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Curt Echo Brake Controller

Curt Echo Brake Controller Full Review

The Next Step in Wireless Towing

etrailer Expert John H.
By: John H.Towing Industry Expert
I don’t know about you, but I tend to cringe a little when I hear the words “wireless” and “towing” used in the same sentence. Nevertheless, I hit the road with Curt’s new Echo brake controller to see if the performance matched the hype. Let’s take a closer look at this to see if it is really worth abandoning the old tried-and-true box style controllers of yesterday like the Prodigy and Voyager.
I don’t know about you, but I tend to cringe a little when I hear the words “wireless” and “towing” used in the same sentence. Nevertheless, I hit the road with Curt’s new Echo brake controller to see if the performance matched the hype. Let’s take a closer look at this to see if it is really worth abandoning the old tried-and-true box style controllers of yesterday like the Prodigy and Voyager.
etrailer Expert John H.
By: John H.Towing Industry Expert

The Breakdown

Watch Now: Curt Echo Brake Controller Video Review
Curt Echo Brake Controller Rating Breakdown
Curt Echo Brake Controller Rating Breakdown
Why Buy?
  • Easy to use & saves moneyCurt Manufacturing really bucked the brake controller trend with their new Echo brake controller and brought towing one step further into the modern era. This brake controller is as easy to use as checking your Facebook status and I didn’t have to run a single screw or wire in my truck to use it. It is a little pricier than other brake controllers out there, but you will make up the time and/or cost savings on the installation because a kid with a cell phone can set it up in a matter of seconds.
  • Versatility and storageMy favorite part about this brake controller is that when I’m not towing it fits easily in my glove box or center console and I no longer knock my knee or accidentally bump the power setting dials like I did with my Draw-tite Activator. If you ever plan on renting or borrowing a trailer with electric brakes, but don’t want to go through the hassle of permanently installing a brake controller in your vehicle, then this is the perfect option for you.
    Curt Echo Glove Compartment Storage
Why Not Buy?
  • It uses my phoneThe biggest problem I have with this brake controller is that it takes up the use of my phone. I don’t typically use my phone while driving, but I will use hands free calling and I prefer to listen to my playlist or podcasts over the radio. The app itself doesn’t kill my phone battery any more than running another app, but it is one more thing to drain my battery during the trip, so I have to keep it plugged into my car charger on long hauls. I also use my phone for GPS on long trips and I can’t have the Echo app and GPS app up at the same time. And I also had to buy a dash mount for my phone (I went with the Scosche MagicMount). The silver lining here is that the brake controller will still work even if I don’t have the app up and running, but you will lose the manual override ability.
  • Lack of theft deterrentMy wife likes to remind me that I’m a very forgetful person. I can’t tell you how many times I’d leave this brake controller connected to the 7-way when I go into a gas station or convenience store. There is no lock or theft deterrent, so it is very easy for someone to simply walk up and steal the entire brake controller and if you aren’t running the app, you won’t notice until you are several miles down the road and you feel the trailer pushing your truck.
  • Plastic constructionI’m only griping about the plastic construction because it was cold out and the first time I dropped the plug-in unit on the ground, the lip on the door of the 7-way broke off. I will admit that I had no concern about the plastic construction until this happened. It has a nice weight to it and the plastic seemed just as durable as any 7-way connector I’ve seen. This didn’t affect its performance and likely isn’t a problem for someone who treats their toys better than I do.
    Curt Echo Brake Controller Plastic Construction
Important Note
While the Curt Echo has plenty of range for most traditional tow vehicles, there is one tow vehicle that it doesn't do well with: motorhomes. The length of your motorhome isn't the issue; it's the interior barriers in your motorhome (like thick walls, cargo, and furniture) that can interfere with the Echo's signal. For motorhomes, we recommend going with a traditional hardwired controller, such as the Tekonsha Prodigy P3.

Would I Buy This Product?

YES! Even though I tend to avoid wireless towing accessories, I would absolutely buy this brake controller, especially if I didn’t already have one. It performs just as well as any other proportional style brake controller out there, so you won’t really see an upgrade in performance, but I really like the peace of mind knowing that I can use a brake controller and I don’t have to touch any wiring on my truck. I can use this brake controller on my wife’s SUV or my friend’s truck if needed. I also tow 4 different trailers on a somewhat regular basis and the Echo allows you to save an unlimited number of vehicle-trailer profiles. I can easily switch between my cargo trailer and my livestock trailer without having to go through an entire setup process.

How Does It Compare to the Competition?

Curt Echo Competition Chart
Employee Photo - John Huff
Why do we listen to John?With a background in farming, home remodeling, camping and rental property management, John has towed just about any trailer you can imagine. He has been a member of our Ask the Expert team for 7 years and he’s been through factory trainings with all of the major towing product manufacturers such as Reese, Curt, Hopkins, Draw-Tite, and many more.

Sleddog

4/28/2024

Beautiful concept. Ugly execution. If I'd have paid attention to the 1.5 stars on Apple store for this software. I own one of these. It's going back to e-Trailer. Silicon Valley has had 40 years to figure out consumer software. It's amazing the tech world still gets away with this crap. The paper instructions were written by someone unfamiliar with English. Lots ambiguity. The software itself trips over its own shoelaces at every opportunity. Screens freeze. Circling donuts circle forever without give the user a clue. It's full of programming box canyons - the software stops giving the user no way out. Installation is a very delicate process. I stopped after two hours of my time, when the manufacturer decided no retail customer was important enough to answer the phone. I was in my driveway, thank god I wasn't on the road needing service. Lippert owes me $200 in wasted time. I'll remember this.

Gritch

3/1/2024

How might the C51180 work with an ID.4? It appears that with the outlet angled downward, it might scrape on the ground. I

Etrailer Expert

Mike L.

3/2/2024

@Gritch We haven't installed one yet, so we honestly don't know yet. The Curt Echo will extend about 6-1/2 inches beyond the face of your 7-way trailer connector. This should provide you with a pretty good idea of what sort of ground clearance you'll have (you'll also need to consider the length of the plug on the trailer end, as well). If that won't work, let us know and we'll look into some other alternatives.

Notch O.

8/21/2023

I have a Thor Four Winds on a Mercedes Sprinter chassis (25' long) RV. I am going to be pulling a dolly with a Maverick Pickup truck. I am wondering if I could get this and the dash button, set it up on my phone, and once rolling, turn off the app, and use my phone as normal, with the dash button handling anything when I need the dolly brakes. Thank you for the review...

Etrailer Expert

Mike L.

8/22/2023

@NotchO You can use other apps while you're using the Echo, but you'll lose the manual braking ability.

Bill

7/3/2023

I have a 2022 Jeep wagoneer series one that came from the factory with class IV hitch and plug set up but no brake controller. Will this wireless work even though my vehicle is already wired ?

Etrailer Expert

Mike L.

7/19/2023

@Bill It sure will! The Curt # C51180 Echo would be a super easy install, the controller would work well for you.

Bill

5/23/2023

Do you still recommend this after it’s been out for a while?

Etrailer Expert

Mike L.

5/26/2023

@Bill The Curt # C51180 Echo is a good solution in some circumstances, so depending on your situation, we do certainly recommend it. If you'll be towing occasionally using a vehicle that doesn't have the factory tow package, the Echo is a great solution that's pretty easy to install. If your vehicle has a 4-pole trailer connector, the only other thing you'll need is the # ETBC7L install kit. Let us know if you have any other questions.


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