Proportional vs. Time-Delayed: Which Type of Trailer Brake Controller is Right For You?

If you’re one of the estimated 30 million RV enthusiasts in the U.S., you’ll know how important it is to stay safe while driving your trailer on the open road. Of course, one of the best ways to ensure your family’s safety is by knowing your RV is equipped with the best trailer brake controllers for your needs. But because there are different kinds of trailer brake controller solutions out there, how do you know which will be best for you? We’ve laid out some information on the two main types of electric brake controllers for trailers: proportional vs. time-delayed.


Proportional trailer brake controllers automatically sense when your tow vehicle slows down or stops. This type of brake controller will replicate your own braking intensity for your trailer’s brakes — whether you slow to a gradual stop or have to slam on your brakes. This means you’ll have smooth, seamless, and coordinated braking for both vehicles.

Positives include…

  • Emergency braking
  • Quick reaction time
  • Smooth driving
  • Less wear for vehicle
  • Efficiency and safety

Negatives include…

  • A bit more expensive
  • More complex installation


Time-delayed trailer brake controllers get a signal every time you engage your tow vehicle’s brakes. This signal in the controller then sends power to your trailer’s brakes at a pre-determined rate of intensity set by the driver. This rate can be adjusted depending on the vehicle, conditions, and simply what feels right. Like the name suggests, there is always a bit of time delay between when you put on your own brakes and when the ones on your trailer will be activated.

Positives include…

  • Easy installation
  • A bit less expensive
  • Can be mounted in any position
  • Good for casual RV users

Negatives include…

  • More wear and tear
  • Chance of brake pulsing problems

Let’s face it: there will always be both pros and cons for any piece of RV equipment you buy. You just need to decide which type of electric brake controllers will work best for you, your family, and your vehicle. Whether you have a lot of RV experience or you’re just starting out, we can help you to determine which type of brake controller will best suit your desires and needs.

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