I have been a long time Toyota fan and as a proud owner of a Toyota Tundra, I did spend a lot of time looking at trailer brake controller reviews. I was lucky enough to be sent two of the most popular brake controllers on the market to test out with my truck and my trailer and I have also had a look at two of the more popular ones that are online that have a lot of good reviews and I wanted to give my thoughts on those too. If you do a lot of towing and have friends who think that just because you have a truck, you are their personal removal service, you most likely are in the market for a brake controller, well keep on reading to see what I think of these four we are looking at today.
Do You Need A Brake Controller?
YES!!!! I know a couple of buddies who have not bothered and it never works out. Their truck is hard to drive or even worse the trailer has not stopped properly and dinged their truck. So yes, if you are doing any kind of towing no matter if you have a truck, RV< heck even if you are connecting a trailer to your car, you need a brake controller to make sure you have full control over the trailer. Also while safety is, of course, the first reason as to why you would have a brake controller. The fact of the matter is your truck (or whatever) is so much easier to drive when you have full control over whatever it is you are pulling behind you.
Anything You Should Look For When Buying A Brake Controller?
These days many brake controllers offer a similar kind of thing. But there are a few things that I feel you need to be on the lookout for. The majority of on the market electronic brake controllers you will see on the market will be able to control up to six breaks. This may seem excessive if you only have a little trailer, but you never know how many breaks the next trailer you get will have so the more break control a brake controller offers the better! That is the main thing, you want to look for, also be sure to check if it is fully compatible with what you drive. A quick Google search is all you need to do here and it can save you a major headache down the road.
4 Best Brake Controller Comparisons
Here I will share with you my thoughts on some of the most popular brake controllers on the market. I have personally tried two of these out myself and the other two I will be sharing my opinions on based on the brake controller reviews I have read about them.
- Tekonsha 90195 P3 Electronic Brake Control
- Tekonsha 90160 Primus IQ Electronic Brake Control
- CURT 51110 Venturer Brake Control
- Tekonsha 90885 Prodigy P2 Electronic Brake Control
1. Tekonsha 90195 P3 Electronic Brake Control
- Very easy to use
- You can save different settings for different trucks and trailers
- Four different braking options
- Has a really cool design
- Simple to plug in and remove
The first one I actually tried out with my truck was this Tekonsha 90195 P3 Electronic Brake Control which when you look online at the trailer brake controller reviews is one of the most popular on the market. This is the dream when it comes to electronic brake controllers! It took me around 40 minutes to install (but you may be able to do it a heck of a lot quicker) and honestly I was blown away.
The Tekonsha 90195 P3 Electronic Brake Control throws so many different options your way that I honestly cannot think of a truck or RV that would not be able to make use of this. It has a large LCD display so reading the different options and knowing what you are selecting is very easy. The first thing I checked was the diagnostics setting. Here it let me see output current, connection status and so on, this lets you know if the brake controller is properly connected and what the “stats” are.
I set this electronic brake controller up with my, what I would class as a mid-sized trailer to my truck. I like to have pretty full on control of my breaks and I like the trailer to stop pretty sharp when I put some pressure on and this allowed me to set it just like that. Best of all, you can save five different settings on this so if you have different vehicles that will be pulling the trailer or even different trailers, you can save the settings.
- Is one of the higher priced brake controllers
- You will spend ages playing with the different settings!
If you have multiple trailers, this makes this an essential purchase. In total it offers four levels of breaking (I like the strongest) so you will easily find the right one for you, it is the boost feature that allows such great control of your brakes. The overall look and design is really cool as it has large and simple buttons that let you go through the different menus and selections. In all this was fantastic and I can honestly hand on heart tell you that as I am writing this, it is plugged into my truck right now.
2. Tekonsha 90160 Primus IQ Electronic Brake Control
- Very well made
- Setting up is pretty easy
- Has a boost mode for when things get crazy!
- Multiple brake settings to select
- Ideal for pretty much any kind of vehicle
Next one I got to try out was the Tekonsha 90160 Primus IQ Electronic Brake Control. This is a little cheaper than the previous Tekonsha as this one is actually priced at around 60 bucks. So that is a big thumbs up for this already. This is one of the harder trailer brake comparisons to do as it is a cheaper version of what we just looked at, but in looking at this on its own merit it is a fantastic electronic brake controller. Operating the actual controller is very easy and they use a dial system to do this.
It has multiple settings and you can mess around with this before you set off to find the ideal setting for you. They have included a boost setting which of course gives you that added control and it can also come in handy if you are going down a hill too fast and need a little assistance to stop (which has happened to me more times than I would like to admit) I think this is one great piece of kit and I really liked how it does the self check when you turn your truck on to let you know that it is connected and working.
- LCD can be a bit hard to see
- Would have preferred buttons over a dial
Speaking of connecting. I had a very easy time setting this whole thing up, they have made it so even someone who is not tech or mechanically minded can install this with ease (pro tip, use YouTube if you get stuck) so I do not see you having any problems. While I think this is one fantastic electronic brake controller and when you look at the trailer brake controller reviews online, this one is always favorably reviewed.
I do have a couple of things that I was not super crazy about, I would have preferred more buttons over the dial and the LCD display can be a little hard to read at certain angles, but to be fair these are very minor gripes. To be fair at the price, this is one great brake controller.
3. CURT 51110 Venturer Brake Control
- Very affordable
- Great for occasional and light use
- Easy to set up and install
- LED indicator is easy to understand
- Has a pretty smart look
Next up is a brake controller that has many reviews online, but I have not actually tried out. I wanted to tell you about it though as the CURT 51110 Venturer Brake Control is only around 30 bucks so it is great if you need an electronic brake controller if you are just renting a trailer for a while. This is a time based brake control so rather than use the right amount of braking power based on your speed, the longer you hold down the brake, the more power will be applied.
It is a more basic way of doing things, but for most people who will not be dragging around huge trailers and need it just for the occasional job (like helping a buddy move) it is going to be more than fine, plus the price is just right. The LED light display is simple, the more lights, the more brake power you are using.
- Not ideal for regular hauling of heavy loads
- Instructions are said to be quite cryptic (use YouTube)
While I have not personally used this, I have had a good look at the reviews and I was pleased to see that most people are reporting that they have had this up and running in 15 – 20 minutes which is nice to hear. There are very few negative reviews about this and those that do have complaints tend to be people who are trying to haul a heavy load and to be honest, this is not the right kind of brake controller for that. If you want something cheap for the occasional use, you cannot go wrong with this.
4. Tekonsha 90885 Prodigy P2 Electronic Brake Control
- Very well built
- Easy installation
- Has multiple brake strengths so ideal for all weights
- LCD display is very easy to read in any light
- Boost feature may come in handy
Here we have another Tekonsha brake control and this one I picked as I thought as we are looking at brake controller comparisons. This Tekonsha model is priced at slightly under 100 bucks so it is the in between the two that I got to check out. Looking online, this one has a ton of great reviews. It uses a dial system to allow you to get the right setting for the brakes that you want and it features a nice and easy to read LCD display that lets you know exactly what is going on. It makes setting it so the brakes are right for you very easy and that to me is the main thing you want from a good brake controller.
Like the other Tekonsha models, this one has that boost feature to give that extra helping hand when you need it. I am sure this feature has saved many people over the years. I have not read a single complaint in regards to setting it up so as long as you have some basic tools and take your time, I am sure that you will be fine. One thing that I did read was that people said it did require some adjusting when they would change from city to rural driving.
- The price is a little high compared to others
- At this price, buttons should have been used, not a dial
To be fair this is common sense, but it is something that you might want to think about. I really like the sound of this electronic brake controller and I would love to get the chance to check it out, I do feel that for the price they could have put a better display and maybe gone for buttons instead of the dial
What Is The Right Brake Controller For Me?
So I put two of these through their paces and the other two I researched online and while all four of these will get the job done. I do think that there is a clear winner here and that is the Tekonsha 90195 P3 Electronic Brake Control. When doing this brake controller comparison, this one offered what all the rest did, but then just that little bit more. The LCD screen makes selecting what you want it to do so much easier and it certainly has a very high end feel to it. Plus it is only around 20 bucks more than the Tekonsha 90885 Prodigy P2 Electronic Brake Control and it is certainly worth that. For a person who is going to be doing a fair bit of hauling, honestly, this is the electronic brake controller for you.
If you are not going to be doing a lot of towing then think about spending a little less, the CURT 51110 Venturer Brake Control at around 30 bucks is ideal for the occasional camping trip, dirt bike haul or even helping a friend move some furniture. I think that when it comes to brake controllers and when you look at the brake controller reviews, you will see this. The higher control over the brakes you have, the higher the price you can expect to pay.