When your towing vehicle is disconnected from your trailer, you need to ensure that the trailer is secured, as well as the hitch on your vehicle.
Recently, I learned that not all trailer hitch locks are built the same.
We entered the gate code and pulled around to our camper trailer.
Actually, this time there was no camper trailer, only an empty spot.
We talked for a minute. Had we brought our camper back? When was the last time we used it? Did we happen to take it out to a family member’s house instead?
After a moment of self-doubt, we spoke with the storage lot owner and confirmed that our camper trailer had indeed been stolen from the secured lot.
They even had the video evidence to prove it.
Thanks to that evidence, the Sheriff was able to narrow their hunt and locate our camper in a matter of days. Unfortunately, it was heavily smoked in, had heavy drug use (including methamphetamines), and was quite damaged.
Inside our stolen camper was our hitch lock. Best we can tell, they removed it with a couple of well-placed hits.
It was at this time that I began researching the most thief-proof trailer hitch locks. Here’s what I’ve learned.
The Best Trailer Hitch Locks
Blaylock TL-33 Coupler Lock – The One I Purchased
Fits: 2″ to 2 5/16″
After talking to several rural tow-truck companies who often help the local Sheriff in recovering stolen trailers, I became more convinced that this might be the most thief-proof lock on the market.
As one tow truck driver said, “I’ve never had to go get a trailer that was locked up with one of these.”
The Blaylock receiver lock delivers some of its protection through intimidation. It is large, thick, and chunky. If you are going to saw through the 3/4-inch thick hardened steel locking rod, you know that you are likely in for several minutes of attention-grabbing sawing.
The hole diameter for the padlock is 1/2-inch. That did cause me some difficulty because I wanted to go with the “level 9” octagonal MasterLock padlock for it. Instead, I had to step down to a “level 7″ padlock with a narrower, 5/16″ shank diameter (the 7/16” is too thick).
Those circular padlocks also fit in really well.
Of course, if someone has a portable angle grinder or a hacksaw and all day to go at it, they are going to be able to get the lock off.
But this one is aggressive enough that it seems to push thieves towards easier targets.
The Blaylock also fits Gooseneck trailers as well.
My new camper has this one on it, and I sleep a lot better at night.
Equipment Lock BRHL Steel Ball and Ring Hitch Lock
Fits: 1-7/8″, 2″, 2-5/16″
While out for my run today, I saw this lock on a trailer outside of a construction site.
This BRHL lock fits more trailer types while also bringing a commercial-grade solution to the problem of securing your trailer.
For starters, this is one of the most universal locks. It fits the smaller 1-7/8″, as well as the 2″, and the camper trailer sized 2-5/16″ hitches.
It also secures the ring hitches. You won’t see many ring hitches outside of commercial trailers, but if you need a ring hitch lock, this is the one I would go with.
The real selling point is that this metal is made from 3/8-inch steel. This is the thickness uses on armored vehicles to protect them against explosions. The top and bottom connect with a thick ratchet system.
Thanks to the thick, solid steel construction, If you lose the key to this one, expect to spend hours trying to get the lock off.
The steel is protected against corrosion and grime, thanks to the professional powder coating.
Finally, it is protected against lock picking thanks to the barrel lock design.
This is one of the most durable locks on the market, for when you need the ultimate security solution.
AMPLock U-BRP2516 RV/Trailer Coupler Lock
Fits: 2″ or 2 5/16″
The AMP Lock is on steroids. I have never seen a lock this insanely engineered or one that offers so tight of a fit to the trailer hitch.
If you are looking for a way to lock up your construction trailer and keep it from getting stolen, I would give this heavy-duty AmpLock a consideration. It has the added robustness you need to protect thousands of dollars of tools and trailer (and lost downtime!)from being stolen.
You have to buy the right ball size when purchasing this lock. Most trailers use a 2-inch ball, and camper trailers use a two 5/16-inch ball size. I’m linking to the 2-inch size above, but they also sell this version for RV trailers.
In addition to being made with super thick material, this lock has a deeply recessed keyhole that the key access is through. This makes it extremely challenging to pick, as you can’t get enough pressure on the spring.
Frankly, I’d be worried as to how I was going to get this lock off if I lost the key. It’s going to be nearly impossible to drill the core out, so you’d pretty much be forced to go at it with an angle grinder or order a new key from the manufacturer.
If the ultimate in protection is not enough for you, get this trailer lock.
Tow Ready Gorilla Guard Coupler Lock
Fits: 2″ or 2 5/16″
This is another one of those locks that has quite a few examples of folks trying unsuccessfully to remove it from a trailer.
It connects snugly to the trailer hitch, which makes it impossible to pry off.
Hitting locks off continues to be a favorite method for thieves, but this one seems impervious to that attack.
That leaves you with the grinder method. However, all of the metal is quite thick, and there is very little surface area to try cutting. Overall, it thwarts thievery from every angle.
This is the only lock that has made me doubt my choice with the Blaylock model. I feel that it has some excellent protection features that no other trailer locks offer.
It comes with a 1-year warranty, and you have to purchase the correct size for your trailer ball.
TriMax UMax100 Premium Universal
Fits: 1-7/8″, 2″, to 2-5/16″
The Trimax is what most other RV owners seem to hold as the Gold standard. I see a lot of these in use at the storage lot where our RV is parked. The U-shackle slips over the top, making it extremely easy to install.
What I dislike about the Trimax UMax locking system is that it provides a large area for someone to hit on it with a hammer. This is how our lock was removed (not that the Trimax can be defeated in the same way).
As one person pointed out, this lock is perfect for keeping honest people honest. It encourages the drunks to move on to an easier form of vandalism.
However, it is too easily defeated to be a strong source of protection for your trailer.
The good thing is that it has a universal sizing that can go on all trailer hitches. The Keyhole has a sturdy cap that protects it from dirt and corrosion, extending the longevity of this lock. It is also made from ballistic grade nylon housing to prevent rusting.
Master Lock 377KA Trailer Hitch Lock
Fits: 2″ to 2 5/16″
This Master Lock is the go-to lock for most people doing their research. It is quite affordable (about the same price I paid for the one that failed me), but has a couple of lock features that make it more secure.
For one, you would struggle to destroy this lock with hammer blows. The flange on the underside helps to anchor the lock and provide a strong enough fit that this lock is not inclined to come loose after repeated heavy blows.
You’d have to hit it hard enough to begin breaking the metal before this lock will budge.
It also uses one of their more advanced locking designs to resist lock picking and prying.
The downside with this lock is that all keys seem to be the same? A lot of users are cautioning about that. Not sure if this is an old complaint or an ongoing problem, but it might be something worth considering.
They do sell pre-packaged kits that are all keyed the same for fleet use.
Master Lock Trailer Hitch Pin Lock
This Master Lock locking pin is designed to go through the tiny hole on the top of your trailer hitch.
If you are using any of the other locking mechanisms here, this coupler lock can add that extra layer of protection.
Sure, a thief might saw through your trailer lock. But now they have to deal with this pesky hitch pin mechanism.
Considering how many more things there are to steal in the world, this is that “little bit extra” that tells a thief to “keep walking.”
You can also use this when connected to your vehicle to keep someone from disconnecting your trailer and moving it to a new vehicle.
Master Lock 389DAT
Fits: 1-7/8″, 2″, and 2-5/16″
This snazzy red lock is a universal fit option for securing your trailer. It has a ball that fits under the hitch and a claw that comes over the top to prevent theft.
This model gets around some of the other concerns where all of the locks were keyed the same. With unique keying, this one is a solid and visible deterrent to would-be thieves.
As with most options in this price-point, this one is not 100% fool-proof. It is fairly resistant to hammering, making it more durable in my experience than the Reese design below. However, prying seems to be its weak point. If you can find a crowbar, it pries off fairly easy.
This one also has the Master Lock Lifetime warranty.
If you want an easy to use option, to give you a little more peace of mind, this is the one to go with.
Reese Towpower 72783 Universal Coupler Lock
This is one of the most popular and universal trailer locks sold online. The bright yellow aluminum body is corrosion resistant. The steel lock bar slips down from the top to tightly secure the device for ease of use. The ratchet lock system has 11 positions so it can attach to many different trailers.
I don’t know that I had purchased this brand, but the one that was on my trailer at the time it was stolen had a similar yellow color scheme and locking mechanism.
As with the Trimax model reviewed above, I’m concerned about the likelihood of someone knocking it off with a few hammer blows.
However, for keeping honest people honest, this one can be the deterrent you need.
What is nice about this kit is that it comes with the locking hitch pin for your receiver and the little swiveling clip lock that replaces the cotter pins on the top of your ball hitch.
Made from painted heavy-duty steel and aluminum, it holds up well in all weather conditions.
My version of this worked well when the camper was at my house but wasn’t enough to protect it when moved to a storage facility (and mine may have been a different brand).
Best Hitch Receiver Lock: Infinite Receiver Hitch Pin
Most of the locks that I cover are for securing your trailer.
However, closely related to that is the topic of securing your hitch to your car.
Hitch theft is not a big concern until you are connected to something expensive — such as a bike rack. Suddenly your hitch becomes a major target.
This 5/8″ receiver pin replaces your current pin with a locking version (for 2″ and 2.5″ receivers).
What I like about this model is that the locking mechanism is small and discrete. It makes it easier to fit the key into it when working in tight spaces near the hitch receiver.
A lot of folks choose this one when they are trying to secure an expensive equalizer hitch or B&W Adjustable hitch. Those models can cost over $300, so investing in a good lock is worthwhile.
If you’ve left a receiver pin in for any length of time, you’ve undoubtedly realized that they can quickly become corroded. This lock features high-quality stainless steel and uses a keyhole cover to prevent corrosion.
Master Lock 2866DAT Receiver Lock
This locking hitch pin is very straight-forward to use for securing your hitch to your vehicle.
One of the unique features of this Master Lock is that the lock mechanism on the head is perpendicular to the receiver pin. This makes it much easier to access than most of the other locks on this list.
The lock mechanism has a swivel head that rotates 360 degrees, making it easy to reach from all angles.
The 4-pin tumbler inside the lock helps to prevent lock picking. It also has a cover that goes over the keyhole to prevent rusting.
This is a very easy-to-use system that installs in seconds and has a lifetime warranty.
CURT 23518 Black Receiver Hitch Lock
Curt is a major North American manufacturer of receivers for towing trailers. If you’ve ever needed to convert your SUV to be able to tow a trailer, you’ve undoubtedly looked into a Curt receiver hitch.
Their experience with trailers makes this lock a top contender. Its sleek design is perfect for leaving on your truck 24/7 without detracting from your vehicle’s style.
The 5/8-inch pin is perfect for most 2-inch receivers, and the larger, thicker locking end makes it difficult to cut this lock off.
This is also one of the only options that use a barrel key to prevent picking. The watertight cap protects the keyhole from rusting.
Overall, this is one sleek option.
Trimax T5 – Best Class V Hitch Lock
Most of my readers only need to lock a 2-inch trailer receiver to their vehicle. However, if you tow larger loads, you might have the rare Class V receiver, which is two 1/2-inches wide. For these scenarios, you need a longer locking pin.
With a 5,800 pound towing capacity, this Trimax T5 fits the bill. Just like the Curt model above, this C-Lock design is extremely sleek and easy to use.
Made of 5/8-inch steel and secured with a barrel pin lock, this one is one of the most durable options you can consider. It has a spring-loaded, 7-pin lock to prevent picking and is resistant to drill outs.
It also has an O-ring and a watertight cap to prevent rusting.
If you have enough room on either side of your receiver, you can also use this on smaller Class III, and Class IV hitches.
Trailer Hitch Lock Buying Guide
Your goal is, undoubtedly, to protect your trailer from theft. While you have likely insured your trailer and its contents, the hassle to file for insurance on theft is quite intense. Trailer theft is an ideal target for insurance fraud, and their research process will regularly take a month or longer.
Here is some handy information to help you get the right trailer lock on the first try.
Trailer Lock Size
Some locks are universal and will fit a range of ball sizes. However, some of the best locks fit tightly and only fit one specific ball hitch size. Check the top of your ball hitch for stamp information on the size you need. Campers are generally a 2-5/16″ ball while most other trailers are 2″. However, there are a lot of oddball specialty hitches out there.
Brute Force Removal
This seems to be the favorite method. Can a hitch lock be destroyed with a few hammer blows? In my experience, the shackle-style is the most susceptible to this.
Hacksawing and grinding are next-favorite methods. A lock that is constructed of thick metal will slow their attack. If you can deter them for three or four minutes of tampering, most thieves will switch to an easier target.
Lock picking should not be discounted. Your lock should not be easily picked with a paperclip. However, it seems that lock picking is more common near large urban areas.
Multiple Layers Of Security
The ball hitch is the first target. Adding a cotter pin lock adds another level of deterrent. By the time you add a set of wheel locks and maybe chain the trailer to a post in the ground, you’ve made it clear that they should move along to an easier target.
I’ve even seen folks who remove a wheel to further discourage theft. That’s a lot of dedication.
If you have two deterrent mechanisms and your neighbor only has one, it is likely that they will skip your trailer and go for the easier one.
If your trailer has a lot of valuables, you might consider investing in active GPS tracking. Keep in mind that these lo-jack options need the battery frequently changed on them.
I like to lubricate my locks every year to prevent corrosion. However, most of these models are made from corrosion-resistant materials. Aluminum and Stainless Steel are two top choices for preventing corrosion.
Ease Of Use
You want it to be easy enough to master that anyone in your family can put it on and take it off. All of these locks are fairly straight-forward to figure out. As long as you are a key holder, you should have no difficulty installing or removing these locks.
Conclusion: My Top Pick For A Trailer Lock
I personally bought the Blaylock TL-33. However, it has the downside that the padlock is the weak point. If you can afford it, I think the BRHL Steel Ball Equipment Lock is going to offer the ultimate protection.