If you live in a motorhome, the thought of towing a car behind an RV can seem pretty useful. But, can an RV really take the weight of your car? Well, of course, it can but not without the proper tow bar. When it comes down to it, an RV may actually be a better towing option than a standard tow truck, and won’t even cost you extra.
Now you might be wondering why do I need a special tow bar just for RVs? Aren’t they all the same? Well, technically speaking most tow bars is all-purpose. But you’ll find that some are more optimized for motorhomes and RVs. The best RV tow bars usually have a very resilient body and can handle the weight and force of the RV as well as the towed vehicle. They also can be attached relatively easily to the back of the trunk, making them easier to lock onto RVs.
So, for today’s article, we’ll be going over a few important pointers to know about the best tow bars and how to buy them. We’ll also review the top 12 tow bars, that are optimized to use with RVs.
What is a Tow Bar? How Does a Tow Bar Work?
A tow bar is a tool utilized in towing vehicles and making the process easier. Usually, the chassis of the vehicles are used to install or bolt a towbar with them. Additional wiring may also be utilized to provide more sturdiness and better control over the vehicle. Overall, a tow bar discards the requirement to have an auto-driver in the vehicle that is being towed. However, it is always better to have a person seated for additional safety.
The primary benefit of using the tow bar is that it can make the towing process far easier. It is convenient to maneuver a vehicle that is being towed. The wires integrated into the vehicle also enable the users to control their brakes and lighting system without the need of a driver inside the vehicle.
The front brackets of the tow bar are connected to the vehicle that is going to get towed; the backside connects to the vehicle offering the towing. It is a reinforced connection between the two vehicles to ensure that the process is sturdy. Furthermore, as it is a tow bar, the possibility of the two vehicles colliding when coming to a stop, is eliminated. Therefore, a safe distance is also maintained between two vehicles. Often, a tow bar will have auxiliary brakes to offer better control of the towing procedure.
Tow bar Classes
There are three different classes of tow bars that will help you determine which one is suitable for you to use:
- Class 2: A flat tongue type tow bar is the common class 2. It is used for vehicles weighing around 1,200 kgs. Therefore, it is only suitable for towing heavy motorcycles or light tent trailers.
- Class 3: The least popular option since it only offers a little better strength than class 2 and Class 4. Overall seems more feasible for the capability it provides. However, Class 3 is used for medium-weight vehicles, compact cars, and multiple two-wheeler vehicles at once. The most common application is boat towing.
- Class 4: Class four offers you a tongue weight of around 3,500 kgs easily. It is suitable for larger vehicles such as RV Trailers, large boats, and other similar options.
There is also a class V that can support the higher weight. The weight in the class is not the ‘actual’ or ‘gross weight’ they support, but it is the tongue weight. Tongue weight should be around 10% of the gross trailer weight. Therefore, you can potentially tow the weight 10x of the supported weight of the hitch. For better insights, read the types of tow bars.
Types Of Tow bar
By the standard categorization, there are four primary types of tow bars available. However, modern innovations have led to various modifications and integration in these versions. Thus, there are other types of towbar available as well. Generally, they may be a hybrid or a combination of two or more of these types. However, the four primary types are:
- Rear Step: This one is perfect for four-wheeler vehicles. It offers them a better ground clearance. Therefore, they are adept at the use of off-road scenarios, and they extend further from the rear of the vehicle in which the step is fixed for the towing purpose. However, they are not compatible with all models, only selective. They also tend to be slightly heavier than others.
- Flat Tongue: The flat tongues are suitable for lighter towing. There is a horizontal slot on the tow bar, which requires a tow ball to connect to the vehicles. The flat tongue got its name from the appearance that looks like a tongue out. The top of the hitch is then bolted from the tongue of the tow ball to offer sturdy towing capacity.
- Swan Neck: These tow bars are prominently used in the European region. Most of the vehicles use this integration, and it is usually permanent. However, the minimalist design does not compromise the aesthetic of the vehicle. It is also lightweight and does not stand out too much. A swan-neck tow bar received its name due to its L or curvy shape that resembles a swan’s neck. They are usually bolted on the rear of a vehicle and offer the standard towing options with towing vehicles. If you’re from Australia, then this will be imported and costs higher than other options.
- Horizontal Hitch: A hitch type tow bar is utilized for towing heavier loads. So, RVs, trailers, and bigger vehicles, all utilize a horizontal hitch. However, it is paramount to pay attention to the type of hitch used for the vehicle. It has a square tongue that resembles the flat tongue. There are two versions, a 40 mm and 50mm. It uses a thick and durable pin to bolt and connects the hitch, and the two components of the hitch are used to reinforce the towing. Significantly, the weight distribution system is commonly used with horizontal hitches.
- Flange Tow bar: While there are four types, the commonly used is the flange-type that is also becoming one of the ‘common’ tow bars used. It is similar to swan-neck and highly-reinforced. However, it has a detachable variation available for the users. You can use it with various integrations such as bumper protectors, and it is more feasible than swan type. It is highly compatible with various vehicle types.
Top 5 Best Brands/Manufacturers for RV Tow Bars
Before we begin with our top 12 list, here are a few manufacturers those caught our attention:
Roadmaster tow bars and highway accessories are the most popular items in your local hardware store. These bars are known well for their strength and sturdiness. We recommend them for RV users due to the fact that Roadmaster uses FEA (Finite Element Analysis) to engineer and test all of their tow bars. This makes them 100% safer than a lot of the other brands out there.
If you’re interested in them, we recommend trying out their all-terrain series, which will have your back on almost any type of road. Roadmaster is our number one recommendation.
2. Blue Ox
After the Roadmaster, other names like Blue Ox come to light. Blue Ox tow bars are potent and durable; those can handle over a ton of weight before giving away. We would especially refer you to the Ascent or Aventa series, as these are the newest and most powerful, and would suffice an RV user.
We recommend Blue Ox since most of their tow bars are made extremely lightweight and are manufactured from aircraft-grade aluminum, which is both strong and lightweight.
Demco is another brand that stood out from the rest. For the Demco tow bar brand, we found that the Commander series is perfect for RVs and motorhomes. These bars can handle up to 6,000 pounds of weight and will be ideal for your vehicle.
All of Demco’s products are lightweight and easy to load, lift, attach, and remove. We recommend these for those who want to carry the lesser load, as these aren’t good for towing larger vehicles.
4. NSA Products
Perhaps you haven’t heard of this brand. We hadn’t too until we decided to look further into it. Their product line features not only tow bars but also tow bar accessories like brakes, hydraulics, and levers. In our opinion, their tow bars were the most diverse and widely functional. Their tow bars can carry a large weight as well as help you lock the car easily onto the RV.
We suggest this one for those who want a lower-budget option. NSA Products hasn’t failed to impress us yet, and we look forward to seeing more of them in the future.
Smittybilt tow bars use high-quality industrial grade aluminum. This is what lends them the lightweight characteristic that makes them loved by over a thousand customers worldwide. Smittybilt’s product line is qualitative and monumental. At the moment, their kits and tow bar accessories are more popular. In addition, their product line is growing for exceptional product range.
Overall, we think this manufacturer is best suited for those who want extra accessories for their tow bars, although these will have to be bought separately.
Comparison Chart of Top RV Tow Bars on The Market
Note: Please use these as a reference only. Features & specifications are subject to change without any notice. Thanks
12 Best RV Tow Bars Reviews
Blue Ox’s tow bars display tremendous potential and qualitative energy. We chose this product in the number one spot on our list since it’s so compact and easy to fold, and can be graded as the best lightweight RV tow bar. We tried our luck with it and were surprised by the quality and endurance of this product.
- High Weight Capacity
The Blue Ox Alpha Tow Bar has a weight capacity of about 6,500 pounds, which is 3.25 tons. This is the best weight for larger cars and SUVs, although small trucks and vans can be accommodated by it too.
- Lightweight Structure
The reason why we name this as the best lightweight tow bar is that the Blue Ox Alpha can hold up to 3.25 tons while only weighing 35 pounds itself. This is very advantageous if you want to lessen the load on the RV.
- Steel Body
The Blue Ox Alpha is manufactured and designed by expert engineers and uses industrial grade stainless steel reinforced with a special metal alloy. This would be a great feature for RVs since most tow bars tend to break apart so easily.
- Can handle up to 6,500 pounds (3.25 tons), while only weighing 35 pounds itself.
- Very lightweight and easy to load and unload.
- Does not scratch or chip the bumper/tailgate of the RV.
- Made of finely processed steel alloy for added strength and durability.
- Easy release lock and hookup pins for easier installation and removal.
- In some occasion, warranty negotiation found to be complex by customers.
We honestly recommend the Blue Ox Alpha Tow Bar for users who want a lightweight product and a budget-friendly option. Additionally, it is best for lifting up larger cars, SUVs, small trucks and minivans.
You’ve heard of all-terrain tires. Now get ready for all-terrain tow bars. Roadmaster’s all-terrain series is a great example of how much the weather and terrain can affect the performance of your tow bar. This bar features protection from rough, sandy, rickety surfaces, as well as cold and heat protection, and even safety from slipping or falling.
- Best for All-Terrains
As the name suggests, The Roadmaster All-Terrain Tow Bar is perfect for any type of terrain or climate. Naturally, the cold tends to freeze up locks and hooks. This tow bar is able to combat all that and much more.
- Tensile Strength & Durability
One other reason why we think it’s perfect for RVs and motorhomes is that it is extremely strong and durable. We tested this on our 3 ton SUV, and it was able to hold up the load just fine. This is because the body is made of steel and aluminum.
- Can Hold 4 Tons
The maximum weight capacity of the Roadmaster All-Terrain Tow Bar is around 8000 pounds, which roughly estimates to 4 tons. This means that even heavier trucks and vans can be accommodated by it, as well as jet skis.
- Carries up to 4 tons that is capable of lifting cars and trucks.
- Weighs only 50 pounds; lightweight and easy to carry.
- Works great on any terrain, whether sandy, wet, snowy, or rough.
- Can survive any weather, including freezing temperatures.
- Good for durability and lifespan.
- Weighs slightly more than a standard 30-pound tow bar.
In our experience, the Roadmaster Tow Bar is excellent on all terrains and roads and didn’t jam even in temperatures below freezing point. We suggest this model for those who want diversity and good capacity.
Demco’s tow bars have always continued to amaze us, especially their Commander series, which features extra durability and endurance. This model can carry up to 3 tons and weighs only 40 pounds, a great capacity to weight ratio for tow bars. It is also great for RVs due to its easy hook-up arms and pins.
- Easy Attachment & Detachment
The Demco Commander Tow Bar features independently functioning arms for easy hooking up the device to the back of the RV, and the easy release triggers make the detachment and removal process like a piece of cake. We also love how it uses safety cables for added security.
- Weight Capacity
This product from Demco can hold as much as 6,000 pounds, which is about 3 tons. This is a great range, although for towing vehicles it may not be enough. Nevertheless, it will definitely do the job for cars, SUVs, and station wagons.
- Base plate Compatibility
Use a base plate of any brand or manufacturer. The Demco Commander will stay true to its promise and will work on any base plate you have. There are very few brands that may not be compatible with though.
- Can carry up to 3 tons of weight, a good range for small and large cars and minibusses.
- Weighs only 41 pounds for easy removal and attachment.
- Easy use of hooks and pins keep the car safe in place.
- Fits any base plate used on your RV and car.
- Extremely safe; uses safety cables and easy-release locks to ensure security.
- Weighs slightly more than your average tow bar.
Although it has its flaws, such as the heavyweight or the low weight capacity, we think that this should be all you need to tow your vehicles. We recommend this as the best budget-friendly RV tow bar of the year.
Another product from Blue Ox makes its way to our top 12 best RV tow bars list. The reason why we included another is that we felt both of these deserve individual recognition. The dynamics of the Blue Ox Aventa use ball-in-socket joints and levers, and the frame can swivel a full 360 degrees. It even features rubber boots to keep safe from road friction and dirt.
- Ball-In-Socket Design
According to our practical experience, the ball-in socket design is effective. Because when we gave it a shot, all the levers and handles worked smoothly. It’s a unique design that proves that the Blue Ox Company has certainly outdone itself.
- Swivel Feature
Up until now, all the products we reviewed could swivel at most 180 degrees. Now, meet the Blue Ox Aventa, which can swivel a full 360 degrees. This actually makes movement and installation a whole lot easier and has many practical applications.
- Rubber Boots
This Blue Ox bar is padded with rubber all around, which creates a safe shock-absorbing environment. It helps protect from scratches and dent marks and saves you the pain of frequent maintenance.
- Loads up to 10,000 pounds, which means large trucks and even busses of 5 tons or less can be easily lifted and towed by this bar.
- Can swivel a full 360 degrees for easier movement and installation.
- Protected from road friction and grime by strategically placed rubber boots.
- Ball-in-socket and numerous other design ideas help enhance quality.
- The cover needs to be purchased separately.
Overall, we would rate the Aventa lx a 9 out of 10. This is perfect for larger cars, trucks, vans busses, and a number of other heavier vehicles. It is also very good for those who want a decent swivel feature. The only downside is the high price. Although we think Blue Ox BX7445 Aventa LX, the best tow bar for RV you could get from the market.
Demco’s products are a luxury to have which is why we thought to include another tow bar from Demco. This one comes from the “Dominator” series, which is an exquisite line of strong and capable tow bars. A great opportunity for those on a high budget, the Dominator can hold up to 7500 lbs and features easy lock release triggers and hook up arms.
- Weight Capacity
The weight capacity is a bit over 7,500 pounds, which roughly estimates to about 3.75 tons. This would be a great magnitude for large and heavy cars, especially the passenger or cargo varieties. This also works for small trucks.
- Easy Release Locks
Many brands make attaching the car to the tow bar easy, but getting them off that is the trick here. The Demco Dominator features easy release triggers and high-functioning locks. This makes removing the car and detaching the hooks a whole lot easier.
- Safety Cables
Most of Demco’s products feature safety cables, including the Dominator Tow Bar. These cables keep the user and the vehicle safe from harms and ensure that the parts are entirely secure and fastened.
- Holds 3.75 tons, good for cars and small trucks.
- Easy release triggers keep the product safe.
- Easy to install and remove.
- Features safety cables to keep you safe.
- Only for those who can afford a higher budget.
If you ask us, we think that this is one of the best options for anyone who wants simplicity yet efficiency. We wouldn’t recommend it for those on a low budget, but this is no doubt the best heavyweight RV tow bar.
Smittybilt has manufactured some of the topmost tow bar kits of the century. These have a lot of endurance and diversity. This “ball adjusted” design lets you hold up to 2.5 tons, which will work perfectly well with small cars and performance vehicles. We especially love the 2-inch coupler and the universal brackets meant for fastening and loosening objects to the tow bar.
- 2-Inch Coupler & Safety Brackets
The 2-inch coupler used in the Smittybilt is a great feature. Most tow bars tend to come to lose right off the entire frame. The safety brackets and the lateral strut brackets keep the entire frame together, leaving no room for failure.
- Safety Chains
Smittybilt’s Tow Bar features safety chains to help you latch onto the tailgate of the RV. These chains are made of strong steel and are coated with nickel to enhance their strength and durability. This accounts for a more secure experience.
- Weight Capacity
The weight capacity of the Smittybilt tow bar is 2.5 tons, or quite specifically 5,000 pounds. This makes it suited for small cars, sedans, motorcycles, and performance or racing vehicles. However, this won’t hold up larger cars or SUVs.
- Features 2-inch coupler for a secure ride.
- Includes D-ring brackets, lateral strut brackets, and our favorite, two universal brackets.
- Safety chains to keep the vehicle fastened to the RV.
- Can carry as much as 2 tons.
- Can only carry 2 tons, which is not compatible for larger cars, cargo vehicles, trucks, vans, and SUVs.
Although the weight capacity might be lower than expected, this Smittybilt accessory will work great with smaller cars and motorcycles. However, we won’t recommend this for SUVs and minitrucks and vans.
Yet another product from Blue OX has found its way to our favorites list. We saw this product and our first thought was that we shouldn’t include so many products from the same brand. But after noticing the metallic finish and 5-ton capacity, we just had to include it. The Blue Ox Avail is made from the finest quality steel to boost its durability and overall longevity.
- Good for Light Trucks
Only a few of the products on our list have a 5-ton capacity. This capacity renders the Blue Ox to be useful for almost any purpose, be it passenger, cargo, or performance sedans, hatchbacks, station wagons, SUVs, RVs, motor homes, motorcycles, trucks, vans, minibusses, and even snowmobiles.
- Metallic Construction and Finish
The Blue Ox Class IV Avail tow bar is tailored from industrial grade raw steel, reinforced with just a touch of other metal alloys. This not only gives the bar a nice metallic look but also increases the strength and resilience of the bar by up to 30%.
- Shock Absorption
This model also features outstanding shock absorption. The inner springs and brackets are exceptionally innate at keeping the vehicle at a safe distance from the RV. This keeps the car from scratching or indenting the RV.
- Has a capacity of up to 5 tons, which makes it good even for heavy or light trucks and vans.
- Made from high quality fortified steel.
- Metallic finish and glossy look.
- Great shock absorption; keeps the car away from the RV at all times.
- Durable and user-friendly, brackets stay in place for a long time.
- Not compatible with some types of brakes.
We love this product. The Blue Ox Avail tow bar is the best lightweight tow bar for anyone who wants to look for quality and assurance in the same product. We recommend it for any and all users except four-wheel tow.
The Falcon tow bar series from Roadmaster is the ideal candidate for a tow bar kit. These bars are not too strong but not too weak either. They have a maximum weight capacity of about 6,000 pounds or 3 tons and even include a manufacturer’s warranty along with international shipping. This is the best RV tow bars for anyone who wants an extreme weather standard product.
- Manufacturer’s Warranty
It has a great advantage having manufacturer warranties that keeps your purchases secure and ensure that nothing can harm your quality experience.
- International Shipping
Most of the brands mentioned on our list are only available in the US or at most in Canada. But this Roadmaster Falcon tow bar can be accessed anywhere on Earth. This is why we consider it to be the best accessible RV tow bar.
- Good for SUVs
Although the bar can handle as much as 3 tons of weight, we would specifically recommend it for use with SUVs, cars and light trucks.
- Lifts up to 3 tons of weight, a perfect candidate for smaller cars, SUVs, and 3-ton light trucks and vans.
- Available worldwide, with additional shipping charges.
- Most extensive hook-up radius.
- Features a warranty and returns policy for your security.
- Does not scratch or chip the RV or vehicle.
- Weighs around 50 pounds, slightly heavier than the average tow bar.
This is a great design for an ultra-smooth towing experience, and we consider this to be the best heavyweight RV tow bar, although the heaviness may be a downside during installation. Still, we would definitely recommend this product from Roadmaster.
The Blue Ox Adventurer is a heavy-duty adjustable tow bar which holds up as much as 5,000 pounds, creating an ideal environment for any vehicle. This bar is adjustable, which means that the length and range can vary.
- Adjustable Length and Shape
The size, shape, and length of the bar can easily be adjusted; you can extend the bar for reducing any clashes between the car and RV during sharp turns. Or you can retract it to keep things under control. It’s your choice, but the Adventurer caters to all.
- Adaptable For the Car
The Blue Ox Adventurer adapts itself depending on the type and size of the car. The shape naturally contorts and changes to fit the car. However, if you want, you can also manually adjust the shape using the brackets and folds.
We recommend the tow bar for its portability. This is the first and only tow bar in our list which can be folded down. So you don’t have to worry about storage options. Other bars could be folded to some extent, but not as much as the Adventurer.
- Tows a maximum of 5,000 pounds, which approximates to 2.5 tons.
- Good for smaller cars, sedans, hatchbacks, and some heavier motorbikes.
- Fully adjustable, can be altered in shape, size, and length.
- Adapts to the type of car or bike you have; readily changes shape.
- Perfect for its portability and great storage options.
- Weight capacity is low. May not the world for some heavier trucks.
As a final thought, we’d say that we recommend the Blue Ox Adventurer for those users who want minimal features at the lowest rate possible. This isn’t a good bar for vehicles over 2.5 tons, so be extra careful when choosing this one. As we mention for small vehicles, Blue Ox Adventurer is one of the best budget RV tow bar on the market.
We’ve talked a bit about NSA products before. The company isn’t all that famous, but they are definitely the leading brand in RV-specific tow bars. This specific model is made of industrial quality aluminum, which makes it the best lightweight RV tow bar that can be bought within a reasonable price range. We recommend you to try this one out.
- Aluminum Body and Design
Aluminum is used in aircraft due to its lightweight and good dynamics. The NSA tow bar uses aluminum to keep things easy during installation and removal. The aluminum is also great in lending resilience and strength.
- Lifetime Warranty
Unlike a few products on our list, this is the first to offer a full lifetime warranty on the tow bar. The warranty means that you get security and safety on every purchase, so you won’t have to worry about wasting your money on a bad product.
- Durable Design
Most aluminum tow bars may break under a lot of pressure. But the NSA tow bar can withstand over 3 tons of weight before finally breaking or bending. This is a great feature since durability is a frequent issue with tow bars.
- A lifetime warranty backs up your purchase and keeps your budget secure.
- Extremely lightweight and easy to install and remove.
- Best tow bar for the price and low budget.
- Made of aluminum, a strong yet lightweight material used in aircraft.
- Can last for for long without ever needing to avail the warranty.
- Does not include clevises; need to bought separately.
We would rate this product an 8 out of 10. We love this especially for its body and design and name this as the best lightweight RV tow bar. If you really want to look into it, we recommend checking out the product and contacting their customer service for warranty information.
Curt is a perfect selection for those who are looking for a flat tow or a dingy tow. It is one of the best motorhome towbars that allow you to tow smaller vehicles, including compact cars easily. With robust strength, it has a rating of 5,000 lbs for flat towing. Overall, it offers you the leisures of mobility. The most striking part is its adjustable capacity between 41 and 26 inches. Hence, it can fit several models of vehicles, conveniently.
It comes with a 2-inch trailer couple and a 2-inch trailer bar. Both of these are industrial grade to offer a strong hold and fit for your towing. It works on most of the vehicle’s bumper. The brackets provide very firm mounting options.
It comes with a black powder coating that offers protection and resistance against factors like weather and UV tolls. CURT is known for providing custom hitches and tow bars for the users. Each one comprises premium-grade material to reinforce its capability.
Need Strong Tools for Easy Installation
The installation process is fairly easy, but the nuts may prove to be harder to turn. It is to ensure that you receive an impeccable fit. Therefore, you will need to have the right set of tools, preferably stronger tools for easy installation.
- Strong grip and rigid fit.
- Highly compatible with different vehicles.
- Front and dingy towing options.
- Need power tools for installation.
This product easily stands at 8.4 out of 10, with the only inconvenience in its installation and removal process, mainly because they can prove to be too tight for use. They are highly adjustable and capable of supporting you even in emergencies like sudden accidents. Thus, you have a great product at the pricing, and we consider it one of the best tow bars for flat towing.
If you are looking for a standard towing system at economical rates, then Reese Towpower is a suitable choice. It is one of those towing bars that ‘gets the job done’. So, if your requirement is to pull lightweight vehicles, camper tents, or anything around the weight limit of 2.5 tons, this is a suitable addition to your collection.
The towbar is highly feasible and offers several functions at the economical rate. You might require a little fabrication. But overall, for the price, it has convenient installation and components to support the towing. It also offers a limited lifetime warranty, which makes it a feasible purchase.
It offers the easiest installation and removal with four-point pinning systems and a two-inch coupler. The universal bumper brackets fit with any part conveniently. Additionally, it has a versatile and adjustable bar to suit various lengths and sizes.
This tow bar supports up to 5,000 lbs gross vehicle weight. It extends the towball reach that offers 4 feet distance between the vehicles. Thus, keeping them from colliding. However, you might require to purchase backing plates separately if you seek to reinforce the support further.
- Easy 4 pin harness and installation.
- Adjustable bar for varying sizes.
- Universal bumper brackets to fit anywhere.
- Requires separate base plate fabrication.
- Requires separate investment for bracket plates.
Use cable hooks with this tow bar, and you have a decent addition. This is suitable for the folks who might require towing from time to time and usually have smaller vehicles, or boats. It does not have weight distribution or wiring controls. Overall, it is a good camping partner, and as stated above, a good selection to get the work done.
Selection Process, Why Should You Trust Us?
What makes our judgment authentic? Well, for starters, we called in experts from all over the country to help us select the best tow bars, especially for RVs or motorhomes. We analyzed around 90 tow bars from 40 different brands, each one being assessed and tested for quality, customer service, reliability, and weight limit. Of the 20 which made our final list, we further narrowed down our suggestions to just 12. But these are the most powerful and outstanding tow bars.
You may like: Weight distribution hitches for towing vehicles
Why Do You Need Best Tow Bar for RVs?
We went over this briefly in the intro, but we’ll explain extensively here. You see, the efficiency of a tow bar depends more or less on the size and type of vehicle. Basically, what this means is that every vehicle requires a different type of tow bar. The differences are usually in terms of size, shape, material, strength, and effectiveness. Additionally, some tow bars are easier to attach to some cars, but might be harder to attach to others. These are the factors you must keep in mind.
For RV tow bars, the right kind should be exceptionally strong and lightweight. RVs and other motorhomes are normally very heavy and sizable, so you’ll want something which can withstand the force of the pull. The best RV tow dollies are the ones made of either reinforced steel or nickel. Brass and copper options exist too. A regular tow bar designed for small and large cars and SUVs just won’t do the trick in this case. So if you still feel like you don’t need a tow bar for RVs, then you might want to change your mind.
What to Consider When Buying The Best RV Tow Bars?
Are you confused about what’s the best RV tow bar out there? We used to be too. But for now, we’ve finalized our wishlist. Our top 12 tow bars did the trick for us. We highly recommend them to you too, but in the unlikely case that you’re unhappy with your list, here are a few pointers to help you assess each and every brand or product line you come across yourself. Most of these can be applied to any and all tow bars, while some are specific to RVs and other motorhomes or trailers.
RV tow bar installation and detachment depends mainly on three factors: the portability, number of locks and brackets, and strength of these locks. If you want no difficulties in installing the bar, then look for a product which is lightweight, ideally within the 5 to 35-pound range. Anything heavier than this can be harder to install, though not impossible. There should be a number of locks and release triggers, to allow you to easily latch on to the baseplate.
One other thing to keep in mind is that installation is also of two types: 4-wheel drive and all-wheel drive. Make sure that the bars you buy are compatible with whatever type of RV or vehicle you wish to use. It is also smart to match the brand of the tow bar with the base plate, to ensure that there is no compatibility issue, though many brands can be used with any baseplate.
♦ Wires and Safety Cables
Many brands of tow bars feature wires and safety cables. These cables keep the vehicle firmly attached to the RV or motor home in case the tow bar or other hooks detach. This is a great emergency feature to have. Many brands offer them separately, so look for a deal in which you get both the bar and the cables without having to pay extra.
As for the material itself, the cables themselves should be thick and strong and should be able to hold up the weight of the vehicle. They should also have strong hooks and clamps at either end, so neither of the hooks comes off the vehicle. Typically, the greater the number of hooks/clamps, the better and safer the ride will be. You can never be too sure about the safety of your tow bar, so safety cables are a great backup just in case. But be warned: never use the cables as a substitute for a tow bar.
♦ Towing Brackets
Towing brackets are the things to which you attach the hooks in the first place. These are usually placed below the front of the car, and a few on the back of the RV. Towing brackets have to withstand the whole weight of the car, so they should be specially designed to hold the weight. This means that you should look for a strong bracket, typically one made of aluminum or steel, and one which won’t come right off from under the car.
♦ Control and Weight Capacity
Tow bars should have a wide range of weight capacity. If not, then look for one which can specifically handle your car’s weight. We recommend a 2-ton capacity, while for larger cars and SUVs, the number can go as high as 4 ton for smaller passenger or performance cars.
For light trucks, 5 tons should be the max and for heavier trucks and vans, 7 or 8 tons is the best. On the other hand, for industrial vehicles like tractors and excavators, 11 or 15 tons is the max required while for motorcycles, 3 tons is ideal.
♦ All-Terrain Upgrade
This is optional, but it should not be overlooked either. You see, just like tires, tow bars are susceptible to changes in the weather and the season. While they are called “all-terrain”, they are actually more optimized for changes in the weather, especially for winter.
All-terrain tow bars can withstand temperatures below freezing, refuse to get jammed, and certainly do not expand much in the summer either. Other than that, they can also battle rusting caused by humidity, precipitation, snow buildup, mud, and even road grime.
♦ Compatibility with RV Base plate
Just like with the brackets, the RV base plate should be compatible with the tow bar too. Buy a tow bar which is compatible with any and all kind of baseplates. To avoid any future clashes, it is best to buy a tow bar of the same brand as your baseplate and brackets. Be warned though: some manufacturers might not offer base plates or brackets.
♦ Accessories and Extras
Tow bars come with accessories as well. The most common ones are the brackets, the base plate, and the safety cables. These are usually sold separately, but a dealer which sells them along with the main bar will certainly be worth it, although the price of the accessories will be included in the final price.
The price and manufacturer of the tow bar are also very crucial. For the manufacturers, refer to our top 5 recommended brands mentioned above. The price of most of the tow bars, especially those from our recommended list, ranges from $500 to $900, with $700 being the most popular. Of course, you should be willing to spend a few bucks on a premium quality product. Just be sure to get a decent warranty policy on your bars.
Frequently Ask Questions (FAQs)
1. Are RV Tow Bars Safe?
The RV tow bars are usually very safe to use, as long as their parts are all well-integrated. Make sure that brackets, bolts, and other connectors are firmly placed. It is indispensable to make sure that the vehicle’s weight does not surpass the maximum towing capacity of a tow bar. Otherwise, there can be consequences.
Secondly, it should not cause any damage to your towing car or the RV, as long as the manual is followed. If you have the right selection of a tow bar, you have nothing to worry about. However, a wrong tow bar can cause many problems, including damage.
2. How Do I Choose A RV Tow Bar?
First, you need to understand the weight of your RV or the weight capability you’re looking for. A 50mm tow ball is an ideal size for most of the heavy RVs. While 50mm can hold up to 12,000 pounds of weights, there are other variations. A 60 mm can support 2,000 to 6,000; some are built for 30,000. However, a 70mm selection is better for the vehicles weighing 30,000 pounds.
You can find a manual from the manufacturing company of your vehicle. This manual will show you the maximum towing capacity your car or vehicle can support. Do not opt for anything higher than the maximum capacity. Otherwise, you will end up causing more harm than good.
3. What Is The Difference Between A Hitch And A Tow Bar?
There is virtually no difference between the two. Only real differentiation can be established on the basis of the ‘type’ of the tow bar. A hitch is prevalent in use for heavy towing. It is sturdy and usually supports heavy trailers, vehicles, and RVs. The weight distribution system is also commonly used in the hitch system.
A tow bar, on the other hand, is more of a standard variation. It is common and can be used by anyone. Many vehicles use it, or the owners opt to get a tow bar installed in their vehicles for convenience. The purpose of both of the systems is the same, but the tow bar is for lighter vehicles, primarily.
4. What To Consider When Installing A RV Tow Bar?
You need to consider the vertical height of the towbar, which should fall between 350 to 420 millimeters. Ground clearance is also a vital requirement and needs to be at least 65 millimeters. However, these numbers, especially the ground clearance, can vary for different models. You might have to read manuals or scales to see what your vehicle might require. Similarly, you also have to ensure that your number plate is not hidden below the tow bar.
5. Can I Reverse The Tow-Car Behind My RV?
With the right gear, equipment, and towing mechanism, you can reverse the tow-car behind your RV. Significantly, two bars play a vital role in ensuring that you can carry out the process. However, you have to consider the vehicle’s towing capacity. Any towing will fail if it surpasses the vehicle’s capacity. Therefore, if you have the right equipment and proper vehicle for towing, you can reverse the tow-car easily.
6. Do I Need Dedicated Wiring For My Tow Bar?
Universal wiring generally allows you to gain access to the lighting system of the vehicle that is getting towed. Therefore, it can potentially nullify the warranty on your car’s system. However, while not manufactured by the companies, dedicated wiring does not void any warranty. They also offer you better control over the vehicle. You should opt for dedicated wiring if you own the vehicle that you plan on towing. It is a good selection for RV as well because it offers you additional controls such as brakes, suspension system, cruise control, lighting, and much more.
Overall, you achieve a higher level of stability and control over the vehicle that is being towed. While dedicated wiring is a little costly in comparison to universal wiring, it is worth having for convenience.
RV tow bars are get overlooked often. But that doesn’t mean that their importance is negligible. Whether you use a brand new store-bought tow bar or a used RV tow bar, our statement remains the same: the best RV tow bars are the ones that you feel comfortable buying. Trust us; there is nothing more satisfying than knowing that you made the right decision on your own.
However, for us, our top 12 list did the trick. These were the top best tow bars that we could find. We were exceptionally happy with them, and we’re sure that you will love them too. Roadmaster, Blue Ox, Demco, NSA Products, and Smittybilt are our top choices when it comes to getting the best out of our purchase.
But if you still feel unsure, then, by all means, find a brand or model which serves your needs. Be sure to use our buying guide as a helping hand to assist in your purchase. We talked about why you need to be so picky about tow bars, and we hope that our words compel you to act accordingly.
And as always, drive safely and responsibly!