Is there anyone who doesn’t want a safe journey? No one, right. That’s why it is essential to buy and use the best trailer brake controller as, along with giving you a smooth journey, it ensures your safety.
A brake controller is a vital component of a trailer braking system. In fact, without much knowing and knowledge, it plays a crucial role in our lives by making us stress-free through our entire driving journey.
Nowadays, various trailer brake controllers are available in the market with different designs and features to offer. So, it is normal to get confused among a varied collection of products to pick from.
No worries; we will help you to choose by giving you detailed information about the top 10 best trailer brake controllers available now. Keep Reading.
Table of Contents
- 1 List of 10 Best Trailer Brake Controller for 2021
- 2 10 Best Trailer Brake Controller Reviews 2021
- 2.1 1. CURT 51140 TriFlex Electric Trailer Brake Controller, Proportional [Overall Best]
- 2.2 2. Tekonsha 90195 P3 Electronic Brake Control [Best Serious Towers Trailer Bike Controller ]
- 2.3 3. Tekonsha 90160 Primus IQ Electronic Brake Control [Best Sturdy Trailer Bike Controller]
- 2.4 4. Reese Towpower 8508211 Brake Control (Proportional BRAKE-EVN) [Best Compatible Trailer Bike Controller]
- 2.5 5. CURT 51110 Venturer Electric Trailer Brake Controller [Best Time Delay Trailer Bike Controller]
- 2.6 6. Hopkins 47297 INSIGHT Plug-in Simple Brake Control [Best Simple Plug-in Trailer Bike Controller]
- 2.7 7. Reese Towpower (74642) Brakeman Timed Compact Brake Control [Best Budget Trailer Bike Controller]
- 2.8 8. Draw-Tite 20191 I-Stop IQ Electronic Brake Control [Best Self-leveling Trailer Bike Controller]
- 2.9 9. Tekonsha 9030 Voyager Electronic Brake Control [Best Versatile Trailer Bike Controller]
- 2.10 10. Reese Towpower 74377 Pod Brake Control, Black [Best Sized Trailer Bike Controller ]
- 3 How to Purchase The Best Trailer Brake Controller for Regular Use?
- 3.1 What is a brake controller?
- 3.2 How does the electric brake controller work?
- 3.3 Kinds of Trailer Brakes
- 3.4 Advantages of Trailer Brake Controllers
- 3.5 Is a brake controller needed?
- 3.6 Brake Controller Proportional vs. Time Delay
- 3.7 How to install a brake controller?
- 3.8 How do you adjust a brake controller?
- 3.9 Can a brake controller go bad?
- 3.10 How do you test a brake controller?
- 3.11 What does manual override on a brake controller do?
- 4 Things to Consider While Purchasing The Best Trailer Brake Controller [Buying Guide]
- 5 Final Thoughts
- 6 FAQ: Best Trailer Brake Controller
- 6.1 What is the best trailer brake controller?
- 6.2 How do you install a trailer brake controller?
- 6.3 What size trailer needs electric brakes?
- 6.4 How do I know if my trailer brakes are working?
- 6.5 How long do electric trailer brakes last?
- 6.6 Can I pull a trailer with electric brakes without a brake controller?
- 6.7 What is the cost of installing a trailer brake controller?
List of 10 Best Trailer Brake Controller for 2021
To help you pick the best brake controller for your trailer, we have prepared a list of the top 10 best brake controllers that are now available in the market. So you don’t have to waste your valuable time searching for the best one along with they are available or not.
In fact, by doing much research and taking advice from the experts in this field, we have only then created the top 10 product list. Hence through the entire article with patients as in the end, it may help you in selecting the best one for you.
10 Best Trailer Brake Controller Reviews 2021
We have judged each trailer brake controller based on its size, type, price, and durability. That’s why every trailer brake controller in our review list is of top-quality, and each of them has particular unique features in it for which we have selected them and also advise others to use them. So, without further delay, let us read them immediately for arriving at the best decision for you:
1. CURT 51140 TriFlex Electric Trailer Brake Controller, Proportional [Overall Best]
Are you looking for the most stylish and durable brake controller that is available at an affordable cost along with easy install and operation? In that case, this one is the best for you.
2. Tekonsha 90195 P3 Electronic Brake Control [Best Serious Towers Trailer Bike Controller ]
If you want a high-end trailer brake controller that is well-designed and has all the useful functionalities to offer, then this is the perfect one to buy.
3. Tekonsha 90160 Primus IQ Electronic Brake Control [Best Sturdy Trailer Bike Controller]
This one is ideal for those who want to buy a less expensive brake controller that will be easy to use and will last for a long time.
4. Reese Towpower 8508211 Brake Control (Proportional BRAKE-EVN) [Best Compatible Trailer Bike Controller]
If you want a small and stylish brake controller suitable for every type of trailer, then you can go for this one.
5. CURT 51110 Venturer Electric Trailer Brake Controller [Best Time Delay Trailer Bike Controller]
If you want an affordable product for 1-3 braking axles that offers a stylish look and sturdy structure with easy operation, then this is the best one to buy.
6. Hopkins 47297 INSIGHT Plug-in Simple Brake Control [Best Simple Plug-in Trailer Bike Controller]
If your dashboard is big, then only you must go for this product. Otherwise, it will be a bit tough to handle. Other than this issue, all other things of it make it ideal to choose.
7. Reese Towpower (74642) Brakeman Timed Compact Brake Control [Best Budget Trailer Bike Controller]
Are you looking for the most affordable one that offers great functionality along with easy use and installation? Then undoubtedly go for this one.
8. Draw-Tite 20191 I-Stop IQ Electronic Brake Control [Best Self-leveling Trailer Bike Controller]
Along with easy operation and installation, this one is the perfect one for urgent braking. Moreover, it has a solid construction for which it lasts for a long time, giving the same performance.
9. Tekonsha 9030 Voyager Electronic Brake Control [Best Versatile Trailer Bike Controller]
If you want to buy a stylish and reasonable priced brake controller that will give you a linear braking atmosphere, then you can go for this one.
10. Reese Towpower 74377 Pod Brake Control, Black [Best Sized Trailer Bike Controller ]
if you want a small-sized brake controller along with being inexpensive and long-lasting, this is the best one for you to buy.
How to Purchase The Best Trailer Brake Controller for Regular Use?
Life is unpredictable, but at the same time, you need to be cautious to prevent all types of dangers. Because in the end, we all want a safe trip as nothing is more important than our life safety.
This is where a trailer brake controller can be handy as it helps one from falling into a risky situation by ensuring complete safety while driving. That’s why it is a requirement that you buy the best one for you as nothing can be more important than your precious life’s.
But before buying one, you need to know some essential information about the product. Otherwise, you might end up buying the one that is not suitable for you, which you will definitely not want.
Below is some vital detail to look at before going directly into the buying guide:
What is a brake controller?
A brake controller is a crucial component of an electrical trailer braking system. These controllers identify when the pull automobile brake lever is slow-moving and how much pressure is being applied to the brake.
Thus, the brake controller utilizes this vital information for controlling brakes on the trailer, so the driving is safe along with the people on the vehicle.
How does the electric brake controller work?
The electric brake controller keenly monitors the vehicle’s two essential things: One is when the automobile braking system’s pull is on the driving mode. Another is when the vehicle slows down its speed while driving.
Based on these 2 things, the controller decides what steps to take next. Like, when the brakes are applied, the controller monitors the braking demand from the brake’s lever.
After then it interacts with the trailer’s brake via a wire link to make aware of how much power is to be applied to the brake. The brake controller performs all of these things by sending an electric current back to the electrical magnet situated in the trailer braking system.
Kinds of Trailer Brakes
2 types of trailer brakes controller are available; they are written below:
1. Surge Brakes
Surge brake is a reserved hydraulic brake system found on the trailer. They are also known as hydraulic surge brakes. These types of brakes are not driver-controlled. Instead, they get activated automatically whenever the driver slows down the driving.
2. Electric Brakes
An electric brake is a kind of brake that is regulated and maintained by an electrical current. It is also known as an electric trailer brake or electric friction brake.
It basically uses a brake controller and electromagnets and applies braking force corresponding to the vehicle braking demand. Electric brakes are mostly used on medium and heavy-weight trailers such as a van, Recreational Vehicle (RV), customer-grade car trailers, etc.
Advantages of Trailer Brake Controllers
Trailer brake controllers play a vital role in our life by offering us the below-stated advantages:
The number 1 benefit that a trailer brake controller offers is ensuring safety, which is the most important thing because nothing can be more important than our life safety.
We know the trailer weight is much larger than the normal vehicles. For which it is a bit critical to handle than others. However, with the use of the right trailer brake controller, this job is made simpler.
It ensures full safety by not letting a trailer move or drive forward when you stop the trailer. Moreover, the braking system helps us from falling into a hazardous and risky situation by preventing the trailer from skidding or losing its control.
A top-notch trailer brake controller will let you control and monitor the dragging vehicle system when it is on driving mode. Moreover, it will contain advanced features that will enable you to oversee and understand what is actually going on, such as updates about the trailer brakes and load.
Increases longevity of brake pads
The brake controller plays a significant role in increasing the lifespan of the brake pads. Because if you don’t have a brake controller on your vehicle, then dragging one of the vehicle’s brake pads all the support for stopping.
These brake pads are regular ones for which they cannot handle much pressure like the brake controller. That’s why they tend to show various problems with each passing time and use and thus weakens the brake pads, which obviously no one will want. Hence, using a trailer brake controller is a must for protecting and increasing the brake pads’ longevity.
Even being such a helpful and crucial product, the trailer brake controller is significantly less expensive compared to the other vehicle parts. In fact, you can find the best one with many features to offer at a very affordable price, thus saving a lot of your money.
Is a brake controller needed?
Although a brake controller is a vital thing for every vehicle, but it is a must for the following 2 cases:
- If you are hauling with more than 1500 pounds, then having a brake controller is necessary for that trailer. Otherwise, you will be in a risky position while driving to long-distance places.
Normally, a vehicle can comfortably handle up to 1000 pounds without facing any kind of problem. However, to haul over 1500 pounds or more than that requires a brake controller to avoid any hazardous situation. That’s why for ensuring safety, it is given by law that one must use a brake controller in case they need to haul equal or more than 1500 pounds.
- If a trailer’s braking system uses electric brakes instead of surge brakes, then also a brake controller is needed. Otherwise, your trailer will not even start as electric brakes cannot operate without a brake controller.
Therefore, for the following 2 cases, a brake controller is must needed.
Brake Controller Proportional vs. Time Delay
There are 2 kinds of brake controllers, namely; brake controller proportional and time delay controllers:
1. Brake controller proportional
These controllers use internal inertia-based devices for sensing when the vehicle stops or slows down its speed. They automatically apply the brake whenever they feel it is needed. So, even by mistake, if you forget to apply, they will do it instead of you. In fact, the best one offers constant synchronized and smooth braking without doing any push-pull activities.
2. Time Delay Controllers
These types of controllers get an indication every time you involve your vehicle brakes. This signal, in return, sends voltages to the brakes. The delay rate can be changed easily by the driver from the sync setting.
Unlike the proportional controller, these controllers can be easily attached at any angle as it doesn’t contain any internal parts. Moreover, they are cheap and easy to install.
Among both these controllers, the brake controller proportional is better to use compared to a time-delayed controller.
How to install a brake controller?
For installing a brake controller, you need to do the following things:
The 1st thing that you ought to do is decide where the controller needs to be attached. The ideal location for fitting a brake controller is such a place that is nearby and reachable to the driver. Like it can be either above the knee or on the dash.
If your brake controller is a proportional one, it needs to be mounted in a nearby location for its proper operation. So if any problems occur, the driver can easily check it.
Factory-installed tow package
Another vital thing is checking if the vehicle comes with a factory-installed tow package or not:
- If it comes with a factory-installed tow package, it shortens the whole setup procedure. In this case, you will have to attach a cable harness from the connector to the brake controller’s rear side. After this, you will need to connect the 7 pin connector to the trailer, and thus you will be ready to go.
- If it doesn’t come with a factory-installed tow package, then the setup procedure is a little more complicated. In this case, you will need 7-way connector tools for installation.
Generally, wiring a controller during setting-up contains 4 wires:
- Power: It supplies 12 volts positive power (+ve) connection to the brake controller.
- Ground: It completes the entire power circuit by using the vehicle’s negative (-ve) ground.
- Trailer-Feed: This wire is used to interact the requests of the brake to the trailer brakes.
- Brake switch: it observes when the brake lever is pushed.
Here, we have given a guideline for installing the brake controller for your convenience. But the best is always to follow the instructions that come while buying that particular brake controller.
How do you adjust a brake controller?
Adjustment of a brake controller may vary based on the brake controller model. That’s why it is always better to take suggestions from the guidebook that comes with the controller while purchasing it.
However, for your convenience, we have written a stepwise guideline that you can follow in case you don’t find your guidebook:
- At first, attach the trailer and wiring to the vehicle.
- Once it is connected, the next step is warming the brakes. For warming, drive at least 20-25 miles per hour (MPH) and then stop. Keep doing these on a flat level surface at least 8-10 times or more until the brake gets warm.
- Once the brake is warmed, the next step is checking if braking gets too violent or the trailer is pushing the vehicle.
- The last step is adjusting the brake controller based on the requirement. If needed, then you can repeat the whole process fro rechecking it. The brake controller’s readjustment may be necessary while hauling with varied weight or moving to another vehicle.
Can a brake controller go bad?
Yes, the brake controllers can definitely go bad over time if the brake is being applied continuously, even when not required or never used any brake function.
However, if your brake controller is not functioning properly, then the problem may be caused due to below two reasons:
- The proportional brake controller is not level properly.
- Wiring problems. Such as the wires may be loosely attached, or the connection is lost.
How do you test a brake controller?
Testing a brake controller is an easy job if you know the exact steps for checking it properly. For your convenience, we have written the steps you can follow for easily testing your one:
- At first, remove the brake controller’s power, wait for about 30-35 seconds, and then re-join. Now, test if it is working properly or is the same as before.
- If the problem still occurs, then check the brake controller setting. If there is an override option, then start it.
- Next, check the red wire that exits through the backside of the brake controller. Connect it with a multimeter or bright light using a circuit tester. After then, apply the brake slowly.
When the brake is slowed down, you must get only 12 volts maximum on the multimeter or the circuit tester. However, if you get more, it will indicate that maximum voltage is coming out of the brake controller.
On the other hand, you may see an indication of 0.2 voltage even when the brake is not applied. Don’t worry; it means that the connection between the controller’s signal to the magnet is accurate and will correctly detect the result.
Evaluating the outcome
If you don’t get maximum voltage from the controller, it means the problem lies in the brake controller itself. On the other hand, if the brake controller works but the maximum braking doesn’t operate correctly, then it will indicate the trailer’s problem.
What does manual override on a brake controller do?
The manual override on a brake controller helps to activate the trailer brakes on their own irrespective of the tow vehicle brakes. The necessity for vehicle brakes is avoided as power is directly supplied to the trailer brakes because of its use.
Another vital thing of manual override is that it can be used anytime, whenever needed, such as installing, checking brakes, fastening 5th no wheel, adjusting small trailer sway, etc. Although it is not necessary to use, having it will certainly help your brake controller.
Things to Consider While Purchasing The Best Trailer Brake Controller [Buying Guide]
No one will want to buy a product that will be of bad quality and will not last long. In fact, all of us want to buy such a product that will serve its purpose for a long time by maintaining its quality. Now the question may arise, how can I know which one will be the perfect one to buy?
Hopefully, there are some key features that can help you in identifying the best one to buy. So, let us look at the vital factors that you need to know and consider while buying the one for yourself.
Power is the number 1 factor to consider while buying the best brake controller for a trailer. It is because the vehicle’s voltage must be matched with the brakes of the trailers. Otherwise, the mismatch may cause the brake controller’s breakdown, thus ultimately increasing the chance of mishaps. Usually, the brake controller of the tow is either 12 or 24 volts.
Kind of brakes
A brake controller controls the trailers with the electric braking system. In contrast, a surge brake system needs a particular coupler. A hauling automobile cannot regulate this braking system.
Nowadays, some trailers have both electric and surge brake elements. In fact, the ideal trailer brake controller to buy is the one that has the capability to control both kinds of brakes.
Another critical factor that you need to consider while buying the trailer brake controller is its size. For instance, you have a small-sized dash, so indeed, you will not require a big device. Moreover, it needs to be located in such an area that will have easy accessibility. So whenever you feel the need, you can comfortably change the settings of your brake controller.
Generally, brake controllers of trailers can handle up to 1-2, 1-3, or 1-4 number of axles. However, you must buy the axle number based on the number of axles on your hauling gear to match perfectly.
All the best digital trailer brake controller contains an LED display. These kinds of controllers are dependable and long-lasting. Moreover, they help to effectively monitor the vehicle by allowing us to read the data comfortably from the brake controller. Such as battery, the electrical current’s output, the pressure of the brake pad, etc.
The setting option is another vital feature that you need to consider. With this option’s help, you can adjust your brake controller’s varied things based on your requirement. You can regulate the power applied on the brake pads, convert surge brake mode to an electric one, etc.
The best trailer controller will regulate your tires and will avert them from making irregular movements. That’s why, before buying one for yourself, you should ensure that it has the mounting feature in it. Otherwise, it may cause your wheel breakdown, or it may start moving in a risky way.
You must always go for those brake controllers that come with a guarantee while buying it. Because if within the designated time limit any problem occurs, then the company will solve them for you. Therefore, it is always a wise decision to buy those that have a warranty with it.
You need to buy the best trailer brake controller for making your journey and ride stress-free and enjoyable. Otherwise, the wrong selection may lead you to a hazardous situation.
To make the selection process easier for you, we have given an honest review of the top 10 trailer brake controllers only after doing much research. All of the listed top 10 trailer brake controllers are of top-quality, easy to install, reliable, cost-effective, and durable. So we now hope you can easily find the best brake controller that is perfect for you.
Therefore, purchase it now so that you have a comfortable and safe ride throughout your whole journey. Lastly, have a good day and enjoy your new trailer brake controllers.
FAQ: Best Trailer Brake Controller
People tend to have a lot of queries and doubts regarding the trailer brake controller. Don’t worry; it is natural to have these questions as it concerns our safety, and nothing can be more important than our life safety. That’s why, to solve all types of confusion, we have tried to give the answers to the most asked questions in our FAQ section. Read them below if you also have any queries that you want to about.
What is the best trailer brake controller?
A brake controller is an electrical tool that starts upon activation and controls the trailer electric brakes. It plays a vital role in controlling the speed while driving and thus is an essential component for having a safe pulling experience.
Nowadays, different trailer brake controller is available with varied designs and features. However, the top 6 best trailer brake controller are:
- Overall Best: CURT 51140 TriFlex Electric Trailer Brake Controller, Proportional.
- Best Serious Towers Trailer Bike Controller: Tekonsha 90195 P3 Electronic Brake Control.
- Best Sturdy Trailer Bike Controller: Tekonsha 90160 Primus IQ Electronic Brake Control.
- Best Budget Trailer Bike Controller: Reese Towpower (74642) Brakeman Timed Compact Brake Control.
- Best Compatible Trailer Bike Controller: Reese Towpower 8508211 Brake Control (Proportional BRAKE-EVN).
- Best Time Delay Trailer Bike Controller: CURT 51110 Venturer Electric Trailer Brake Controller.
How do you install a trailer brake controller?
Installing a trailer brake controller isn’t a tough job rather an easy one if you can follow the 5 exact methods for installing it. So the 5 steps that you must follow for comfortably installing a brake controller are:
- The no.1 step is disconnecting the vehicle’s negative battery cable.
- After disconnecting, you need to identify the place where you want to place the brake controller.
- The next step is drilling the mounting holes.
- After drilling, the next step is locking the brake controller into the exact position.
- Lastly, you need to plug-in the controller with a custom cable assembly.
What size trailer needs electric brakes?
The trailers whose gross weights are more than 3000 lbs need electric brakes. So it can be automatically applied to avoid any type of mishap.
How do I know if my trailer brakes are working?
There is an easy way that you can follow to know if your trailer brakes are working properly or not. The procedure is:
At first, hold a 12-volt test light to the connector cable port at the backside of the brake controller. The test light will then show a number ranging from 0 to 10, indicating that it is still workable.
How long do electric trailer brakes last?
An electric trailer brake usually lasts for 3-4 years after regular use. However, depending on the kind of trailer brake and use, it may last less or more than the estimated years.
Can I pull a trailer with electric brakes without a brake controller?
Well, the answer to these questions is a big no. It is because electric trailer brakes do not even work without a brake controller, let alone towing without it. Hence, if your trailer contains electric brakes, then you must require a brake controller for pulling.
What is the cost of installing a trailer brake controller?
Generally, the cost to install a trailer brake controller ranges from 60 dollars to 340 dollars for installing the controller. Moreover, you will need to pay an additional 100-180 dollars for labor charge and 300 dollars in case your installations take a complicated turn. However, the cost still may vary based on the kind of controller you select and the wiring already present in your automobile.