Choosing The Best Trailer Hitch Lock to avoid trailer theft


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Most RVers tend to be pretty trustworthy folks. But the security of all your belongings is still important when you’re hopping from campground to campground on a nightly basis.

And that’s why a trailer hitch lock (also called trailer coupler lock or trailer tongue lock) is one RV and travel trailer accessory that can give you a great deal of peace of mind. A hitch lock protects your trailer by keep your trailer hitch and coupler together and prevent other vehicles from connecting to the trailer. 

If you frequently drop your travel trailer or utility trailer in one location and then move around in your truck or RV, then a hitch lock is a must-have accessory to guarantee the safety of your trailer. 

Hitch locks come in all shapes and sizes, so you’re guaranteed to find something that works with your vehicle.

Since trailer tongue locks come come in all shapes and sizes, selecting the best trailer coupler locks ensuring compatibility with your specific recreational vehicle and your towing vehicle is where the difficulty sometimes lies. 

Fortunately for you, in this guide we’ve compiled a list of the best trailer locks you can buy, and help you understand important things you need to consider when purchasing the the right locks to secure your trailer from being stolen.  

So, without further adieu, let’s get to hitchin’!

6 Best Trailer Hitch Lock Reviews

Most of our selections are labeled as universal locks because they work with a variety of recreational vehicle and hitch accessories. But some are built for very specific vehicles and purposes. 

So pay close attention to what we liked and didn’t like so that you can narrow down your choices before you read through the essential criteria for choosing a trailer hitch lock in our Buying Guide!

Here are our picks for the best trailer hitch locks to protect your trailer by locking it onto your coupler:

Best Overall

1: REESE 72783 Universal Heavy-Duty Coupler Lock

We’ve chosen the REESE Towpower 72783 Universal Coupler Lock as the best overall trailer hitch lock because it scores highly on all the important metrics, including security, affordability, versatility, and ease of installation. 

The bright yellow finish of this lock tells thieves that your trailer isn’t to be messed with long before they even get close to it.

And with a total of eleven locking positions, this coupler lock won’t encounter any funky trailer tongues that it won’t work with. 

It’s also compatible with multiple different coupler sizes, including 1-⅞”, 2”, and 2-5/16” varieties.

The U-shaped lock bar that locks over the top of your trailer tongue is made of a heavy-duty steel material while the yellow-colored body is constructed of lightweight aluminum. 

The advanced lock on this model is resistant to picking, prying, and even drill-outs.

And this lock comes with two separate keys that allow you to keep one on your vehicle’s keychain and the other stored in a secure location.

Things We Like
  • Price: This is one of the most affordable high-quality hitch locks on the market today.
  • Various Locking Positions: With 11 total locking positions, you’ll be hard-pressed to find a trailer tongue it won’t work with.
  • Coupler Compatibility: It’s designed to fit multiple coupler sizes (1-⅞”, 2”, and 2-5/16”)
  • Heavy-Duty Lock Bar: The U-shaped lock bar on top of this lock is made of heavy-duty steel.
Things We Don't Like
  • Aluminum Body: Some users have expressed concerns that the aluminum body of this hitch coupler locks makes it more susceptible to breaking or prying.

Best Budget-Friendly Coupler Lock

2: Master Lock 389DAT Universal Size Trailer Lock

If you’re in need of a quality trailer coupler lock that’s available at a wallet-friendly price, look no further than the Master Lock Universal Trailer Lock.

This universal lock fits 1-⅞”, 2”, and 2-5/16” couplers and it requires a very simply installation and removal process. 

This lock is made with a bright-red finish to let thieves know that your trailer is secure before they even get close to it.

It’s also finished with a durable paint coating that makes the entire lock resistant to rust and corrosion. 

Each universal Master Lock comes with a unique set of keys that are specific to that lock.

While some users complain about this feature, this helps to guarantee the security of the lock and of your trailer.

And it features an advanced locking mechanism that’s resistant to breaking or prying.

Things We Like
  • Universal Fit: This lock will fit multiple trailer coupler sizes (1-7/16”. 2”., and 2-5/16”)
  • Bright Finish: The vibrant red color of this lock will scare thieves away before they even approach your trailer.
  • Rust Resistance: The painted coating on this lock makes it highly resistant to rust and corrosion.
  • Unique Keys: Master Lock does not key any two of these locks alike.
Things We Don't Like
  • Appearance: Some users reported that they actually didn’t care for the bright red appearance of this trailer coupler lock.

Best Receiver Lock

3: BOLT 7018448 Receiver Lock for Dodge, Jeep

The BOLT 7018448 ⅝” Receiver Lock is our choice for the best receiver-style hitch lock because it’s designed to open with your vehicle’s existing ignition key.

This eliminates the need to carry extra keys just for your receiver lock and it also makes this one of the more secure locks on the market. 

Of course, you’ll need to make sure you choose the specific lock that’s designed for your towing vehicle.

But BOLT makes these locks for a wide variety of vehicle types, including Jeep, Ram, Chrysler, Dodge, Ford Side Cut, Ford Standard Cut, Early GM, GM Center Cut, Nissan, Toyota, and more.

If you’re confused as to which lock will match your vehicle’s key, visit BOLT’s Find Your Lock page

It’s important to note that this lock only fits on receivers with ⅝-inch pinholes, but it does boast a significant towing weight capacity of up to 16,000 pounds.

This makes it compatible with Class III, IV, and V hitches with 2 or 2.5-inch hitch receivers. 

The pin is made of durable stainless steel material and the locking mechanism features an auto-return spring that locks when the key is removed.

It also boasts a double ball bearing locking mechanism for smoother operation and a plate tumbler sidebar to prevent thieves from picking the lock.

Things We Like
  • Key Compatibility: This lock is designed to open with your vehicle’s existing ignition key.
  • Towing Capacity: It’s rated for Class III, IV, and V hitches with a towing capacity up to 16,000 pounds.
  • Materials: It’s made of high-quality stainless steel.
  • Auto-Locking Mechanism: This helps to prevent you from forgetting to lock it because it automatically locks when the key is removed (and you won’t be able to forget the key in it because you’ll need the key to start your vehicle!).
Things We Don't Like
  • Key Compatibility: This simply means that this lock may not work on all vehicles if BOLT doesn’t manufacture it for your specific key type.

Best For 2-5/16” Couplers

4: AMPLOCK BRP2516 RV/Trailer Coupler Lock

For those of you that are specifically searching for a coupler lock for a 2-5/16 hitch ball, the AMPLOCK U-BRP2516 RV and Trailer Coupler Lock is an excellent choice because it’s one of the most innovative and heavy-duty coupler locks out there. 

As you can see, just the lock’s design alone may be enough to deter a potential thief.

It doesn’t look like many of the classic U-shaped coupler locks that some experienced trailer thieves may be accustomed to. 

This lock features its own hitch ball that slides up into the tongue of your trailer before the second part secures around the neck of the ball and then locks into place.

And because the locking mechanism is on the bottom of the simulated hitch ball cylinder, it makes it more difficult for potential thieves to locate and access if they’re attempting to pick it. 

AMPLOCK also chose stainless steel and ducted cast iron as the materials they used to manufacture the two respective components of this coupler lock.

Both of these materials offer excellent weather resistance, corrosion resistance, and resistance to torch cutting and liquid nitrogen.

The added mass of the locking mechanism also makes it more difficult to cut than a more standard U-shaped coupler lock.

Things We Like
  • Innovative Design: The two-part design of this lock looks nothing like the standard U-shaped coupler lock and its unique appearance alone could be enough to deter thieves.
  • Quality Materials: AMPLOCK used high-quality stainless steel and ducted cast iron in the construction of this lock.
  • Weather Resistance: It’s resistant to corrosion, UV damage, and even torch cutting and liquid nitrogen.
  • Easy Installation: This lock features a push-and-lock installation process that makes it easy to put in place in seconds.
Things We Don't Like
  • Price: Perhaps it’s because of the two-part design or the more expensive materials made to manufacture it, but this is easily the most expensive trailer hitch lock model on our list.

Best Budget-Friendly Receiver Lock

5: Master Lock 2866DAT Swivel Head Receiver Lock

If you need a lock for your hitch receiver and you weren’t quite thrilled with the price tag on the BOLT Receiver Lock we reviewed above, then you’ll probably like the budget-friendly price for which the Master Lock 2866DAT Swivel Head Receiver Lock is available. 

This receiver hitch lock is also a little different from the BOLT design because it features a locking head that can rotate 360 degrees.

That rotation allows you to always set it up so that the keyway is facing forward and you don’t have to awkwardly bend your wrist to unlock it. 

This receiver lock also comes with both ½-inch and ⅝-inch hitch pin diameters, but the total length of both pins measures 2.75 inches.

The ½-inch pin is rated for Class I and II hitches with a towing capacity of up to 3,500 pounds.

The ⅝-inch pin is rated for Class III and IV hitches with towing capacities up to 10,000 pounds. 

The Master Lock 2866DAT also features a four-pin key cylinder that’s much harder to pick or bypass than the cylinders on some other hitch locks.

And it boasts a snap-on keyway cover that prevents moisture, dirt, and road debris from entering the interior of the lock and damaging its components.

Things We Like
  • Price: This receiver lock is one of the most affordable options on the market today.
  • Swivel Head: This allows you to adjust the keyway so that it’s always facing the most convenient direction for you.
  • Pin Versatility: This lock comes with both ½-inch and ⅝-inch pins.
  • Extra Security: The key cylinder includes four pins to further prevent the lock from being picked.
Things We Don't Like
  • Lock Seizing: Some users reported that the lock seized up and they were not able to open it with the provided keys after they left in on their hitch through the winter months.

Best Heavy-Duty Coupler Lock

6: Reese 7088300 Heavy Duty Coupler Lock

If you’re looking for an exceptional heavy-duty coupler lock that will fit multiple different hitch ball sizes, then look no further than the Reese Towpower 7088300 Heavy Duty Coupler Lock. This lock is compatible with 1-⅞, 2, and 2-5/16 hitch balls. 

The universal fit of this lock accommodates all couplers and it comes with two square, theft-proof keys so that you can always keep one with your trailer or RV keys and store the other in a secured location on, underneath, or inside of your trailer or towing vehicle. 

The ratchet-style design of this lock includes a total of eleven different locking positions.

It’s this large number of locking positions that’s responsible for this lock’s ability to fit universally on various hitch ball sizes and trailer tongues.

The 7088300 REESE coupler lock is intently finished in that bright silver color to further deter thieves that have their eyes on your trailer.

And this lock is made of hardened steel so that it lasts and can’t be broken or bypassed easily.

Things We Like
  • Compatibility: This lock works with multiple different hitch ball sizes (1-⅞, 2, and 2-5/16)
  • Heavy Duty Material: It’s made with hardened steel to make it resistant to breaking or bypassing.
  • Ratchet Design: This design makes the lock super easy to install and lock in under a minute.
  • Various Locking Positions: Eleven different locking positions give the lock great ability to adapt to any trailer setup.
Things We Don't Like
  • Lock Quality: Some users have reported that their locksmith easily bypassed the locking mechanism on this unit.

Choosing The Best Trailer Hitch Locks 

Having these six trailer hitch lock options lying before you is kind of like being gifted a half-dozen assorted donuts and then being told you can only eat one.

But don’t worry! We’re going to help you narrow down to the right lock for your RV by covering the most important features and specifications to pay attention to when comparing and contrasting RV trailer hitch locks. 

Types Of Trailer Locks

The locks that we’ve reviewed above can be separated into two distinct categories: coupler locks and receiver locks.

Let’s start this Buying Guide by clearly defining each of these lock types and providing some pros and cons for each. 

1: Trailer Coupler Locks

Coupler locks have the unique ability to protect your travel trailer or utility trailer when it’s unhitched from your towing vehicle.

They usually come in a U-shaped format and they fit over the top of the coupler on your trailer’s tongue.

Then, they have a ball that fits up into the coupler and the entire thing locks down using some sort of locking mechanism. 

Once installed, they prevent anyone with an appropriately-sized hitch ball from pulling up to your trailer and hooking it up to their vehicle.

If you ever store your trailer in your driveway or unhitch it and leave it at a campsite while you drive out to a trailhead or the grocery store, a coupler lock is probably the appropriate choice for you. 

2: Receiver Locks

Receiver locks usually look like a smaller metal pin that’s designed to slide through your hitch receiver.

It keeps anything that you want to secure in your vehicle’s hitch receiver safely locked in place and it’s designed to replace the standard hitch pin that simply secures with a metal clip. 

These locks are more appropriate for locking the various hitch-mounted accessories that can be installed on the back of RVs, travel trailers, or 5th wheels into place.

This includes things like bike racks, cargo carriers, and anything else that you might secure into your vehicle’s hitch receiver. 

These locks can also be used when towing a travel trailer or vehicle behind an RV.

But they will only keep your trailer or vehicle safe and locked up while it’s attached to your towing vehicle. Once it’s unhitched, these locks are effectively rendered useless. 

Hitch Class

There are five main hitch classes that you should be familiar with when you’re towing anything behind a car, truck, or recreational vehicle.

There are five hitch classes in total and the class of your hitch will dictate the size of the pins or ball on the coupler lock or receiver lock that you’re interested in. 

Receiver hitch locks tend to require a bit more consideration of hitch class than coupler hitch locks.

For coupler locks, you should simply be able to match the diameter of your hitch ball with the diameter of the ball on the coupler lock to ensure compatibility. 

For receiver hitch locks, however, the hitch class on your towing vehicle will impact the lock size you should look for. Here’s a quick breakdown of these sizes:

Hitch Class

Pin Size

Receiver Size

Class I

½-inch

1-¼ inch

Class II

½-inch

1-¼ inch

Class III

⅝-inch

2-inch

Class IV

⅝-inch

2-inch

Class V

⅝-inch

2, 2-5/16, and 2-½  inches

Ultimately, you should simply be able to head out to your trailer and towing vehicle to measure the hitch ball or pinhole on your respective recreational vehicles.

But if you have any questions, you can always contact your vehicle’s manufacturer directly to confirm the appropriate pin and receiver size before purchasing a trailer hitch lock. 

Locking Mechanism

Most coupler locks and receiver locks are equipped with a keyed locking mechanism to keep them from being tampered with.

It’s rare to find a combination lock for a trailer hitch, but you should pay attention to whether the lock you choose comes with keys that are manufactured specifically for that lock (and that lock alone). 

Nowadays, many companies mass produce their keys so that your keys are identical to the keys that the next customer who buys the same lock has in his or her pocket.

You can begin to see the issues that can arise with this when you have thousands of people walking around with the keys to each other’s hitch locks. 

Additionally, some manufacturers produce keys that unlock several of the products and/or RV accessories they sell.

For instance, someone that purchases another locking product that has nothing to do with RVing from the same manufacturer as your hitch lock may get their hands on a key that also has the potential to unlock your receiver or coupler lock. 

While it may cost you a bit more money upfront, you should look for a lock that comes with keys produced uniquely and specifically for that lock.

This will help you guarantee that you (and you alone) have the only set of keys that will open your hitch lock. 

Weather Resistance

The vast majority of these receiver hitch locks and trailer coupler locks spend their entire lifetimes outdoors.

This makes them subject to degradation from moisture, dirt, UV radiation, and a host of additional environmental factors. 

The good news is that most of these locks are specifically designed to handle the elements. But some are more durable and weather-resistant than others.

To find a lock that’s going to last, it’s good to look for one with a powder-coated finish because this will greatly reduce the amount of rust that builds up on and inside the lock over time. 

Quality of Materials

The materials that a manufacturer chooses when producing its hitch locks play a huge role in how durable they are once they’re out in use.

For our money, we’d recommend choosing a lock that’s constructed from some sort of high-quality or hardened steel. 

Steel is widely used for the strongest hitch locks because it’s long-lasting and extremely difficult to break even if you have a great set of bolt cutters. But the other material that some manufacturers will tout is aluminum. 

The main selling point for an aluminum trailer hitch lock is a lighter weight than most steel-based locks.

But, in an effort to reduce the weight of their locks, these manufacturers are largely producing designs that don’t last as long and, more importantly, are easier to break or bypass if someone is really trying to steal your trailer.  

Price

Trailer hitch locks are actually available with quite a wide range of price tags. In our collection alone, you’ll find models for less than $20 and others for more than $200.

But if you’re looking for something that’s going to provide reasonable security without breaking the bank, we’d recommend identifying a hitch lock in the $30 to $150 range. 

So, Which Is Best For You?

Selecting the best trailer hitch locking mechanism for your travel trailer or RV starts with identifying whether you need a receiver lock or a coupler lock.

From there, here are a few specific scenarios for which ease of the locks we reviewed above would be the best fit. 

The REESE Towpower 72783 Universal Coupler Lock is our choice for the best overall trailer hitch lock because it’s super easy to install, highly affordable, and versatile enough to work with any type of trailer tongue.

It fits 1-⅞”, 2”, and 2-5/16” couplers and it boasts a pick-resistant locking mechanism that will keep your trailer secure while it’s in storage. 

If you’re in the market for a coupler lock but you’re looking for something a bit more affordable than the lock above, the Master Lock Universal Trailer Lock might be a great fit for you.

It’s compatible with multiple different coupler sizes (1-⅞”, 2”, and 2-5/16”) and it’s super easy to install and remove as needed. 

Those of you in search of a receiver lock to keep a hitch, hitch cargo carrier, bike rack, or any other hitch-mounted accessory secure in your hitch receiver, look no further than the BOLT 7018448 ⅝” Receiver Lock.

This lock is one of the most secure on the market because it’s designed to open with your vehicle’s existing ignition key rather than a standard set of mass-produced factory keys. 

If you’re specifically looking for a coupler lock to fit a hitch with a ball that measures 2 and 5/16” in diameter, then the AMPLOCK U-BRP2516 RV and Trailer Coupler Lock is an excellent choice for your specific application.

It features a two-part design with heavy-duty materials that make it resistant to any method of theft you can imagine. 

If you weren’t quite thrilled with the price point of the previous receiver lock we reviewed, then the Master Lock 2866DAT Swivel Head Receiver Lock is a slightly more budget-friendly option.

This trailer hitch lock actually comes with two pins that fit both ½-inch and ⅝-inch hitch pinholes and it features a swivel head that rotates 360 degrees so that the keyway can always face in your preferred direction to make locking and unlocking it easier. 

Finally, if you’re searching for an especially heavy duty coupler lock to give you that additional peace of mind that no one is going to mess with your trailer while it’s left unattended, then check out the REESE Towpower 7088300 Heavy Duty Coupler Lock.

It’s compatible with three different hitch ball sizes and it features eleven total locking positions that make it versatile enough to fit almost any style of trailer tongue. 

Frequently Asked Questions

We’re going to go out on a limb here and assume that you aren’t buying a new hitch lock for your trailer just to put it on a shelf and look at it.

So, in this Frequently Asked Questions section, we’ll provide some more valuable information on how to safely install a hitch lock, how to maintain them to maximize their longevity, and much more. 

What is a hitch or trailer lock?

An RV trailer lock is essentially a secondary insurance policy for any vehicle that you tow or anything that’s attached to your hitch receiver.

Most companies refer to hitch locks as those that keep your hitch and your hitch receiver securely together.

These usually look like small pins that are secured through your receiver and hitch. 

Trailer coupler locks are designed to keep someone from attaching your trailer to their truck and taking off with it.

They are placed on the hitch of your trailer once it’s removed from your towing vehicle to keep it safe while you’re away. 

Is it easy to steal a trailer?

If your trailer isn’t attached to anything and you don’t have any sort of hitch lock in place, anyone with an appropriately-sized truck and the right size hitch ball could feasibly back up to your trailer, secure it to their truck, and drive away with it. 

The good news is that even placing a standard U-shaped Master Lock through the pin hole on your trailer’s hitch latch is often enough to deter anyone that pulls up to the tongue of your trailer with the intention of stealing it.

That being said, a true trailer hitch is a bit harder for your standard set of bolt cutters to take care of, which is why it’s the recommended method to protect your trailer from theft. 

How to choose the right size trailer lock for my Trailer?

This will depend on whether you’re looking for a receiver lock or a coupler lock. For the former, you’ll need to measure the pinhole on your hitch receiver.

The diameter of this hole will tell you the maximum diameter that your receiver lock can be to fit snugly. 

For coupler locks, you’ll need to measure the diameter of your hitch ball and match the diameter of the coupler lock to it.

This is a relatively simple process. For example, a hitch receiver that accepts a two-inch hitch ball will require a coupler lock with a ball that’s also two inches in diameter. 

How to clean a hitch lock?

Most folks don’t really worry about cleaning their hitch lock all too often. But if you neglect it for too long, water and debris left on your lock can cause certain components to develop rust.

This may make it harder to lock and unlock and it can also make your hitch lock less secure overall. 

The good news is that simply wiping your lock down with water and a soft towel is an easy and effective way to clean it.

Depending on how much off-road RVing or camping you like to do, you’ll probably only need to clean your lock every six months or so to ensure it keeps functioning as advertised. 

What are the best hitch lock brands?

For our money, REESE makes some of the highest quality trailer hitch locks on the market today.

But if you’re looking for a few more brands to choose from, you also won’t go wrong choosing locks from Master Lock, BOLT, or AMPLOCK. 

Conclusion

Investing in a quality hitch lock for travel trailer use is a minimal financial hit at the end of the day.

Considering the fact that it can help you protect much more costly accessories from theft and damage, we think it’s a worthwhile investment for all RV, travel trailer, and fifth wheel owners. 

The reality is that you just never know when someone with different values or principles from your own will try to take what isn’t theirs.

And when that does happen, it’ll be nice to know that you already prepared for the unexpected rather than having to learn that lesson the hard way. 

We hope that you’ve found the perfect trailer hitch lock for your recreational vehicle from our reviews above.

And, as always, we wish you the safest (and, in this case, most secure) of future RV adventures!

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