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Hitches Showdown: Class 1 vs. Class 2 Hitches

Hitches Showdown: Class 1 vs. Class 2 Hitches

Most standard vehicles aren't equipped to haul certain accessories. Whenever you're going fishing or heading out to your favorite bike trail, a hitch helps you transport your equipment with ease. Two of the most practical towing hitches are class 1 and class 2 hitches. While both are used for light-duty towing, each have their own unique features. Before deciding on which one works best for you, consider the pros and cons of each type of hitch.

Class 1 Hitch*

Class 2 Hitch*

Gross Trailer Weight

Maximum of 2,000 poundsMaximum of 3,500 pounds

Tongue Weight

Maximum of 200 poundsMaximum of 350 pounds

Types of Equipment

Light carriers and bikesSmall vehicles and boats


Subcompact cars, passenger vehicles, van, SUVs and light or heavy duty pickup trucksMid-size passenger vehicle, van, SUVs and light or heavy duty pickup trucks

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

Class 1 Hitch

Advantages of a Class 1 Hitch

  • Practical - This hitch is ideal if you're looking to haul small equipment you use every day. For instance, a class 1 hitch can easily carry a bicycle, cargo box or even a small motorcycle.
  • Easy to Install - A class 1 hitch is typically lightweight and easy to install on almost any vehicle. It connects to a vehicle's frame or bumper and is also the only type of hitch that can attach to subcompact vehicles.
class 1 hitches

Limitations of a Class 1 Hitch

  • Carries Less Weight - Unlike other types of hitches, a class 1 hitch can only handle lightweight accessories. Any items that produce a gross trailer weight above 2,000 pounds can't be used with this model.
  • Limited Hitch Adapters - Since it can only tow a small amount of accessories, there is a small selection of adapters available for this type of hitch, making it less versatile than other its counterparts.

Class 2 Hitch

class two hitches

Advantages of a Class 2 Hitch

  • Handles More Weight - A class 2 hitch not only can tow accessories you'd find on a class 1 hitch, but it can also carry items that are a bit heavier. For example, a class 2 hitch is able to help tow lightweight trailers and small boats, both of which are too heavy for class 1 models.
  • Large Selection of Adapters - Most automotive retailers have a wide selection of class 2 hitch adapters. In fact, some class 1 adapters can be used to on class 2 models, depending on the weight of the equipment you're towing.

Limitations of a Class 2 Hitch

  • Doesn't Attach to Subcompact Cars - A subcompact vehicle isn't capable of towing heavy accessories, meaning a class 2 or higher-rated hitch isn't suited for these types of vehicles. A class 2 model can only be installed on passenger vehicles, vans, SUVs and pickup trucks.
  • Slightly Costly - If you want a high-quality class 2 hitch, it can be a bit more expensive than a class 1 version. However, it will be able to handle higher weight and more types of equipment.