Best Brake Controller Reviews | Understanding the Role of the Brake Controller | Helpful Guide

Are you in search for the best brake controller for your automobile? If you look for it online, you will get confused as to which brake controller to choose. We have written this post to make things easier for you. This article includes what is brake controller, what to consider when buying, types of brake controller and the top 5 best brake controller available in the market.

What is Brake Controller?

Wikipedia defines this device as an OEM or aftermath mounted module or device. You will find it on the tow automobile’s driver’s side dashboard and connects a trailer’s braking system either in proportion or time delayed to the tow automobile’s brake engagement when slowing down or stopping. You don’t need a brake controller in a trailer rise braking method unless using over hydraulic or modern electrical devices. The trailer has electric friction brake actuators or electric-hydraulic trailer brake

Functions

The brake controller is the connection between the brake pedal on the automobile and the braking on the axles of a trailer. If your vehicle does not have it, you will not be able to control the weight, which may result in accidents and damage. It is designed not just for a truck or car but also for other types of vehicles in situations you can’t slow down or stop in time. An electric trailer brake control supplies electrical power from a towing car to the electric brake on a trailer. For a trailer with electrical brakes, you need a brake controller. You also need a brake controller for automatic leveling and for safety measures.

Types

There are three types of brake controllers available in the market. They are as follows: (auto.howstuffworks.com)

  • Proportional Brake Controller

This type of brake controller makes use of a motion-sensing device to determine how fast the tow vehicle stops. It is also known as a pendulum brake controller because of the way it can sense motion. These units use the position of the pendulum in sensing the movement, and the driver needs to calibrate them before using it. As soon as the driver applies the brakes, the controller employs the same amount of power to the trailer’s brake.

  • Time-Delayed Brake Controller

This type of controller receives signal each time you engage your tow vehicle’s brakes. The signal sends power to your brakes at a pre-determined rate of intensity placed by the driver. You can adjust the rate depending on the automobile, conditions and on what the driver feels right. As the name implies, there is always a time delay between if you set on your own brakes and if the one on the trailer is activated. This type of brake controllers put more wear on the braking system, but it cost less and is easier to install as compared to proportional.

  • Hydraulic Over Electric Controller

As the name suggests it uses hydraulic pressure of the brake mechanism on a vehicle. The hydraulic power brings a current to control the electric brakes of the trailer. Some car manufacturers provide this as an OEM option, such as Ford utilizing its Ford Tow Command.

Essential Factors to Consider when Purchasing

To make it easier for you to choose the right one, keep in mind the following tips:

  • Proportional or non-proportional

The proportional brake controllers utilize various systems to sense the car’s deceleration and then use proportional power to the electric brakes. The non-proportional is time delay activated or solid state. Both provide a set amount of capacity to the trailer braking system.

  • Hydraulic-Electric Capacity

There are some brake controllers that is both hydraulic and electric. It is recommended that you choose the one that offers both kinds of capacity.

  • Voltage

This is one of the important characteristics of a brake controller that you need consider. The brake controllers are available in 12V and 24V and should match the power source of the towing vehicle. Unless indicated as 24V, most controllers use 12- volt vehicles.

  • Number of Axles

The controllers are designed to suit a specific number of axle assemblies on the trailer. It measures the total power it can provide. If the controller indicates that it can be used for 4 axles, you can also use it on any type of axle.

  • Type of Display

Generally, LED is ideal for any type of brake controllers. For a digital display, efficient power is delivered and a menu system. The latest units offer more monitoring options. Some units have LCD screens that provide specific, important warning signals to drivers and continuous diagnostics. Most of the time display is customizable, where you can set the color and language that you want.

  • Installation

The brake controllers can be installed in a cradle below the dashboard or remotely with controls sticking out of the dashboard.

Top 5 Best Brake Controller Reivews 2016- 2017

Here 5 popular brake controllers that you can consider buying:

1. Tekonsha 90195 P3

This brake controller is known to be the most advanced method of electric trailer brake control. The product has the capability to self-diagnose the trailer continuously while driving. It also has a self-adjusting device. This type of controller supports electric brakes together with electric over hydraulic. The P3 technology enables simple and flexible set up from vertical to horizontal.

Tekonsha 90195 P3 constantly adjusts itself to the position of the tow automobiles. This braking mechanism control provides proportional braking for one to four-axle trailers. It has customizable LCD, 3 or more boost levels, constant diagnostics, storable configurations and electric battery protection. This Tekonsha has five storable setting selections for pulling various trailers or preferences of multiple drivers.

Pros

  • Advanced, easy to understand and roadside diagnostics
  • Its boost feature allows different levels of personalized braking
  • Compact and dash-hugging design
  • Easy-to-use, clip mounting system and unique
  • Lifetime Warranty
  • You set it at electric over hydraulic or electric trailer brake mode

Cons

  • Not enough information about installation
  • Not applicable for international shippingPoor service as expected

2. Tekonsha 90160 Primus IQ

This Primus IQ brake controller is totally proportional trailer brake controller. There is no need for you to adjust the level since it has self-leveling features. Just like other Tekonsha products it has Boost feature which provides the users the capability to apply better initial braking when towing bigger and heavier trailers. For backing into difficult areas, the brake controller works in reverse proportionally.

The item includes a snap-in dash installation clip as well as detachable electrical connector so you can store the unit when not in use. The features incorporated in the LED display are digital readout showing a secure electrical connection, diagnostic features and the amount of voltage delivery to the trailer brakes.

The Tekonsha 90160 utilizes primary sensor technology based on Prodigy technology. The item is perfect for the one to three axle trailers with the proportional braking system.

The trailer’s braking adjusts depending on the tow vehicle deceleration. This type of brake controller has automatic leveling capability. Transferring it into another vehicle is easy. Its continuous diagnostic check notifies you if there is a problem.

Pros

  • LED display for easy-to-read
  • Has a boost feature
  • Built-in and slide bar manual override
  • Works proportionally in reverse in difficult spot
  • Illuminate LED readout when problems occur

Cons

  • It is not available for shipping in selected countries outside the USA
  • It includes 20% restocking fee

3. Reese Towpower 8507111 Brakeman IV

This product is a digital brake control designed to handle one to four axle and has a digital display. The display shows the amount of voltage power that is delivered to the brakes and helps in adjusting the trailer brakes accurately for highway or city driving.

Reese Towpower has a separate boost button adjustment controls that enable not just the output or the different weights of trailers, but also the sync or the speed of activation depending on the way you drive.

This brake controller is time-delayed and can be installed without leveling. It is designed for use with a 12-volt negative ground system for up to 8 braking and gives internal circuit protection. It does not cost that much and can be bought for under $50.

Pros

  • Adjusting the braking system is easy
  • The braking system can be installed anywhere, you don’t have to level it, even if the horizontal is not aligned.
  • Easy and fast to install, it includes bracket.

Cons

  • Not compatible with all type of trucks
  • It does not include a warranty

4. Tekonsha P3 Brake Controller Plus Wiring Harness for 95-09 Dodge 

This Tekonsha P3 is considered by many as the super brake controller with lots of amazing features. This item supports electric over hydraulic and actual electric brakes. Setting it up is easy even when you need to change different trailers. Installing Tekonsha P3 plus wiring harness for 95-09 is very easy. You can easily remove the unit when not in use or during off season.

It works with trailers from one to four axles. It has clear LCD screen with adjustable contrast. The kit includes plug and play harness with limited lifetime warranty. You can customize brake with its boost feature.

The right amount of braking is applied all the time because of its automated deceleration feature. Its capability to save the settings if you have more than one trailer is another unique feature. It offers proportionate stop depending on the automobile’s deceleration rate.

Pros

  • It has bright LCD with adjustable contrast
  • Boost feature for brake customization
  • Limited Lifetime WarrantyReverse battery security for breakaway and vehicle systems
  • Perfect for trailers with 4 axles system, with both electric and hydraulic brakes

Cons

  • The package does not include installation guidelines
  • It does not support international shipping

5. Draw-Tite 20191 I-Stop IQ Electronic Brake Controller

The Draw-Tite 20191 brake control is a proportional braking system that is intended for towing a trailer with one to three axles. It has Plug-N-Play port for two-plug adapters. Therefore, you will not have any difficulties installing it. The controls are simple and easy to understand.

The Boost feature enables you to adjust the braking power if needed, and a LED display that notifies you if there is a problem. The product has a Boost feature and works in reverse proportionally. It also has a snap-in mounting clip that enables the user to remove and keep the control in a safe place when not in use.

Pros

  • Easy to install and mount in your automobile.
  • The unit produces a smooth stopping experience, which is great considering the price
  • Once you have set the braking options, you don’t have to adjust it again using the same trailer
  • The boost feature is exceptional for coming down a steep hill

Cons

  • As compared to its competitors it has a small display, which is not that vital, but it may be hard to view for some

Final Verdict

After reading this post you probably have in mind what to purchase. The five best brake controllers mentioned are all amazing and you can choose any of them depending on what you need. As discussed in the earlier part of this post, you need to decide first the type of brake controller that you need. Then you can proceed on finding the right brand for your vehicle. We recommend the Tekonsha P3 Brake Controller Plus Wiring Harness for 95-09 Dodge. Based on what we have discussed earlier about the things you need to consider when buying, this product seems to have an edge over others.

After comparing all the features Tekonsha P3 with Wiring Harness for 95-09 Dodge stood out among the five. It works on 4 axles system as compared to others that work only up to three. You can set it both for hydraulic and electric brakes. Installing the unit is not a problem at all. If you don’t need it, you can remove it and store for the next season. If you compare Tekonsha P3 with wiring hiring with Tekonsha 90195 P3 there is only a slight difference. Hope this post will help you find the perfect brake controller for your vehicle.​

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