The simple act of hitching your trailer to your vehicle can be one of the most frustrating parts of a trip. It seems simple, but getting the ball and hitch to line up perfectly can be pretty stressful, especially if you’re not using some assistance. In fact, unless you have a spotter, it’s an incredibly time consuming task jumping into and out of your vehicle while you run back to the trailer. Most people just have someone spot them and give directions from behind. What can you do if you don’t have someone else? There’s got to be an easier way, right?
Fortunately, there are a number of products on the market that are designed to assist with hitching your trailer. All of these products claim to make hitching your trailer a breeze, but which ones can back up their claims? Here’s a look at some of the best trailer hitch assist products on the market today. All of these systems do work with most any trailer, and each one of these products are designed so that a trailer can be hitched by just one person.
1. Never Miss Hitch System
Link to purchase
Retail cost: $99
From Uncle Norm’s Marine Products, the Never Miss Hitch System is similar to other “pole” products, but has the advantage of a three sight rod system that promises “rifle like” accuracy and a successful hitch the first time, every time. To use the Never Miss system, you just place two rods on either side of the hitch guide wings (that’s attached to the rear of your vehicle) and one rod on the trailer. As you’re backing, just keep the rear rod aligned in the middle of the other two, and you’ll be dead perfect each time. Sounds simple in principle, but does it work?
One real world tester actually tried this system out with his wife driving (his wife who had never previously hitched their trailer). She nailed it her very first time out, completely unassisted! Overall, it seems like this system is a winner.
2. Hopkins Smart Hitch Camera System
Link to purchase
Retail price: $120
The Smart Hitch system from Hopkins is basic trailer hitch camera system that is similar to others in that a camera attached to your hitch gives you a live view in the driver’s seat to help guide your hitch in. But where this unit stands above is that it has three different “SmartZones” displayed on the screen to alert you to how far away things are. Installation of this device is simple, with no wire splicing needed.
With most backup cameras, there is one small downside: they usually don’t provide much depth perception. You can get yourself dialed down the middle with a backup camera, but it’s easy to back up too much and ding your bumper or license plate. The Hopkins system reduces that problem with the SmartZones, but it is still somewhat of an issue.
Overall, this system receives very positive reviews. The only complaint that people have seems to be with the actual construction of the product itself, as a few of these units have just stopped working after a few months. When it comes to the actual function of the product though, reviews are stellar, with users mentioning over and over again how easy hitching their trailer is with this setup.
3. Camco Magnetic Hitch Alignment Kit
Link to purchase
Retail price: $13.99
One of the most basic, simple, and affordable trailer hitch assist products you can find is the post system where you simply line up two rods. This product modifies that idea a little bit, with the addition of brightly colored balls on top to help you gauge distance. One post attaches to the trailer, one to the hitch, and you just maneuver until they meet. One major advantage to this product is that there’s virtually no setup or installation involved – you just attach a pair of magnets.
In general, this product receives good reviews for doing the job it’s supposed to. Online reviews are filled with people calling this simple device an incredible time saver, an argument stopper (since you’re no longer having to yell out the window at your spouse as you hook up the trailer), and just an effective solution to a persistent problem.
People do tend to complain about the overall quality though, and the magnets can be finicky if you’re attempting to attach them to a dirty surface (which, let’s face it, most trucks and trailers are). Remember that a product like this (and at this price point) isn’t necessarily designed to stand the test of time, but to get you through a couple of seasons of hitching. You’ll often see a homemade tennis ball version of this idea, but at under $15, why not just save the trouble and purchase a professionally made version?
4. Gooseneck Easy Coupler Hitch Hook-up Mirror
Link to purchase
Retail price: $49.95
The Gooseneck Easy Coupler Hitch Hook-up Mirror is basic in design, but effective in practice. It’s a mirror that fits on your fifth wheel trailer, and provides a clear line of sight straight down to your hitch, so you can see if you’ve got things aligned properly. This won’t “help” you line things up along the way like other products on this list, but it will let you see what you’re doing when you’re close. The mirror is designed to be a little convex, giving you a wider angle of view. Installation should only take you a few minutes, with the universal bracket and mounting hardware included.
It’s a basic fix, but customers are pretty happy with this product. Take a look at online reviews, and you’ll see people calling it their favorite trailer modification, and several reviewers wondering why they didn’t purchase this sooner. One downside to this mirror is that you need to be backing straight in to your trailer. If you’re approaching at an angle, your hitch may be out of view of the mirror.
Do trailer hitch assist products really work? Listen to customers, and you’ll be inclined to believe they do. Each one of these products claims to be able to make hitching your trailer a simple process, and each one does indeed do the trick.
All of these products come with real-life reviews from customers saying the process is now a breeze. There are four different price points here, so choose your product based on how often you’ll be hitching. If you’re just hooking up the trailer once a year or so, go with the basic setup.
But if you’re constantly hitching and unhitching, you’ll probably soon discover that one of the higher level items on this list is the best purchase you’ve ever made!