When it’s time to hit the road for a budget-friendly vacation, RVs are a great solution. They provide a cozy home away from home, and allow you to cover great distances in comfort and security. However, once you reach your destination, you’ll probably want to explore the local area, and RVs just aren’t the best option for shorter trips, or narrow, winding roads. You could try to rent a smaller vehicle, but it may well be easier, and more cost effective, to simply bring your own. That’s where RV tow bars come in.
These specially designed tow bars are connected to the back of your RV at one end, and the front of your car on the other. They make it easy to tow a car behind your RV, so you can use it for local travel when you reach your destination. With so much, quite literally, riding on this piece of equipment, it’s important to choose a heavy duty tow bar that can accommodate your needs. To help you select the perfect option, we’ve put together this handy buying guide. Below, we run through the best RV tow bars on the market right now, so you can make an informed decision. To help you get the most out of your new tow bar, we’ve also answered some common tow bar-related questions.
The Best RV Tow Bar
This Blue Ox tow bar is the first option to earn a spot on our list. With a substantial towing capacity of 6,500 pounds, it’s strong enough to accommodate almost any car, truck, or SUV. Despite this impressive strength, the tow bar itself weighs just 35 pounds. The bar is easy to mount on the back of any RV, and can be rapidly released thanks to quick disconnect hookup pins.
For ease of use, the tow bar is self-aligning, which ensures that your tow load is evenly spread for better handling and performance. The bar is built to last, from heavy duty steel, and features offset triple lugs designed to better align towing forces when in use. When not in use, the bar easily folds away on the back of your RV, keeping it safely out of sight. It also features rubber boots, installed to shield against dirt, grime, and dust from the road. Each Blue Ox tow bar also includes a set of safety cables with a 10,000 pound capacity.
- Impressive capacity of 6,500 pounds
- Lightweight at just 35 pounds
- Easy to mount on the back of your RV
- Neatly folds away on the RV when not in use
- Rapid disconnection achieved thanks to quick disconnect hookup pins
- Rubber boots protect the tow bar from dust and grime
- 10,000 pound capacity safety cables included
- Brand Blue Ox
- Model BX7365
- Weight 41 pounds
The next option to earn itself a spot on our list is this Roadmaster tow bar; the Falcon 2. Thanks to its 6,000 pound capacity, the bar is suitable for almost any truck, car, or SUV. The tow bar’s telescopic design makes it easy to use and store – simply fold it up on the back of your RV to keep it conveniently out of the way. It’s easy to install, too – simply slide the bar into the trailer hitch receiver. There’s no need to install a ball mount.
Because it’s self aligning, there’s no need to worry about towing forces – they’re properly balanced by design. During use, its telescopic arms make for improved manoeuvrability, while inner arms improve the overall smoothness of your ride. Built to last from stainless steel, the tow bar is designed with a long lifetime in mind. It also features self-lubricated nylon bushings, to eliminate friction between inner and outer arms, as well as a high-tech powder coat finish for improved durability. Each Roadmaster product is designed and built to a high standard of quality in the USA.
- 6,000 pound capacity
- 50 pounds in weight
- Folds away easily on the back of your RV
- Simple to install using your RV’s hitch receiver
- Self aligning
- Telescopic arms improve manoeuvrability
- Made using durable stainless steel
- Nylon bushings eliminate friction between inner and outer arms
- High-tech powder coat improves durability
- Made in the USA
- Brand Roadmaster
- Model 520
- Weight 50 pounds
Smittybilt have also earned themselves a spot on our list, with their conveniently adjustable tow bar kit. Weighing in at only 32 pounds, but capable of towing 5,000, the compact but durable kit is the perfect solution for towing smaller vehicles behind your RV. The handy device can be altered to fit a variety of bumper widths (24 to 34 inches), and features a two inch ball mount for easy connection.
Made from durable steel, the reliable tow bar is built to last, too. Each kit includes the bar itself, along with two universal mounting brackets, two Smittybilt D-ring mounting brackets, and a safety chain. This particular bar is highly recommended for use with Jeeps. At under $150, the tow bar also represents excellent value for money.
- 5,000 pound capacity
- Adjustable length (24 to 34 inches) fits multiple bumpers
- 2 inch ball mount makes for easy connection
- Made with durable steel
- Includes 2 universal mounting brackets
- Includes safety chain
- Ideal for Jeeps
- Excellent value for money
- Brand Smittybilt
- Model 87450
- Weight 32.7 pounds
If you’re searching for a heavy duty tow bar option, look no further than the Ready Brute Elite, by NSA RV Products. The cleverly designed tow bar combines classic durability with patented ReadyBrake technology, to ensure perfect braking control, and significantly reduce your stopping distance. The technology works by directly activating the towed vehicle’s brake pedal, without interfering with its hydraulic system. This unique braking system helps the tow bar to handle its mammoth 8,000 pound towing capacity – achieved in spite of the bar itself tipping the scales at just 40 pounds. Durable but lightweight aluminum allows the bar to balance this impressive strength to weight ratio.
NSA refer to this device as an ‘all-terrain’ tow bar, and for good reason. It’s easy to hook up and disconnect, even on uneven surfaces, thanks to clevis connectors that can rotate and swivel. Durable rubber boots help to preserve the tow bar, keeping it safe from dirt, dust and grime wherever you roam. When not in use, the tow bar’s legs can be easily folded for storage on your RV’s receiver. For your peace of mind, every NSA tow bar is protected by a limited lifetime warranty. The device includes safety cables, and a set of easy to follow installation instructions.
- All-terrain RV tow bar featuring an 8,000 pound capacity
- Made using aluminum
- Patented ReadyBrake technology significantly reduces stopping distance
- Easy to hook up and disconnect on all terrains, thanks to flexible clevis connectors
- Rubber boots protect against dust, dirt, and grime on the road
- Folds away for easy storage on the back of your RV
- Includes safety cables
- Limited lifetime guarantee
- Brand NSA RV Products
- Model RB-9050
- Weight 48.2 pounds
The next RV tow bar to earn a spot on our list is by Hiltex. At under $60, their impressively strong yet budget-friendly option represents excellent value for money. The tow bar is easy to install, thanks to a set of universal mounting brackets. Once in place, you can hook up your car, SUV, or truck using its two inch ball mount.
The bar can be adjusted to fit a range of bumper lengths, from 24, to 41 inches. It’s made from hardened, heat treated steel, making for excellent durability and rust resistance. Along with the two bar itself, you’ll also receive two adjustable 30 inch safety chains, making it easy to safely, and comply with the law. When not in use, the handy tow bar can be folded up, and stowed away in the garage or truck bed. Thanks to its 5,000 pound towing capacity, the bar can accommodate most passenger vehicles. Drivers agree that the tow bar is highly effective, and simple to install.
- 5,000 pound towing capacity
- Excellent value for money
- Easy to install with universal mounting brackets
- Features a 2 inch mounting ball
- Adjustable to fit bumpers ranging from 24 to 41 inches in length
- Made from hardened, heat treated steel
- 30 inch safety chains included
- Folds away neatly for easy storage
- Brand Hiltex
- Model 20046
- Weight 28.7 pounds
Demco have also earned themselves a spot on our list, with their tough Dominator tow bar. Despite weighing just 30 pounds itself, this hardy device has a huge towing capacity of 7,500 pounds. Thanks to this impressive strength, the tow bar can handle almost any passenger vehicle – even if it’s loaded with supplies.
The bar features independent arms, for an easy hook-up process. It’s simple to disconnect too, thanks to an easy trigger release. Each Demco tow bar includes coiled safety cables, to ensure your RV and car meet local safety regulations. This particular tow bar is made using stainless steel and aluminum, in a combination that carefully balances strength with weight.
- 7,500 pound capacity
- Capable of towing almost any passenger car, even when fully loaded
- Lightweight design weighs just 30 pounds
- Made using stainless steel and aluminum for lightweight durability
- Independent arms make for an easy hook-up process
- Simple to disconnect thanks to its easy trigger release
- Safety chains included
- Brand Demco
- Model 81195
- Weight 43 pounds
The next RV tow bar to earn a spot on our list is this adjustable option by Reese Towpower. The bar features a two inch coupler, along with two universal bumper brackets for easy and versatile installation. It can tow vehicles weighing up to 5,000 pounds, making it the perfect option for everything from sedans to SUVs. Despite its sturdy construction and significant towing capacity, the device weighs just 32 pounds. This lightweight design makes it easy to manoeuvre, for fast and effective mounting.
When not in use, the handy tow bar folds closed for easy storage, allowing it to be compactly stowed away in a safe spot. Reese Towpower are so confident their tow bar is built to last that they offer a limited lifetime warranty. RV enthusiasts agree that the durable bar can handle long trips without wear and tear. It’s simple to install, but you’ll need to purchase your own safety chains or cables to ensure legal safety requirements are met.
- RV tow bar featuring a 5,000 pound towing capacity
- Suitable for use with most passenger vehicles
- Folds away for compact storage
- Lightweight design is easy to install and hook up
- Limited lifetime warranty included
- Safety chains or cables sold separately
- Brand Reese Towpower
- Model 74344
- Weight 32.5 pounds
CURT have also earned themselves a spot on our list, thanks to this sturdy tow bar with a 5,000 pound capacity. It’s ideal for towing a small vehicle behind your RV, and can handle most passenger vehicles. It provides an incredibly secure grip, thanks to a heavy duty two inch coupler, and is easy to mount through a pair of universal brackets.
The adjustable device can be fitted to a wide range of bumpers, between 26 and 41 inches in length. For your peace of mind, the tow bar features a limited lifetime warranty, so you can rest assured that it’s built to last. Users say that the tow bar is impressively durable and easy to use. It can stand up to long journeys without wear and tear, too. Bear in mind that you’ll need to supply your own safety chain bolts, which can make the chains challenging to attach.
- 5,000 pound towing capacity
- Suitable for towing most passenger vehicles
- Features a heavy duty 2 inch coupler
- Easy to install with 2 universal brackets
- Adjustable length fits many bumper sizes (26 to 41 inches)
- Limited lifetime warranty included
- Brand CURT
- Model 19745
- Weight 31 pounds
Earning their second spot on our list is Roadmaster, with their 576 model all-terrain tow bar. It’s lightweight and totally rust-proof, made with sturdy aluminum. The tow bar is easy to install via your RV’s receiver hitch, and once in place you’ll be able to hook up your passenger vehicle in no time, thanks to its large hook-up radius. To ensure that weight is properly distributed during use, the tow bar is self-aligning – simply drive your RV forward once it’s hooked up.
The tow bar also features self-lubricated nylon bushing, designed to eliminate friction between the inner and outer arms, helping things function smoothly for longer. Featuring an impressive towing capacity of 8,000 pounds, the bar can handle whatever vehicle you throw its way, even when loaded with heavy equipment. When not in use, it’s easy to stow the bar away on the side of your motorhome. Simply fold it upwards and secure in place using the built-in latch. The tow bar also includes the safety cables and wiring you’ll need for hassle-free installation.
- RV tow bar with a capacity of 8,000 pounds
- Made with strong, lightweight aluminum
- Easy to install via your RV’s receiver hitch
- Large hook-up radius
- Self-aligning for proper weight distribution
- Self-lubricated nylon bushing reduces friction between inner and outer arms
- Stows away easily
- Includes safety cables and wiring for hassle-free installation
- Brand Roadmaster
- Model 576
- Weight 50 pounds
Last, but not least, comes this Blue Ox tow bar. Boasting a huge towing capacity of 10,000 pounds, it’s the strongest option to grace our list. Featuring a two inch receiver tube, it’s easy to install to a wide array of RVs. The bar is constructed from durable steel, coated in metallic paint to prevent rust and corrosion. This adds up to a tow bar that’s built to last, keeping you on the road for journey after journey.
The tow bar also features an improved turning radius, enabling better handling than previous versions. Thanks to its shock-resistant design, it’s easy to tow vehicles smoothly, even over rough terrain. Its non-binding latches release easily for a simple disconnection process, while its clever design keeps the towed vehicle safely away from your RV during tight turns.
- Hige 10,000 pound towing capacity
- Easy to install via 2 inch receiver tube
- Constructed from durable steel
- Metallic paint resists corrosion and rust
- Improved turning radius
- Shock-resistant for smooth towing on rough terrain
- Durable and easy to use
- Simple disconnection process
- Brand Blue Ox
- Model 09-801B
- Weight 45 pounds
These 10 tow bars are the best of the bunch, and we’re confident that you’ll find the perfect option for your RV somewhere on the list. Below, we address some common questions and concerns about this useful piece of kit, so you can get the most out of your next RV trip.
What to Consider When Buying an RV Tow Bar
When it’s time to choose a tow bar for your RV, a few key factors should be borne in mind:
- Towing Capacity
First and foremost, you’ll need to make sure your new tow bar can handle the towed vehicle. You can easily check how much your vehicle weighs by consulting the handbook – remember to account for fuel and cargo when working out what towing capacity you’ll need.
- Installation and Hook-up
When selecting a tow bar, it’s important to ensure the device is compatible with your RV. If in doubt, check with the manufacturer. They will be able to tell you what type of receiver is suitable – typically two inches. Choosing a tow bar that’s easy to install and hook up is also a good idea. Look out for a wide hook-up radius, self-alignment, good manoeuvrability, and a quick release system.
As with any purchase, budget plays an important role when it comes to selecting your RV tow bar. Fortunately, a good quality tow bar can be had for as little as $100. For larger towing capacities and all-terrain capabilities, you can expect to pay more. Some all-terrain tow bars can cost as much as $1,000. If you plan on using the tow bar regularly, over large distances, these bars could be a good investment.
Benefits of RV Tow Bars
Attaching a tow bar to the back of your RV brings a number of benefits, such as:
- RV tow bars are a simple way to take your passenger vehicle with you on road trips
- RV tow bars are safe and effective
- Most RV tow bars are easy to install, without assistance
- Many RV bars can be unhooked on rough terrain
- RV tow bars are available with a wide range of weight capacities
- Towing your car with an RV tow bar is easier and more cost effective than using a trailer
Safety Cables vs. Tow bars
Whatever you’re towing, US law requires the use of safety cables or chains. These cables are not to be confused with the tow bar itself, and perform a very different function.
- Tow bars provide a rigid connection between the towing vehicle and its load
- Safety cables back up the tow bar, and provide an extra point of connection so that the load does not come completely loose should the bar fail
How to Hook up a Tow Bar
The process by which you hook up your tow bar will vary depending on the manufacturer. Be sure to carefully follow their instructions to ensure safe and effective usage.
Whichever tow bar you select, be sure that:
- The towed vehicle is suitable for four wheeled towing (you can find this information in the handbook or online)
- The towed vehicle has functioning brake lights and turning signals during towing
- Safety chains or cables are also in place
- Both the RV and the tow bar have a suitable towing capacity
Best RV Tow Bars FAQ:
Q: What is a tow bar and how does it work?
A: Tow bars are designed to connect a vehicle to a trailer, horsebox, or second vehicle, allowing it to be safely pulled along. They’re ideal for transporting heavy loads.
A tow bar’s design will vary depending on its purpose. Bars designed for RVs typically feature an ‘A’ shaped frame. They are typically attached to the back of an RV via its hitch receiver, and to the front of the towed vehicle with a pair of brackets. Safety chains or cables reinforce this connection, while extra wiring ensures the towed vehicle has functioning brake lights and turning signals throughout the journey.
Q: Does towing a car behind an RV put miles on it?
A: Towing your car behind an RV will not add mileage to the odometer.
However, since the wheels are still spinning, and making contact with the road, you can expect the car to experience some of the wear and tear it would during driving.
Before you drive the car, be sure to give its tires a look over for punctures or tears, and check the paint work and windshield for any chips.
Q: Can I tow a truck with a tow bar?
A: As long as the truck’s weight does not exceed the towing capacity of your RV, and the tow bar you select, yes.
RVs are large and powerful, so you should be able to tow most passenger vehicles given an appropriate and properly attached tow bar.
Q: Can I reverse the tow-car behind my motorhome?
A: Although it’s not impossible, reversing your motorhome with a car in tow is a bad idea. RVs are bulky enough as it is, backing them up with your car attached could end in disaster.
To avoid any catastrophes, disconnect the car from your RV when you reach your destination, before manoeuvring the motorhome into its designated spot and parking the car nearby.
Our Top Pick
When it comes to RV tow bars, we think that Blue Ox’s Alpha model is the best of the bunch. Boasting an impressive towing capacity of 6,500 pounds, this lightweight but durable option is the perfect towing solution for RVs. It’s easy to mount on the back of your motorhome, and can be rapidly disconnected thanks to its quick disconnect hookup pins.
Meanwhile, easy release locking handles make the disconnection process even faster and simpler. The tow bar is made from heavy duty steel, so you can rest assured it’s built to last. Rubber boots help preserve the device, by keeping grime and dust away from its interior components. The self-aligning bar also features offset triple lugs, to better align towing forces. The device even includes its own safety cables, with a 10,000 pound capacity.
- Flat Towing with a Tow-Bar – HowStuffWorks