Caravan Electric Brake

November 15

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Best Caravan Electric Brake Controllers in Australia – Critical Equipment For Safe Towing

Is your caravan or campervan over 750kgs?

If that’s the case, Australian Design Rules demand that you get a set of trailer brakes. Even if your caravan isn’t that heavy, it’s still advisable to have separate brakes for your van. It will help to keep you, your passengers, and other road users safe.

However, you also need to operate the brake system from your towing vehicle. This will require a caravan brake controller. There are a couple of different types that are available at different price points so there should be one for every budget.

Hopefully, this guide will help you find the best caravan brake controller for your needs. Let’s take a look now!

 

Tekonsha 9030 Voyager 12v Brake Control 2&4 Wheel

Elecbrakes Brake Controller

Hayman Reese 12V Remote Mount Brake Controller

Baintech Tow Mate with Remote Trailer Brake Controller


Our pick
Tekonsha 9030 Voyager 12v Brake Control 2&4 Wheel
Elecbrakes Brake Controller
Runner up
Hayman Reese 12V Remote Mount Brake Controller
Baintech Tow Mate with Remote Trailer Brake Controller

1-4 axles

1-2 axles

1-3 axles

1-2 axles

12V

12V

12V

12V

Proportional

Proportional

Time-Delay

Time-Delay

Yes

No

Yes

Yes

80 x 130 x 40mm

N/A

N/A

30 x 57 x 90mm

5 years

2 years

3 years

1 year

Best Caravan Brake Controllers Australia

Tekonsha 9030 Voyager 12v Brake Control 2&4 Wheel

Tekonsha 9030 Voyager 12v Brake Control 2&4 Wheel

Our Pick

Pros
  • Handles up to eight brakes/four axles
  • Suitable for double and single-axle vehicles
  • Quick and easy connection
  • Sensors and LEDs provide clarity
  • Five-year warranty
Cons
  • None that we can see!

The Tekonsha Voyager is a proportional brake controller with a lot of upsides.

This dash-mounted unit is easy-to-use and to configure. It has an internal sensor that measures the level of deceleration. Then it sends the required amount of power to the caravan brake system.

You can keep an eye on the system by watching the LEDs change from green to red. This indicates the level of braking power and provides reassurance for the driver.

It can handle up to eight brakes or four axles. Meanwhile, it’s suitable for both single and double-axle trailers so every caravan can use it.

Furthermore, the Voyager is deliberately simplistic. Tekonsha wanted to make a simple caravan electric brake controller with no risk of interfering with other electronic systems like cruise control. All you need is the provided U-shape bracket to permanently install it.

Proportional brake controllers often cost more than alternative options. But this isn’t the case with the Voyager. It’s the cheapest caravan brake controller in this guide. That makes this system a no-brainer.

The Voyager is available for as little as $130 or so, with an excellent 5 year limited warranty.

Elecbrakes Brake Controller

Elecbrakes Brake Controller

Best Premium Option

Pros
  • Five preset braking programs
  • Quick and easy to install
  • Stored settings for multi-user access
  • Waterproof and shockproof
  • Connects to existing trailer circuits
  • Smooth braking
Cons
  • Very expensive
  • Only works with up to two axles

If you’re looking for the Rolls-Royce of caravan brake controllers then stop right here. The Elecbrakes Brake Controller is extremely advanced with a lot of positives. It’s one of the most precise systems you’ll find.

This trailer-mounted unit is wired directly into the caravan’s electrical circuit. It draws power from the taillight and brake light circuits for up to two braked axles. The “plug and play” system can be installed in just 10 minutes.

You can use a smartphone app to set brake responses according to the trailer load or even the weather conditions. Elecbrakes provides five preset programs for different scenarios. Then, you can configure the programs to your personal needs.

Different drivers can store their settings in the system because it has multi-user access. This is a very nice detail.

Potential buyers may question the durability of this high-tech system. But rest assured that it’s waterproof and shockproof. Also, the resin casing acts as a shell to protect it from the elements wherever you go.

However, there are two clear flaws with this system.

Firstly, it only works with up to two axles. Compare that to the much cheaper Tekonsha Voyager which has a capacity of up to four axles. Some customers will question this product’s value.

The other standout flaw is the price.

Yes, it’s a premium caravan brake controller but it’s extremely expensive. A price tag of almost $670 may be too much for a lot of people. It has outstanding features but a lot of caravan users simply may not require them.

Hayman Reese 12V Remote Mount Brake Controller

Hayman Reese 12V Remote Mount Brake Controller

Runner Up

Pros
  • Compact size
  • Plug and play for easy use
  • Unique synchronization for different trailers
  • LED indicators
  • It has a capacity of 1-3 axles
  • Non-interfering remote mount
  • 3 year warranty
Cons
  • Not many!

Most portable brake controllers Australia users know of Hayman Reese.

Their customers trust them to deliver reliable and efficient products. While they do have proportional brake controllers available, we’re going to look at one of their time-delay systems.

One of the main advantages of their compact Remote Mount Brake Controller is that it’s easy to fit. Like the Elecbrakes model above, simply plug and play to get started.

It has a capacity of 1-3 axles which gives it an advantage over the more expensive Elecbrakes. Meanwhile, it has some useful electronic features like unique synchronization for different trailers. This means you don’t need to permanently install it on your caravan.

Hayman Reese specially designed their remote mount so that it doesn’t interfere with other systems like airbag deployment or cruise control. The LED turns green when the system is securely connected to the caravan. This provides peace of mind.

Finally, you can adjust the system to a 2-second delay in applying the brakes.

This caravan brake controller doesn’t have a lot of negatives. It costs around $250 with a 3 year warranty.

Baintech Tow Mate with Remote Trailer Brake Controller

Baintech Tow Mate with Remote Trailer Brake Controller

Honourable Mention

Pros
  • Compact size
  • Easy to install
  • Override function for increased safety
  • Simple and rugged
  • Designed for single and double-axle brakes
  • It comes with a remote control
Cons
  • Other systems are compatible with more axles
  • Short warranty period

Many people prefer a no-frills approach when it comes to these types of devices. They want to know that their caravan braking system will work when it needs to. This is where the Baintech Tow Mate comes into its own.

Firstly, it’s compact so it won’t interfere with the driver of the towing vehicle. It’s also easy to install with just four wires to connect.

You can operate this caravan braking system with remote control as long as you’re within one metre of the brake controller. Of course, you can use it for any type of trailer you want, not just caravans.

The Baintech Tow Mate is a brand leader when it comes to safety features.

Its override function kicks in when there is a risk of swaying and snaking. This is independent of the brakes of the towing vehicle and acts as a caravan breakaway system in potential emergencies.

Bear in mind that the maximum load is two axles. If you want anything more than that, you’ll have to buy a different system.

At about $200, the Baintech Tow Mate is competitively priced. However, the 1 year warranty is shorter than the other products in this guide.

All in all, it’s a good system that does what you want without any gloss. But it may be worth paying an extra few dollars for the Hayman Reese because it has more features at a similar cost.

Types of Braking System

As you will have noticed there are two main types of trailer brake controllers. But what’s the difference? It can be confusing if you’re new to this world but don’t worry, I’m here to help!

Time-Delayed Brake Controllers

The driver sets a predetermined braking capacity measured from the weight of the caravan and the weight of the anticipated load. Most time-delayed brake controllers come with a sync switch to adjust the braking force and timing.

The disadvantage of this system is that there is an increased likelihood of wear and tear. You must set the sync correctly or it can damage the brakes of either the caravan or your towing vehicle.

While they are generally more affordable, this isn’t always the case.

Proportional Brake Controllers

These braking systems are extremely fast and responsive. They engage the pressure of the trailer brakes at the same ratio as the towing vehicle. This means that they’re safer and are less likely to damage your brakes through frequent use.

The downside is that they’re usually more expensive than time-delayed brake controllers. Luckily, there are excellent outliers like the Tekonsha Voyager. These days proportional brake controllers come with increasingly high-tech features.

Safety Features

Don’t overlook the importance of safety features when you’re searching for a new caravan brake control system. If they don’t meet legal safety standards they’re useless so do your research before spending your money.

Some units, like the Elecbrakes brake controller, have multiple preset programs for different conditions. For example, if it’s raining it will increase the braking distance.

Another point to check is its compatibility with AL-KO ESC. This is a safety technology for critical incidents that kicks in when the caravan displays dangerous lateral movements. In many cases, it’s a lifesaver.

It’s worth noting that the Elecbrakes Brake Controller is the only unit in this guide that is not approved for use with ALKO-ESC despite being the most expensive.

Furthermore, the Baintech operates an independent braking function that works as an additional safety feature. Remember, you want to stay safe when you tow your caravan so consider these aspects.

Other useful safety aids include emergency brake signals and trailer sway control (TSC). The former causes the hazard lights and caravan brake lights to flash at a high speed to signal distress.

TSC detects trailer sway and applies brakes to the individual rear wheels of the towing vehicle to stabilize it. It’s less effective than ESC but it’s still a useful feature.

Along with towing mirrors and caravan reversing cameras, your brakes are a crucial safety component of your van.

Australian Law

Australian law mandates that all trailers, including caravans, over 750kgs (GTM), must have a fitted braking system. The driver must be able to operate the trailer brakes from the towing vehicle.

Let’s look briefly at the federal requirements.

  • Less than 750kg GTM: no brakes necessary.
  • 751-2,000kgs GTM: At least one axle must have a fitted braking system. You can also use override brakes.
  • Over 2,000kgs GTM: All wheels must have brakes. You must also have a caravan breakaway system in case it becomes detached.

Additional notes:

Some parts of Australia may have different rules on indicator lights to show the battery is charged to activate the brakes. It’s important to do your research before you cross state lines so you don’t find yourself in an unwanted situation with the police.

Remember that you must connect the cable attaching the trailer to the towing vehicle to a substantial section of the latter. This makes sense because it provides increased security.

Lastly, make sure your towing vehicle is compatible with the size of your caravan.

Final Thoughts

If you own a caravan then it’s highly likely that you’ll need an independent braking system. Don’t take any risks with your safety or the law because it’s not worth it.

It’s up to you to choose whether you prefer a proportional or a time delay brake controller. Both of them have their advantages and disadvantages so it may come down to the price in the end.

The Tekonsha Voyager stands out in every category.

Firstly, it’s the cheapest product in this guide but it’s highly-effective. It’s difficult to justify spending hundreds more on the Elecbrakes Brake Controller when the Voyager is so good for a fraction of the price.

However, the Hayman Reese remote controller is also an excellent unit. The ability to synchronize it with different trailers is a definite plus and it’s very safe.

If you have any questions about these products or anything to do with brake controllers, please leave a comment below.


This article may contain affiliate links. I will earn a commission if you choose to purchase a product or service after clicking on my link. This helps pay for the cost of running the website. You will not be disadvantaged in any way by using my links.

Note that while every effort is made to ensure the accuracy of the information on this page, there may sometimes be errors. Check all specifications with the manufacturer before purchasing any product.

Louis

After swearing off camping at a young age after a number of cold nights in cheap sleeping bags, Louis has ended up becoming a great lover of the natural beauty that Australia has to offer. This change of heart came after realising that, with the right equipment, camping can be as comfortable as it is fun. He is passionate about helping people reconnect with nature and explore Australia's great outdoors.

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