If you often tow a trailer with your vehicle, one of the safety considerations would be the brake controller. A brake controller is meant to activate the electric brakes on the trailer when you step on the brake pedal. Ordinarily, brake controllers are easy to install and they will allow you to monitor the trailer that you are towing. Failure to have the best brake controller will make it quite difficult for you to slow down or stop when you have towing a trailer. This is due to the fact the trailer may keep moving at the same speed.
There are so many different types and brands of the brake controllers on the market. This may make it a little difficult for an average consumer to find the best trailer brake controller. Fortunately, we have taken up on the task and put together a number of pointers that would help you make an informed decision. We will look at a number of trailer brake controller reviews so as to help you make a good decision. Let us look at some basics about brake controllers.
Types of Brake Controller
Ideally, when you are looking for the best brake controller it is important to note the different types of brake controllers. There are two main types of brake controllers on the market, namely:
- Proportional brake controllers
- Time-delayed brake controllers
- Proportional Brake Controllers:
These are also known as the pendulum brake controllers for a number of reasons. Ideally, they use sense motion and the position of the pendulum is what will act as the sensor. Before using the proportion brake controllers, you will need to have them calibrated. The force that the pendulum swings with is what will determine the response of the brake controller. If the vehicle is on a levelled surface, the pendulum will not move and as such the device will not sense any motion.
- Time Delayed Brake Controllers:
This is the other type of brake controllers and seems to be more advanced in some features. For instance, you will get pre-determined power when the truck towing the trailer stops. You will set the power in advance as this depends on the weight of the trailer being towed. There is a delay that will occur when you step in the brake pedals and this delay can be adjusted using the sync switch. Conversely, this type of brake controller seems to cause a lot of wear on the brake system.
The choice of the type of brake controllers will depend on a number of things, which we will look at subsequently.
Our Top Pick Best Brake Controller 2018
You will realize that there are so many different types and brands of brake controllers. In a bid to make it easier for you to find the best trailer brake controller, we have come up with a number of reviews of some of the best brake controllers available for you. Here are some of the top rated brake controllers.
Tekonsha 90195 P3 Electronic Brake Control
Tekonsha 90195 P3 electronic brake control is an electric brake controller that is highly rated. While it is considered to be rather expensive, it is quite effective and the professional drivers highly recommend it. When you choose to buy this brake controller, you can be sure that you will get your money’s worth and exceptional quality. In any case, you will not worry about your safety and that of your trailer with this brake controller and as such, it is worth the price. The Tekonsha P3 brake controller is one of the best options available on the market.
With this model, you will enjoy a braking system that seems to be quite proportional. There are so many features that have been included just to make it safe and reliable brake controller for your trailer. You will have the option of customizing your braking to suit your needs in the best ways possible. The electric brake controller has a very large digital display, which is easy to read. As such, you will be able to monitor the trailer, without losing your focus while driving.
The brake controller comes with 5 different settings that will allow you to adjust for pulling different types of trailers. With the upfront controls, you will enjoy the ease of use of the brake controller. All the diagnostics that are included in the Tekonsha brake controller are easy to follow and understands. There is a warning system in the form of a flashing red light and this will make you aware of not trailer brakes situations. The snap-in mounting clip will make it easier to mount the device and remove it with ease, when not in use.
Tekonsha P3 brake controller Features
- The Tekonsha 90195 P3 electronic brake control comes with a compact design, which will fit on your dashboard easily and has a snap-in mounting clip for easier positioning.
- There is an integrated plug-n-play port on this electric brake controller which will accommodate 2 plug adapters.
- The boost feature is a mechanism that will allow you to customize the braking system. You can choose between the electric trailer brake and electric over hydraulic mode.
- The Tekonsha P3 brake controller comes with a very distinct and large LCD display that has multiple color options and has 3 different languages; French, Spanish and English.
- The diagnostics on the Tekonsha brake controller are easy to understand and show a number of essential details like the output voltage, brake, battery and warning alerts among others.
CURT 51140 TriFlex Brake Control
The CURT 51140 is an inertia-based brake control mode, which is quite unique. It is a time-based braking control for your trailer, which will work to your advantage when you are towing a trailer. This is designed in such a manner that it is easy to install and can be used on different vehicles. There is a quite plug harness that will make easier for you to install the brake controller with so much ease and enjoy the wide range of benefits and features that it has to offer. Stopping a trailer takes a whole lot of power and this would be the ideal brake controller to serve your needs.
The compact design of this CURT trailer brake controller is quite appealing and will be easy to use. When you need to haul heavy trailers, you will need a reliable braking system, which this controller will enhance, so as to make a quick and efficient stop when the need arises. With the amazing features that the Venture carries, you will have absolute and precise control of your trailer. With the amazing design, you can easily mount it n any angle and make use of the power level adjustment feature, which is automatic.
The CURT brake controller is engineered in such a manner that you will not be distracted when you are driving. As such, it can be mounted easily on the dashboard and will plug into the vehicle’s socket without a problem. This device works with cruise control and the anti-lock brakes, which is what makes it among the best trailer brake controller devices on the market. You do not need any special skills to install and calibrate it to serve your towing needs effectively. This is one of the best options that you can go for if you want an effective and easy to use brake controller.
CURT 51140 TriFlex Brake Control Features
- The CURT brake controller will increase the brake power effective as this will be based on the sensitivity adjustment and gain setting.
- There is an LED indicator that lengthens when the controller applies the power to help in stopping your trailer.
- The CURT 51140 is well equipped with quick plugs that allow you to install it easily and even calibrate it for various towing needs.
- You will enjoy the efficiency of this brake controller as it will operate 2 to 6 trailer brakes at a time, which is equivalent to 1 to 3 brake axles.
- With the CURT trailer brake controller, you will have an easy time mounting it as it can mount anywhere and you can place it at an angle that is convenient for you.
Hopkins 47297 INSIGHT Brake Control
One of the essential parts of any vehicle is the braking system and this applies to trailers as well. The Hopkins Insight brake controller is designed in such a manner that it will give exceptional braking for your trailer. It is quite convenient when it comes to the process of mounting and installation. The controls are strategically placed where you can easily reach them and also the display system is quite visible. This is certainly one the best options according to most trailer brake controller reviews out there.
The flex-mount design is quite innovative in that you will not need any tools to be set up this brake controller. This has raised the standard high for other brands as a result of the exceptional performance and ease of use. In addition, there is the flex display which is ideal to help you keep your eyes on the road, while still monitoring the braking of the trailer. The manual controls will be placed within your reach, thanks to the flex control system on this brake controller. The good news is that you can install it for any vehicle conveniently, without the need for special tools or skills.
If you are looking for an easier towing experience, then you can trust the Hopkins brake controller will not disappoint. You will get everything that is needed to make it easier to install it including, adapters, wiring kits, connectors and so much more. This will work on any vehicle, whether it has hydraulic or electric brakes. The other advantage is the fact that it gives you an advanced proportional technology that gives you exceptional stability and efficient braking when towing vehicles.
Hopkins Insight brake controller Features
- The Hopkins brake controller comes with an extremely advanced brake technology which will mirror the braking of the tow vehicle for smooth stops.
- The main advantage of this brake controller is the fact that it works with all trailers that have hydraulic or electric brakes.
- The digital sensitivity and power setting enhance the efficiency of the brake controller and ensure exceptional performance.
- The Hopkins Insight brake controller has the short proof protection that will support up to 8 trailer brakes, which accommodates a wide range of trailer vehicles.
- There are a flexible mounting, display and control that will make it easier to install and control the brake controller, without being distracted while on the road.
Draw-Tite 20191 I-Stop IQ Electronic Brake Control
Draw Tite 20191 is a proportional brake controller, which is electric. This is one of the best options on the market as it comes with quite a number of versatile features to enhance your convenience. It gives you great functionality as it has a self-levelling adjustment, which eliminates any need to make adjustments. This brake controller utilizes the sensor technology and has a boost feature, which will give you the capability to apply more trailer braking in advance. As such, you will find it quite useful for the heavier trailers that you are towing.
The Draw Tite brake controller will work proportionally in reverse when you are backing into the tough spots. The main objective of the brake control is to give you a smooth towing experience. As far as the mounting goes, there is a snap-in mounting clip that will allow you to mount the device on any part of the dashboard. It also features a removable electrical connector which will allow you to store the device easily when you are not using it. Most drivers are impressed with the digital readout, which will show you the electrical connection and the amount of voltage that is applied to the trailer braking system.
There is an LED display that will show all the self-diagnostics in the event of an eventuality. This is a fully automated brake controller and as such, you can tow your trailer without any unnecessary distractions while driving. This is an affordable electric brake controller and has been known to provide exceptional performance. You can use 2 plug adapters as the brake controller utilizes the plug-n-play port on the vehicle. This will work with most vehicle sockets, which makes it an ideal choice.
Draw Tite 20191 Electronic Brake Control Features
- The Draw Tite 20191 is a proportional electric brake control which is specially engineered for 1 to 3 axle trailers.
- The self-diagnostics feature is quite unique and in the event that there are some issues that occur, they will be displayed on the LED readout.
- The boost feature on the Draw Tite brake controller will give you the power that you need to make efficient stops and it will work proportionally in reverse.
- This brake control utilizes the plug-n-play port and as a result, you can easily make use of the 2-plug adapters to connect it to your vehicle.
- The snap-in mounting clip and detachable electric connector will make it easier to remove the electric brake controller when it is not in use.
Reese Towpower 83500 Brakeman Digital Brake Control
The Reese Brakeman digital brake controller is one of a kind and will not disappoint you. If you are looking for the best brake controller, you might as well consider this particular model as it is specially designed for 1 to 4 axle trailers. The beauty of this model is that you will not have to rely on guess work when you are towing your trailer; it will give absolute control of the brake adjustment, with total accuracy. As a result, you will be able to tow your trailer with greater confidence.
The reason why it is regarded as the best trailer brake controller is the fact that you will be able to control the amount and rate of braking that you want to apply. Depending on the particular situation, you can choose to adjust the braking to either soft, medium or even aggressive. The brake controller is compatible with all the anti-lock braking systems, which makes it useful for most trailers. The thumb wheel output adjustment will make it easier for you to adjust the amount of power you desire when applying your brakes.
There is a digital output indicator that has been included in the Reese brake controller. This will show all the diagnostics and alert you when there are any issues with the system. There is mounting hardware included and the overall process of installation is pretty much straightforward and simple. It comes with the plug and play feature, which will make the connection process quite quick and easy. You will also get the upfront manual over-ride control, which is a safety mechanism as well as the overload indicator. This will ensure that you are using the brake controller within its limits and prolong its life while enhancing your safety.
Reese Towpower Digital Brake Control Features
- The thumb wheel is meant to make it easier for you to make power adjustments. As such, you will be able to choose the braking power to apply from soft to aggressive.
- Reese Brakeman digital brake control can be mounted at any angle as it comes with the essential mounting hardware and does not need any levelling to be done.
- It has a plug and play feature, which gives you a smooth and fast installation process, which will not require any special skills.
- The digital controls on the Reese brake controller are easy to reach and this will give you absolute control and accuracy.
- This is a brake controller that works with anti-lock braking systems and is designed for 1 to 4 axle trailers.
How to Install a Trailer Brake Controller?
While the trailer brake controller reviews are meant to help you find the ideal brake controller, it would be prudent to learn how to install it. The process is fairly easy and the good news is that most of them come with an instruction manual. It is advisable to install it on the dashboard, where you can easily view it without a problem. Brake controllers come with 4 types of wires and understanding the wiring system is paramount. Here are the configurations:
- Battery Power: This is the one that will supply power to the brake controller.
- Ground: This is the connector that will connect the brake controller to a grounded source, a negative.
- Trailer Feed: The purpose of this connection is to supply the brake power to the connector.
- Brake Switch: Ultimately, this is what will supply the brake power to the trailer when you step on the brake pedal.
Here are the steps to follow when installing the best brake controller:
- Start by reading the manual so that you can understand the different connections and installation guidelines. It is important to know where each wire goes.
- Establish where the harness will plug into, ideally under the dash. Most manuals will direct you to the location.
- Under the dash, unscrew the hex knob so as to be able to release the cover so as to access the ports.
- Once the cover is out, you will find an electrical port block, where you can plug in your best trailer brake controller You should place the cover back on when you have plugged in the harness.
- The next thing is to mount the bracket, with most people finding the space below the radio being ideal.
- Connect the brake controller and test the device if it is working as required. Start the vehicle and press the stop button as well as the brake pedal to check if it is working. The harness is what connects to the controller.
- At the back, mount the trailer plug connector, there is a 7-pin plug that is required to connect the controller to the trailer.
- Use the bracket to install the inner plug harness, through the bumper of the vehicle. This will make it easier to connect to the exterior harness plug.
As you can see, the process is fairly easy and you can have the best brake controller working in a short while. If you are not certain about the wires and electrical connectors, you should call in an expert to install the brake controller for you. However, it is generally an easy and straightforward process.
Thing Should Be Consider Choose a Brake Controller?
When you go out looking for the best brake controller, there are a number of things that you need to put into consideration. This is so important and it will go a long way in helping you make an informed decision when buying your trailer brake controller. Here are some of the essential considerations:
It is imperative to consider the type of mounting that is required with your brake controller. You will want something that should be easy to mount and dismount when not in use. If you can find a trailer brake controller with mounting hardware that requires no tools, it will be much better.
- Key Features:
The type of features that your device has is what will make it the best brake controller. Look for plug and play options as well as the other critical features like selection of the mode; either electric or hydraulic. Look at the self-diagnostics and alert features that will give you fair warnings when any issue occurs. Consider the sensitive and power settings on your brake controllers.
It is highly advisable to go for models that have a visible display. Choosing an LED display is important and has numerous benefits. Irrespective of the driving conditions that you are in, you should be able to see the right readout for the brake controller, even when you are driving under extreme light or darkness at night.
- Mode of Operation:
You will either get an electric or hydraulic brake controller. However, when you go through various trailer brake controller reviews, you should be able to find the right one. There are some models that have a combination of electric and hydraulic and all you need to do is ensure that it has the capacity to support each mode.
- Brake Axles:
Each trailer brake controller is designed to suit a specific number of axles on your trailer. It is imperative to consider this as it will determine the amount of power that it will provide. For instance, a 4 axle controller can be used on a single axle, triple or even tandem axle haulers.
As you can see, with proper guidance, finding the best brake controller is not difficult. There are so many models on the market and we hope the trailer brake controller reviews that we have provided will be of great use. From the list above, we recommend the Tekonsha 90195 P3 Electronic Brake Control. If you found this review and buyer guide useful, please leave a comment and share it far and wide.