There’s no shortage of bearing bust stories among guys and gals who regularly go trailering. I’d be surprised if you didn’t get a bearing that burnt out way too soon or a hub that got eaten by the rust in no time. Indeed, it’s as irritating as dust caps that don’t fit or looking for that perfect bearing tightness.
What’s worse is that there’s also the water factor to consider in boat trailers. Without the best boat trailer bearings and the proper setup, rust might rear its ugly head before long, and all that smooth cruising just disappears.
Want to know the secret to make your hubs last longer? Are you looking for a better boat trailer bearing replacement? Given what we’ve outlined here, “better” might not do these selections and tips justice. Once you read this review, we’re sure that you’ll never have to put up with those bearing blues.
Table of Contents
- Best Boat Trailer Bearing Reviews
- 1. Rigid Hitch 280453-2 Trailer Bearing Repair Kits
- 2. Libra 22017 Trailer Idler Hub Kits
- 3. CE Smith 13515 Galvanized Trailer Hub Kit
- 4. Rigid Hitch BT-100-04-A Trailer Hub Kit
- 5. XiKe Trailer Wheel Hub Bearings Kit
- 6. Rigid Hitch BT-150-22-A Trailer Hub Kit
- 7. FKG GL4853A*4 Trailer Bearing Kit
- 8. C.E. Smith 13511 Trailer Hub Kit Package
- 9. Rigid Hitch 280451-2 Trailer Bearing Repair Kits
- 10. WPS 13 Trailer Tandem Axle Bearing Kits
- 11. Southwest Wheel Store ASK84 Bearing Kit
- Buying Guide
- Care and Maintenance
- Frequently Asked Questions
Best Boat Trailer Bearing Reviews
1. Rigid Hitch 280453-2 Trailer Bearing Repair Kits
This boat trailer wheel bearing kit provides you everything you need to easily replace your trailer’s shoddy bearing. Coupled with its performance and quality, I’d say no better kit could get you rolling quickly and smoothly in no time.
I finished a 400-mile boating trip to Lake Superior with my bunk trailer using the bearing on this kit. I fit it on a Dexter straight axle with relative ease and took only a few minutes. After all, I got everything I needed, races included, to replace the trailer’s old bearing. I believe this is always a surety if you pay attention to what trailer sizes the kits you buy are compatible with.
I have to say that the oil seals are worth a special mention because they’re sturdier and overall better at keeping the bearing lubed up and moisture-free. During that trip, the bearing didn’t overheat at all, and driving was smooth. I haven’t gotten plenty of opportunities to tell whether it holds up well when submerged, but I didn’t notice any dip in performance every time I did so.
I don’t really mind this boat trailer bearing kit being China-made since I’ve tried a lot of kits with that label. Besides, most kits are sourced from that country nowadays, so there’s really not much of an option on this topic. I just do my best to find the diamonds in the rough, and this kit is one of them.
2. Libra 22017 Trailer Idler Hub Kits
This boat trailer hub kit practically installs itself out of the box. Its sheer value for money puts the icing on the cake.
I was instantly pulled by the cheap price tag of these kits, and thought, “Why not give them a try as backup bearings?”. I wasn’t too keen on buying them at first because of the downvotes on their durability and overall performance. Good thing I didn’t ride the bandwagon.
From the get-go, I immediately liked that it took me only a few minutes to attach it to my tandem axle pontoon boat trailer. It didn’t hurt that I already had a spare, suitable bearing buddy on hand. I did lather the bearings with plenty of grease in the hopes that it would do the trick, and I think it did because it’s still performing solidly after two trips totaling up to 500 miles.
Do take note that I only ever lugged no more than 2,500 pounds with it. Paired with the bearing buddy, it appears to keep itself rust-free though I do make it a point to avoid submerging the bearings for long, if not at all. No overheating as well, and this has been the case 6 months after purchase. You don’t need to go overboard with the greasing since it would only do more harm than good.
3. CE Smith 13515 Galvanized Trailer Hub Kit
Boat trailer hub replacement couldn’t get any more hassle-free with this hub kit as it comes pre-assembled. A bonafide time saver for the on-the-go boater.
I instantly like the fact that it comes pre-packed. I admit that I’d take this any day over other hub kits that require assembly, especially if it’s well-designed and packed like this. I fitted this to my roller trailer and regularly tow my 16’ Whaler with it. Installation took less than 10 minutes using my trailer’s original castle nut, a washer, and this kit’s cotter pin.
The hub contains a generous amount of grease already, which was a welcome surprise. I asked more about it and learned that the manufacturer used Kendall SHP 2 Red, marine-grade grease. As I’ve said above, I do my best to keep my bearings unsubmerged when rolling off my boat. However, considering the galvanized steel make of the hub and the tight seal, I’d be surprised if any sign of rust appears on it soon.
I was a little disappointed when I thought it came with a grease nipple. Not really a major con as I’ve since paired it with a decent bearing buddy. Nevertheless, it would have immensely benefited from it and would have completed its no-hassle appeal.
4. Rigid Hitch BT-100-04-A Trailer Hub Kit
Ever-reliable and well-made, this is the trailer hub replacement to get if you want a boat trailer hub assembly that won’t disappoint.
One of the oldest bearing kits that I’ve used and continue to use, this Rigid Hitch assembly impressed me from the start and continues to wow me with all the mileage under its belt. I’ve been enjoying towing most of my boats with this swell kit. So much so that I was just pleasantly surprised one day when I learned that I’ve already driven more than 15,000 miles with it!
It’s a smooth operator and just ticks pretty much all the fundamentals, too. The fit and finish are outstanding, to say the least. It’s the kind of kit that immediately puts your mind at ease if you’re worried about getting water all over your hub or it taking a friction beating. You only need to look at the details, such as the double lip oil seals, to know what I’m talking about.
Installing it is still relatively easy but not particularly amenable to beginners. My advice is to pack it well with marine grease before assembling it onto the hub and greasing it generously again after everything is in place in the trailer. I did have to look for the right spindle to match it, and it’s still up and running so far with negligible signs of heating.
5. XiKe Trailer Wheel Hub Bearings Kit
Much like the consummate boy scout, this kit comes prepared for whatever the elements and the road throw at it.
This is one of the most topnotch hub kits for boat trailers I’ve owned because of the high-quality components included. It’s just well-designed, to say the least. And by this, I only really mean that it manages to fulfill its duty without the usual hitches.
The hub dust cover feels substantial and thicker than most I’ve owned so far. The same goes for the actual bearings, and I agree with most of the reviewers that the thickness of the said components deserves a 5-star rating. The oil seal is a double lip, which is practically my gold standard for moisture and rust protection.
My previous kit got soaked in saltwater because I used a cheap bearing buddy on it, and it didn’t take long for rust to intrude. I bought this one with a better buddy, and it’s still working well with my bunk trailer after 6 months of use. Not a single instance of overheating and no rust yet even though I don’t grease it as much as my other trailers.
6. Rigid Hitch BT-150-22-A Trailer Hub Kit
This kit is one of the more complete ones on this list. I say this with regards to its versatility when it comes to the number of trailers you can integrate it to.
I’ve used this boat trailer wheel hub on two of my trailers, both with different seals. The first one is only compatible with a 1.25” seal while the other one only uses a 1.50” one. I like that Rigid Hitch anticipated that as it only means I can use it as a spare for more than one trailer. Of course, you still have to meet the 1-1/16″ spindle diameter requirement.
I wouldn’t have highlighted its adaptability if it hadn’t proved to be a stellar performer. Even though it only supports 2,200 pounds, this still manages to help tow most of my small- to medium-sized vessels. Heating, while apparent, never goes overboard. Do take note that I haven’t gone over 200 miles with this yet, and my total, at most, is around 800 miles.
For the price, this kit beats plenty of the other competition out there. I love that I get everything I need, even the lug nuts, so I don’t have to put up with the usual hassle of finding one specific part that would complete the assembly. That happens A LOT in most of my trailer axle hub replacement endeavors, and this is just a breath of fresh air, to say the least.
7. FKG GL4853A*4 Trailer Bearing Kit
One of the more generous kits included here, this FKG set swiftly earns a place in your trailer’s spare parts compartment. It goes for quantity without sacrificing quality.
This is another kit that I’d recommend as a backup bearing kit, especially for those who love to travel long distances and want to have any essential part on hand. I once got a burned-out bearing while sport fishing in the Salton Sea. This kit basically saved that trip because it covered the rest of my way back to Scottsdale, which is still more than 400 miles.
GVW was close to 3,000 pounds. I felt some heat but made sure to apply grease at the right intervals, usually every 4 hours. It still keeps my roller trailer running without issue after 3 trips.
Expect no-nonsense installation from this, especially if you already know the basics. The lug nuts weren’t included but that’s rarely an issue if you already have most of the ones you need. It might not be as versatile as the Rigid Hitch product above, but this still shines with the sheer number of neat parts you get.
8. C.E. Smith 13511 Trailer Hub Kit Package
C.E. Smith meant it when it said this comes as a package. You get an entire hub, ready-to-use, that you can fasten to your trailer with minimal hassle.
I’ve tried a couple of pre-assembled hub kits already, and this one is the most convenient and reliable for me if the ease of installation and the performance are factored in. This basically sets the standard for how quickly you can install or replace an entire hub for a boat trailer in my book. It took me all but 5 minutes to get this thing in place.
I haven’t had any issues lately that required an impromptu road repair that is bearing-related. However, with how quickly I could get everything in place with this hub kit, I’d definitely want to carry this around with me if I need to do a fast repair while on the road. Nevermind the included lug nuts because the studded hub and spindle are all I’ll need!
Of course, convenience just forms half of the equation. I was also impressed by the minimal signs of heating when I trailed for 500 miles with it. I did make it a point to liberally lubricate it before setting off.
9. Rigid Hitch 280451-2 Trailer Bearing Repair Kits
The components included in this kit spell quality and reliability without taking a big toll on your wallet. Made to last and cheap, these trailer bearings are a rare combination in repair kits.
This used to be the spare kit I frequently bought before I discovered C.E. Smith and TKG’s offerings above. While I now tend to lean toward either of the two for that purpose, I still think this Rigid Hitch kit remains unsurpassed if we’re looking at value for money and affordability. The quality of the materials and the designs of each one do well to reinforce this.
I remember going over 3,500 miles with a single pair in this kit before it inevitably succumbed to overheating. Even then, I was already pushing it to the limit, as I trailed it for 500 miles with only a few stops. I attribute this to the thickness of the bearings and caps.
That same quality undoubtedly boosts its durability. Even so, I would have preferred the oil seal to be double lip as it would have made the protection top-tier. I’m also not too confident about its ability to keep the grease in. Incidentally, that’s why I chose to try out repair kits by other brands. But for this kit’s corrosion resistance, especially as I used to wantonly submerge my bearings back then, I’m willing to turn a blind eye to that.
10. WPS 13 Trailer Tandem Axle Bearing Kits
This EPS set seamlessly combines quantity and quality. What I got for the price and when I unwrapped its competently packaged contents was more than what I anticipated.
This fit my roller trailer’s #3500 tandem axles to a tee, and trailering could not be more enjoyable and stress-free with this combination. In my experience, this is probably the only bearing in this list that makes trailering a hefty boat on a tandem axle a smooth and even engaging experience. This has become my favorite bearing to use for when I’m trailering more than 3,500 pounds for this reason.
The packaging is well worth mentioning since I actually got mine still neatly assembled and zero signs of components being thrown around during delivery. No damage or scratches, which is a big deal for me since I’ve had my fair share of products that I had to return because of poor packaging. But ultimately, it’s the way it actively keeps the parts clean that makes the packaging a winner.
Every part included and delivered that coveted bang for my buck. They aren’t hard to install as long as you pay attention to the spindles and the numbers imprinted on the bearing and seal. I used a bearing packing tool as well, which greatly helped reduce the time it took to install everything.
11. Southwest Wheel Store ASK84 Bearing Kit
This kit is complete not only in integral parts but also in delivering what you expect from bearings.
I have close to 5,000 miles with only a single bearing in this kit. With that fact in mind, I can expect to get as much mileage and a good number of years from the remaining three.
I technically got everything I needed when I bought this kit so installation wasn’t that tricky. Installation took around 15 minutes, which is average for me. I love that they threw in plenty of shiny lug nuts as well, which is just what made this a bargain with the price considered.
I then greased it with an Amsoil lubricant. Don’t underestimate the role of a good grease brand in keeping your hub in stellar working condition. I think it deserves as much credit for having the bearing last this long.
Speaking of grease, this is actually one of the few bearings I’ve owned that manages to turn fluidly even without lubrication. Who says there’s no such thing as a greaseless trailer bearing? Still, I won’t be taking it out with no grease for obvious reasons.
The first thing that you ever really need to look at when buying the best boat trailer bearings is their compatibility with certain parts of your trailer. Purchasing one that isn’t suitable defeats the purpose of buying boat trailer bearings and seals as replacements, after all. Simply remember the following factors so you won’t encounter the usual installation issues associated with this vital trailering component.
Using the wrong size would be an exercise in futility since the chances are high that the bearing won’t fit the axle or, as in most cases, the stud size. The right boat trailer wheel bearings sizes shouldn’t be hard to determine if you know where to look.
The good thing is manufacturers make life easy for everyone via part coding. Sizes are usually associated with numbers like L68149 or L44649, which are engraved on the actual bearing. Most of the time, you only need to clean your old bearing to see this then use it as a guide when buying the right one.
You can take things further by measuring the spindle’s width using a digital caliper. Some manufacturers prefer to display the width of the spindle. After all, if it matches your measurement, there’s a good chance that it is compatible.
Sealed boat trailer hubs need to use marine-grade seals as much as possible to prevent the ingress of water and the egress of grease once submerged. Anything less could mean corrosion and rust when the hub is frequently exposed to moisture. It’s safe to say that you should favor marine-grade seals while using a reliable bearing buddy with this fact considered.
Overheating spans numerous factors, such as driving habits, GVW, design, and material of the bearings. At best, you can just look at how smoothly the bearings turn, greased or otherwise, and the relative thickness of the components and material used.
Care and Maintenance
Boat trailer wheel bearings maintenance is crucial if you want to make the most out of your wheel bearings. Not only will you assure the best performance but greatly extend its life as well. Look no further than these guidelines to keep your bearing in tip-top shape.
- Assuming you already know how to disassemble your bearings, you need to remove the inner and outer bearings to get them cleaned. If you’re having trouble opening the seal, I’ve found using a screwdriver makes things easier.
- Wipe all the grease from the bearings as well as the spindle with the aid of a suitable solvent. A clean cloth will do for this.
- Take this opportunity to inspect the bearing for any signs of rust. Turn it slowly as you conduct your observation. The same applies to the bearing slot inside the hub.
- Know what grease to use. Oil bath hubs for boat trailers typically run best in specific gear oil, like 80- or 90-weight, while vortex boat trailer hubs won’t do anything other than marine grease. It’s best to consult the manual for this or ask the company about the exact or most recommended grease to use.
- Regardless of boat trailer hub size or type, make it a point to never mix two types of grease in the bearing and other parts that need to be lubricated. It could lead to compatibility issues that might take a toll on your bearing’s performance or even lead to quicker overheating. This is why you should always make sure your bearings are spick and span before you repack them with a new type of grease.
- Any bearing, spindle, or hub that shows signs of rust or scarring should be replaced as soon as possible, especially if you’ll be using the trailer. Replace only with sets to ensure compatibility.
Frequently Asked Questions
Who makes the best boat trailer bearings?
The offerings I’ve mentioned above have all received fairly high positive ratings on Amazon. Having had first-hand experience with each one, I definitely agree with most user feedback and recommend all of them.
If you want affordability that doesn’t sacrifice quality, I’d recommend Rigid Hitch and C.E. Smith. Basically, every brand mentioned here delivers value for money based on what I got and continue to enjoy from their kits.
What are the different types of boat trailer bearings?
There are actually no “types” of boat trailer bearings per se. At best, they can be categorized according to their sizes, but even then, their functions still remain the same.
That being said, there are different types of lubrication systems applied in modern boat trailer bearings. Oil bath wheel hubs usually spare you from the hassle of greasing the bearings directly. Because most setups only require you to check the oil level and add more if the need arises.
There are also the bearing buddy and the standard dust cap, which typically require you to apply grease by hand. A bearing buddy provides more active protection against rust and moisture.
How to install boat trailer bearings?
Improper installation could lead to unfortunate incidents like your trailer’s wheels literally falling off. Assuming the old bearing has already been removed, begin by packing the races and inner and outer bearings with grease then attach them to the hub. Put oil seal face down on top of the inner bearings. Be sure it’s firmly set by pounding it with a rubber mallet.
Afterward, grease every portion of the spindle liberally. Slide the hub with the inner bearing first into the spindle. Then, attach the washer then screw on the nut to secure the wheel’s hold. Tighten it as much as you can then back it off slightly by performing a partial reverse turn. It’s best to use a wrench for this.
Once done, fasten the cotter pins. Test the spinning of the hub. It should spin smoothly with just the right firmness. Lastly, put the dust cap on or bearing buddy by hammering it in place.
How often should you repack boat trailer bearings?
The average recommendation is every 7,500 miles. Larger trailers push it to 10,000 miles. Experts also recommend yearly repacking.
What size are boat trailer bearings?
The size varies depending on the number codes I’ve mentioned above. Most boat trailer bearings sizes range between 1” to 1.7”.
How do I know if my trailer bearings are bad?
Always regard rust as well as overheating as red flags. Noisy bearings are also a no-no and a sign that you either need to lubricate them or replace them altogether. Wheels that don’t turn fluidly warrant an inspection, too.
The best boat trailer bearings allow you to perform road repairs without difficulty and take the necessary precautions to repel rusting and overheating as long as possible. Nonetheless, not all of these factors hinge on the materials and designs of each one. How you use them is just as crucial, stressing the importance of adopting proper boat trailering practices.