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Gooseneck vs 5th Wheel

Differences between 5th Wheel and Gooseneck Hitches

Some of the differences between gooseneck hitches and 5th wheel hitches are the coupling mechanism, the level of invasiveness in the truck bed, overall cost and the types of trailers typically pulled by each hitch.

Despite these difference, gooseneck hitches and 5th wheel hitches have many similarities. Both are used for towing heavy-duty trailers, and both require a pickup truck for installation, mounting into the truck bed, over the rear axle.

Gooseneck Hitch Installed in Truck BedGooseneck Hitch Installed in Truck Bed

Gooseneck

 Differences

  1. Ball and coupler connection
  2. Minimally invasive
  3. Comparatively less expensive
  4. Commercial towing and agriculture
  5. Typically used for livestock trailers and flatbed trailers

 

Similarities

  • Installed into truck bed
  • Up to 30,000 lbs. capacity
5th Wheel Hitch Installed in Truck Bed5th Wheel Hitch Installed in Truck Bed

5th wheel

Differences

  1. Jaws and kingpin connection
  2. Bulky with option to remove
  3. Enhanced stability
  4. Recreational towing
  5. Typically used for RV travel trailers and campers

 

Similarities

  • Installed into truck bed
  • Up to 30,000 lbs. capacity

Pickup Truck Towing Heavy TrailerPickup Truck Towing Heavy Trailer
Gooseneck Hitch - CURTGooseneck Hitch - CURT

What is a gooseneck hitch?

A gooseneck hitch is a truck bed hitch that connects to a gooseneck trailer using a hitch ball. The main body of the hitch typically mounts underneath the truck bed and bolts onto the truck frame using brackets.

Gooseneck hitches are typically rated for pulling up to 30,000 lbs. and are commonly used to tow livestock trailers, horse trailers and flatbed equipment haulers.

What is a 5th wheel hitch?

A 5th wheel hitch is a truck bed hitch that couples to the kingpin of a 5th wheel trailer. Metal jaws or a locking bar secure the kingpin, and a pivoting head plate on the hitch provides the necessary movement to tow the trailer smoothly.

5th wheel hitches are available in weight capacities from 16,000 lbs. to 30,000 lbs. Their most common usage is towing RV trailers and large campers.

5th Wheel Hitch - CURT5th Wheel Hitch - CURT

Gooseneck vs 5th wheel pros and cons list

Gooseneck and 5th wheel hitches each have their own advantages and disadvantages. Gooseneck hitches are less invasive, relatively less expensive and make it easier to free up the truck bed with smaller, lighter-weight components.

Comparatively, 5th wheel hitches generally offer smoother, quieter, more stable towing and are available in a range of weight capacities to suit a variety of trucks.

Gooseneck Hitch in OperationGooseneck Hitch in Operation

Gooseneck hitch pros and cons

Pros

  • Minimally invasive in truck bed once installed
  • Lightweight, easy-to-operate ball
  • Simple coupling mechanism
  • Great for agriculture, commercial
  • Convertible to 5th wheel

 

Cons

  • Hole saw drilling in truck bed
  • Less stability for tall trailers
  • Noisy compared to 5th wheel
5th Wheel Hitch in Operation5th Wheel Hitch in Operation

5th wheel hitch pros and cons

Pros

  • Smoother, more stable towing compared to gooseneck
  • Variety of weight capacity options
  • Sliding options for short-bed trucks
  • Great for RVs, recreation
  • Convertible to gooseneck

 

Cons

  • Heavy assembly is difficult to move
  • Relatively more expensive
  • Permanent truck bed base rails

Truck Towing Gooseneck Horse TrailerTruck Towing Gooseneck Horse Trailer

Advantages of a gooseneck hitch

Gooseneck hitches offer several advantages over 5th wheel hitches. First, they are far less invasive and bulky in the truck bed. Above the truck bed, a gooseneck hitch consists merely of a gooseneck ball and safety chain anchors. Many models also feature a removable or folding ball that is comparatively lightweight and easy to operate.

The coupling mechanism of a gooseneck hitch is very simple and uncomplicated, offering a solid connection for heavy-duty farm trailers, flatbeds and more.

Truck Towing 5th Wheel RV TrailerTruck Towing 5th Wheel RV Trailer

Advantages of a 5th wheel hitch

While a 5th wheel hitch may consist of more components and an overall bulkier and heavier design, this type of hitch is selected for recreational use for a reason. With a more intricate design, a 5th wheel provides generally smoother, quieter and more stable towing compared to a gooseneck hitch. This makes it ideal for RVs, campers and travel trailers.

5th wheel hitches also come in a wider variety of weight capacity options, as well as slider options. 5th wheel sliders / rollers are designed to allow short-bed trucks to tow without obstruction when turning.


5th wheel trailer vs gooseneck trailer

5th Wheel Trailer Kingpin5th Wheel Trailer Kingpin

5th wheel trailer kingpin

A 5th wheel trailer uses a pin box and a kingpin to connect to the 5th wheel hitch. The kingpin inserts into the 5th wheel head, similar to a semi truck hitch.

Gooseneck Trailer CouplerGooseneck Trailer Coupler

Gooseneck trailer coupler

A gooseneck trailer has a long, vertical coupler to latch onto the gooseneck hitch ball. The coupler comes down onto the ball, similar to a bumper-pull coupler.


Farm Truck Towing Flatbed Gooseneck TrailerFarm Truck Towing Flatbed Gooseneck Trailer

How to convert 5th wheel to gooseneck

5th wheel to gooseneck conversion is done using one of two types of products: a 5th wheel adapter plate or a 5th wheel gooseneck hitch. To convert your own towing setup, start with which hitch your truck is already equipped with.

5th Wheel Gooseneck Hitch - CURT5th Wheel Gooseneck Hitch - CURT

5th wheel gooseneck hitch

To convert fifth wheel to gooseneck, a 5th wheel gooseneck hitch is the answer. Your truck must already have industry-standard 5th wheel base rails for this options. Simply drop the hitch into the rails and secured with pins. This type of hitch provides a standard gooseneck ball.

Gooseneck to 5th Wheel Adapter - CURTGooseneck to 5th Wheel Adapter - CURT

5th wheel adapter plate

If your truck has a gooseneck hitch, a 5th wheel adapter plate may be the answer. Available for select gooseneck hitches, 5th wheel adapter plates drop into the gooseneck hole and provide a set of industry-standard 5th wheel rails.


Gooseneck to 5th wheel adapter video


5th wheel to gooseneck adapter pros & cons

Pros

  • Ability to tow both trailer types
  • Easy to install on existing platform
  • Industry-standard rails on adapter plates
  • Standard ball on gooseneck adapter hitches

 

Cons

  • Reduced weight capacity (20,000 to 25,000 lbs.)
  • Limited gooseneck hitch compatibility
CURT 5th Wheel Gooseneck Adapter InstalledCURT 5th Wheel Gooseneck Adapter Installed
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