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The Best RV Surge Protectors to Protect Your RV Electrical Devices

Written by Philip Lopez / Fact checked by Paul Lemaire

best rv surge protector

My greatest fear is to have lightning strike my power line and cause a power surge. That situation will be the end for my sensitive appliances like AC, microwave, and computers. If you want to protect your devices from any power-related issues, you need to have the best RV surge protector.

A surge protector safeguards your RV’s electrical system and appliances from voltage spikes or any faults. It comes in many models, so you must be wise in choosing what’s best for you. Here are a few things to consider when selecting an effective RV surge protector.

  • Type: You can choose between a portable or a hardwired version of surge protectors. Portable models are more compact and easier to install because they’re simply plug-and-play. Hardwired versions offer more reliable protection with their construction that’s mounted indoors.
  • Amp Rating: You have two options here – 30 amps or 50 amps. Choose one that matches the amperage of your RV. If it uses a 30-amp service, choose a 30-amp surge protector for proper protection.
  • Joules Rating: This feature can tell you how well the surge protector performs. A higher joules rating is ideal because it can insulate your devices better against faults. The models we reviewed below have a joules rating between 1.790-4.800.

You’ll be learning more about RV surge protectors in our buying guide below. We also compiled five of the top-rated surge protectors for RV on the market today. Learn their features, pros, and cons, so you can have a better understanding of each model.

Product name Outstanding Features
Top 1
Hughes Autoformers PWD50-EPO
  • Provides 4,800 joules of protection
  • Bluetooth app for easy monitoring
  • Durable construction
Details
Top 2
Progressive Industries EMS-PT30X
  • Built with a tough construction
  • Automatically shuts down and restarts
  • Easy to install
Details
Top 3
Hughes Autoformers PWD30-EPO
  • Automatically shuts off and restarts power
  • Includes a monitoring app
  • Easy and quick to install
Details

5 Best Surge Protector for RV Reviews

1. Hughes Autoformers PWD50-EPO Surge Protector

The PWD50-EPO is a high-end RV hardwired surge protector that does what it’s supposed to. This 50 amp surge protector constantly monitors the incoming power and protects the RV from surges up to 4,800 joules.

What I like most is the emergency power off (EPO) function because it automatically cuts off the power whenever the unit senses any irregularities like high or low voltage, power spikes, and ground faults in the RV park.

Once the fault is resolved, this model automatically restarts after 90 seconds. I appreciate the delay aspect because it helps protect my RV’s air conditioning compressor from getting easily damaged by damaging faults.

I believe that the construction of this unit is well-built. The whole thing feels solid and tough to endure all weather conditions. I’m pleasantly surprised that the watchdog’s face turns red whenever it senses trouble. It’s eye-catching and grabs my attention easily.

Another thing that I love about this permanent surge protector is its Bluetooth monitoring app. I can access the app through my phone and monitor everything, from the loads that we’re drawing to the power conditions in the campground.

I find it helpful that the unit notifies my phone whenever there are any power problems because I stay updated even when I’m far away from the RV.

However, considering this is a hardwired unit, the installation takes more effort. I have to fiddle with the wires behind my RV walls.
Pros
  • Automatically shuts down power when irregularities occur
  • Restarts after a 90-second delay for electronic protection
  • Has a durable construction with red light indicators
  • Provides 4,800 joules of protection from power surges
  • Offers a Bluetooth app for easy monitoring
  • Sends phone notifications for any power problems
Cons
  • A bit challenging to install
Overall, this unit makes for a high-quality surge protector in the RV. It’s an excellent choice for convenience because it automatically cuts off power when needed and shows all power conditions in an app.

2. Progressive Industries EMS-PT30X RV Surge Protector

Progressive Industries’ EMS-PT30X is a portable 30-amp surge protector with an electrical management system (EMS). Besides the basic voltage protection, this unit offers reverse polarity detection to keep my RV electrical system safe.

This is my favorite model of Progressive Industries surge protectors because it provides an excellent RV power management system. It can detect almost all types of electric failures like ground faults and shut off the power within six seconds.

This aspect gives me peace of mind that my electronics stay safe and nothing bad will happen to my wiring.

I appreciate that this RV EMS surge protector restarts after a surge failure because it keeps my AC unit working continuously even when I’m sleeping. Approximately, the reset is around two minutes, so I’m pretty sure that the power has become stable once it comes back.

The best part about this RV surge protector 30 amp model is its compact and rugged construction. The weather shield is a great improvement from the brand’s PT30c model because it makes the power outlet safe even in the rain. I love the LED lights and the scrolling display because it shows the error code.

Since this is a portable unit, the installation is a breeze. It’s plug-and-play, so there’s no need to mess around with my RV wiring. Thankfully, the surge module is separate from the power pedestal tester, so I can easily replace it anytime it goes bad.

However, this Progressive Industries surge protector is a bit pricey considering its low surge rating of 1,790 joules.
Pros
  • Detects all types of electrical faults and shuts down power for safety
  • Automatically shuts down and restarts after surge failures
  • Built with a tough construction with a weather-resistant shield
  • Comes with light indicators and a scrolling display for information
  • Easy to install, thanks to its portable design
  • Includes a separate surge module for easy replacement
Cons
  • A bit expensive
Altogether, the EMS-PT30X is a top-notch surge protector as it offers full protection. It’s compact and portable, so it suits RVs with limited space.

3. Hughes Autoformers PWD30-EPO

The PWD30-EPO is another power surge protector for RV that offers superb performance. This particular unit has almost the same features as the PWD50-EPO except for the amperage, joules rating, and type.

More specifically, this model offers an amperage of 30 while the PWD50-EPO offers 50 amps of capacity. It offers a surge protection rating of 3,000 joules, which is more than adequate to protect my expensive devices like my PS4 and laptop from power surges. Moreover, this unit is plug-and-play, so it’s easy to install.

Like the PWD50-EPO, this one offers a free phone app to monitor the power conditions in the campground. When the sensors detect an electrical surge or any power issue, they’ll cut off the electricity and return it back when the voltage becomes stable.

The current check also happens very quickly, around four seconds or so, giving me confidence in the product’s efficiency.

I love that the surge module is replaceable. When it gets broken, I can easily replace it with a new one instead of buying a whole unit. It’s also easy to know when the module needs to be replaced. A red LED light will shine at the base and an E9 error code will show up on the display clearly.

However, this 30 amp RV surge protector may produce a clunking sound. This happens when the relay is operating, which is normal, but the noise can be a little disconcerting at first.
Pros
  • Easy and quick to install
  • More than capable to protect sensitive devices like laptops
  • Includes a free monitoring app
  • Automatically shuts off and restarts power, checks electrical system quickly
  • Built with a replaceable surge module for easy replacement
  • Has a clear display with a LED light and error codes
Cons
  • Creates noise when the relay is on
All in all, this model is a modern RV power surge protector with a Bluetooth monitoring app and automatic shutoff. If the PWD50-EPO is too big for one’s RV, this model is a great alternative.

4. 3A Technology Surge Guard 44280 Surge Protector

I was looking for a good value surge protector on Reddit, and someone recommended the Surge Guard 44280. This 30-amp model is a portable RV surge protector for travel trailers, offering a 2,100 joules rating.

Besides the basic surge protection, I’m happy to find out that this travel trailer surge protector also keeps me aware of any issues with our power supply. The LEDs turn green when the voltage is normal and go red when it spikes. If it detects any issues, the unit will shut off power until things return back to normal.

My favorite part of this Surge Guard RV unit is its thick receptacle brass because it assures me that I won’t have an overheating plug. Also, the small handle comes in handy when pulling the unit from the plug easily. Thankfully, it doesn’t make any troubling noise, so I can comfortably sleep at night.

The best part about this unit is the price. It’s lower than other brands with the same amperage, yet it feels solid and well-made. The unit comes with a plastic ring around the cable, so I use it to lock the unit to a post.

My only complaint is that the LED lights seem unclear from afar. I have to look closely and cover them with both hands to see the lights clearly.
Pros
  • Protects RV from electrical surges and detects power issues up to 2,100 joules
  • Cuts off power when needed and turns it back on when things are normal
  • Built with thick brass receptacles to stay cool
  • Easy to use with the handle and LED lights
  • Affordable, has a solid construction and a silent operation
  • Includes a plastic ring to help secure it into a post
Cons
  • LED lights seem a bit dim
Overall, this unit is a great entry-level surge protector. It’s effective in detecting any power issues and protecting all devices from damage. At a low price, it’s not a throw-away because it can be used for multiple cycles.

5. Southwire 34930 Surge Guard

Another camper surge protector that piques my interest is this 30-amp option from Southwire. I found this 34930 model in a forum, and I’m satisfied with its 2,450 joules of surge protection.

The portable unit monitors the current status to protect my electrical devices from any damaging faults. It interrupts the power when it detects a spike or drop of voltage in the RV site. Thanks to its reset feature, I don’t have to carry out a manual power restoration because it does it automatically after the amps and volts are normal again.

This Southwire Surge Guard model seems to have a reliable RV surge protector lock. I found the ring around the cord secure enough to attach the unit to an electrical pole. Buyers won’t need to worry about thieves stealing their purchase with this feature.

Using this unit is pretty easy. The LCD display is clear, and I like how it shows the exact power my RV is drawing. A red LED light flashes when the unit detects something wrong with the power, and is bright enough to see from afar.

My only concern is that water damage isn’t part of the warranty coverage. Users should make sure they install the unit vertically to prevent the rain from entering inside the components.
Pros
  • Offers full protection against power surges and other faults up to 2,450 joules
  • Ceases power when any irregularities are detected
  • Has an automatic reset feature to bring back power after a fault
  • Portable surge protector comes with a lock ring to fit an anti-theft device
  • Built with a clear display and indicator lights
Cons
  • Doesn’t cover rain damage under the warranty
Altogether, this Southwire Surge Guard model is a reliable surge protector for camper that needs complete protection from electric irregularities. It has an intuitive display with a secure lock attachment for better security when hanging on a power pedestal.

What To Know Before Buying RV Surge Protector

50-amp

Choosing the right RV surge protectors can be a bit overwhelming with the many brands available today, especially if you’re a new RV owner. As a guide, let us tell you the important details regarding RV surge protectors, so you can make the best decision.

The Different Types Of Surge Protectors

RV surge protectors aren’t the same. They come in two basic types – portable and in-line. Here’s an RV surge protector comparison of the two types.

  • Portable Surge Protectors

Portable RV surge protectors are easier to install than the in-line models, and you can move them from one RV to another. After connecting the unit to a power pedestal, it’s plug-and-play.

Simply, plug your RV’s power cord into the surge-protecting device for full protection from any fault.

  • Permanent-In Line

The permanent RV surge protector is hardwired into your RV, offering a higher level of protection for all your devices onboard.

More specifically, these hardwired RV surge protectors are permanently installed to your shoreline between the AC inlet and electrical panel. With this setup, you don’t have to worry about leaving the device behind.

Benefits And Drawbacks Of Surge Protectors

The main benefit of surge protectors is to provide electrical protection to appliances from power surges, spikes, and other irregularities.

Top rated RV surge protectors effectively guard your electrical system whenever there’s a disruption in your power grid. They automatically shut off the incoming power when they detect issues and reset the power when everything’s normal.

With this full electrical protection, you can feel safe using your appliances. With the LED indicators, it’s straightforward to recognize whether there’s faulty wiring, saving you thousands from damaged appliances.

The downside is the extra cost it entails, but the investment is worth it in the long run. However, if not locked properly, thieves can also steal your surge protector on the power pedestal.

What To Look For On A Good RV Surge Protector

The basic surge protector offers protection from power surges, while better models offer more. Here are the features that you should look for when choosing the best surge protector for your RV.

  • Amperage: RV surge protectors are available either in 30 amps or 50 amps. Before you choose, know the rating of your RV service. If it’s 50 amps, then you need to choose a 50 amp surge protector and not a 30-amp model.
  • Joules Rating: The level of surge protection depends on the model’s joules rating. The higher the value, the better protection it provides in absorbing voltage spikes before it fails. A joules rating of 1,000-2,000 is enough to protect most devices in a small RV like laptops and power tools.
  • Ease of Use: The ideal RV surge protectors are easy to use. You know how difficult it is to detect power problems, so you want protection alerts like light indicators, an LCD display, and a phone monitoring app if necessary.

It will take the guesswork out of usage if the device has an auto-shutoff feature to keep harmful power from reaching your appliances.

Do I Really Need an Expensive Surge Protector for My RV?

rv-surge-protector-30-amp

In most cases, an expensive RV surge protector offers better protection to your power supply compared to cheaper ones.

An expensive unit often has a higher joules rating with a well-built construction. It can monitor and detect any electrical issues in RV parks more effectively.

Do I Need a Surge Protector for My RV When Using a Generator?

Yes, you still need a surge protector when using a generator because it prevents the appliance from failing and experiencing over-voltage. The generator might produce a sudden rush of power that will be damaging to your sensitive electronic devices.

What is the Difference Between a Surge Protector and an EMS?

A surge protector offers basic surge protection, while an EMS or electrical management system (EMS) offers more comprehensive safeguard against faults.

For instance, reverse polarity and open neutrality are problems EMS will protect against, and this fact makes them more expensive than regular surge protectors.

What Size Surge Protector Do I Need for My RV?

If your RV uses a 30-amp service, then you need a 30-amp surge protector. An RV working on a 50-amp service requires a 50-amp model. You can use an adapter, but it’s not guaranteed to work on all surge protector models.

The joules rating depends on the electronics you have in the RV. If you have small devices like blenders, 500-1,000 joules are adequate. For bigger and sensitive electronics like theater equipment, you need at least 2,000 joules of surge protection.

Are RV Surge Protectors Waterproof?

RV surge protectors aren’t fully waterproof, but they’re water-resistant at least. Many new RV surge protectors are weather-resistant, meaning their construction can handle some drizzle.

Others have a thick plastic shield to cover the unit from water splashes or other elements.

Conclusion

At this point, you know how important it is to have a surge protector in your RV. Our top recommendation for the best RV surge protector is the PWD50-EPO-H from Hughes Autoformers, as it offers full protection from all power irregularities.

This smart surge protector has the best features like EPO, a Bluetooth monitoring app, and weather-resistant construction.

It’s better to bust a surge protector device than to have all your electrical tools damaged after a voltage spike or surge. Invest in a good model that meets your needs.

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