Best Trailer Brake Controller Reviews 2016-2017

Accidents involving trailer vehicles are a common scene nowadays. There are many factors affecting these occurrences, and one of them is poor or non-installation of a brake controller.

If you have a trailer, you should take into serious consideration installing a trailer brake controller. It is an important safety feature which can save your life and protect your vehicle.

A brake controller is an external device, which can be attached and wired in the dashboard of your vehicle. Basically, its function is to send a signal to the trailer’s brake system that you have stepped on your brake pedals and it’s time to slow down or completely stop.

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Best Trailer Brake Controller Review

Tekonsha 90195 P3 Electronic Brake Control

Tekonsha 90195 P3 is arguably one best brake controller available nowadays. It has the best functions and features a driver could ever dream in an electric brake controller.

It is very lightweight at 1.4 pounds and measures at 4.5 × 3 × 10.6 inches. It has five storable setting options for pulling different types of trailers.

It also has an integrated plug-n-play feature with attached snap-in mounting clip which enables users to install it immediately and dismount and keep it when there is no use for it anymore. These show its portability as well as its versatility due to its universal compatibility.

90195 P3 also has a distinct, user-friendly LCD with a multi-color functionality that can be set to either three of the programmed languages based on your preference, namely, English, French, or Spanish.

It also has a flashing red warning system which alerts you in times of perceived danger. This feature is very advantageous as it tells you what to do to avoid an accident. It also displays easy-to-understand diagnostics which include output current, output voltage, battery, and brake.

Lastly, its boost feature accepts both hydraulic and electronic brakes. It gives more power to your braking system, which is very much needed when driving with trailers.

Although Tekonsha 90195 P3 offers a lot, it comes at a fairly high price. You also need to consider its sensitivity. But these are only minor cons when buying this model. You can always be extra careful in handling this, and you can pretty much say that it’s worth its price.

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Tekonsha 90195 P3 Electronic Brake...
1,606 Reviews
Tekonsha 90195 P3 Electronic Brake...
  • A distinct, easy-to-read LCD display with multiple screen color options,...
  • Diagnostics show output current, battery, brake, and output voltage and...
  • Boost feature allows for different levels of customized braking, select...

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Reese Towpower 8507111 Brakeman IV Compact Brake Control

Reese Towpower 8507111 offers its user-friendly feature which makes it easy to use, adjust, and assess its status. It has a digital display that indicates the amount of voltage and power applied to your brakes and assists you in accurately adjusting it when driving.

It is designed to handle up to four braking axles and eight braking systems. These assure you that you are prepared whenever you need to be attested to its universal compatibility.

It also has separate push buttons for adjusting controls whether it may be weight or speed inclined depending on the situation, which is “Output” for weight and “Sync” for speed. This makes it very versatile in terms of attending to the needs of the driver.

The only thing that can discourage you to buy this product is that its display is positioned at a certain angle which makes it difficult for shorter individuals to see while on the road. However, it can be installed in any part of your car, so this will not be a major problem. It may only take 30 minutes to install this on your vehicle and make the necessary adjustments to its programs that suit your preference.

This model has a lot of potentials but is still homogenous to its competitors. The only distinct factor that you have to consider in choosing this device is its price.

But, gauging Reese’s efforts on research and development, you may expect them to introduce a new feature that will gain their competitive advantage in the market.

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REESE Towpower 8507111 Brakeman IV...
148 Reviews
REESE Towpower 8507111 Brakeman IV...
  • INSTALLS QUICKLY: This 100% solid-state electronic with a small compact...
  • ADJUSTS EASILY: Two separate easy push-button adjustment controls (output...
  • DIGITAL DISPLAY: Bright and prominent digital display clearly indicates the...

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Curt 51110 Venturer Brake Control

Curt 51110 Venturer Brake Control is one budget pick that will surely satisfy those trailer owners who are looking for a cheap yet good solution for a brake control.

It is also very versatile as you can use it on almost any trailer having two electric brakes or more. It also gives you the liberty as its manual control feature allows you to activate the brake lights at your discretion.

This brake controller uses a time-dependent activation for its brake features. In addition to that, it can be installed just about anywhere inside your car as it comes with a mounting bracket with easy-to-understand installation instructions.

Also, the ramp time and power are easy to adjust. These add liberty to the driver as you can choose depending on whatever suits your preference or what the situations and conditions imply.

You need not worry about any technical aspects regarding this as the package comes with a diagram for the wire and cable connections and plugging in the harnesses. This also is very easy to understand, so having a little or no background at all with wirings and stuffs definitely would not post a problem.

To sum it up, Curt 51110 Venturer Brake Control is a simple device that offers you a lot for a cheaper price. It may not have the advanced features of other brands, but you are assured that this device will definitely deliver in times of need.

So if you are a common driver who owns a trailer, better consider taking a look on this model. The best controller reviews wouldn’t consider its name without testifying proofs, after all.

CURT 51110 Venturer Brake Control
256 Reviews
CURT 51110 Venturer Brake Control
  • Increases brake power based on gain setting and sensitivity adjustment
  • Operates 2-6 trailer brakes at a time (1-3 axles)
  • No internal moving parts and no leveling required

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Hopkins 47297 Insight Brake Control

Hopkins 47297 can be used with electric or hydraulic brakes. It can handle and provide safety for a maximum of eight trailer brakes.

Also, it is very easy to install and will only take roughly 10 minutes to set up. The different cables for parts are flexible, sturdy, and more importantly, long enough for different mounting positions.

It also comes with an instruction manual which is very easy to comprehend so even common drivers with no background with wirings can install it. This makes it very versatile, like most of other trail brake controllers in the market nowadays.

One thing that raised concern about this product is its slider rheostat. It is used for manual application of pressure to the brakes. It tends to break loose from the bracket when the sensitivity and the amount of braking are adjusted. A do-it-yourself (DIY) solution is gluing it in place or you may take professional mechanic help regarding this issue.

Another issue is that the screen display is too small that it is hard to see through it under the sunlight. This was the concern of several drivers who purchased the product.

In addition to that, drivers with poor eyesight will definitely experience viewing problems because of this. Product modification is the only answer to this issue. Maybe Hopkins can take into consideration this review for slightly altering the product design specifically its screen size.

All in all, Hopkins 47297 Insight Brake Control still delivers and claims its spot to be one best proportional brake controller in the market. Despite its shortcomings, you can still rely on its functionality and safety features.

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Hopkins 47297 INSIGHT Brake Control
145 Reviews
Hopkins 47297 INSIGHT Brake Control
  • Advanced brake technology that mirrors the braking of the tow vehicle for...
  • Works on trailers with electric or hydraulic brakes
  • Digital power and 7 sensitivity settings with intuitive vertical manual...

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Draw-Tite 5504 Activator IV Electronic Brake Control

The Draw-Tite Activation IV is a time-actuated brake controller designed to cater for one to four-axle trailers. It has a digital output indicator with up-front push buttons for Sync and Output and can be easily installed on your vehicle just like most brake controllers in the market.

This brake controller has an illuminated LED front display that can be viewed at almost any angle. Also, its screen size is designed for ease of view and you will not find it difficult to see through its display.

A distinction that separates it from its competitors is its plug-n-play feature. This adds to the model’s versatility and ease of use as you can easily install and remove it whenever you want to.

Another distinct feature is that it is short-circuit protected. Brake controllers are prone to short circuit due to the cables and wires attached to them. It is a good thing that this model has a fuse in it which will prevent this kind of peril. This adds to what the device has to offer in terms of safety.

Draw-Tite 5504 Activator IV offers advanced technology as it gives you greater control, accuracy, and confidence. It rivals other brands with its safety features. Because of this, it is offered at a fairly high price.

However, rest assured that it’s worth the price and you are going to benefit for every cent you paid. So if you are a driver who puts importance to enhanced safety features, this brake controller is the one for you.

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Draw-Tite 5504 Activator IV Electronic...
53 Reviews
Draw-Tite 5504 Activator IV Electronic...
  • Activator IV Electronic Brake Control for 1 to 4 Axle Trailers; Timed...
  • Compact design with Up-front push buttons for Sync and Output
  • Illuminated LED output indicator and front display; view at almost any...

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Buying Guide for Trailer Brake Controllers

Types of Trailer Brake Controller

Basically, there are three types of trailer brake controllers, time-delayed, proportional, and hydraulic over electrical. You make your choice depending on your needs and expertise, and most importantly, your budget.

trailer brake

1) Time Delayed Brake Controllers – Time delayed brake controllers function by producing a specific amount of pressure which will then be applied to the brakes of the trailer. This is usually determined by the weight of your load.

A minor time delay will allow the driver to manually regulate the applied pressure with a “sync” switch if needed. These brake controllers are cheaper, but it is best for skilled drivers who know how to control the brakes and have quick reaction to respond when needed.

2) Proportional Brake Controllers – Proportional brake controllers put less pressure on the brakes on your vehicle and your trailer. It allows more precise braking in times of emergency.

It uses a mechanism equipped with a motion sensor in determining how quickly your vehicle is going to stop and equally applying this pressure to the brakes on your trailer. So even if you suddenly step on your brakes, your trailer will also stop at the same time with your vehicle.

3) Hydraulic Over Electrical Controller – Hydraulic brake controllers use hydraulic pressure from brake mechanisms of vehicles. With hydraulic power, it produces current to regulate the brake system of the trailer.

Factors to Consider:

1) Price – Trailer brake controllers come in different brands and models with corresponding prices. Evaluate if the features offered by each brand are worth their price.

Also, consider your preferences. You don’t want to spend more than what you need. Go for quality, outstanding performance, and distinctive and reliable features.

2) Brake System – You have to consider your brake system before buying a trailer brake controller. This is to make sure that what you will buy is compatible with your vehicle. Your brake system may be proportional, non-proportional or time delayed, or a hybrid of electric and hydraulic.

Each brand has its own specification, and the reviews above will help you decide what to purchase or what suits your preferences.

You can also consider a change or an upgrade to your brake system if you really want to purchase a brand which you really like. You can seek help from the experts with this matter. Just bear in mind that this will cost you a little bit more.

3) Vehicle-Trailer Ratio – You must consider this in order to determine the appropriate brake controller to purchase. If the vehicle-trailer ratio is equal or the trailer is heavier, better not go with low-end trailer brake controllers.

4) Vehicle Voltage – This factor is very important as trailer brake controllers in the market may have different voltages. You must first determine your vehicle voltage before buying in order to prevent short circuit or electric malfunction from happening.

5) Vehicle Tire Condition – Trailer brake controllers will put immense pressure on your tires. Before buying one, check your tires’ conditions. This is also for additional safety for you. Choose one that will not easily wear out and is compatible with your tires’ durability.

trailer tires

6) Axles It Can Support – Trailer brake controllers are produced for a certain number of axle mechanisms on the trailer. It is a way of measurement to gauge the total maximum power they can generate. So basically, if the controller shows it is made for four axles; therefore, it could support a single, dual, or even triple axle trailers.

You must be keen on this factor, as sometimes, you don’t actually need the amount of power an electronic brake controller can offer, yet you choose to purchase it because of this sole reason. Evaluate your needs first before deciding on what brand and model to buy.

7) Display Type – Basically, LED display is the best for all trailer brake controllers. This assures an easy way of viewing the display.

For this one, you will need to consider the screen size. Trailer brake controllers come in different screen display sizes. Select one that will best suit your needs and preferences.

Also, consider the color display. Some trailer brake controllers may have a color display that is hard to see especially when struck by sunlight. This may cause poor judgment and loss of brake controls.

You must put great importance on this factor as this will be the sole way for you to monitor your vehicle and trailer’s brakes.

8) Installation – Before purchasing the product, check on how easily you can mount it on and remove it from your vehicle. You must also consider if it is versatile enough to be used with different types of trailers. Check also if the package has mounting tools in it such as clips.

Installing the trailer brake controller is a little bit of a challenge if you have no experience in dealing with this area. It is advised for you to get professional help about the type of trailer brake controller to buy and then have the experts install it properly for you. Just make sure and evaluate that services rendered by such are fairly priced and there are clear justifications on demand costs.

If you can install and mount it by yourself, make certain that the product you purchased is compatible with your vehicle’s brake system.

Also, take extra time to carefully follow the instruction manuals in order to prevent wiring malfunctions, short circuits, or other electrical perils from happening.

Disclaimer

Having a trailer brake controller is not a complete assurance that accidents involving such will not happen. It will only decrease the chance that these may occur and also lessen collateral damage which you may endure. However, it is always best to be ready. It is always best to consider all the safety measures as it is your life you are risking when you are driving your wheels.

trailer

Conclusion

It is absolutely recommended to use a brake controller to everyone who owns a trailer. It serves as a great safety device to have when you tow one. It will help you guarantee that your vehicle and trailer can relatively slow down or even completely stop when you need to.

On that note, as per the trailer brake controller reviews above, Tekonsha 90195 P3 Electronic Brake Control edges its competitors to be the best electric brake controller. Its advanced yet easy-to-use diagnostics tops our list. It can also be installed and removed easily inside your car, making it as a very useful road companion.