Best Trailer Brake Controllers

10 Best Trailer Brake Controllers in 2019: Proportional & Time-Delayed

Last Updated: 21 Nov 2018

The best trailer brake controller is a special device used to transmit the energy from the car to the electric brake system of the camper. It goes active just after the brake system of the vehicle is activated. If your camper is equipped with an electric system, you definitely need the best trailer brake controller.

Such devices have a small size and are located under the hood and can be easily reached by means of a turn screw. The braking force can be controlled from the driver’s seat by means of moving the lever back and forth. Also, it is possible to find the best trailer brake controller equipped with a manual blocking system. The best trailer brake controllers with this system allow the driver to activate the camper’s breaks without any dependence on the main stops of the vehicle.

Trailer Brake Controllers FAQs

What Does a Trailer Brake Controller Do?

Energy feeds the controller from the vehicle's stop lights and activates the auto-break through a separate, more powerful circuit that is powered through the electrical connector. This allows the trailer brakes to turn on automatically when the driver presses the pedal of the vehicle with force set by the controller. When the best trailer brake controller is set up correctly, the driver can slow down the vehicle and the camper in a simple way as if the trailer is not applied.

The wires used for connection should have a right cross-section to transfer the required amount of energy to the camper stopping system. In addition, there should be a return ground wire. The entire system needs proper maintenance because from time to time it will be necessary to implement some adjustments into the system installed.

What Is a Proportional Trailer Brake Controller?

A proportional trailer brake controller is the most popular device on the market today. It has a complicated design and is equipped with CPU able to make speed calculations and the force, which is needed to stop the trailer. It guarantees that enough amount of force will be delivered to the trailer brakes.

Do You Need Trailer Brake Controller?

Well, the ideal model of such a device doesn’t require a lot of investments, but if you buy it, you will feel safe when you are towing the camper. Keep in mind, if your camper is equipped with hydraulic brakes operated by the electric pump, it is necessary to find a controller that would be compatible with this type of breaks.

How Do You Wire a Trailer Brake Controller?

Usually, the trailer brake controller is sold with a special wiring harness. In case if your car has a towing pack, then break control system might be already wired and ready to be used. It will be necessary to use the wiring of your car.

The procedure of the electric brake controller installation is the following:

Step #1 Get the wire harness ready.

It means that you should install the wires. The cars with pre-installed wires have a corresponding label, like Electric trailer brake controller, for example. If you are not so lucky, then you have to splice wires by yourself. Thanks to different colors, it will be easy to do.

Step #2 Install the controller.

The position of the trailer brake controller should be accessible. In this case, you will be able to adjust it any time when it is necessary.

Step #3 Calibrate the controller

Usually, such devices are supplied with numerous setting options. Take into account the model of your car and the trailer’s weight. User manual on camper will help to understand the settings which are already made in it.

If it’s your first attempt to work with wiring a trailer brake controller, it would be better to consult a professional.

TOP 10 Best Trailer Brake Controllers Compared and Reviewed

4 Draw-Tite 20191 I-Stop Electronic Brake Controller Draw-Tite 20191 I-Stop Electronic Brake Controller
9. 5
Our rating : 9.5 / 10 View product
5 Draw-Tite 5504 Activator IV Electronic Brake Controller Draw-Tite 5504 Activator IV Electronic Brake Controller
9. 4
Our rating : 9.4 / 10 View product
6 Reese Towpower 74642 Brake Controller Reese Towpower 74642 Brake Controller
9. 3
Our rating : 9.3 / 10 View product
7 Hopkins 47297 Insight Brake Controller Hopkins 47297 Insight Brake Controller
9. 2
Our rating : 9.2 / 10 View product
8 Curt 51140 TriFlex Brake Controller Curt 51140 TriFlex Brake Controller
9. 1
Our rating : 9.1 / 10 View product
9 Curt 51110 Venturer Brake Controller Curt 51110 Venturer Brake Controller
9. 0
Our rating : 9.0 / 10 View product
10 Hopkins 47284 Reliance Digital Trailer Brake Controller Hopkins 47284 Reliance Digital Trailer Brake Controller
8. 8
Our rating : 8.8 / 10 View product

1. Best Overall: Tekonsha 90195 P3 Electronic Trailer Brake Controller

1. Best Overall: Tekonsha 90195 P3 Electronic Trailer Brake Controller

Tekonsha P3 is the latest model of the best trailer brake controller developed by this famous manufacturer. Based on numerous reviews, this device is the most advanced model. It has a LED display, which shows all the important details concerning the behavior of the controller. Also, with the help of this display, you can easily adjust the contrast and run the roadside diagnostics. Surfing between various settings is very easy. The design of the device is very compact, so it is easy to store. So, if you are looking to purchase the one among the best trailer brake controllers for sale, this one should be your choice.

Pros
  • Informative LED display
  • Compact size
  • Ability to control 4 axles
  • Easy installation procedure
Cons
  • Is a bit pricey

2. Best Smart Trailer Brake Controller: Tekonsha 90160 Primus IQ Trailer Brake Controller

2. Best Smart Trailer Brake Controller: Tekonsha 90160 Primus IQ Trailer Brake Controller

Tekonsha Primus IQ is a proportional trailer brake controller with LED display and ability to control 3 axles. It has a compact design and is built of high-quality materials. What is rather important, this trailer brake controller is easy to install and comes with its personal self-diagnostic feature. It allows the driver to determine how the camper should behave when it is necessary to break. In addition, it is equipped with a special clip, so it can be installed or removed when required. The information about the safety of the connection is displayed on the screen.

Pros
  • Durable construction
  • Equipped with a LED display
  • Can make diagnostics
  • Comes with a Boost feature
Cons
  • Able to control not more than 3 axles

3. Best Display: Tekonsha 90885 Prodigy P2 Brake Controller

3. Best Display: Tekonsha 90885 Prodigy P2 Brake Controller

Tekonsha Prodigy is the model of the best trailer brake controllers, which shows that the progress is not frozen. This is a model of a proportional type with a large enough display. So, if you have a poor vision, you will see the important information concerning the lack of voltage or other unforeseen situations. Prodigy comes equipped with a self-adjusting device to compensate for the variation of the terrain. It is flexible in use and has a special clip for attachment and removal. What is absolutely great – this excellent model can operate with electric and hydraulic brakes.

Pros
  • Large LCD display
  • Can control up to 4 axles
  • Equipped with a Boost feature
  • Makes diagnostics as for possible faults
Cons
  • Is a bit overpriced

4. Best for Boost Feature: Draw-Tite 20191 I-Stop Electronic Brake Controller

4. Best for Boost Feature: Draw-Tite 20191 I-Stop Electronic Brake Controller

Draw-Tite I-Stop is a proportional controller for trailers with an ability to control up to 3 axles. This model is also found in the category of top-rated products because it is easy to install and super-easy in use. Like any other model of a proportional type, this one is able to take control over the speed and to calculate the necessary force to stop effectively. In addition, it comes with a Boost feature inbuilt, which is useful for large and heavy trailers. The display is very bright and visible even at night.

Pros
  • High-quality display
  • Boost feature
  • Ability to control 3 axles
  • Easy installation
Cons
  • With heavy trailers, it is hard to get consistent stops

5. Best and Easy to Install: Draw-Tite 5504 Activator IV Electronic Brake Controller

5. Best and Easy to Install: Draw-Tite 5504 Activator IV Electronic Brake Controller

Draw-Tite Activator IV is another representative of trailer brake controllers for sale of a time-delayed type. It is small in size and comes equipped with a high-quality LED display. Thanks to pre-installed settings, it is possible to play with the various power of force on camper’s stops. The model by itself is very easy in installation and has control over 4 axles. If you are looking for the effective controller on affordable price, don’t pass by this model.

Pros
  • Easy to install
  • Compact design
  • Ability to control up to 4 axles
  • Equipped with a large display
Cons
  • Mounting is not an easy task

6. Best Budget: Reese Towpower 74642 Brake Controller

6. Best Budget: Reese Towpower 74642 Brake Controller

Reese trailer brake controller is the next in our rating. It looks very simple if to compare it with other products in a review, but the price on it is corresponding. It is the most cost-effective trailer stop controller, which has numerous positive feedbacks from clients. First of all, it does not have a LED display, and the settings you apply can be checked thanks to a small red indicator. Also, it is able to control only 2 breaks of the trailer including electric trailer brakes. But, at the same time, Reese brake controller is fully compatible with two types of breaks.

Pros
  • Simple design
  • Easy to use
  • Best budget solution
  • Compact size
Cons
  • The absence of LED display
  • Limited in settings

7. Best Settings: Hopkins 47297 Insight Brake Controller

7. Best Settings: Hopkins 47297 Insight Brake Controller

This is another proportional trailer brake controller in our review developed by Hopkins. Well, Hopkins trailer brake controller is a device many people prefer to purchase. It doesn’t require any special skills to install it correctly and automatically applies the necessary force to the trailer’s stops. It has a digital display with the help of which you can easily surf between pre-set options. If you are looking for the device that won’t cost a lot of money, will be fully functional and easy in use, this Hopkins Insight should be your possible choice.

Pros
  • Easy to install
  • Compact size
  • 7 Pre-calibrated settings
  • Ability to control up to 4 axles
Cons
  • Size of the display is not big enough

8. Best Time-Delayed Trailer Brake Controller: Curt 51140 TriFlex Brake Controller

8. Best Time-Delayed Trailer Brake Controller: Curt 51140 TriFlex Brake Controller

Curt TriFlex stopping controller is a model of the time-delayed type, equipped with a digital display and ability to control up to 4 axles. Like all time-delayed models, this one is easy to set up thanks to the presence of plug-and-play port. Thanks to the built-in accelerometer, the speed of your trailer will be always under control the same as a braking system. The presence of several mounting clips allows installing this device everywhere.

Pros
  • Easy-to-read display
  • Inbuilt accelerometer
  • Super-easy installation
  • Ability to control up to 4 axles
Cons
  • High price for the time-delayed device

9. Best Design: Curt 51110 Venturer Brake Controller

9. Best Design: Curt 51110 Venturer Brake Controller

Curt Venturer is another great braking controller to consider. It has a unique design thanks to the presence of the LED screen. It is able to display the force of the breaks by means of green lines. In this way, you will be always aware of the power the trailer brakes receive. In addition, this cool trailer brake controller can take control over 3 axles and is easy to install even for the beginner. This model is cost-effective and super-powerful at the same time, so it is also recommended. Furthermore, it is compatible with stops of anti-lock type and sold with a lifetime warranty from the manufacturer.

Pros
  • Cost-effective
  • Comes with a lifetime warranty
  • Can control up to 3 axles
  • Displays the force of camper stops in real time
Cons
  • Is a bit limited in settings

10. Best Reliability: Hopkins 47284 Reliance Digital Trailer Brake Controller

10. Best Reliability: Hopkins 47284 Reliance Digital Trailer Brake Controller

This is another trailer brake controller by Hopkins, which also deserves to be reviewed in our TOP 10 rating. It can control up to 8 breaks of the trailer thanks to its 4 axles. In addition, Hopkins brake controller has a LED display of small size and offers various features to set up. The braking force can be adjusted with one button. This model is a real finding for beginners as it is easy to install and is simple in use.

Pros
  • Ideal for beginners
  • Ability to control 4 axles
  • Equipped with LED display
  • Affordable price
Cons
  • The display is very small


Types of Best Trailer Brake Controllers

There are two types of trailer stop controllers – those that are sensitive to motion and devices activated with a time delay. Despite the fact that the methods of action of these controllers are different, both types of controllers are very similar. All of them allow the driver to control the braking force and use a manual blocking lever to activate the trailer brakes separately from the car. Wiring configuration is also the same. But differences are still present, so let’s consider what they are.

Proportional Trailer Brake Controller

Proportional or motion-sensitive controllers are switched on by pressing a pedal and are activated using the pendulum circuit, which is sensitive to the degree of braking of the car. After that, the corresponding degree of braking power is supplied to trailer brakes. After correct installation, the stops of the trailer will work the same as those of the car. As a result, the performance of the trailer’s brakes improves. Proportional trailer brake controller is expensive and requires professional installation.

Time-Delayed Trailer Brake Controller

The trailer controllers of this type are cost-effective and are easy to install. The design of this trailer braking controller allows installing it at any position, even upside-down, if you wish. With this device, the braking of the trailer will take place after you step the braking pedal of the car. It doesn’t happen at once because the controller should send the information about the force of required power to the trailer. The main benefits of this type of trailer brake controller are its price, easy installation procedure, and the ability to connect to any type of wiring harness.

Best Trailer Brake Controllers Buying Guide – What to Look At?

Type of the Trailer Brakes

There are electric and hydraulic trailer brakes. The electric brake controller is a common one for trailers because it doesn’t cost a lot of money and has a good service life. Hydraulic trailer brakes are more expensive and are usually installed on modern vehicles. In reality, the trailer can work with both of these types.

Voltage

It is necessary to be accurate as for the voltage because it may be different: 12V or 24V. The wrong choice may bring damage to your new trailer brake controller. The information as for the voltage is provided by each manufacturer, so be attentive while choosing.

Axles

This parameter is responsible for the number of wheels that can be controlled by the trailer brake controller. For example, 1-4 axles can easily control even 8 wheels simultaneously. The number of axles should be chosen taking into account the type of camper. Choosing a device with fewer axles than the trailer has is not a good idea.

Display

If you want to be able to see the situation with your wheels, it would be better to choose a model of the best trailer brake controller with a screen. It will be useful to see the force of the breaks. Such displays are LED and are very durable, but they may show various information. Choose the models, which are the most informative.

Settings

If your best trailer brake controller has some settings, it is very useful. For example, some devices allows to choose the type of breaks. Moreover, you will be able to change the pre-set parameters according to your personal needs.

Usability

The controller you are going to purchase should be easy to install. You will have to work with wires, and it would be useful if you avoid damaging the whole system with the wrong action.

Size

Size also makes sense. The ideal device shouldn’t be too large, because in this case, it will catch your attention on it. In addition, you should choose the best place for the device first and then define the most convenient size of it.

Warranty

Pay attention to the warranty from the manufacturer. Usually, the devices like the trailer brake controller are not easy to repair. So, the period of the warranty should be at least 1 year.

The Best Trailer Brake Controller – Final Advice

After we reviewed all TOP 10 best trailer brake controllers, it is time to explain why Tekonsha P3 appears to be our top pick. Well, first of all, this model is very reliable and has a lot of positive reviews from happy owners. Moreover, this best trailer brake controller comes equipped with a large enough easy-to-read display, which shows the information in 3 languages. The Boost feature of this best trailer brake controller is also reliable at work. Also, it has a perfect warning system, which alerts the driver about the cases when trailer brakes are not responding. So, if you are looking for the best trailer brake controller of a famous brand, which contains a majority of useful features and settings, choose Tekonsha P3.

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