But many take the empty weight as the primary to chose the TV which in that case make very easily an Overweight TT when loaded. In that case I would understand, but why people aren't taking the Full Load Limit as the primary to chose their TV, which in this case they would not get overloaded and less chance of damaging the Unibody Frame TV.?...;-)

Etrailer Expert
Reply from Jon G.

@ReneS I would agree with you on that. A lot of people will purchase the vehicle first and then try to buy a trailer with a dry weight that is in the middle or towards the high end of the tow vehicle rating. What people really need to be looking at is the GVWR of the trailer and comparing that to what their vehicle can handle.

Johnny

I am pulling a 26' travel trailer with a 2002 f250 7.3 diesel and was wondering which 4 point sway bar is best for me

Etrailer Expert
Reply from Jon G.

What is the GVWR of your trailer?

Michael A.

Hi I will be pulling a 28’ steel car trailer which weights 3500 lbs is rated 14500 get and will be hauling 2 jeeps each around 5000lbs with a Dodge 2500 HD Which anti sway bar system would be best for this set up Thank you

Etrailer Expert
Reply from Jon G.

For your setup I recommend the Blue Ox SwayPro # BXW0550 . This will work for when your trailer is empty and then you can change out the bars to the kit # BXW4014 for when you have the Jeeps loaded up.

Doug M.

We've decided to sell the Class C View and go back to a trailer. We've towed for years previously and a friction bar is out of the question. The new trailer is rated at 625 TW and a GVWR under 7K. I'm looking at the Blue Ox BXW0750 SwayPro, less for weight distribution and more for sway control. We'll be pulling with a Ram 1500 3:92 rated for over 11K towing. Thoughts?

Etrailer Expert
Reply from Jon G.

The SwayPro is a nice setup but I would go with the newer TrackPro # BLU47FR over it, especially since you're looking for more sway control. Blue Ox likes to advertise the SwayPro as having sway control and while it does, those arms are still hanging by chains as opposed to a solid bracket like what you see with the TrackPro.

Donnie

I pull a 10,000 pound boat with 250 lbs of tongue weightbehind my 42’ gooseneck toy hauler. I have electric over hydraulic brakes on boat. Definitely need sway bar system. What do you recommend

Etrailer Expert
Reply from Jon G.

I'd say with that much weight you definitely need a weight distribution system, but really if you have a 10K boat and your tongue weight is only 250 lbs then that is a really big reason as to why you are getting sway (aside from the double towing setup). You really need to make sure that your loaded tongue weight is 10-15% of the weight of your trailer. Once you have that taken care of, if you're still seeing sway then you can use something like parts # RP58393 and # v to help out. Keep in mind that your toy hauler hitch needs to be rated for use with a weight distribution system.

Reply from Donnie

@JonG Thank you for the reply. . Don’t feel comfortable with that much tongue weight. What about 2 friction sway bars. I would love to use electronic sway but my under standing is I can’t because of the electric over hydraulic brakes.

Etrailer Expert
Reply from Jon G.

@Donnie The friction sway control bars are designed to fit on a-frame trailers so they won't work out for a pole tongue boat trailer unfortunately. You might not feel comfortable with it, but truly if your boat and trailer weighs 10,000 lbs then you need to have at least 1,000 lbs of tongue weight otherwise the nose of the trailer will want to raise up and you're going to be getting really bad sway as a result. I don't have any videos to link you to but you can find some online that show what happens to a trailer when the weight on the trailer isn't loaded properly.

Eddie S.

I have a 28ft Haulmark edge race trailer. Trailer empty weight is 7K. I haul a 4700lb vehicle. The wind really pushes it around especially when passing other vehicles. What type of sway control do you recommend? Thanks.

Etrailer Expert
Reply from Jon G.

I'd go with the Blue Ox SwayPro # BXW1500 . It has a tongue weight range of 1,000 lbs - 1,500 lbs and all you need is a hitch ball like the 2" # A-90 or the 2-5/16" C40030.

Peter B.

I have a 22 foot travel trailer and am looking a sway bar setup. I have been towing without anything and have no issues, but want the extra control. The main question is the weight capacity of the sway system. I am looking at a used equalizer system that is rated at 12000 lbs., what does that mean?

Etrailer Expert
Reply from Jon G.

The best sway control options are the dual-cam or 4-point sway. Depending on the equalizer system you're looking at it might have sway control integrated into it. When it comes to the 12,000 lb weight rating that has to do with heaviest trailer that the equalizer can handle. What you need to be paying more attention to is the tongue weight rating. Find out what the equalizer system tongue weight rating is and then make sure that your loaded trailer tongue weight plus the weight of any cargo behind the rear axle of your tow vehicle falls inside the tongue weight rating (range). Here is a link to a helpful article on choosing a weight distribution system that you can check out.



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