best brake controller for RV

The 7 Best Brake Controllers For RVs

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Towing your RV with your truck or car can be very rough and damaging to your vehicle's brakes. The stopping conditions can be quite unsafe, too, if you think about it. This is why you need to purchase the best brake controller for RV — the stress and strain during towing come from braking. Your poor car gets all the impact, especially when hauling a massive RV.

Recreational vehicles nowadays have their brakes but are not always helpful when you need to stop. This is where the best brake controller for RV comes in. We gathered the best products in the market. All you have to do is read on and choose your fighter. With no further ado, we present to you our top pick and other viable brake controller options you may like.

 Best Brake Controller for RV Comparison Chart 

The 7 Best Brake Controllers For RVs 1

TEKONSHA 90195 P3 ELECTRONIC BRAKE CONTROL

The 7 Best Brake Controllers For RVs 2

DRAW-TITE 5504 ACTIVATOR IV ELECTRONIC BRAKE CONTROL

The 7 Best Brake Controllers For RVs 3

REESE TOWPOWER 7437711 POD BRAKE CONTROL

The 7 Best Brake Controllers For RVs 4

CURT MANUFACTURING 51140 BRAKE CONTROL 

The 7 Best Brake Controllers For RVs 5

TEKONSHA 90160 PRIMUS IQ ELECTRONIC BRAKE CONTROL

Best Brake Controller for RV Reviews

Tekonsha 90195 P3 Electronic Brake Control

best brake controller for rv

Product Highlights

This brand is our top pick for various reasons. First, this company has already proven to have manufactured the best-designed brake controllers. This model is specifically designed to do so much more, aside from assisting in towing trailers or RVs with electronic braking systems.

This brake controller is an all-in-one device, the reason why it became our top pick. This has a boost button that may be activated, in case you need extra strength when towing heavy vehicles. Another great feature is the LCD. It shows crucial diagnostics such as the brake output voltage and system warning for no-brake situations.

The Good

The device can be mounted to swivel in a 360-degree angle. It comes with heavy nylon storage so that you can secure it when not in use.

The Bad

This brake controller cannot be used with hydraulic brake systems.  

PROS

  • Proportional-style
  • Has electric braking systems
  • Boost feature for towing heavier loads 
  • Can be mounted up to 360 degrees
  • Plug and play system
  • LCD display

CONS

  • Not compatible with hydraulic brake systems
  • Only has a generic harness which involves splicing upon application

Draw-Tite 5504 Activator IV Electronic Brake Control

best brake controller for rv

Product Highlights

Draw-Tite is a renowned manufacturer of high-quality products for years now. This specific product is an excellent time-activated brake controller. You can see the diagnostics through its full LCD display, such as the open ground, overload, and brake voltage. All the necessary information is accessible through this built-in display.

This brake controller lets you take control of the output voltage and sync on your RV brakes. If you want to go for a super easy brake controller that does not need tedious manual reading, go for this one. It consists of handy push buttons to make the operation simpler.

The Good

The control unit of this device mounts easily on various vehicles and can be set up through plug-n-play in tow vehicles. Also, it has a limited lifetime warranty.

The Bad

You may need to buy a specific wiring harness for your vehicle.

PROS

  • Has time-activated brake controller
  • Easy controls: Push-button sync and output 
  • Effortless plug-n-play installation
  • Wide LED display
  • Limited lifetime warranty

CONS

  • Need to buy a vehicle-specific harness
  • Calibration instructions need to be improved

Reese Towpower 7437711 Pod Brake Control

best brake controller for rv

Product Guidelines

Reese is another big name in the industry of hitch and receiver manufacturing. For many years, they have manufactured tested and proven towing materials like this specific product. The unique feature of this brake controller is its pod-style time activated design.

This is one of the super affordable products out there. Hence, there is no reason for RV users to skip brake controllers when shopping for accessories. Reese Towpower has an LED display and solid-state electronics that work on one or two-axle RVs. A manual override is also built into this brake controller.

The Good

The rugged chassis of this device causes it to be mounted easily on top of any towing vehicle. The package also comes with all the hardware necessary for its installation.

The Bad

The product does not work with 4-axle trailers.

PROS

  • Time-activated interface
  • LED, solid-state electronics
  • Includes manual override
  • Mounting hardware included in the package
  • Rugged chassis for easy mounting
  • For one or two-axle trailer

CONS

  • Does not work with 4-axle trailers
  • Contains leads but wiring harnesses are sold separately

Curt Manufacturing 51140 Brake Control

best brake controller for rv

Product Highlights

This model will allure you with its nicely-designed proportional style brake controller. Its smooth stopping power is also one of the reasons why RV users go for this brand. Aside from that, you can effortlessly tow an RV in town or on an open road. This is also built with a triple-axis and motion-sensing accelerometer.

This product features nine levels of calibrated sensitivity. This kicks in depending on the pressure applied on your brakes.

The Good

This brake controller includes all the necessary mounting bracket hardware.

The Bad

Installation is better if you purchase a vehicle-specific pigtail separately.  

PROS

  • Proportional style brake controller
  • Triple-axis and motion-sensing accelerometer
  • Automatic leveling and calibration
  • Nine levels of sensitivity adjustment
  • LED diagnostic display
  • Limited lifetime warranty

CONS

  • Better installation with separate vehicle-specific pigtail
  • Wiring harnesses are sold separately

Tekonsha 90160 Primus IQ Electronic Brake Control

best brake controller for rv

Product Highlights

This is the second Tekonsha model on the list, and rest assured, they both perform well. The 90160 works excellently at a very affordable price. The proportional style will ease the wear and tear on your braking system during towing. It also includes a boost feature to provide extra stopping power while towing heavy loads.

Everything else is automatic with this brake controller, including the adjustment of the braking pressure. The device is also equipped with a voltage and status indicator to ensure that the brake controller is working properly. Surprisingly, it can also work in reverse.

The Good

The installation is pretty simple. You can install the brake controlling mounts by snapping them into the dash and all the necessary hardware that come with it.

The Bad

It may be difficult to install this device on vehicles without a factory tow package.

PROS

  • Proportional style brake controller
  • Can be used with electric braking systems
  • Includes towing boost feature
  • Automatically regulates the braking level
  • Snap-in dash mounting
  • LED display

CONS

  • Need to purchase a vehicle-specific adapter
  • Installation on vehicles without a factory-tow package can be difficult.

Hopkins 47297 INSIGHT Plug-in Simple Brake Control

best brake controller for rv

Product Highlights

This RV brake controller is a three-piece product. It consists of the controller, an LED screen, and a slider. The LED screen displays the current-voltage and other system warnings, including any system problems — meanwhile, the slider functions in adjusting the intensity of the brake application.

The brake controller, overall, is easy to use and affordable. It also provides a linear braking feel.

The Good

The slider is a must-have feature when it comes to brake controllers since it adjusts breaks to have a linear brake feel.

The Bad

The brake controller takes up a lot of room.

PROS

  • LED screen
  • Useful slider for linear braking feel
  • Full control of brake application intensity
  • Affordable
  • Easy to use

CONS

  • Takes up a lot of space
  • Takes a while in the installation

Reese 8508211 Control Proportional Brake-EVN

best brake controller for rv

Product Highlights

This is the second Reese product on the list, and rest assured, it is still an affordable find for those on a tight budget. This product can send braking power to a total of four axles. Another feature includes a small readout screen to display the current amount of voltage.

The brake controller can be mounted at the bottom of your dash easily with the help of the brackets included in the package. Make sure that you have the necessary wiring harness for the vehicle to be used with the controller.

The Good

This is one of the most affordable finds for those on a tight budget. Reese is one of the leading brands out there, so getting one at a very cheap bargain is totally worth the money.

The Bad

The buttons on top of the product make mounting a challenge for the users.

PROS

  • 1-4 Axle capacity
  • Boost feature for initial trailer braking
  • Reverse battery protection
  • No leveling required
  • Diagnostics features on the LED display

CONS

  • Buttons on top make mounting a challenge
  • Lacks some adjustability features

BUYER'S GUIDE

We will discuss in this section all the information you need to buy the best brake controller for RV.

Type

There are two types of brake controllers. These are the proportional (inertia-based) type and time activated ones. They basically function the same way, but the latter is inexpensive. Buy a brake controller that fits the layout and weight of your RV.

Cost

This should be one of the essential factors that influence your purchase. Brake controllers can be expensive. There are also affordable ones but lack some features that the pricier models have. You need to choose a product that is worth your money.

Durability

​You want a brake controller that is made of durable materials. It can be dangerous to work with a flimsy one since what you are compromising is the passengers' safety. Look for ones that are made out of durable polymer plastic and corrosion-free metals.

Diagnostic Display

Most brake controllers have diagnostic readouts with them. This feature can help determine if the product is still functioning correctly. This should be one of the things to consider in buying the best brake controller for RV.

Easy installation

Look for a brake control unit that comes will all the necessary installation hardware with it. You do not need to have a headache in the installation of your brake controller. Make sure that you purchase a product that you can install by yourself.

F.A.Q.

How does a brake controller work?

RVs are not exactly tiny and light, and that is why you need brake controllers when towing them. Braking can be unsafe at times, especially when brake systems tend to be choppy and may lock up the wheels. This is how the brake controlling system came in the picture, to make braking smoother, faster, and safer.

Is a break controller necessary?

Yes, especially if you are towing a heavyweight and enormous RV. You should prioritize safety at all times.

How do I use a brake controller?

Brake controllers primarily function the same way and with the same objective. These products come with a manual, so make sure that you read on before using your brake controller.

What is the suggested way of setting a time-activated brake controller?

The best way to set up a time-activated brake controller is to set the product in a particular position. Then, go for a short drive to test your brakes. Adjust as you deem necessary. Repeat until you get the right adjustment. You have to consider the load weight in your adjustment.

I am an excellent driver. Is it okay for me not to buy a brake controller?

The answer is NO. It does not really matter how good of a driver you are. That will not stop a massive RV from causing accidents or running over things. We have to be extra careful.

FINAL VERDICT

Now that you have read on our best brake controllers for RV feel free to choose yours. An RV brake controller is necessary for you and your passengers' safety. If you have an RV, then there is really no excuse not to buy one. In purchasing a brake controller, take note of the ones listed in our buyer's guide to help you with your shopping decisions. These models can be purchased at Amazon, so feel free to check them out. Your safety is of utmost consideration, so go ahead and choose the best brake controller for RV.

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