10 Best Trailer Brake Controllers Review 2019

Trailer brake controller is a necessary piece of equipment to keep your vehicle safe. When you’re hauling a heavy load, the brakes on your towing vehicle won’t be enough to maintain control.

Best trailer brake controller enables you to brake the vehicles with your trailer’s wheels as well. This prevents jackknifing and other situations where you lose control of your trailer.

We’ve selected 10 of the best trailer brake controller on the market. Our comprehensive reviews will pinpoint important features so you can find a brake controller that fits your needs and budget.

Best Trailer Brake Controller Review

1
Tekonsha 90195 P3: One of the best Electronic Brake Controller


Tekonsha 90195 P3
Tekonsha 90195 P3
4.84.8 / 5
market leader electronic brake controller for anyone with a truck who hauls a trailer regularly or who have multiple trailers 

Electronic Brake Controller is one of the complete brake controllers that uses internal accelerometers to apply just the right amount of pressure to your trailer’s brakes.

Importantly, the Tekonsha 90195 P3 has a bright LCD display and easy-to-use buttons so you can adjust brake settings on the fly.

Importantly, the Tekonsha 90195 P3 has a bright LCD display and easy-to-use buttons so you can adjust brake settings on the fly.
Tekonsha 90195 P3 has multiple buttons and a clear LCD display, making programming in your custom settings very easy.
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Pros

  • Use your trailer brakes the same way you use the brakes on your truck.
  • You’ll stop quickly when you need to and stop gently the rest of the time.
  • Has multiple buttons and a clear LCD display, making programming in your custom settings very easy.
  • Work great with electric drum brakes, too, and can support trailers with up to 4 axles.
  • Simply pull a lever on the bottom of the unit to manually apply your trailer brakes.

Cons

  • You need a wiring harness to use this unit. This harness is sold separately.

Who Should Buy It?

The Tekonsha 90195 P3 is one of the best trailer brake controllers on the market. It is ideal for anyone with a truck who hauls a trailer regularly.

It works with both electric drum brakes and electric-over-hydraulic trailer brakes, meaning you can use it with just about every trailer. Also, it’s great for people who have multiple trailers.

2
Tekonsha 90160: Primus IQ Brake Control


Tekonsha 90160 Primus IQ
Tekonsha 90160 Primus IQ
4.74.7 / 5
A best trailer brake controller for people who want a great one on a tight budget

This is a cheaper, more basic version of the P3 above. This Tekonsha 90160 Primus IQ doesn’t have a fancy screen or programmable settings.

Despite this, it still offers excellent proportional brake controls, easy installation, and great compatibility.

his Tekonsha 90160 Primus IQ doesn’t have a fancy screen or programmable settings.
The Tekonsha 90160 Primus IQ is wonderful for people who want a great brake controller on a tight budget. You’re not paying for any special features here.
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Pros

  • Affordable despite being high-quality.
  • Brake the same way the towing vehicle brakes, even on hills
  • Simple to install

Cons

  • Offer less control than the P3 above
  • Presets, the display is much more limited, and you use a knob instead of buttons.
  • You need a wiring harness specific to your vehicle to install this trailer brake controller

Who Should Buy It?

The Tekonsha 90160 Primus IQ is wonderful for people who want a great brake controller on a tight budget. You’re not paying for any special features here.

Instead, you just get a basic digital readout, a plastic control knob, and best trailer brake controller for the money.


3
Tekonsha 90885 Prodigy P2: a best trailer brake controller review


Tekonsha 90885 Prodigy P2
Tekonsha 90885 Prodigy P2
4.84.8 / 5
Perfect for folks with larger trailers,  a no-frills trailer brake controller with excellent proportional braking 

Tekonsha 90885 Prodigy P2 helps you keep your trailer under control with a basic control knob, boost button, and a simple digital readout. It’s got the same accurate accelerometer setup as the other Tekonsha proportional controllers.

However, the big difference here is that it can work with 4 axle trailers, instead of being limited to 3 axles.

Tekonsha 90885 Prodigy P2 helps you keep your trailer under control with a basic control knob, boost button, and a simple digital readout.
It’s rated to control trailers of up to 4 axles, so you can use it to haul some pretty big stuff.
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Pros

  • The accelerometer in the Prodigy P2 detects the difference between these situations and makes sure that your trailer brakes how you want it to.
  • It’s rated to control trailers of up to 4 axles, so you can use it to haul some pretty big stuff.

Cons

  • The limited display on the Tekonsha Prodigy P2 means that it can’t communicate as much information as a fancier device
  • You’ll need to purchase a harness separately in order to use it

Who Should Buy It?

The Tekonsha 90885 Prodigy P2 is a no-frills brake controller that can support up to 4 axles. This makes it a perfect choice for anyone who needs to haul large loads who doesn’t want to spend a lot.

Bonus: 10 Best Clamp Meter for Automotive Review

4
CURT 51140: TriFlex Brake Controller


CURT 51140 TriFlex Brake Controller
CURT 51140 TriFlex Brake Controller
4.44.4 / 5
Low cost and simple to install brake controller for casual haulers.

Curt’s 51140 TriFlex brake controller has a number of innovative features. It’s designed to automatically detect hills, for example, meaning your trailer will be much more responsive to brake inputs while you climb and descend.

It’s also quite inexpensive, making it the best trailer brake controller 2019.

CURT 51140 is one of the best trailer brake controller that has a number of innovative features.
CURT 51140 is designed to automatically detect hills,
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Pros

  • Automatically calibrates itself, detects hills, and senses how you brake
  • Apply your trailer brakes accordingly, giving you excellent control over your vehicle.
  • A bit cheaper than most of the Tekonsha brake controllers on this page
  • Curt TriFlex easily plugs into a vehicle specific wiring harness
  • Mounting it inside of your towing vehicle is quite easy.

Cons

  • TriFlex has an inconsistent lifespan
  • Require a vehicle-specific wiring harness to work

Who Should Buy It?

Curt’s 51140 TriFlex is a great option for people on a budget. That said, it tends to be a bit less reliable than the Tekonshas on this page.

This means that it’s best for people who don’t tow quite as frequently. If you only break out your brake controller a couple of times a year, the TriFlex is a great choice.


5
Tekonsha 90250: Prodigy RF Electronic Brake Control


Tekonsha 90250 Prodigy RF
Tekonsha 90250 Prodigy RF
4.24.2 / 5
A perfect trailer brake controller for people who don’t want to install a wiring harness

The difference between the Tekonsha 90250 Prodigy RF brake controller and the others is that you don’t have to install the Prodigy at all. Simply take the handheld remote into your vehicle and you’re all set to tow!.

The handheld remote doesn’t require any under-dash wiring or expensive wiring harnesses.

Tekonsha 90250 is a perfect trailer brake controller for people who don’t want to install a wiring harness
Tekonsha 90250 gives you lots of control over how your trailer handles.
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Pros

  • No wiring harness to worry about
  • No fiddling with wires or screws!
  • Gives you lots of control over how your trailer handles.
  • Excellent Acceleration-Based Proportional Braking

Cons

  • Reliable, long-range wireless equipment isn’t cheap
  • The lack of a permanent mount for the Prodigy RF’s remote means it’ll sit in a cup holder or on a spare seat.

Who Should Buy It?

If you can’t or won’t install a wiring harness or amount for a more permanent brake controller, the Tekonsha 90250 Prodigy RF is the choice for you.

It offers excellent accelerometer-controlled proportional braking without any permanent modifications to your vehicle. This makes it perfect for people who rent or borrow trucks as well as people with less mechanical expertise.



6
Tekonsha P3: Electric brake controller Reviews


Tekonsha P3 Brake Control
Tekonsha P3 Brake Control
4.84.8 / 5
A great choice for anyone who hauls a trailer regularly

The Tekonsha P3 is our top pick. The biggest downside to this trailer brake controller is that you have to buy a wiring harness to use it.

This kit bundles the P3 with a wiring kit for many popular trucks from both Toyota and Lexus. It’s not for everyone, but it’s quite convenient if you own a compatible truck.

The Tekonsha P3 is our top pick.
It’s not for everyone, but it’s quite convenient if you own a compatible truck.
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Pros

  • It’s got a big, vibrant display with smooth controls, great notifications, and easy setup
  • This kit has a wiring harness, you’ll need to get fewer additional parts to install it.

Cons

  • The wiring harness included in this kit only works with a few Toyota and Lexus vehicles

Who Should Buy It?

We stand by our recommendation that the Tekonsha P3 is a great choice for anyone who hauls a trailer regularly. This kit simply includes some wires for a few popular trucks.

If you’re lucky enough to own a compatible Toyota truck (like Tundra or Tacoma) or one of several Lexus vehicles, this convenient bundle is a great way to save time and money.


7
Roadmaster 8700: Invisibrake Brake Control


Roadmaster 8700 Invisibrake
Roadmaster 8700 Invisibrake
4.54.5 / 5
A trailer brake controller that works best with cars towed by RVs

The Roadmaster 8700 Invisibrake can be installed in the vehicle you intend to tow. Once you’ve set it up, you can then hook up your RV to the invisible.

The result? Your towed car will automatically brake with your RV, giving you more control and more safety.

Roadmaster 8700 is a trailer brake controller that works best with cars towed by RVs
Roadmaster Invisibrake 8700 is best for people who tow a car fairly often
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Pros

  • Effectively Syncs Towed Vehicle Brakes To RV
  • Don’t have to fiddle with placing a device on top of the brake pedal
  • Won’t shake itself loose if you stop suddenly, take a sharp turn, or go up and down some hills

Cons

  • Some users find it is quite difficult to install
  • The Invisibrake will stop braking after 10 seconds. So, it’s not ideal if you’re going down a hill for a really long time.

Who Should Buy It?

Roadmaster Invisibrake 8700 is best for people who tow a car fairly often. That said, you don’t have to be mechanically minded to use this trailer brake. We suggest that you simply pay a professional to install it to avoid the hassle entirely.


8
Hopkins 39504: BrakeBuddy Vantage Select Brake System


Hopkins 39504 BrakeBuddy Vantage Select Brake System
Hopkins 39504 BrakeBuddy Vantage Select Brake System
44 / 5
Ideal for people who don’t want to fiddle with their car and people who rent or borrow cars

Hopkins 39504 BrakeBuddy is a temporary trailer brake controller that you can add to a towed car. It wedges itself between the driver’s seat and the brake pedal.

This brake controller uses mechanical force to simply push the pedal down when you brake with the towing vehicle.

Most importantly, you can put the system inside of any car with a minimum of prep and no permanent installation.

Hopkins 39504 BrakeBuddy is a temporary trailer brake controller that you can add to a towed car.
This brake controller uses mechanical force to simply push the pedal down when you brake with the towing vehicle.
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Pros

  • Can be fully removed from your car when your trip is done
  • Easy to set up
  • Offer proportional trailer brake controller

Cons

  • Some users suppose that it can shake loose.

Who Should Buy It?

The BrakeBuddy is completely temporary, so it’s great for people who don’t want to fiddle with their car and people who rent or borrow cars.

It’s also great for people who don’t RV often enough to justify installing a permanent brake controller in their primary vehicle.


9
Hopkins 9499: best trailer brake controller with Classic Braking Package


Hopkins 9499 BrakeBuddy Classic Braking Package
Hopkins 9499 BrakeBuddy Classic Braking Package
4.34.3 / 5
Perfect for people who tow cars behind an RV occasionally, but not extra often

This model, the Classic, doesn’t do proportional braking. Instead, you can use a control knob to vary how much braking power is applied by your towed vehicle’s brakes.

While it’s not as smooth or fancy as the vantage select, it’ll help you stay in compliance with laws regarding trailer brake controllers.

 Hopkins 9499 is complies With Trailer Brake Laws
The Classic BrakeBuddy is perfect for people who tow cars behind an RV occasionally
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Pros

  • Non-Permanent Installation (after the trip, it won’t leave a trace)
  • Complies With Trailer Brake Laws
  • Reduces Stopping Distance (lower the distance it takes you to stop up to 50%)

Cons

  • No proportional control can wriggle loose

Who Should Buy It?

The Classic BrakeBuddy is perfect for people who tow cars behind an RV occasionally, but not extra often.

Like the other BrakeBuddy above, it’s great for people who rent an RV, people who rent a second vehicle to take with them, or just people who don’t want to install a more permanent brake controller.


10
SMI 99202: Tow Brake System


SMI 99202 Tow Brake System
SMI 99202 Tow Brake System
4.54.5 / 5
Best brake controller for people who tow a vehicle regularly

The SMI 99202 Tow Brake System is quite similar to the Invisbrake above. It’s a trailer brake controller that hooks up with your RV’s air brake system in order to automatically sync up with the brakes on your towed vehicle.

Like the Invisibrake, you’ll need to permanently install this system on the vehicle you intend to tow. Once it’s there, though, you can set it up in no time at all.

The SMI 99202 Tow Brake System is quite similar to the Invisbrake above.
Like the Invisibrake, you’ll need to permanently install this system on the vehicle you intend to tow. Once it’s there, though, you can set it up in no time at all.
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Pros

  • Offer precise proportional braking
  • When it’s time to tow, all you need to do is hook up a few wires and cables
  • The SMI Tow Brake System is permanent. It won’t shake loose when you go over a bump or otherwise jostle the vehicle being towed.

Cons

  • It is not affordable

Who Should Buy It?

The permanent nature of the SMI 99202 means that it’s best for people who tow a vehicle regularly.

The great proportional braking it offers ensures that these folks will be quite happy with how their towed vehicle performs.

Installation can be pretty complicated, however, so it’s probably best that non-mechanically experienced people contact a mechanic and have him or her install this system for them.

Best Trailer Brake Controller: Editor’s Top 3 Picks Comparison Chart

Tekonsha 3025-P
Tekonsha P3
Hopkins 39504
Hopkins 39504
SMI 99202
SMI 99202
Customer Rating
4.74.7 / 5
44 / 5
4.54.5 / 5
PriceTekonsha 3025-P priceHopkins 39504 priceSMI 99202 price
Weight2.24 ounces16.2 pounds3 pounds
Dimensions6.8 x 4 x 2 inches15.8 x 15.5 x 13.6 inches8 x 19 x 3 inches
CompatibilityUp to 4
axles
Towed vehiclesTowed vehicles
HydraulicYesN/AYes
Electric brakesYesN/AYes
Bottom LineIt is a great choice for anyone who hauls a trailer regularlyIt is suitable for people who don’t want to fiddle with their car and people who rent or borrow carsIt is highly recommended for people who tow a vehicle regularly

Recommendation

Our Pick:

Tekonsha P3
Tekonsha P3 Brake Control
4.84.8 / 5
A great choice for anyone who hauls a trailer regularly

We think that the Tekonsha P3 is the best choice overall. It’s got excellent proportional brakes with quite a few extra amenities you can’t find on other models. If you’re hauling a car with an RV, however, things get a bit more complicated.

Also Great

Hopkins 39504
Hopkins 39504 BrakeBuddy Vantage Select Brake System
44 / 5
Ideal for people who don’t want to fiddle with their car and people who rent or borrow cars

Hopkins 39504 BrakeBuddy Vantage Select Brake System is also a good choice. You can use a control knob to vary how much braking power is applied by your towed vehicle’s brakes.

There’s no beating the BrakeBuddy Vantage Select for people who tow different cars or people who don’t tow as often.

Top Rated

SMI 99202
SMI 99202 Tow Brake System
4.54.5 / 5
Best brake controller for people who tow a vehicle regularly

SMI 99202 Tow Brake System is the for you. The great proportional braking it offers ensures that these folks will be quite happy with how their towed vehicle performs. With its outstanding features, it deserves to be the best trailer brake controller in the market.

Bonus: Best Towing Winches Review

The Bottom Line

No matter what you’re towing, it’s important to stay in control of your load. The best trailer brake controller reviews will help you apply the right amount of brakes with your trailer at the right time.

We think that any of the first six will work just fine with a trailer they’re certified for, while the last four will help you tow your car with an RV or other large vehicles.

When choosing between these products, be sure to consider what you’re towing, how often you’re towing it, and what your budget is. You’ll be able to choose your best trailer brake controller for the money. This will keep you safe and in control.

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