So finally we have a toad! After ten weeks of searching we bought a jeep wrangler yesterday. Now we are ordering the blue ox tow bar stuff, but unclear if the brake buddy is the best way to go on the braking system. Advice appreciated!
Having just been through this myself, except with a Jeep Cherokee, let me share my thoughts.
1, First do you want a fully integrated vehicle mounted system like the SMI Stay and Play Duo or Road Master Invisibrake which mounts remotely (under the hood, or under the seat) OR do you want a unit that you have to remove from the foot well each time you want to drive the Jeep. There are advantages both ways depending on how you plan to use the TOAD.
2, Some of the foot well units are easier to set up than others, the 4 big name units come from Ready Brake, RVI, Road Master, and Blue Ox. All require running a wire to the brake away switch mounted at the front bumper, some require more than that. Such as the Roadmaster Ready Brake, which is the unit I ended up buying which has a deck of cards sized transmitter box which must be mounted and hard wired in the TOAD which also acts as a common plug point for the brake light switch, and brake away switch leaving only 1 USB like wire to plug into the main removable unit. Some other units require multiple wires to be plugged into the removable unit.
I don't have any particular loyalty to the Ready Brake, it is just the one I found a deal on, I bought it used for $400 on ebay with all the accessories (remote in cab monitor, new brake away switch, transmitter, etc.), which I don't think is too bad since it is only 1 year old, and sells for $1,200 new online. If I were to buy new I might be inclined to buy the RVI Brake 3 due to its more compact size, though more care must be taken in setup to make sure it does not ride the brake pedal, something that the Ready Brake will alert you to since it actually has a brake switch feedback ( I don't think any of the others have this feature).
If I were to go with an integrated permanently mounted system it would be the Stay and Play Duo as there are lots of satisfied owners out there. My personal reason for going with a drop in unit is that the car is my wife's daily driver car, and will only be used in TOAD service when we are on vacation, last year her daily driver was totalled due to a teenager running a traffic light and I would prefer to not have to deal with fighting an insurance company over the cost of a braking system if that were to happen again. Also I travel solo about 1/3 of the time and may end up buying a cheap TOAD to use on those trips, having the Ready Brake makes it somewhat easy to transfer between cars, only needing a 2nd vehicle kit with another brake away switch, transmitter unit, etc.
We have a Brake Buddy competitor, called the RVI 2, and it works very well. The latest model is the RVI 3, which has some wifi features that we really don't need, so I'll be sticking with the 2. If you're not in a hurry, it installs in less than two minutes, and can be removed in less than one. It's got a soft shell case and fits in the narrow basement compartment next to the RV's engine.
Our Jeep needs the ignition key to be in the Run position when towing (to unlock the steering wheel) but not all Jeeps are like that. Since the key is in the Run position, there is a small amount of battery draw, so I installed an RVI regulated battery charger under the Jeep's hood. $50.00, super easy to install and problem solved. Depending on how long your trips wll be, and your Jeep's configuration, you may need to get a similar charger or pull some fuses.
The Brake Buddy is nice if you have a "Stable" of toweds or change toweds (*Trade in) often.
Now I know it says no installation requried.. but fact is you have to INSTALL it every time you hook up and then stow it somewhere secure when you unhook.. Every install is a chance to mess up.
I like INSTALL ONCE systems
Ready Brake. Blue Ox Auto Stop.
These are SURGE brake systems. I do not know if Blue Ox has a break-a-way feature yet but the ready-brake break-away from what I understand can be used with either system.
US-Gear Unified Brake Decelerator..
This is as close to PROFESSIONAL as a system gets (Professional means like a semi driver's air brake system)
Many others IF your Motor home has air brakes. M&G makes a system that fits most jeeps
It uses motor home AIR to operate the brakes in towed mode and is 100% invisible to the driver in "Car" mode. This is another very good system.
If you choose a portable system, Brake Buddy and RVI are the top choices. If you want to go with something installed more permanently and therefor less set-up for each use, the SMI Duo or AF1 are good choices. They all work well enough, so it boils down to preference.
Just one more thing to add, is a comment on the maintenance and repair, from what I have read it seems Brake Buddy and RVI probably have the best customer support repairing and servicing units that are out of warranty, Road Master comes in a close 3rd with good technical support advice (I have exchanged some detailed emails about my own install as I have a car that requires one of their special brake light switch kits) I believe they also offer a flat rate repair / refurb service for about $300 (I think Brake Buddy is less), but only on current production models. Which leaves Blue Ox coming up last in the support department.