What Is An Electric Trailer Brake Controller?

By Srikanth
6 Min Read
Electric Trailer Brake Controller

Camping and going on long road trips have now become quite easier, especially with the help of more technological advancements. There are numerous camping equipment that you can purchase. One of the more commonly used camping gear and paraphernalia, especially for families, are trailers.


A trailer refers to that attachment that’s hooked on to your vehicle, as an add-on to your car, particularly for long road trips. A trailer can be used as a sleeping and eating quarters; it can even be used for toilet trips or even for more simple uses, such as extra storage space.

But, driving with a trailer isn’t as easy as it looks. You’ll need to have coordinated control from the primary vehicle you’re driving up to the trailer itself. One of the controls required is that of an electric trailer brake controller.

What’s an electric trailer brake controller? Learn more about this device:

What’s An Electronic Trailer Brake Controller?

An electronic trailer brake controller is a device that’s usually installed in the cab of your vehicle. This works by activating your trailer’s electric brakes when you hit the brakes on your tow vehicle. This form of coordination is fundamental, especially when you’re controlling two cars at once during your road trip.

The electric trailer brake controller has been aptly referred to as the heart of the trailer braking system. Without this controller, the brake lines serve no purpose, as no pump/control can fuel the brakes of your trailer.

How Do You Find The Right One For Your Trailer?

Mainly because an electric trailer brake, and its controller, is relatively new in the automobile industry, it’s normal for you to feel confused as to how you can find the right one for your trailer.

Here are some critical factors for you to remember when choosing the right trailer brakes:

  • Compatibility. You can test this out as you purchase or ask the manufacturer of your trailer
  • Control. This is usually dependent on the number of wheels that you have
  • Fast response system. The right trailer brake for your trailer should have the best and fastest response system, and signal, when you press your trailer’s brake pedal

What Are The Two Types?

There are two types of electric trailer brake controllers for you to choose from. Your choice is usually dependent on the specifications of your trailer, and your personal preference as well.

These are two types:

  • Proportional brake controller. This senses when and how the tow vehicle is slowing down to a stop and applies the brakes in this same speed and intensity. As the driver, you have control over the brakes in this type of brake controller. You can adjust the power of the brakes and its aggressiveness, taking into consideration the weight of your trailer.
  • Time-delayed brake controller. This type enables you to fully determine the intensity and aggressiveness of the brakes. As its name suggests, there’s a slight delay from the time that you apply the brakes in the tow vehicle you’re driving and the time that the brake controller reaches its maximum power.

What Are Factors To Consider When Installing An Electric Trailer Brake And Its Corresponding Controller?

The installation of an electric trailer brake controller isn’t something that you can decide overnight. Since it’s an upgrade to your vehicle, and even to your trailer, you should put much weight and consideration on it. You have to take the time to study what works best for you, and which among your options is the best for your trailer.

Here are two of the most important considerations that you have to factor in:

  • What will you be towing? Remember that not all trailers are created equally, as there are big ones that are complete with all facilities to keep you comfortable on a road trip. On the one hand, there are also smaller trailers. As a bonus guide, time-delayed electric controllers work best for smaller and lighter trailers.
  • How often will you be using your trailer? If you’re the type of family who loves to go on regular road trips, thus, using your trailer frequently, it’s best for you to choose an inertia-based electric brake controller. If you only use your trailer from time to time, a time-delayed controller will suffice.


To sum it all up, having an electric trailer brake controller gives you both convenience and safety when you’re headed on a long road trip. With advancements in technology, there are some trailers and brake controllers that even allow you to have a car driving control on cellphone applications.

Having a trailer attached to the back of your car isn’t easy to control. To make your journey safer and less hassle-free, you need electric trailer brake controllers to man your trailer, even as you’re on the driver’s seat.

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