Best Brake Controllers

Last update March 16, 2017
If you have a trailer, you certainly know how difficult braking can be. A brake controller is the best way to make it easy. Here is our review of 5 best brake controllers that will help you make the right choice! ...Read more ...Read less
BEST 2017
PROS
CONS
OUR VERDICT
Type
Display and Controls
Number of Axles
Extra Features
Size
Warranty
 
PROS
The display backlight starts blinking when a contact with brakes is lost. The unit diagnoses the battery output current and shows on the display.
CONS
This brake control is not suitable for Dodge Ram 2013.
OUR VERDICT
Thanks to the generic wire harness, this brake controller can be connected to nearly any vehicle. A cushioned case provides an easy storage of the device.
detailed parameters
Type
Proportional
Display and Controls
LCD display, 4 push-buttons
Number of Axles
1 - 4
Extra Features
5 storable settings for different trailers, Option to set electrohydraulic or electric brake mode, Multi-language user interface (English, French, Spanish)
Size
4.5" x 3" x 10.63"
Warranty
Limited lifetime warranty
PROS
Plug-N-Play wire harness allows an easy connection / disconnection of the unit for storage. The slide lever provides a manual control of the trailer brakes.
CONS
The unit is designed for trailers with electric braking systems only.
OUR VERDICT
Hayes electric trailer brake controller can be installed in multiple positions thanks to its compact size and a reversible mounting bracket.
detailed parameters
Type
Proportional
Display and Controls
Red LED indicator, Pendulum lever arm, Manual slide lever
Number of Axles
1 - 2
Extra Features
Compatibility with electronic systems such as ABS and cruise control, Built-in protection from brake wiring short circuit, Adjustable braking power
Size
4.2" x 1.8" x 8"
Warranty
5 years
PROS
The unit automatically adjusts the brake output while going up or downhill. The mounting bracket, accessories, and manual are included. Compatible with electric and hydraulic brakes.
CONS
TriFlex system is incompatible with 7-way connectors that include LED test lights.
OUR VERDICT
CURT brake controller can be used for trailers that have up to 4 axles, so the device will be great for people who need to tow large trailers.
detailed parameters
Type
Proportional
Display and Controls
LED display, Manual control lever, Output adjustment thumbwheel, Sensitivity control
Number of Axles
1 - 4
Extra Features
Nine levels of sensitivity adjustment, Short-circuit protection, Automatic sleep mode prevents the battery run-off after 5 min of idle run
Size
2.6" x 5" x 7"
Warranty
Limited lifetime warranty
PROS
Plug-In Simple® Connection allows quick installation and de-installation of the device. The alert notifies you of any braking failure.
CONS
You need to adjust the braking power manually.
OUR VERDICT
You can easily customize this model to any driving style thanks to the manual control and precise braking power adjustment. This controller will be a secure braking accessory!
detailed parameters
Type
Time delayed
Display and Controls
Digital LED display, Power adjustment button, Manual slide
Number of Axles
1 - 2
Extra Features
Adjustable braking power is displayed in percentage from 5 to 99, Short Proof Protected
Size
5.2" x 3.6" x 3.3"
Warranty
Limited lifetime warranty
PROS
Reese Towpower is completely compatible with anti-lock braking systems. The device is made of durable materials, so it will serve you for many years.
CONS
No short circuit protection.
OUR VERDICT
Towpower 74642 can be installed in any convenient place in your car as it features no pendulum sensors or moving parts.
detailed parameters
Type
Time delayed
Display and Controls
Red indicator light, "Up-front" manual over-ride control, Slide adjustment output control
Number of Axles
1 - 2
Extra Features
Easy installation, Mounting hardware included
Size
4" x 1.75" x 8.75"
Warranty
Limited lifetime warranty

What is a Brake Controller

A brake controller is designed for actuating a trailer’s electric brake in proportion to a towing vehicle’s brake when a driver pushes a brake pedal. Brake controllers are usually installed in easily accessible places for convenient use and monitoring the notifications and alerts while towing. The controller’s braking power is adjusted with the help of levers or thumbwheels for smooth or rapid slowing down. These controls are used to decrease the load on the trailer braking system and make towing a lot safer.

We recommend considering car GPS trackers that help drivers find the shortest way to any destination, as well as the parking sensors that will let you manoeuvre into a garage in a safe way.

What To Look For

Type

When you are in search of a good brake controller, you need to pay particular attention to its type as all controllers are divided into 2 groups: proportional and time-delayed brake controllers. A proportional controller senses how fast a towing vehicle stops and when a driver engages the brakes they apply the same braking power to the trailer’s brakes. The gain of proportional brake controllers is that trailer's brakes and tow vehicle's brakes work with the same amount of power, providing efficient slowing down and reducing wear of braking systems. Time delayed brake controllers apply a preset braking power and work with a delay after the brake pedal engagement. The main benefit of these controllers is that they can be installed in any position since they are free from sensors that define whether a vehicle goes uphill or downhill. Apart from that, time delayed braking controllers are easier to install than proportional models.

Number of Axles

The number of axles a brake controller can work with is another important issue that requires your attention since it is important for towing safety. Brake controllers are generally designed for 1- or 2-axle trailers since they are the most widespread. Furthermore, some brake controllers can handle 4 axles at once and are quite efficient, featuring an advanced functionality. Yet, it doesn’t mean that 4-axle controllers aren't suitable for trailers with fewer axles - they are compatible with any trailer that has from 1 to 4 axles.

Extra Features

It’s reasonable to pay attention to some extra features of a brake controller as they make the usage easier and more comfortable. Brake controllers might include LED displays or indicator lights for notification. The controllers might have various controls for setting the braking power for different trailers (varying in size and weight). Also, brake controllers might be equipped with short circuit protection systems to prevent wiring failures. Many controllers have a Plug-N-Play function for an easy connection to a vehicle network. This feature allows you to quickly install a brake controller or remove it if you no longer need it. Some controllers include an option to choose electric or hydraulic braking system or use both systems at a time. Hence, check whether a brake controller is compatible with a braking system of your vehicle.

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Review of Tekonsha 90195 P3 Prodigy Electronic Brake Control

Tekonsha 90195 P3 Prodigy Electronic Brake Control

Tekonsha 90195 P3 Prodigy Electronic Brake Control

Digital Control

The braking system is used for changing the speed of your vehicle. This is one of the most important and essential means for your safety and well-being of pedestrians on the road. As technology moves forward, a lot of drivers use various trailers equipped with their own braking systems. As trailers are not self-propelled, they are hitched to vehicles for towing. But then, how to slow a trailer down if it’s large and has multiple axles? That is why brake controllers for trailers were developed. Tekonsha 90195 is one of such controllers that will ensure a safe towing of your trailer. Having a wide range of capabilities, the device can work with electrohydraulic or electrical braking system. Thus, when you hit a brake pedal, you send a proportional force to your trailer’s brakes. It means that slowing your car down, you will decelerate your trailer smoothly and effectively. The LCD display will help you set the controller according to your needs and let you see the status of the trailer’s braking system.

Review of Tekonsha 90195 P3 Prodigy Electronic Brake Control

Time-proven

What makes us trust a company? Probably, the period the company has been on the market. After all, useless and poor-quality products would hardly exist. So, as long as the company is in business, it proves the quality of its products. Tekonsha is a pretty old company with the roots going back to the year 1964 when it started manufacturing RV stairs and steps. Their braking systems are highly efficient and have won a wide recognition among drivers. Even Stacy Westfall, a renowned professional horse trainer,transports her horses in trailers fitted with Tekonsha braking systems. The company is Stacy's official sponsor and supports her in competitions.

Tekonsha 90195 P3 Prodigy Electronic Brake Control in the use

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When you park your car with a hitched trailer, it's recommended to use a car backup camera. No mess with wiring - just put the camera in a convenient place and see what's behind it on the monitor.

Additional Info

User Manual     Manufacturer


VIDEO
Tekonsha P3 Electronic Brake Controller Prodigy 90195 - HitchAnything.com
Tekonsha 90195 P3 Prodigy Electronic Brake Control
Tekonsha 90195 P3 Prodigy Electronic Brake Control
 
Review of Hayes 81741B Energize III Brake Controller

Hayes 81741B Energize III Brake Controller

Hayes 81741B Energize III Brake Controller

Safety and Convenience

Any car is potentially dangerous and that's why they are often equipped with various safety and control systems. They reduce the possibility of an accident and bring more confidence to a driver on the road. A braking system is not an exception and offers a lot of benefits. For example, the ABS safety system prevents skidding and drifting in case of abrupt braking. A cruise control function is also helpful: it maintains the speed of a vehicle without the need of keeping the gas pedal pushed all the time. Once you set the desired speed, your car will move at the same speed and if it goes too fast or too slow, the system will reduce or increase the speed. Having acquired the Hayes brake controller, you can be sure your towing will be safe as the unit is fully compatible with ABS and cruise control systems. This brake controller will help your trailer stop smoothly and easily. So, enjoy the driving, and leave the rest to Hayes!

Review of Hayes 81741B Energize III Brake Controller

Stop is Secured

Like any device, a brake controller is not perpetual. Moreover, it is automatic and has specific functions. The unit might fail for whatever reason, and that's why the manual override function will come in handy. The device is equipped with a special slide lever that allows you to rake the control and adjust the braking power manually. Making the towing safe is easier than it seems to be, just pick the right brake controller.

Hayes 81741B Energize III Brake Controller in the use

Piece of Advice

Choose a brake controller responsibly as some models might be incompatible with certain braking systems. Make sure that your trailer has an electric braking system, otherwise, Hayes 81741B won't work properly and you'll throw money down the drain.

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Additional Info

    Manufacturer


VIDEO
Installation of the Hayes Energize XPC Trailer Brake Controller on a 2014 Jeep Grand Cherokee
Hayes 81741B Energize III Brake Controller
Hayes 81741B Energize III Brake Controller
 
Review of CURT 51140 TriFlex Brake Controller

CURT 51140 TriFlex Brake Controller

CURT 51140 TriFlex Brake Controller

Intellectual Helper

A lot of contemporary appliances feature supplemental sensors to standardize the usage and make them smarter. For example, a smartphone includes numerous sensors responsible for quite a lot of functions and boosting the performance of the device. So, why can't sensors be put in brake controllers? The developers of CURT TriFlex implemented this idea by adding a triple-axis motion-sensing accelerometer to the unit's hardware. So, whether you drive along a smooth highway or a bumpy dirt road, the device accurately detects every motion of your car and trailer and applies a braking power accordingly. This solution largely improves the performance of the controller and makes it distinguishable from other models. Since the device is constantly powered by a car battery, it consumes some energy even while being idle. This problem is successfully solved by the automatic sleep mode which is activated if the device is not in use for 5 minutes. This brake controller is well-balanced and has obvious advantages!

Review of CURT 51140 TriFlex Brake Controller

Towing Giant

CURT is number one in the development of the towing equipment for trailers of all modifications. CURT brake controllers are compatible with many cars and are reliable assistants in long-haul trips. The company produces over 1,000 models of hitches. In 2015, CURT received ISO / TS 16949 certification for high quality. Currently, their products meet all the quality standards and are available for all customers. Larry King, a well-known broadcaster, is among the users of the CURT products. He entrusts his safety to CURT hitching systems and this fact is a vivid example of top-notch quality of CURT braking controllers.

CURT 51140 TriFlex Brake Controller in the use

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Additional Info

User Manual     Manufacturer


VIDEO
Review of Curt Brake Controller C51140 - etrailer.com
CURT 51140 TriFlex Brake Controller
CURT 51140 TriFlex Brake Controller
 
Review of Hopkins 47284 Reliance Digital Electronic Brake Control

Hopkins 47284 Reliance Digital Electronic Brake Control

Hopkins 47284 Reliance Digital Electronic Brake Control

Personal Adjustment

Any modern car is equipped with an up-to-date braking system that instantly responses to the slightest pedal push. When you drive a car after driving another one, you take some time to get used to controlling the pedals, as they may be harder or softer to push than on yours. Proportional braking controllers have shown their efficiency on trailers: they ensure the similar braking power on a car and on a trailer. What if this is not OK for you? A time delayed braking controller is ready to help! Hopkins engineers know everything about the towing equipment and understand drivers' needs. Hopkins 47284 allows you to set the braking intensity for your trailer in percentage and braking will occur exactly when you need. You can set it to 99% or 50 % to provide smooth braking and keep the brake shoes of your car safe. It positively affects the entire braking system. The time delayed electric brake controller has proven its efficiency on 2-axle trailers that can be even heavier than tow vehicles.

Review of Hopkins 47284 Reliance Digital Electronic Brake Control

Secure Your Life

Do you hear a squeak while braking? If so, you need to inspect the braking system at an appropriate service station. Having spent a few hours on diagnostics, you will avoid road accidents and save your life. When the reason for crunching is found, don't put it off and eliminate the defect immediately. The operability of car brakes should be checked on a regular basis, and the troubleshooting is the top priority. A braking system commonly consists of shoes and brake discs. The wear of these components impacts the overall braking efficiency. You can visually check the condition of brakes yourself as they are easy to see in the wheel rims. When you see any wear or damage, drive to a service center and have damaged parts replaced.

 

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Additional Info

User Manual     Manufacturer


Hopkins 47284 Reliance Digital Electronic Brake Control
Hopkins 47284 Reliance Digital Electronic Brake Control
 
Review of Reese 74642 Brakeman Timed Towpower Compact Brake Control

Reese 74642 Brakeman Timed Towpower Compact Brake Control

Reese 74642 Brakeman Timed Towpower Compact Brake Control

Maximum Affordability

Having rest is what everybody adores! Isn't it cool to tour with your family in a house trailer that allows you to stop wherever you need? Yet, towing a trailer is not so easy. You have to apply a considerable braking power as you have an extra load behind that also needs to be slowed down. The Reese Towpower 74642 brake controller will become an irreplaceable assistant for the braking system of your trailer. Once installed in your car, this brake controller will make braking super easy. In addition, controlling your mobile home will be much easier and safer. Interestingly, the brake controller can be installed in any place of your car and in any position since it has no moving parts or levers. You can mount the device under an armrest or in a glove box to keep a nice look of the dashboard. Pick the most appropriate place for your controller from a thousand possible! The affordable price is one more advantage of this device that will certainly please you. Thus, Reese Towpower will secure your journeys in travel trailers.

Review of Reese 74642 Brakeman Timed Towpower Compact Brake Control

Travel with Comfort

A camper trailer is essential for enjoyable trips if you drive a minivan or a pickup. Sleeping in a car is not much cop, is it? A house trailer is another matter, it allows you to plan your trip and visit any place you wish, having an opportunity to have a comfortable rest. Apart from that, a trailer will let you save money on hotels and cook food right on the spot. This way, a travel trailer will let you see the places you've never been to and will make your journey a real pleasure.

Reese 74642 Brakeman Timed Towpower Compact Brake Control in the use

Tip

A trailer is usually quite heavy and can considerably load the braking system of a tow vehicle. This load can lead to a failure or malfunction of brakes. A brake controller is a superb solution to this problem. However, keep in mind that a brake controller connects directly to the vehicle's wiring, and if you aren't sure whether you can connect everything right yourself, ask for professional assistance. This way, you will have a brake controller installed properly and in no time.

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Additional Info

User Manual     Manufacturer


Reese 74642 Brakeman Timed Towpower Compact Brake Control
Reese 74642 Brakeman Timed Towpower Compact Brake Control
 
Infographics
Comparison of {KeyWord:Brake Controller}s
Sources:

1. Thomas West How to Adjust Electric Brake Controllers, eHow.

2. Aaron Birch GMC Shows Us How To Adjust The Electronic Trailer Brake Controller: Video, GM Authority. March 17, 2015.

3. Jefferson Bryant Heavy Hauler - How To Install A Trailer Brake Controller, NAPA Know How Blog. January 1, 2015.

4. Trailer Brake Controller Information, etrailer.

5. Trailer brake controller, Wikipedia. July 4, 2016.

6. John Fuller How Brake Controllers Work, HowStuffWorks.

7. Brake Controllers Information, Engineering 360.

8. Lars Tramilton How Does an Electric Trailer Brake Controller Work? eHow.