Best RV Tow Bar: 7 Top Picks and Reviews

Going on the road can seem thrilling until you think of all the added precautions and preparations you need to do. There’s also the question of whether you should take your passenger vehicle along or not.

Since so many beautiful places are inaccessible by road, you may want to consider flat towing your car along. There’s convenience and comfort right behind you wherever you go.

But the risks of mishaps are high and not limited to the vehicle only. The costs of getting a professional to flat-tow your vehicle can go up to $600. This is why it is better to consider doing it yourself. For that, you’ll first require a tow bar and the knowledge to choose the right one.

7 Best RV Tow bars

Blue Ox BX7420 Class IV Avail Tow Bar With Safety Cable

Blue Ox BX7420 Class IV Avail 10,000 lb. Capacity Tow Bar with Safety Cable, Brown

Overview

The Blue Ox BX7420 tow bar has the largest towing capacity on our list.

Remember how difficult it is to make turns when you’re towing a vehicle? With this tow bar, turning is no longer a worry. It’s got a better turning radius and improved cornering that allows you to make tighter turns around gas stations.

What’s more, the Blue Ox has patented non-binding latches that are easy to release. Its easy maneuverability also makes it easier to tow on rough roads. The tow bar is made of solid steel and has a beautiful brown colored metallic paint on it.

Features

  • Towing capacity: 10,000 pounds
  • Weight: 45 pounds
  • Warranty: 3 year
  • 2-inch receiver tube
  • Safety cables included

Pros

  • Low profile handle design
  • Pre-assembled
  • Smoother towing on rough roads
  • Longer arms

Cons

  • Prone to corrosion
  • Expensive

Roadmaster 520 Falcon 2 Mounted Tow Bar

Roadmaster 520 Falcon 2 Mounted Tow Bar - 6000 lb. Load Capacity

Overview

This tow bar by Roadmaster is made of anti-corrosive stainless steel and has a powder-coated finish that makes it a durable and strong towing bar. It’s got an Autowlok locking system that automatically centers and locks by itself during setup.

The tow bar also has a storage latch that automatically locks in place when folded. This tow bar has self-lubricating nylon bushings, minimizing the friction between its inner and outer arms. Its arms are of the telescoping variety that comfortably adjust themselves and lock in automatically while driving.

The Roadmaster 520 Falcon has a hitch mount style that slides into your RV receiver end smoothly. It also has a good turning radius.

If you want an easy-to-install tow bar that you can set up and remove by yourself, then this 520 Roadmaster is the perfect choice for you. It can’t tow the heavier trucks but will easily handle medium trucks, SUVs, sedans, and jeeps.

Features

  • Towing capacity: 6,000 pounds
  • Weight: 50 pounds
  • Warranty: 1 year
  • Autowlok system
  • Telescoping arms
  • Style: Hitch mount

Pros

  • Easy to hook up
  • Easy to fold and store
  • One-person operation
  • Large hookup radius

Cons

  • Difficult to release on uneven surfaces

Blue Ox BX4330 Acclaim Class III Tow Bar

Blue Ox BX4330 Acclaim Class III Tow Bar

Overview

Although its towing capacity is half that of the Blue Ox BX7420, this tow bar does have some excellent features to make up for it. For example, the easy release signature series locking handles that make connecting and disconnecting the tow bar a breeze.

The tow bar automatically locks itself into towing position, self-aligns, and folds easily for storage. The bars also have rubber boots on them to prevent dirt and grime from the road sticking or damaging it. Detaching the tow bar is very easy and quick and requires only two pins.

Overall, the bar has a solid steel body, is durable, and provides a smooth operation for mid-sized vehicle towing. You can also leave it mounted at the back of the RV or the font of your car.

Features

  • Towing capacity: 5,000 pounds
  • Weight: 45 pounds
  • Warranty: 3 years
  • Ball mount tow bar
  • Safety cables included

Pros

  • Easy to install and remove
  • Easy to store
  • Disconnects quickly

Cons

  • Metal joints wear out quickly
  • Low towing capacity

Smittybilt 87450 2″ Ball Adjustable Tow Bar Kit

Smittybilt 87450 2' Ball Adjustable Tow Bar Kit - 5000 lbs. Rating,Black

Overview

The Smittybilt tow bar has a smaller towing capacity, but its 2-inch coupler adjusts to bumper widths of any size. It also has a tongue weight capacity of 500 pounds, which is the weight needed to be exerted on the hitch ball for your RV to tow straight and stable.

The Smittybilt tow bar kit includes a 2-inch coupler, two universal brackets, two lateral strut brackets, D-Ring brackets, and safety chains.

The manufacturer’s website mentions safety instructions, asking drivers to avoid exceeding 45 m.p.h.

Features

  • Towing capacity: 5,000 pounds
  • Weight: 32.7 pounds
  • 2-inch ball mount

Pros

  • Smooth driving
  • Sturdy
  • Strong bolts
  • Good price

Cons

  • Corrosive
  • Difficult to install

Nighthawk Roadmaster 676 Tow Bar

Nighthawk Roadmaster 676 Tow Bar

Overview

The Nighthawk Roadmaster is unlike any other tow bars on this list. It has a durable build of outer aluminum arms, inner solid steel arms, and a powder-coated finish to shield the towing bar from corrosion. Its best feature, however, is the 300 lumen LED lights on both arms of the tow bar that light up the portion around the bars at night.

The non-binding freedom latch makes connecting and disconnecting this tow bar much easier than any other you can find on the market. However, they are made to go with the Roadmaster direct connect baseplates and require you to use an adapter when connecting to crossbar style baseplates.

Like the Roadmaster 520 Falcon, this tow bar also has a large turning radius, telescoping arms, and nylon bushings. The tow bar comes in a black matte finish, giving it a sleek look while ensuring a better grip.

Features

  • Towing capacity: 8000 pounds
  • Weight: 48 pounds
  • 300 lumen LED lights
  • Safety cable and power cords included
  • Telescoping arms
  • Nylon bushings

Pros

  • Easy to connect and remove
  • Good grip
  • LED lights
  • Quality product

Cons

  • Expensive
  • Compatibility issue

Roadmaster 501 Tow Bar

Roadmaster 501 Tow Bar

Overview

This is another Roadmaster product that, like the Roadmaster 520, also has an Autowlok locking mechanism, self-lubricating nylon bushings, and telescoping arms. This one, however, is made to work with crossbar style base plates only and has a full-length angle iron base to support the rear part of the arms.

It is built using durable stainless steel and an added powder coat finish. The steel plugs seal both ends of this tow bar, thus preventing moisture or debris from damaging the towing bar. Another excellent feature is the additional safety strap that acts as a backup in case of unpredicted detaching of the tow bar.

The features of the 520 Roadmaster are upgraded for a safer operation on this tow bar.

Features

  • Towing capacity: 6000 pounds
  • Weight: 50 pounds
  • Autowlok locking system
  • Nylon bushings
  • Limited lifetime warranty

Pros

  • Easy to hook up and disconnect
  • Easy to store
  • Great for long term use
  • Superior quality

Cons

  • On the heavier side
  • Compatibility might become an issue

Roadmaster 576 All Terrain Tow Bar

Roadmaster 576 All Terrain Tow Bar

Overview

Another Roadmaster product, but this one comes with a better towing capacity and all-terrain support, although heavier too. It has the same telescoping arms made of durable solid steel, powder-coated finish, and freedom latch for easier disconnection.

This tow bar, however, comes with urethane bushings instead of nylon ones. It also is motorhome mounted, so you save all that time spent on detaching it. The tow bar mounts into a two-inch receiver directly. It also has channel guides through which the safety cables and power cords are routed to keep operation clean and hassle-free. If you’re looking for a simple yet strong tow bar of the Roadmaster quality, then this is the best you could buy, although it is a bit in the higher price range.

Features

  • Towing capacity: 8,000 pounds
  • Weight: 67.40 pounds
  • Includes safety cables and power cords
  • Channel guides

Pros

  • Easy one-person operation
  • Sturdy
  • Long-lasting
  • Easy to store
  • All-terrain

Cons

  • Expensive
  • Very heavy

RV Tow Bar Buying Guide

How Do We Choose the Best RV Tow Bars?

When choosing the best RV tow bars for you, we include only those products that are compatible with a wide range of vehicles as tow bars are most commonly used when you want to flat-tow your vehicle.

The other option requires you to use the tow dolly. The major difference in both methods is the wheels touching the road.

In flat towing, all the wheels will be in contact with the ground at all times, while the tow dolly will have the front wheels raised off of the road. Therefore, we only include tow bars since they are used for flat towing.

Towing Capacity

Towing capacity is the total weight your tow bar can safely pull. Going over the towing limit is a big mistake. RVs are built to carry a certain capacity when towing another vehicle. This capacity makes it safe for you to drive the RV while another vehicle is towed.

Similarly, the tow bar also needs to be strong enough to carry the load of the dinghy. Check the capacity of the tow bar before you make a purchase. Getting a tow bar that offers flexibility with the capacity of the load is good if you have multiple vehicles to choose from.

For cars, SUVs, and large vehicles, a capacity range of 4000 to 8000 pounds should be enough. However, heavier vehicles like trucks and minivans will require a tow bar with a capacity range of 10,000 to 20,000 pounds. It is also wise to check the RVs’ towing capacity.

You’d be right to assume that a high-capacity tow bar will be more expensive. So, buying the highest capacity is not always necessary when an affordable one will work just fine.

Vehicle Compatibility

The manufacturer’s instructions will guide you best when looking for a tow bar for your car. RVs are compatible with two types of vehicles: a front-wheel drive with manual transmission and a four-wheel drive with manual transfer.

You also need to make sure the tow bar is compatible with the base plate.

Mounting

The tow bars we have included in our list all have an A-frame design that allows the most stability when driving with a towed vehicle. These will come in two variants: the RV-mounted tow bar and vehicle-mounted tow bar.

RV-mounted tow bars are fixed to the RV and free you of the need to install and remove them repeatedly. They also do not involve the coupler making noises and its bars are collapsible into place, leaving you with minimum work and maximum fun.

The vehicle-mounted tow bars, on the other hand, are attached to the front of the towed vehicle. These also work the same way but need more careful handling as they are accident-prone. You can also remove them or fold them into place and attach them to the coupler situated on your RV’s rear end.

Wiring

Imagine an RV turning with a passenger vehicle in tow. Now imagine doing that without the turn signals.

Disastrous!

Assuming you don’t want to get into legal trouble just because your towed vehicle doesn’t have tail lights, we’d suggest you buy a tow bar that supports the writing connections. A well-installed tow bar and wiring connection will allow you to use all the necessary signs and signals when required.

However, not all tow bars will come with the wiring cables. If you are in a similar situation and confused about what to do, buying a universal wiring kit like the Roadmaster 154 Universal Wiring Kit can be a good choice. It fits most tow bar requirements you will come across and includes a detailed instruction manual.

Receiver Compatibility

Skip the process of buying an adapter by taking a minute to check your receiver. It helps to buy the right tow bar that is compatible with your receiver hitch, so you don’t also have to spend on and carry around an adapter.

Safety

Safety cables serve as backup linking to the entire setup in case the tow bar and base plate detach for some reason. These are installed to the loops on the receiver hitch and under the tow bar to the base plate.

Added Features

Easy to Install

A lightweight and portable tow bar is easy for everyone to install and remove. The whole process gets done within a few minutes and leaves you with plenty of room to enjoy your trip since you can store it in your RV easily and quickly.

Terrain

Terrain matters because unhooking your tow bar will need you to be on an even surface. In case you get stuck or decide to park your RV on uneven terrain, it should be no problem if you get an all-terrain tow bar. These types of tow bars can be detached at any level and angle. You can also look for features like weather resistance in tow bars if you’re going to camp in extreme weather conditions.

Towing brackets, locks, and baseplate latches also need to fit the tow bar perfectly or you risk damaging both the towed vehicle and your RV. Shock absorbing technology is making the rounds now, and there’s a good reason why you should invest in it.

Storage

Storing the tow bar can be a bother if you will be switching from on-road and off-road driving constantly. Try to find a collapsible or foldable tow bar since it’ll be helpful to you in the long run.

How Do Tow Bars Work?

A tow bar is used to flat-tow a vehicle behind an RV. This means, its main work is to pull the vehicle with all its wheels touching the ground. It is also called dinghy towing or four-down towing.

This type of towing requires less equipment and is easier than other towing methods. For this, a flat-towing kit is required that will include a tow bar, base plate, towing harness, rise adapter, tabs, cables, and brake system.

The base plate has two attachment points where the two arms of the tow bar connect. This plate is attached to the front end of the vehicle being towed. The other end of the tow bar fixes to the RV.

On the back of the RV, a receiver hitch is a tool that’ll help you attach the tow bar. In case your receiver hitch exceeds the 3-inch base plate height, it will have to be adjusted with another towing tool, an adapter. The tow bar is inserted and secured to this receiver end.

Then comes the braking system. It is a very important tool that helps both vehicles to brake simultaneously and smoothly. The last thing required for the tow bar method to work is the harness for taillights on the RV and dinghy to synchronize. A four-way flat socket on the RV will help you do that.

It is best if you buy these tools in one kit or package to ensure they are compatible with each other (and the vehicle as well). If you’re still confused, then it’s best you check this video to see how tow bars are installed.

Does Towing Add Extra Mileage?

Whether your dinghy is going to register mileage while being towed depends on the systems used to register the miles. Mechanical systems used in older vehicles will register mileage while the vehicles with electric systems will not.

It is common for vehicles that are dolly-towed to not record miles as the front wheels do not make contact with the road, whereas they do make road contact during flat towing.

While some professionals may suggest tips like leaving the car in neutral, it is not accurate or applicable for all vehicles. Make sure you only rely on trusted sources when looking for ways to reduce mileage on your dinghy. For more information, read the instruction manual.

Installation Tips

1. Find the right spot with plenty of space for the RV and the dinghy to move around.

2. Make sure the area you’re parking both vehicles on is at level. This is necessary for the base plate and receiver hitch to attach successfully and accurately.

3. Park your RV and dinghy parallel to the RV in the front. This makes the process simple and fast.

4. Slowly pull your RV forward to check if the latches are fully locked.

5. There are legal issues with towing vehicles, and if you’re going to be on the road for a long journey, it is better to ensure your processes and tools comply with the guidelines issued by the states you’ll be traveling in.

6. Check the fitting guidelines in the instruction manual.

7. Unlock the steering to allow the wheels to move while being towed, or else you risk damaging the wheels from all the dragging.

8. An unrelated but relevant tip is to avoid backing up your RV when towed. It is dangerous and will end up delaying your trip by a couple of hours at least.

Conclusion

Most tools used for tow bar installation need to be compatible with the bar, base plate, and vehicles. While you can buy all of them separately, it is recommended that you try to get the entire installation kit and tow bar tools from the same brand.

Before you tow your vehicle, check if the vehicle model allows for it to be towed. You can refer to the instruction manual to be sure what the manufacturer advises. If you are a first-timer, then getting a professional to show you the ropes is a good option.

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