Gooseneck vs. 5th Wheel – 2021 Review

| Last Updated: February 7, 2021

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If you are looking for a hitch to tow a trailer or some other heavy equipment behind your vehicle and are feeling lost, worry no more.

We are here to provide you with all the information that you require about two of the best equipment in this category.

Gooseneck and fifth wheel hitches are not just the most common hitches on the market; they are yearned for. There are good reasons too, for why they are so popular.

Photo credit: outdooranalysis.com

What is a Gooseneck Trailer?

To draw a trailer with a car, gooseneck trailers are used widely. They have a long neck-like structure spread over the back of the tailgate and slides over a ball hitch in the truck's base. They are quite extensive in length but still possess the ability to remain stable without causing any trouble for the towing vehicle. 

They are most often towed by a truck with a special hitch called the gooseneck hitch that is not usually used with other trucks and trailers. Agricultural and industrial trailers mostly make use of the gooseneck mounts.

What is a Fifth Wheel and Why is it Called a Fifth Wheel?

Towed by a U-shaped fifth wheel hitch, a fifth wheel is a huge trailer used particularly for recreational purposes. An RV is the best example of such a trailer. Owing to their super-strong hitches, they can carry a lot of weight and therefore can support more space for luxury facilities. 

They have been named after the horse-drawn carriages of the 1800s that had a fifth horizontal wheel where the front axle was pivoted. Yet, they have no similarities with those old carriages; however, the name has now become reserved for this product.

5th Wheel vs Gooseneck Similarities and Differences

People who are less familiar with these two products may not be able to distinguish between them. A number of similarities exist between the two. Even so, the differences are not neglectable and must be carefully pondered upon before a product is finally bought. 

How Are a Gooseneck and a 5th Wheel Similar?

A gooseneck and a fifth wheel are both famous hitches that stand tall due to their individuality. However, a number of similarities exist between them, a few of which are listed here:

Installation

Both these hitches are fixed into the bed of trucks only, and no other vehicle is suitable for this purpose. Once they are fixed, they efficiently work to haul trailers onto the truck.

Load-carrying Capacity

Both have the capacity to carry a load of up to 30,000 pounds. These hitches easily support this much load without disturbing the stability of the vehicle. It is very important that the load being added to them does not trouble the steadiness of the whole vehicle.

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Easy to Connect

Gooseneck and fifth wheel hitches are both quite easy to install and do not require any extra-ordinary equipment or effort. After being fixed in their required position, they are simply backed into position beneath the linking trailer.

Place of Installation

Both these products are installed in the same location on the bed of the truck. The main axle of the truck is its strongest part, where they can be installed. Also, it provides greater stability to have them fixed here.

Help in Making Tight Turns

Both fifth wheel and gooseneck hitches provide a capability to the vehicle to make sharp turns easily. This is because of the stability and reliability they offer. Otherwise, it is quite a task to turn around corners with these large trucks and trailers and cannot be done by just anyone.

What’s the Difference Between a 5th Wheel and a Gooseneck?

The differences between these two famous hitches make them prominent among all other competitors on the market. These differences are important to consider and are listed below:

Installation

Gooseneck hitches are fixed into the bed of the truck permanently and cannot be removed afterward. Its benefit is that it saves you from the hassle of removing or reinstalling it for every use. On the other hand, a fifth wheel may be removable as it is not installed permanently, so the truck can be used for other purposes as well.

B&W Trailer Hitches RVK3500

Type of Connection

Gooseneck hitch features a ball and coupler connection that provides remarkable towing stability. Meanwhile, a fifth wheel consists of jaws and kingpin connection that provides greater versatility as compared to gooseneck hitches and can be connected with more types of trucks.

Usage

In the case of the usage of hitches, the gooseneck is particularly used for flatbed trailers such as industrial, agricultural, and livestock trailers. In short, they are great for commercial towing. On the other hand, fifth wheel hitches are used by campers for recreational purposes. They are widely used for towing RVs.

Stability

Fifth wheel hitches provide greater stability to long trailers as they have been designed for towing recreational trailers.

Gooseneck vs Fifth Wheel Towing Capacity

The towing capacity of a hitch is a very important factor and must not be overlooked. Knowing your vehicle’s towing capacity can ensure a safe and tension-free towing. 

  • 5th Wheel Towing Capacity

Fifth wheel hitches are able to tow weight capacities ranging from 16,000 lbs to 30,000 lbs. However, most consider it best for towing up to 26,000 lbs and not more than that.

  • Gooseneck Towing Capacity

Gooseneck hitches can usually tow more weight than fifth wheel hitches. These can typically pull up to 30,000 lbs or more, and they are commonly used to tow flatbed equipment haulers.

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Top Pick Between Gooseneck and 5th Wheel

The top pick between a gooseneck and the fifth wheel hitch is primarily based on the purpose for which you have to use it. 

A fifth wheel is a better choice when you have to cover long distances as it provides a smoother ride with less swaying. It also has greater compatibility with more vehicles. However, its biggest drawback, in comparison with a gooseneck hitch, is that it cannot tow as much weight as its competitor. 

If you want to tow a heavyweight trailer, you must go for a gooseneck that can even support a weight above 30,000 lbs. It provides greater flexibility, as well. However, it has some of its own disadvantages, like being noisier and difficult to mount. 

Also, the level of smoothness during the journey will have to be compromised in the case of a gooseneck hitch. Even so, it is a great pick because it comes in a smaller size, yet it can haul more weight and remains easy on the budget.

Best Gooseneck and 5th Wheel Hitch Options

Here are a couple of great options for the best gooseneck and 5th wheel hitches:

IMAGEPRODUCT
  • Very easy to install and remove for easy access
  • Very strong zinc plated base for durability
  • Powder coat finish for protection against corrosion
View Latest Price →Read Customer Reviews
  • Front to back and sideways pivoting of the head
  • Very easy release option with cam action latch
  • Quiet and rattle free towing with durable bushings installed
View Latest Price →Read Customer Reviews

Conclusion

For towing heavy trailers, one must pick the most suitable hitch that can provide comfort in traveling. For this, the fifth wheel is considered the best and is used worldwide by people who are most fond of traveling. 

However, another competing hitch is the gooseneck that too, is quite popular, especially when towing very heavy machinery. Now that you know how the two differ, you can easily choose the one that best suits your needs. 

People Also Ask

People ask some questions frequently regarding hitches and their related products. These questions are important to address so that you don’t end up investing in the wrong thing. So, have a view of the questions given below and resolve your queries:

Can You Convert a Gooseneck to Fifth Wheel?

Yes, a gooseneck hitch can be converted into a fifth wheel with the help of an adapter. Two kinds of adapter options are available for this purpose. 

The first works by changing the inner tube on a gooseneck coupler with a fifth-wheel kingpin at the bottom. Meanwhile, the second adapter is fixed to the fifth-wheel rails in your truck bed and possesses a gooseneck ball that is fixed on the trailer.

What is a 5th Wheel to Gooseneck Adapter?

A fifth wheel to gooseneck adapter allows one to use a gooseneck hitch for towing a fifth-wheel trailer. A number of such adapters are available on the market.

They usually follow the principle of mounting around the kingpin of the fifth-wheel trailer and attach to the gooseneck ball at the back of the truck.

Photo credit: rvingknowhow.com

5th Wheel to Gooseneck Adapter Pros & Cons

A fifth wheel to gooseneck adapter helps you in towing a fifth-wheel trailer using a gooseneck hitch. It remains cost-effective and provides easier hitching. Moreover, it can help free up more space.

There is no significant disadvantage. However, the frame of the device may get damaged if it is not fixed by a professional, as it is tricky to do.

Gooseneck or Fifth Wheel, Which is Stronger?

A gooseneck hitch can tow more weight compared to the fifth wheel, so it can be considered stronger. While a fifth wheel can tow up to 30,000 lbs, using it for a maximum of 26,000 lbs is the best. However, a gooseneck hitch can tow even more than 30,000 lbs.

What is the Advantage of a 5th Wheel Over a Gooseneck? 

A fifth wheel is compatible with more vehicles as compared to a gooseneck. Also, it provides a smoother ride without sways or jerks, which is a clear advantage. Installing a fifth wheel is also easier than the gooseneck hitch.

Do I Need a CDL to Haul a Gooseneck Trailer?

A Commercial Driver’s License or CDL is required for any vehicle with a semi-trailer or trailer. Basically, any trailer that is being towed and has a gross weight of 10,000 lbs or more requires a CDL. So, it is also mandatory for hauling a gooseneck trailer.

Do You Need a CDL to Pull a Fifth Wheel Camper?

A CDL is not mandatory for pulling a camper in most states. However, in some states, another license called the non-commercial class A or B license is required for any fifth wheel recreational trailer that is over 15,000 lbs.

My husband and I live a life on the road so we figured no better way to share our journey than through a blog! While traveling place to place as RV noobies, we quickly realized how often we were in need of RV accessories and supplies. This led us to launch RV Expertise and sharing our top picks.