What Is The Difference Between Category 1 and 2 Hitch?

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Last Updated on September 29, 2022

We all know for a fact that hitches come in several categories to meet varying size and weight handling requirements for implementing proper fit. Often, it’s the category 0 to 4 that gets used for individual purposes.

However today we are here to talk about specifically what is the difference between category 1 and 2 hitch. Now, these two are meant for compact to moderately large tractors. And obviously, there are cat 1 vs cat 2 dimensions differences that exist along with a lot of other areas where they would be varying from each other.

As someone who needs to choose between these two, a brief comparison will suit the best for such a situation. And so, here we go!

What Is The Difference Between Category 1 and 2 Hitch

Category 1 vs Category 2 Hitch: Differences

There are several areas where the cat 1 and cat 2 hitches can be different from each other. And so, let’s get into the varying characteristics one by one below

Horsepower Range is Different

In the first part of the category 1 vs category 2 3-point hitch comparison, we would like to go through the horsepower matter. There is a specific range of horsepower of tractors that these categories are meant to work for.

Any tractor that works with less than 20 horsepower, the category 0 or 1 (with the 1-4 numbering method) hitch will be suitable for its use. With category 1 hitch, a 20 to 40 horsepower truck will work as a standard suitable option.

For tractors that are around 90 horsepower, the category 2 hitches will be more usable for those. Another point is that if a tractor’s horsepower is right in the middle of the two categories horsepower range, then either one can be used. 

However, the manufacturing design will play a huge role in the decision.


With the category progressing, the brackets used for it get heavier as well. And also, the need for accommodating iron pins that are heavier raises with it. This is for the implement mounting hardware.

For the category 1 hitch, the measurement for the top link pin is ¾ inches in diameter. Both lift arm pins get thicker as well. Around 7/8 inch thicker. Also, here the spacing between both fit arms is 26 inches.

On the other hand, with category 2 hitches, the top link pin diameter increases to an inch almost. There’s also a rise in lift arm pins. It gets 1 1/8 inches. Then again, the spacing rises as well, you’ll find there’s 32 inches measurement here.

Tractors and Implements

The implements that you can use on hitch based on the category, will be different always. So, you must find out first if it will fit the purpose. 

The tractor has enough power to pull a certain implement is the major requirement. And then comes the ability of a 3-point hitch of a certain category to lift as well as control the implement.

You’ll need to check the horsepower once again, to figure out whether a category 1 or category 2 hitch will fit.

“Limited” Usage of Category

This only happens with category 1 hitches. There’s a limited category 1 hitch situation where it might share the same dimension of a regular category 1 hitch, but the lifting capacity still varies. This is not the case with category 2 though.

The limited cat 1 hitches won’t be able to lift the regular cat 1 implements high enough to match a certain performance need. And that’s the catch.

A great example of a limited cat 1 hitch would be John Deere 1 series. Since the hitch here is quite lower to the ground, there’s not much capacity for it to lift high enough. Or even the flexibility of opening wide enough like a full-size cat 1 hitch.

That’s why you may have to use specific implements for this category.

Frequently Asked Questions

Will Category 1 implements fit a Category 2 tractor?

This is possible but quite risky. The cat 1 implements you are currently using will ideally require a cat 1 tractor. If you go with a cat 2 tractor, then the stress it would put might be a little too much for a cat 1 implement. 

And that setup can bring damages and issues that might later need further professional repair or even replacement of certain parts. So before doing anything like that, we are extra cautious.

What is a Category 1 hitch?

This is a hitch that is generally great for compact or even subcompact tractors that are of a certain horsepower range. 

Typically, these come with 7/8” lift armholes and a top link pin diameter of ¾”. There’s also a spacing distance between lift arms measuring 26” as well as a 15” height.

What is a Category 2 hitch?

The top link pin with increased to 1-inch diameter and lift arm pins to 1 1/8 inch is the setup that a category 2 hitch provides. Here 32 inches of spacing is common between both arms which are also prone to increase due to hitch use.

Wrapping Up

And now you know what is the difference between category 1 and 2 hitch. Hopefully making a better choice between these two will feel less complex now. However, this could also open different points of view of yours considering other existing categories. 

In all cases, we hope the guide was able to give you a good insight into this matter. And on that note, we’ll leave for today only to come back again with a discussion on a similar topic!

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About the Author: Brian Silvestro

Brian Silvestro is the founder and chief editor of OffroadersArena. He spends his free time tending to his BMW iX SUV and explaining its merits to anyone who'll listen.

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