RV Tow Bar Comparison Guide
Trying to pick the perfect Tow Bar to purchase for your application can get pretty confusing. At RVupgrades.com we want to help you sort things out with this in-depth comparison of each tow bar, along with its advantages and disadvantages. What you will find below are motorhome mounted tow bars grouped into 3 different weight ratings. These are all fitted with the 2" x 2" shank found on nearly all motorhomes. We can tell you up front that all of the manufacturers (Blue Ox, Demco, NSA Products & Roadmaster) provide excellent products with no real quality issues. That wasn't always the case. You can see that in the warranties manufacturers offer, going from 30 to 90 days in the past, to manufacturers such as Demco & NSA providing lifetime warranties now. At one time, the base plate or bracket dictated which manufacturer you had to go with, but that is no longer the case. With adapters available for any of the different tow bar to baseplate combinations, your options for the perfect towing setup just got better. Features will play a big role in your decision process, as will the price.
Please Note: Specifications & prices are subject to change without notice, please use these charts as a reference only.
Blue Ox Alpha Tow Bar - This tow bar was a surprise when it was introduced after the hugely successful Aventa LX. We imagined we would see Blue Ox adopt the ball and socket pivot point design for all of its tow bars going forward, but this was not the case. The Alpha went back to the tried and true 3 axis pivot point, and it reminds us a lot of the long lasting Aventa II that made Blue Ox a leader in the towed vehicle towing sector. I'm not sure the non binding latch is really accurate. If you are on level ground and the vehicle is inline with the motorhome, sure, but any other instance and it can be a challenge to release the arms to disconnect. By the way, there is a trick. Turn the steering wheel on the toad one way or the other (depending on which arm is bound up) and it will release the tension. Even so, with its 6500 lb tow rating and excellent price point, the Alpha tow bar has quickly become the go to tow bar for customers looking to tow smaller vehicles.
Demco Commander Tow Bar - The Commader, like the other Demco tow bars, has some really cool features that a seasoned tower will really enjoy. The first being the supported tow bar arms. I love this because I'm always connecting our Jeep by myself and having those arms at the level of the baseplate pins is a nice feature. Also, while hooking up one side, you are not supporting the full weight of both arms as you're bent over. That is a lower back saver. Folding this tow bar up on the back of the motorhome is as simple as swinging one or both legs to either side. Throw in the safety cable supports and coiled cable holder and you have a very well thought out tow bar. Demco also has figured out the truly non binding latch design which we have found to work even under the pressure of an unaligned tow vehicle.
Roadmaster Falcon 2 Tow Bar - There is no doubt that Roadmaster makes very reliable towing products and the Falcon 2 is no exception. If you're looking for a no-nonsense, built-to-last tow bar, you won't go wrong with the Falcon 2. But as other manufacturers have begun to build very innovative features into their tow bars making them easier to use, the Falcon 2 seems to be falling behind in this department. The large cross member that needs to be removed and stored if you don't want your car to look like it has a push bar is a pretty big issue. This is due to the Roadmaster bracket, which requires that cross member, and is something Blue Ox has figured out how to hide in their design. Those awkward tow bar release buttons, which may require a release tool from time to time, is another item to lose along the way. While those issues don't diminish its capabilities, it would be hard to pass up the Demco Commander or Blue Ox Alpha unless you already had a Roadmaster bracket installed on your tow vehicle.
Roadmaster Falcon All Terrain Tow Bar - As mentioned above, the Falcon series tow bar is a very reliable and capable product, with the All Terrain receiving a few much needed upgrades over the Falcon 2. In this tow bar you will find a freedom latch arm release system which allows for easy release of the tow bar arms without the use of a release tool. The self lubricating bushings keep everything moving freely even after years of service. This is a good tow bar and we got to see this in action over a 4 year period with zero problems. But there is still the issue with the storage of the cross member and the shortest warranty of all the manufacturers, at just 1 year, making this tow bar less desirable.
Blue Ox Aladdin Tow Bar - If you're just comparing specifications with other tow bars, the Aladdin doesn't stand out, other than it is partially manufactured using aluminium. It's pretty pricey, especially when matched against the Aventa LX. Even the overall weight is only slightly better than the Aventa LX or the Alpha for that matter. But where this tow bar shines is its tow bar arm weight and that can be a big consideration for users that have bad backs or lack arm strength. So hooking up and disconnecting at the campground is made a little easier with the lighter weight aluminium arms.
Ready Brute RV Tow Bar With Blue Ox Clevis - The Ready Brute is one of the lightest tow bars on the market at just over 30 lbs, but don't let that light weight fool you, this thing is definitely a brute! Unfortunately, this tow bar gets over looked for it's big brother the Ready Brute Elite, which is the same tow bar, but with an integrated surge braking system. One of the nice features of this tow bar is the non binding release handles, which are low profile and in-line with the tow bar arm, and less likely to get hung up with taillight wiring or your shorts (which has happened to me a time or two). Also, the stow away latch is a much better design than the Blue Ox system found on the Alpha, Aventa LX and Aladdin. In those tow bars there is a pin that is positioned into a bracket on the shank, but if you do not get it all the way locked (which can be an issue as the tow bar gets older) it can drop. If you're backing up when this happens, you are very likely going to bend a tow bar arm. The Ready Brute uses a ring that is latched over a post on the shank and it is not accidentally coming undone. We have listed the Ready Brute with the Blue Ox triple lug clevis, but this is also available for Roadmaster and Demco baseplates.
Ready Brute Elite RV Tow Bar With Blue Ox Clevis - The Ready Brute Elite is the Ready Brute tow bar we talk about above, with the addition of a braking system. I wasn't a big fan of these cable operated braking systems when I first learned about them, I mean how good could a simple system like this actually be? Well I must admit I was wrong, while this is not the most innovative braking system (I would have to say the SMI Braking Systems would get my vote here), it is a very reliable and effective setup. So what is a cable operated braking system you ask? It is a system that uses a cable run from the towed vehicle's brake pedal to a surge style hitch shank. So as the brakes are applied on the motorhome, the shank slides forward pulling the cable, which in-turn applies the brakes on the towed vehicle. NSA, the manufacturer of the system, incorporates a 250 lb spring & strut setup in that shank so that the cable is only pulled during braking situations, and not when, say, an exhaust brake is engaged or the transmission downshifts when descending hills. We got a chance to monitor the use on a 2015 Chevy Colorado over the past RV'ing season and we are impressed with ease of installation and flawless operation. There are many customers that would benefit from this setup and we feel this is a setup that cannot be overlooked.
Demco Dominator Tow Bar - The Dominator, like the Demco Commander, tow bar has features you don't see in the other tow bars, which a seasoned tower will really appreciate. The first being the supported tow bar arms. I love this because I'm always connecting our Jeep by myself and having those arms at the level of the baseplate pins is a nice feature. Also, while hooking up one side you are not supporting the full weight of both arms as you're bent over. That is a back saver. The Dominator is also 10 + pounds lighter than the Commander, which makes things easier on your back as you're hooking the tow vehicle to the baseplate. Folding this tow bar up on the back of the motorhome is as simple as swinging one or both legs to either side. The safety cable supports and coiled cable holder are also really nice touches Demco builds into their tow bars. They have figured out the truly non binding latch design which we have found to work even under the pressure of an unaligned tow vehicle.
Blue Ox Aventa LX Tow Bar - It's hard to find fault in the Aventa LX tow bar, but there are a few minor issues that keep it from being perfect. First is the so called non binding release system. While the current system of unlocking the tow bar arms has greatly improved over the years, it's still may not be accurate 100% of the time. This is the same system found on all of the adjustable tow bars for Blue Ox except the new Avail. These arms tend to bind if you stop with the towed vehicle in an incomplete turn (with the RV straight and the car still at an angle, which is even worse on uneven ground). Now there is a pretty easy way to get those arms to release without the use of your foot, or dare I say a hammer, and that is to simply turn the steering wheel of the towed vehicle one direction or the other to release that tension. The other minor issue is getting the tow bar in the stored position. Since the ball and socket moves in all directions, it can be a challenge to fold it up and get the pin to line up into the storage slot on the shank. But those little issues are far over shadowed by the extreme durability of this tow bar and that near maintenance-free ball and socket pivot design. It's probably what makes this one of the top selling tow bars.
Blue Ox Avail Tow Bar - This is the newest tow bar by Blue Ox and it's packed with some much improved features. But curiously, they did not adopt the ball and socket pivot point which is such a great feature on the Aventa LX. Even so, the new arm release system seems to be a hit with owners and most have stated that they have not had any issues releasing the tow bar arms in any condition. The other big difference are the 2" longer arms, which moves larger vehicles with wide baseplate tabs back away from the motorhome. This limits the chance of the towed vehicle hitting the back of the RV during very sharp turns. Other new features are the improved storage tabs making it faster and easier to fold over, and a metallic paint finish that gives the tow bar a unique look. Which after a good long run in the rain will pretty much fix that :-)
Demco Excali-Bar II Tow Bar - The Excali-Bar II boasts the highest tow rating of any of the 2" receiver mounted tow bars on the market at 10,500lbs. But this doesn't mean you can just slide it into your hitch on your RV and tug around a monster truck. Most RV'ers don't even realize that their hitch on their RV has a tow rating limit and many times it is as low as 5,000 lbs, even on some of the bigger motorhomes. So be sure to verify this before buying that big towed vehicle. Demco stays consistent with their motorhome mounted tow bars, offering the same great features no matter what rating the tow bar has and the Excali-Bar II is no different. The tow arms are supported for easy hook-up, multiple storage options, a 1-1/2" drop or rise built into the shank for easy height adjustments, non binding legs, and cable and electrical cord supports so they never drag. Once again, great features a seasoned veteran of towing will certainly enjoy.