It is essential to understand that vessel trailer brakes and saltwater do not mix; hence, this makes it clear how paramount it is for trailer brakes to be kept in the best possible working condition. This post would cover the distinct kinds of vessel trailer brakes and provide you some useful techniques on how to properly maintain them.
By the same token, there are ten product reviews for you to check out so that deciding for the best brakes for boat trailer would no longer be a vexing task for you to deal with. When choosing the right option for you, your decision would largely bank on the amount of money you are willing to spend for a top quality option and of course the amount of mass you would be towing.
Not to mention, when selecting the type of boat trailer brake that is suitable for you relies on the size of your boat, and your current boating habits as well as the environment where you frequently use it. The advantages and disadvantages of each product are outlined in this article so that you could easily decide what the most exceptional option for your situation is. It is a must to contemplate on the buying tips shared in this post too so that you’ll be insightful of what to look for when getting a boat trailer brake.
Table of Contents
Best Brake for Boat Trailer Reviews of 2023
1. Southwest Wheel 10″ x 2-1/4″ Trailer Electric Brake Assembly
This can handle 3,500-pound capacity and can function well with trailer axles, Rockwell, Al-Ko, Lippert and Dexter. It is designed having a total of four hole mountings and already consists of lock washers, nuts and bolts for easier assembly process.
In like manner, the magnets appear to be solid and sturdy although there is a tendency for you to have a slightly difficult time to adjust them. This can offer precise fit on a haulmark snowmobile trailer and there is no adjustment necessary. It is imperative to consider greasing behind the shoes where they touch the backing plate.
Unlike other kits sold these days, this even comes with additional washers and nuts so there would be no additional cost for you to worry about upon purchase of this package.
2. LIBRA Trailer 5 on 4.5″ B.C. Hub Drum Kits
There are many different trailer brake types for you to select from and luckily these are not that hard to shop for both from local boating and marine supply stores and online shopping sites. But, first it is important to determine what form of braking system is needed and most suitable for your vessel trailer.
If you opt for brakes that are capable of bolting up without any issue, then there is no reason for you to search further. These won’t require you to do major grinding to get the backing plate exactly fit the flush. They are your ideal solution and can serve as much more excellent option than age-old surge brakes that need replacement.
3. Southwest Wheel 3,500 lbs. Trailer Axle Electric Brake Kit
Are you planning to invest in electric brakes on boat trailer? This product is so easy to set up even for novices. And, the kit already comprise of the seals and new bearings. Replacing age-old bearings and drums can be accomplished in a snap and installing new ones is never a hassle provided that you adhere to the manual’s instructions.
Once bought, the package also consist of brake mounting washers and nuts, TruRyde bearings, cotter pins, lug nuts, seals, spindle washers, open and closed grease caps, spindle nuts, as well as tang washers. As you can see, these are the vital components that make installation a breeze.
4. Highton Trailer Hydraulic Free Backing Marine Brake Assembly Pair Set
If you find it tough shopping for premium quality boat trailer braking systems, then it is high time to explore more on how this product can change your situation. Whether you intend to use this for marine or non-marine application; this can suffice.
It is interesting to note that this item is specifically built with the latest anti-corrosive technology that can guarantee maximum protection as compared to the very conventional galvanization stainless steel springs and hardware and other aluminum materials. Its zinc aluminum coating gives it a sturdier overall look. Unlike other similar options out there, this allows free backing and can ensure users that there would be zero lock up when backing.
5. Ei Trailer Brake Assembly Electric Trailer Brakes 12″ x 2″
Boat trailers with brakes are pricey investments these days. This is one of the reasons why it is just right to take proper care and maintenance if you want them to last for many years. If you opt for brakes that come with greater stopping power, then you’ve got to pick the one that can deliver what was promised.
This option comes pre-assembled already which means that instead of blundering around with springs and other components that you could not recall where they went, you only need to undo some bolts, replace the unit and the bolts. Hence, this is time-saver and you could instantly get it right the first time.
If you prefer something that is a duck soup to set up and can guarantee precise fit, then this option won’t dismay you. This would work well in any type of trailer; it bolts right up and only requires two wires installation.
6. KODIAK 10″ Trailer Disc Brake Assy, DAC Bearings & Seals
Adding brakes to a boat trailer can be slightly challenging especially if it is your first time to do so and if you are not well-aware of the right kind of brake to get for your vessel trailer. You can check this product out if you wish to see a significant difference in terms of stopping. If you currently own a heavy type of trailer, then this is the most suitable choice that you could try.
This item is known for having an integral set which implies that the rotor and hub are set up together as a single piece. In short, they are machined together so to help lessen rotor run-out and offer a sleeker ride experience.
7. Southwest Wheel 3,500 lbs. Trailer Axle Hydraulic Brake Kit
For boat trailer owners to end up buying the right option, it is a must to determine the types of trailer brakes so that it becomes easier to clearly pick what’s suitable for your requirements. You can check this product out and see for yourself if it can cater to your preference and needs.
If you want to replace the entire braking system at once and would like to execute this by less complicated means, then this option can work like a charm for your needs and preference. While it may require some time and work to do the necessary modifications, the final result would impress you and can ensure you a great difference in terms of your trailering experience.
8. TowZone 86854 Complete Disc Brake Kit with Actuator
If you wish to spend your hard-earned money on reliable and stellar quality electric disc brakes for boat trailers, then you’ve got to be meticulous before getting one. This option comes with GalvX coated vented rotor disc brakes and is tried and tested to have dependable stopping power.
What is more, bleeding the system was a piece of cake and it does not call for banging, pushing or white knuckles when halting. These appear to be built well and look sterling in terms of standing up over a long haul.
9. Tie Down Engineering Integral Style Vented Rotor Disc Brake Kit
This is well worth every single cent spent for it because it is seriously very practical to utilize and is a perfect option for anyone who are into long distance towing and ramp launching. Everything appears precisely with suitable size, capable of bolting right on and there is no mending needed.
Howbeit, take in mind that as compared to other similar products sold on the market at present, these brakes are not that effortless to assemble at all so you better strictly follow the manufacturer’s instructions to ensure proper fit and functions. And, if you are in search of less pricey braking system, then this isn’t the option that would solve your problem.
What to Look for When Buying a Boat Trailer Brake
When you’re looking to buy a reliable braking system for your boat trailer, you need to look into the total weight of the trailer, motor and boat package. Take into account that you should not solely consider the empty or dry weight but also the total weight of the package when loaded and all set for the weekend. These would of course consist of the gears, food, fuel, water, batteries and everything else that’s necessary on the vessel while traversing the road.
Please note that you must not miss including the trailer itself in the computations. Afterward, it is highly suggested to turn to your local regulations. Several states require braking system for trailer packages more than a specific weight. Meanwhile, there are some states that require brakes on both axles on triples and tandems; a few merely calls for brakes on a single axle.
In addition to this, more axles conveys more halting power capacity, so it is a must to look into putting brakes on all wheels for additional safety even though this is not called for by state regulations.
Then, the next thing that needs to be considered is asking yourself if your hauling vehicle is capable of handling the weight. For this, you could turn to the dealer or refer to the owner’s manual in order to validate if your vehicle is outfitted to haul your new acquisition home. There are a few owners that prefer to have brakes on small-sized trailers if the loaded weight is close the highest hauling restriction of the vehicle. You would be worry-free knowing that you are not exhausting your vehicle to the limit, specifically if you have plans of traversing hilly trips with your vessel.
At the time you decide that you seriously require brakes on your trailer, see to it that these come with exceptional style for your boating area. Basically, brakes are designed with a plenty of unique styles and forms, a few of them calls for additional equipment in the hauling vehicle.
As you can see, it is substantial to be knowledgeable of the various types of vessel trailer brakes so that you could get precisely what you seriously need. You can also consider the length of time you’ll be using your vessel trailer in the water, the environment where you’re going to use it such as in saltwater or freshwater, the size of your vessel, and the amount of work you are determined to execute to sustain your boat trailer.
Other buying considerations include the amount of budget you are willing to spend for the boat trailer brake’s service or maintenance. All these questions would definitely be of great help for you to fully understand which boat trailer brake is the most appropriate for your needs.
Other Important Factors to Consider
What is a brake for boat trailer?
Some states require brakes to be equipped on trailers with a total weight of more than three thousand pounds. Fundamentally, a lot of experts highly recommend them on trailers that are graded for 1,500 pounds and beyond. Brakes for boat trailers could be hydraulic, electrical or mechanical in form.
How do boat trailer brakes work?
Electric brakes work by offering extra braking control and ensure more convenient usage. These are less complex to use as compared to surge brakes since they only necessitate a brake controller in the cabin of the hauling vehicle.
They exploit electromagnets that activate the drum brakes and users are allowed to control the electricity to the brakes with the help of the brake light circuit and a controller on the vehicle.
Such type of boat trailer brake functions well if properly adjusted and helps users make it easier to reach over their hand and utilize the brake controller in order to exert a little amount of braking force if the trailer starts wobbling. This is handy especially when getting down hilly spots, in strong currents and when you’re being passed by huge 18-wheelers.
On the other hand, surge brakes operate by using the trailer’s natural power in order to activate the brakes. As you step on the brake in the hauling vehicle and slow down, the trailer propels against the hitch and then forces down a hydraulic cylinder. In this manner, the more you try to slow down the vehicle, the more pressure is being put on the brakes.
Surge brakes are known to be a lot easier to work with and can offer smooth operation provided that they are adjusted accordingly. Still and all, it is not possible for you to separately activate the trailer brakes if the trailer is wobbling.
What are the different types of boat trailer brakes?
Are you taking your vessel for a spin or have plans of setting a fishing adventure tour with your loved ones? At the end of the day, what matters the most is having your vessel trailer components in check. Furthermore, one of the most valuable factors is your boat trailer braking system.
There are various forms of brakes designed for boat trailers and these comprise of:
- Hydraulic Disc Brakes
These are distinguished by powers. They are designed with superior pressure that works quite well in water. In line with this, the friction formed by the inner mechanisms helps make the vessel trailer halt at once and comes with superior resistance to water too.
Even so, these may not be ideal for marine applications since these are built with metal; they tend to corrode if not rinsed instantly with freshwater after use. They are generally recommended for boaters who prefer having more control of the halting capability of the trailer.
Also, these types function quite adeptly for those hauling through different grounds. Your brakes are merely utilized when you push down your truck brake pedal.
- Hydraulic Surge Brakes
These are perceived to be the most uncomplicated type of vessel trailer brake to use. Basically, the actuating cylinder fastened to the fluid coupler in this type of brake comes with a softer impact that permits more excellent control as well as sleeker deceleration.
In point of fact, these are regarded as the most well-known braking solution that many boating enthusiast frequently pick.
- Electric-Over-Hydraulic Brakes
These types are the latest in the market. While a lot of boat lovers adore surge brake types, this option won’t disappoint you. These make use of electric pump for it to operate and works by transmitting pressurized fluid to disc or drum brakes.
In the same way, the controllers of electric-over-hydraulic brakes are no trouble to comprehend and set up. These are easy to adjust too. They are known for having the capability to function outstandingly for higher end vessel trailers. These are practical for mountainous areas and long distance tours.
Why do you need brakes for boat trailer? (Benefits)
The use of boat trailer brakes is quite necessary and comes with a number of perks. Hydraulic surge breaks are very user-friendly and are less intricate to exploit for most boat enthusiasts. These permit sleeker deceleration and more reliable and excellent control.
Over and above, hydraulic disc brakes come with superior pressure which implies that these are dependable in water. They help make the vessel trailer halt in a swifter mode and are equipped with more superior resistance to water. These are ideal for boaters who opt for better control of the vessel trailer’s halting capability. No matter what landscapes you tow, these could work best for you.
Using electric-over-hydraulic brakes are a piece of cake to understand and assemble. These are no sweat to modify and are useful for higher end vessel trailers. You could fully depend on them if you prefer remote trips and mountainous grounds.
Frequently Asked Questions
What are the most trusted boat trailer brake brands?
For you to be at peace knowing that you have made the right investment for a boat trailer braking system, the best thing to do is to conduct a research about the most reputable manufacturers of boat trailer brakes. This way, there is no need to worry about your safety when towing and at the same time you can be guaranteed that you are not wasting your time and money on a defective item.
Some of the most highly acclaimed brands that you can fully rely on when it comes to producing top quality boat trailer brakes consist of:
- Southwest Wheel
- Tie Down Engineering
Boat trailer brakes manufactured by any of these brands are generally more expensive than other options; however, consumers are guaranteed of unmatched quality and performance that can’t be experienced in other brands. So, if you have plans of investing in premium quality braking system for your vessel trailer, see to it to consider buying from any of these brands.
Can you put electric brakes on a boat trailer?
Yes. In the past, manufacturers of trailers did not utilize electric brakes on vessel trailers precisely because the trailer wiring and the brake magnet wiring did not often have the most outstanding water protection or insulation.
However, at present time, a rapidly increasing number of manufacturers are utilizing electric brakes on vessel trailers mainly because of the more advanced improvements in wiring insulation as well as heat shrink connectors.
Essentially, if you would utilize electric brakes, it is highly suggested to utilize heat shrink butt connectors particularly when splicing the wires together.
How to install?
Here are the proper guides on how to install boat trailer brakes:
- Lift the wheel or tire from the hub. Then, detach the brake line from the drum brake housing.
- Remove the brake assembly. To do so, you will need to utilize a thin wood wedge and mallet so you could pull off the hub cap. Lift the brake assembly and pull the brakes out and examine the brake shoes for any indications of deterioration or wearing away. Then, change the brake shoes as necessary.
- Change the brakes and shoes. See to it to fit the brakes into the brake assembly. From there, you can fit in the brake shoes. Install in the reversed arrangement that you removed them. For you to be able to test if they work properly, test the brakes.
Please take note that it is highly recommended to inspect the brake and wheel action for correct rotation and halting prior to utilizing the trailer.
Examine the mounting hardware, brake pads, hubs and rotors for correct function every one thousand miles of usage.
How to keep boat trailer brakes from rusting?
In order to keep boat trailer brakes from rusting, it is fundamental to have visual inspection as a vital routine component of your boating experience. It is highly advised to hose the brakes down after every use or at the end of the day and make it a habit to inspect for corrosion, rust and worn out components.
It is indispensable to keep the brakes clean regardless of the kind with which your trailer is equipped with. The brakes must be thoroughly rinsed using fresh water after use particularly if you utilize your vessel in saltwater and it is equally important to flush the engine too.
You might already know that saltwater reacts instantly with metal and this would start disintegrating your trailer and all its vital parts in the parking lot while you are out on the water. As much as feasible, hose the trailer, hose and brakes down with fresh water instantly especially after launching your watercraft.
What is the warranty?
You are probably knowledgeable of the fact that a smart consumer must always go for products that could offer them customer protection. Since most of the products that we buy from local stores and in online shopping sites generally come in not-so-affordable selling costs, it is just wise for us to pick the ones that can back us up in case we encounter some issues with regards to the boat trailer brake we bought.
Sure thing, no one wants to end up wasting money and time on products that won’t even meet our requirements and since we do not get them for free; it is just right that we choose the ones that offer product warranty. This way, whatever concerns we have in the future, we can rest assure that our problems will be solved to our advantage.
Luckily, majority of the boat trailer brakes reviewed in this article are supported by warranties. So, check them out carefully.
Where to buy?
Brakes designed for boat trailers are available almost everywhere. For a fact, so long as you know what type of brake you need and considered the other features that would help make your trailer work to the best possible condition, it is no sweat to look for the right option on the market these days.
You can find boat trailer brakes in many local boating and marine supply stores in your location. Provided the store is heavily stocked, you can have more chances of checking a few options that would satisfy your requirements. For all that, if you want to inspect more options and discover more famous brands, then checking them out online can be your best choice.
Online shopping sites like WestMarine, Walmart and Amazon can offer you with limitless choices to mull over. These sites will help you unveil more of the world’s most credible boat trailer brake manufacturers where you can also have the opportunity to delight in the best shopping deals and promos.
How to care and maintain?
To boot, the wheel bearings would commonly require regular maintenance particularly on vessel trailers due to water contamination concerns. On an annual basis, the bearings must be removed, thoroughly tidied, examined and repacked with the aid of fresh wheel bearing lube and you also need to do some readjusting.
Experts in the field highly suggest having this task done with more discretion especially when utilizing pressurized hub bearing caps since excessive pressure might force lube past the seals and pollute the linings of the brake. In addition to this, preloading the wheel bearing should be set to the specifications of the manufacturer.
It is also worth mentioning that the brakes must be carefully examined at the same time the wheel bearings are services. If you noticed some indications of wear, corrosion and other sorts of damages, such components must be replaced right away.
Meanwhile, the drum brakes need to be modified so that the linings merely get in contact with the drum in a mild approach. Moreover, the points where the shoes touch the backing plates on drum brakes must be greased together with the actuator levers, adjusters and hinge points.
Lastly, the brake lines have to be bled so to get rid of air if a line has been unclosed when replacing a part. On a yearly mode, replace the fluid to allow for additional maintenance as this works wonders in warding off internal corrosion issues and could extend the lifespan of the wheel cylinders, master cylinder or calipers, particularly on vessel trailers.
The bottom line here is that, just as with other valuable components of a vessel trailer, regular maintenance for boat trailer brakes are essentially paramount in order to keep them risk-free and legal in your state.
No matter what size vessel you have or are currently looking into, it is better to have the correctly installed trailer under it that not solely matches the vessel but is also a perfect match for your tow vehicle. Basically, having sufficient amount of power to traverse the road is merely half the equation. Take into consideration that being able to halt it when you get there, or in any area in between, is fairly critical.
The bottom line is towing safely virtually entails having befitting operating brakes for vessel trailers. This is why it is quite critical to consider the must-have features of the best brakes for boat trailer before getting one.
It cannot be questioned that the braking system of your vessel trailer is just as important to your travel as the braking system of your vehicle. As what was discussed in this post, brakes for vessel trailers come in a number of diverse variations, all being operated by hydraulic pressure.
Now that you have learned about the various types of brakes designed for boat trailers, it is essential to examine each product reviewed in this article so that you can clearly decide which one could work best for your requirements and preference.
I am Dave, Marine Talk’s content creator. Boating experiences matter when planning a boat trip for your family or going by yourself. Therefore, I am here to tackle all things relevant to boating so even the inexperienced ones can start their boating safely.