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Many RVs these days are packed with expensive electrical equipment, allowing you to have all the modern conveniences even if you’re in the middle of nowhere. However, all it takes is one faulty connection to the pedestal power supply and all your equipment will be fried. To avoid this, it’s important to invest in a good RV surge protector, the purpose of which is to even out any sudden fluctuations in electricity and to ensure that all the appliances are working safely. But if you’ve started searching the market for the best RV surge protector and found the vast amount of options available just confusing, read on this article to find out what are the most viable options in 2021. Below the RV surge protector reviews, you can also find a comprehensive buying guide, where we outline the things to take into account when buying a new surge guard.
RV Surge Protector Comparison Chart
Top 10 Surge Protectors Reviewed
Progressive Industries EMS-PT30X – Best 30 Amp
If you’re looking for the best 30 amp RV surge protector, the top contender is the Progressive Industries EMS-PT-30X device. It comes from one of the most trusted manufacturers that is known to make high quality surge protectors for RV use.
This is a top of the line product that will protect your RV appliances against any power surges, fluctuating voltage, or incorrect wiring.
The first thing to note about this electrical management system is its sleek ergonomic design. It’s compact and portable and offers a simple plug-and-play application. You can view the settings on the easy-to-read display, which will also show you if there are any problems with wiring or grounding.
Another thing that stands out about this RV surge protector is its rugged design. It’s built with tough Lexan housing, which protects the inner workings of the device from bumps and knocks. There’s also a security locking bracket to keep the device in place. On top of that, the guard also features a durable pull handle and an all weather shield. The latter ensures safe outdoor use in any kind of outdoor weather, including snow, rain, hail, and sun. And it can function in an impressively wide range of temperatures: from -40C to +105C.
Other notable features include 3 modes of operation and 1790 Joules capacity.
Progressive Industries SSP-30XL
Progressive Industries offers another great 30 amp RV surge protector. The SSP-30XL unit has also been shown to be one of the best performers on the market, continuously receiving good customer reviews.
This is a portable surge protector that you’ll find very easy to use for your recreational vehicle. It doesn’t require any installation. You just plug it in and it’s ready. The compact design that is small enough to fit in a glove compartment also makes it easy to store when it’s not in use.
By connecting the device to the power pedestal at a campsite, you can first check the status of the power source. It’s equipped with a polarity tester, as well as detection of miswiring, open neutral, and insufficient grounding. If there’s anything wrong, within just a few seconds of plugging it in, the device’s LEDs will indicate what the issue is. As for surge protection, it can withstand surges of up to 825 Joules.
Another great thing about this RV surge protector is that it’s designed to be primarily used outdoors. For that, it’s equipped with an all weather shield and thermal protection. To keep everything even more protected, there’s also a rugged handle, Lexan housing, and a secure locking bracket.
Camco 55306 Circuit Analyzer – Best 50 Amp
Another great surge protector that many RV owners trust is the Camco 55306 model. It’s a perfect option for those looking for the best 50 amp RV surge protector.
The device features diagnostics, analyzing if there are any faults of the electrical cord to the power pedestal. Once you plug it in, a series of LEDs show you the status of the source circuit. If there are any issues, such as reverse polarity, open neutral, and other wiring issues, the surge protector will shut off the power supply to the RV. It will also disconnect the power when there are any power surges, offering surge protection of up to 4,200 Joules. The power will stay disconnected until normal conditions are restored and then it will automatically reconnect.
Moreover, the Camco surge protector is weather-proof, meaning that it’s designed to withstand adverse weather conditions. However, keep in mind that it is not waterproof. So if there’ll be a downpour, you’ll need to insulate the device to protect it.
Progressive Industries EMS-HW30C – Best Hardwired
For another good 30 amp RV surge protector option, consider the Progressive Industries EMS-HW30C model. It offers the combination of an electrical management system and a surge protector. And it’s our top selection of a hardwired electrical management system.
The device is designed with state of the art technology that will provide full protection for your RV’s electrical system. An integrated microprocessor is programmed to detect and respond accordingly to all the adverse power conditions. It detects and protects against open ground, open neutral and reverse polarity conditions. Additionally, you get accidental 240V and A/C frequency and over/under voltage protection. If the device will detect any of these adverse conditions, it will disconnect the power supply to your RV until the issue is fixed. This kind of protection will give you peace of mind regarding your RV equipment.
In the box with the surge protector, you also get a remote scrolling digital display where you can view all the power status indicators. There, you can check if the power source is normal or if there are any issues that you need to be aware of.
Southwire Black 34930
The Southwire Black 34930 also offers complete surge protection for your recreational vehicle. Once plugged in, it continuously monitors for any electrical issues and upon detecting any, it automatically shuts off the power supply in order to protect your rig. And once the power is restored, the device automatically resets.
It’s a multi-mode surge protector that offers protection against power surges, low and high voltage, open neutral, insufficient grounding, elevated ground, and reverse polarity. The surge guard can also detect if there are any miswiring issues in the pedestal or if the receptacle is overheating. For A/C compressor protection, the unit also provides a 128 second reset delay.
The LCD display continuously shows the voltage and amp draw. Color indicators also show if there are any power issues.
Moreover, in order to prevent someone from just walking away with your surge protector, this model comes equipped with a locking ring. So you’ll just need a cable lock and you’ll be able to secure the device to the power pedestal.
Progressive Industries SSP-50XL
One more very good 50 amp RV surge protector is the Progressive Industries SSP-50XL model. It’s a very similar unit to the other Progressive Industries models we’ve listed above but with 50 amp power.
To start with, it’s a portable surge guard, meaning that it doesn’t require any installation and you just simply plug it in or out whenever you need it. Without any hardwiring to do, it’s a very simple to use the device.
There are 5 modes of surge protection, boasting up to 1650 Joules surge suppression. On top of that, it offers reverse polarity, open neutral, and open ground protection. It can also detect a miswired pedestal and surge failure. Furthermore, there’s also thermal protection.
And in the case of any of these failures, the device will light on different color indicators, informing you of the issues. All this gives your RV the ultimate protection, improving the safety of your rig.
With its weather-proof housing, the surge protector is designed for outdoor use. You might not want to completely submerge it into the water but it can withstand adverse weather conditions, such as rain, sleet, and hail.
Southwire Black 34950
The Southwire Black 34950 is one more 50 amp RV surge protector that stands out. It’s one of the pricier units but it offers great value for the money, providing all the necessary features to keep your RV electrical system safe.
It’s a similar product to the 34930 model. The main difference is in the number of amps, with this model drawing 50 amps.
As for the rest of the features, they include an LCD display that shows the voltage and amp draw. Before connecting the power supply, the device goes through a 10 second start-up sequence. This allows it to detect any faults, such as open ground, open neutral, reverse polarity, or pedestal miswiring before the faulty power connects to your RV. Then, it continuously monitors for any power surges and if the voltage jumps too high or low, it automatically shuts off the power. And once the power is restored, the surge protector automatically resets to normal.
Hughes Autoformer PWD30
One more brand that is known to offer reliable surge protectors is the Hughes Autoformer. And it’s PWD30 unit is their top rated RV surge protector in 2021.
This is one of the most innovative surge protectors that you can use for your RV, campervan, or other recreational vehicles. It offers advanced protection for your electrical devices and allows you to monitor the power conditions right on your phone. You can download the brand’s free mobile app and then get all the surge protector readings on your phone through Bluetooth connectivity. This way, you can view the volts, amps, and watts in real time. Moreover, you can set it up to send you alerts if there are any power faults.
As for surge protection, it offers 2400 Joules. The device also offers protection against open neutral, open ground and neutral reversed.
The surge protector also features a heavy duty design with an IP65 rating, which indicates that it’s dust-tight and has good protection against water.
However, there’s one downside to this product. If you get hit by a large spike, the unit doesn’t just automatically reset. Instead, you’ll need to purchase every time a new surge module. On the flip side, however, there’s no need for a whole new unit, just the module.
Surge Guard 44290
Last, but not least, the best portable RV surge protector is the Surge Guard 44290 model. It’s one of the more affordable options that offer great value for money, providing all the necessary features to keep your RV power supply safe.
The surge guard analyzes the incoming power supply and gives you identifications of any faults. For example, it checks for open ground, open neutral, proper polarity, and reversed lines. Colored indicators show if the power supply is good or if there are any faults.
Moreover, there’s a thermal sensor that will indicate if the receptacle will start overheating.
The weatherproof construction is designed for outdoor use. It comes with a rain-proof cover to keep the receptacle safe even in adverse weather conditions.
Southwire 44750 Guard
The Southwire 44750 is another great RV surge protector option that can be used on pop-ups and travel trailers. It might not be the toughest surge protector but it’s a great option for those shopping on a budget.
It’s a 30 amp surge guard with a capacity of up to 510 Joules. However, the lower Joules rating doesn’t mean that it’s an inferior product. The device provides good high voltage and ground fault protection. If there are any faults present, it automatically shuts off the power and will keep it disconnected until you manually reset it.
For a very affordable price, you get all the basic features. So if that’s what you’re looking for, this product is for you. However, if you need more complete protection, such as detection of miswiring, neutral open or open ground, you might be better off with one of the units reviewed above.
What Is a Surge Protector?
One of the best investments you could do for your RV is a surge protector. But what is a surge protector?
It’s an electrical device that is used to protect electronic equipment against power surges and voltage spikes. A power surge can last less than a second but that is enough to cause overwhelming damage to your appliances. It can degrade their wiring or completely destroy them. That’s why it’s important to use a good RV surge protector.
These devices work by blocking or shorting the current in order to keep the voltage below a safe threshold. They continuously monitor the power supply for any potentially destructive electrical issues, ready to block or short the current.
However, some of the more advanced RV surge protectors do even more. They protect not only against high voltage but low voltage as well. Other types of protection include miswiring at the pedestal, open ground, or open neutral. If a surge protector detects one of these instances, it will notify the RV owner of the potentially dangerous power supply entering the RV.
Surge protectors can be installed inside a home or used outside at the power panel, which is usually the case for the RVs. The first option requires hardwiring, while the second one you simply plug into the power pedestal and it acts as an intermediary between the park’s power supply and your RV.
Do You Need a Surge Protector For Your RV?
In our opinion, all RVers can benefit from getting a surge protector. It can really save you a lot of money that you might otherwise have to spend on repairs of your RV equipment. All it takes is one voltage spike to cause damage to the RV’s electrical system. So investing in a surge guard makes total financial sense, especially since power fluctuations are fairly common at campgrounds. Buying one of them is a lot cheaper than blowing out the RV power system.
How to Choose the Best RV Surge Protector? – RV Surge Protector Buying Guide
There are many different surge protectors on the market. And to understand what is the best surge protector for an RV, it’s important to know what features to look for. So in this surge protector buying guide, you can learn about the most important things to bear in mind before making a buying decision.
The first thing that you need to take into account before choosing a certain surge protector for your RV, is to determine its compatibility with your RV’s amount of electricity. For this, check the amperage rating of the device. Most surge protectors offer either 30 Amps or 50 Amps. To differentiate between the two, the 30 Amp plugs have 3 prongs and the 50 Amp counterpart has 4 prongs.
Choosing the right amperage rating is important to ensuring that the new device will be able to meet your RV’s electrical requirements. If a surge protector isn’t matching your RV’s power supply, it can lead to the device failing to perform its function. Moreover, it can lead to overheating and other electrical issues.
Another crucial factor to take into account is the device’s Joules rating. It shows the level of surge suppression that the device can provide. And the higher the rating, the more heat it can absorb and dissipate in the event of a spike.
Most surge protectors are designed with an LED display that typically shows the voltage and amperage, as well as any error codes. Having an easy-to-read display is important to the proper use of the surge protector. So look for a display that is bright and which has easy-to-understand indicators.
Level of Protection
- Surge spikes. This is the main purpose of surge protectors, which protect the equipment of your RV against sudden spikes in voltage.
- Reverse polarity. You can’t always expect electric work at campsites to be done right, which often happens when the work is done not by a professional. One of the common problems is finding that an outlets’ neutral and live wires are connected to the wrong terminals. And if you connect your RV’s power supply to such a faulty power pedestal, it can result in damage to your equipment. That’s why some surge protectors offer reverse polarity protection, so you can protect your rig before it incurs any damage.
- Open ground. Surge protectors rely on plugging into grounded outlets. When a large surge hits, the ground wire disperses the excess voltage, taking it away from the protected equipment. However, if the grounding wire is not properly connected or damaged, your surge protector won’t be able to properly function. Fortunately, some of the EMS devices notify you of this issue before it costs you time and money.
- Accidental 240V connection. If you’re traveling in your RV around the United States, you’re using 120V. However, if you by accident plug your rig into 240V, it can cause damage to your electronics. For this purpose, some of the surge protectors notify you if the power pedestal has a 240V outlet.
- A/C frequency. This is another protection feature that is common for EMS units. It works by monitoring the alternating current frequency and protecting your devices if the frequency deviates too far from the standard level.
- Thermal protection. Some of the devices also come with a thermal sensor, which will shut off the power supply to your RV in case if the power pedestal outlet will start overheating.
Depending on the type of surge protector, in the event of a power surge or other electrical issue, it can either just bring the voltage to a safe level or completely shut off the power supply to your rig. In the case of the latter, once the power conditions are back to normal, the device can either automatically reset on its own or require manual resetting.
Ease of Installation
When considering RV surge protector pros and cons, it’s also important to take into account the ease of installation. For the easiest option, choose the plug-and-play design that requires no installation whatsoever.
If you’re choosing a portable RV surge protector, consider getting a lighter unit. Since you’ll have to take it out every time you stop at a campsite, you want a device that is easy to carry around.
To choose a high quality product, look for one with UL certification. It will give you peace of mind that you’re buying a safety tested product. If a surge protector has a UL seal, it usually means that it’s a more trustworthy and more reliable product.
Everyone has their own budget and before buying a particular surge protector, it’s important to determine it. You don’t want to overspend but also you don’t want to skimp on the device that will guarantee your safety.
Hardwired vs Portable
There are two types of RV surge protectors: hardwired and portable. Most of the options available on the market are portable. However, you can also find devices that are hardwired.
- Portable surge protectors are usually more common due to a few advantages. First of all, they eliminate the need for an installation. Typically, you just plug one of these units into the power pedestal and they are ready to be used. There isn’t any complicated wiring work to do and if there are any issues, you can easily replace them without any hassle. Secondly, portable units are usually very compact, so when you’re not at a campsite, you can store them away in the glove compartment or any other small space.
- Hardwired surge protectors, on the other hand, are installed in the interior of the RV. This might require the help of a professional, unless you’re fairly DIY savvy. The main benefit of this type of surge protector is that once you’ve installed it, you can forget about it. You won’t need to take it out and connect it to the power pedestal every time you arrive at a campsite. Another advantage is that since the device is kept inside the RV, there’s less chance of potential theft.
Electrical Management System vs Surge Protector
You might have noticed that in our surge protector reviews we’ve been using these two terms almost interchangeably. However, there’s a difference between the two, so let us clear up that confusion.
- The main purpose of a standard surge protector is to protect your equipment against a severe over-voltage spike. So these devices are more simple and as a result, they are more affordable. Since voltage spikes are the most common issue, a lot of people consider having a simple surge protector to be sufficient.
- EMS devices are designed to be more sophisticated in their technologies, resulting in a higher level of protection. Except for the high voltages, EMS units can also provide protection against low voltages, open grounds, open neutrals, reverse polarity, and overheating. All these issues can also occur at the power pedestal. And an EMS device can detect and protect against such problems.
Most people who opt for a standard surge protector, do so because of the lower price. However, if you want complete protection for your rig, it’s better to invest a bit more and get an EMS.
RV Surge Protector Manufacturers
Progressive Industries make the best surge protectors. The company was started in 1999 by an RV owner who saw the need in the market for RVs’ electrical protection with more sophisticated systems. Today, they have a wide range of surge protectors, so it’s easy to find one that will meet your particular needs. Their products are designed in the United States but are manufactured in Mexico. They are known to provide reliable products, which also come with a limited lifetime warranty.
Southwire is another brand that offers good surge protectors for RVs. However, unlike Progressive Industries, they don’t specialize specifically in RV equipment. They make plenty of other electrical products. The downside to that is the smaller selection and slightly lower level of innovation. Moreover, while Progressive Industries products act as both surge protectors and electrical management systems, most of the Southwire line is just standard surge protectors. As for the warranty, similar to Progressive Industries, Southwire also offers a limited lifetime warranty.
RV Surge Protector Frequently Asked Questions
Is an RV Surge Protector Necessary?
If you don’t want to potentially spend hundreds of dollars on repairing your equipment in the future, then an RV surge protector is a must have. Camping parks’ power supply isn’t always reliable and a surge protector is a good way to protect all your equipment against it.
Is the RV Surge Protector Waterproof?
Most RV surge protectors come weather-proof, which means that they are designed for use outdoors even in adverse weather conditions. However, keep in mind that most of them are not waterproof, meaning that they are not meant to be completely submerged in water.
How Long Do Surge Protectors Last?
The lifespan of a surge protector depends on its built quality, so it all depends from brand to brand. However, they can typically last 3 to 5 years and after that, they’ll need a replacement.
Where to Buy a Surge Protector?
You can find surge protectors in stores online or in local hardware stores near you. You can also check them out on Amazon, since there you can find the widest selection of different types of surge protectors and different configurations.
How to Install RV Surge Protector?
If you’re using a portable RV surge protector, it doesn’t require any installation. You just plug it into the power pedestal and then you can plug in your RV’s power supply. However, if you’re using a hardwired unit, consult the provided installation manual since the process can vary from model to model.
How to Use RV Surge Protector?
Using an RV surge protector is very simple. Most devices offer plug and play usability. You plug in the unit, check if the power is good and then connect it to your RV. If there are any power faults, before supplying the power to your RV, the surge protector will indicate them on the display. Based on your particular model, the instructions might vary. So always check the manual before using it.
Investing in the best RV surge protector will help you to keep your rig safe. Just keep in mind that not all surge protectors are made equal and some will be more reliable than others. However, choosing among the best and comparing them will help to make a more informed decision. And we hope that you’ve found the information in our RV surge protector reviews to help you in that. All the products we picked for this guide have been receiving from users the highest RV surge protector ratings. So now you can weigh in the factors that we discussed in our buying guide and choose a device that would be right for you.