When it comes to vacation on a budget, nothing beats the idea of driving an RV. This is because you have total control of your travel expenses such as the itinerary, accommodation, and transportation. However, if you want to make your travel experience more exciting and convenient, you can bring a separate passenger car along. This is where having the best tow bars are advantageous. Also, this can be useful if you have a stand-alone pickup truck and you need to tow your camper.
Having reliable cars tow bars ensures the safety of your passenger car (or pulled fifth wheel) and its contents. In addition, it can also ensure the safety of other vehicles that are traveling on the same road that you are driving on. If you are searching for the perfect tow bar for your vehicle, the brands that are listed below are some of the best in the market today. Let’s begin.
Table of Contents
- 10 Best RV Tow Bar Reviews 2020
- 1. Roadmaster 576 All Terrain Tow Bar
- 2. Blue Ox BX7365 Alpha Tow Bar
- 3. Nighthawk Roadmaster 676 Tow Bar
- 4. Demco Excali-Bar II LB Tow Bar
- 5. NSA RV Products Tow Bar
- 6. Reese Towpower Adjustable Tow Bar (7014200 model)
- 7. CURT 19745 Adjustable Car RV Tow Bars
- 8. Roadmaster 501 Tow Bar
- 9. Blue Ox BX4330 Tow Bar (Acclaim Class III model)
- 10. Husky 30508 Adjustable Tow Bar
- What to Look for When Buying RV Tow Bars
- Other Important Factors to Consider
- Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
10 Best RV Tow Bar Reviews 2020
1. Roadmaster 576 All Terrain Tow Bar
Towing your fifth wheel (or any vehicle) requires a reliable tow bar. While there are many tow bar products in the market these days, they can only be operated on flat surfaces. This is where you will need an all-terrain tow bar made by Roadmaster.
This particular model of Roadmaster really impressed me. As its name suggests, it works well with any kind of terrain. There is no problem removing a regular tow bar on a flat surface, but it gets challenging once your RV or truck gets on a steep hill. This product, however, was designed to overcome those challenges. I now have a good time removing this tow bar even on an uneven road.
In addition, this tow bar has an 8,000-pound towing capacity. It is made of stainless steel and aluminum. Because of its toughness, I’m not worried that this product will malfunction in the middle of the road.
My only problem with this tow bar is the absence of the necessary mounting brackets. I had to purchase them separately, which means I wasn’t able to use this tow bar immediately. I hope that the brackets were included in the package because it could have helped me save some money in the process.
2. Blue Ox BX7365 Alpha Tow Bar
If you are looking for a flat tow bar, you should look not only for strength but also for the ease of use. Sadly, not all tow bars in the market are easy to use. Presenting the Blue Ox Alpha Tow Bar – the only tow bar that you’ll need!
I’ve been using tow bars for a long time now, and I certainly know the perfect one when I see one. This particular tow bar is very easy to use. With this product, I don’t need to use another person’s help just to mount it. I just simply put it in place, lock it securely, and that’s it!
Another feature that I like about this product is the fact that it doesn’t scratch the tailgate or the bumper. Although scratches and bumps are completely unavoidable when driving an RV, this particular tow bar prevents it from happening.
In terms of materials, I am extremely confident that it won’t have any issues down the road. This tow bar is made of industrial-grade stainless steel and aluminum. Finally, while weight matters a lot in RVing, this product is absolutely lightweight! It only weighs 35 pounds, which means it won’t be a problem when it comes to GVW.
What I don’t like about this product is the company’s unfriendly customer service. I called them for a missing safety pin but I was surprised to hear their representative’s unfriendly voice. I just hope that it won’t happen next time.
3. Nighthawk Roadmaster 676 Tow Bar
Aside from pulling power, safety is another crucial feature that any RV or truck owner when searching for a tow bar. Fortunately, the Nighthawk Roadmaster has a great safety feature which raises its visibility even at night. If you want to remain safe on the road while pulling your car, this product should be at the top of your shopping list.
What I appreciate about this RV car tow bar are the LED lights. This really helps me illuminate the vehicle being pulled at night. With this feature, I know I’m safe on the road because other vehicles can clearly see what I’m towing in the first place.
Another good feature of this tow bar is the inclusion of the safety cable and power cord. Other tow bar products don’t have safety cables and you need to purchase them separately. For me, this is a good idea because it saved me a good deal of effort and money finding a good safety cable to match this tow bar.
My only concern about this particular tow bar for flat towing is that the vinyl coating of the safety cable rips easily. I had to call their friendly customer service for replacement. Good thing that they sent out another one just in time before I moved to another campsite.
4. Demco Excali-Bar II LB Tow Bar
A tow bar that fits on any base plate is definitely a good tow bar. However, most of the recent tow bar models that are sold in the market today require an exact base plate made by the same company. If you are looking for a tow bar for motorhomes that you can use on your pre-existing base plate, then the Demco Excali-Bar certainly deserves a try.
What I like about this tow bar is its towing capacity. It has a capacity of 10,000 lbs – higher than any of its competitors in the market. Another positive feature for me is the ease of mounting and unmounting. Before, I needed another person to help me install and remove this tow bar. Through its easy trigger mechanism, I can now unmount this without bothering anyone.
Another advantage of using this tow bar is the fact that it fits on any base plate. Other tow bars require a base plate made by their company to match the tow bar. This one, however, simply fits on any base plate. It effectively eliminates the need to purchase a matching base plate in order to utilize it.
Although these Demco tow bars are pretty amazing, my only issue with this is its weight. It is quite heavy compared to other tow bar brands in the market. This one weighs 46 lbs. and it really strains my back. I wish that the makers will reduce its weight without compromising on the quality.
5. NSA RV Products Tow Bar
While vehicle tow bars for RV need to be durable, it also needs to be affordable. Most of the tow bars available in the market these days are very pricey. Because of this, some RV owners continue using their old tow bars, therefore risking both convenience and safety along the way. If you want to get the best tow bar at a very affordable price, this one from NSA RV Products is the one for you.
What I like about this product the most is convenience. It is very easy to use. It readily fits on any base plate. It also mounts and unmounts effortlessly. I don’t need assistance to mount and unmount this thing anymore.
Another thing that I like about this tow bar is its supplemental brake system. This feature is integrated on the tow bar’s head. In this feature, the towed vehicle’s brake activates thus reducing the strain on the tow bar.
Finally, I would like to commend this product’s lightweight feature. I can easily carry it in and out of the RV without straining my back. This is perfect for those people like me who hate carrying heavy loads.
What I find disappointing is the lack of clevises. I had to purchase clevises separately, which severely affected my limited budget.
6. Reese Towpower Adjustable Tow Bar (7014200 model)
One of the main reasons why car towing hitches for RV don’t last a long time is because of its vulnerability to natural elements. Having said that, you need a tow bar that is not only strong but also resistant to weather changes like Reese Towpower Adjustable Tow Bar.
My first impression of this particular tow bar is really good. It is lightweight, and has 5,000 lbs towing capacity, which is safe for a small passenger car. In addition, I’m not worried that it would crumble in transit because it is made from the toughest steel alloy. It is also adjustable so that you could place a safe distance between your tow and your truck or RV.
Another impressive feature, which I think is the most important, is its weatherproof quality. Most tow bars decline in performance because natural elements such as water slowly degrade the metal over time. However, seeing that this tow bar is coated with a waterproofing agent, I am confident that it will remain on top condition for many years.
My only issue with this particular tow bar is the lack of safety cables. I had to search for a spare one to fully utilize this product. If this is your first time to buy a tow bar and you chose this product, then you will have a hard time adhering to safety standards.
7. CURT 19745 Adjustable Car RV Tow Bars
If you love riding a dinghy, you certainly need a reliable tow bar to pull your boat. However, not all tow bars are designed to accommodate boats and other marine vehicles. Presenting CURT Adjustable Car and RV Tow Bars; the only tow bar that you’ll need for your dinghy and small cars.
What I love about this particular tow bar is the fact that it can be fitted to small spaces and can easily be stored. Another welcome feature of this tow bar is the fact that it can be welded or bolted in the vehicle of my choice. This is important for me because, with this, I don’t need to transfer the base plate with another vehicle. This saves me time, money and effort, which I consider very precious.
My only complaint about this product is the lack of safety cables. Even though I’m only towing a small car, I still need a safety cable in order to ensure my safety and other vehicles on the road. I had to purchase a new one to provide this tow bar a safety cable.
8. Roadmaster 501 Tow Bar
If you need to flat-tow a truck, camper, or a car, you certainly need a trustworthy tow bar. Of all the existing tow bars in the market, the Roadmaster 501 Tow Bar’s performance is certainly unparalleled.
What I like about this tow bar is its durability. Made from stainless steel, this one can certainly pull a particularly heavy vehicle such as pick-up trucks. This material is known for its toughness so I’m not worried that this product won’t crumble while I’m towing a heavy load.
Another positive feature of this tow bar is the fact that it is weatherproof. A weatherproofed tow bar lasts long no matter the season. Plus, its toughness is not compromised from the hot days of summer to cold nights of winter.
Finally, this tow bar’s power is not to be underestimated. I have personally witnessed how it can pull up to 5,900 pounds of cargo without breaking. This is advantageous to those with heavy tows such as a fifth wheel, pick-up trucks, and more.
My only problem with this tow bar is its weight. It weighs 50 pounds and it hurts my back a little. In addition, I have to ask for help whenever I bring it out or store it away. If help is not available, I have to bring a wheeled lifter to move it around.
9. Blue Ox BX4330 Tow Bar (Acclaim Class III model)
Having a reliable tow bar can really provide any drive with a peace of mind. But what if you thought you forgot to lock the tow bar and you started driving? This is exactly what Blue Ox Acclaim Class III Tow Bar aims to avoid by incorporating an automatic lock feature.
What I like about this product is its sturdy design. It can take a heavy load without warping or breaking along the way. Other tow bars bend easily even if it is not yet the maximum towing capacity. This one, however, remains strong and can pull up to 5,000 lbs.
In addition to its strength, I would like to add that I really like the way it mounts and unmounts easily. This feature saves me time whenever I’m camping or helping a friend in need.
Another thing that fascinates me is the fact that this tow bar locks automatically. Knowing this feature really puts my mind at ease. This is because I’m increasingly getting forgetful. The auto lock feature will ensure that I have a safe travel
What disappointed me is the fact that it cannot be stored behind the RV. because both arms do not fold over to one side, I had to leave this tow bar while still attached. This may save me some energy but it may cause some accidents or trouble to other campers around.
10. Husky 30508 Adjustable Tow Bar
Searching for a good tow bar is really exhausting, considering the number of competing products in the market these days. If you are looking for a good brand of tow bar that is both affordable and durable, you might as well try this particular model from Husky.
Honestly speaking, this is my first time using a tow bar from Husky. From what I have seen so far in terms of performance, I’m not wrong when I purchased it.
It has a great distribution of weight. This is good because it means that the arms won’t feel any undue stress on the road. In addition, it creates a stable ride while I’m towing my camper. Even on bumpy road tracks, this tow bar performs admirably. My car remains steady and doesn’t shake or grind against the tow bar when being pulled by my RV.
Another great feature of this tow bar is its weight. With 31 pounds, I can easily lift it without asking for assistance. Since this tow bar is lightweight, I have an easy time mounting or unmounting it. I also have an easy time storing it inside my car or my camper when it is not needed.
My only disappointment with this product is the instruction manual. I spent a great deal of time understanding the instruction. If I’m not mistaken, a non-English speaking person must have written it. I had to watch online videos just to get the right instruction from there.
What to Look for When Buying RV Tow Bars
Thinking of bringing your car along your RV travels? It’s not uncommon, and it certainly is advantageous. After all, having an extra vehicle that you can easily drive around if you just need to go on a supply run or you want to visit nearby areas will help you get rid of the tedious task of packing up, driving away, then coming back to park and unpack again.
So if you are looking for an RV tow bar for the first time or if you need a replacement, here are some guidelines to help you in choosing one for yourself.
- Look for wiring connectors
These serve as the electrical connection for the brake lights of the four-wheel you’re towing. This is mandated by the law to ensure that no accidents happen while you’re on the road. Some tow bars don’t have cables, though I recommend you get one that already has these to minimize the hassle.
- Get one with safety cables
Safety cables are a secondary safety feature. This allows you to keep calm even when the tow bars break or get damaged since the vehicle will not go sliding out of control. It’s better to get tow bars with existing safety cables. But if yours don’t have one, make sure to check the specifications of your tow bar. Some recommend coiled cables, while others need straight ones.
- Check your camper’s tow bracket receiver or baseplates
Get yourself a tow bar that matches the receiving connector at the back of your RV. Sure, you can always get an adaptor if the one you buy doesn’t match your RV’s bracket receiver, but an adaptor can actually be the weak link. Don’t risk it. Look at the specifications of your receiver before setting out to purchase a bracket.
- Find out about the maximum capacity
Towing bars and cabled have a maximum towing capacity. If your vehicle is heavier than the max capacity, the bars may fail. Make sure you know the weight of the vehicle you intend to pull so you can buy tow bars that can hold it. To know the weight, just check your car’s manual.
However, don’t choose a tow bar whose max capacity is very near your vehicle’s weight. If you place stuff in your car, it’ll become heavier. Additional stuff includes new speakers installed, car seats, and more. Make sure there’s leeway.
- Check if it has towing brackets
Towing brackets are what holds the bar, cable and your vehicle together. It is the connecting point. Not all vehicles have towing brackets already attached. Some require drilling or welding to stick the bracket to the vehicles, while others don’t. This depends on your car though, so it doesn’t usually come with the tow bars. The instructions on towing bars do provide recommendations on the types you can buy.
- Look at the additional features
Even tow bars have additional features, too. This can include spring loading which allows you to remove the bracket even at an angle (when the vehicles aren’t perfectly aligned because of the uneven ground). Other special features include:
- Shock-proof – great for traveling on bumpy terrain.
- Weatherproof – tow bars are exposed wherever you go, whether in hot or cold climates; get one that is weatherproof so the quality of the metal tow bars won’t deteriorate easily.
- Storage features – some bars can be collapsed for easy storage.
I recommend getting a tow bar for motorhomes that match your camping lifestyle. If you the areas you frequent are usually not on even ground, get RV tow bars that have features that will benefit your lifestyle.
Other Important Factors to Consider
What is a tow bar?
Also known as a tow hitch, a tow bar is a tool that attaches a lead vehicle to another automobile being towed. It is attached to the chassis of both vehicles. The lead vehicle, in this case, an RV, has a receiving connector at the back, while the vehicle being towed has front brackets.
This device enables the vehicle to be brought along the ride, without the need for a driver in the auto being towed. A wiring cable is also connected so that the car being towed will still display proper break and turn lights as required by traffic laws.
How does it work?
It is typically made of strong metal to enable the heavy vehicle behind to be pulled. It is a bar so that when the front vehicle stops abruptly, the vehicle behind won’t collide against the lead vehicle. It sometimes also includes an auxiliary brake system to help the towed vehicle to halt when the leading vehicle (your RV) stops.
Tow bars are used when towing with four wheels down (also called frog towing), which means the vehicle being pulled will travel with its own four wheels.
What are the different types of tow bars?
There’s a multitude of RV car tow bar types, but let us discuss the two most common and provide information on the other types later on. The two most basic are as follows:
- Flange or Bolt-on Ball tow bar
This type of towbar is when the tow ball is connected to a faceplate using two (or sometimes four) bolts that are usually 24mm in size. Under the flange type are two subtypes, which are:
- Fixed Flange – as its name implies, this one is fixed and cannot be removed from the bracket attached to the vehicle. It is more affordable than other options, and it can be used together with bumper protectors, cycle carriers, and more. It is compatible with most vehicles, so if you are unsure, this is the best option (although of course, it would still be better for you to know if it’s compatible with your RV). However, this can be a tripping hazard when not in use.
- Detachable Flange – since the fixed flange can be a tripping hazard, manufacturers created the detachable flange. The main difference is that you can remove the tow ball and faceplate using a lock and key system. Aside from minimizing tripping or bumping accidents, it looks better since you can hide the tow ball from sight when not in use.
- Swan-neck tow bar
This type of tow bar looks like, you know it, a swan’s neck. It has a curved neck that holds the tow ball. There is no faceplate between the ball and the neck. This tow bar is not as adaptable as the flange, and there are fewer accessories compatible with this one. Similar to the Flange Tow Bar, the Swan Neck has two variants, which are:
- Fixed Swan Neck – this type is more discreet than its flange towbar counterpart. It is more expensive though, and some tow balls can’t be fitted on it.
- Detachable Swan Neck – same as its flange type counterpart, this can be removed, hence less possibility of injury. It is more expensive than all variants on this list.
Why do you need a tow bar for RV?
A short answer would be so that you can bring a smaller four wheels along. And we all know how useful a smaller vehicle can be when you’re out and about with your camper trailer. But how can using a tow bar for flat towing be more advantageous than using an RV tow dolly? Here are some:
- Price – generally, tow bars are less expensive than tow dollies. Even if you add the cost of accessories such as safety cables, auxiliary brakes and more, the former is still cheaper.
- Set-up – prepping the connection between the RV and the car is simple and can be done by just one person.
- Storage – tow bars are easier to store when not in use. You can always find a space for your tow bar, but tow dollies are bulkier so they’re harder to store.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
Are RV tow bars safe?
Yes, as long as the vehicle being towed is below the maximum capacity recommended for the RV tow bar usage, you won’t encounter any difficulties.
Also, make sure that the welded parts, the brackets, and other connections are properly set up to avoid complications.
Does towing a car behind an RV damage it?
It depends on your towing style. Since we are discussing frog towing or four wheels down here, let’s focus on that.
It can potentially damage your car if it is not meant to be frog-pulled. If your passenger vehicle is a manual transmission type, there would typically be no issues. If yours is a four-wheel-drive or a rear-wheel drive, there can be some possible issues because the transmission would not receive the lubrication that such mechanisms require.
If you want to dingy-tow, make sure that your passenger car is using manual transmission, and that it does not require frequent lubrication. The best way is to check your car manual to contact your car manufacturer’s customer service. This way, you won’t damage your car, and you won’t have problems with your insurance.
What size tow bar do I need?
The tow ball’s size is the one usually checked. There are multiple sizes available, with the most common one having a 50mm (2 inches diameter) tow ball. This type can hold a vehicle that is up to 12,000 pounds.
Here are the other sizes of the tow ball and their corresponding weight capacities:
- 1 ⅞ inches or 60 mm – for lightweight vehicles that are 2,000 to 3,500 pounds
- 2 5/16 inches or 58.70 mm – for heavy-duty vehicles that weigh 6,000 to 30,000 pounds
- 3 inches or 76.20 mm – also for heavy-duty vehicles that weigh up to 30,000 pounds.
When choosing the size, always consider the weight of the items inside the vehicle, and not just the vehicle’s base net weight. Aside from the weight of what you’ll be towing, you also need to check the your tow bar’s coupler size, as well as the shank diameter.
How much does it cost to install tow bar?
It depends on the type of tow bar, type of vehicle you have, and how you want it installed (welded or bolted). Your vehicle tow bar for RV can cost anywhere between $500 and $1,200. Heavier tow bar models are also more expensive to have installed.
If you don’t have a fifth wheel hitch, you’d need to have that installed. It can go from anywhere between $100 and $850.
Also, if you need an auxiliary brake system (which is recommended), you might be billed an additional $400 to $1,800.
What should I consider when installing a tow bar?
Aside from choosing the right RV car towing equipment and considering the cost of installation, you should also keep in mind the following factors:
- The tow ball vertical height – this height is measured from the ground up to the center of the installed tow ball. The height is legally required to be anywhere between 350 millimeters and 420 millimeters. To achieve this, use a fixed-height bar that matches the requirement as well as your vehicle. You can also buy height adjustable bars, but these can be more expensive.
- The tow ball horizontal clearance – this is the distance from the center of the tow ball to the nearest part of the vehicle being towed. The legal requirement is 65 millimeters and above. Requirements for vehicles in your state may vary, so please double-check this.
- Obstruction on the number plate – the tow bars you are installing must not obstruct the view to your plate number. You can move the plate to a different position provided it is still easily viewable.
What is the best way to tow a car behind an RV?
Again, it depends on the vehicle you want to tow. If it’s not manual transmission and the transmission needs to be lubricated when running, then you really don’t have a choice but to go for tow dolly. The best way is what the car manufacturer recommends. If you use a non-recommended tow system, your warranty may be voided. Even worse, your insurance might not kick-in.
With such an expensive purchase (and installation cost), you need to make sure that the RV car towing packages you are purchasing matches what your manufacturer specifies.
Having a passenger car that you can use quickly and anytime while you are out on your great adventure is definitely a huge advantage. It lets you enjoy your vacation more by not having to worry about packing up when you need to go someplace temporarily. It can only be disadvantageous if you use the wrong tow bar and if you didn’t have the sense to find a professional to install it for you.
Safety should always be your utmost priority to minimize or outright prevent mechanical issues. Also, don’t settle for second best (and don’t even dare to buy second-hand). Go for the best RV tow bars that match your RV and your car so that you will have a hassle-free vacation in your camper — with your car in tow.