Pintle Hitch Vs Ball Hitch. All You Need to Know Before Choosing One

(Last Updated On: March 14, 2024)

Usually, the term “hitches” refers to ball hitches and pin-style hitches in most people’s conversations. Ball Hitch and Pintle Hitch are two frequently used hitches for trucks, trailers, and off-road equipment, both in commercial and personal use.

These hitches allow the user to establish a connection between the two vehicles. Let’s talk about these types of hitches, why they are different, and why you should use one over the other.

What is a Ball Hitch?

The ball hitch is a simple device consisting of two circular heads with holes drilled into them. Each circle has a metal pin that fits into the hole in its partner circle.  This allows it to rotate around the pin so they can be positioned at any angle relative to each other.

To attach one object to another, the ball hitch is attached to the first one and then hooked around the other object that needs to be pulled.

There are normally two rings bolted to the head of a ball hitch with some space between both. Chains or rope can be tied between these rings, allowing you to pull objects without an attachment point.

What is a Pintle Hitch?

A pintle hitch is a type of connecting mechanism used to attach a trailer to a vehicle and can be found on many types of vehicles such as horse trailers, boat trailers, ATVs, and utility trailers.

A pintle hitch consists of a rigid or semi-rigid shank that is inserted into the hitch receiver. The pintle hitch is secured to the trailer by inserting it into the trailer hitch and securing it with bolts or pins.

It has two shanks that fit into two holes in the frame of your vehicle. The first shank goes into an eye hole and then the second connects to the first shank with a pin. You can then attach your trailer to the second shank that’s been connected with the pin. This type of hitch comes in various sizes from 2 inches up to 3 inches.

Differences Between a Pintle Hitch and a Ball Hitch

Pintle and Ball hitches are similar in many ways. They both allow you to pull your trailer behind a vehicle with a minimum of fuss. Both have been around for years and have proven themselves to be very effective. But they do have some differences, so let’s take a quick look at those:

Pintle hitch vs Ball hitch Comparison table
Pintle hitch vs Ball hitch

Pros and Cons of Pintle and Ball Hitches

Pintle Hitch


  • It costs less than a ball hitch.
  • Large objects can be moved and positioned at practically any angle with it.
  • As a result of its portability, you can easily disconnect it from your rig and stow it in the bed or cab.


  • It can’t change the angle of your vehicle.
  • Noise and slop.
  • The tension created by a Pintle Hitch can cause serious damage to the vehicle if it snaps.
  • They are only available for certain classes of tractors, making them less flexible than ball hitches.
  • It is difficult to remove when not in use.

Ball Hitch


  • The Ball Hitch is easy to install. It only takes a few minutes without any tools required. You can remove it just as fast as you put it on.
  • You can easily release it under load.
  • It has moderate resistance to slippage.
  • Even after being loaded heavily and under a lot of tension, It’s easy to untie after use.


  • The Ball Hitch is more prone to breakage since the ball is made of rubber or plastic rather than metal.
  • If you don’t tighten the ball hitch securely enough, your trailer could move excessively while driving, causing damage to other vehicles.

Which one is Better? The Pintle or Ball Hitch?

If you have to choose one out of these two kinds of hitch, pintle hitch would be a better option. These are the reasons why:

Towing Capacity: Pintle hitch is the winner

If you’re going to be hauling heavy loads often then you’ll want to get one of the pintle hitches offering greater towing capacity. This is the perfect option if you are looking for more safety when hauling heavier loads. Ball hitches are typically not as strong since they don’t have the same connection to your tow vehicle.

Stability: Ball hitch is defeated again

The ball hitch is also less stable than the pintle hitch connections which can be problematic if you are carrying heavy loads, or going up and down hills often.

Handling and Control: Pintle hitch outweigh ball hitch

When it comes to handling and control, the pintle hitch is superior to the ball hitch. Tongues can be adjusted freely with the pintle hitch, but with a ball hitch, there is only one set angle for the hitch. The pintle hitch allows for nearly 360 degrees of adjustment to any direction. The ball hitch has only 90 degrees of total adjustability.

The pintle hitch offers superior control over trailers because more weight can be applied directly to the tow vehicle than with a ball hitch, which distributes more weight over the trailer axles.


1. Which is better: Pintle Hitch or Gooseneck?

The weight capacity is greater with the pintle hitch than with the gooseneck. Therefore, the pintle hitch is better suited for heavy loads; but it takes up more room when not in use.

The gooseneck has fewer weight restrictions and takes up less room when not in use, but it may require an additional device to keep it from swinging around.

2. How much weight can you pull with a pintle hitch?

The amount of weight that a pintle hitch can pull varies depending upon the size of the vehicle using it. A pintle hitch can pull around 6 tons of weight if it uses a double rope with a large tractor. If it uses a single rope with a smaller tractor, however, it can only pull about 3 tons.

3. Can you convert a pintle hitch to a ball coupler?

Yes, but it’s generally easier to buy a ball hitch than to convert your existing pintle hitch. You can purchase an aftermarket ball coupler or have one professionally installed at an auto shop, but you might create more problems if you try to convert your hitch without the necessary skills or tools. 

4. How do I quiet my pintle hitch?

The main cause of the sound is the shank of the pin moving back and forth in the trailer coupler. Here are a few ways to quiet your pintle hitch:

  • Remove the shank from the pin and apply some anti-seize lubricant.
  • Replace the shank with a longer one made from a solid steel rod.
  • Weld a piece of pipe on each side of the pin, then cut slots into them so you can put grease on them for lubrication.


Hopefully, this guide has helped to clarify what the main differences are between a pintle hitch and a ball hitch, and which is more appropriate in certain situations. So next time you need to choose between a pintle hitch or a ball hitch, consider what your load is, where you’re hauling it, and what kind of vehicle you’re using.

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