Hi guys, Andrew here from Accelerate Auto Electrics & Air Conditioning on the Sunshine Coast. Today, we’re gonna run through a comparison about two higher end brake controllers, the Tekonsha P3 and the Redarc TowPro Elite.
First up we have the Tekonsha P3. It is a true proportional braking system, designed specifically for use with caravans, trailers and floats. It is easy to use and has all the bells and whistles. How it works is that it senses when the brake lights are on and the brake controller then activates the electric brakes in proportion to your vehicle’s braking action. Because it is proportional, it automatically adjusts the trailer’s braking to match the G-force and braking of your car.
It is automatic levelling, and there is an internal sensor that detects deceleration even if the controller is not mounted flat. Because of this, it can be positioned near any angle, up or down, in the vertical plane.
Some of its cool features, it can control up to 4 braking axles, it is removable with the snap clip and plug on the rear, meaning that if you do have two different vehicles you can run wiring on both vehicles and you can swap the controller between your cars. You can change colours on the LCD screen to match your interior colour of your lights on your dash.
It has five different pulling trailer options and multiple preferences for different drivers. You can select between electric and electric hydraulic braking unit mode. You can also go into easy to understand diagnostic mode which shows your output current, battery voltage and the brake current and so on.
In my opinion, the Tekonsha P3 is by far the most comprehensive and feature-packed brake controller on the market. I feel it will give you the smoothest operation and in our experience, the hub will approve. Sounds great, doesn’t it?
Unfortunately, the downside is the fact that you have to mount it on the dash, usually above your left knee. A lot of people find it annoying when they get in and out of the car, and they also don’t look that good when you remove it and sell the car as you’re left with a couple of screw holes.
Another issue we’re now seeing is many high-end four-wheel drives are now fitted with an airbag below the steering wheel, which makes it impossible to mount. This is where the Redarc TowPro Elite comes in.
Redarc TowPro Elite
The Redarc TowPro Elite is our most popular brake controller. The TowPro Elite will suit most common vehicles with trailer applications, and we have not found a car we cannot fit one to yet.
The TowPro can be set to proportional or user braking trailer mode. Normally, you would just have it set proportional, but in certain off-road applications, you may find having full control a good advantage.
Like the P3, it is able to operate both electric and electric over hydraulic trailer brakes and will work on both 12 and 24 vehicles. Due to the compact design, it does not have an LED screen with display information on it that the P3 has. This may seem like a downside, but personally, I feel this is where the TowPro excels.
With the TowPro its main unit is mounted behind the dash, and all that is visible is the remote head. This unit can be mounted anywhere on the dash, as long as there is enough clearance behind it. The advantage of the head is it can be mounted in a switch blank of the car.Redarc now supplies some of the blanks too. This means that when a vehicle is sold, all you need to do is replace the blank, and there are no holes left in the dash.
Another advantage is that it is a lot less intrusive to the cockpit of the car. There is nothing to bump your knee on, which for some taller people is a massive plus. It also just looks a whole lot better.
The only two disadvantages I can see are due to its hidden control unit, and unlimited mounting options, it does take longer to fit than the P3. It’s also harder to remove, so swapping between two vehicles is not really an option.
So that’s our rundown of the Redarc TowPro Elite versus Tekonsha P3. I hope this video helps you make a choice between the two.