Best Trailer Brake Controls in 2020



Tekonsha 90195 P3 Electronic Brake Control Review:


Tow vehicle:
RAM 1500 Hemi Lonestar Crew Cab

Parts used:
Tekonsha P3 Proportional Brake Controller purchased from Amazon

Tekonsha 3024P RAM Brake Control Wiring Adapter purchased from Amazon
(used to plug into factory installed wiring under dash)

Total Expense:
$151.45

My 2016 Ram 1500 Hemi Lonestar didn't come with the integrated brake controller. After searching all the RAM forums and studying Amazon reviews, I decided on Tekonsha P3 controller, and not to shell out the $440.00 my local dealership quoted to install the OEM. There's one video currently on YouTube that gives a breakdown how to remove the full length center console to install the OEM controller, but even then, you still have to have the dealer flash the computer so it all works together, and all the functions appear on the screen above the steering column. Some people are okay with this, but decided on the Tekonsha path myself.

I knew I wanted a clean, and minimally invasive install, so a little thought was needed to snug it up to my center console. In order to mount the controller, you have to have enough room to tighten the screws on either side. Instead, I used two very thin diameter toggle bolts I had left over, put them through the controller bracket with washers, screwed controller to the bracket, pushed the thin bolts through pre-drilled holes I made, and screwed the wings on from under the dash with some washers. This may not be the ideal way, but it worked great for me. All I can say is use this idea and improve upon it. :)

I might add before I started my project, I checked under the dash for the two factory installed connectors wrapped in foam tape. They're literally just hanging there and simple to find. This made it as easy as mount controller, plug n' play. Total install for me was about 30 minutes cause I was being careful.

After installing, it dawned on me there is no on / off switch. Back to the reviews and forums I went. Turns out there's controversy on this and weather it goes into a sleep mode or not. In my case, I checked 20 minutes later and the screen was blank as shown in picture. Starting the truck or touching a button wakes it up. Some reports from others is the opposite, and controller stays on. Either way, the power draw from the device is so little, it would take months to drain one's battery.

Setting up the controller for your trailer is pretty straight forward. As far as function, I'll be putting it to work next weekend for our 7,600 pound travel trailer. Just follow the directions, and you should be all good.

Hope this helps, and safe towing!

*** UPDATE ***
I can't think of a single complaint for this controller. Everything works in unison together as it should, and is easily adjustable. I included a picture we took on our way down to Galveston of the travel trailer when we stopped for a pee break. Gotta love Bucees!

I started with the boost on level 3, then turned it down to b2. It provides plenty of juice to the trailer brakes with the gain set where it's best for us now.



Tekonsha 3035-P Brake Control Wiring Adapter for Ford Review:


I have a 2005 Fleetwood-Southwind motorhome with the Ford F53 chassis. I had a really hard time finding the connector under the dash so I thought I might help someone figure it out. It took me 2-hours of digging and needlessly dismantling the dash.

The connector on all Ford F53 chassis from '99 to present have the connector on the left side of the steering column but it is baried between 3 trunks of the main harness and back behind an air conditioning duct tube. The wire coming out of the trunk harness is doubled back on itself and taped with black electrical tape. The white connector comes out of the harness pointing down but is doubled back and the connector ends up pointing up. It is jammed tightly in between the other harnesses so you have to find that one wire pack that is doubled back on itself. Stick your fingers up there and you will feel the connector however it is impossible to see it.

Carefully cut the electrical tape the holds the wires bent back on themselves then pull the connector out of it's little hiding place.

Only Ford would do something like that.... :-(



Tekonsha 90160 Primus IQ Electronic Brake Control Review:


This was a really easy install in my 2000 Ford F250 Super Duty with a factory 7 pin plug. It had wiring already in place under the dash, I plugged in the harness 3035-P into each side and I was done with the install inside the truck once I screwed the mounting bracket in place with the provided screws. The trailer brake didn't light up, so I had to keep looking. What I found was that it is a common issue that these trucks didn't come with the fuses and relays needed to make the 7 pin plug work properly. I found I needed to install a 30 amp 'maxi fuse' under the hood. It was fuse number 28, this powered the trailer brake control circuit. Add maxi fuse #16 (30 amp) for the trailer charging circuit. Then there are two relays that need to be added. They were in a small black box next to the master cylinder, I popped the cover off and there were no relays in there. Those are for the charging circuit and backup lights circuit I believe. Hope this helps someone.



Tekonsha 3040-P Trailer Brake Control Wiring Harness-2 Plugs, Toyota Review:


In the 2014 Tundra the plug-in is behind the driver's kick panel. I wanted to mount my Prodigy II where I had it in my 2002 Tundra, to the lower right of the steering column. The first gen Tundras had an indentation that fit the controller perfectly in the same spot. I'm fabricating a mount with a new panel I ordered that replaces the one there (both have three switch holes but the new panel has a rectangular cubby below which I will be modifying to fit the Prodigy II.
Back to the issue, this wiring harness fits the Tundra plug & will plug into the back of the Prodigy fine but the length of the wires are lacking (about 10"). I used the same gauge wires to lengthen the harness (there are four wires & two different gauges). I used marine grade butt connectors to join them. The marine grade connectors have hot glue inside the shrink tubing so when you heat them to shrink them down they also glue in place.
If I recall, the two wire sizes are 14 & 12 ga. You'll need two lengths of each gauge. I didn't color match my additions but paid attention to which colors I was joining.
I think if you were mounting your controller to the left side you would be fine without any modifications but the right side will need lengthening. Of course the 2015 Tundra has the truck side connector on the lower right of the steering column (because there will be a factory brake controller available in the future that mounts in the spot on that panel I am using). Great Harness though, packaged perfectly & the connectors fit well. I would order this again & do the same modifications if I had to get another pickup.



Tekonsha 3036-P Brake Control Wiring Adapter for Ford Review:


This worked great with the Draw-tite 20191 I-stop (a re-branded tekonsha). I installed it in my 2015 F-150 XLT. It was very easy to install, the hardest part was determining just where to plug it in.

On a 2015 F-150 XLT, it is connected as follows.
To the right of the steering wheel, there is a small compartment that looks like it would hold a small Ipod. This compartment has a dummy plug on the back of it. Just on the backside of it (behind the dash) the wire plug that you need will be plugged into the dummy plug. Just pull it out of the plastic and attach your wiring adapter to it. I was able to reach back there and do this without removing the dash. It only took about 10 minutes once I determined that this was the wire/plug that I was looking for.



Reese Towpower 8508211 Control Proportional Brake-EVN Review:


After having all manner of brake controllers over the past 40 years, I thought I would try a "Proportional" version I'd heard some good things about. After seeing this one available at my local Home Depot for $75, I then found it on Amazon for about half the price at the time. Interesting that I was unable to find this device on Reese's website, which was only displaying "Timed" versions, (Dec2016). Don’t know if that means it is a discontinued product. Regardless this offering by far was the most affordable Proportional I could find and worth a try. Installation was easy. The device's internal gimbal or accelerometers will auto level/center themselves internally if mounted within the attitude parameters indicated on the instructions. (easily within my conventional/historic mounting locations). I used Velcro to mount mine in place of the bracket as I use it on multiple trucks. Reese recommends and sells Tekonsha adaptor harnesses for most desired vehicles and my GM and Ford truck adaptors were both less than $20 each here on Amazon. Initial setup took a few minutes within a block or so of my parking area and fine tuning is easily performed on-the-fly, as is quick changes for taking into account changing road/traffic conditions. I’m very pleased with the device so far. I have since towed my 16ft trailer with Bobcat in both clear highways and heavy snow and traffic with satisfactory results. I like the improved quick stop response over my previous “Timed” devices. I will order another to put on the shelf for redundancy.



Hopkins 20099 Engager LED Test Break Away System with Battery Meter Review:


This is an awesome product that works as advertised. Well worth a 5 star rating. However, as a 30+ year senior electronics technician on test and evaluation of the newest military fixed wing fighter/attack aircraft, I replaced their inferior nickel plated mounting hardware with about $20.00 worth of grade 8 bolts, washers, and self locking nuts; stainless steel machine screws, washers, and self locking nuts; and a couple of tubes of non-corrosive gasket maker to seal everything before mounting to prevent moisture from getting trapped between plastic and metal (which could cause rusting). NON-CORROSIVE SEALERS will not have that vinegary smell. Have a pail of soapy water (like you would mix for washing dishes) ready with a rag to wipe off any excess sealer after mounting. This same soapy water can also be used to smooth out the edge with your finger, to a professional look; just keep your fingers wet with the soapy water. If you immediately wipe off your hands with a clean dry rag, and sealer should easily come off. Then finish up by just washing your hands.
It would have been nicer had this been designed with a door to cover the control panel; which is made of some type of vinyl and will most certainly deteriorate over time, in the sun, to the point it will become densely clouded and non-transparent.



REESE Towpower 8507111 Brakeman IV Digital Brake Control, Small Compact Design Review:


This product performed perfectly, and exactly as described. I also ordered the wiring harness adapter to use with this unit for GM/GMC vehicles, unfortunately, my 2001 GMC Jimmy ended up not being the "Plug and Play" type. meaning, I wasn't able to just plug this unit in to a distribution/fuse panel. Nonetheless, after some extensive research to discover exactly what wires I needed to tap into to get this unit working correctly, it worked perfectly after getting every thing wired up and installed. I tow a 20' heavy equipment trailer with dual axles with brakes on both axels, and this unit works beautifully! I am very happy with this product. For those of you who have the factory installed, "Plug and Play" in your vehicle, you can get this brake controller installed and up and running in less than a half hour.

This makes the second one of these units I have purchased, and they both work perfectly! Easy to adjust, and very responsive. I am very happy with this product from Reese. I installed this one in my 1990 Chevy C1500 pickup truck, and it works great.



Tekonsha 5906 Brake Control Bracket Review:


When I bought my brake controller, I accidently lost the bracket to install it in the vehicle. I found this replacement and ordered it. This kit includes everything you need to mount the bracket inside your vehicle and would make an excellent second vehicle mount (unless like me you lost your original that comes with the controller). Overall, it does its function and securely holds the brake controller in the vehicle and allows for swivel.



Hopkins 47297 INSIGHT Plug-in Simple Brake Control Review:


I wanted to wait until I had a change to use this controller towing a heavy load before writing a review. I had that chance this past weekend.

I have a 2014 Jeep Grand Cherokee with the Eco Diesel and I used it to tow a load of 7000lbs for about a 6 hour ride. The trailer brakes, and controller, worked flawlessly. The controller was easy to set and it worked very proportionally. The brake application was very linear.

That doesn't mean everything is perfect. From an operational standpoint I am very happy. The installation itself wasn't bad either. My only issue is with the remote display and remote manual brake control unit. Both are larger than I would have liked and that is especially the case with the manual brake control. In trying to find a spot for the both of them their size caused some issues. It's not that they are so large they won't fit places, it's that they are large enough that it is difficult to make them inconspicuous when installed and not in use.

With the display once the rubber bezel and pivoting mount is removed it is much better. It would have been nice though it had much less depth. To the point of being able to have the back of the unit stuck to a flat surface facing the driver. It is deep enough that about the only real choice is to mount it on the top of the dash somewhere. I wound up placing it on the dash top just in front of the A pillar. When not in use it is a little more noticeable than I'd like but not terrible. Also, without the ball mount, being just Velcroed to the dash top, it is not perfectly angled to the driver. Using the ball mount you can angle it any way you'd like but for me the ball mount was far too bulky. In the end it works.

For the manual brake control it is far more bulky and thus harder to find an inconspicuous place for it. Ultimately I mounted it to the knee bolster very as low and to the outside of the drivers compartment as possible. It is quite large. I'd have preferred it to be at least 1/2 its size.

The whole idea of having the three parts of this setup separate instead of a single unit is to allow flexible and "custom" installation. When you take their bulkiness and then add in somewhat substantial cables, it makes a true lay custom or integrated look very difficult.

Even with these difficulties I am giving this item 5 stars, just barely though. The reason is, it is still better than a standard brake controller for reduced bulk and it works very well. Just be prepared to take some time to get it installed in a manner you would like and keep in mind it will be very hard to get a truely integrated look.