Best Brake Controllers: Stay Safe While on the Road

Best Brake Controllers

The brake controller is one of the most important parts of your vehicle, which is especially critical for your safety. While it can be beneficial in more ways than one, this will only be the case if you choose the right product. With this, you need to be responsible enough to evaluate the possibilities and to think beyond price.

Thinking about which one to choose? Keep on reading the rest of this guide and we’ll help you to come up with the right decision. We will identify some of the best brake controllers that are available in the market. We’ll also let you know what they do, their benefits, different types, and the factors to consider as you try to differentiate the possibilities.

What is a Brake Controller?

A brake controller is one of the most important tools to have when you are towing a trailer. It is mounted in the dashboard of the vehicle on the side of the driver. It is a device that plays a critical role in the improvement of your safety and on the protection of the trailer.

When you hit the brake, the brake controller will activate the electric or electric over hydraulic brake. This will make it easy to stop and slow down after hitting the brake. Without it, the vehicle that is being towed will just keep on moving.

Top Picks for the Best Brake Controllers

In this section, we will briefly discuss some of the best options that are available in the market, as well as the features that make them exceptional:

1. Tekonsha 90195 P3 Electronic Brake Control

Tekonsha 90195 P3 Electronic Brake Control

Although this might be quite expensive, the price is justifiable because of its impressive set of features. Among others, one thing that we love is the LCD screen, which is easy to read regardless of the external conditions. You even have the option to change the color of the display. In terms of versatility, this can also be a good choice.

You can choose from electric trailer brake or electric over hydraulic, depending on which mode is more suitable for your situation. The dash-hugging profile is also a plus, which means that it will not consume too much space. It also has plug-n-play design, which simplifies the entire process of its installation.


Main Product Features:

  • Display: LCD
  • Buttons: 4
  • Axles: 4
  • Weight: 1.4 pounds
  • Dimensions: 4.5 x 3 x 10.6 inches

Pros:

  • Delivers reliable performance
  • Plug and play mode
  • Easy to see display

Cons:

  • High price
  • Buttons can be sticky

2. Draw-Tite 20191 I-Stop IQ Electronic Brake Control

Draw-Tite 20191 I-Stop IQ Electronic Brake Control

The aesthetics of this brake controller is perhaps the first thing that you will notice. Its stylish construction can provide you with a compelling reason to have it chosen above all others. It comes with self-diagnostics feature, which will make it a reliable companion while on the road. There is an LED readout that will provide you with an immediate notification when there is an issue that warrants your attention.

The product is inclusive of the hardware that you will need for mounting the brake controller. Best of all, the manufacturer is offering a limited lifetime warranty, which is one thing that can eliminate all the doubts that you have about this product.


Main Product Features:

  • Axles: 3
  • Weight: 1 pound
  • Dimensions: 4.4 x 2.6 x 8.5 inches
  • Warranty: Limited Lifetime Warranty

Pros:

  • Attractive design
  • Has a mounting clip included
  • Plug-n-play functionality

Cons:

  • Can be quite difficult to screw
  • Cannot be installed sideways

3. Hopkins 47297 INSIGHT Brake Control

Hopkins 47297 INSIGHT Brake Control

If you want to have safer and smoother stops, this is the perfect product to have in your vehicle. It comes with a reasonable price and does not run short in terms of impressive features. Among others, one thing that you might love the most is its digital power, which greatly improves its accuracy and reliability. When it comes to mounting, you will also be happy with this product.

There is no need for drilling, which makes its installation a snap to accomplish. It is also versatile, basically because you can use it whether you have a hydraulic or electric brake. Lastly, its use is also pretty much straightforward. There is no need to have technical knowledge or experience.


Main Product Features:

  • Braking Capacity: 8
  • Sensitivity Levels: 7
  • Weight: 1 pound
  • Dimensions: 6.3 x 5.7 x 3.1 inches

Pros:

  • Easy to mount
  • Digital power and sensitivity
  • User-friendly

Cons:

  • Small display
  • LED may lack brightness

4. Curt 51140 TriFlex Brake Control

CURT 51140 TriFlex Brake Control

If budget is the most important consideration, this is one product that should be on the top of the list. Nonetheless, because of its price, do not expect too much from this product. It has the basic features, but it is not as advanced as those that you can find from the higher end of the market.

There are quick plugs that are incorporated in the controller, which is beneficial in terms of making the installation a snap to complete. In fact, as the manufacturer claims, the assembly of the unit will be completed within ten minutes. It also offers ease of calibration for a variety of towing situations.


Main Product Features:

  • Axles: 4
  • Weight: 8.8 ounces
  • Dimensions: 2.6 x 5 x 7 inches
  • Warranty: Limited Lifetime Warranty

Pros:

  • Affordable price
  • Simple to setup and use
  • Long-lasting

Cons:

  • Can kill the battery
  • Small controls

5. Reese Towpower 8508211 Brake Control

Reese Towpower 8508211 Brake Control (Proportional BRAKE-EVN)

This is another product that you might want to consider if you are looking for one that comes with a reasonable price. It comes with a large LCD display, which will make it easy for you to monitor its functions. To add, you might also be happy knowing that it has a plug and play installation, which simplifies its assembly. Even for novices, its installation is not a thing that you have to worry about. Lastly, this can also prove to be an exceptional product because of its brake failure notifications, which will be important when it comes to your safety.


Main Product Features:

  • Axles: 4
  • Weight: 7.7 ounces
  • Dimensions: 6.5 x 3.8 x 2.1 inches
  • Warranty: 3 years

Pros:

  • Does not require leveling
  • Affordable price
  • No need for drilling brackets

Cons:

  • Basic functions
  • May sometimes be unreliable

Different Types of Brake Controller

Thinking of buying a brake controller? If you are, the first thing that you have to do is to determine the specific type that will be best suited for your needs or your vehicle. In this case, the following are the options that you will be confronted with.

Proportional Brake Controller

This type comes with an inertia sensor, which will be the one responsible for being able to detect the pressure that you will apply upon braking. This also automatically matches the force you have applied to the brake of the trailer. In simple words, it replicates how intensely you brake.

A proportional brake controller is the perfect option if you frequently tow at heavy loads. One of its biggest benefits is that it can improve the driving experience by making it smoother. It is also efficient and safe. Lastly, it is beneficial because it leads to lesser wear for your vehicle.

Time-Delayed Brake Controller

It this type of brake controller, there is a pre-determined amount of pressure that is applied to the trailer’s brakes. This pressure will depend on the weight of the vehicle’s load. Every time the brake is triggered, a signal is received by the controller.

One of the best benefits of this type is that it is more affordable than its counterpart. Its installation is also less complicated, making it perfect even for novices. It also offers versatility because you can mount it in a variety of positions. However, there are also drawbacks. For instance, it leads to uneven pressure, which can increase wear. If you are a casual user, this will prove to be an exceptional choice.

Integrated Brake Controller

This type is actually different from the two categories that have been mentioned above. In this case, the brake controller is already included as a part of the vehicle. This means that there is no need to purchase and install it separately as it is already a part of the package of the vehicle when it is purchased.

More often than not, the one that already comes integrated into a vehicle is a proportional brake controller. It can be seen as a part of the heads-up display or the infotainment system. This is a cheap option because it means that you no longer have to buy an aftermarket brake controller, unless you are unhappy with the quality of the one that is included in your car or truck.

Benefits of Brake Controllers

Still wondering about purchasing a brake controller? The following are some of the benefits that might convince you to purchase the latter.

  • Improved Safety: One of the best things about using brake controllers is that you will be safer on the road as it increases the braking power of the trailer, regardless of the weight of the load.
  • Drive Smoothly: It is also going to improve the overall driving experience through making it smoother, especially every time you hit the brake.
  • Fuel Efficiency: Braking and fuel consumption are two things that are related to each other. The more power is needed to bring a trailer to a stop, the more fuel is consumed. Therefore, if you will be able to brake smoothly, this can also minimize the amount of fuel that is consumed.

Choosing the Best Brake Controllers

With too many options that are available in the market, which one should you choose? If you have no idea on what to pick, below are some of the most important factors that should be taken into consideration:

  • Reviews: One of the first things that you should do is to gather feedbacks from other users. A lot of buyers are generous enough to write about their actual experiences. You can learn a lot from their insights, making it easier for you to narrow down the possibilities.
  • Installation: You do not necessarily need a helping hand from the pros to complete the assembly of the brake controller. Choose one that comes with a user-friendly assembly, which means that installing it will be an easy task, even without having technical knowledge. It will be good if the product offers a plug and play functionality, which will simplify the entire process of installation.
  • Display: Another important thing is for the brake controller to have an excellent display. In this case, most of them will either have an LCD or LED display. Pick one that will be easily viewable regardless of the external condition, such as when it is bright or dark.
  • Controls: You should choose a product that comes with user-friendly controls. It must be easy for you to access the buttons. They should be strategically-positioned and should remain functional for an extended period.
  • Axles: When looking at the technical specifications of the product, one thing that should be given emphasis would be the number of axles. If you want advanced functionality and better efficiency, it will be good to choose those that can handle up to 4 axles.
  • Warranty: This will be indicative of how confident the manufacturer is about the quality of their product. An extensive warranty coverage is always better. They must be able to offer free repair or replacement of parts if the brake controller proves to be defective.

Conclusion

From the best brake controllers that have been mentioned above, which one is the best? If you ask for my personal opinion, I would say that it is Tekonsha 90195 P3 Electronic Brake Control. Although is it quite expensive, this is a great choice because of its quality and functionality. You can be confident that it will be able to deliver a high level of reliability.

Are you looking for other products for your car, trailer, or RV? Click here and learn from the insights that we will be sharing in our buying guides.