When it comes to towing, your trailer ball is one of the most important pieces of equipment you will use. There are a variety of different trailer ball sizes and types available on the market.
It can be confusing trying to figure out which hitch ball size you need. In guide, we will explain the different types and sizes of trailer balls that fit your trailer.
Standard Trailer Ball Sizes
There are four standard trailer ball sizes: 1-7/8″, 2″, 2-5/16″, and 3″.
A trailer hitch ball’s “size” is the measurement of the ball’s diameter.
Tow balls come in standard sizes to make them easy to match up to trailer couplers.
As the ball size increases, so does the weight capacity it can handle.
1-7/8″ Trailer Ball
1-7/8″ trailer balls are commonly used for light-duty towing like small utility trailers, fishing boat trailers, and teardrop campers.
2″ Trailer Ball
2″ trailer balls are the most common hitch ball size, and are best for pulling campers, utility trailers, and boat trailers.
2-5/16″ Trailer Ball
2-5/16″ trailer balls are used for towing travel trailers and larger utility trailers.
3″ Trailer Ball
3″ trailer balls are the largest and are usually used with gooseneck trailers, like livestock trailers or large travel trailers.
How To Measure Trailer Ball Size
There are four distinct measurements you’ll need when measuring trailer ball size:
- Ball Diameter: The diameter of the actual trailer ball
- Shank Diameter: The diameter of the threaded shaft
- Shank Length: The length of the threaded shaft
- Rise: The height of the trailer ball’s base
Measuring Trailer Ball Diameter
You can use a measuring tape to measure the diameter of your trailer ball to find out what size you have.
As a reminder, common sizes are 1-7/8″, 2″, 2-5/16″, and 3″.
Measuring Ball Shank Diameter
You can measure the ball shank diameter with a tape measure or piece of string the same way you measure the trailer ball diameter.
The three most common ball shank diameter sizes are: 3/4″, 1″, and 1-1/4″.
Measuring Ball Shank Length
Ball shank length isn’t the most important consideration unless you’re using other towing accessories that will need more shank length to be mounted, or if your situation calls for a special need.
Short ball shank length is less than 2″, medium length is 2″-3″, and long length is greater than 3″.
These usually go hand-in-hand with the trailer ball size.
Just make sure you have enough length beyond the thickness of your ball mount platform to adequately secure the nut and bolt on the ball shank.
Measuring Trailer Ball Rise
How To Tell What Size Ball Your Trailer Needs
Trailer Ball Size Chart
|Trailer Ball Size||Shank Diameter||Shank Length||Weight Capacity||Hitch Class||Common Uses||Commonly Found On These Vehicles|
|1-7/8"||3/4" to 1"||1-5/8" to 3"||2,000-3,500 lbs GTW||1 & 2||Cars, Minivans, Crossovers||Small Utility Trailers, Fishing Boat Trailers, Teardrop Campers, Jet Ski Trailers|
|2"||3/4" to 1-1/4"||1-3/4" to 3"||3,500 to 12,000 lbs GTW||2, 3, & 4||Vans, SUVs, Light Duty Trucks||Campers, Utility Trailers, Boat Trailers|
|2-5/16"||1" to 2"||2-1/8" to 3-1/2"||6,000 to 30,000 lbs GTW||3, 4, & 5||Heavy-Duty Trucks||Travel Trailers, Large Utility Trailers, Small/Medium Livestock Trailers|
|3"||2"||3-1/4" and up||30,000 lbs GTW||4 & 5||Heavy-Duty Trucks & Commercial Vehicles||Gooseneck Trailers (Livestock Trailers & Large Travel Trailers)|
Finding out what size ball you need for your trailer is a pretty simple process.
You’ll need to know three things:
- The size of your trailer coupler
- Your trailer ball hole diameter
- Your towing capacity
Measuring Coupler Size
Fortunately, this step is pretty easy.
Almost all trailer manufacturers stamp or etch the trailer ball size on the coupler.
If yours doesn’t have it stamped on there, you can always look it up according to the manual or on the manufacturer’s website.
If that doesn’t work, you can measure the inside opening of the coupler with a tape measure or ruler.
Measuring Trailer Ball Hole Size
This is an important step, because the hole your trailer ball mounts to must be sized properly.
The trailer ball has a shank, or threaded cylinder attached to it that you insert into the trailer ball hole and secure with a nut and bolt on the other side.
If the hole and ball shank sizes don’t match up, the ball will shift around and could come loose during towing.
Measure the diameter of the trailer ball hole with a measuring tape to find out what size shank it will accept.
Matching Your Towing Capacity
Each trailer ball has a “ball capacity”, which is the weight rating that the trailer ball can handle.
The ball capacity refers to the gross trailer weight limit, not the tongue weight, so keep this in mind when picking one out.
You can find the hitch ball rating on the top of the ball or around the base of the shank.
Keep in mind that the weight rating of your tow ball must match or exceed your trailer’s Gross Vehicle Weight Rating (GVWR).
Consider your vehicle’s towing capacity, your trailer’s gross trailer weight (GTW), and the tow receiver hitch size you have when choosing a trailer ball.
Frequently Asked Questions
The most common hitch ball size is a 2″ ball. The 2″ ball is commonly found on Class 3 hitches, which are the most common trailer hitch used on tow vehicles.
The most common boat ball size is 1-7/8″ or 2″. These will fit the couplers found on most boat trailers.
The most common jet ski trailer ball size is 1-7/8″ or 2″. These will fit the couplers on most jet ski trailers.
All U-Haul trailers can be towed using a 1-7/8″ or 2″ trailer ball.
The most common travel trailer hitch ball size used is a 2″ or 2-5/16″.
No, there are no universal or one-size-fits-all trailer ball options.
This is for safety reasons, and you should never use a trailer ball size adapter or anything else to get the size of your trailer ball to match your coupler.
There are options called switch ball sets that have a universal ball shank that you can tighten on different trailer ball sizes as needed.
The recommended torque values for attaching trailer balls to a ball mount are defined by the shank diameter as follows:
3/4″ Shank Diameter: 150ft-lb of torque
1″ Shank Diameter: 250ft-lb of torque
2-5/16″ Shank Diameter: 450 ft-lb of torque