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Hitches Showdown: Class 2 vs. Class 3 Hitches

Hitches Showdown: Class 2 vs. Class 3 Hitches
 

Since most everyday vehicles aren't built to haul lots of equipment on a regular basis, you might require the assistance of a hitch to move your gear from place to place. Two commonly used hitches are class 2 and class 3 models. Both have distinct uses and towing capabilities. Before making a decision on either hitch, it's important to weigh the benefits and limitations of each one.


Class 2 Hitch*

Class 3 Hitch*

Gross Trailer Weight

Maximum of 3,500 poundsMaximum of 6,000 pounds

Tongue Weight

Maximum of 350 poundsMaximum of 600 pounds

Types of Heavy Equipment

Small vehicles and boats Medium trailers, large boats

Vehicles

Mid-size passenger vehicles, van, SUVs and light or heavy-duty pickup trucksVans, SUVs and light or heavy-duty pickup trucks

*Refer to the Hitches Buying Guide for more specific hitch types, prices and other information.


Class 2 Hitch

Advantages of a Class 2 Hitch

  • Better for Everyday Items - A class 2 hitch is best for handling small, practical accessories you might use every day. For instance, this type of hitch can be used to carry anything from bicycles to motorcycles. Even if you need to haul a small boat or lightweight trailer, some class 2 hitches can get the job done.
  • More Affordable - Since they handle mostly light objects, a class 2 hitch doesn't need to be made of heavy duty materials. This makes it more affordable than higher grade hitches.
Class 2 hitches

Limitations of a Class 2 Hitch

  • Can't Carry Heavy-Duty Items - While it can carry some boats, trailers or small campers, a class 2 hitch is limited to hauling a gross trailer weight of 3,500 pounds. Larger fishing boats and mid-size campers that might weigh a bit more must be towed using a higher grade hitch.
  • Small Selection - It might be more difficult to find a class 2 hitch than a class 1 or 3 hitch. Since it's cheaper and hauls small accessories, a class 1 hitch is readily available. Meanwhile, a class 3 hitch is able to handle both lightweight and heavy-duty items, making it a standard item at automotive retailers.

Class 3 Hitch

Advantages of a Class 3 Hitch

  • Handles Heavy Accessories - This type of hitch gives you the versatility that's hard to find in smaller class hitches. A class 3 hitch can not only haul small items like bicycles and ATVs, but it can also tow something as heavy as a mid-size fishing boat or trailer.
  • Large Selection - A class 3 hitch is often referred to as a standard hitch because it can carry both lightweight accessories and heavy-duty equipment. That means most automotive retailers might have a wider selection of class 3 hitches than class 2 ones.

class 3 hitches

Limitations of a Class 3 Hitch

  • More Expensive - Since a class 3 hitch is made of heavier materials that can handle more weight, it is typically less affordable than a class 2 hitch.
  • Harder to Install - While a class 2 hitch can be installed to the bumper or frame of most vehicles, a class 3 hitch can only be attached to the frame of SUVs, vans and light or heavy-duty pickup trucks. It can't be connected to mid-size or large sedans, coupes or other passenger vehicles.