To be able to tow a heavy trailer with a pickup truck or SUV, there is a variety of accessories one needs to purchase before the vehicle is capable of towing it safely.
In order to tow with a trailer, you must have a trailer hitch ball mount, trailer hitch receiver, the weight distributing hitch, as well as a trailer lock and towing mirrors, among many other things.
One of the other important products you need when towing a trailer is a trailer brake controller that automatically applies the brakes on your trailer when the brakes on your vehicle are activated.
Among the different types of trailer brake controllers available, there are two main types: proportional controllers and time-delayed controllers.
In a proportional controller the intensity of deceleration is determined by a sensor that determines the intensity of the brake force applied to the towing vehicle.
In this instance, the system calculates the right amount of brake force to be applied to the trailer brakes so that both the towed vehicle and the trailer decelerate at the same rate.
Compared with a proportional controller, a proportional controller generates a more gradual and progressive braking response from the trailer, which in turn is more effective when performing heavy braking.
The time-delayed controller is much more straightforward than a conventional controller. As soon as a brake in your tow vehicle is applied, these controllers detect you have engaged the brake and then act as a signal to your trailer to apply the brakes.
Using these modules, you can set a braking force value, a time delay value and a number of other parameters based on your trailer’s weight, the road conditions, and a number of other aspects.
The proportional controller is generally placed ahead of time-delayed controllers on a scale of 1 to 10. This braking value will be automatically varied, which means that it will perform better during hard emergency stops, and it will also make sure that your trailer’s brake pads wear evenly with your tow automobile’s pads.
Towing is something you’ll often do, meaning you’ll want to make sure you get a proportional controller. Those who only tow every now and then might consider operating a time-delayed brake controller (if necessary).
The purpose of this article is to show you some of our favorite trailer brake controllers available on the market today (both proportional and time-delayed) and describe what makes each of them unique.
You will also learn what the most common questions consumers ask when shopping for a trailer brake controller so that you know what to look for, what to avoid and how to install such a product.
The I-Stop IQ brake controller from Draw-Tite offers various features such as an LED readout, self-diagnostics, an emergency boost function, and a mounting clip for mounting it on your vehicle’s dash.
A good deal can be found by purchasing this product. Therefore, it is a good middle ground between the expensive brake controllers and time-based brake controllers that are available at entry levels.
If you want to use this product, you would have to purchase the correct wiring harness for your vehicle separately, as it is not included in the package, but it is an extremely simple process to install.
The only downside of this product is that it does not have an off switch. When you want to turn the device off you have to pull the plug from the adapter.
In some cases, however, this can be troublesome for people because it is common for electronic brake controllers to display this.
Moreover, some users say that this brake controller may apply different braking forces depending on the conditions of the vehicle.
The Venturer Electric Trailer Brake Controller by CURT is designed to offer an exceptional level of safety and reliability.
It’s an easy-to-use brake controller that displays a nice, bright LED display that allows the user to keep track of the operation of the brakes.
Unlike other brake controllers that have internal moving parts, this brake controller does not need to be leveled.
A manual brake slider button, an adjustable power switch, and adjustable ramp time are among the features on this powerful brake controller.
It is claimed by CURT that its electric trailer brake controller can be used on virtually any trailer with one to three axles (2 to six brakes) as long as it has 8 wires. In brief, this unit is fully compatible with cruise control, anti-lock brakes, low voltage systems, and PWM systems.
The installation is quick and easy if you purchase CURT’s quick plug harness for your particular vehicle, which can be purchased separately.
As the brake controller comes with a mounting bracket that is adjustable, you can set it up in the optimal spot to ensure maximum visibility.
A large, LED-backlit readout screen, which can be configured by the user, comes with the Tekonsha P3.
This screen will show you the current state of the system as well as the battery voltage(s), brake voltage(s) and the output voltage(s).
It is important to mention that the P3 is a proportional brake controller that plugs easily into your vehicle using an adapter (that needs to be purchased separately), and is attached to the bottom of the dash with a clip. You don’t have to calibrate it prior to using it: just plug it in, hook up your trailer, and you are good to go!
The device provides braking power to up to four axles, and like the P2, it has a ‘boost’ feature that will send full braking power to the trailer brakes in case an emergency brake is required.
If you were towing a camping trailer, for instance, the user of this trailer brake controller may find that it has too many different settings and functions.
If you tow often, or if you have a professional job that requires you to tow, then this high-end trailer brake controller is an ideal solution for you. In the future, hobbyists and professionals alike won’t have to spend so much money on the best trailer brake controllers.
Among the most popular, inexpensive brake controllers on the market today is the Reese Tow power trailer brake controller.
It can supply braking power to four axles simultaneously. A small display screen is also provided as part of this device.
It shows the amount of voltage that is produced by the generator at any particular moment.
As part of this package, this trailer brake controller can also be easily mounted on the underside of the dash using the brackets included in the package.
In order to ensure that you are using the right controller for your vehicle, you will also need to ensure that you have the right wiring harness installed.
If you are not looking to spend too much money on your brake controller, then this product could be a good choice for you.
Quite possibly one of the best cheap trailer brake controllers on the market today, it does not have some of the features of more expensive models, but it is one of the best cheap products on the market. As the buttons are also attached to the top, this limits the options for mounting your device.
I believe that modern problems need modern solutions, and if you’re looking for a state-of-the-art trailer brake controller, check out CURT’s Echo.
This recommendation stands out from the competition because of its non-invasiveness and easy installation process, which requires the user to simply plug it into any seven-way connector connected to the PC.
Once it is connected, you can use Bluetooth to make it connect to your smartphone.
This also means that it’s easily transferable from one vehicle to another, which may come in handy for some people who own more than one vehicle.
You do not need to use any tools or additional wiring for installation, and it is equipped with a locking tab and strap to ensure that it remains firmly attached.
If your brake controller is synced with your iOS or Android smartphone, you will be able to use the Smart Control app to manage the brake controller and to control all the brake settings on your smartphone.
If the Bluetooth connection is lost, your phone isn’t nearby, or the controller is out of battery, you won’t have to worry about this—the controller will continue to function safely by using the settings that it was programmed with just before the loss occurred.
A benefit of the app is that it can store multiple profiles for the different users and vehicle-trailer combinations, so you can quickly switch between them.
As for the controller itself, it is fitted with a triple-axis accelerometer which provides a smooth and safe braking experience.
Almost any trailer with one to two axles (two to four brakes) can be fitted with this system. It is fully compatible with cruise control, anti-lock brakes, and low voltage systems.