Types of Trailer Tongues

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You’re looking for a trailer tongue and you don’t know where to start? Well, I’ve got your back. Well, first of all, you mustn’t think of it as an actual tongue, but more like the edge of a trailer that is connected to your vehicle. A trailer tongue is a metal beam that connects the trailer to the tow vehicle and this article is going to talk about different types of trailer tongues that can be used on your truck or hitch. 

Each has pros and cons, but there are several different types used by trailers and there are multiple types of tongues but it’s important that you find one that best suits your needs. What is important for you may not be as important to someone else. There are also several different types of trailers and you need to know which types of tongues work for your trailer.

After all, you do not want to go through the hassle of buying a new tongue just because it was not compatible with your trailer or truck. There are several different factors that determine what type of tongue works best with your trailer and vehicle, so you have to consider them all before making a final decision.

When looking at different types of trailers, many things come into play when choosing the right one for you such as size, weight capacity, and tongue load. You’ll also find out what each type does and how they work so you can make the best decision possible when it comes time to buy one. Get ready! 

What Is a Trailer Hitch?

Trailer hitch 1 types of trailer tongues
Source: Trailer Valet

A trailer hitch is a connection between a towing vehicle and a trailer that allows both vehicles to move as one unit. The tongue of the trailer attaches to the receiver located on the rear of the vehicle and in some cases even to the front. 

When the vehicle is moving, it pulls the trailer with it, and when the vehicle brakes, the trailer decelerates at the same rate as well. Trailer hitches can be used on boats, campers, and other types of trailers.

This connection enables the tow vehicle to have control over the movement of the trailer while allowing the two vehicles to share braking and in certain circumstances electrical connections.

3 Types of Tongues Design

There are several types of trailer tongues used to connect the tow vehicle and trailer. It is important that you understand each type so you can choose which one is best suited for your vehicle and trailer. Here are a few of the most common types of tongues:

a) Straight Tongue

The straight tongue is the most common type of configuration. It’s basically a single beam that slides into the receiver and it has a notch at one end. Once the tongue is all the way in, you tighten down a large nut to secure it so it won’t slip out while you’re towing your trailer.

This style allows for more flex than other types and can be used on any hitch with standard-sized receivers and no weight distribution system needed. It does require that there be enough room under the bumper or body of the vehicle for both pieces to fit. 

This is a great option for those that have short beds or need to be able to remove the tongue from the vehicle when not in use.

b) Compound Tongue:

A compound tongue configuration is slightly more complex than the standard one-piece style. It has a bar in between two pieces of metal that attaches to the receiver, giving it more strength and stiffness to increase sway control. It still requires an open receiver with no weight distribution system in place. 

This type of tongue also requires less room under the vehicle’s bed because only two parts are needed instead of three with the standard straight tongue design. This option is great if you have a short bed or need to remove your trailer tongue when you’re driving without a trailer attached.

The major drawback for this style compared to others is that since there are two separate pieces combined, they can loosen over time due to vibrations from driving resulting in a loss of control.

c) “A” Frame Tongue:

The “A” frame tongue is made of two pieces of metal that connect with the receiver by way of a pivot point. The larger piece sits on top with the smaller bar beneath it. Its configuration makes it pretty strong and stiff but also reduces flexibility compared to straight trailer tongues. 

It’s designed for weight distribution systems that are found on more expensive hitches which use hydraulics or airbags to level out your trailer once hooked up. This type of hitch typically has one regular-sized receiver only unlike the compound variety that can be used without an additional load leveling system in place even though it can still be used with one. 

This style is great if you have a large truck or SUV that can’t handle the weight of your trailer on its own and need to use extra support when you’re towing. A disadvantage is that it takes up more room in the bed of the vehicle while not in use.

This type can be further divided into four more subcategories depending on what you’re towing with it.

1. A-Frame Coupler Style

This type of tongue is used with a ball coupler and works great with lighter trailers like small utility trailers. It includes one receiver support, a screw jack, and an adjustable coupler inside the receiver.

2. Flat Mount Style

This type is used in conjunction with the pin-style coupler. It includes receiver support, an adjustable hitch pin, and an anti-rattle device inside the receiver.

3. Adjustable Tongue Mount

This type is similar to the flat mount but its coupler is adjustable and designed for use with trailers that don’t have a weighted tongue.

4. Lunette Ring Mount

This type is similar to the adjustable tongue mount style but it uses a lunette ring for hookup.

Weight Carrying Vs Weight Distributing Hitches

Before deciding on a trailer tongue to use it’s important to know the difference between a weight carrying and weight distributing system. 

The standard receiver has just one mechanism that can be used as either, depending on what you’re towing. A weight-carrying hitch is designed for lighter loads up to about 10K lbs total gross vehicle weight (GVW), which means there’s no need for added support from a load-leveling system. These hitches have a different type of coupler called a ball mount made out of rubber or polyurethane that doesn’t connect directly to the trailer but lets the tongue sit higher inside the receiver so it’s safe to use without an extra stabilization device in place. 

A weight distributing hitch, on the other hand, has a coupler attached to it that can’t be removed. For these hitches, you need an anti-sway system, which is typically hydraulics or airbags that are added to your vehicle’s suspension to level out the trailer for a smoother ride.


As you can see, there are many different options for trailer tongues to choose from depending on how much weight you need to pull and what type of vehicle is being used. Knowing the differences between each style will help ensure that your needs are met so that your equipment works properly at all times.

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