How to select the right trailer ball

So it’s time to select the appropriate trailer ball for your trailer. How do you know what trailer ball, size, brand and shank for your particular setup? There are four major factors to consider in making your decision:

  1. Trailer Weight
  2. the diameter of the hole on the ball mount,
  3. the thickness of the ball mount pattern on the receiver and the
  4. size of the trailer coupler

First things first we’ll need to know the total Gross Trailer Weight as well as the Tongue Weight of your trailer while being fully loaded. Tongue weight is the downward pressure that the trailer exerts on the ball. The most important item to remember is the Gross Trailer Weight rating which each ball lists its own weight capacity. You must be careful with this, however, since your trailer receive may be rated to carry 15,000 lbs, but if the ball is rated at 10,000 it will only be a strong as your weekend component.  You’ll always want to make sure that the hitch ball’s weight rating is greater than the gross trailer weight so you don’t overload the trailer.

Trailer balls are typically classified by the dimensions of their different parts. First, there’s the diameter of the ball itself (the distance around the center of the ball), the shank’s diameter, the shank’s length and the size of the circular piece of metal between the ball and shank. The most common ball sizes are 2″ and 2 5/16″. The diameter of your ball mount’s hole should never be greater than 1/16″ greater than the diameter of the ball shank. The shank length itself is determined by the thickness of the ball’s mount platform. You should never get a ball whose shank is so small it can’t be adequately mounted with mounting hardware.

You’ll want to choose a ball that’s 1/16″ smaller than your ball mount’s hole which can support the amount of weight greater than your trailer, has a deep enough shank to fit in the ball mount platform along with a diameter that fits into the coupler.

Standard Ball Sizes Depending on Trailer Size

4′ Wide 2″ Ball*
5′ Wide 2″ Ball*
6′ Wide 2″ Ball*
7′ Wide 2 5/16″ Ball*
8.5′ Wide 2 5/16″ Ball*

A full line of hitches, balls, and adapters are available through your local Snapper Trailers dealership today! For more information call or submit the form submission below for more information. Thank you!

*Snapper Trailer standard ball sizes. Other manufacturers may differ. Please consult your vendor manual for more information.

The Snapper Trailers Safety Disclaimer can be viewed here


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