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Choosing the Right Hitch: Guide to Tow Ball Receivers

by | Sep 25, 2023 | Couplemate Core | 6 comments

When it comes to towing, having the right hitch is crucial for ensuring a safe and smooth journey.

One question that frequently arises is, “What kind of hitch do I need?”

Is it a Receiver, Hitch, Tongue, or Ball Mount?

It can be a bit confusing at first, as there are so many different words thrown around that mean the same thing.

Let’s break down the terminology.

Tow Bar

Your tow bar is the metal framework mounted to the rear of your vehicle that allows you to connect various towing parts.

In Australia, this is usually a 50mm x 50mm (2″) box section. Tow bar sizes vary from manufacturer to manufacturer, so a lot of Australians have trouble with tow bar rattle, which is often combated through hitch shims.

For American-type vehicles, such as the Chevrolet Silverado, it’s common to see a 65mm x 65mm (2.55″) box section.

Tow Ball Receiver

Commonly also known as tow ball tongue, tow ball hitch, ball mount, tow bar tongue, etc.

Your tow ball receiver is the bar that sits in your tow bar and connects to your trailer coupling. Within this category, you’ll find two types of receivers:

  • 50mm Tow Ball Receivers
  • 70mm Tow Ball Receivers

We’ll discuss the particulars of these soon, but essentially all you have to understand is that the main difference lies in weight capacity.

Hitches are designed with different weight capacities, making it crucial to choose the right one based on your towing requirements.

Tow Bar Adaptor

Tow Bar Adaptors is another term that is commonly used in the towing industry. At Couplemate™, we reserve term this for bolt-on receivers.

Tow bar adaptors is a bar and flat-plate that sits in your tow bar and connects to your trailer coupling. These are commonly used in higher towing capacity, such as 6000kg or more, and require the use of a Pintle Hook Coupling.

How Can You Tell if a Receiver Hitch is Good Quality?

At the end of the day, what you should want is a safe, solid connection between your trailer and your vehicle. You want a receiver that won’t break, bend, move, or wear.

So, how do you know what to get?

Don’t Buy: Welded or Hollow Receivers

We recommend staying away from welded or hollow receivers, especially if you intend to invert them or want to go off-road. Because of the lack of material, welded or hollow receivers are light-weight, and are more likely bend and get distorted which can lead to complications on the road.

Also, another downfall is that these receivers are often shorter in length, which can cause your trailer and vehicle sit too close together and increase the chance of jack knifing.

Do Buy: Solid Cast Iron Receivers

Instead, you should opt for a solid, heavy-duty receiver. Couplemate™ Receivers are known as Cast Receivers, as the entire unit is solid cast from 400/12 Ductile Iron.

This means that the connection between your trailer and vehicle has a strong foundation. It also means that you can safely:

  • Invert the receiver, turning a 50mm drop into a 50mm rise.
  • Travel on the highway as well as off-road.

One other benefit of Couplemate™ Cast Receivers is that, because of their heavy-duty make, the length of the receiver is slightly longer — extending the distance between your vehicle and trailer chassis.

All Couplemate™ Cast Receivers are made in accordance with, and tested to, AS4177 (ADR 62): the Australian Standard.

You can have the peace of mind that your receiver that won’t have any undue breakage, bending, movement, or wear.

Choosing the Right Hitch: What Do You Need?

Now that you know the important bits, let’s deep dive into each type so you can work out into which Tow Ball Receiver you need.

50mm Tow Ball Receiver

 Tow Bar Receiver Trailer Hitch CM521

Couplemate™ Product: CM521, CM522
Weight Capacity: Up to 3500kg

The 50mm Receiver is the most common type you will see on the roads, as most caravans and trailers are rated 3500kg and under.

Perfect for you if:

  • You are towing a trailer, caravan or camper that is rated 3500kg or under.
  • You have a regular ball coupling (like an AL-KO 614010) or pin coupling (like a Cruisemaster DO35).
  • You need a drop or rise of either 50mm or 100mm.

CAUTION! There are 50mm receivers on the market that can only handle 2000kg. Couplemate™ recommends you only buy receivers that are ADR 62 Compliant and have a rating is congruent with your application.

Adjustable Tow Ball Receiver

Heavy-Duty Premium Adjustable Tow Hitch for 3500kg 50mm Tow Balls also suits Cruisemaster DO35

Couplemate™ Product: CM529
Weight Capacity: Up to 3500kg

An Adjustable Tow Ball Receiver can be a lifesaver for those who need flexibility with their towing.

Perfect for you if:

  • Nave a ride height of 100mm or more on either your trailer or vehicle.
  • Need to tow multiple different trailers with different suspension heights.
  • Need a midway point between 50mm and 100mm.

70mm Tow Ball Receiver

4.5t solid hoitch receiver

Couplemate™ Product: CM523, CM534
Weight Capacity: Up to 4500kg

Perfect for you if:

  • Have a ride height of 100mm or more on either your trailer or vehicle.
  • Have a larger ball coupling (like an Couplemate CM235) or pin coupling (like a Cruisemaster DO45).
  • Need a midway point between 50mm and 100mm.


  1. James

    Ford ranger wildtrak would like a longer tow ball hitch 3.5t

    • Stephen Wotherspoon

      Hello James, The longest tow hitch we have is 280mm @ 3500kg. After that the weight rating is lower. Thanks Steve Wotherspoon

  2. Kelvin Moss

    Is there a 50mm to 60mm adapter, to suit my new 60mm alloy hitch I accidentally ordered, for my 79 series landcruiser

    • Stephen Wotherspoon

      Hello Kevin, Sorry we do not have a suitable adaptor to suit your Landcruiser. However, all is not lost. Call Wynnum Towbars in Qld or Carasel Towbars in Sydney and ask them if they are able to fabricate an adaptor for you. Thank you, Steve Wotherspoon

  3. ian menzies

    i have an old caravan and would to raise 2 inches can you assist

    • Stephen

      Hello Ian, Pending the receipt of image, you could place your axle under your springs and replace the u-bolts with heavy duty 16mm U-bolts then change your receiver mount to a reversable or adjustable mount.


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