Different types of trailers require certain hitch systems. We are commonly asked about the difference between a fifth wheel hitch and a gooseneck hitch. While similar, they provide advantages in different areas. Continue reading to learn more from the team at Hitch King.
What Is a Fifth Wheel Hitch?
The fifth wheel hitch is a truck bed hitch that belongs to the Class IV type of hitches. These hitches are made for heavy-duty towing with gross trailer weights ranging from 5,000 to 10,000 pounds. This setup is similar to hitches used on tractor-trailer rigs. It is a pickup truck bed-compatible U-shaped hitch connector. A fifth wheel hitch is comprised of a pivoting plate that rests on the hitch plate and a downward-facing 50.8 or 88.9 mm pin known as a kingpin. The hitch makes the trailer easy to maneuver by carrying the tongue weight right over the rear axle of the towing vehicle.
What Is a Gooseneck Hitch?
A ball-mounted hitch that is fastened to the pickup truck bed is known as a gooseneck hitch. It uses a hitch ball to attach to a gooseneck trailer, placing all the weight directly on the axle. The term originates from the way it rises, rotates, and enters the truck bed like a gooseneck. As a result, the trailer rests on the ball, leaving the bed essentially unhindered. Greater stability and perhaps less swing are provided by the tongue’s weight being supported by the truck’s rear axles. This also means that additional weight can be added, and it gives the truck an incredible turning radius.
Which One Is Better?
Both the gooseneck and fifth wheel hitches sit above the truck’s drive axle and are physically attached to the truck’s bed, but they also each have advantages and disadvantages. To begin with, gooseneck hitches offer excellent mobility and a fantastic turning radius, increasing stability while possibly reducing sway. On the other side, fifth wheels offer a quieter and more stable towing experience while reducing road shock to the absolute minimum. Fifth wheels are used just as their name implies: to tow fifth wheel trailers, and they are very effective at it. Long story short, it ultimately comes down to what type of trailer you’re pulling.