Hitch balls are one of those revolutionary inventions that turn out to be the game-changer in the industry of transport. Isn’t it amazing that you can pull a hefty weight trailer or fifth wheel that is double or triple the size of your tow truck?
All this with the help of hitch balls when your trailer can pivot and move around quickly, the way you want it. These hitch balls come in numerous sizes.
Keep reading to find out more about the most popular hitch ball sizes along with how to measure these and much more.
What is a Hitch Ball?
A trailer hitch ball is an attachment bolted on the ball mount of your hitch. You need to attach your trailer’s coupler on the ball hitch.
The ball shape allows your trailer to swivel around effortlessly while you twist and turn, with the container on your tail. Trailer hitch balls come in a variety of diameters and shank lengths, weight capacities, and ball diameter as per your towing requirements.
Let’sLet’s dig a little deeper to get a better understanding.
Different Hitch Ball Sizes
Hitch balls come in a variety of sizes.These hitch ball sizes are popular and serve different purposes for different weight requirements. Some of these sizes are as follows.
These hitch balls are for light-duty trailers and can carry up to 3,500 pounds.
These hitch balls are for medium containers and can pull up to 3,500 pounds to 5,000 pounds.
These hitch balls are for heavy trailers. These are rated for up to 30,000 pounds and can tow large agricultural and commercial vans.
This size of hitch balls are for gooseneck trailers
- 50mm hitch ball
It is relatively less known. However, it’s commonly used for European containers.
The size to weight ratio can guide you to pick the one ideal for your requirement.
Most Popular Hitch Ball Sizes
Although the volumes I have discussed above are commonly used. You can choose any, as per your requirement. However, the most popular hitch ball size among these is the 2-inch hitch ball size.
It is the size that lies in the middle. Mostly people prefer to invest in a hitch ball size that varies between their weight requirements and be multipurpose.
The 2-inch ball size is neither light-duty nor heavy-duty. It lies somewhere between, thus serving the purpose to numerous class three hitches.
Of course, we know class three hitches are the most popular among the trailer hitches.
Although 2-inch hitch ball size is the most popular size. I would recommend you assess your requirement first, instead of going after a size that fits all.
How Do You Know Which Trailer Ball Size You Need?
People often ask, how do we know which trailer ball size is right for us?
Well, the size you need for your trailer depends upon the following three things:
The most important point here is to understand the significance of resonance between these three factors.
Make sure your trailer ball diameter is equal to your coupler size, and the shank diameter fits the ball hole. Your weight capacity should be enough to tow your trailer safe and sound.
Why Should the Ball Hitch and Coupler be the Same Size?
The coupler and ball hitch should be the equivalent size.
It means the diameter of the trailer ball is exactly equal to the internal opening of the coupler. You can easily find these measurements into the components, as the manufacturers usually stamp it there for your convenience.
The difference between the ball hitch and coupler’s measurement can create a risky towing situation, which may lead to a disconnection between the tow vehicle and the trailer.
You can adjust the coupler to help eradicate play in the ball connection as well.
How to Choose a Trailer Ball Hitch? Step by Step
It is important to pick the correct hitch ball as it’s not like picking up a standard size that would go with all the products. Considering and evaluating a few factors is crucial to find the perfectly compatible duo.
Tongue Weight of the Trailer
The purpose of hitch ball placement is to bear the weight of the trailer; you’re going to connect with your towing vehicle. Make certain that you choose a product adept to carry the amount of weight you expect it to carry and pull.
Thus, it’s crucial to observe the tongue weight of the trailer and match it to the weight capacity of the hitch ball you are bearing in mind.
Diameter and Size
You know the hitch ball you are choosing needs to fit into the coupler or hitch receiver. So, make sure it is the correct size and diameter to deem fit for the complete unit.
Find out the required size before you go out to make a purchase. This is to ascertain both the hitch ball and the coupler are the same size.
Select the ball diameter first by matching it to the coupler size, when you are choosing the trailer ball. Most companies label or stamp the accurate trailer ball size on the coupler, for your convenience.
Make sure your trailer ball and coupler have a concrete connection before you start towing.
Match the Shank to the Trailer Ball Hole
Another important step that involves choosing a hitch ball is matching the shank to the trailer ball hole.
The hole in the board is where the trailer ball bolts onto a ball mount or bumper hitch. It is imperative to know the thickness of this hole so you can pick a trailer ball matching accurately with the shank diameter.
What happens if the trailer ball shank is too small? In such cases, it will move while towing and most probably will come loose.
Similarly, what happens if the shank size is too small for the trailer ball hole? In such cases, you may require to use a reducer bushing to make up for the difference.
Check Out the Weight Capacity of Your Complete Towing System
When you are deciding on a trailer ball or any towing accessory for that matter, you must always consider weight capacity. You are aware that often the weight rating for a trailer ball is listed as the ball capacity.
Please note that this will represent the gross trailer weight limit (GTL), not the tongue weight.
You must pick a trailer ball with a ball capacity that surpasses the gross weight of your trailer.
How Can You Measure Trailer Hitch Ball Size?
There are four key things to find out accurate measurement of the trailer ball. These four measurements are as follows:
Ball diameter is the diameter of the sphere of a trailer ball. Generally, these hitch balls come with the diameter measurement stamped on the top of the sphere.
However, if it isn’t or you still want to measure the diameter yourself, you can do that with the help of a tape measure or a ruler. You need the diameter reading to match your coupler’s size.
First of all, hold a ruler horizontally on top of the hitch ball and sight down directly from above. Secondly, align the first mark of the ruler with the widest part of the ball on one side and check where the other side is for ball alignment.
The ball measurement should lie between 1 7/8, 2, or 2 5/16 inches.
You can understand the shank length as the total distance of the threaded stem. Measure it with the help of tape measure or ruler, taking reading from the bottom of the base to the ends of the thread.
The length doesn’t directly affect the towing capacity, but it needs to be long enough to fit your mounting platform.
Similarly, shank diameter is the measurement of the diameter of the shank or the threaded stem. Find the diameter, using the same tools, either a measuring tape or a ruler.
As for the diameter of the shank, here is a detailed how to measure the shank diameter.
Firstly, lay the threaded part of the ball’s shank on the ruler and sight down to measure the shank’s diameter. As mentioned earlier, the shank is the bolt-like shaft that extends below the ball.
Its diameter should lie between 5/8, 3/4, 1, 1 1/4 or 1 3/8 inches.
Lastly, find out the rise. It is the measurement of the thickness of the base, or you can explain it as how high the trailer hitch ball sits off its base as well.
This reading will determine the rise your trailer hitch ball would add to your hitch assembly.
Tips for Correct Measurement
Most manufacturers mention the sizes of hitch balls on top of the sphere and the dimensions of couplers as well. However, if you want to do that yourself, here are a few tips to get it done right.
- Cut a strip of paper about 1/2 inch wide and wrap it around the widest part of the ball, to determine its diameter.
- Mark where it overlaps itself, measure it after you unwrap it.
- Divide the measurement by 3.14 to calculate the diameter and round it to one of the three standard widths.
- The hole in the mounting platform for the ball’s shank should not be more than 1/16 larger than the shank, according to Hitch House USA’s Towing Tips.
- Always check the manuals of both the trailer and your automobile for information on fitting the hitch, necessary equipment, towing capacity, and safety advice.
- Hitch balls come in high rise and regular height as well.
- These high-rise balls support a more extended base, thus, placing the ball higher above the mounting platform. Only pick a high rise ball if you need additional height to level a trailer whose coupler is higher than your vehicle’s hitch.
If you own a trailer, you would know the struggle of finding the right hitch for your unit. The different types of hitches make a choice even harder. But there are no questions that hitch balls are among the best hitch mounts in the market.
The most popular size for hitch balls is 2-inches if you’re looking for a medium-duty travel trailer. However, you may choose between other sizes for light-duty and heavy-duty weight requirements.
Always choose the one that serves your needs the best.