A hitch extender is a towing accessory that connects to your existing trailer hitch receiver. Its purpose is to move the receiver opening farther to the rear of the tow vehicle. The most common reason to use a hitch extender is to help prevent vehicle and gear damage.
If you are towing a trailer, extenders will help you perform tighter turns while reducing the risk of the front corner of the trailer striking the tow vehicle. If, instead, you are using a bike rack or cargo carrier, extensions create the additional space needed to prevent dents, dings, and scratches. In addition, with that additional space, you may be able to regain access to the trunk or tailgate.
This guide will cover nearly everything you need to know about hitch receiver extenders, including what to look for and avoid.
Let’s first cover the best extenders on the market and what makes them great.
- 1 10 Best Trailer Hitch Extender Reviews 2020
- 1.1 1. CURT 45791 8-Inch Trailer Hitch Extender
- 1.2 2. CURT 45789 7-Inch Trailer Hitch Extender
- 1.3 3. MaxxHaul 70070 Dual Trailer Hitch Extender
- 1.4 4. CURT 45796 18-Inch Trailer Hitch Extender
- 1.5 5. CURT 45795 14-Inch Trailer Hitch Extender
- 1.6 6. Reese 80306 18-Inch Trailer Hitch Extender
- 1.7 7. Reese 80232 16-Inch Trailer Hitch Extender
- 1.8 8. Reese Towpower 7060100 Dual Trailer Hitch Extender
- 1.9 9. Draw-Tite 80307 8-Inch Trailer Hitch Extender
- 1.10 10. Reese 80233 16-Inch Trailer Hitch Extender
- 2 What to Look for When Buying a Trailer Hitch Extender
- 3 Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
- 4 Conclusion
10 Best Trailer Hitch Extender Reviews 2020
1. CURT 45791 8-Inch Trailer Hitch ExtenderCurt Manufacturing has a reputation as being a leader in the trailer hitch industry. The Curt 45791 8-Inch hitch extender lives up to those expectations. This is an American made hitch and not some thin junk import.
You know it’s a quality hitch when it weighs 12 lbs, and the cheap thin import off-brand 8-inch extenders weigh 6 lbs. Also, Curt extenders are powder coated to provide maximum protection against corrosion. Finally, the cheap knock-offs offer a thin coat of paint over the thinner metal construction.
When connected to the hitch, it relocates a 2-Inch receiver opening 8-Inches further to the vehicle’s rear. The 45791 model is the shortest length towing capable hitch extender in the Curt lineup.
This tube-style carbon steel extender supports a whopping 350 LB tongue rate rating. Additionally, the 45791 does not diminish your Class III hitches rated towing capacity as it is rated at 3,500 Gross Trailer Weight (GTW).
Bigger is not always better when it comes to hitch extenders. So if you only need 8-inches or less, go with this gem. This hitch extender takes our top-rated number 1 spot.
2. CURT 45789 7-Inch Trailer Hitch ExtenderHere is another great extender from Curt. Although the CURT 45789 7-Inch extender‘s length seems comparable with our top pick above measuring in at 8-inches, this is a different animal. This hitch is made exclusively for Class II tow hitches sporting 1 ¼ inch squared receivers.
Although this is a beast of a light-duty extender with a solid steel 1 ¼ inch shank and an impressive 350 LB “tongue weight”, per the manufacturer, this hitch extender is not designed for towing purposes. Instead, it is made for connecting bike racks, cargo carriers, and other hitch accessories.
So if you have the light-duty 1 ¼ inch receiver and need to move bikes or cargo a little further from the bumper or trunk, give this one a go. You can’t go wrong with this brand name, solid shank, powder-coated powerhouse.
3. MaxxHaul 70070 Dual Trailer Hitch ExtenderThe MaxxHaul 70070 17-1/4″ length dual hitch extension is in a league of its own and checks all of the boxes. As you can see it has two 2” by 2” hitch receivers, one welded above the other.
The main lower receiver is the main tow receiver designed for Class III and Class IV towing and has an unbelievable 4000 lbs GTW capacity. The upper receiver is made exclusively for hitch accessories like hitch-mounted bike racks and is not designed for towing.
So with this extender, you can pull your trailer and bikes with your vehicle’s hitch all at the same time. Then, when you arrive at the campsite, disconnect the trailer from the ball, and the bikes remain attached to the vehicle. Then you can drive off with the bikes still attached to find and hit the trails.
So not only did this one make the list as it is a dual hitch receiver, but it has an unbelievable tow rating of 4000 lbs GTW rating and a massive 400 lbs towing capacity, the highest capacities of the hitches we reviewed.
MaxxHaul is a Chinese company with its hitches manufactured overseas and imported to the US. Normally in this scenario, I would expect to see a low-quality product. MaxxHaul is the exception.
This company manufactures a wide variety of hitch accessories and maintains a sales department and warehouse in Oxnard, California. Their hitch extender meets SAE standards and has a black powder coat finish like the more well-known brands.
So why is this not our number 1 pick?
The downfall with MaxxHaul is the lack of a warranty.
4. CURT 45796 18-Inch Trailer Hitch ExtenderWhen it comes to extending, this extender goes the extra mile. This extender allows you to move your receiver a foot and a half (18-Inches) rearward.
It’s one of the longer extenders available. It fits the industry standard 2-Inch receiver. Not only can this receiver work great for moving bikes a good distance from the bumper or trunk, but it is tow-rated for 3,500 lbs. GTW, and 350 lbs. tongue weight.
The Curt 45796 heavyweight extender is robotically precision welded. It consists of over 19 pounds of high-grade carbon steel. Expect to get a lot of use out of it as its gloss black powder coating effectively extends the extender’s life and helps protect against corrosion.
5. CURT 45795 14-Inch Trailer Hitch ExtenderOk moving back to the 2” hitch receivers, this Curt receiver tube extender provides a generous 14-Inches of afterward distance to your hitch ball mount or hitch accessories.
Being built rock-solid, this thing weighs almost 20 pounds! A lot of the off-brand hitches of this size don’t even weigh in at 12 pounds. That’s a lot more solid steel making sure you and your gear safely make it to your destination. This model also provides 350 LB of tongue weight and 3,500 LBS, so it’s no lightweight.
Like all Curt hitches, the Curt 45795 14-Inch is no exception as it offers precision robotic welding for strength and reliability, a powder-coat finish to help prevent corrosion to maximize the life of this hitch. Additionally, Curt offers a limited lifetime warranty on this masterpiece, and because of its quality build and construction, odds are you will most likely never need to use it. It does give peace of mind, though.
In the world of 14-Inch extensions, this is as good as it gets.
6. Reese 80306 18-Inch Trailer Hitch ExtenderThe Reese 80306 18-Inch receiver extension is comparable to the CURT 45796 18-Inch. They both have a rated towing capacity of 3,500 lbs, but the tongue rating is 300 LB (vs 350 with the Curt).
The Curt 18-Inch extender weighs in at nearly 20 pounds of steel tube. This Reese 18-Inch hitch tube extender of the same length weighs in at 13 lbs.
Could it be different build qualities?
We’re talking 7 pounds of additional steel on the same length tube with the Curt.
The difference is although Reese trailer hitches are designed in the USA, they are manufactured in Mexico. The parent company is Horizon Global. Horizon Global controls Reese, Draw-Tite, and others.
So if the cost is solely your most important factor (as it also appears to be with Reese) and you need an 18-Inch extender, go with this Reese Extension. Otherwise, if you seek quality and are willing to spend a few more bucks, then I would recommend the Curt 18-Inch, our number 4 pick.
7. Reese 80232 16-Inch Trailer Hitch ExtenderThe best priced decent 16-Inch extender to fit the 2” standard receiver is the Reese 80232. What makes this extender unique is that it is an extender and hitch mount in one. So while this won’t work for hitch-mounted accessories such as a standard hitch-mounted bike rack, but it is a perfect extender if you only need to tow.
If you don’t already have a trailer ball mount and ball because this has the mount permanently attached, you’re just looking at purchasing the ball. Also, most other extenders would require 2 hitch pins (or hitch pin locks), one for each end of the tube. With the hitch mount permanently attached to one end, just 1 pin or lock is needed for the other end.
Also, the least amount of parts and attachments generally results in a more robust component. The towing capacity on this extender is an incredible 12,000 lbs, so it is suitable for Class III and Class IV applications. The most amazing thing about this is the price point.
This extender costs less than other 16-Inch extenders that are simply a tube with much lower capacities, AND you save the cost to purchase a hitch ball mount or a second pin or lock. Clear winner if you need to strictly tow.
8. Reese Towpower 7060100 Dual Trailer Hitch ExtenderOk, we had to throw a second dual receiver extension into the mix. The Towpower 7060100 will transform your single receiver hitch into two receivers and give extend them an additional 16-Inches all at the same time. Its towing capacity is GTW is 4,000 pounds and has a 400-pound tongue weight on the lower receiver. The top receiver is reserved for non-towing accessories such as cargo carriers or bike racks.
The price is very respectable on this budget-friendly hitch. This hitch is made in Mexico and imported to the US to cut costs, and instead of being powder coated, this particular model is simply black paint.
It may have also been a cost-saving measure, but risers’ length for the second hitch could be slightly longer. In other words, the top accessory-only receiver is not much higher than the lower towing receiver, and it may have been designed that way to save some steel and cost.
Some customers have had issues with the hitch accessory in the top receiver striking the trailer’s locking mechanism.
9. Draw-Tite 80307 8-Inch Trailer Hitch ExtenderThe Draw-Tite 80307 is an 8-Inch extension much like our number one pick, the Curt 45791, also 8-inch.
So why did the Draw-Tite rank in position 9 and the Curt number 1?
As we mentioned in a prior review, there are fundamental differences between Draw-Tite and Curt extensions. When it comes to extenders, Draw-Tite focuses on making inexpensive, budget-friendly hitch extenders, and Curt focuses on high-quality hitch extensions while being cost-conscious. This Draw-Tite hitch extender, along with other extenders they make, meets all SAE standards.
While cost is almost always a significant consideration, I don’t know it is always the most important. While prices on Amazon listed items occasionally fluctuate, there was a dollar difference in price at the time of this article, which might very well be different when you check.
But here is the thing, the Draw-Tite 80307 weighs in at 7 pounds. The Curt extender is a whopping 12 pounds. Almost double the weight. While you can’t visually see it, that is a lot of extra steel in the Curt, meaning a much thicker and robust tube. You would quickly realize the quality difference if you had each one in your hands, but it’s not as noticeable when looking at pictures and shopping online.
Both extenders are built for a standard 2-inch receiver and rated at 3,500 pounds. As far as Tongue weight, the Draw-Title is rated at 300 lbs. The comparable Curt extender tongue rate is 50 pounds more at 350 lbs.
If a price is your only consideration and nothing else matters when picking the best extender, then go with the 80307. On the other hand, if getting nearly twice the hitch for almost the same price appeals to you, go with our top pick.
10. Reese 80233 16-Inch Trailer Hitch ExtenderThere is not a lot of bad things to talk about when reviewing the Hidden Hitch Reese 80233 Class III extender.
This one is nearly identical to the Reese 80232. Both are 16” extenders. Both have the same massive GTW rating of 6000 pounds. Like the other Reese hitch extender, a tow ball mount is a permanent addition to its solid shank. The difference comes down to the built-in drop or rise. You are looking at a 4″ drop inserted one way or flipped over a rise of 2-3/4″ when inserted the other way.
The downside to this extender is that it is made for tow balls only. So if you only see yourself towing a trailer and never extending out other hitch accessories, it is ideal. The one-piece design and only needing one hitch pin helps make it one tough contender.
What to Look for When Buying a Trailer Hitch Extender
Receiver Tube Size
Make sure you purchase the right size Receiver Tube size for your hitch. This is the size of the square’s inside width opening on the hitch that the extender or shank will slide into. Industry Standard Class ratings determine the size of the square receiver opening on your hitch. The most common size receiver hitches are sizes 1-1/4″ and 2″, so we focused on those. Class I and Class II would be on the smaller and Class III and Class IV on the larger.
Receiver Tube Length
The length specification on hitch extenders refers to the distance that will move your existing hitch receiver towards the vehicle’s rear. It’s measured from trailer pinhole to trailer pinhole. The shortest hitch receivers on the market tend to be 7 inches, and they go up to around 18”. Hitch extenders can reduce the TW of the hitch up to 50%, so check the rating on the extender you select to make sure it is adequate for your needs.
Gross Trailer Weight GTW
Gross trailer weight means the total weight of the fully-loaded trailer. That means it’s the weight of the trailer and everything on it. It could be gear or equipment, animals, liquids, or anything else it’s hauling.
Tongue Weight (TW)
Tongue Weight (TW) is the weight of a fully-loaded trailer pushing down on the tow vehicle’s towing ball. Tongue Weight should not exceed 10-15% of the total trailer weight (GTW). A 3,000-pound trailer should have a tongue between 300 and 350 pounds weight.
Rise / Drop
Trailer hitch Rise or Drop ensures that your trailer is level. With the trailer detached from the tow vehicle, use the trailer jack to level the trailer. The difference between the bottom of the coupler the top of the receiver opening is drop or rise. For the most accurate measurement, the distance from both from the ground and then determine the difference.
Hitch Pins typically are not included with extenders or other hitch receiver products. Keep in mind; hitch tube extenders will require two hitch pins, one for each end of the tube. Likewise, if you are purchasing trailer hitch pin locks, you may want to invest in a set of two keyed the same. Never use a bolt in the place of a pin.
Powder Coat Finish
Powder coating is superior to paint as it creates a thick and even coating that helps prevent corrosion and outlasts paint. In addition, the thick coating never runs like paint, is done in a single application, and is more eco-friendly as it contains minimal toxins compared to paint.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
Why use a hitch extender?
Hitch extenders help you clear obstacles such as:
- Pickup truck bed-mounted campers.
- Slide-out campers with extended overhangs.
- Hitch mounted bike racks on vehicles with rear-mounted spare tires.
- Protect tow vehicle mud flaps on tight turns from the trailer tongue box.
- It creates additional distance between the vehicle and bike racks, cargo carriers, or motorcycle carriers to prevent damage and regain trunk or hatch access while still attached.
Does a hitch extender reduce towing capacity?
Hitch extenders typically do not reduce the Gross Trailer Weight towing capacity. However, they often reduce the Tongue Weight Rating (TW) up to 50% of the trailer hitch’s rating. Therefore, always check the manufacturer’s towing specs of the particular hitch extender to verify tow ratings before purchasing and use.
Are hitch extenders safe?
Using hitch extenders can be safe as long as you do not exceed the hitch extender-rated towing capacities. Exceeding either the manufacturer’s Gross Trailer Weight rating or Tongue weight rating of the extender and/or hitch is when things can become dangerous.
There are some high-quality hitch extenders out there and a lot of low-quality imported junk.
Amazon forbids us to use customer reviews and photos from the Amazon site on our site. You would be shocked to see the pictures from one-star reviews and to read their reviews on some of the cheap trailer hitch extenders. We’re talking bent extenders from the factory where the two main pieces were welded together at an angle.
Then there are the broken or missing welds, trailer pin holes drilled or sloppily punched at angles. Worst yet are the horror stories of the cheap tow hitch extenders bending and breaking during use. Others are not even made to the correct dimensions, and either won’t slide in or are extremely loose-fitting.
There are some things in life you should not cheap out on. Hitch extenders are one of them. However, the price difference between a cheap extender and a great one is often only a few bucks. So stick with the extenders we reviewed and have the peace of mind of having a safe and secure towing experience.