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Best Brake Controllers for 2019

Evolutionary brake controllers. Revolutionized towing.
If you've been towing for years, your first brake controller was probably an old-fashioned time-delayed model that mounted beneath your dash at prime knee-knocking height. For years, this type of controller was the only type available. Add in the knee-level air bags you have to avoid, the miniscule LCD displays you have to read, and the mess of wires you have to install, and it's no wonder towing enthusiasts are looking for a better way.Fortunately, brake controller technology has advanced along with everything else, and these gadgets have come a long way from their humble roots. From inconspicuous console-mounted knobs to phone apps and Bluetooth technology, there are more convenient and reliable brake controller options than ever before. Check out our top 5 picks below, or shop all brake controllers now.
Top 5 Brake Controllers for 2019:
1. Curt Echo2. Redarc Tow-Pro Elite3. Curt Spectrum4. Tekonsha Prodigy RF Wireless5. Autowbrake
Best Brake Controllers 2019
Best Brake Controller Chart
Curt Echo Brake Controller
Curt Echo Brake Controller

1. Curt Echo

Read a more in-depth review of the Curt Echo here.Why It's AwesomeTrailer braking? There's an app for that—and it works with the Curt Echo. We use our phones to make all aspects of our lives more convenient (chances are good you're reading this on your phone right now). So why shouldn't your phone make your towing experience easier too? The Echo works by means of a Bluetooth connection and a downloadable mobile app (available for iOS and Android). The fast plug-and-play installation makes setup a breeze—no tools or hardwiring required. Simply plug the unit in between your 7-way trailer connection, download the app, calibrate your truck/trailer profile, and you're ready to go. This makes it easy to use, remove, and store. Who doesn't appreciate a little more simplicity in their lives?Even if your phone battery dies or you lose the Bluetooth connection, the controller will automatically utilize its last setting. You can even create up to 5 vehicle-trailer profiles in the app, so the Echo is great for switching between vehicles or for fleet use. This certainly isn't your father's brake controller, but even he could probably use one.What's Not AwesomeThe best thing about the Echo can also be the worst, depending on your point of view. If you're not the tech-loving type, you may not love marrying your trailer braking to an app on your phone. Or if you, like me, rely on your phone's GPS for major trips, you won't be able to multitask with the Echo app open.
Redarc Tow-Pro Elite Brake Controller
Redarc Tow-Pro Elite Brake Controller

2. Redarc Tow-Pro Elite

Read a more in-depth review of the Tow-Pro Elite here.

Wiring adapter recommended for easy install.Why It's AwesomeWith a versatile control knob like that of Redarc's Tow-Pro Elite, drivers can enjoy the benefits of smooth proportional braking without sacrificing their leg room. The Tow-Pro Elite includes an OEM-like control knob that mounts pretty much anywhere you want, at any angle, while the main unit installs out of sight. No more tiny LCD displays to squint at—just an LED-lighted knob. No maneuvering the unit to achieve the correct angle—the main unit can be mounted at any angle and will still accurately sense the deceleration of your vehicle.The Tow-Pro Elite offers two available braking modes. The first mode is proportional for everyday use. The second mode is user controlled, which puts the power of preset braking in your hands. This setting can be adjusted for different terrain situations is ideal for off-road use. Redarc also offers a more economical alternative, the Tow-Pro Classic, which offers the user-controlled mode only.The Tow-Pro models offer a more subtle, stylish look than most brake controllers on the market, and it's incredibly easy to use—as easy as turning a radio volume knob. What's Not AwesomeYou won't want to transfer this brake controller between vehicles, since it not only involves disconnecting the brake controller module, but also removing the knob (and leaving a hole behind). And although like most brake controllers the Tow-Pro Elite offers diagnostics, there's only so much an illuminated knob can tell you. (It's a good idea to keep the reference material handy for this one.)
Curt Spectrum Brake Controller

3. Curt Spectrum

Wiring adapter recommended for easy install.Why It's AwesomeCurt's push-button rotary knob is a great alternative to bulky under-dash controllers. Like the Tow-Pro Elite by Redarc, the Spectrum's main module can be mounted anywhere, at any orientation, out of sight and out of mind. The tri-color LED control knob eliminates the need for a hard-to-read LCD display.Where the Spectrum differs from the Tow-Pro Elite, however, is that it offers two installation options for the control knob: surface adhesive mount and drill mount. With the surface adhesive option, no drilling is required, so this is a great option if you don't like the idea of drilling a hole in your vehicle. However, the drill-mount installation hides the wire and provides more of a from-the-factory look, so it's a viable option as well. The Spectrum is the only one of our 5 featured brake controllers compatible with up to 4 axles. What's Not AwesomeThe Spectrum is only compatible with electric brakes, not electric-over-hydraulic brakes. The other drawbacks are similar to the Tow-Pro Elite's: the Spectrum isn't easy to switch between vehicles or trailers once it's in place, and the LED lights aren't the most intuitive when it comes to reading diagnostics.
Expert Comparison
First, compared to the Redarc controller # 331-EBRH-ACCV2, the Curt Spectrum is easier to install. It can be surface mounted meaning that drilling is not necessarily required (depends on how you run the wiring). The Redarc controller has a knob that is fairly deep and drilling is required to properly install it.However, the Curt knob is really big in comparison and you may have some difficulty locating a good place for it compared to the much smaller (in diameter) Redarc knob. The Redarc controller is more aesthetically pleasing in my opinion. There are numerous reviews on it if you wish to check it out... View full answer
Michael H. Expert Image
-Michael H.
Tekonsha Prodigy RF Wireless Brake Controller
Tekonsha Prodigy RF Wireless

4. Tekonsha Prodigy RF Wireless

Why It's AwesomeNo list of top brake controllers would be complete without an entry from the ever-popular Tekonsha brand. In this case, we're talking about Tekonsha's Prodigy RF Wireless brake controller.The Prodigy RF Wireless is a trailer-mounted system, meaning there are no bulky boxes to hook up in your cab. Simply plug your 7-pole connector into the 7-way socket on the power module. No hardwiring is necessary, which makes the Prodigy RF an easier system to install than other similar systems, like the Autowbrake. The system is controlled from the cab via a portable remote, which fits in your palm like a cell phone and which plugs into any standard 12V accessory outlet. This wireless system is perfect for shared trailers and business fleets and can be controlled from the cab of any vehicle.The Prodigy RF also provides several notable safety features, including continuous diagnostic checks and integrated safeguards to minimize battery drain and prevent overheating brakes. The portable remote can easily be transferred between vehicles.What's Not AwesomeThe price tag. The Prodigy RF Wireless is on the high end of the price tag spectrum. It is only compatible with electric brakes, and because the main module is bolted onto the trailer frame, it cannot be easily moved between trailers. The Prodigy RF is also the only controller on this list that must be mounted within 5 degrees of level. The Prodigy RF's pairing process can be a bit challenging, especially on European vehicles.
Autowbrake Brake Controller
Autowbrake Brake Controller

5. Autowbrake

Why It's AwesomeThe Autowbrake is similar to the Prodigy RF in terms of being a trailer mounted, remote-controlled system. However, the Autowbrake is a bit sleeker (both the main module and the key fob), and the module mounts in any direction and angle. The Autowbrake offers a more permanent setup—just wire it to your trailer's junction box, and enjoy a clutter-free cab. The only part of the Autowbrake that accompanies you for the ride is the included remote key fob, which allows you to adjust or override the controller with the press of a button. This simple setup makes it a breeze to transfer the system between tow vehicles. The Autowbrake features weatherproof casing and a 1-time calibration Smart Start feature, which will always remember the last towing setting even after disconnection—no need to recalibrate when you bring your trailer out of storage.What's Not AwesomeThe Autowbrake is at the very top in terms of price. It requires hardwiring into your trailer's junction box, which is a bit more complicated than the plug-and-play installation of the Prodigy RF.
Expert Comparison
Both the AutowBrake part # 3430001 and the Prodigy RF part # 90250 are excellent options for trailer mounted brake controllers. The Autowbrake is designed for more of a permanent install as it hardwires directly to the trailer's wiring and is a bit smaller. It uses what looks like a key fob too for a remote. The RF connects by plugging the trailer's 7-way into it and then it's 7-way into the vehicle's 7-way socket. It's a little easier but maybe not quite as permanent. It's a bit larger too and uses a remote that plugs into a cigarette lighter and looks like a CB radio remote... View full answer
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-Jameson C.
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Related ArticlesRelated ProductsWritten by: Amber S.Updated on: 10/25/19

Questions and Comments about this Article

Jared W.

Hi, Which brake controllers are compatible with EU standards?

Etrailer Expert
Reply from Jon G.

I have no idea to be honest. We only deal with the US market so I don't know what the EU requirements are for a brake controller.



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