Best RV Surge Protectors of 2021 – 30 Amp or 50 Amp Power Protection

| Last Updated: June 8, 2021

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Surge protectors are an essential part to any RV. While traveling, these ensure your hookup is safe and without future complications.

In this review, we’re going to take a look at some of the top models and explain why they stand out. With this, we’ll be discussing a few pros and cons for each model, in addition to their main features.

If you’re new to the RV lifestyle, rest assured we’ll provide some basic information related to surge protectors and whether or not they are necessary. If you’ve had some questions, you certainly won’t want to skip this article.

Comparison of the Best RV Surge Protectors

IMAGEPRODUCT
  • Best Portable Surge Protector for RV
  • Built-in analyzer capable of reading a variety of circuit related problems
  • Weather resistant with included rain cover
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  • Ability to present error code readings saves time
  • Protection against multiple power problems provides peace of mind
  • Digital display conveniently identifies readings such as frequency, AC power information, etc.
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  • Provides surge suppression of up to 1,650 joules
  • Rugged pull handle makes it easy to plug it into shore power
  • Complete surge protection at an economical price makes this unit best for the money
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  • Plug-and-play replacement parts make repairs quick and easy
  • Multi-mode surge protection makes it the best 50 amp surge protector
  • Computer inside this portable unit is designed with state-of-the-art microprocessors
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  • Made with an extensive power diagnostic system that can read a variety of faults
  • Provides immediate wireless warnings to your mobile if problems occur
  • Built-in power delay provides safety for sensitive equipment
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What to Look For in a Surge Protector

There are several things you should keep in mind when shopping. These include:

RV Electricity Supply

The most important thing is to make sure it is compatible with the electricity supply of your RV. There are two standard power supplies– 30-amp and 50-amp. Both of these come with a different plug, therefore, make sure you get the right one.

Photo Credit: RVingKnowHow.com

Diagnostic Abilities

A basic model will shut down in case of a power surge. However, the latest and most innovative models can be used as diagnostic tools for power supplies. If you like to try out new campgrounds constantly, you should invest in a model that indicates whether the pedestal has been properly set up.

LED Display

Another important feature is the LED display. It serves as a caution or indicator in case of irregularities in the power supply. It is best to choose one that has a bright LCD display and is easy to read.

Portable or Hardwired

There are portable or hardwired. Portable models are lightweight, and easy to carry around. Moreover, the installation of such units is easy. On the other hand, hardwired units require professional help for installation, but it is easier to keep an eye on them once they are installed.

Review of the Best RV Surge Protectors

Now we’re going to switch gears and focus on the best RV surge protectors. As mentioned, we’ll be reviewing each product’s main features, then diving into a handful of pros and cons, as noted per recent buyers.

Best Overall:
Surge Guard 44280

Surge Guard 44280 Portable Surge Protector - 120V, 30A,Black

Pros

  • A lightweight option
  • Features unambiguous functions
  • Offers amazing element resistance
  • Comes with a rain-proof cover to provide durability and weather resistance

Cons

  • Does not offer added security features 

What Recent Buyers Report

According to most Surge Guard users, this RV surge protector is an easy-to-install and easy-to-use unit. It makes sure to test the pedestal before it passes the power over to the RV, thus providing full protection from any potential electrical damage. This surge sacrifices itself to provide the RV with protection and is worth having one when you’re setting up the camp. 

Why it Stands Out to Us

This surge protector is a lightweight option, which makes it very easy to use. Apart from being lightweight, it also features a weather-resistant housing and a rain-proof cover that increases its durability. You can leave it outside in the bad weather without having to worry about it getting damaged. 

Moreover, the Surge Guard 44280 can be used to monitor a variety of electrical problems. It comes with indicator lights that let you know in case of an open-ground, an open neutral, a reverse polarity, reverse ground, and an open circuit, etc. This surge protector analyzes the quality of the power supply constantly, which allows it to identify any potential issue before it causes any serious damage. 

Bottom Line

Overall, the Surge Guard 44280 is a great surge protector that you should check out if you’re in search of one that offers you both quality and is affordable. It is a portable option designed for 30 amp connections. You can easily install and use it without having to scale it before you take your RV out on the road again. 

Runner-up:
Progressive Industries EMS-PT30X

Portable RV Surge Protector Portable EMS-PT30X RV Surge Protector , Black

Pros

  • Built-In Locking Bracket Reduces the Chances of Theft
  • Extremely Rugged and Able to Withstand Tough Wear and Tear
  • Straightforward Use Makes it Suitable for All Experience Levels
  • Lightweight, Thus Making it Easy to Transport From One Place to Another
  • Lifetime Warranty Shows the Confidence of the Manufacturer in its Product
  • Weather Shield and Protective Outer Shell Allows it to Work in Harsh Environments

Cons

  • Is a Bit Expensive Compared to Other 30-Amp Models

What Recent Buyers Report

Buyers loved the fact that this product works as advertised. They find this product confirms whether the circuit is working properly or not before allowing power flow. Moreover, it displays the amps being consumed, thus letting you know if the limits are surpassed. Recent buyers have reported that it works perfectly even in harsh weather conditions. They are satisfied with its performance as it provides unfailing protection to their RV and electrical appliances.

Why it Stands Out to Us

The EMS-PT30X from Progressive Industries is one of the toughest products available that is capable of protecting your RV against incorrect wiring and fluctuating voltages. Its durable housing allows this product to function efficiently in almost all weather conditions. We also appreciate the security locking bracket, which keeps the product safe and close to the power source. The tough Lexan shell protects this unit from bumps and knocks.

Who Will Use This Most

This product is designed for people who travel in their RV the whole year-round. This weather-resistant product will not let you down in any weather condition. Moreover, when you travel to various campsites, you might experience unexpected surges at parks. This high or low spike could cause damage to your fans, air conditioners, and other electrical appliances. By investing in the EMS-PT30X, you can continue your camping journey, knowing that your valuables are safe from any mishap.

What Could be Improved and Why

This is a sound insurance policy. This innovative product is designed by a well-known company that stands behind its products and strives to exceed the expectations of its customers. Although this product is a little expensive than other products available, the peace of mind that it provides its users is priceless.

Bottom Line

If you want a model that provides maximum electrical protection, then the EMS-PT30X is the product for you. It is difficult to find a product that offers complete EMS protection against multiple power supply issues better than this unit.

Best for the Money and Best 30-Amp Surge Protector: 
Progressive Industries SSP30X

Progressive Industries 30 Amp Portable RV Smart Surge Protector (1 MIN), SSP-30X

Pros

  • Surge Failure Warning Protects Your RV
  • Thermally Protected, Which Increases its Durability
  • Lifetime Warranty Ensures That it is a Good Quality Product
  • Bright 3-Color LED Indicators to Make it Easy to Spot Any Issues
  • Built-In Polarity Tester Checks the Power Source Status Prior to Use
  • Reverse Polarity, Open Ground, and Open Neutral Detection Within Seconds

Cons

  • Claiming Lifetime Warranty is Difficult
  • Absence of LCD Display Makes This Unit Slightly Inconvenient

What Recent Buyers Report

This product comes highly recommended. Many users have attested to its high performance and ease of use. When you plug it in, it analyzes the circuit, and if everything is all right, it will turn itself on, thus allowing the power to go to your RV. This feature is very appreciated by users, as it protects your RV from any problem or spike in power.

Why it Stands Out to Us

Well-designed and easy to use, the SSP30X from Progressive Industries helps to protect your investment. It is highly portable and does not require any installation. It also features an in-built polarity tester that checks the power source status before use. This surge protector has a failure indicator and is thermally protected for longevity. The LED display has three indicators, which are bright and colored. This is particularly helpful as you can easily spot any discrepancies with the power supply. The price is also affordable for those on a budget. 

Who Will Use This Most

The compact and sleek design of this unit makes it perfect for outdoor use. Moreover, it does not require any installation. Therefore, you can easily take it camping with you. It is thermally protected, thus making it suitable for various campgrounds.

What Could be Improved and Why

An LCD display helps to monitor amp and volts. We feel that the inclusion of an LCD could greatly enhance customer convenience in this product.

Bottom Line

The SSP30X from Progressive Industries is an excellent RV surge protector which is designed with an added benefit of a built-in polarity tester. Moreover, if there is a problem such as a bad wiring or a spike, it shuts itself down, thus safeguarding your RV.

Best 50-Amp Surge Protector:
Progressive Industries HW50C

Progressive Industries HW50C Hardwired EMS Surge & Electrical Protection- 50 Amps

Pros

  • Long Cable Easily Attaches to Your RV
  • Certified Product is Easy to Install
  • Great Technical Support Offered By the Manufacturer
  • Surge Failure and Miswired Pedestal Indication
  • Accidental 240V Protection and A/C Frequency Protection
  • Detailed Instruction Manual Makes Installation Very Simple
  • Remote Scrolling Digital Display Continuously Scrolls Through the Power Source Information

Cons

  • May Make a Humming Sound That is Not Appreciated By Customers

What Recent Buyers Report

There are many features of this product that users find attractive. It protects the RV from surges from shore or the generator without any issue. It is hardwired, therefore, you can leave it at the campsite without worrying about it being stolen. It also boasts an external display that helps monitor amp draw, voltage, and hertz.

Why it Stands Out to Us

The HW50C from Progressive industries is very easy to install. The manual is very detailed and provides explicit instructions regarding use with both the external source and the generator. Even after long hours of use, there are usually no issues. Besides, this product comes with codes that help you troubleshoot in case of an error.

Who Will Use This Most

This unit is particularly helpful for people who travel a lot and like to visit various campgrounds. Users can keep the remote display with them to monitor electrical appliances and devices, thus ensuring there is no overload. This feature is particularly handy for people who need to keep a close eye on voltage and amp draw.

What Could be Improved and Why

The unit makes a humming sound when it is plugged in. Therefore, it is not suitable for installation near the master bedroom. However, by addressing this issue, the manufacturer can greatly enhance its performance.

Bottom Line

The HW50C is a top-of-the-line product that protects all the electrical appliances in your RV from power drops and surges. It keeps the users informed about how much amperage they are using at all times. Although it is a bit expensive, it provides users with complete peace of mind. Moreover, this product also enjoys great technical support from the manufacturer.

Editor's Pick:
Hughes Autoformers PWD30-EPO

HUGHES AUTO Autoformers PWD30-EPO-H Power Watchdog Smart Bluetooth Surge Protector Plus EPO with Auto Shutoff - 30 Amp Hardwire Version

Pros

  • Offers 2,400 Joules of advance surge protection
  • Four-second power delay after it has been plugged in
  • Has a smart circuit analyzer that is connected to your smartphone
  • Features a built-in 90-second power-on delay to protect your AC unit after a fault
  • Provides complete LED park power diagnostics along with all the wireless fault alerts

Cons

  • Does not feature weatherproof connections

What Recent Buyers Report

Most RV users love this particular Hughes model because it is very easy to use. You can connect it to your smartphone, which allows you to stay updated regarding the power conditions. You get a comprehensive analysis of your RV’s power system, making sure to prevent any sort of electrical damage. You can use the app and find out how much power you are consuming, what your RV needs, etc., and it keeps you updated in real-time.

Why it Stands Out to Us

The Hughes Autoformers PWD30-EPO is a 30-amp surge protector that offers 2400 Joules of advanced surge protection for your RV. This surge protector features built-in Bluetooth connectivity that allows you to monitor the power conditions on your smartphone, that too, in real-time. You will receive text alerts of any potential dangers to help prevent any catastrophe from happening. 

And in case the conditions are too dangerous, the EPO feature automatically shuts down the unit. Once the conditions are stable, the unit will automatically turn back on. 

Bottom Line

Keeping all this in mind, it can be said that this Hughes model is one of the best smart surge protectors available in the market. It provides you protection from all potential electrical dangers. It makes sure to keep your RV and its appliances safe and secure by turning off the power if the conditions get dangerous. Moreover, it keeps you updated with alerts regarding your smartphone's conditions, making the whole procedure effective and a lot more secure. 

What is a Surge Protector?

If you’ve ever asked, "What’s a surge protector?" - there’s no need to feel out of the loop. A surge protector is a device designed to protect your RV from sudden electrical surges, and low or high, unexpected spikes of voltage.

While the chances of this happening are often slim, investing in one of these is a necessary consideration that will save you hundreds, if not thousands, should anything go wrong. Simply put, these are an insurance policy and wise one-time purchase.  

Photo credit: smartrving.net

Do I Need an RV Surge Protector?

Yes. There’s no ifs, ands, or buts when it comes to purchasing one of these. Just as you wouldn’t skip out on RV insurance, you shouldn’t skip out on buying one.

Types of Surge Protectors

Below are some of the main types:

Basic Surge Protectors

As the name presents, a basic model is a very straightforward model to get the job done. Their user-friendly design is intended to protect your RV from low or high spikes of voltage so your circuitry isn’t suddenly fried. The reasons for these occurrences can be the result of unstable surges at RV parks or forces of nature such as lightning strikes.

Photo Credit: RVLifeMag.com

Complete Surge Protectors

While basic units are a safe, general model, complete surge protectors are well-known for being a top-of-the-line investments.

Despite their higher price tag, these models are worth the cost since they typically pay for themselves in the long-run, providing peace of mind should problems arise. As with basic protectors, complete models defend against low and high voltage, as well as high and low line frequency, open ground, and faulty wiring.

When it comes down to it, we can’t encourage you enough to buy one of these. Just be sure to keep in mind your lifestyle and needs to determine which type is best.

RV Surge Protector Pros and Cons

If you’re planning on spending time on the road in your RV a lot, then you must equip yourself with a surge protector. However, if you’ve never used one before, then you might be curious about how it’ll benefit you. Here are some pros and cons of using these surge protectors for your RV. 

Pros

Firstly, let's start with the pros. 

Ensures Safety 

A surge protector helps promote safety while you’re on the road. You don't have to worry about possible electrical damage caused by shocks and fire hazards in the RV as it deals with different power issues and helps ensure maximum safety.  

Faulty Power Outlets

With pedestal power outlets, you can never determine which one is faulty and which one is safe to use. However, with a surge guard, you can easily find out as it immediately alerts you if you’re trying to hook the RV to an unregulated or broken outlet. 

Regulating Power Flow 

A surge protector helps regulate the electrical power flow. This way, only a certain amount of power reaches your RV appliances, ensuring that they operate effectively and don’t suffer from any damage due to unwanted voltage flow.

Affordability

The biggest advantage is that a surge protector acts as insurance for your investment. It is an affordable piece of equipment that can save you from serious damage. 

Cons

Now let’s talk about some cons of using a surge protector.

Short Lifespan 

Photo credit: mygaragestory.ne

The only con is that these surge protectors don't last you a long time. They have a limited lifespan as they absorb all the unsafe voltage while protecting your RV and its appliances from spikes and surges. And soon, they end up sacrificing themselves in order to prevent serious electrical damage.

Price Points of RV Surge Protectors

If you want to prevent the electrical system in your RV from becoming overloaded, a surge protector is a worthwhile investment; however, not all RV surge protectors are made to the same standards. While price is not everything, it is worth taking a look at a few price ranges for surge guard protectors, so you can see what separates the cheaper models from the more expensive units.

Under $100

RV surge protectors under $100 tend to be fairly basic, meaning they do not feature built-in displays and LED power indicator or LCD. They also offer less surge protection and have a lower joules rating than some of the more expensive options. A higher joules rating translates to more protection for your RV’s electrical system, which means the surge protector will be able to handle larger power spikes.

$100 - $200

This price range is considered the middle point for RV surge protectors. These units tend to offer a reasonable level of protection against a voltage spike but still lack some of the extra features you get with the most expensive options. They have a high electrical protection rating as well third-party certification to ensure they perform as advertised. While some will feature diagnostic LEDs, which allow you to see that the surge protector is working properly, some will not.

Over $200

RV surge protectors that cost over $200 are almost always high-end products that offer a significant amount of surge protection for your electrical system. Many will also feature convenient auto-connect and disconnect designs, which makes them much easier to use.

They will sometimes feature indicator light LED display screens, so you can keep an eye on the performance. They also tend to be far more durable than the cheaper options, meaning they are made from durable materials and have weather-resistant exteriors.

Progressive Industries EMS-PT30X

How Do RV Surge Protectors Compare?

If you own an RV—which is most probably— you might have heard of the terms EMS, hardwired, and portable surge protectors. However, you might be confused about the differences between them. Well, here is a brief comparison to make things easier for you to understand. 

RV EMS vs Surge Protector

EMS stands for an electrical management system. In RVs, they protect against a small power spike or damaging voltage spike and reverse polarity. They function by shutting the power off the second they identify a potential power issue that could damage your RV’s electrical system or any appliances connected to it, like faulty wiring or any other electrical issue. The problem is that this level of electrical protection is very expensive.

On the other hand, surge protectors function like the power strip-style surge protectors you would see in a typical home for protecting delicate and expensive electronics. They protect your RV from severe voltage spikes or an electrical surge, such as those resulting from a nearby lightning strike or blown transformer. While they offer protection against fewer electrical issues, they are very affordable, and you can purchase even the best units for just a few hundred dollars.

Deciding which EMS surge protector is better is largely a budget decision. While the EMS offers greater overall protection, the price can be an issue, which is why an RV surge protector is favored by so many.

RV Surge Protector Hardwired vs Portable

Portable surge protectors offer the plug-and-play versatility of a portable unit, meaning you can share them between multiple RVs; however, this also means you will have to install and remove them each time you move your RV to a new spot. They are also easy to replace and tend to be fairly inexpensive.

Progressive Industries HW50C Hardwired EMS Surge Protector

On the other hand, a hardwired RV surge protector needs to be secured directly into your RV. While this sounds like a disadvantage, they are often far more reliable and durable than a portable unit. They are also protected from the weather because they get their power supply from your RV's electrical system within your RV’s storage compartment.

Again, the decision over which is the better option is largely down to personal preference.

How to Hook Up an RV Surge Protector

If you’re planning on going on an adventure in your RV, make sure to install a surge guard before you head out. However, if you don't have any idea how to install one, go through the following steps. 

  1. You’ll see six gauge, three wires, one hot, one neutral, and one ground that will go into the EMS. You have an input and an output on the guard. Make sure the power is turned off. 

  2. Verify and make sure there is no power in any line. Disconnect the shore power, which is the input from the plug on the side of the RV that goes into the EMS. 

  3. Trim the ends of the wire with a wire stripper. Line up the wires, then attach them to the guard and screw it in. Then mount the guard, making sure to keep it away from any pipes and potential water leaks. 

  4. Install small clamps to take the pressure off the connection and put them up on the structure so that the wire doesn't yank on the guard while you're on the road. 

  5. Screw-in the wires in their respective places and make sure to screw in tight. The wires will be connected to the lines' side, and from the load side, the wires will extend towards the ATS. 

  6. Now hook up the control cable and then turn on the power. The guard will show you a delay. 

  7. Then run the wiring towards the EMS, inverter, and the battery monitor, and you'll be good to go. 

In case you still have queries regarding the process, you can watch the video mentioned below. 

Conclusion

Making the decision to move forward with a surge protector is one of the smartest moves for anyone with an RV. Regardless of whether you use your RV one time a year, or year-round, the time will come where you’ll find yourself in need. But, rest assured with a solid pick, this won’t matter.

All of the models featured on our list are reliable, affordably priced, and come with an insurance policy for unexpected damages. If you end up choosing a model from our list, please be sure to visit us again after testing it out and let us know about your experience. We love hearing from readers and look forward to hearing from you! Happy camping, everyone!

People Also Ask

There are many different models available in the market. They work as insurance for RV and the electrical appliances. Therefore, before making a decision, people often ask the following questions:

Are RV Surge Protectors Worth it?

Given the amount of damage a significant power surge can cause to your RV’s internal electrical system, as well as any electronic appliances you have plugged into that system, an RV surge protector is a very worthwhile investment. They are also quite inexpensive, so they are worth it just for the peace of mind alone.

Photo credit: rvtalk.net

Can You Use a 50 Amp Surge Protector on a 30 Amp RV?

While you can technically run a 50 amp surge protector on a 30 amp RV, it is far from ideal. For starters, if the power surges to over 30 amps, the surge protector would not kick in until that power had exceeded 50 amps, leaving any 30 amp appliances vulnerable. In just about every situation, you are better off using a surge protector rated to your RV’s exact power needs.

How to Use a Locking Ring on an RV Power Surge Protector

To prevent your surge protector from getting stolen, you need to make sure that you lock it. You can use a locking ring on your surge protector. All you have to do is to wrap the locking ring around the surge protector and then secure it to the pedestal power post. 

How Do I Reset My Onboard RV Surge Protector?

Nowadays, most high-quality surge guards do not feature a reset button. Instead, they come with an On/Off switch, which allows you to conveniently reset the power. Once you’ve turned off or reset the surge guard, wait for a bit. 

How to Test an RV Surge Protector

Once your RV surge guard reaches its limit, it can no longer take in any more unsafe voltage, so it stops working. Since these protectors do not feature any kind of display for indicating whether they are operating or not, it becomes difficult to monitor the joule's status. 

However, these protectors are integrated with LED indicators that let you know when they fail. Some high-end models feature an audio alarm that provides you with notifications. If you see a green LED illumination, then your protector is 100 percent functional; however, if you don't see the green light, that means there’s something wrong. 

Photo credit: rvside.com

How to Lock a Portable RV Surge Protector

There is the option of buying a portable surge protector; however, you need to know portable units are more susceptible to theft as you are required to leave them out of the RV along with the power cord. Therefore, you need to secure them to prevent them from getting stolen. 

To do so, you can use a bicycle chain and a padlock combination to secure it. Just tightly wrap the chain around the cord and put the padlock on. Alternatively, you can use a lockbox specially designed for protecting surge protectors. This helps by locking the protector and the power cable to the electrical pedestal. You can even use a locking cable, or you can get a hardwired surge protector instead. 

This method is quite similar to the bicycle chain method; you have to wrap the cable lock around your unit and then attach it to the pedestal power post.

How to Secure an RV Surge Protector

Many of the models come with locking brackets that make it easy to secure them to your RV. They are easy to install and reduce the risk of theft.  

Photo credit: outdoorfact.com

How Does a Surge Protector Work?

In the case of an  increase in voltage such as faulty power supply or a lightning strike, a protector detects the current and helps to even-out sudden peaks of electricity in the supply. This reduces the chances of damage to electronic equipment.

How To Tell if a Surge Protector Is Bad

Most are designed with three diagnostic LEDs that indicate the operational status of your surge protector before and after a surge. To find out if it is still working normally, look at the ‘Protection Present’ or ‘Protected’ LED on the front. If it is illuminated green, then your surge protector is good to go. However, if it does not illuminate, then there is something wrong with your model.

How Long Does a Surge Protector Last?

The components inside wear out a little more with each surge and there is no way to find how much protection remains. However, a good quality surge protector has an average life of three to five years.

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My husband and I live a life on the road so we figured no better way to share our journey than through a blog! While traveling place to place as RV noobies, we quickly realized how often we were in need of RV accessories and supplies. This led us to launch RV Expertise and sharing our top picks.