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If you have ever had the experience of towing a trailer, you will certainly notice the different mechanisms involved in bringing the vehicle and the trailer to a complete stop. You need to have a device that transfers the information relayed on the central braking system to the trailer section. This device has to be very accurate and almost instantaneous. The device I am talking about is called a brake controller. You need to invest in the best brake controller as a matter of your own safety and for other road users as well. In this article, reading the whole of this article will guide you on everything you need to know about a brake controller and what features you need to look at when buying one.

Sale
CURT 51140 TriFlex Brake Control
Curt Manufacturing - Automotive
$61.84 - $0.57 $61.27
Sale
Hopkins 47284 Reliance Digital Electronic Brake Control with Plug-In Connector
Hopkins Towing Solution - Automotive
$77.99 - $21.87 $56.12
Sale
Tekonsha 90160 Primus IQ Electronic Brake Control
Tekonsha - Automotive
$107.91 - $38.56 $69.35
Sale
Tekonsha 90195 P3 Electronic Brake Control
Tekonsha - Automotive
$128.91 - $3.88 $125.03

Last update on 2017-08-16 PST - Details

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What Is The Brake Controller?​

A brake controller is an electrical module that is installed on your tow car dashboard. Its main reason is to transfer instantaneously stop or slow down signals to the trailer. The stop signals are matched accordingly depending on whenever it as slow down or a complete stop. A new trailer or a towing car can either have an electric friction brake actuator or the electric-hydraulic trailer brake system.​

Types of Brake Controllers

There are three types of brake controllers that you will find in the market today, I will try to explain the broad categories in the simplest possible language.

1. Proportional Brake Controller​

Proportional brake controllers are equipped with a motion sensing device that can tell how fast or slow the car is moving. Some people refer to them as pendulum brake controller because of the method they use to bring a trailer to a stop. When you use proportional brake controllers, they transfer the same amount of power you apply to the trailer's brakes.​

2. Time Delayed Brake Controller​

Time delayed brake controllers are, the less costly compared to the proportional brake controllers which are easy to install. The power applied to the brakes is predetermined depending on the weight being towed. This causes a delay which is countered by a synchronization switch which is used to adjust the delay time.

3. Hydraulic Over Electrical Controller​

The hydraulic over electric brake controller as the name suggests utilizing the hydraulic pressure of the vehicle’s brake mechanism. The hydraulic power provides enough power to regulate the brakes of the trailer.​

How a Brake Controller Works​

The way they work is almost predetermined. The magnetic element in them gets activated the moment you press on the brake pedal. Brake controller has a rotating center mounted on a rotating lever. The training will force the brake shoe to apply the brakes. When they are installed into your car, they are able to control the power getting into the magnetic wheel. The controller has to be connected to the battery as the primary source of power. The other connection includes the brake lights.​

Why Do You Need a Brake Controller?​

Brake controllers create the physical link between you and the trailer. It is even impossible to think of a journey without a brake controller. Without one the trailer will keep bumping on the towing vehicle and cause all manner of problems to you and to everyone tailing you.​

If you have a car fitted with electric brakes, you will need brake controllers for the following reasons:​

  • To control the vehicle and the trailer with one single effort
  • A good brake controller is able to do advanced car diagnostics
  • Less maintenance on the braking system
  • They have the best Automatic Levelling
  • Safety Measures

What are The Things to Look for When Select in the Best Brake Controller?

The different types of brake controllers will present numerous challenges to a newbie who wants to buy them for the first time. These steps will guide you towards your quest to get the best brake controller.​

Proportional or Non-Proportional​

Do you need a brake controller that can sense the vehicle’s deceleration, and apply that power which is proportional to apply brakes? Or do you need one that can be used to apply the same amount of braking force at any given time?​

Voltage​

Look for a brake controller that can match the power output of your battery. Although most brake controllers in the market are labelled 12 Volts unless labelled otherwise.

Number of Axles​

The number of axles is a direct proportion to how much power the brake controller can provide. Depending on the number of axles that you have, look for one that will match your capacity.

Display​

The display of a brake controller plays a crucial role as you drive, you may need to get some information that will guide you on how and when to apply the brakes. A good LCD display should be visible in all conditions, at night and even when the sun is bright.

Mounting​

Do you need an expert to mount the device? Or is it one that has good instructional manuals on how to put in place. The same should also apply for un-mounting the system if you need to store it.​

Features​

The best brake controller allows for customization and the ability to switch from a hydraulic brake system to an electric one. It should also have a feature that alerts on the best time to apply the brakes. If you are a driver accustomed to the rough roads or snowy areas you will need one with an automatic brake function. If you can find one with sensitivity adjustments the better.​

Reviews​

Both the negative and positive reviews can guide you into getting yourself the best brake controller. Focus on the verified purchase and those comments that talk about the functionality of the brake system.

Top 5 Best Brake Controller Reviews​

Here is our review on the top 5 best brake controllers that are also listed on Amazon’s best sellers List. The List will help you make the right choice depending on your needs and budget.​

Sale
CURT 51140 TriFlex Brake Control
Curt Manufacturing - Automotive
$61.84 - $0.57 $61.27
Sale
Hopkins 47284 Reliance Digital Electronic Brake Control with Plug-In Connector
Hopkins Towing Solution - Automotive
$77.99 - $21.87 $56.12
Sale
Tekonsha 90160 Primus IQ Electronic Brake Control
Tekonsha - Automotive
$107.91 - $38.56 $69.35
Sale
Tekonsha 90195 P3 Electronic Brake Control
Tekonsha - Automotive
$128.91 - $3.88 $125.03

Last update on 2017-08-16 PST - Details

1. CURT 51140 Triflex Brake Controller

1. CURT 51140 Triflex Brake Controller

Via Amazon.com

The CURT 51140 Triflex Brake Controller has the ability to control any trailer with two to eight electric or hydraulic brake system. It can be mounted in several angles either below or above the dash due to its versatile design. It has a triple axis motion that responds instantaneously, which is ideal for making smooth stops. You can automatically be adjusted when going down or uphill. It is a proportional braking device. The device has nine levels of sensitivity adjustment that gives highly responsive and smooth stops.

The CURT 51140 Triflex Brake Controller also has an auto-levelling feature and calibration that saves time when setting up. You can select its power output and activate brake lights.​

Pros

  • Easy to Install and setup
  • Versatile making it easy to use on any car that has 2 to 8 hydraulic brakes
  • Can be mounted at different angles
  • The automatic adjustments when going uphill or downhill

Cons

  • You need to buy its mounting brackets to install
  • Very unpredictable when driving in tough conditions
  • The unit blinks when there is no trailer connected which may present a bother to a driver
Sale
CURT 51140 TriFlex Brake Control
89 Reviews
CURT 51140 TriFlex Brake Control
  • Triple-axis, motion-sensing accelerometer for highly...
  • Third axis provides dynamic power adjustments when going up...
  • Nine levels of sensitivity adjustment for varying loads or...
  • User-selectable power output and trailer brake light...
  • Automatic leveling and calibration eliminate setup...

Last update on 2017-08-16 PST - Details

2. Hopkins 47284 Reliance Digital Electronic Brake Control With Plug-In Connector

2. Hopkins 47284 Reliance Digital Electronic Brake Control With Plug-In Connector

Via Amazon.com

This is a time-based brake controller that is easy to install. It has easy to use features and controls which allow for adjusting the braking system as you concentrate on driving. This is an ideal installation for smaller vehicles with trailer units. This device can work with up to four braking systems.

It is a proportional braking controller that responds to the slightest press of the brake pedal. You can also set up a time delayed braking by setting the sensitivity to the desired levels that will enable a smooth braking. This is a good installation on two axle trailers.

Pros

  • A simple plug-in installation
  • Time controlled
  • Highly intuitive (The pressure applied on the brake pedal is equal to the pressure passed by the device to the trailer)
  • Short proof protected
  • Any angle mounting
  • Does not put so much pressure on the braking system

Cons

  • You may have to buy connectors to fit it when installing
Sale
Hopkins 47284 Reliance Digital Electronic Brake Control with Plug-In Connector
79 Reviews
Hopkins 47284 Reliance Digital Electronic Brake Control with Plug-In Connector
  • Plug-in simple connection allows for quick installation and...
  • Time based, with fully digital settings, and shows the...
  • Intuitive, vertical manual slide matches the way a driver...
  • Short proof protected with a 4 brake capacity
  • Can be mounted at any angle and designed for use on any 12...

Last update on 2017-08-16 PST - Details

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

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

Via Amazon.com

Draw-Tite 20191 is another proportional brake controller that is suited for trailers that have one to three axles. It has a self-diagnostic program that will show on the LED screen whenever there is a problem. It is an automated brake controller that ensures the trailer brakes are in unison with the car brakes. It has a boost function that you can use when necessary. The clip off function allows you to uninstall the device when you are not towing a trailer.

Pros

  • Can be uninstalled when not in use
  • It is fully automated
  • It is a plug and play device
  • It can diagnose and show the results on the LED screen

Cons

  • You may need an adapter to install the system
Draw-Tite 20191 I-Stop IQ Electronic Brake Control
118 Reviews
Draw-Tite 20191 I-Stop IQ Electronic Brake Control
  • I-STOP IQ Proportional Electronic Brake Control; for 1 to 3...
  • Self-diagnostics features will illuminate LED readout when...
  • Includes a "Boost" feature and works proportionally in...
  • Utilizes "Plug-N-Play" port for 2-plug adapters
  • Includes snap-in mounting clip allows user to remove and...

Last update on 2017-08-16 PST - Details

4. Tekonsha 90160 Primus IQ electric Brake System

4. Tekonsha 90160 Primus IQ electric Brake System

Via Amazon.com

Tekonsha 90160 has an inbuilt motion sensor that detects the car speed when braking. It is ideal for one to three axles. The braking system is proportional that automatically adjusts the trailer brakes depending on the reducing speed of the towing car. It is fitted with an automatic leveling system if it is mounted on a vertical range of 700.

It has a digital display, three boost levels and offers you a continuous diagnosis. It can be used on almost any vehicle without interfering the device proportional braking capability.

Pros

  • Readable LED display
  • Works with the same proportionally in reverse
  • Features a slide bar to warn of overriding
  • Has a boost feature
  • Self-diagnostic features

Cons

  • Puts a lot of pressure on the braking system
Sale
Tekonsha 90160 Primus IQ Electronic Brake Control
559 Reviews
Tekonsha 90160 Primus IQ Electronic Brake Control
  • Utilizes Plug-N-Play port for 2-plug adapters
  • Self-diagnostics features will illuminate LED readout when...
  • Works proportionally in reverse
  • Includes a Boost feature
  • Snap-in dash mounting clip and hardware included

Last update on 2017-08-16 PST - Details

5. Tekonsha 90195 P3 Electronic Brake System

5. Tekonsha 90195 P3 Electronic Brake System

Via Amazon.com

This braking controller has a stellar rating on its intelligence and advanced trailer brake controls. It has the ability to do a continuous self-diagnosis even when the car is moving. It has a self-adjusting mechanism that supports both non- electric and electric over hydraulic brakes. This setting makes it possible to install the brake controller in either vertical or horizontal.

The P3 braking system works proportionally if you use it on a four-axle trailer. The customizable LCD can be used to access stored system configurations. It has three to four boost levels.

Pros

  • Advanced diagnostic features
  • You can customize the device to different personalized braking system
  • Simple to use and install

Cons

  • Inconsistency in braking
  • The buttons may be sticky before getting used to it
Sale
Tekonsha 90195 P3 Electronic Brake Control
1206 Reviews
Tekonsha 90195 P3 Electronic Brake Control
  • A distinct, easy-to-read LCD display with multiple screen...
  • Diagnostics show output current, battery, brake, and output...
  • Boost feature allows for different levels of customized...
  • Integrated Plug-N-Play port for 2-plug adapters and Snap-in...

Last update on 2017-08-16 PST - Details

Conclusion

The CURT 51140 Triflex Brake Controller is an ideal brake controller for anyone who does not want to spend so much, but still be able to get the best features that a brake controller can have. Its versatility and auto adjustments when going up or downhill is a perfect score for its price in the market.

Tekonsha 90195 P3 and the Tekonsha 90160 Primus IQ Electric Brake Controller both offer you some of the best features to look for in a brake controller. They are both intelligent and are able to give you diagnostics on the go. These two are competing for the number one in this contest. Because the Tekonsha 90160 Primus IQ Electric Brake Controller puts a lot of strain on the braking system, for the best price Tekonsha 90195 P3 is the ultimate winner here.

The best Brake Controller is something you cannot fail to have, its primary function is to safeguard your safety as well as for others. They all come in different shapes and sizes, but it all boils down to functionality and your specific requirements. It is always good practice to install the controller in a location that you as a driver can access it both visually and physically.

I hope that the review has presented you with an opportunity to make a wise decision when you are looking for the best brake controller. Share the article and let others also make the right move.​

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Chief editor at Paul's Gigantic Garage. I came up with this blog to help you to sort out some basic problems your car may be facing and in turn, save lots of cash by some of my DIY tips that I hope will get your car out of its current situation. I also had in mind motor enthusiasts who for the love of cars who are constantly looking for information about cars on the latest trends, questions, fixes, driving, tricks, and accessories.

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