Top 5 Picks and a Smart Guide to Finding the Best Trailer Brake Controllers

Have you ever wondered how you can fully manage your car when there is a trailer on board? Well, that’s an obvious dilemma for most drivers. None of us drivers like limitations when it comes to being able to control the vehicle while on the road, no matter the size of the trailer you are pulling behind; are you getting the feel?

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Sure!

In fact, driving becomes enjoyable when you know you have full control and everything that guarantees your safety and that of others on the road.

Basically, in order to safely slow down trailers or towing vehicles without causing mayhem, the best trailer brake controllers are needed to help send the right amount of brake power required at the trailer's set of brakes. Otherwise, without such modules in place, you are at risk of causing serious accidents.

You can take a glimpse at this video to grasp the seriousness of having reliable brake controllers in place.

The consequences that come up in accidents where brake controllers were not in place are quite dire. That is why in some states these devices are a must have. You can pay high fines besides putting your life, car, and properties in danger if you do not consider installing trailer brake controllers on your car. That simply illustrates how much you really need to get a grip of this gadget's functionality and use.

So, What is a Trailer Brake Controller?

Well, let us use a simple explanation to help you grasp the details and use of this device. It is an OEM installed module, gadget or devices. Often, it is mounted on the tow vehicle driver’s side; somewhere on the dashboard.

Its purpose is to engage the trailers stopping system. As in, it shows the amount of power required to slow down the whole vehicle, help manage the car when you are arriving at a halt and the delayed time it will take for the trailer brakes to comply.


So Why Exactly Do I Need a Trailer Brake Controller?

Ideally, the brake controller creates a link between the brake pedal in your car and the braking system on the axles of the trailer. The lack of this gadget means you may not slow or stop on time or may cause accidents or disturbances on the road.

Factually, you definitely need this device installed, check below for more about its significance.


Benefits of Trailer Brake Controllers

Your trailer will need a real brake controller whether it possesses an electrical brake or hydraulic brake system. The essence of this gadget is to coordinate the towing car with the trailer’s electric brakes to ensure total control. Below are the benefits that come with the device:

  • Helps to slow down the trailer with the same rate as your tow car
  • It allows both the tow vehicle’s brakes and the trailers brakes to wear more evenly, which is safer than the visa vise
  • Makes it easy if you needed the vehicle to stop immediately
  • It helps to uphold your safety and the safety of other drivers
  • Makes you compliant with the regulations hence avoiding penalties
  • The controller gives you that peace of mind when you know you can control the vehicle fully

Types of Trailer Brake Controllers

  • type #1
  • TYPE #2
  • TYPE #3

Hydraulic Over Electrical Controller


This type of brake controller works under a hydraulic pressure mechanism. A hydraulic power is attached to supply and regulate the trailer’s electric brakes.


5 Picks for the Best Trailer Brake Controllers

1. Curt 51110 Venturer

The Curt Venturer is a simple to install, but highly sophisticated brake controller that you will definitely enjoy its services. It comes with four different brake control models making it accommodative to various trailer types.

This controller is one of the most cost friendly options you will get in the market and expect value in return. In other words, it gives you the option to comply with the state regulations without having to dig deeper into the pocket.

Do you like a controller you can install yourself and spending more on a technician? Well, the curt will sort out perfectly.

Via amazon.com

Our Rating


Pros

  • Has a gain setting that allows sensitivity adjustment to either increase or decreases brake power
  • Its technology doesn't need internal moving parts or leveling
  • It comes equipped with flexible plugs for fast installation
  • It has a simple calibrated display for various towing needs
  • It is accompanied by spare bracket that allows convenience of the same brake controls in a number of cars

Cons

  • A few users complain of unbalanced brake impact on the first or second levels of wheels
  • It uses a calibrated display instead of an LCD


2. Draw-Tite 20191

This Draw-Tite I-Stop IQ brake controller can manage 1 to 3 axle trailers. So is that what you are looking for, well, this is exactly the brake controller that will meet your need. It is a proportional electric trailer brake control, which you can rely for the uniformity of braking on all axles.

No level adjustment is required with this device because it is automatic. Also, it has a special booster feature that helps to apply inertial trailer braking in case you are towing heavier trailers.

For sure you will like its casing accessories, as well as the removable cable that allows flexibility.

Via amazon.com

Our Rating


Pros

  • Comes with self-diagnostic features so no need of a technician in case of issues
  • Includes a “Boost” option that works proportionally in reverse
  • Its snap-in mounting chip permits you to remove and store the device when not in use
  • It is a plug and play gadget and can use 2-plug adapters
  • Comes with a digital readout that helps to confirm the electrical connectivity and voltage delivery as incorporated in a LED display

Cons

  • Setting it up might seem tricky if you’ve not read the instructions
  • You’ll need to ensure proper wiring for the gadget to work well


3. Reese Towpower 8507111

The Reese Towpower IV brakeman is a digital brake controller specially designed to handle 1 up to 4 axles. That’s an addition of one more axle compared to the previous product, and a plus in functionality.

It has an elaborate digital display that precisely indicates the voltage power as distributed to the brakes, giving you a clear picture of how the system functions. Besides that, it facilitates the adjusting of trailer brakes for highway and city driving making tow driving much easier.

I would personally recommend this for heavy trucks; well that is my free advice, so thank me later after you have used it.

Via amazon.com

Our Rating


Pros

  • It comes with a separate easy push button that helps in sync and adjusting inaccurate braking
  • Its mechanism allows easy handling of various weights on board
  • The Output & Sync property helps to accommodate your driving style
  • It comes with a small compact design that helps to save space
  • Can operate up to eight (8) trailer braking system
  • Has a brake overload and connection property indicator

Cons

  • It might seem too small to some people

4. Hopkins 47284 Reliance

This is among the most improved digital brake controllers with increased user control. So what more could you be looking for? It reliance is great and works on trailers with electric brake systems.

That assures its compatibility with most trailers and cars. As such, it also makes your towing experience more rewarding and much simpler, such that you will enjoy driving even if you are a new driver.

It comes with a plugin-in connector and you can mount it where it is much convenient for you with no drilling required. Yes, you do not need any tools to install it; all you need is just plug-it-in.

Via amazon.com

Our Rating


Pros

  • It also comes with 7 sensitivity settings that facilitate advanced braking control
  • It displays the percentage of braking power making it much usable
  • It's a plug and go device that doesn't need much time to fix
  • The control buttons help you to keep the eyes on the road
  • It is mountable at any angle for convenience
  • It’s designed intuitively that matches with the sitting of the driver
  • Installing and removing it is simple as don’t need to splice or cut the wires

Cons

  • If you don’t connect it well it may not engage the trailers


5. Tekonsha 90195

The tekonsha P3, a very popular device with most quality driven car owners; are you quality and value driven? This is your product! It is so far the industries’ most advanced electrical brake control for trailers and sizeable caravans.

It possesses several added features, which comes out to define a new standard for electric brake controls. Meaning, you expect better level of safety with it. Its press-able setting buttons are super soft.

Being a true proportional trailer braking system, you will most probably select the tekonsha 90195. That is if you are after value, quality and total safety. Check more of its benefits underneath its image and video as below:

Via amazon.com

Our Rating


Pros

  • It has 5 storable setting alternatives for pulling trailers of different types, giving drivers multiple preferences
  • It comes with both the electric and hydraulic options for your choice
  • The big screen reads in three languages, English, Spanish or French to cover different nationals
  • Has a red signal for notifying users on no trailers brake situations
  • Comes with a dash-hugging design; it’s also compact, making it space convenient
  • Has unique boost features that permit customized levels of braking sync or setting
  • Has an easy to read LCD that displays multiple screen color alternatives

Cons

  • Although it is the best as rated and reviewed by many customers, It’s highly priced compared to other brake controllers in the market


Comparison Table

Now that we have enough info on the 5 best hot picks of trailer brake controllers, let’s put them on a table that can help us determine what’s supreme for your specific needs.

Item

Type of B Controller

Brake adjust-ability

Display

1. Curt 51110 Venturer

Time delayed

Increase/decrease opt

Calibrated

2. Draw-Tite 20191

Proportional Electric

Not clear

Small digital

3. Reese Towpower 8507111

Proportional

City & highway settings

Elaborate

4. Hopkins 47284 R

Electric/ time delayed

7 sensitivity settings

Digital LCD

5. Tekonsha 90195

Hydraulic over Electric& Proportional

5 storable settings

Big LCD


So Which One Should You Choose?

Trailers brake controllers that use the hydraulic over electric technology have always shown great reliability in terms of performance and usability. That’s why you may need to consider them. In my round up here, I found out that the Tekonsha P3 provides the best choice. In fact, I personally recommend it having had a splendid experience with it.

Besides being available either in hydraulic over electric or proportional technology, it comes with 5 storable setting that provides a wider preference of multiple drivers.

It’s LCD and settings are also easily accessible which helps you keep your eyes on the road.

With it, you have the liberty to choose the screen color that most suits either your daytime or night needs. It has original features that help to customize the level of braking to coincide with your trailer or towed caravan.


Conclusion!

Trailers brake controllers come varying in prices. Going for the very cheap one may cost you more. That is if you don’t look at quality, performance, and usability of the controller, among other significant aspects.

While your current need may push you to go for any brake controller, it's always important to factor in possible future needs (like a heavier or wider trailer) to avoid going to the market for a better product again and again

With a product like the Tekonsha P3, you are assured of quality, performance, and compatibility with many trailer models. However, it may cost you an extra dime, but at least you’ll not have to resume shopping for a better product because it’s the best so far.

About the Author Alice Brown

I am just a car girl. Simply interested in the automotive and vehicular world. I started out as an apprentice mechanic working at my father’s garage. I'm hoping my two cents will help you fix a blinking light on the dashboard or that cranking noise that you don’t seem to know where it is coming from.