A hitch camera makes it much easier to hook up your trailer, see what’s in your trailer, see what’s behind you, and much more. If you’re tired of getting out of your truck over and over to line up your hitch with your trailer, then a hitch camera can be the solution.
A hitch camera can be permanent and wired or it can be portable and wireless. It can have its own monitor or some models can send the video signal to your phone or tablet. A hitch camera is different from a backup camera in that it has special built-in functionality designed to help you hook up your trailer alone. Most models are also portable and wireless. A wireless hitch camera gives you the flexibility to move the camera from vehicle to vehicle.
Interested in see other trailer backup solutions? Be sure to see our other articles about some of the best!
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- Backup Camera For Trucks: You Absolutely Need This Camera System Now!
If you’re read any of our other articles about backup cameras you know we’re not fans of wireless backup cameras. Interference often renders them unusable for larger vehicles with a large distance between the back of the vehicle and the receiver on the dash. That being said, a regular backup camera and a hitch camera have different purposes and so are usually placed at different heights on the back of the vehicle. So, it makes sense to design a hitch camera to be portable and wireless so you can place it in the right location.
A backup camera is usually higher because it’s designed to see a wider view to prevent mishaps when backing up and to assist specifically with backing up your vehicle.
A hitch camera is usually placed lower, even on the hitch itself, to give the right angle for lining up the hitch with the trailer. Some are magnetic so that you can attach it directly to the hitch.
The cameras in our list are wireless to make them portable with no installation required. With wireless, you have a choice of frequencies. Most are standard 2.4GHz, but one of the models in our list is 5.8GHz. The theory is that since there is so much interference in the 2.4GHz band that 5.8GHz is a better choice to reduce picture degradation from ambient interference. 5.8GHz also has a larger bandwidth which should support a higher resolution picture.
The problem is that although 5.8GHz should theoretically be less subject to interference, it also has a shorter range, particularly in the presence of obstacles. For examples, it’s likely that in the presence of obstacles and average interference, 5.8GHz will suffer from at least a 30% reduction in range when compared to 2.4GHz. By placing the camera on your hitch, the signal has to travel through your metal tailgate of the truck and the rest of the truck’s metal to make it to the receiver. That’s probably one of the worst obstacle courses you could ask a 5.8GHz signal to navigate.
The bottom line is that every situation will be different and you will need to keep that in mind when choosing a hitch camera.
We searched trailering forums, manufacturer sites, consumer sites, social media, customer review sites, and retail sites to find the most popular and highly rated hitch cameras.
Take a look at our choices and see if one of these models is the best hitch camera for your needs.
If you are often forced to hookup your trailer alone, the Swift Hitch SH01 Portable Wireless Camera System has the features to make it much easier. This is the original portable wireless backup camera system introduced in 2006 by Swift Hitch. With a portable design, reverse imaging, and fully automatic night vision capability, this model has the versatility to make it useful in many applications. Its wireless design makes it highly portable and gives you the flexibility to use it anywhere an extra set of eyes is needed. It charges easily from any 12VDC power port using the included charging cable allowing the camera and monitor to run continuously for up to 4 hours. It uses light-sensing infrared LEDs to automatically adjust for low light conditions and deliver up to 15-feet of reception in darkness. The Reverse Imaging function allows you to choose between over-the-shoulder and rearview mirror perspectives.
Hitch Camera: Features
- Portable, wireless hitch camera with full-color, 2.5-Inch 960 x 240p display, reverse imaging and night vision capable camera
- Automatic infrared night vision mode uses light-sensing LEDs to automatically sense low lighting to deliver up to 15-feet of reception in darkness
- Patent-pending Reverse Imaging allows the user to choose between two different viewing perspectives – rear view mirror over the shoulder
- Unobstructed line-of-sight wireless range of up to 300 feet
- Solid, weather-resistant camera base features a strong magnet and 2 screw holes for quick, easy positioning of the camera for the best viewing angle
- Weather guard on camera protects the on/off switch and power plug from moisture
- Red LED charge indicator and green LED power light keep you informed
- Video out port lets you send video to a larger screen or a recording device
- Unique Y-shaped charging cable allows you to charge the camera and monitor simultaneously
- 1 – 4-hour rechargeable Lithium-Ion battery
- 1 – 12VDC charging cable
- 1 – Soft, protective carrying pouch for camera and monitor
- Convenient and easy to use
- Versatile, portable design
- High-quality construction and materials
- Limited range
- Several complaints of poor quality image
If you frequently hitch a standard or gooseneck trailer to your truck, the iBall 5.8GHz Wireless Magnetic Trailer Hitch Rear View Camera System makes the task much easier and faster. Whether you are an RVer, go boating, fish, go camping, haul horses, haul ATVs, or haul livestock, hooking up the trailer alone can be a frustrating experience including multiple trips in and out of the truck to line up the hitch. This model features a reduced interference 5.8GHz wireless frequency, flexible magnetic mounting, a large 3.5-inch color LCD display, and durable, weather-resistant construction. Easy to use, you just plug the display into an available 12VDC power port, mount the camera near the hitch using its magnetic mount, and turn on the monitor. No installation required.
- Portable, magnetic mount 5.8GHz wireless hitch camera with 3.5-inch color LCD monitor
- Easy-to-use design uses rechargeable 5-hour continuous use lithium-ion battery and mounts magnetically to your hitch with an industrial strength magnet mount
- Wide angle 120-degree field of view
- 6-inch adjustable monitor gooseneck makes view highly adjustable
- Up to 50-foot unobstructed, line-of-site range
- Usable with both standard and gooseneck trailers
- Durable and weather resistant camera
- Designed in the USA
- 1 – USB charging cable
- Easy to use with no setup required
- Clear, wide-angle view
- Portable for use in multiple vehicles
- No installation required
Some reports that the magnetic mount is weak
Several reports that the 50-foot range difficult to obtain
One of the most popular hitch backup cameras, the Hopkins 50002 Smart Hitch Backup Camera System features durable construction and materials, dual-mode display, patent-pending hitch mode, easy plug-in installation using existing tow connectors, a large 3.5-inch display, and detection zone alerts. SmartZone sensors with triple detection zones alert you to the distance and direction of objects while hitching and towing your trailer. Easy to install, the camera mounts behind the license plate and uses existing tow package connectors for installation. The dual-mode display provides a special Hitch Mode that allows you to easily align the hitch ball with your trailer every time. The Hopkins Smart Hitch Camera and Sensor System is the hauler’s way to painless hitching and towing.
- Backup camera hitch camera system with 3.5-inch color monitor and SmartZone sensors
- SmartZone sensors use triple detection zones to determine and relay distance and direction information about nearby objects while hitching and towing your trailer
- Camera mounts behind the license plate and you simply plug it in behind tow package connector using exact OEM connection for quick and easy installation while maintaining electrical functions at the rear of your vehicle
- Dual-mode display has an Everyday Mode and a patent-pending Hitch Mode that makes aligning the hitch ball with your trailer fast and easy.
- High quality, weather-resistant construction and materials insures continued, reliable use for years to come
- Features an exact OEM fit with simple installation that doesn’t require splicing
- Easy installation steps include (1) placing the monitor in the desired location and routing the wire to the rear of the vehicle, (2) attaching the camera and sensor system behind your license plate, and (3) connecting the Plug-In Simple Harness to existing tow package connector
- 1-Year limited warranty
- Easy to install for wired model
- Clear picture day and night
- Dual-mode is a great feature
- Screen is small at 3.5 inches
- Installations screws do not secure properly
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What do you think of these top-rated hitch cameras? Which backup hitch camera are you planning to buy? Please take a moment to leave a comment below.
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A hitch camera will help you backup, hook up, and maneuver your trailer faster, safer, and more efficiently. We sincerely hope that this article has provided you with valuable information that helps you choose the right hitch camera for your needs!