[TOP 6] Best Trailer Brake Controller For The Money Reviews

6 Best Trailer Brake Controller For The Money Reviews, Tips & Guides

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Are you looking for the Best Trailer Brake Controller For The Money for your camping? If yes, you may check out our list for more details.

Best Trailer Brake Controller

Top 6 Best Trailer Brake Controller For The Money

A trailer is quite useful when you want to transport heavy stuff around with your vehicle. However, there are several issues you need to keep an eye on while towing a trailer behind your truck. Among them, the problem of sudden braking is really important, especially if you have to haul a formidable load. In such situation, you definitely want to have the best trailer brake controller by your side. If you happen to be in need of a suitable product in the category then this article is for you. You will find a list of excellent examples below. You can also view more about akebono brake pads which is good to go together.

One thing you should always keep in mind is that people preferences vary a lot from one to the other. There is a diversity of trailer and towing vehicle as well so shopping on opinion is not always recommended. Many could feel one particular product is the best around yet its performance might be lackluster in your case. As a result, if you wish to have a wise investment, you must conduct a thorough research on available options. Compare them to each other and then to your own requirements. That is how you are able to make an informed purchase.

Top 6 best trailer brake controller on the market

1. Tekonsha 90195 P3 Electronic Brake Controller

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Tekonsha 90195 P3 Electronic Brake Control , silver, Single
  • PROPORTIONAL ELECTRIC BRAKE CONTROLLER: Provides automatic braking based on the intensity and rate at which you apply your tow vehicle’s brakes, thanks to an internal inertia sensor. This makes the Tekonsha P3 brake controller ideal in any braking situation
  • STORE SETTING OPTIONS: The Prodigy P3 trailer brake controller can store up to five different trailer or driver preferences, making it the ideal choice for those who use the same tow vehicle to pull multiple trailers
  • EASY-TO-READ LCD DISPLAY: Front-facing color LCD display shows settings, real-time diagnostics, and alerts
  • Dimensions: 3 x 4.5 x 10.6 Inches
  • Weight: 1.7 Pounds

As an electric brake controller, the Tekonsha 90195 P3 is one the most effective product money can buy. It’s capable of matching a wide range of trailer from one to four axles without encountering many difficulties. The contrast of the LCD is adjustable to better fit the user taste, there are there languages choices as well. Should problems arise, the brake controller will illuminate itself in bright red to notify the driver. The output voltage, trailer connection,… All are monitored by the Tekonsha 90195 P3. It’s a quality product and simple to use.

For installation, the built-in Plug N Play port permit extremely quick connection and convenient removal when not in use. Other features included with the brake controller are G-Sensor, manual override switch and many more. While its price is indeed high, the quality of the Tekonsha 90195 P3 totally justifies the cost. If you want absolute safety and peace of mind on the road then you can’t go wrong with this product. The limited lifetime warranty the manufacture provide show the confidence they have in the Tekonsha 90195 P3.

Pros

  • Compatible with electric and hydraulic brakes
  • Easy to install and remove
  • Effective and efficient
  • Self-diagnostic

Cons

  • Expensive
  • Customers complain about receiving incorrect components

 

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

Draw-Tite 20191 I-Stop IQ Electronic Brake Control , Silver
  • I-STOP IQ Proportional Electronic Brake Control; for 1 to 3 Axle Trailers
  • Self-diagnostics features will illuminate LED readout when issues occur
  • Includes a "Boost" feature and works proportionally in reverse
  • Dimensions: 4.4 x 2.6 x 8.5 Inches
  • Weight: 1.2 Pounds

Suitable for one, two and three axles trailers, Draw-Tite 20191 is a reliable and affordable trailer brake controller. The presence of its boost feature enhances the product performance when you have to tow heavy weight trailers. Due to the removable connector and a snap-in clip, the brake controller can be removed for storage while not in use. It’s a self-leveling design there is no need for complicated adjustment process when you install it in. In term of weight, Draw-Tite 20191 is rather light yet its endurance remains excellent compared to other products.

The LED display of this brake controller let you keep a close watch on the status of the trailer. It constantly runs diagnostic to detect potential problem then transmit alerts to the driver right away if anything goes wrong. Draw-Tite 20191 comes with its own mounting brackets and wiring harness for installation. You can hardwire it in if you wish by splicing the wires open end but that is not mandatory. It accepts two-pronged adapter so most of the time, all you have to do is using a universal patch cable. The installation should take around half an hour.

Pros

  • Reasonable price
  • Ease of installation
  • Compact and light

Cons

  • Might lock up the trailer’s tires on gravel if you apply too much force on the brake
  • Inconsistent performance in some products
  • Comes with missing parts in certain cases

 

3. Reese Towpower 8507111 Brakeman IV Compact Trailer Brake Controller

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REESE Towpower 8507111 Brakeman IV Digital Brake Control, Small Compact Design
  • INSTALLS QUICKLY: This 100% solid-state electronic with a small compact design mounts in any direction, no leveling required. Pre-wired plug-and-play feature allows for quick and easy connection to 2-, 4-, 6- and 8- brake systems.
  • ADJUSTS EASILY: Two separate easy push-button adjustment controls (output and sync) allow for not only different trailer weights (output) but also the speed of activation (sync) depending on your driving style.
  • DIGITAL DISPLAY: Bright and prominent digital display clearly indicates the output setting, sync setting, brake overload or short connection.
  • Dimensions: 6.6 x 3.9 x 3.7 Inches
  • Weight: 5.6 Ounces

Come with an affordable price tab, Towpower 8507111 Brakeman IV is an impressive brake controller which got the ability to control eight brakes simultaneously. It’s built on solid-state electronics which mean there are no movable parts and compatible to many mounting orientations. Thanks to the latest internal circuit protection technology ensure you have an uneventful experience using the Towpower 8507111 Brakeman IV. Designed to support trailers up to four axles, most people can put it to good use without noticeable problems.

Because of the clearly labeled buttons in front of the controller, you should have no trouble adapting it to the current conditions. Separate adjustment controls permit the driver to have a high degree of control on trailer weight, activation speed and so on. The mounting brackets are included in the purchase and while it’s adequate, it’s recommended to get the designated wiring harness instead. If you are shopping on a budget, Towpower 8507111 Brakeman IV is an economical choice for your wallet. You can get it up and running in less than thirty minutes.

Pros

  • Cheap
  • Fairly simple installation
  • Quality built
  • Work well

Cons

  • Some products quality is barely acceptable
  • The packaging could use a couple of improvements.

 

4. Hopkins 47235 Impulse Brake Control

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Hopkins 47235 Impulse Plug-in Simple Brake Control
  • Time-based braking
  • Mounts at any angle
  • Percentage of braking power shown
  • Dimensions: 6.9 x 5.9 x 2.6 Inches
  • Weight: 13.1 Ounces

Efficient and reliable, Hopkins 47235 Impulse allows you to achieve maximum safety in a towing operation. The versatile Flex-Mount of the brake controller is an innovative feature which let you install it without the use of tools. Components are light short proof to prevent potential damage to the wiring while the device is in use. Hopkins 47235 Impulse is capable of alerting the driver about short as well. Because of that, you can come up with the best course of action as soon as the short takes place.

Backed by a lifetime warranty, the device shall perform flawlessly for years before you can spot a sign of malfunction. Getting the Hopkins 47235 Impulse means you don’t have to worry about hard to see controller display or barely reachable controls. It’s a product virtually everyone can use to good effect. If all you want is a practical trailer brake controller, this product will not let you down. With the device installed, it shall transmit a great deal of power to the trailer brake whenever the brake pedal is pressed

Pros

  • Dependable
  • Plenty of mounting styles
  • Digital display
  • Require little time to install

Cons

  • Incorrect brake adjustment could be dangerous
  • People complain about receiving faulty product
  • Insufficient braking power in some cases

5. CURT 51140 TriFlex Brake Control 

CURT 51140 TriFlex Electric Trailer Brake Controller, Proportional
  • INTELLIGENT BRAKING. This trailer brake controller operates with an integrated circuit called a triple-axis accelerometer. This circuit detects motion on three planes and provides braking power accordingly, up or down a hill
  • EASY ADJUSTMENT. The TriFlex brake controller is highly adjustable to accommodate different vehicles, trailers and loads. It provides 9 levels of sensitivity adjustment and features driver-selectable power output and manual activation
  • COMPACT DESIGN. This electric brake controller has a sleek, subtle design to avoid dominating the dash of your vehicle. It measures only 3-1/4 inches x 4 inches x 7/8 inches. The TriFlex perfectly balances a compact design with powerful operation
           

  • Dimensions: 2.6 x 5 x 7 Inches
  • Weight: 8.8 Ounces

Sturdy and effective, CURT 51140 TriFlex is an adjustable product with nine levels of sensitivity settings. The brake controller name comes from its motion sensor design which is a triple axis accelerator. This makes the product operation very smooth and it’s sensitive to the smallest changes. Basic settings are shown on the digital display such as the control of eight brakes at a time. You will be provided with the device plug as well, all it takes is to plug it in and you are set. Its price tag also fit most people pocket too.

Due to the automatic leveling and calibration, the CURT 51140 TriFlex has no complex setup requirements. When properly installed, the device is highly responsive and will apply the necessary braking power in all conditions. The associated mounting bracket permits the driver to install the brake controller in a variety of angle configuration. It’s advised to set up the CURT 51140 TriFlex by the sides of the steering column, either left or right. This keeps the controller from blocking your vision yet still reachable.

Pros

  • Nice price
  • Quite robust and reliable
  • Easy to set up

Cons

  • Quality of the threads needs to be improved
  • Drain battery fairly fast
  • The controls are too small to manipulate

 

6. Hayes 81760 Engage Digital Time Based Brake Controller

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Hayes 81760 Engage Digital Time Based Brake Controller, Black
  • No level adjustment required
  • Automatic and manual braking
  • Quik connect installation-save time

  • Dimensions: 4.2 x 1.8 x 8 Inches
  • Weight: 9.6 Ounces

For people that are in need of a time-delayed electric brake controller, the Hayes 81760 is a nice product to consider. It’s able to manage trailers up to three axles without much difficulty. The device got a manual overdrive lever for emergency occasions as well. The controller power ramp time is fully adjustable to produce the desired responsiveness. As with other product, there is no need for level balancing. Its built-in troubleshooting feature is quite helpful in assisting the driver whenever an unknown issue arises.

Pros

  • Automatic operation
  • Simple to install and replace
  • Work great

Cons

  • A bit pricey compare to other products

 

Buying Guides  – How To Choose The Best Trailer Brake Controller?

1. Types Of Trailer Brakes

There are three types of trailer brakes that are most commonly used today. They are drum, electric and hydraulic. The type to be chosen depends on the vehicle being towed, the kind of installation available at home or in case one is planning to tow heavy trailers more often than they should go for a hydraulic brake controller with manual override capacity. 

2. Power Supply Of The Vehicle

It’s very important to check whether the tow vehicle has a separate power supply specifically for the brake controller. If one does not have an additional battery or power source, then they should choose the proportional type of brake controller that works on proportional sensors fitted around the towed vehicle. 

3. Size Of The Vehicle

Trailer Brake Controller installation is different for every vehicle. Some may require the controller to be mounted on the dashboard while some can be mounted behind the tailgate where its wiring goes through the rear of the vehicle and comes out from under it. 

4. Axles Number Of The Vehicle

This is all about multiple-axle trailers. Trailer Brake Controller installation is different for every vehicle more so if the trailer has axles more than two or three of them e.g. a car with two axles and a heavy duty truck with five axles. 

5. Display Of The Controller

The display of the controller is either digital or analogue. The simple type, which is best for small towing jobs, features a single dial that shows brake output power of the controller. More advanced ones feature two dials one of which may show brake output power while another shows input power of trailer brakes. 

6. Tire Protection

When it comes to heavy duty applications, this feature is very important. The controller has the capacity of protecting trailer tires from brake overheating by automatically applying trailer brakes in a sequence of pulses. 

7. Voltage Protection

This feature automatically sets the controller to work at lower power settings should the voltage of the tow vehicle drop below that can cause damage. 

8. Mounting Hardware

This includes screws for mounting the controller to its desired position as well as hardware for cable routing. All these parts should be included in the package with the controller as they are needed for installation. 

9. Minimum And Maximum Brake Controller Power

Trailer brakes have different power requirements depending on the weight and size of the towed vehicle. For example, a heavy-duty truck needs a high brake output power while a motorcycle requires low power output from the brake controller that’s why it is crucial to know what will suit your application best before buying one. 

10. Warranty

The warranty period is one of the most important things to check when buying anything, so you have to make sure that your manufacturer supports a long-term warranty of its products so one can enjoy a hassle-free braking system. 

11. Setting Options

There are different types of controllers on the market with manual, semi-automatic, and automatic features. All these settings vary depending on the driver’s preference. 

12. Built-in Diagnostics

As for most electronic devices, trailer brake controllers also face some electrical problems e.g. short circuit or overheating which might damage it severely; therefore, one should choose a unit that has built-in diagnostics to either fix these issues automatically or at least give an early warning to the vehicle owner before permanent damage is done. 

13. Compatibility With Memory Saver Devices

This feature allows saving up all trailers’ brake setting memory when disconnected from the battery of a towed vehicle while some can do it automatically without requiring any action by users. 

14. Weight

This is a very important factor to consider as you have to make sure the controller can carry the weight of your tow vehicle and trailer. You will struggle hard if it can’t do that as a heavy-duty braking system requires a powerful brake controller. 

15. Automatic Electric Brakes

These are also known as electric over hydraulic brakes which offer better safety features by stopping the vehicle without the nothing is moving driver’s input in case of emergencies e.g. blown tires or some other type of accidents that may lead this way e.g. a person walking towards the road without paying attention etc… 

16. Trailer Breakaway System

Another impressive safety feature which provides early warning about towed cars being detached from tow vehicles going at an excess speed. This way you can either stop or slow down your vehicle to avoid any accident. 

17. Temperature Settings

The optimal temperature for brake controllers is between -40 and 140 degrees Celsius. Units that feature temperature settings allow adjusting braking power according to outside temperature limits e.g. in winter it’s better not to press the breaking pedal too hard because of low temperatures otherwise it might cause damage or fail altogether; therefore, this setting allows having a powerful controller no matter the weather conditions by giving you good braking performance both in summer and winter conditions so you don’t have to worry about braking system failing while driving on snowy roads or during heavy rains when one requires more braking power than ever before which might be dangerous if brakes fail.

18. Popularity

A brake controller widely recognized and used by people everywhere is a good choice because it means that the manufacturer offers replacements parts both in warranty and non-warranty period which can be quite helpful in emergencies when you might end up with no brakes at all, therefore, if the unit has been around for a couple of years this way one can find replacement parts even from third party suppliers. 

19. Installation Process

Some units are easy to install while others may require professional help so it’s crucial to check this feature before making your final decision about which product to buy. 

20. Programmable Buttons & Display Screen

The number of buttons along with their arrangement varies from unit to unit, therefore, one should check this feature carefully before deciding to purchase the brake controller if they have a preference for a particular screen and button setup rather than others. 

21. Setting Options

Setting options are so many that it’s hard to describe them all in one article but the most important setting one should check before buying a brake controller is trailer braking power, therefore, this is another very important factor to consider before making your final purchase. 

22. Built-In Screen

Built-in screens are devices that allow users to display and set their unit without an additional device like a smartphone or any other source of technology, therefore, this is quite helpful as not everyone is tech-savvy and might find setting the unit too complicated if we’re talking about one with more features. 

23. Brake Boost

This is another useful feature in some cases e.g. when you have to deal with steep inclines so it allows the user to increase the brake controller’s power according to the inclination of the road which might be helpful in case if brakes are worn out or something happened that decreased their performance. 

24. Battery Polarity Reversal Protection

Brake controllers are equipped with this feature that helps protect them from damage in case of reverse polarity, therefore, you don’t have to worry about using your unit and accidentally reversing batteries connection which can happen pretty easily because we all know how fickle our minds tend to be especially while driving distracted; therefore, this way you will not end up damaging your controller and will continue using it without any issues.

25. Brake System Compatibility

All brake controllers that are manufactured these days are compatible with electric or hydraulic braking systems which is great because it means that they will work on any type of vehicle e.g. trucks, trailers, buses, etc. 

26. Brake Light Switch Compatibility

This feature might be useful for some people but not for everyone; therefore, one should check whether their chosen unit is compatible with their car’s brake light switch before making the final purchase decision because some units don’t fit every car as some universal units go with all cars while others don’t function properly on certain ones even if they’re supposedly compatible according to specifications; therefore, you must first make sure that your chosen unit will 100% fit your vehicle otherwise there is no point in buying it. 

 

Frequently Asked Questions

What Is A Trailer Brake Controller?

Trailer brakes are either electric, hydraulic, or a combination of both. Electric brake controllers apply the trailer’s brakes with an electric current generated by your vehicle. Hydraulic brake controllers work on the same principle as traditional car and truck brakes, using fluid to create the braking pressure. There are two types of electric trailer brake controllers: time-delayed and proportional. A time-delayed controller receives information from your vehicle’s accelerator about how fast you are going to gauge when it is necessary to activate the brakes on your trailer. A proportional controller uses motion sensors inside the controller that determine how hard you are applying the pedal before activating the trailer’s brakes proportionately for smooth stopping power.

Do You Need A Trailer Brake Controller?

The short answer is yes! To maintain control of your vehicle when you have a trailer in tow, you need an effective braking system. You may already have a brake controller installed in your truck or SUV from the factory, but it’s important to check if it’s a proportional-type brake controller. The last thing you want is for your rig to slide down the freeway losing control and creating an accident. With a motion sensor inside the controller that determines how hard you are applying the pedal before activating the trailer brakes proportionately for smooth stopping power, this prevents this problem from occurring. It also features an automatic shutoff feature when there isn’t any type of trailer connection so batteries won’t drain either.

What Are The Different Types Of Brake Controllers?

There are two types of electric trailer brake controllers: time-delayed and proportional. A time-delayed controller receives information from your vehicle’s accelerator about how fast you are going to gauge when it is necessary to activate the brakes on your trailer. This type of controller is generally less expensive, but it also provides less control over braking and doesn’t warn you if there’s a faulty brake light or dragging brakes on the trailer. Another downside would be when starting up a steep hill when you need an additional boost when initially hitting the brakes before gradually releasing pressure as you begin moving down the hill. While this isn’t dangerous, it can be annoying or embarrassing for some people who feel they aren’t in full control of their rig while driving it. A proportional controller uses motion sensors inside the controller that determine how hard you are applying the pedal before activating the trailer’s brakes proportionately for smooth stopping power. The advantage to this type of controller is it provides better control and feedback while driving and braking making the vehicle feel more stable and it sends a warning signal if there’s a faulty brake light or dragging brakes on your trailer.

How Do Trailer Brake Controllers Work? 

Trailer brake controllers work in two ways: either they use magnets to sense how fast you are going and apply the trailer’s brakes with an electric current generated by your vehicle, or they use a series of hydraulic valves that send fluid pressure to the trailer brakes like traditional car and truck brakes. 

There are three types of magnetic-based brake controllers: proportional, time-delayed, and surge. A proportional controller uses motion sensors inside the controller that determine how hard you are applying the pedal before activating the trailer’s brakes proportionately for smooth stopping power. This type of controller generally provides better control and feedback while driving and braking making it feel more stable and it sends a warning signal if there’s a faulty brake light or dragging brakes on your trailer. A time-delayed controller receives information from your vehicle’s accelerator about how fast you are going to gauge when it is necessary to activate the brakes on your trailer. 

This type of controller provides good stopping power, but it also provides less control over braking and doesn’t warn you if there’s a faulty brake light or dragging brakes on the trailer. Another downside would be when starting up a steep hill when you need an additional boost when initially hitting the brakes before gradually releasing pressure as you begin moving down the hill. While this isn’t dangerous, it can be annoying or embarrassing for some people who feel they aren’t in full control of their rig while driving it. A time-delayed proportional controller first calculates speed by translating changes in the rotation of magnet rings, then applies an electrical current to trailer brakes like traditional car and truck brakes. A proportional controller uses motion sensors inside the controller that determine how hard you are applying the pedal before activating the trailer’s brakes proportionately for smooth stopping power. The advantage to this type of controller is it provides better control and feedback while driving and braking making it feel more stable and it sends a warning signal if there’s a faulty brake light or dragging brakes on your trailer. 

A surge-based electric brake controller works by sending a high voltage from your vehicle battery into one set of magnets, causing them to move very quickly about another set of magnets attached to the brake calipers. This creates an impact that triggers metal pistons within the calipers to press brake pads against a rotor or disc, creating friction and heat which stops your trailer. This type of controller provides good stopping power but also less control over braking and doesn’t warn you if there’s a faulty brake light or dragging brakes on the trailer. 

Who Needs A Trailer Brake Controller? 

Even if you have a long, gentle hill to navigate on your route, a brake controller can help provide more control and allow for better overall stopping. A brake controller is recommended for every trailer that has hydraulic brakes with a gross weight of 3,000 pounds or less. You should also have a trailer brake controller installed if you are using an equalizer hitch that distributes the load between two axles via metal bars; without one, the vehicle’s braking system isn’t strong enough to stop the trailer evenly. 

If your electric brake controller doesn’t seem to be working like it used to, try cleaning all electrical connections (the back of the unit as well as each wire) with sandpaper or cloth before reconnecting them to the battery. Make sure the controller is mounted securely to your dashboard or steering column where it isn’t likely to get bumped while you’re driving, and that it’s not being blocked by anything in your console box or glove compartment. 

How Hard Is It To Install A Trailer Brake Controller? 

While it might seem intimidating, installing a trailer brake controller is fairly simple even for those without much car repair experience. If you are replacing an existing controller, it’s as simple as plugging in the replacement unit’s wiring harness to match your vehicle. 

If you are installing one from scratch, refer to the included installation instructions or website, which should provide easy-to-follow steps with diagrams and photos that clearly illustrate where each wire goes. Once everything is hooked up properly, just mount the brake controller to your dashboard using its adhesive pads or an included bracket and screw before connecting power to ensure maximum stopping power when you’re hauling important cargo.

How Does A Trailer Brake Controller Know If A Trailer Is Connected? 

Anytime your vehicle is on and you’ve got the power to the controller, it’s always sensing a trailer connection. If the brake pedal is pressed or released, it’ll know whether or not to send brake signals to your trailer brakes. It’s worth noting that many manufacturers recommend setting up and testing the wire connections before driving with a loaded trailer just in case something goes wrong during the initial setup. 

How Do You Troubleshoot A Trailer Brake Connector? 

Before taking a brake controller in for repair, try disconnecting the wire harness from the trailer connector and cleaning both parts with a wire brush or sandpaper. Make sure to reconnect them tightly and securely before starting your vehicle again to test the unit. If it still doesn’t work properly after this simple step, contact a professional. 

Of course, brake controllers feel the feel of your vehicle’s brakes as well as those on your trailer. If they do not match correctly, overworking one side or the other can lead to early wear and tear on either system. 

There is no one-size-fits-all solution for braking systems with trailers, but a quality brake controller does its best to keep things in check. You can maintain control of your rig with modern technology that helps you slow down safely when you’re hauling big loads with large vehicles like trucks & RVs.

How Do You Mount A Trailer Brake Controller? 

Regardless of whether you’re replacing an old controller or installing a new one from the ground up, you need to mount it somewhere on your dashboard. If you’re using a new brake controller that’s meant specifically for your model vehicle, the mounting bracket should already be attached and ready to go. 

If not, simply position the brake controller on your dashboard so it doesn’t obstruct any of your instruments or can easily be viewed by anyone sitting in the driver’s seat. Then, stick it down using double-sided adhesive on its backplate before lining everything up and screwing it down with a self-drilling screw from underneath. This will keep your brake controller firmly in place as long as no one bumps into or presses against your dashboard while driving. 

Where Should I Mount A Trailer Brake Controller? 

While it’s ideally mounted on or near your dash where the driver can easily monitor its functions, there are a few other places to consider mounting your brake controller if you don’t have easy access to this ideal spot. 

If you’re using an integrated brake controller that’s part of the aftermarket cruise control system, for instance, it might be mounted elsewhere in your vehicle – usually under the steering wheel – since the device is used primarily while driving rather than while braking. When choosing a location for any type of brake controller, however, remember that keeping it within sight and reach of anyone who might drive your rig is best so they know which button does what. If the controller is mounted higher on the dashboard, consider labeling all of its functions with bright or reflective adhesive tape to improve visibility at night. 

How Do You Calibrate Your Trailer Brake Controller? 

Calibrating your trailer brake controller is easy, provided you know the right process. It all starts by setting up your brakes on your trailer according to its manual (or the instructions included with the integrated brake controller unit itself). Once this initial step is finished or if you’ve already connected your trailer’s wiring harness, simply position your rig in a safe location and press firmly on both sides of the brake pedal depending on which portion of the test you’re doing. 

For instance, if you’re fine-tuning just one axle for a half-and-half braking feel, push down on one side until it stops then repeat on the other side until that particular section is done. If you need an idea about how much pressure to apply, try using the force you’d use to walk on the brakes. 

For “full-travel” calibration, which controls how much braking power your vehicle applies when you press down completely on the brake pedal, it takes a little more practice. You’ll need to take off your vehicle’s hubcap and spray some lubricant on its inner part – anything from WD-40 to soapy water will work fine for this step – and push it back and forth repeatedly while someone else activates the controller’s test mode (there should be instructions in your unit’s manual). If nothing is moving or if you find yourself pushing too hard, add a little bit of rust inhibitor to your lubricant before re-positioning everything trying again.

Are Trailer Brake Controllers Universal? 

No, they’re not. As you can see from our brake controller comparison chart, there are certain types of controllers designed specifically for use with cars while others are meant for trucks or RVs. They all work just fine when used together but only if the right type is chosen. 

When buying an electric trailer brake controller, it’s best to check your owner’s manual for a list of acceptable models before making any purchase decisions. This will ensure that everything works correctly.

How to Test Or Adjust A Trailer Brake Controller? 

Testing and calibrating a brake controller is very simple, provided you have the instructions. It all starts by setting up your brakes on your trailer according to its manual (or the instructions included with the integrated brake controller unit itself). Once this initial step is finished or if you’ve already connected your trailer’s wiring harness, simply position your rig in a safe location and press firmly on both sides of the brake pedal depending on which portion of the test you’re doing. 

For instance, if you’re fine-tuning just one axle for a half-and-half braking feel, push down on one side until it stops then repeat on the other side until that particular section is done. If you need an idea about how much pressure to apply, try using the force you’d use to walk on the brakes. 

For “full-travel” calibration, which controls how much braking power your vehicle applies when you press down completely on the brake pedal, it takes a little more practice. You’ll need to take off your vehicle’s hubcap and spray some lubricant on its inner part – anything from WD-40 to soapy water will work fine for this step – and push it back and forth repeatedly while someone else activates the controller’s test mode (there should be instructions in your unit’s manual). If there is nothing moving or if you find yourself pushing too hard, add a little bit of rust inhibitor to your lubricant before re-positioning everything trying.

What Should Your Trailer Brake Controller Be Set To? 

Adjusting the gain on your controller is all about making it work with you. If you have a lighter vehicle, for example, you don’t need to apply as much pressure to activate the brakes because there’s less weight behind it. The same applies if you switch between different types of trailers. Simply adjust the dials so that regardless of what type of vehicle or trailer you’re using, everything works smoothly. 

This means lighter vehicles require lower numbers while heavier ones will require higher values so they can activate the brakes properly. Softer suspensions likewise mean that braking effectiveness could be somewhat reduced which is why some people invest in brake upgrade kits. At any rate, adjusting your controller’s settings takes very little time but should only be performed when you’re using your vehicle for its intended purpose (i.e., towing a trailer), plowing through mud and snow, etc.

Should You Get A Timed Or Proportional Trailer Brake Controller? 

There are two types of brake controllers: timed and proportional. The former activates brakes based on a time period you set, meaning the faster your rig moves the more quickly it will apply the brakes for an even distribution. Pros also suggest that since timing is everything when it comes to braking, these models tend to be accurate and rarely fail. 

Proportional-style controllers activate brakes based on your vehicle’s speed which effectively results in better control over how much pressure gets applied. They’re pricier than their timer counterparts but usually considered worth it by experienced full-time RVers because they can stop any type of vehicle regardless of weight or size without locking up the wheels so long as you don’t overdo anything.

Are All Trailer Brake Controllers The Same? 

Most brake controllers are universal and can be used for any vehicle. Placement is the only thing you should keep in mind, especially if your rig isn’t factory-installed like mine since I had to go through several different ones before settling on an ideal choice. 

Some manufacturers have been known to produce better units than others which is why I stick with Tekonsha for this category. They’re so reliable that even NASCAR racing teams use them! So long as you set your unit up properly, it’ll work just fine.

Can You Tow A Trailer With Electric Brakes Without A Brake Controller? 

Some people think all you need for electric brakes is a wire that attaches to the battery and trailer’s lighting system. That’s not true. You also need an adaptor that plugs into your vehicle’s outlet so voltage can reach everything. 

There are plenty of decent third-party products out there but my personal favorite remains Tekonsha so I won’t recommend anything else. Just make sure it has enough power outlets to support both your brake controller and whatever other gadgets you use (lights, amps, etc.) since they tend to drain electricity nicely without them!

 

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Conclusion

And those are some of the best trailer brake controller money can buy, see anything you like? With the help of the information, now you should have a good idea about available options and their features. Crosscheck them with your own needs and requirements in order to make a logical decision.

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