Installing the best trailer brake controller is essential to safe towing, preventing accidents, and making sure that you remain in full control of your tow vehicle and RV trailer.
If you don’t already own a trailer brake controller or are looking to upgrade an old model, make sure you check out our guide to finding the best trailer brake controller. We’ve selected, analyzed, and reviewed the most popular models on the market to enable you to make your purchase with confidence.
Table of Contents
- 1 What is a Trailer Brake Controller?
- 2 Do I Need a Trailer Brake Controller?
- 3 Best Trailer Brake Controller
- 3.1 Tekonsha 90195 P3 Electronic Brake Control
- 3.2 CURT 51180 Echo Mobile Electric Trailer Brake Controller
- 3.3 Tekonsha 90160 Primus IQ Electronic Brake Control
- 3.4 Reese Towpower 8508211 Brake Control
- 3.5 Redarc Tow-Pro Elite V2 Electric Brake Controller
- 3.6 CURT 51110 Venturer Electric Trailer Brake Controller
- 3.7 CURT 51170 Spectrum Original Integrated Electric Trailer Brake Controller
- 4 Compare the Best Trailer Brake Controllers
- 5 Buyer’s Guide to Buying the Best Trailer Brake Controller
- 6 Different Types of Trailer Brake Controller
- 7 Installation Guide for a Trailer Brake Controller
- 8 Top Trailer Brake Controllers Video
- 9 Maintenance Tips for a Trailer Brake Controller
- 10 Legislation and Compliance for Trailer Brake Controllers
- 11 Case Studies and User Experiences with Trailer Brake Controllers
- 12 Future Trends in Trailer Brake Controllers
- 13 Environmental Considerations for Trailer Brake Controllers
- 14 Manufacturer Profiles for Trailer Brake Controllers
- 15 Frequently Asked Questions
- 16 Final Thoughts
What is a Trailer Brake Controller?
Trailer brake controllers are compact electronic devices that allow you to set up and control how and when your trailer brakes from inside your tow vehicle.
Units are usually dash mounted and have various features to enable you to adjust your brake settings to suit your driving style and trailer’s size and weight.
Do I Need a Trailer Brake Controller?
Without a trailer brake controller, your electric trailer brakes simply will not work. Most states require a brake controller to be fitted when towing a trailer over 3,000 pounds or one that weighs over 40% of your tow vehicle.
Even if you have a lightweight RV travel trailer, installing a trailer brake controller will ensure that your journey is safer and give you greater control over your driving. Using a trailer brake controller will also help to give you greater peace of mind when heading off on vacation down unfamiliar roads and on major highways.
Best Trailer Brake Controller
Looking for the best trailer brake controller for your travel trailer? We’ve handpicked and reviewed the very best models on the market, so you’re sure to find the best brake controller for your RV trailer right here.
Tekonsha 90195 P3 Electronic Brake Control
The P3 Trailer Brake Controller by Tekonsha is our best overall choice, tried, tested, and approved of by RVers up and down the country. With its true proportional braking system, this unit provides trailer brake control for up to four braking axles with a choice of electric over hydraulic or electric trailer brake mode.
This highly popular trailer brake controller features an easy to read LCD with up-front controls to access and display all of P3’s features, including: output voltage, battery, output current, and brake. A red flashing alert is displayed in case of no trailer brakes and the boost feature allows you to set different levels of customized braking to suit your trailer, tow vehicle, and terrain. It also boasts two Plug-N-Play Ports.
With five storable settings for different driver or trailer braking preferences, the P3 is easy to set up, while the snap-in-mounting allows you to easily remove and store your unit outside of your vehicle when it won’t be in use. The only disadvantage with this excellent trailer brake controller is that instructions on where and how to best place it inside your vehicle could be improved.
All in all, if you are looking for a highly reliable, practical trailer brake controller that is technologically advanced, yet easy to use, and reasonably priced, the P3 is going to be the best overall trailer brake controller on the market for you.
CURT 51180 Echo Mobile Electric Trailer Brake Controller
The 51180 Echo Mobile Electric Trailer Brake Controller by towing specialists Curt allows you to control all of your trailer brake settings directly from your smartphone – ideal if you frequently change vehicles or just don’t want to have to install a unit inside of your tow truck.
No tools are required, thanks to this model’s plug-and-play installation. The triple axis, motion-sensing accelerometer connects to your smartphone via Bluetooth. In the unit’s app, you are able to create multiple driver and trailer profiles for exceptional ease of use. If for some reason Bluetooth becomes unavailable, your trailer brakes revert to using the most recently programmed setting so your brakes remain fully operational.
Electric over hydraulic brake compatible, this smart trailer brake controller can also be used with ABS and cruise control activated. Easy to use and transfer from one vehicle to another, the main flaw in this otherwise exceptional trailer brake controller is that the rubber strap connecting the accelerometer to your vehicle is not infallible and may result in your controller falling from your vehicle and your trailer braking system rendered inactive.
Zip ties and duct tape can help provide extra security, although for the price of the Echo Mobile, a more professional, permanent solution should be available.
Tekonsha 90160 Primus IQ Electronic Brake Control
If you usually haul the same trailer or ones with similar weights, save yourself some money on the more expensive versions and opt for our value choice – the 90160 Primus IQ by Tekonsha. The proportional trailer brake controller works with trailers with one to three axles and is completely self-leveling, unlike older versions.
Thanks to its new Boost feature, you have the option to increase your trailer’s braking when towing heavier RV trailers. When backing into tough spots, you can benefit from this unit working proportionally in reverse for complete security. The digital LED readout displays a self-diagnostic gesture should an issue occur, so you’ll be immediately alerted.
Complete with a Plug-N-Play port for two-plug adapters and a snap-in dash mourning clip for easy removal when not in use, this model gives you all the essential features you really need for safely towing your travel trailer at a much lower price than the competition.
The only slight drawback is that it can be a little tricky to finely tune the recessed adjustment wheel, however, this is not a major issue by any means. All in all, the Tekonsha is a great value for money choice.
Reese Towpower 8508211 Brake Control
Looking for the best trailer brake controller on a budget? The Brake-Evn Trailer Brake Controller by Reece Towpower is an excellent, highly affordable option that works well with both heavy and light travel trailers.
Its advanced proportional braking system matches the pressure you apply to your tow truck brakes, for smoother, secure stopping that can even help to extend the life of your tow vehicle brakes.
This controller can handle up to four axles and comes with a handy Boost feature to increase your stopping power – ideal when towing heavy fifth wheels. Installation is very simple provided you pick up the correct factory harness for your vehicle to get a simple plug-in install. Aside from its low purchase price, one of the main advantages of this unit is its compact, non-obtrusive design and clear LED diagnostics.
Simply press the unit’s buttons to make easy braking adjustments. Just note that the location of the controller’s buttons on the top of the unit will limit your placement options inside your vehicle, although no leveling is required.
On the whole, you’ll struggle to find a better trailer brake controller at such a low price, making the Brake-Evn model by Reese Towpower an excellent model for any RVers on a tight budget.
Redarc Tow-Pro Elite V2 Electric Brake Controller
Don’t want to mess up your vehicle’s dash with an unsightly boxy unit that stands out like a sore thumb? The Redarc Tow-Pro Elite V2 has been specially designed to be installed with the main unit out of sight, leaving you with a discreet control knob that blends seamlessly into almost every dash.
The Tow-Pro V2 provides you with the choice of two types of braking – proportional to match your tow truck on the highway or user-controlled mode to allow you to set your braking level, a preferred choice if you are off-roading. Choose between the two modes to suit your vehicle and terrain for a safer drive towing your RV.
Thanks to its three-axis accelerometer, you are free to mount the main unit in any orientation with accurate brake level sensing. Unfortunately, there is no mounting hardware included with the V2, although you won’t have to spend a lot extra, it is an inconvenience having to go out and shop for appropriate screws.
Suitable for use with electric and electric over hydraulic trailer braking systems, the Tow-Pro Elite V2 provides secure, reliable RV trailer braking without requiring you to install a bulky controller up front.
CURT 51110 Venturer Electric Trailer Brake Controller
The Venturer electric trailer brake controller is a basic unit that uses a time-delay braking system for safe stopping, increasing your trailer’s brake pressure as you depress your tow vehicle’s brake pedal. This makes it a good purchase for lightweight single or double axle camping trailers, although it has the capacity to support models with up to three axles.
Easy to use, the Venturer has a simple ramp-up LED brake monitoring system. Compatible with cruise control, anti-lock brakes, and low voltage systems, it’s suitable for use with just about any standard travel trailer.
The manual brake slider button allows you to adjust your braking intensity, with an adjustable power toggle and ramp time. However, the controls are very sensitive which can make for difficult fine-tuning and you may have to spend a considerable amount of time before you’re happy with the results.
Versatile, you can mount it in your ride at any angle and it comes complete with an adjustable mounting bracket. Purchase Curt’s quick-plug harness that matches your vehicle’s configuration for a quick and easy setup with no leveling required.
On the whole, a good basic time delay trailer brake controller that is well worth the money.
CURT 51170 Spectrum Original Integrated Electric Trailer Brake Controller
The Curt Spectrum Original Electric Trailer Brake Controller is a popular choice with RVers looking for an integrated trailer brake controller. Thanks to its one to four axle capacity, it is capable of operating between two to eight trailer brakes simultaneously, making it suitable for pretty much all RV trailer types.
With the main unit installed out of sight, you have the option of either drill or surface adhesive mounting the OEM-style rotary user interface. With its 10 tri-color LEDs, you can control all of your trailer brake settings at the twist of a knob and touch of a button. It also benefits from low-voltage and trailer disconnect indicators for extra safety, plus an easily accessible manual override which is really useful should your braking conditions change.
The triple-axis motion-sensing accelerometer ensures highly responsive, yet smooth stops. Compatible with ABS, cruise control, and electric over hydraulic, this trailer brake controller boasts high compatibility and stylish good looks.
While you can get plug-and-play installation by investing in a Curt vehicle-specific harness, the tiny wire connections are very fragile, so make sure that you are armed with plenty of patience before you attempt to install. Full review.
Compare the Best Trailer Brake Controllers
|Tekonsha 90195 P3 Electronic Brake Control
|Buy on Amazon
|CURT 51180 Echo Mobile Electric Trailer Brake Controller
|Buy on Amazon
|Tekonsha 90160 Primus IQ Electronic Brake Control
|Buy on Amazon
|Reese Towpower 8508211 Brake Control
|Buy on Amazon
|Redarc Tow-Pro Elite V2 Electric Brake Controller
|Buy on Amazon
|CURT 51110 Venturer Electric Trailer Brake Controller
|Buy on Amazon
|CURT 51170 Spectrum Original Integrated Electric Trailer Brake Controller
|Buy on Amazon
Buyer’s Guide to Buying the Best Trailer Brake Controller
To make sure that you choose the best trailer brake controller for your rig, check out our comprehensive buyer’s guide and find out just what you need to keep an eye out for.
|Some more great RV gear guides
|Great Trailer Hitch Locks
|Amazing Weight Distribution Hitches
Trailer brake controllers are generally fairly inexpensive. Low cost trailer brake controllers can be purchased for under $75 and are often time-delay models or basic proportional versions. Expect to spend between $100-$250 to pick up a premium model with extra features, such as a Boost mode and self-leveling main units.
Spending more generally equates to a better looking unit that is less obstructive on your dash. In terms of performance, there is not really that much difference between mid-range and high-priced models, however, you may find that more expensive versions are easier to adjust and provide enhanced usability.
Size and Weight of Your Towable
The larger and heavier your towable, the more reactive your trailer brake controller will need to be. For large trailers make sure that your brake controller has enough capacity to operate all of your trailer brakes simultaneously.
While small, lightweight trailers can get by with basic time-delay brake controllers, for large RV trailers, you’ll want a proportional trailer brake controller that is easy to adjust with a boost function for downhill sections and changes in the weather.
The Capability of Your Vehicle
It is important that your vehicle has sufficient capacity to tow your trailer, regardless of the installation of a trailer brake controller. Exceeding your vehicle’s maximum tow capacity is extremely dangerous, so make sure that you know your vehicle’s limits.
If your trailer weighs over 40% of your tow vehicle’s weight, you will definitely need to ensure that you have a brake controller fitted to prevent your trailer from swerving and extending your breaking time and distances, potentially causing a major accident.
Easy to Use
While most trailer brake controllers take a little while for you to perfect your setting and get used to the user interface it’s important that your trailer brake controller is easy to use. If you suddenly need to boost your braking power in an emergency situation, you’ll want to be able to do so at the touch of a button.
While some RVers find the traditional push-button models with a small LCD to be the easiest to use, others prefer connected versions they can adjust on their smartphone. It all comes down to your personal preferences and what you find to be the most useful.
As your trailer brake controller uses electricity from your tow vehicle to apply power to your trailer brakes, it is important that your unit’s voltage matches that of your vehicle, or else your brake controller may not work correctly. Most units are either 12V or 24V, with some models able to run on either voltage. Make sure you verify before purchasing.
Number of Axles
Your trailer brake controller will have a maximum number of brakes that it can simultaneously operate. This can be given as the individual number of brakes or, more commonly, the number of axles.
Most models have a capacity between one and three axles or one and four axles which equates to between two to six or two to eight brakes. It goes without saying that your controller should have sufficient capacity to operate all of your trailer’s brakes.
Most displays involve LEDs of some kind, either figures to display your braking power and error codes, or different colored LEDs to adjust intensity. Much like ease of use, it all depends on your personal preferences which type of display you go for.
A minimalist colored LED display suits some users, whereas other RVers prefer a more traditional display or no display at all and to use their connected smartphone to access all of their trailer braking information and settings.
Your trailer brake controller will allow you to adjust various settings including braking intensity. It may or may not have a boost feature to quickly override your settings for a more forceful brake. Other settings may include the following:
- Braking type – proportional or user-controlled.
- Electric or electric over hydraulic settings.
- Adjustable ramp time.
- Self-diagnostic settings.
- Adjustable braking intensity.
Unless you are thinking of purchasing a connected trailer brake controller to use via your smartphone, you’ll need to consider what size controller you want to fit on your dashboard.
Basic, older units are more bulky and may require you to drill holes into your dashboard. Newer, slimline models often have a larger main unit that is installed out of sight with a small, integrated control knob that sits on your dashboard.
Smaller models give you more placement options, although some RVers prefer more traditional-sized models with a display and push buttons.
Electric and Hydraulic Braking
Check what type of braking system your trailer has before choosing your controller. The best trailer brake controllers are able to operate both electric braking systems and electric and hydraulic ones. You will be able to switch over from one type of braking to the other in your model’s settings.
Make sure that you take time to experiment with your new trailer brake controller to find the optimum settings for your tow truck and RV trailer.
Test your brakes and set the maximum braking power, then try it out in a safe space. Then test out your sensitivity levels until you are happy with your trailer brake reaction to when you hit your tow vehicle’s brakes.
Taking the time to optimize your trailer controller setting will improve your trailer’s tire safety, for smooth stops rather than jerky, sudden movements that when applied repeatedly could damage your tires.
Different Types of Trailer Brake Controller
When choosing the best trailer brake controller for your RV you’ll have to decide whether you want a proportional controller or a time-delayed controller. Here’s what you need to know.
Proportional controllers are considered to be the best type of trailer brake controller as they provide smoother stops and more efficient braking. They do, however, cost more than time-delay models.
Proportional controllers use accelerometers to sense changes to your vehicle’s speed. When you hit your brakes, the controller applies a similar amount of power to your trailer’s brakes in proportion to your vehicle’s momentum.
For example, if you brake on an incline, your controller will apply less power to your trailer brakes as you’ll be going slower, than it would on a decline where you would be moving more quickly.
Less precise and not as smooth as proportional controllers, time-delayed versions are more basic in their operation.
When you press on your tow truck brake pedal your controller immediately activates your trailer’s brakes applying an increasing amount of pressure. This amount can be adjusted in your controller’s settings to better suit your trailer and driving style.
Installation Guide for a Trailer Brake Controller
Preparation: Before starting the installation process, read the instructions provided by the manufacturer of your brake controller thoroughly. Gather all the necessary tools, which may include a screwdriver, wire stripper, pliers, and possibly a drill. Also, ensure that your vehicle is parked on a flat and stable surface.
Locate Connector Under Dash: Most modern vehicles come with a built-in connector under the dash for installing a brake controller. This connector is usually located near the steering column. If your vehicle doesn’t have one, you may need a universal wiring harness, which can be spliced into the vehicle’s wiring system.
Mount the Controller: The brake controller needs to be mounted in a location that’s easily accessible and visible while driving. It should be within easy reach but not obstructing any vehicle controls. Most controllers are designed to be mounted at a specific angle, typically between -20 and 70 degrees in relation to the direction of travel, so it’s critical to follow the manufacturer’s guidelines. You may need to drill holes to mount the bracket securely, but some models come with adhesive backing that doesn’t require drilling.
Connect the Wiring: Connect the wiring harness that came with the controller to the connector under the dash. This is usually a straightforward process, as the connectors are designed to fit together. If your vehicle doesn’t have a built-in connector, you’ll need to splice the wires together. This involves connecting the wires of the same color from the controller to the wiring harness, and using a wire stripper and pliers to twist and secure the connections.
Check the Ground Connection: One of the most common issues with brake controller installations is a poor ground connection. Make sure the ground wire (usually white) is connected to a clean, bare metal surface.
Connect to the Trailer Plug: The other end of the wiring harness needs to be connected to the trailer plug. This plug is usually located at the rear of the vehicle and is what connects the vehicle’s electrical system to the trailer’s brakes.
Calibrate the Controller: Once everything is installed, you’ll need to calibrate the controller. This usually involves setting the power level and sensitivity to match the weight and brake strength of your trailer. Refer to the manufacturer’s instructions for the calibration process for your specific model.
Test the System: Finally, connect your trailer and test the system to ensure everything is working properly. This should involve checking the brake controller’s display (if it has one) for any error messages, and performing a test drive at a low speed in a safe location to confirm the trailer brakes are working as expected.
Remember, safety should always be your top priority when installing a trailer brake controller. If you’re not comfortable with any part of the process, consider hiring a professional to do the installation for you.
Top Trailer Brake Controllers Video
Maintenance Tips for a Trailer Brake Controller
Regular Inspection: Make a habit of inspecting your brake controller and its connections regularly. Look for any signs of wear, damage, or loose connections. Regularly checking the condition of your brake controller can help detect any potential issues early, and prevent more serious problems down the line.
Cleaning: Keep the brake controller and its display clean. Dust, dirt, and other debris can affect the controller’s performance and lead to inaccurate readings or malfunctions. Use a soft cloth to gently wipe the controller and its display. Avoid using harsh chemicals that could damage the controller’s components.
Ensure Secure Connections: Over time, connections can become loose due to the vibration from driving. Regularly check to ensure that all connections are secure. This includes the connection between the controller and its wiring harness, as well as the connection between the wiring harness and the vehicle’s electrical system.
Check Wiring and Cables: Look out for any signs of fraying, damage, or corrosion on the wires and cables. If you notice any damage, it’s important to address it promptly to prevent potential short circuits or malfunctions.
Monitor Controller Performance: Be aware of any changes in how your brake controller performs. If you notice that the brakes are less responsive than usual, or if the controller’s display shows error messages, these could be signs that the controller needs maintenance.
Stay Updated with Software: If your brake controller uses software or firmware, make sure it’s always up to date. Manufacturers may release updates that fix bugs, improve performance, or add new features.
Professional Inspection: Consider having your brake controller professionally inspected periodically, especially if you tow frequently or over long distances. A professional can perform a thorough inspection and promptly address any issues.
Follow Manufacturer’s Guidelines: Always follow the maintenance guidelines provided by the brake controller’s manufacturer. They will provide the most accurate and specific information for your model.
Remember, maintaining your trailer brake controller not only ensures it operates effectively but also extends its lifespan. If you encounter any issues you’re unsure about, don’t hesitate to consult a professional.
Legislation and Compliance for Trailer Brake Controllers
Understanding the Law: In many countries, including the United States, it’s a legal requirement to have a functioning brake system on a towed trailer that exceeds a certain weight limit. This is not only for the safety of the vehicle operator but also for other drivers on the road.
Weight Regulations: In the United States, trailers with a gross weight of 3,000 pounds or more are required by federal law to have brakes on all wheels. However, state laws can vary, with some states requiring brakes for trailers weighing 1,500 pounds or more. Always check the specific laws in your state or any states you plan to travel through.
Breakaway System Requirements: In addition to brakes, most states also require trailers to be equipped with a breakaway system if they exceed a certain weight. A breakaway system automatically applies the trailer’s brakes if it becomes disconnected from the towing vehicle.
Controller Regulations: While the laws requiring brakes on trailers are quite clear, the laws specifically related to brake controllers are often less so. While a brake controller is the most common way to meet the requirement for a functioning brake system on a trailer, there may be other legally acceptable methods. Again, it’s important to check the laws in your specific area.
International Travel: If you’re planning to tow your trailer across international borders, be aware that the laws can change. Before you go, make sure to research the towing and brake controller laws in the countries you plan to visit.
Compliance Certifications: When purchasing a trailer brake controller, look for one that has been certified as compliant with relevant safety standards. This certification is usually displayed on the product packaging or included in the product description.
Liability Considerations: Finally, remember that failure to comply with these laws can result in not just fines, but also increased liability in the event of an accident. If your trailer’s brakes fail to operate properly because you didn’t have a functioning brake controller, you could be held responsible for any resulting damage or injuries.
Remember, safety should always be the top priority when towing a trailer. Always ensure your equipment is in good working order and compliant with all relevant laws and regulations.
Case Studies and User Experiences with Trailer Brake Controllers
The Cross-Country RVer: Sarah, an avid RVer, made a cross-country trip from New York to California with her travel trailer. She used the Tekonsha 90195 P3 Electronic Brake Control. She found the installation process to be straightforward with the help of the user manual. The brake controller made her journey safer and more comfortable, as she was able to adjust the brake intensity based on the road conditions and traffic. The digital display was very helpful in keeping track of the brake settings and ensuring everything was functioning correctly.
The Small Business Owner: John, a small business owner, frequently uses his trailer for transporting goods. He installed the CURT 51180 Echo Mobile Electric Trailer Brake Controller in his truck. The feature he appreciated the most was the ability to control and monitor the trailer brakes via a smartphone app, which allowed him to make adjustments on the fly without needing to stop and manually adjust the controller.
The Weekend Adventurer: Emily and her family love going on weekend camping trips with their trailer. They chose the Reese Towpower 8508211 Brake Control due to its affordability and ease of use. Emily appreciated the smooth braking response, and the compact design didn’t clutter up the dashboard of their SUV. Emily was impressed by the controller’s reliability and performance during their trips.
The Tech-Savvy User: Alex, a tech-savvy user, preferred the Redarc Tow-Pro Elite V2 Electric Brake Controller for its advanced technology. The controller offered him proportional braking, which he found to be very efficient and responsive, especially on hilly terrain. The controller’s small remote head was easy to install and didn’t interfere with the vehicle’s interior design.
These case studies highlight the benefits of using a trailer brake controller and how they can enhance the towing experience based on individual needs and preferences. It’s important to remember that what works best for one person may not necessarily be the best for another, so it’s crucial to consider personal requirements when choosing a trailer brake controller.
Future Trends in Trailer Brake Controllers
Integration with Vehicle’s System: As vehicles become smarter, we can expect to see more integration between the vehicle’s system and the trailer brake controller. This could mean that future controllers are built directly into the vehicle, or that they can communicate more effectively with the vehicle’s onboard computer systems.
Smartphone Control: We’ve already seen some brake controllers that can be controlled via a smartphone app. This trend is likely to continue, with more manufacturers offering this feature. The apps could also become more sophisticated, offering features like brake performance data logging, customizable profiles for different trailers, and real-time alerts for potential problems.
Advanced Safety Features: Future trailer brake controllers could include more advanced safety features. This could include things like predictive braking, where the controller uses data from the vehicle (like speed and acceleration) and possibly even external data (like GPS and traffic information) to optimize brake performance.
Internet of Things (IoT) Connectivity: With the rise of the IoT, brake controllers could become more connected. This could allow for remote monitoring and control, as well as integration with other smart devices. For example, a smart home system could receive a notification when the trailer is successfully connected to the vehicle.
Sustainability: As with many other technologies, there could be a greater focus on sustainability in the development of future trailer brake controllers. This could include things like more energy-efficient designs, use of recycled or eco-friendly materials, and even solar-powered controllers.
Autonomous Towing Capabilities: As autonomous vehicles become more common, we might see development in the field of autonomous towing. This would require significant advancements in trailer brake controllers, which would need to communicate seamlessly with the autonomous vehicle systems.
Adoption of New Standards: As technology advances, we can expect new standards to be adopted in the manufacture and operation of trailer brake controllers. These new standards would aim to improve safety, efficiency, and ease of use.
While these trends offer exciting possibilities for the future of trailer brake controllers, they also present new challenges. As these technologies become more complex, there will be a greater need for user education and potentially more regulatory oversight to ensure safety. It’s an exciting field, and one that’s sure to see a lot of change in the coming years.
Environmental Considerations for Trailer Brake Controllers
Energy Efficiency: Trailer brake controllers, particularly those with advanced features and displays, consume energy. While this consumption is typically not high, choosing a controller that is energy-efficient can help minimize your overall vehicle energy use and reduce your carbon footprint.
Sustainable Manufacturing: The production process of electronic devices, including brake controllers, can have a significant environmental impact. Consider manufacturers that are committed to reducing their environmental impact through responsible sourcing of materials, energy-efficient production processes, and minimal use of harmful chemicals.
Waste Reduction: Consider the product’s packaging when purchasing a brake controller. Excessive packaging, particularly plastic, contributes to environmental waste. Some manufacturers are committed to reducing packaging or using recycled/recyclable materials.
Product Lifespan: A durable, long-lasting brake controller is more environmentally friendly than one that needs to be replaced frequently. Regular maintenance can also extend the lifespan of a brake controller, reducing the need for replacement.
End of Life Disposal: Electronic waste is a significant environmental issue. When your brake controller eventually reaches the end of its life, consider how to dispose of it responsibly. Many electronic devices contain components that can be harmful if not disposed of properly. Look for electronics recycling programs in your area.
Eco-Friendly Innovations: Keep an eye out for innovations that could make brake controllers more environmentally friendly. For instance, some manufacturers might develop solar-powered or energy-efficient controllers, or those made from more sustainable materials.
While a trailer brake controller is just one small part of your vehicle, every effort to make environmentally-friendly choices can add up and contribute to a more sustainable world. By considering these factors, you can ensure that your brake controller not only keeps you safe on the road but also minimizes harm to the environment.
Manufacturer Profiles for Trailer Brake Controllers
Tekonsha: Tekonsha is a well-known name in the world of towing and trailer equipment. They’ve been in the business for over 50 years and have a reputation for quality and reliability. Tekonsha offers a range of brake controllers, including the popular P3 and Primus IQ models. Their products are known for their advanced proportional braking technology, user-friendly features, and durability.
CURT: CURT is a leading manufacturer of towing products in the USA. Their product range includes a variety of brake controllers, such as the Echo Mobile and Spectrum Original models. They are recognized for their innovative designs, such as smartphone-controlled brake controllers, and their commitment to safety and quality.
Reese Towpower: Reese Towpower has been a trusted name in the towing industry for over 60 years. They offer a wide range of products, including the Brake Control series of brake controllers. Reese Towpower products are known for their affordable pricing, reliable performance, and easy installation.
Redarc: Redarc is an Australian company that has been manufacturing electronic vehicle products for over 40 years. Their Tow-Pro Elite V2 Electric Brake Controller is a popular model known for its advanced technology and compact design. Redarc is recognized for their innovative designs, high-quality products, and commitment to customer satisfaction.
Each of these manufacturers has their own strengths and unique offerings. Choosing between them depends on your specific needs, preferences, and budget. It’s always a good idea to research and compare several options before making a decision.
Frequently Asked Questions
Navigating the world of trailer brake controllers can be a daunting task, especially for RV enthusiasts looking to ensure a safe and reliable towing experience. We understand that you may have several questions about these essential devices and their compatibility with your RV and towing vehicle. In this FAQ section, we aim to address some of the most commonly asked questions to provide you with the information you need to make an informed decision.
From understanding the basics of trailer brake controllers to selecting the right type for your specific needs, we’ll cover a range of topics to help you gain clarity and confidence. Whether you’re a seasoned RV owner or a novice to the world of towing, our goal is to provide you with valuable insights into the functionality, installation, compatibility, and features of trailer brake controllers.
If you’re curious about the different types of trailer brake controllers available and how they work, we’ll break down the distinctions between time-delayed, proportional, and inertial controllers. We’ll also guide you in choosing the most suitable controller for your RV, taking into account factors such as towing conditions, trailer weight, and personal preferences.
Installation is another crucial aspect we’ll delve into, offering guidance on how to properly install a trailer brake controller or when it’s best to seek professional assistance. Additionally, we’ll address common concerns regarding compatibility with various RVs and towing vehicles, as well as the transferability of controllers between multiple vehicles.
Lastly, we’ll highlight important features to consider when selecting a trailer brake controller, empowering you to make an educated decision. By understanding the significance of braking sensitivity adjustment, display options, diagnostic alerts, and other features, you’ll be better equipped to choose a controller that suits your towing requirements and preferences.
We hope that this FAQ section will provide the answers you seek and help you navigate the world of trailer brake controllers with confidence. Remember, your safety and the smooth operation of your RV depend on selecting the right controller and ensuring proper installation. So, let’s dive in and address your most pressing questions!
What is a trailer brake controller?
A trailer brake controller is an electronic device that connects to your towing vehicle and controls the brakes on your trailer. It sends signals to the trailer’s braking system, allowing you to adjust the trailer’s braking intensity based on various factors such as road conditions, trailer weight, and towing vehicle speed.
Why do I need a trailer brake controller?
A trailer brake controller is essential for safe towing, especially when hauling heavy loads or traveling on steep terrain. It enables you to have better control over your trailer’s braking, reducing the risk of accidents, excessive wear on the towing vehicle’s brakes, and providing smoother braking performance.
How does a trailer brake controller work?
A trailer brake controller uses a signal from the towing vehicle’s brake pedal or inertia sensors to activate the trailer’s brakes. It applies the right amount of braking power to the trailer’s wheels, synchronizing its deceleration with the towing vehicle. This coordination ensures that both vehicles slow down uniformly and improves stability while braking.
What types of trailer brake controllers are available?
There are primarily three types of trailer brake controllers: time-delayed controllers, proportional controllers, and inertial controllers. Time-delayed controllers offer preset braking power and apply the same intensity regardless of the towing vehicle’s braking force. Proportional controllers, on the other hand, sense the vehicle’s deceleration and apply the trailer brakes proportionally. Inertial controllers utilize accelerometers to detect the motion and adjust braking accordingly.
Which type of trailer brake controller is best for my RV?
The best type of trailer brake controller for your RV depends on your specific towing needs. Proportional controllers are generally considered the most advanced and provide smoother and more precise braking. They are highly recommended for larger trailers or when towing in varied conditions. However, if you have a smaller trailer or require simplicity and affordability, a time-delayed controller may suffice.
How do I install a trailer brake controller?
Trailer brake controller installation typically involves connecting the controller to the towing vehicle’s electrical system and mounting it within reach of the driver. Detailed installation instructions are usually provided with the controller. However, if you’re unsure or uncomfortable with electrical connections, it’s best to have a professional installer handle the job to ensure proper wiring and functionality.
Are trailer brake controllers compatible with all RVs and towing vehicles?
Trailer brake controllers are compatible with most RVs and towing vehicles that have a built-in brake system. However, it’s essential to check the compatibility of the brake controller with your specific RV and towing vehicle before making a purchase. Manufacturers typically provide a list of compatible models or offer compatibility information on their websites.
Can I use a trailer brake controller on multiple towing vehicles?
In most cases, trailer brake controllers are transferable between multiple towing vehicles. However, it’s crucial to ensure that the controller’s wiring and connector match the electrical system of the towing vehicle. Some controllers may require additional adapters or wiring harnesses for compatibility with different vehicles.
What features should I consider when choosing a trailer brake controller?
When selecting a trailer brake controller, consider features such as braking sensitivity adjustment, digital or analog display, diagnostic alerts, multiple axle support, and ease of use. Some advanced controllers offer wireless connectivity, smartphone integration, and customizable settings. Your choice should be based on your specific towing requirements and personal preferences.
Can I install a trailer brake controller myself?
Trailer brake controller installation can be a DIY project for those with basic electrical knowledge and experience. However, if you’re uncertain about the installation process or want to ensure optimal functionality and safety, it’s advisable to consult a professional installer. They can provide expert guidance and perform the installation correctly.
Remember, trailer brake controllers are an essential component of safe towing, so choose a reliable and suitable controller for your RV and towing setup. Always follow the manufacturer’s instructions and guidelines for proper installation and operation.
Choosing the best trailer brake controller is no mean feat with so many excellent models to choose from.
Our advice, first of all focus on your trailer’s specifics, then choose an interface and mounting style that suits your preferences and tow vehicle. Whatever style of trailer brake controller you are looking for, you’re sure to find the best controller for your trailer brakes in our top-rated selection.
If simplicity combined with high performance are your main priorities, you should definitely take a closer look at our overall favorite – the Tekonsha 90195 P3 Electric Trailer Brake Control.
A hugely popular model, the P3 has enough capacity for up to four axles and has five storable settings for different trailers or driver preferences. With its easy-to-read LCD and “No Trailer Brakes” warning alert, this reliable brake controller is one of the very best on the market.
Alternatively, if you are more technology orientated, the Curt Echo makes an excellent choice allowing you to control your trailer braking preferences via an application on your smartphone not only does this make personalizing your braking system much easier, it also means you won’t have to clutter up your dash with an extra box or dial.
If you are on a tight budget, you may want to get yourself one of Reece Towpower’s highly affordable Brake-Evn Trailer Brake Controllers. Thanks to its compact, unobtrusive design with LED diagnostics and push button controls for easy adjustments, the Brake-Evn with its proportional braking system makes an excellent buy.