The most important factor for large towing trailers that you need to consider is the stopping mechanism. Having the best trailer brake controller adds to the safety and security to hitch to extremes. A trailer’s braking system is incomplete without a brake controller. In fact, it plays a critical part in our lives by keeping us stress-free during our entire driving adventure, even if we don’t realise it.
Various trailer brake controllers are now available on the market, each with its own design and functions offering variable functionality.
What is a trailer brake controller?
Brake controllers are designed to sense the brake applied on your towing vehicle. Then it automatically engages the brakes on your trailer or camper. It plays an important and safe role in stopping the trailer at a safer distance to your vehicle.
For that, you must have the best trailer brake controller as per your needs and requirements.
It is not just the price or a renowned brand that makes any brake the best, but personal preference along with essential features.
To make the best out of your time, money, and effort, you must not overlook what adds to the functionality and durability of the braking system, despite the vehicle you are driving or the place you are going to go.
Buyer’s Guide | Best Trailer Brake Controller
Let’s have a look at the features that no one must overlook whether it is your first time or you are a professional.
Most commonly, there are two types of trailer brakes;
Prior to purchasing your next braking system for a trailer, you must know how both the types work and which one best suit your needs and requirements.
A trailer brake controller applies a particular amount of power to the trailer brakes using electricity from the tow vehicle. The amount of braking power is controlled by electrical circuits and trailer gain settings. While towing, certain brake controllers feature circuits that react to the vehicle’s momentum.
Hydraulic brakes apply the brakes on a trailer using the force or momentum of a slowing tow vehicle. When the brakes on the tow vehicle are applied, force is applied to a hydraulic cylinder on the hitch, which activates the trailer brakes.
Electric brakes are more common and popular on trailers.
Trailer Brake Controllers
From the two trailer brake controllers, each operates in a different manner, offering versatility as per the use.
A proportional trailer brake controller senses the intensity of the brake you apply. It automatically applies a proportional amount of brake to the trailer. This braking mechanism ensures stopping or slowing down of your towing vehicle and trailer at the same rate. An accelerometer is used to determine how much brake is needed to be applied.
In simplest of words, a proportional trailer brake controller uses internal sensors to determine the braking of your vehicle. As per the speed of your towing vehicle, the sensor interacts and send a command to the controller to react accordingly.
These controllers are cheaper and easier to use as they do not contain any internal parts, which allower users to mount the system at any angle in the vehicle.
When you first apply the brakes there is a delay, which can be adjusted as per users requirements in the sync setting. You can also adjust the power and rating as per the outside factors like road conditions, load size, and the type of trailer you are using.
Benefits of Trailer Brake Controller
You may not realize, but efficient trailer brake controllers are crucial in maintaining safety and convenience. Here are some of the reasons for trailer brakes to be everyone’s must-have.
Trailers are much heavier and larger than normal vehicles. For that, they require the most secure and efficient braking system to stop or slow down the trailer in time. Having the right trailer braking system for your vehicle, you can prevent the trailer from losing its control over critical surfaces.
A high-end efficient trailer brake controller allows users to control and monitor the dragging trailer when they are on the go. You can keep check of the brakes, speed, and load all the time.
Enhance Brake Pad Longevity
If you do not have a braking system, there are high chances of brakes wearing off with time. It is because dragging only one vehicle for all the support and stopping put a lot of pressure and friction. Braking controllers for trailers help in enhancing the longevity of brake pads.
Speaking of the budget, trailer brake controllers are relatively less expensive in comparison to other parts of the vehicle. This means smart investment can save you a lot of bucks.
5 Best Trailer Brake Controller 2021
1. CURT 51140 TriFlex – Proportional Trailer Brake Controller
- Axles: 1-4
- Activation: Inertia accelerometer
- Mount Angles: Various
- Level Adjust: Auto
- Type: Proportional
The TriFlex proportion-based brake controller is small in size, has a digital display, and can regulate up to eight brakes at once. The TriFlex’s triple-axis motion-sensing accelerometer sets it distinct from the competition. The TriFlex’s integrated circuit component allows it to precisely detect every motion of your car and trailer, and then apply the appropriate amount of braking power in any condition. When travelling up or down a slope, the TriFlex automatically changes brake output and is compatible with anti-lock brakes and cruise control.
- Can be used virtually on any trailer
- Easy adjustment
- Compact design
- Installation is a bit tricky
2. Tekonsha 90160 Primus IQ – Best Trailer Brake Controller For Silverado
- Application: trailers with up to 3 axles (6 brake assemblies)
- Type: Electric
- Dimensions: 4-3/8″ wide x 5″ long x 2-1/2″ tall
- Mounting: Between 0 degrees (level) and 90 degrees in the vertical plane
The PrimusIQ is a proportional electronic trailer brake control that self-levels, requiring no level adjustment. The PrimusIQ now incorporates the Boost feature, which allows customers to apply more initial trailer braking when towing heavier trailers, thanks to Prodigy’s primary sensor technology.
It has a snap-in dash mounting clip and a retractable electrical connector for easy storage when not in use. You’ll love the LED display’s digital reading, which shows a solid electrical connection, the amount of voltage delivered to the trailer brakes, and diagnostic functions.
- Works proportionally in reverse
- Snap-in dash mounting clip
- Digital LED readout
- None to be found
3. Reese Towpower 8508211 – best trailer brake controller for Tacoma
- Connectivity: Wired
- Weight: 0.48 lbs
- Axel capacity: 1 – 4
- Type: Proportional
The Reese Towpower BRAKE-EVN brake controller provides advanced proportional braking by matching brake pressure to the rate of deceleration of the vehicle. Traditional time-based controls produce smoother stops than proportional brakes. When hauling higher weights, the boost option allows you to apply more initial braking at the start of the stop.
When adjusting the control to handle the weight of your loaded or unloaded trailer, the huge LED display is easy to view. The BRAKE-EVN brake control can brake up to four axles and is easy to instal, so make sure you get the correct factory harness for your car. For low or large trailer loads, this is the best option.
- Smoother stopping
- Traditional time based controls
- Large LED display
- Require an adapter
4. Curt 51180 Echo – Best Electric Trailer Brake Controller
- Axel: 1 – 4
- Dimensions: 3-1/4 inches x 4 inches x 7/8 inches
- Connectivity: Bluetooth
- Nature: Electric
- Type: Proportional
An inertia-based brake controller will provide improved control to perform smoother stops and put less strain on your vehicle if you’re carrying a hefty trailer or load.
Electric brake controllers from CURT are classified as either inertia-based or time-based. These terms refer to the braking controller’s activation method. Both types of trailer brakes are safe and effective. However, you can choose the one as per your requirement.
- Easy portable design
- Custom app for setting, activity, and status
- Multi-colour LED notification light
- Built-in reverse-polarity
- Short-circuit protection
- Drains battery
5. Redarc Tow-Pro Elite – Best Trailer Brake Controller For Jeep Gladiator
- Type: Proportional Controller
- Nature: Electric
- Applications: Up to 3 Axles
The REDARC Tow-Pro Elite is the only brake controller on the market that can convert between two types of braking modes with the turn of a dial, and it comes with a complimentary switch insert panel (TPSI-001) that will fit most cars. All-weather, all-terrain capability For highway conditions, use ‘Proportional Mode,’ and for all terrain conditions, you can switch to User Controlled Mode.
A three-axis accelerometer is included in this model, which can record acceleration in any direction. The SEMA Global Media Award-winning Tow-Pro Elite also has active calibration, which constantly checks the vehicle’s direction of motion, with or without a trailer connected, and self-levelling technology, which can sense the rate of deceleration.
- Two braking modes
- Dash-Mounted Knob
- Plugs into Brake Controller
- Easy installation
- None to be found
If you are sure of your route, driving style, and the load you will be carrying, it will get easier to find the best electric trailer braking controller. Besides the type, it is important to look at the manual for installation. If the brakes are not installed properly, they can cause problems and cannot be trusted for longer trips.
1. How much can you tow without trailer brakes?
If the gross weight of a trailer or pole trailer reaches 4,500 pounds, brakes are necessary. If towed at a speed of less than 30 mph, a trailer with a gross weight of between 4,500 and 15,000 lbs is not required to have brakes. If the gross weight of the trailer exceeds 3,000 pounds, it must be equipped with brakes.
2. How much does it cost to install a trailer brake controller?
On average, the controller will cost starting from $60 to more, with labour costing up to $300 on the more sophisticated setups. The cost of installing a brake controller, on the other hand, varies based on the type of controller you choose and the wiring existing in your vehicle.
3. What is the difference between a tow package and a trailer package?
A tow package is designed to allow you to pull just about anything with your vehicle, but a trailer package is designed exclusively for towing a trailer behind your vehicle. Engine enhancements, as well as upgraded electrical and cooling systems, are frequently included in two packages.
4. Are trailer brake controllers universal?
There are a few best trailer brake controller that are not vehicle specific, like Teckonsha Voyager #39510. Make sure the brake controller you are getting have parts that are needed to install the brakes must be compatible with your vehicle.
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