The greatest challenge as an RV owner is to keep my appliances running during a power outage or going off-grid. I always rely on my backup generator power, but I need something to transfer the load to prevent back-feeding safely. This is where the best RV transfer switch shines.
A transfer switch is a safety device that transfers power between 2-3 AC mains. When shore energy is unavailable, the switch can shift the load to the inverter or generator power. Some models do it automatically, while others need physical input.
If you have a generator, you should consider getting an RV transfer switch. Here are some things to consider when choosing the right model.
- Type: You have two options here: automatic and manual. Automatic is more convenient and efficient, but the manuals are more affordable transfer switches. The best automatic models have a few seconds of delay to wait for the power to stabilize.
- Amperage Rating: The key to a high-performing switch is to have the right capacity to handle the load required. The most reliable way is to calculate how much amperage the circuits need in total per hour. This figure should be lower than the current rating of your switch.
- Durability: You want the switch to last as long as possible because installation can be taxing. If you plan to run a high load, look for a sturdy metal box switch that can dissipate heat quickly. If you opt for plastic, make sure that it feels rugged and heavy-duty.
To learn more about RV transfer switches, check our buying guide below. We’ll answer a few related questions, but first, let’s review five of the top brands.
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Top 5 RV Transfer Switch Reviews
1. Go Power! TS-30 Automatic Transfer Switch
This RV automatic transfer switch from Go Power! is exactly what I need in my RV home electrical systems to survive in the boondocks. This generator-dominant device automatically switches to the generator when my utility source is out.
This 30 amp transfer switch isn’t only ideal for generator, but also for shore energy and inverters. It’s pretty handy, especially with the time delay feature. Before the device switches power to the generator, there’s a time delay of 20-45 seconds to stabilize the power for safety.
The installation of this 3-way RV transfer switch is also quite easy; even a novice like me can handle it with no difficulties. The package already comes with connectors and a diagram on the lid to guide the correct wiring connection. The two inputs for the generator/inverter and shore power are easy to hook up.
I love the fact that the device switches power smoothly because it ensures continuous power to my water heater and air conditioner. There’s no heating in the unit, so I don’t have to worry about any heat-induced failures. Best of all, the plastic casing feels tough enough to withstand heavy-duty use in the RV.
2. Progressive Dynamics PD52V 5200 Series Automatic Transfer Switch
The PD52V from Progressive Dynamics is a 50 amp transfer switch that shifts to the generator/inverter when the shore power is unavailable. Take note that the default power goes directly to the generator and only stops when the RV is connected to shore power.
I’ve never encountered any problems while the transfer switch shifts the power current. There’s a certain hold-up, about 30 seconds, in the time delay circuit board. I like that aspect because it protects my water heater device from any failures caused by irregular voltage issues.
This particular model is a good RV transfer switch replacement because it’s easy to install in my motorhome. I personally find the instructions on the cover easy to follow. The wiring terminals easily connect to the contactor base, while the cover is a breeze to remove.
Another aspect that I love is the metal box construction of this RV transfer switch inverter. It feels sturdy enough that I’m confident it’s suitable for long-term use. Additionally, this motorhome transfer switch comes with a one-year limited warranty, so I feel assured that it won’t get broken easily.
3. Xantrex 8080915 PROwatt SW Automatic Transfer Switch
Xantrex 8080915 PROwatt is another RV power transfer switch that I use for battery backup. This 15-amp device can automatically switch to my solar panels or inverter whenever there’s an electrical failure.
I was looking for a compact design with a low amperage rating for my toy hauler, and this 15-amp item fits my needs. This unit is only around seven inches wide and ten inches long – small enough to fit into cramped spaces. I love the wiring diagram because it’s clear and understandable, making the entire installation process easy to do alone.
Restoring power to my electrical system takes about a few seconds only. My fridge doesn’t even know that a new source has been used. More importantly, the switching operation is quiet and doesn’t produce a loud hum like the Progressive Dynamics PD52V, which is good for maintaining a solemn day for meditation.
What I like most is the quality of this smart transfer switch because it feels heavy-duty. The cables are thick, so I think they will last for many years. And for the price, this device offers great value, especially since it comes with a power plug for easy connection to the inverter.
4. EZ Generator Switch- Generator Manual Transfer Switch
This RV generator transfer switch from EZ Generator Switch can handle 20 amps and 2000 watts, enough to power my furnace during power interruptions. It’s a manual power transfer switch, meaning I have full control of switching the power from the utility to my portable generators.
The best part about this unit is the RV transfer switch installation process. It’s very easy, considering it’s already pre-wired and comes with everything I need for installation, like nuts, and leads. Aside from the instructions provided, I can also go to the manufacturer’s website and check out the video guide to visualize the necessary steps.
The unit is also easy to operate manually. It all takes a simple manipulation of the flip switch-generator or normal. Fortunately, the switch is large, so it’s easy to press even with gloves on.
The entire transfer switch looks sturdy with its solid metal construction. I feel that this product will work safely because it’s UL-approved. Also, I’m pleased that the customer service was very accommodating when I contacted them to ask a few questions.
5. Technology Research 41300 Transfer Switch
This electrical transfer switch from Technology Research is another great addition to the RV for backup power. This is a generator-dominant model, so it’ll prioritize using the generator, only switching to the shore power when the generator fully shuts down.
There’s a delay of 30 seconds till the generator kicks in. I appreciate the delay because it ensures that the generator voltage current flowing into my electrical equipment is all right and steady. In contrast, switching the power back to the shore power is so quick that my fridge’s light stays on without any interruption.
It’s quite easy to hook the unit into the AC input sources. The connection terminals of the inputs are labeled, plus there’s a diagram showing the proper wiring connections. All the ground wires are inside the switch’s bus bar, so the connections look neat.
Although the product is made from plastic, its case feels rigid enough to take a beating. Considering this is an excellent 30 amp transfer switch, the price is a steal.
What to Know Before Buying RV Transfer Switch
It needs careful consideration when purchasing a transfer switch. You have to make sure that the switch won’t cause damage to your RV appliances and pose a fire hazard. Here’s some important information that you need to know about RV switches before you make a purchase decision.
The Different Types Of Transfer Switches
- Manual Transfer Switches
This type is more affordable and easier to install than the automatic models. However, you’ll have to suffer a longer downtime when the power suddenly goes out. This is due to how you have to access your transfer switch and change the mode to the generator power yourself.
When the shore power source is available, you need to shut down the generator and return the switch to normal mode. This may sound like a lot of work, but these switches are easier to install.
- Automatic Transfer Switches
If you’re boondocking for many days or prone to many power outages, you’re better off with an automatic transfer switch. These models automatically switch power to the backup generator when it senses a power interruption. A good automatic transfer switch only takes a few seconds to start the generator for an uninterrupted power supply.
Although very efficient, the cost can be higher than the manual ones.
Benefits And Drawbacks Of RV Transfer Switches
RV transfer switches ensure that your RV appliances, like water heaters and air conditioning units, keep on running even when there’s a power outage. They also isolate the generator to prevent you from getting a shock when working on overhead lines. By preventing the main power from getting in contact with the generator, it prevents any fire hazard.
The downside is that it entails a high cost for maintenance and installation, especially for an automatic model. In addition, automatic transfer switches may produce wrong readings and will needlessly switch to the generators as a consequence.
What To Look For On A Good RV Transfer Switch
Picking the right RV transfer switch is crucial for the uninterrupted operation of your appliances. To ensure that you choose the best transfer switches, here are some features to consider.
- Current Ratings
To avoid a possible RV transfer switch failure, look for the right current ratings. The current rating of the switch should be higher than your generator. For example, if you have a 3,000-watt generator, choose a device that’s at least 3,000 watts in capacity.
Likewise, the switch’s amperage rating should be higher than the total amperage of all the circuits in use. Keep in mind that the wattage and amperage ratings should also be compatible with your main breaker panel to prevent failure.
The ideal transfer switch should be durable and long-lasting. The design materials of transfer switches are either plastic or metal. Many prefer the metal box construction because it disperses heat better, hence will have more longevity than plastic.
Metal boxes also offer more protection than other transfer switches made of plastic. They serve as a grounding material in case a power surge happens. However, this material costs more than plastic models.
- Ease Of Installation
The thing that makes the installation easy is a good set of instructions. Look for a diagram and check the configuration status of the device. The best transfer switch models come pre-wired and configured correctly.
RV Transfer Switch Troubleshooting Tips
If your transfer switch isn’t working properly, here are some measures you can try:
- Inspect the breaker boxes in the pedestal and RV. Make sure that they’re steady and in good condition.
- Check the shore power cord. Make sure that it can handle the right amperage for transferring power.
- Examine the wire connections of the transfer switch. Make sure everything isn’t loose or burned.
Is a manual transfer switch safe?
An RV manual transfer switch is safe to use because it reduces the need to use long extension cords that might be a tripping hazard. Instead, this device allows you to change the power source from shore power to the generator with a simple flip of the switch.
Can I install two transfer switches?
Yes, you can use two transfer switches at different locations in your RV. Put a switch close to your appliance and another at the main service panel to override the utility power with a backup source during a power outage. The multiple setups will ensure that your RV keeps going even if utility power is out.
How big of an RV transfer switch do I need?
The easiest way to determine the right size of the transfer switch is to refer to your generator tap box. If it’s 30 amp, then you’ll need at least a 30 amp transfer switch.
You can also determine the total load power you intend to use, though this method can be complicated.
What is the life expectancy of an automatic transfer switch?
Most RV automatic transfer switches can last as long as 25 years or 100,000 operations with proper maintenance. Pay attention to the relays because they’re sensitive to power surges, voltage fluctuations, and other irregularities. Check the contacts within the transfer switch barriers and remove any dirt buildup.
To ensure the switch is always in tip-top shape, you should do a monthly test.
What is the warranty for transfer switches?
A warranty of a home transfer switch covers all defects and replacements within a specified time period. Most residential transfer switch models support a limited one to five-year warranty. Make sure to read the warranty details because there are certain conditions beyond the coverage.
Are automatic transfer switches legal?
Yes, they’re legal. In fact, they’re required by law when you have a generator for safety issues. The RV transfer switches can help prevent the main power source from frying the generator. They isolate the generator from the main power and keep you from getting any shock when dealing with overhead lines.
It’s truly essential to have the best RV transfer switch installed to keep your appliances running even when the utility source is out. Our top recommendation for the best automatic transfer switch is Go Power! TS-30 because it can handle a large load safely. It’s also easy to install, so you can do it with the help of a skilled friend.
If you want to shop around for a good product, make sure that you choose a model that fits your needs. You can do the installation on your own, but make sure that you have adequate knowledge about the electrical system. If in doubt, seek a professional electrician to do the job.
Okay, so I’m Philip Lopez. I join Riverside Trailer as an editor, where I will be doing research for both content and reviews. I contribute to studies aimed at understanding the most typical problems encountered by RVers on the road. I also keep up with the newest RVing gadget innovations so that I can promptly evaluate and recommend the best options.