What Is A Pintle Hinch?
Most people are familiar with a ball hitch that attaches to the end of a frame-mounted receiver and hooks to a standard trailer tongue with a coupler. A pintle hitch is designed for towing heavy equipment where a flexible pivot is necessary. The pintle hitch generally has a large hook and locking jaw on the end, which attaches to a lunette ring (many pieces of heavy equipment have rings rather than a trailer tongue).
The combination of the pintle hitch (locking hook) and the ring (attached to the towed vehicle) allows for greater movement by the trailer if needed. For example, the military uses pintle hitches to tow heavy guns or missile batteries through fields and off-road. Another example might be agricultural applications, where harvest combines or heavy-duty tractors need to be towed through fields or over the backcountry.
Pintle Hitches are easy to use and come in a wide range of weights and sizes. The capacity of weight that they can tow ranges from 10,000 lbs to over 150,000 lbs towing capacity depending on the GVWR of the towing vehicle. There are several different kinds of pintle hitches for use in different applications.
How Do Pintle Hitches Work?
A pintle hitch usually fits into a standard 2 or 2.5 receiver hitch, and since it has a hook instead of a hitch ball, the trailer has to have a ring instead of a trailer coupler to hook the tongue to the hitch. The ring sets horizontally onto the pintle’s bottom hook portion of the pintle, and the top of the hitch snaps down to secure the ring. The ring allows the trailer to move freely, while remaining attached to the tow vehicle.
Why Are Pintle Hitches Used?
Primarily, pintle hitches are used for hauling heavy equipment over off-road locations. For example, a lumber company might use a pintle hitch to haul their heavy equipment into the rugged terrain of a forest to harvest lumber. The lunette ring on the trailer allows for the load to move over obstructions at an angle when one tire rolls over a rut or a stump and the other side doesn’t. Mining companies often use pintle hitches when traveling on rocky roads or mountainous terrain. Many pintle hitches are becoming more popular for recreational purposes, especially on snowy or off-road terrains.
Are Pintle Hitches Better Than Ball Hitches?
Pintle hitches are usually less expensive and offer more freedom for a trailer, particularly when towing in a hostile environment. However, they offer a noisier ride because the ring tends to clank against the hook every time you go over a bump. If you are the kind of person who needs a hitch to fit as snugly as it can to the tow vehicle, then you need to explore other options, like a standard ball or gooseneck. Standard ball hitches offer a tighter fit and quieter ride. Consider using a standard hitch with a weight distribution system if you want added protection.
What Happens If I Haul Multiple Trailers?
Just because you haul multiple trailers doesn’t mean that you have to give up the standard ball and coupler hookup or hassle with the pain of changing receivers and hitches constantly. Many companies make a combination pintle hitch with a standard ball on the bottom curvature of the pintle hook. The top of the pintle simply locks down on the coupler, holding the trailer tongue in place.
When you need to tow a trailer with a lunette ring, simply slip the ring over the ball onto the pintle hook and lock the top of the ring down to close the hook. The lunette ring is now inside the closed circle, and while it can shift, it cannot become dislodged from the hitch or the receiver. When you have a standard trailer, simply fit the coupler on the trailer’s tongue onto the ball and secure it. Many farmers use combination pintle/ball hooks to have the versatility to pull a heavy livestock trailer or when towing small boats if they want a day off.
What Are the Best Pintle Hitches?
The following pintle hitches are the ones we ranked as the top hitches, along with some descriptions and links to the products.
Best Pintle (5 ton) - ANGCOSY 5-Ton Pintle Hook Trailer Hitch
This little pintle hitch is enough to handle most light to medium-duty jobs involving a trailer with a lunette ring. The hitch handles a 2 ½ ring diameter and is longer than most pintle hitches. It fits a 2-inch receiver.
The hitch is made from forged steel and is quite durable. The hitch latch pin is chained to the shank, so you don’t have to worry about keeping track of it. The hitch has excellent reviews on multiple sites and is rated 25th on Amazon’s website.
Angcosy is a Chinese company that specializes in trailer hitches that are inexpensive but of good quality. The company offers long and short pintle hitches, hooks, and other equipment. Due to overseas manufacturing, warranty replacement may be difficult.
- Good hitch for lighter-duty work
- Not American-made
- Inexpensive - warranty may be difficult.
Best Pintle (10 ton) - Curt Mfg. Pintle (10 Ton) Hook and Hitch
This pintle hook and hitch fits inside your 2 x 2 receiver and is weighted for 20,000 lbs. The hook locks around the lunette ring completely to ensure it doesn’t disconnect from the towing vehicle. The hitch is made from forged steel and is finished with black powder paint that is corrosion-resistant.
The hitch does not come with a lock, so you must purchase the lock and a hitch pin and clip if you need them.
Curt is one of the leading manufacturers of all kinds of trailer and towing equipment. They have an excellent reputation for quality and excellent customer service. With over 10,000 different kinds of trailer hitches, balls, hooks, and accessories, you will have no trouble finding the right pintle unit for the job.
The company was founded in 1993 and is headquartered out of Eau Claire, Wisconsin. The company began as a maker and distributor of hitch balls that their owner sold out of the back of his car. Over the years, the Curt brand has expanded to be a part of the Lippert family, which acquired the company in 2019. The company offers a lifetime warranty on quality and a one-year warranty on parts.
- Solid, well built
- Rust-inhibiting Black powder finish
- Will Tow 20,000 lbs
- Fits into 2” x 2” receiver
- USA product
- Very solid online reviews (4.9 out of 5)
- None that we can think of
For more information about Curt Manufacturing, please follow the website link here.
For pricing information, see etrailer.com.
Best Swivel Medium Duty: SAF Holland Medium Duty PH-30SB41
Holland makes some of the best medium and heavy-duty trailer hitches in the business. The fact that this one is spring-loaded and swivel allows for greater articulations during towing. This hitch has a shock-absorbing spring which helps especially for off-road applications, preventing damage to the hitch or the trailer. In addition, the shock spring will help the trailer and tow vehicle to ride smoother.
This particular hitch is geared for 30,000 pounds and can endure a 6,000 vertical load. The unit weighs about 38 lbs, is easy to use, and is finished with an anti-corrosion Black Armour coating. The locking pin is available, so make sure that you order it with the hitch.
SAF Holland is the leading manufacturer of chassis-related components for standard and semi-trailers. They manufacture a wide variety of equipment, from fifth wheel to kingpins to full-sized eighteen wheelers and the trailers that you see them pulling down the Interstate.
Their history is really the tale of two companies, SAF (German) and Holland (USA), that operated independently until 2006. While the company makes its headquarters in Germany, it does have several manufacturing and distribution centers across the eastern part of the US. To purchase a SAF Holland, you must order through one of the third-party companies they do business with like, finditparts.com. (In fairness, the purveyor has free shipping for orders over $50 and an excellent return policy).
- Well-built hitch - extremely solid
- Strong experience pulling heavy loads
- Third-Party purchase
For more information about SAF Holland, please see the manufacturer’s website.
For pricing information, see finditparts.com.
Best Pintle (15 ton): Buyers Products (PH15) Pintle Hook
This pintle hook is one of Amazon’s top sellers, with over 370 reviews and a 4.8 rating. The hitch is rated for 15 tons (30,000 lbs) of weight capacity. It is a fixed mount, has a drop lower hook, and the locking pin is included. BP’s pintle hitch is finished in a non-corrosive black finish so that it will look pretty sharp on the back of the truck.
The unit is made in the USA, and the company offers many versions of this hitch, from 6k to 30 tons. The receiver and pintle mount plate are sold separately.
The company is located in Mentor, Ohio, just outside of Cleveland. The company has been in existence since 1946, when it specialized in developing truck components for municipal and industrial work trucks. BP has grown into the giant it is today by providing great customer service, and it continues to be a leading supplier to municipalities, utilities, and heavy-duty work trucks worldwide.
The company has exclusive distributors across the country if you want to buy at a local brick-and-mortar store. (You can order online from a third party like Amazon).
- Good Hitch - solid
- The company has been around for a while
- Good reputation for building snow plows, graders, and heavy-equipment
- USA manufacturer
- Third-Party, but at least they are on Amazon
For more information regarding Buyers Products pintle hitches, see the manufacturer’s website.
For pricing information, please see Amazon.
Best Combination Pintle/Ball - CURT 45908 Adjustable
Curt Mfg strikes again with what is probably the absolute best combo hitch for owners who have to tow more than one trailer. The ball is strategically located on the base curvature of the pintle hook. This hitch has a six-inch adjustable drop, so it is perfect for any kind of trailer, standard coupler, or pintle. It is rated 20k lbs, but Curt has others that are rated for higher loads.
The hitch can also be fitted into a 2 ½ inch receiver, producing a 5 ¼ inch rise should you need it, (just flip the unit upside down and adjust the pintle/ball hook. The pintle hook/ball can accommodate lunette rings that are up to 3 in diameter inside.
The hitch is made from steel alloy and is finished in a corrosion-resistant powder black finish and topped with a zinc coating to offer additional protection from the elements. Curt makes this hitch in the US, and it is an Amazon choice for best towing hitches (4.6 out of 5 ratings). The combo hitch is on several top ten lists.
Curt has their headquarters in Eau Claire, Wi., and they are a part of the Lippert family of products. They are the leading manufacturer of trailer hitches in the country. The company offers the broadest selection of trailer accessories, and they have some of the best customer service in the business. These folks know what they are doing - they offer a limited lifetime warranty on defects and a one-year coverage for parts.
- Solid maker of hitches
- USA made
- Good Selection of trailer hitches on website
- Customer service high
- A couple of reviews about wrong size
For more information on Curt Pintle Hitches, see the manufacturer’s website.
For pricing information, see Amazon
Best Stow and Go: B&W Trailer Hitches Pintle Tow & Stow
This unit is a great pintle trailer hitch if you only tow now and then and hate having to take your hitch off constantly when you aren’t towing. This hitch stows under the vehicle and then can be reversed to handle towing duties when needed. The versatility it offers is remarkable. It fits a 2.5 in hitch receiver tube, has a 2 5/16 ball, and an up to an 8 ½ in drop, so it can accommodate lots of different trailer sizes.
The hitch is made of steel alloy with an e coat and black finish to provide good anti-corrosion protection. There is a limited lifetime warranty (be sure to register your hitch to begin the warranty protection). The company has excellent customer service, an extensive blog filled with RV adventure stories, designed to bolster and support the trailer community. The company will even work with you if your hitch fails to get you back on the road as quickly as possible.
B & W has humble beginnings, but their claim to fame was that they invented the Turnoverball Gooseneck Hitch (If you know anything about goosenecks, you know the design revolutionized the industry, because owners could tow when they needed to, and stow the ball below the cargo bed when they didn’t). The company started in 1987, with a truck bed conversion business, but quickly realized they needed to offer more accessories like trailer hitches.
The company is headquartered in Humboldt, Ks and is employee-owned by 390 workers presently.
- Small employee-owned company
- Good selection
- Stow and Go feature
For more information regarding B & W Pintle Hitches, see the manufacturer’s website
For pricing information, see Amazon.
Honorable Mention: Adjustable Combo Pintle/Ball: Husky 33110
The best thing about this hitch is the fact that it is so versatile. The owner can use the face plate to install a different-size trailer ball or use the existing one on the pintle. Changing different size balls is easy, and the hitch has multiple drop levels to accommodate different trailer tongue heights. The hitch will handle both regular couplers and lunette rings. The hitch is made from steel alloy and finished in a powder coat to help resist corrosion.
Husky offers a complete line of trailer accessories and anti-sway devices. Their weight distribution hitches are among some of the best in the country. The company has a reputation for building rugged hitches that are thoroughly tested and can last forever. The company offers UPS shipping and their customer service is excellent.
The company operates out of Elkhart, Indiana.
- Rugged Combo Hitch
- No Warranty or return info on the website.
For more information regarding Husky Products, see the manufacturer’s website.
For pricing information, see Amazon.
Honorable Mention - Best Medium Duty - Brophy Pintle Hook
This simple pintle hitch is mighty for sure, weighted for a maximum towing capacity of 36,000 lbs. (18 tons). The pintle hook fits normal 2.5-inch diameter lunette rings and provides effective towing hauling heavy equipment. The pintle provides more movement during towing and is effective for off-road terrain. The hitch comes with or without the shank and mount plate. The pintle is reasonably priced and is a good buy for the money.
The company has been around since 1947 and is based out of Oregon. They have good experience in trailer hitches, mount plates, rings, and various other accessories. They do not sell to the general public, but through third parties like etrailer.com.
- Easy attachment point
- Versatile capacities up to 36,000 lbs.
- Website is outdated and hard to navigate
- Sells through third parties
For more information regarding the Brophy Pintle Hook, see the manufacturer’s website
For pricing information, see etrailer.com
Will a Pintle Hitch Allow Me To Tow More?
A pintle hitch may have a gross weight capacity higher than your tow vehicle, but this doesn’t mean that you should exceed the manufacturer’s suggested gross weight ratings. If your vehicle is rated to tow 15,000 lbs., the trailer you tow should not be over that amount regardless of whether it has a lunette ring or a standard tongue with a coupler.
Can You Use A Weight Distribution System with Pintle Hitches?
You cannot use a weight distribution system when using a pintle hitch. These systems are only to be used with standard hitch ball and coupler trailer hookups. Safety chains should always be used regardless of the type of hitch you have. Many states have regulations regarding the mandatory use of safety chains.