Hitches Showdown: Class 3 vs. Class 4 Hitches
Whether you're consistently hauling heavy items for work or towing equipment in and out of storage, it's important that your vehicle have the right type of hitch. If you're towing accessories heavier than 3,000 pounds, your decision most likely will be between a class 3 or class 4 hitch. Find out the main differences between a class 3 and class 4 hitch to determine which one is best for your needs.
Class 3 Hitch*
Class 4 Hitch*
Gross Trailer Weight
|Maximum of 8,000 pounds||Maximum of 10,000 pounds|
|Maximum of 800 pounds||Maximum of 1,000 pounds|
Types of Heavy Equipment
|Medium trailers, large boats||Mid-sized campers and heavier trailers |
|Vans, SUVs and light or heavy-duty pickup trucks||Light or heavy-duty pickup trucks|
Advantages of a Class 3 Hitch
- Easy to Find - A class 3 hitch is considered a standard towing hitch because it specializes in handling lightweight equipment and bulky items that don't exceed 8,000 pounds. That means there is typically a broader selection available of this type of hitch compared to other models, including a class 4 hitch.
- Mounts to More Vehicles - A class 3 hitch can connect to vans, SUV and both heavy-duty or light pickup trucks. Higher class hitches are only suited for bigger vehicles
Limitations of a Class 3 Hitch
- Can't Handle Very Large Items - While it can carry a mid-size boat or trailer, a class 3 hitch isn't equipped to help haul a camper, fishing boat or trailer that weigh more than 8,000 pounds.
- Doesn't Evenly Distribute Weight - A class 3 hitch isn't used for weight distribution, which is safer with heavy equipment. A weight distribution hitch takes pressure off the center of the hitch and spreads it to the vehicle and trailer axles.
Advantages of a lass 4 Hitch
- Handles More Heavy Equipment - This type of hitch is able to handle much larger equipment than a class 3 model. A class 4 hitch will help carry a large fishing boat, trailer or camper that weighs as much as 10,000 pounds.
- Distributes Weight - Some class 4 hitches have a weight distribution composition, which is equipped to handle heavy equipment better than lower class hitches.
Limitations of a Class 4 Hitch
- Connects Only to Select Vehicles - Since a class 4 hitch is used to haul items up to 10,000 pounds, it can only be mounted to a vehicle that can handle similar weight. This type of hitch is typically attached to only heavy-duty or light pickup trucks.
- Expensive - In comparison to a class 3 hitch, a class 4 version is less affordable, and there is also a smaller selection available.