Gooseneck vs 5th Wheel – Which is Better?

| Last Updated: July 8, 2022

If you're in the market for a new RV, you may be wondering whether to go with a gooseneck or a 5th wheel. Both have their pros and cons, so it can be tough to decide the hitch that's right for you. 

In this blog post, we will look into the Gooseneck vs Fifth Wheel debate and compare and contrast these two types of RVs and help you decide which one is best for your needs.

Both hitches are not just the most popular hitches on the market, they're yearned for, and for good reason. So, with that said, let's take a look at the two.

Gooseneck vs Fifth Wheel

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're quite extensive in length but still possess the ability to remain stable without causing any trouble for the towing vehicle. 

They're most often towed by a truck with a special hitch called the gooseneck hitch that's not typically 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. Owing to their super-strong hitches, they can carry a lot of weight and 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. 

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 you buy either. 

How Are a Gooseneck and a 5th Wheel Similar?

When it comes to gooseneck vs fifth wheel similarities both are popular 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.

gooseneck vs fifth wheel

Photo credit: curtmfg.com

Easy to Connect

Gooseneck and fifth wheel hitches are both quite easy to install and don't require any expensive, professional equipment or effort. After being fixed in their required position, they are simply backed into position beneath the linking trailer.

Place of Installation

Both hitches 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?

So, we know the similarities, but in the Gooseneck vs 5th Wheel hitch debate, it's important to know the differences. Let's take a look...

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.

Gooseneck vs 5th Wheel

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 utility, 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, and 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 up to 30,000 lbs, but it's much more comfortable at around 25,000 lbs.

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.

Gooseneck vs 5th Wheel

Photo credit: rvingknowhow.com

Top Pick Between Gooseneck and 5th Wheel

The top pick between a gooseneck vs 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 vs a gooseneck hitch, is that it cannot tow as much weight. 

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, such as being noisier and harder to mount. Also, the level of smoothness on your journey will have to be compromised in the case of a gooseneck hitch. 

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
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  • 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 →

People Also Ask - Gooseneck vs Fifth Wheel FAQs

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.

gooseneck vs fifth wheel

Photo credit: rvingknowhow.com

What are the Pros and Cons os a 5th Wheel to Gooseneck Adapter?

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, and 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.

Gooseneck vs Fifth Wheel - Which is Best?

In the Gooseneck vs 5th Wheel debate, there's no real winner. it all depends on your set up as both do a sterling job, but make sure you get the hitch ideal for you.

So, which is better? Gooseneck or fifth wheel? The answer, as with most things, is it depends. It depends on your needs and preferences.

If you're looking for a more maneuverable RV that can be towed by a smaller truck, then a gooseneck may be the right choice for you. But fifth wheel hitches are more commonly used by RV owners, and as long as it's not over 30,000lbs, it might be your best option.



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.