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We looked carefully into more than 20 products to come up with a list of today’s best trailer brake controllers, analyzing them according to the type of braking system they use, how easily their power output can be set, the number of axles they support, their boost feature, and mounting accessories they come with. In case you also are thinking about getting a new car, feel free to browse our vehicles guide.
The Tekonsha 90195 P3 Electronic Brake Control turned out to be the superior brake controller among all the products we studied for this buyer’s guide because it’s a proportional controller that can support up to 4 axles. You can use it with trailers that are equipped with either electric or hydraulic brake systems, plus the accessories it comes with make it easy to install on your towing vehicle. Keep reading to learn more about this impressive Tekonsha product and our four other highly recommended trailer brake controllers.
Award: Top Pick
WHY WE LIKE IT: This Tekonsha trailer brake controller is a proportional brake controller that can work with up to 4 braking axles and can be used with either electric or electric over hydraulic trailer brakes. Professional haulers will love the Tekonsha P3’s boost feature, clear LCD readout screen, warning system, adapters, and mounting kit.
You can use the Tekonsha P3 90195 whether your trailer has an electric or electric over hydraulic braking system. Electric over hydraulic brakes generate higher braking pressure—more than 1,000 pounds—compared to electric brakes, which produce pressures of 400 to 500 pounds on average. It features a boost button that you can activate during emergencies, particularly during icy road conditions. The brake controller also features a reverse mode so you can back up smoothly and safely with your trailer.
The LCD screen shows the following diagnostic information that can be displayed in English, Spanish, or French: brake, output currency, output voltage, and battery. You can store up to five settings on the controller. This Tekonsha unit also has a warning alarm that sets off during brake failure.The 1.435-pound controller is 4.5 inches long, 3.25 inches wide, and 10.5 inches high. It comes with two-plug adapters and a mounting platform and brackets. Don’t forget to carry the best car jack in the trailer. If you are looking for a quality serpentine belt to replace the one you have, check our best serpentine belt for quality choices.
Award: Honorable Mention
WHY WE LIKE IT: Another Tekonsha trailer brake controller, the 90160 uses Prodigy technology to automatically adjust the brake level of your trailer according to the terrain in which you travel. It comes with a boost feature, LED display, mounting hardware, and adapters that controllers from this company are known for.
The intelligent motion sensor technology of Tekonsha 90160, dubbed Prodigy, is patterned after what’s used in aircrafts. As a proportional brake controller, the product detects the rate of deceleration of the towing vehicle and replicates that pressure on the trailer. You also get additional braking power, especially when pulling heavier trailers, with this controller’s BoostSM feature. The Prodigy and BoostSM features also work efficiently in reverse mode.
Just like the Tekonsha 90195, the unit displays diagnostic information on its LED screen and comes with mounting gear, adapters, and a removable electrical connector. The one-pound Tekonsha 90160 is 4.5 inches long, 2.75 inches wide, and 8.5 inches high, slightly lighter and smaller than the 90195 model. When traveling with a trailer in tow, you should invest in the best truck floor mats in case of messy spills. Are you also looking for a trailer hitch with the right durability and towing capacity? Look at the recommendations on our best trailer hitch guide.
Award: Best Budget
WHY WE LIKE IT: The power output and ramp time controls of this Curt brake controller allow you to appropriately adjust the amount of braking power you need, whether you’re driving uphill or on level ground, no matter how light or heavy your cargo is. The budget-friendly product integrates with a variety of brake systems and mounts easily.
This Curt brake controller can operate with trailers with one to three axles. As a time-based device, the Curt 51110 activates your trailer brakes according to your pre-determined settings. A synch button allows you to predetermine how fast you want the brakes to take effect on the trailer once you step on your towing vehicle’s brake pedal. You can move the toggle on top of the device to lower or raise the amount of braking force, which will be indicated by the LED lights on the right side of the controller.
Unlike proportional brake controllers that must be pointed in the direction of travel (leveling), this 0.43-pound product, which comes with an adjustable mounting bracket, can be installed at any angle. It measures 4.5 inches long, 3.38 inches wide, and 0.0625 inches high. The Curt 51110 also works with electric over hydraulic systems and trailers with cruise control, pulse width modulation, and anti-lock braking systems. Another affordable option is the Reese Towpower Brakeman IV Digital Brake Control, which installs easily and has simple adjustment controls. This electric brake controller also utilizes a digital display that’s easy to use and clearly shows all your brake settings. And if you are hauling a trailer chances are you wore out your truck bed, so have a look at the best truck bed liner mats.
Award: Best Plug and Play
WHY WE LIKE IT: This Tekonsha trailer brake controller combo features our top pick and a Tekonsha wiring harness specially designed for Toyota Sequoia, Landcruiser, and 4Runner SUVs as well as Tacoma and Lexus trucks. The two-plug adapter of this 32-inch accessory allows for easy installation between your controller and the vehicle’s brake control port.
The Tekonsha 3040-P brake control wiring adapter takes the guesswork out of getting the right wires to link your vehicle’s brake control with that of your trailer’s. You can use this product to connect your Tekonsha P3 with the following Toyota trucks: Lexus LX470 (2003-2007), Lexus GX470 (2003-2009), Lexus GX460 (2010-2015), Lexus LX570 (2008-2011, 2013-2015), Tacoma (2007-2015), and Tundra (2003-2014).
The harness and controller combo can also work with the following Toyota SUVs: Sequoia (2003-2020), Land Cruiser (2003-2011, 2013-2015), and 4Runner (2003-2013). The wiring harness can also work with other proportional brake controllers of Tekonsha like the Primus IQ or its time-delayed products such as the Tekonsha PowerTrac 39523. If you’re interested in specifically Tekonsha products, there’s the P2 Prodigy Brake Control and Wiring Harness package as well for certain Toyota and Lexus models. The Prodigy P2 is a proportional trailer brake controller that automatically syncs with the braking movement and deceleration of the tow vehicle. Along with the Prodigy P2’s convenient brake control Tekonsha also includes advanced safety features to prevent any vehicle or trailer damage and to give users peace of mind. The best transmission jack is another must have accessory for the road.
Award: Best Quality
WHY WE LIKE IT: This Tekonsha trailer brake controller is for you if you operate several trailers or towing vehicles. The Prodigy RF requires no under-dashboard wiring but instead uses a remote control to adjust your trailer brake’s output, offer diagnostic data, and notify you about any disconnection.
You can use this Tekonsha unit for pairing various towing vehicles with different kinds of trailers with up to 3 axles. It features a 5.9-pound trailer power module that you can mount on any unobstructed spot on your trailer frame, but preferably just behind the coupler, with the 8-foot cable going toward your towing vehicle. With this extra power, you might need the best trailer tires too.
Proper positioning allows your hand-held remote control to establish an electrical connection between your towing vehicle and trailer. This is also necessary for your Prodigy RF to effectively control your trailer’s brakes whether in forward or reverse mode. You can also use the handheld device to set the power output on your trailer brakes. It also serves as a manual brake override that’s required by US law. When installing, it might be a good time for the best car floor mats as well.
Don’t be surprised that four out of the five shortlisted products in this buyer’s guide are from Tekonsha—the company has been in the business of making reliable trailer brakes, brake controllers, and related wiring systems since 1964.
Tekonsha and the 27-year-old Curt Group are two of just a handful of long-trusted names in the industry.
Proportional brake controllers dominated our lineup because they allow your trailer brake to slow down and stop at almost the same time you do with your towing vehicle. This ensures that hard and emergency braking situations are manageable and safe.
But we also wanted to offer some variety, so we included a time-based option and a unique wiring-free, remote-controlled product.
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