Best Brake Controller Reviews 2018

For a safe towing experience for you and your truck or trailer, a brake controller is needed. Brake controllers are ideal for truck owners as it lets drivers know the right amount of braking power a towing truck needs and should employ to tow a trailer. With the wide range of brake controllers in the market, searching for the best brake controller for you can be tiresome. So, to assist you, we’re providing you with the top 5 brands of brake controllers, with a featured product from each. If you don’t find what you’re looking for, do check out other brake controllers from the brands we have featured.
Overview
PROS
CONS
SPECS
Type
Compatibility
Display
Size
Material
Our Top Choice
Hopkins INSIGHT™ Brake Control
For over 50 years, Hopkins Manufacturing Corporation has done a fine job of providing its customers around the world with the best products and service it can offer.
Large LED display and lifetime warranty.
Manual controller plate mount seeming loose. Light stays on when the vehicle key is switched off.
Proportional (progressive)
Electric/hydraulic brakes
LED display
6.3 × 5.7 × 3.1 inches; 1lbs
Plastic
Best Value
Draw-Tite I-Stop™ IQ Electronic Brake Control
Draw-Tite provides top-quality products for its customers and guarantees their satisfaction, letting performance be its guide through its “Tested Tough” tests.
Removable electric connector. Snap-in dash mounting clip. Easy to remove for storage. Comes with a limited lifetime warranty.
Wheels may lockup if not changed for street intensity.
I-STOP IQ proportional electronic
Electric brakes
LED display
4.4 × 2.6 × 8.5 inches; 1.2lbs
Hard plastic
Tekonsha P3 Electronic Brake Control
Combining smart innovation and a helpful spirit, Tekonsha provides safe braking for its customers and ensures them a safe and predictable transportation.
Warning system alerts. Boost feature. Easy to remove for storage. LCD display.
Doesn’t feature an on/off button.
Proportional
Hydraulic/electric brakes
LCD display
4.5 × 3 × 10.6 inches; 1.4lbs
Plastic
CURT Venturer Brake Control
With people at heart, CURT offers braking control models and aims to provide solutions that fit customers’ unique towing setup and budget.
Designed for easy, vehicle-specific installation. Versatile mounting options. Gain setting.
You need check for the wiring schematic and the control’s sensitivity, as it seems touchy.
Time-based
Electric/Anti-lock brakes
LED display
8 × 2 × 5 inches; 0.49lbs
American steel finish
Reese Towpower Compact Brake Control
Regardless of which sporting activities appeal to you, Reese is a trusted name you can turn to as it has pioneered standard-setting technologies for today’s most advanced towing system.
Versatile mounting. Requires no leveling. Comes with advanced internal circuit protection for the trailer.
The mounting process can be misunderstood and takes time to figure out.
Time-based
Info not provided
Digital display
5.9 × 3.9 × 2 inches; 0.25lbs
Info not provided

(Updated )
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Watch Our Brake Controller Review

How Do I Choose the Best Brake Controller?

If you own a truck or any vehicle, for that matter, there are certain things you naturally do not take for granted. These things include spare tires, covers for your trucks, jacks, and the list goes on. But, what if your truck develops a fault on the road and has to be towed anyway? This is where a functional brake controller becomes crucial.

Over time, there have been issues of uncoordinated brake systems between a towed vehicle and its towing van, which have resulted in many individuals either losing their lives or facing serious injury. This shows that towing vehicles, especially trucks, without a functional brake controller system is a disaster waiting to happen - and the reason brake controllers should be seen as an essential safety consideration.

So, what are brake controllers? Well, brake controllers are devices that are mounted at the tow vehicle’s driver’s side dashboard area to ease braking issues. Without a brake controller, it’s difficult to slow or stop a towed vehicle in motion as collision may occur, endangering not only your life but that of other road users as well.

Brake controllers contain features to prevent a towed vehicle from running into its towing vehicle, and are available in two types with different features and functions. Each type comes with a component that’s unique to it, with its advantages and disadvantages. So, when making a choice, kindly consider each type carefully so as to pick what’s convenient for you.

The aim of this review is to help you make the right brake controller choice that will enable you to take control of your truck’s brakes as well as your towed vehicle’s. You’ll need a brake controller that’s easy to mount, has monitoring options, gives accurate braking power, and can be kept in view while you drive.
Price
Usually, brake controllers can be purchased within the price range of $32 to $113, depending on the features that are included in it. A brake controller that comes with a diagnostic feature, multiple screen color options, and reads information in 3 languages can cost more compared to one that comes with only a boosting ability. In the course of our research, we came across some cheap brake controllers as well but we ruled them out because they don’t contain enough proper safety features.
Features
When purchasing a brake controller, it’s necessary to know what features it comes with and the various capabilities it has, as these determine the entire functionality of the controller. Here are features to consider when getting a brake controller:
  • Types
  • Accuracy
  • Size
  • Shape
  • Frequency level
  • Extras
You can’t go wrong when you keep these features in mind when choosing the right brake controller for you.
Construction and Design
Brake controllers are designed to be attached at the driver’s side dashboard area to engage the trailer’s brake system and to notify the driver when electrical issues occur that may endanger his life. They typically come with a 4-wire configuration setting that’s connected with the wiring of the brake system. They’re also divided into two distinct groups: the Proportional brake controllers and the Time-delayed brake controllers.

The Proportional brake controllers utilize a motion-sensing device to sense how fast the towed vehicle can stop. This means that once the driver applies the brakes, the brake controller supplies the exact same amount of braking power to the brakes, thus allowing it to stop when the driver wants it to.

On the other hand, the Time-delayed brake controllers provide a pre-determined amount of power to the trailer’s brakes when the truck stops. Though a delay may occur when the brakes are applied, a sync switch allows the driver to adjust the length of the delay. This type is the easiest to install.

With improvement in technology, many brake controllers are now electronic and provide monitoring options. Some models come with LCD screens that give diagnostics of voltage management and application, some with customized displays, and others with language options, all to appeal to the taste of the user. Some brake controllers also have the tendency to power more than 4 trailer brakes and come with a simple plug-in option for easy installation.
Performance and Ease of Use
Brake controllers increase safety on the road as they help prevent the towed van from colliding into the towing vehicle. Its monitors allow the driver to have a precise view of where he’s heading to, in order to prevent any unexpected occurrence from happening. It enhances brake performance by giving information and accurate calculations about the amount of power that should go into the brake system.

Installing a brake controller is quite easy, as all you need to do is mount it on an area of the driver’s side you have easy access to. Most people prefer it placed under their dashboard and directly above the right leg so as to keep the brake controller in view and check any arising issue or problem. You can contact a trained professional if you find the brake controller difficult to mount.

To maintain a brake controller is easy, as some models come with removable components that allow the controller to be dismantled after use. Cleaning with a dry cloth is preferred as you don’t want water to get into the controller and disrupt its configuration. Further, it’s good to know that after dismantling the controller from its mount, it should be kept in a safe place and out of the reach of children, to prevent it from getting damaged.

For a nice, comfortable, and confident towing experience, brake controllers are recommended as it saves both you and your truck.

What is the Best Brake Controller?

Getting the best brake controller is the first step to take in securing a safe and convenient towing experience, but this needs a thorough consideration. As stated in our buying guide, brake controllers come in two types and various sizes, shapes, and frequency levels. Since you’ve read it, we believe you’re now equipped to choose the right brake controller for your needs. Let’s now go over to the individual product reviews…
Our Top Choice
The Hopkins InSIGHT™ Brake Control is built with an advanced proportional technology. It requires no tool installation, has short-proof protection, and includes advanced braking control. If you prefer a brake controller with a plug-in connector, then Hopkins Reliance Digital Electronic Brake Control with Plug-In Connector will do. It features digital settings and a vertical manual slide.
Hopkins 47297 InSIGHT™ Brake Control with Advanced Proportional Technology

Hopkins Brake Control 47297


Features
Founded in 1953 with breakthroughs in head light aimers for automotive body repair shops, Hopkins Manufacturing Corporation has grown into a market leader, exceling in each of the 6 businesses it owns and operates. Guided by its mission to “exceed customers’ expectations in everything that we do”, its leadership position has been firmly established with the company, selling automated aftermarket products to more than 75,000 distributors and retailers across the globe.

The Hopkins InSIGHT™ Brake Control for trailers with electric or hydraulic brakes is a digital brake controller for trucks. It comes with an advanced brake technology and sensitivity settings that make for safe and smooth stops by mirroring the tow vehicle’s braking system. It also features short-proof protection for up to 8 trailer brakes and mounts for separate components where they are needed, requiring no drilling or tools for installation.

Hopkins has other brake controllers you can choose from. They include:
  • The Hopkins Impulse Brake Control - has digital display feature, is numerical from 5% to 99%, and it can be set to various brake powers as your needs determine. Also has short-proof protection from trailer brake wire shorts and brake light shorts, and error codes to indicate a short and identify the type.
  • The Hopkins Brake-Force Brake Control - features Plug-in simple connection along with an LED indicator that shows braking intensity. It has short-proof protection with a 4-brake capacity, and has a convenient number of mounting angles..
  • The Hopkins Agility Proportional Brake Control Connector - has reliable connectors for a much easier plug-in installation.
  • The Hopkins Agility Digital Brake Control with Plug - comes with proportional braking technology and activated accelerometer which instantly activates the brakes. It also features flexible mounting options, and is self-leveling with an 8-brake capacity and innovative vertical slide.
  • The Hopkins Brake Control - is designed to provide excellent control for trailer braking systems as it can operate at any angle and can be removed for storage.
  • The Hopkins Trailer Brake Control - powers up to 4 trailer brakes and makes available a plug-in simple option to reduce installation time.
Best Value
The Draw- Tite I-Stop™ IQ Electronic Brake Control is a proportional reverse type that comes with a “Boost” feature to make for easier braking while towing heavier loads. If you’re looking for a time-actuated brake controller, we recommend the Draw-Tite Activator IV Electronic Brake Control which comes in a compact design, and has a digital output indicator.
Draw-Tite 20191 I-Stop™ IQ Electronic Brake Control for 1 to 3 Axle Trailers - Proportional

Draw-Tite Brake Controller 20191


Features
Over the years, Draw-Tite has become a big name in the automotive industry and for good reason. It takes its desire for true greatness and uses it to make some of the best, most trustworthy vehicle accessories out there. How does it do this? Through its own personal standards, bound up in what it calls a “Tested Tough” test. After passing one of those, you can be sure that your vehicle or accessories will survive and even thrive during your daily tasks, no matter the circumstances. Some of its most well-known products are its brake controllers.

The Draw-Tite I-Stop™ IQ Electronic Brake Control is a proportional type which reverses and is for up to three-axle trailers. It has a self-leveling feature that requires no adjustment, self-diagnostics which provide LED readouts when any issue occurs, and it has a “Plug-N-Play” port for 2-plug adaptors. Alongside that, it has a “Boost” feature that makes for a much easier time when towing a heavy load.

Here are other brake controllers by Draw-Tite:
  • The Draw-Tite Trailer Brake Control - comes as an I-Command electronic brake controller and is also proportional, requiring no leveling. It also has “Up-front” buttons for easy access to Output and Boost.
  • The Draw-Tite Activator Electronic Brake Control - is time-actuated, and can be used for 1 to 2-axle trailers and has a slide-adjustment output control along with “upfront” control.
  • The Draw-Tite Activator III Electronic Brake Controller - features digital displays, with overload indicators. All of its features are there to provide you with a great braking experience.
The Tekonsha P3 Electronic Brake Control is compact, with a convenient LCD display and multiple screen color options. Information can be given in English, Spanish, or French. If you’re looking for a time-based brake controller, then check out the Tekonsha Pod Power on Demand Electric Brake Control that comes with a manufacturer’s guarantee.
Tekonsha 90195 P3 Electronic Brake Control - Proportional and for 1 to 4 Axle Trailers

Tekonsha Electronic Brake Control 90195


Features
Tekonsha is a brand under Horizon Global Corporation established in 1964. It makes and distributes products in several categories within the automotive industry, and so well. With a customer service that responds swiftly to all customer complaints and feedback, Tekonsha has established itself in the hearts of its numerous customers across the globe.

The Tekonsha P3 Electronic Brake Control features a design that conveniently stays close to the dash, and has an LCD display with multiple screen color options and information in English, Spanish, or French. Further, it has a boost feature that allows the user to customize braking levels and red warning system alerts to keep you aware if you end up in a No Trailer Brake situation. It’s proportional, diagnostic, and can be used for 1 to 4-axle trailers.

Other varieties of Tekonsha brake controllers include the following:
  • The Tekonsha Primus IO Electronic Brake Control - has self-diagnostic features that alert you to problems by making the LED readout glow.
  • The Tekonsha Prodigy P2 Electronic Brake Control - features continual diagnostics to make sure things are running smoothly, and is easy to store.
  • The Tekonsha Prodigy RF Electronic Brake Control - offers a handheld control for you, along with a power module on the trailer itself. This allows for more convenient towing, as the two devices can communicate with each other seamlessly.
  • The Tekonsha Voyager Electronic Brake Control - has advanced electronics for less false braking while on the road, and broad control range that offers you more convenient setting.
The CURT Venturer Brake Control uses gain setting and automatic power level adjustment for increased brake power, and comes with LED indicators. If you want a proportional brake controller, then check out the CURT 51130 Reflex Brake Control with the capacity to tow up to 2,500 pounds of gross trailer weight and 200 pounds of tongue weight.
CURT 51110 Venturer Brake Control with Gain Setting & Sensitivity Adjustment

CURT Brake Control 51110


Features
CURT Manufacturing is one of the leading manufacturers of made-in-America towing products. Its stand for excellence is displayed in its employing of the latest technologies for product manufacture. Established in 1993, with a humble beginning of being a distributor from the back of a car, CURT has grown to manufacture its own products and expand while acquiring new members for its team. With a guiding principle of “the customer is king and our associates are our greatest asset”, it has continued to deliver excellent products that meet the needs of its customers.

The CURT Venturer Brake Control is one of the most convenient brake controllers on the market and is designed for easy, vehicle-specific installation. It comes with gain setting and an automatic power level adjustment feature for increased brake power, making your towing jobs that much safer and easier. It also has quick plugs that can be used with the towing van’s original equipment socket and LED displays that let you know the state of your brake pressure.

CURT has other brake controllers available, and they include:
  • The CURT 110281 Class 1 Trailer Hitch - features a durable black powder coat finish and is made to fit certain vehicles.
  • The CURT 51110 Venturer Brake Control & 51451 Wiring Harness - contains a CURT Brake Controller and a wiring harness that increases brake power based on gain setting and sensitivity adjustment.
  • The CURT 51110 Venturer Brake Controller & 51362 Wiring Harness - operates 2 to 6 trail brakers at a time.
  • The CURT 51110 Venturer Brake Control & 51439 Adapter Harness Kit - features OEM connectors with 2-foot wire, comes with a limited lifelong warranty for the brake control only, and has a protective sleeve and quick plug.
Regardless of which sporting activities appeal to you, Reese is a trusted name you can turn to as it has pioneered standard-setting technologies for today’s most advanced towing system. If looking for a proportional brake control, check out the Reese Towpower Brake Control with reverse battery protection and diagnostic features.
Reese 8507111 Towpower Brakeman IV Compact Brake Control

Reese Brake Control 8507111


Features
Reese Towpower is another brand of Horizon Global. As such, it takes part in manufacturing and selling various car accessories and tools, and it does so to make your life easier. Under Horizon Global’s large umbrella, Reese seeks to do more than provide products—it wants to be a name you’ll trust for years to come. We think it’s done a fine job of this, considering its large number of quality products and its growth as a whole.

The Reese Towpower Brakeman IV Compact Brake Control is a handy device to have with you during your towing sessions, as it shows you the number of volts your brakes are using so that you can accordingly adjust it. Further, this compact device has a couple of adjustable features (Output & Sync)—that means there’s a lot less worrying and fussing to do over settings that don’t suit you. Finally, this brake controller is a “plug-and-play” type, so that once you go through the simple setup, it’s all ready to use!

Reese Towpower has 5 other brake controller products you can choose from. They include:
  • The Reese Towpower 7437711 Pod Brake Control - Includes mounting hardware for easy installation.
  • The Reese Towpower 74642 Brakeman Timed Compact Brake Control - can be used with anti-lock braking systems and has slide adjustment.
  • The Reese Towpower 74377 Pod Brake Control - features “upfront” controls that allow you to easily change settings as needed without a hitch, as well as a whopping 5-year limited warranty.
  • The Reese Towpower 74378 Pilot Brake Control - boasts a display that can be read upside down and right-side up, short circuit protection.

Get the Best Brake Controller of 2018!

We hope we’ve provided you with as much needed information as possible, to assist you in making the right choice of a good brake controller. Now that you’ve read the product reviews, we hope this concludes your search.

Our Top Choice
Hopkins INSIGHT™ Brake Control
Best Value
Draw-Tite I-Stop™ IQ Electronic Brake Control
Tekonsha P3 Electronic Brake Control
CURT Venturer Brake Control
Reese Towpower Compact Brake Control