RV Surge Protector: Guides and Reviews of the Best Surge Protectors and EMS in 2021 for your RVs

There are many vital things you need to prepare and have before your journey with your RV. These are the “must-haves” to ensure you’ll have a safe and wonderful camping trip. Here, we will talk about how you can protect your RV, equipment, and other gadgets from power surges and yourself, from harm.

But first, let’s get to know what devices can help you from the typical unpredictable but avoidable power surge problem. Many campgrounds, RV parks, and other camping sites offer full hookups for your RV. At times, power hookups can be dangerous. Faulty wiring, power transformer failures, and sometimes even lightning strikes can cause a spike that could potentially harm your equipment, appliances, and your vehicle’s rig.

One way to surge guard; is to use a surge defense or an EMS (Electrical Management System). A surge protector can detect faults in the power supply, fluctuations, progressive spikes, and voltage increases. However, EMS, with its additional functions, is more expensive. Both are among the essential things you need to have for your RV. Let’s tackle more about them as we go along.

Every model may not be perfect, but we can always opt for the best. So, to ensure that you can buy the best, we picked and listed our top (3) models amongst the variety of RV Surge Protector and EMS available in the market.

Editors Choice

Best Overall
EMS-HW30C/EMS-HW50C
EMS-HW30C/EMS-HW50C
  • UL Certified and CSA Approved
  • Remote Scrolling Digital Display
  • Full protection against all damaging power conditions (including over or under voltage issues)
Best Value
SSP-30XL/ SSP-50XL
SSP-30XL/ SSP-50XL
  • UL Certified and CSA Approved
  • With weather-resistant cover
  • All-in-one Portable Surge and Testing
Premium Choice
EMS-PT30X/ EMS-PT50X Portable
EMS-PT30X/ EMS-PT50X Portable
  • Integrated Digital Display
  • Full Protection, including Over or Under Voltage
  • All-in-one Portable Surge and Testing
  • 44,000A max spike (30Amps)/ 88,000A max current spike (50Amps)

Product Comparison Table

IMAGEPRODUCTFEATURESPRICE
Best Overall
EMS-HW30C
EMS-HW30C

Surge Rating: 44,000A max spike, 1,790 Joules
Electrical Rating: 30A, 120V 
Display: Remote Digital Display
Portable?: No (Hardwired)

Check Price On Amazon
Best Value
SSP-30XL
SSP-30XL

Surge Rating: 22,500A max spike, 825 Joules
Electrical Rating: 30A, 120V
Display: Integrated, LEDs
Portable?: Yes

Check Price On Amazon
Premium Choice
EMS-PT30X
EMS-PT30X

Surge Rating: 44,000A max spike, 1,790 Joules
Electrical Rating: 30A, 120V
Display: Integrated, Digital Display
Portable?: Yes

Check Price On Amazon
EMS-LCHW30 EMS-LCHW30

Surge Rating: 44,000A max spike, 1,790 Joules
Electrical Rating: 30A, 120V
Display: Integrated, Digital Display
Portable?: No (Hardwired)

Check Price On Amazon
SSP-30X SSP-30X

Surge Rating: 22,500A max spike, 825 Joules
Electrical Rating: 30A, 120V
Display: Integrated, LEDs
Portable?: Yes

Check Price On Amazon
PSK-30 PSK-30

Surge Rating: 22,500A max spike, 1,100 Joules
Electrical Rating: 30A, 120V
Display: Separate LED, Tester
Portable?: Yes

Check Price On Amazon
PWD30 PWD30

Surge Rating: 2,400 Joules
Electrical Rating: 30A, 120V
Display: With complete LED Diagnostics with Wireless Fault Alerts (Mobile App)
Portable?: Yes

Check Price On Amazon
PWD30-EPO PWD30-EPO

Surge Rating: 6,500A max current spike per MOV(Metal-Oxide Varistors), 2,400 Joules
Electrical Rating: 30A, 120V
Display: With complete LED Diagnostics with Wireless Fault Alerts (Mobile App)
Portable?: Yes

Check Price On Amazon
55301 (PD-30) 55301 (PD-30)

Surge Rating: 6,500A per MOV, 2,800 Joules
Electrical Rating: 30A, 125V
Display: Diagnostic LEDs
Portable?: Yes

Check Price On Amazon
34930 (30-AMP) 34930 (30-AMP)

Surge Rating: 6,500A max current spike, 2,450 Joules
Electrical Rating: 30A, 120V
Display: Text-based LCD Display
Portable?: Yes

Check Price On Amazon
34931 (30-AMP) 34931 (30-AMP)

Surge Rating: 2,450 Joules
Electrical Rating: 30A, 120V
Display: Text-based LCD Display, (Wireless LCD Display Compatible)
Portable?: Yes

Check Price On Amazon
44280 (30-AMP) 44280 (30-AMP)

Surge Rating: 2,100 Joules
Electrical Rating: 30A, 120V
Display: LED Indicator
Portable?: Yes

Check Price On Amazon
35530 (30-AMP) 35530 (30-AMP)

Surge Rating: 2,450 Joules
Electrical Rating: 30A, 120V
Display: LED Indicator (Optional Remote LED Display)
Portable?: No (Hardwired)

Check Price On Amazon
44750 (30-AMP) 44750 (30-AMP)

Surge Rating: 1,250A max spike, 510 Joules
Electrical Rating: 30A, 120V
Display: Trip Indicator only
Portable?: Yes

Check Price On Amazon
55310 (30-AMP) 55310 (30-AMP)

Surge Rating: 1,050 Joules
Electrical Rating: 30A, 125V
Display: LED Indicator
Portable?: Yes

Check Price On Amazon

Product Review List: Our Top 16 Best RV Surge Protectors and Electrical Management Protection Devices Reviews

To give you more in-depth knowledge about each model, here are our reviews. You can find their pros, cons, and other specifications as well as its Amazon Global Ratings. We also included their available corresponding 50AMP versions. Choosing and buying the best-suited RV surge protector may be overwhelming, but don’t fret. We are here to help you. Let’s start!

1. Progressive Industries EMS-HW30C

PROS

CONS

  • Installation fee adds to expenses
  • More expensive than typical surge protectors

SPECIFICATIONS

  • Item Dimension: 6.25 x 3.5 x 4.5 inches
  • Item Weight: 3 pounds
  • Customer Ratings (Max 5): 4.7

This EMS unit provides a full defense against the open hot, open ground, open neutral, reverse polarity, and over or under voltage flow. There are (2) time delay settings available, one is 136 seconds (factory default), and the other is 15 seconds (use this if your gadget or high-powered electronics such as an A/C has its built-in time delay). It has a response time of less than (1) nanosecond.

With this equipment installed in your 30A RV, you are ensured of 44,000A max spike or 1,790 Joules, while 88,000A max current spike or 3,580 Joules for the 50A RV. Progressive Industries offers a lifetime warranty to all their units. Do not tamper or modify it in any way to avoid nullification of the limited warranty. We also recommend that you hire a professional electrician or a certified authorized dealer to install this unit.

Although this can be a bit more expensive than a regular surge protector, the added features for this EMS by Progressive Industries are worth it. Buying this item for your RV will assure you that you and your equipment will be protected from any power issues, especially if we are unsure if the RV parks are responsible enough for checking their source or power lines.

Why Should You Purchase This?
After considering the pros and cons above, we all need to realize that having a piece of equipment that can protect you and your RV should be our priority. Another thing is that this model is from a trusted brand  (Progressive Industries), so we can say that overall, this is an excellent investment. Thus, the EMS-HWC30 model is our top pick.


2. Progressive Industries SSP-30XL RV Surge Protector

PROS

  • UL and CSA Certified
  • Built with rugged pull handle, rigid Lexan housing, and shield assembly
  • It has a locking bracket to ensure the unit is properly secured.
  • It has a surge failure indicator; response time is less than (1) nanoseconds

CONS

  • No over or under-voltage protection
  • It will only detect electrical issues, no detection or protection from under-voltage
  • It has a dual-line polarity tester but only for the 50A model.
  • It can be stolen if you leave it unattended without locking it.

SPECIFICATIONS

  • Item Dimension: 14 x 5 x 3.5 inches
  • Item Weight: 1.95 pounds
  • Customer Ratings (Max 5): 4.7

If you want the best RV surge protector that is portable with the best value for money, the Progressive Industries SSP-30XL/SSP-50XL might be the right unit for you. It can detect open hot, open ground, open neutral, reverse polarity, and miswired pedestals. The model’s 3-color LED indicator will warn you if there are damaging electrical issues before connecting your RV’s plug.

What we love about this surge protector is that they significantly built it for outdoor use. Its cable has a splash-up guard, and the unit itself comes with an all-weather shield with rigid Lexan housing. Similar to any other models from Progressive Industries, it also comes with a limited lifetime warranty. Unlike the hardwired, this surge protector is very easy to use. You can plug it in, wait, and then verify the LED indicators. 

If the green and blue lights are on, you can now connect and use the electric line. This event indicates that the power line is in optimal condition. Otherwise, we recommend that before plugging your RV into the hookup, report the problem immediately to the Campground Maintenance Team. Please note that this Progressive Industries portable surge protector will only detect and indicate the power lines’ condition. It will not give you full protection like an EMS unit.

Why Should You Purchase This?
Having to avoid harmful and damaging electrical connections is one of the best situations you can put yourself into when camping outdoors with your trailer or recreational vehicle. This surge protector will be your first line of defense against avoidable electrical issues. It is the only UL, and CSA certified Portable Surge Protector from Progressive Industries.


3. Progressive Industries EMS-PT30X

PROS

  • No installation; it’s plug-and-play-ready.
  • Lifetime warranty
  • Full protection and detection, with a time delay of 136 seconds
  • Built with rugged pull handle, rigid Lexan housing, and shield assembly

CONS

  • More expensive than hardwired EMS and other surge guard unit
  • It can be stolen if you leave it unattended without locking it.
  • Not UL or CSA Certified yet

SPECIFICATIONS

This unit is a portable Electrical Management System (EMS) model from Progressive Industries. It features detection against the open ground, open neutral, reverse polarity, hot wiring, over (when the voltage rises above 134V for more than 3 seconds) or under voltage (when it drops below 104V for longer than 6 seconds), and A/C frequency protection. It has a time delay of 136 seconds and a response time of less than (1) nanoseconds.

It can also display AC details like the voltage, current, and frequency. There are surge failure and miswired pedestal indications as well. Unlike the hardwired EMS model, it does not have an adjustable time delay. This surge protector features a rugged pull handle with an all-weather shield assembly and rigid Lexan housing best for outdoor use.  

Please note that it will only show error codes on its built-in display. You must familiarize yourself with the error codes to avoid further problems. It will shut down once it detects an unwanted and damaging electricity flow. You can scroll to show the previous error codes when needed.

Why Should You Purchase This?
This portable EMS unit from Progressive Industries may be the most expensive of the bunch, but this might be the best option for you if you prefer portability and full protection. A built-in display will show an error or fault in the wiring and other additional information. You can easily find the corresponding code since it is just at the side part of the surge protector.


4. Progressive Industries EMS-LCHW30

PROS

  • UL and CSA Certified
  • Provides the highest degree of surge protection
  • Hardwired, safe from any natural outdoor conditions
  • It has a modular design for parts replacement convenience.

CONS

  • Installation fee adds to expenses
  • More expensive than typical surge protectors

SPECIFICATIONS

  • Item Dimension: 9.5 x 5 x 4.25 inches
  • Item Weight: 2.75 pounds
  • Customer Ratings (Max 5): 4.7

The Progressive Industries EMS-LCHW30 is almost the same as the EMS-HWC30 model. The only difference is that this surge protector model has a built-in display, while the other has a remote unit. It can also detect and provide your recreational vehicle and its equipment with full protection from electrical problems. Its 30A version can protect up to 1,790 Joules, while the 50A version has whooping 3,580 Joules of maximum current spike protection.

Since the EMS-LCHW30 is a hardwired type, we recommend hiring a certified electrician or the authorized dealer’s technician for the installation. Any tampering and modification will cause the nullification of the limited lifetime warranty. This unit is field serviceable as well, just like the HWC30. The modular design makes it easy for technicians to plug and play the replaceable parts.

What we like about this surge protector, same as with the HW30/HW50, when it detects an under-voltage below 104V or a rise in voltage over 132V, it will automatically shut down and stop the flow of power to your coach. It will still monitor the power connectivity during this event. Once it detects a safe voltage (above 104V and below 132V level), it will automatically restore the power supply to your RV.

Why Should You Purchase This?
This surge protector can give your gadgets and equipment full defense against electrical issues, including the accidental 240V plugin. It has a response time of less than one nanosecond and an adjustable time delay (136 seconds and 15 seconds delay). It does not only show errors but other voltage/current information as well. You can also see the previous faulty that occurred during use for reference.


5. Progressive Industries SSP30X Smart Surge Protectors

PROS

  • Detection for reverse polarity, open neutral, open ground, wiring, and miswired pedesta
  • Weather-resistant (it is still best to avoid it getting wet)
  • No installation/mounting is needed.
  • Lifetime warranty

CONS

  • It can be stolen if you leave it unattended.
  • Not UL or CSA Certified yet
  • It will only detect electrical issues, no detection, and protection from over/under voltage.

SPECIFICATIONS

  • Item Dimension: 3.5 x 5.25 x 14.25 inches
  • Item Weight: 1.63 pounds
  • Customer Ratings (Max 5): 4.7

This model is the most straightforward surge protector offered by Progressive Industries. It will only detect and analyze the electrical wiring condition of a campground’s power pedestal.  The SSP30X/SSP50X indications include open ground, open neutral, reverse polarity, hot wiring, and even miswired pedestals. Although it is for outdoor use, it hasn’t been tested for any third-party certifications yet (UL and CSA certifications).

The SSP30X surge protector uses 3-color LED indicators (Blue and Green LEDs should light up, indicating an optimal use and correct wiring). It will continue to work even if it detects unusual/incorrect electrical wiring conditions. We recommend that you immediately report the damaging indicators to the campground manager.

Being a portable surge protector, this is a little bit susceptible to theft since it does not have any locking bracket feature like the SSP-30XL and PT30X models. The dual-line polarity tester only comes with the SSP-50X (50A) version. It also doesn’t have the same built as the 30XL and PT30X units (rigid Lexan housing and all-weather shield assembly).

Why Should You Purchase This?
If you are looking for an inexpensive portable surge protector, you can consider this unit an option. However, you may want to add a third-party lock for this because it doesn’t have any security features (susceptible to theft). It is very lightweight and can protect a 30A RV for up to 825 Joules (30A)/ 1,650 Joules (50A).


6. Progressive Industries PSK-30 Kit

PROS

  • Inexpensive
  • Has separate units for tester and surge module, can easily be replaced.
  • Very portable and lightweight
  • UL and CSA certified

CONS

  • Uses LED indicators only, no text or codes.
  • It will only detect electrical issues, no detection, and protection from over/under voltage.

SPECIFICATIONS

  • Item Dimension: 7.05 x 6.65 x 3.35 inches
  • Item Weight: 13.7 ounces
  • Customer Ratings (Max 5): 4.7

The kit contains a separate portable surge module and pedestal tester. The tester allows you to check the quality of the power line before connecting your RV. On the other hand, you can leave the surge module connected to your cord as a sacrificial unit to protect your RV’s electrical system. When the surge module has been depleted, you can still use the tester since it’s a separate unit. You can easily replace the surge module. 

The module can protect your trailer from up to 1,100 Joules/22,500A max spike (30A) and 2,030 Joules/45,000A max spike (50A). It is very portable and connects directly to the power cord. Light indications include open hot, open ground, open neutral, reverse polarity, and hot or ground reversed alerts.

Although this is for outdoor use, there is no weather-resistant cover included in the kit. You may need to refrain from using this unit during heavy rains. The PSK-30 and PSK-50 are both UL and CSA-certified models. No installation required; plug it in to use.

Why Should You Purchase This?
It is very inexpensive compared to other models. You can easily replace the surge module once it has been depleted. The tester is usable even if the surge module fails. Very easy to use, and no complicated installation is needed.


7. Hughes Autoformers PWD30 (30AMP)

PROS

  • Three (3) Years warranty
  • Wireless monitoring and wireless fault alerts
  • The mobile app is free on IOS and Android platforms (option for WiFi/Cellular fault warnings and monitoring)
  • Replaceable surge module

CONS

  • It will not automatically shut down upon error detection.
  • Mobile app may not support all IOS and Android OS versions.
  • Susceptible to theft if you’re not going to put a security lock on it
  • Water-resistant but not water-proof

SPECIFICATIONS

  • Item Dimension: 14 x 11 x 3 inches
  • Item Weight: 4 pounds
  • Customer Ratings (Max 5): 4.8

This smart surge suppressor from Hughes Autoformers provides 2,400 Joules (30A) and 4,800 Joules (50A) of advanced surge protection. The unit has a built-in complete LED indication with wireless fault alerts and electric rating details such as volts, amps, and watts via your Smartphone (real-time, free mobile app on IOS and Android). This added feature is very convenient since you don’t need to check the unit itself. 

You can also monitor your unit thru WiFi or Cellular via an add-on option for better management (visit www.RVWHISPER.com for details). With WiFi/Cellular connectivity as an optional feature, you can monitor the unit even if you are miles away.  It will also send low or high amperage and voltage alerts upon detection (via Bluetooth on the free mobile app).  

The unit has a replaceable surge or spike module, so there’s no need to replace the whole equipment when it depletes. You also don’t need to hire a technical person because you can plug it in. It has an IP65 rating, so it’s safe to use outdoors with its rain-proof design. Please note that the PWD30 and PWD50 are basic units only. They do not automatically shut down upon error detections. 

Why Should You Purchase This?
If you need a better unit and cheaper than a regular RV surge protector, this is one of the best options for you. Also, Hughes Autoformers offers a special bonus offer in addition to the (3) year warranty. Within the first (2) years of purchase, they will mail you a free replacement unit (1-time) if the surge module is used up. You need to have proof of purchase and evidence that the protector module has been “depleted” entirely.


8. Hughes Autoformers PWD30-EPO

PROS

  • Three (3) Years warranty
  • Wireless monitoring and wireless fault alerts, with automatic emergency shutdown and restoration
  • The mobile app is free on IOS and Android platforms (add-on option for WiFi/Cellular alerts and monitoring, visit www.RVWHISPER.com for details)
  • Replaceable surge module

CONS

  • Mobile app may not support all IOS and Android OS versions.
  • Susceptible to theft if you’re not going to put a security lock on it
  • Water-resistant but not water-proof

SPECIFICATIONS

  • Item Dimension: 12 x 8 x 5 inches
  • Item Weight: 4 pounds
  • Customer Ratings (Max 5): 4.8

This RV surge protector from the Hughes Autoformers is an excellent upgrade from the regular PWD30/PWD50 units. The PWD30-EPO/PWD50-EPO now comes with emergency power off. It will shut down when there’s an error and under or over voltage (below 104V or over 132V). Once the voltage supply is in good and stable condition, it will automatically turn back on.

Another added feature that we love about PWD30-EPO/PWD50-EPO is getting text alerts of dangers before something damaging happens. It also comes with a replaceable surge or spike module. With its plug-n-play feature, you only need to wait for a 4-second delay after plugging it in. For some brands, it is usually more or less 2 minutes.

The unit provides a time delay of 90 seconds and can protect up to 6,500A maximum current spike (for both 30A and 50A versions). Error codes can be seen both on the built-in display and your Smartphone. It comes with a limited warranty of (3) years. Built for outdoor use with an IP65 rating (rain-proof design).

Why Should You Purchase This?
Just like the PWD30/PWD50 version, this surge protector comes with a special bonus offer as well. There’s a (1) free replacement for the surge module within the first (2) years from purchase. You must present their requirements to avail of this offer. The added EPO feature is very convenient and helps avoid damage to your RVs’ electronics and electrical systems.


9. Camco 55301 PD-30 (30AMP) PowerDefender

PROS

  • No installation; it’s plug-and-play.
  • It has under or over voltage indication, with automatic shutdown and restoration.
  • With easy-grip handles for plugging and unplugging

CONS

  • Can only withstand adverse natural outdoor conditions if it’s in an upright position, not water-proof
  • It only has light indicators.
  • It can be susceptible to theft if you don’t secure it with a cable lock.
  • Some users reported melting of the cord due to overheating.

SPECIFICATIONS

  • Item Dimension: 27.5 x 5.4 x 5.9 inches
  • Item Weight: 4.91 pounds
  • Customer Ratings (Max 5): 4.7

This RV surge protector from Camco features a double-ended design with easy-grip handles for almost effortless plugging and unplugging. Its 30A version has two modes of protection, while the 50A has five. It can detect low or high voltage flow (below 102V or above 132V). If there is an unstable supply, it will automatically shut off. Once a stable voltage comes in, it will then automatically restore power to your RV.

You need to wait for approximately 140 seconds until the Green LED stops flashing and glows solid, indicating that the power is ready. The maximum current spike it can take is up to 6,500A per MOV (Metal-Oxide Varistor). Remember to fully insert the plug and store it properly when not in use. 

Although this unit is weather-resistant and usable outdoors, it is not water-proof. It could also withstand any adverse natural outdoor conditions when you use it in an upright position. Please remember to read and carefully follow all instructions that come with it to ensure safety.

Why Should You Purchase This?
The PD-30 (55301) is not just a standard RV surge protector. It can protect your equipment and RV from under or over voltage flow.


10. Southwire Surge Guard 34930 (30A) RV Surge Protector

PROS

  • No installation; it’s plug-and-play.
  • Lifetime warranty
  • Provides full protection with an automatic reset on power restoration
  • Continually monitors and displays voltage and amperage draw.

CONS

  • It can be susceptible to theft if you don’t secure it with a lock.
  • Some are having issues where they can’t fully insert their RV plugs due to the design.
  • Not suitable for low pedestals
  • Must be in an upright position to avoid getting water inside the unit (during heavy rains)

SPECIFICATIONS

  • Item Dimension: 23.25 x 5.5 x 4.25 inches
  • Item Weight: 3.39 pounds
  • Customer Ratings (Max 5): 4.8

The Southwire Surge Guard 34930 can protect your RV from surges, open ground, open neutral (input), elevated ground line voltage, under or over voltage (below 102V or above 132V), overheating receptacle, reverse polarity, and miswired pedestal. As it continuously monitors and displays voltage and amperage draw, it can automatically reset on power restoration with a 10-second countdown startup sequence.

It has an LCD with English-based text and LED indicators for caution and when surge protection is active. The unit design includes an anti-theft lock ring on the cord, but you have to buy the locking kit separately (Southwire has their locking kit, but you can also use a third-party security lock/cable). 

We like that it does not just protect; the Southwire Surge Guard 34930/34950 can also test the wiring conditions of the electric poles/hookups of RV parks and campgrounds. If problems are detected, we recommend that you immediately report the situation to the campground manager before connecting your RV.

Why Should You Purchase This?
It’s not just a surge guard. It analyzes and monitors your electric supply connectivity from the RV park or campground. The Southwire Surge Guard 34930/34950 displays the current amps and volts your RV is using. It protects your vehicle from the under or over voltage, and it gives assurance that your equipment will be safe from these problems.


11. Southwire Surge Guard 34931 (30A)

PROS

  • No installation; it’s plug-and-play.
  • Lifetime warranty
  • Provides full protection with an automatic reset on power restoration
  • Continually monitors and displays voltage and amperage draw.

CONS

  • It can be susceptible to theft if you don’t secure it with a lock.
  • Some are having issues where they can’t fully insert their RV plugs due to the design.
  • Not suitable for low pedestals
  • Must be in an upright position to avoid getting water inside the unit (during heavy rains)

SPECIFICATIONS

  • Item Dimension: 23.25 x 5.5 x 4.25 inches
  • Item Weight: 3.39 pounds
  • Customer Ratings (Max 5): 4.8

The Southwire Surge Guard 34931 (30A)/ 34951 (50A) surge protector is an upgraded version of the 34930 unit. In addition to all the previous model features, the 34931 now comes with a Bluetooth option for an extra wireless display (check latest price on Amazon: 40301 Wireless LCD Display). This optional additional display from Southwire can show up to four previous fault logs and other connectivity statuses. It can operate within a 100-feet range via Bluetooth. You will need three AAA batteries for the wireless display unit. 

Having an optional wireless display for outdoor surge guards is very convenient since you don’t have to go out now and then just to check your electrical connectivity. Although similar to other Bluetooth gadgets, when connecting and syncing to 40301 can sometimes be frustrating. 

Why Should You Purchase This?
It’s a better version of the Southwire 34930/34950 models. The optional wireless display is very convenient. You can continuously monitor your electrical connection wirelessly and be safe from wiring and faulty connections from the RV park.


12. Surge Guard 35550 (50AMP) Hardwired Surge Protector

PROS

  • Lifetime warranty
  • Provides full protection with an automatic reset on power restoration
  • Continually monitors voltage and amperage draw (RMS)
  • Optional remote display compatibility (40300, buy separately)

CONS

  • Installation fee adds to expenses.
  • More expensive than typical surge protectors
  • It only has LEDs for fault indications
  • Poor customer support takes too long to answer emails.

SPECIFICATIONS

  • Item Dimension: 12 x 6 x 4 inches
  • Item Weight: 5.5 pounds
  • Customer Ratings (Max 5): 4.3

The Southwire Surge Guard 35550 model is a hardwired RV surge protector that protects your RV from power surges, open ground, open neutral, reverse polarity, miswired pedestal, high neutral current, and from under or over voltage (below 102V or above 132V) flow as well. It has an automatic reset on power restoration. The integrated LEDs flashes when it detects faults and other progressive errors in the electric power supply.

This model has an optional remote LCD (check latest price on Amazon: 40300) that connects through an RJ12 (6-pin) connector cable (50ft long). You can navigate to the fault screen using the built-in joystick. It is compatible with 35530 and other previous models that have a telecom jack as well.

Since this model is hardwired, we recommend that you hire a certified electrician or authorized technician to install this in your RV. It comes with a lifetime warranty, but you must not tamper or modify the unit to avoid the limited warranty nullification. 

Why Should You Purchase This?
Full protection from surges and other electrical problems is the best selling point of this unit from Southwire. Plus, this 50A version can protect your RV from a high neutral current. You need to purchase the remote display so you can fully utilize the information.


13. Surge Guard 44280 (30AMP)

PROS

  • Limited lifetime warranty
  • With rain-proof cover
  • Analyzes electric power supply  status
  • No installation; plug it in to use

CONS

  • Only protects from surge; no auto shut off.
  • It can be susceptible to theft if you don’t secure it with a lock.
  • Must be in an upright position to avoid getting water inside the unit (not water-proof)
  • Some reported issues of melted or fuse plugs

SPECIFICATIONS

  • Item Dimension: 15.5 x 4.25 x 4.25 inches
  • Item Weight: 1.5 pounds
  • Customer Ratings (Max 5): 4.7

The Surge Guard 44280 (30A) or the 44290 (50A) unit can identify a faulty park where it can indicate if there is an open neutral, open ground, reverse polarity, open circuit, overheating of the plug or receptacle, and fault wirings for Line1 and 2 (50A only). The LED for surge protection status must be on. 

When the unit detects a fault, it will not work and let the electric supply pass. But if it happens during operation, it will not automatically shut down. The surge it can take is about 2,100 Joules for 30A and 4,200 Joules for the 50A version. Although the 44280 and the 4429 are weather-resistant with receptacle cover, they are not completely water-proof. 

You might also want to check out the 44380-30A (check latest price on Amazon: 44380) and 44390-50A (check latest price on Amazon: 44390). With the same features, the 44380 and 44390 are UL/CUL listed and come with a fully enclosed receptacle cover, unlike the 44280/44290 models. Since these are portable units, you need to secure them via cable locks or any third-party security locks, for they are susceptible to theft if left unattended.

Why Should You Purchase This?
It is an inexpensive piece of equipment that can protect your RV from surges. It acts as a tester and analyzes the electric shoreline of the park before you connect your RV. It will save you from damaging your more expensive RV equipment and gadgets.


14. TRC 35530 (30AMP) Surge Protector

PROS

  • Provides full protection with an automatic reset on power restoration
  • Continually monitors voltage and amperage draw (RMS)
  • Optional remote display compatibility (40300, buy separately )

CONS

  • Installation fee adds to expenses.
  • More expensive than typical surge protectors
  • Poor customer support
  • Requires neutral-ground bonding plug for generator (portable) use.

SPECIFICATIONS

  • Item Dimension: 12 x 8 x 10 inches
  • Item Weight: 4.3 pounds
  • Customer Ratings (Max 5): 4.5

The 35530 unit is a hardwired model for a 30A Recreational Vehicle or trailer. You don’t need to worry about damaging the hardwired unit by any natural outdoor conditions or theft. It only has integrated LEDs for fault indications. Although it continuously monitors the amps and volts draw (RMS), you need to purchase an optional remote display (40300). It connects through an RJ12 (6-pin) connector cable (50ft long). 

The warranty only covers when it has proper installation, no defects in materials under regular use for one year from the purchase date. During this period, TRC will repair or replace defective parts without a charge. You must not perform an unauthorized modification, repair, improper installation, or cause any physical damage to the unit to avoid nullification of the warranty. We recommend that you hire a certified and authorized electrician for installation. 

It can protect your coach for up to 6,500A of max spike and up to 2,450 Joules of surge suppression. The time delay upon restart is 128 seconds. It will automatically shut down the electric supply when there is an open ground, open neutral, reverse polarity, miswired pedestal, and under or over voltage (below 102V or above 132V).

Why Should You Purchase This?
Suitable for a 30A RV or trailer. It does not just send you signals or indicators of faulty wiring. It automatically shuts off and restores the supply once it stabilizes. Although, you need to purchase a remote display to monitor the electrical wiring status remotely.


15. TRC 44750 (30AMP) Surge Protector with Shock Shield

PROS

  • Provides shock shield and will automatically shut off upon detection of ground faults
  • Weather-resistant
  • Inexpensive
  • Requires no installation

CONS

  • Only compatible with 30A pop-ups, travel trailers, and RVs
  • Requires manual reset after shutting down from a ground fault detection.
  • It only has a trip indicator (ground fault) and no indicators for other power faults
  • It can be susceptible to theft if you don’t secure it with a lock/cable lock.

SPECIFICATIONS

  • Item Dimension: 24.1 x 4.1 x 2.7 inches
  • Item Weight: 1.65 pounds
  • Customer Ratings (Max 5): 4.6

The TRC 44750 is a surge protector for 30A travel trailers or pop-ups. It features a shock shield and will automatically shut off when there is a ground fault present. If this happens, you will need to reset the connectivity after the ground fault detection manually. The maximum surge it can protect your RV is 510 Joules, a bit low if you’re going to compare it to other models. 

Keep in mind that this model will only protect your RV from shorts and progressive power spikes. It will not detect, indicate, or save your RV from low or high voltages, reverse polarity, open neutral, or other issues that are common from faulty and overloaded campgrounds. The warranty is only (1) year from the date of purchase and will not exceed two years.

Why Should You Purchase This?
It’s a simple surge guard, about 510 Joules with auto shut down when there is a ground fault. It is cheaper than other surge protectors with no other complicated installation.


16. Baylot 55310 Adapter Circuit Analyzer

PROS

  • Compact, no extra cord 
  • No installation, easy to use
  • Acts as a tester and analyzes the electrical condition of the connection
  • Protects from surges

CONS

  • Only available for 30A
  • It only shows indications, no automatic shutdown or restart.
  • Unpopular brand, similar to Camco’s 55310 Adapter

SPECIFICATIONS

  • Item Dimension: 4.33 x 2.17 x 3.15 inches
  • Item Weight: 10.4 ounces
  • Customer Ratings (Max 5): 4.7

The 55310 Adapter from Baylot is similar to Camco’s 55310 Power Defender Circuit Analyzer (check latest price on Amazon: 55310). It is only available for 30A RVs, pop-ups, and travel trailers. The design for this unit is very compact and very lightweight as well (0.65 pounds).

This unit can protect your RV from a maximum surge of 1,050 Joules. It will only test and act as an analyzer to indicate a fault in the electrical wiring. Indications include open neutral, reverse polarity, ground fault, and miswired pedestal.  The 55310 will not automatically shut down and block the supply. We recommend that when your unit detects any problem or defect from the source, you must immediately report it to the campground manager.

55310 comes with a limited warranty of one year from the date of purchase. It is weather-resistant but not water-proof. It is one of the most inexpensive regular RV surge protectors in the market.

Why Should You Purchase This?
It is one of the most inexpensive surge guards and circuit testers in the market. The 55310 is compact and very lightweight. It is effortless to use and requires no installation.


Why you will need an RV Surge Protector: An essential product to consider for your outdoor adventure

You’ll never know when a surge due to a lightning strike will occur. You may be unaware that the electric hookup you’re trying to connect has a miswiring or other faults. Sometimes even the RV Park owners don’t know that their power sources have grounding issues. Having an RV surge protector or an Electrical Management System for your RV is one of the best things to protect your RV and its equipment from unpredictable yet avoidable power issues. 

Its ability to identify a faulty electric supply is one of the benefits of having this protector. Some will provide alerts and test the connectivity before you plug your RV. With some units having an automatic shutdown upon fault detection, others offer continuous monitoring and restore power when the connectivity status becomes stable.

You can do other things to prevent damages from these power issues. You can unplug equipment and gadgets when you’re not using them. Do not overload your RV’s circuits. You must know your RV’s capacity. Using multiple high-powered types of equipment may cause an overload and, worst case, a fire.


Things to Consider Before Buying an RV Surge Protector, Surge Guard, and other Electrical Management Protection Devices

Like any other commodity and equipment for your RV, you have to consider factors that determine what surge protector or EMS suits you best. With all the various models available in the market, selecting the best RV surge protector does not rely on the unit’s specifications only. So, to help you better understand these deciding factors, we listed them down below. 

1. Brands

Here are four of the most well-known companies for producing quality commodities for the automotive industry, specifically RVs.

  • Progressive Industries – This brand manufactures and engineers a wide range of high-quality solutions for the power protection of RVs, motorhomes, travel trailers, vans or truck campers, and many more. They started in 1998, and they used to manufacture in North Carolina. In 2017, Power Products, LCC, announced its acquisition of Progressive Industries. Since then, this partnership continues to develop world-class products and solutions for their customers. However, they’ve reduced their technical support to weekdays only (Mon-Fri), regular business hours. You can still send an email to them if you have inquiries. They moved their production to Juarez, Mexico, after the acquisition. Almost all of their surge protectors and adapters have UL and CSA certifications.
  • Camco – Camco Manufacturing Inc. was founded by Don Caine (C & M Products) in 1966 with (1) product and (1) employee, his wife. In the Mid ’70s, RVing became popular, and they designed more units and new products specifically for RVs.   Fast forward to early 2000, Camco created “PowerGrip” as a new flagship brand. Since then, they have been acquiring other brands and manufacturers and adding more for their armada. Today, they have 1,500 plus employees and five separate manufacturing facilities in the United States.
  • Hughes Autoformers – Hughes Autoformers is known for providing high-quality RV low voltage boosting solutions since 1995. Robert Hughes, their pioneer, was an avid RV enthusiast. They became an inspiration for producing high-performance solutions for RVs, especially when it comes to autoformers. They manufacture their products in Southern California. In 2019, their surge protectors were the 2019 RVIA Product of the Year Runner Up and 2019 RISE Award Finalist. We love their products because, besides the fantastic features, you can access them via their RV Whisper app. It gives you monitoring details about your RV and Power Watchdog units anywhere around the world. Even if you don’t have WiFi, you can still use the app with a limited range of approximately 20-30 feet from your RV or coach.
  • Southwire – Southwire is the source of Surge Guard units. Some of their items have UL or CSA Certifications as well. Roy Richards is the founder of Southwire Company. Since then, they have been acquiring companies and manufacturers, including Coleman Cable, in what they consider as their largest acquisition in the company’s history. In 2011, Coleman Cable, Inc acquired TRC (Technology Research, LLC). In 2014, Southwire acquired both Coleman Cable and TRC. Today, they continue to grow and produce more quality products, including automotive wiring harnesses and electrical motors for their customers throughout the world.

2. Budget and Pricing

Of course, you need to consider your budget range and the pricing of the unit you will purchase. These models’ price ranges from $60 to $300 or more depending on their features and specifications. You can choose from basic to more sophisticated electrical management equipment. Remember that having this equipment is one of the best investments you can get for your trailer. It all comes down to how much you are willing to spend in protecting your RV and its equipment. 

3. Key Features

Below are some of the key features that you should look for when selecting the model you want. 
  • Diagnostic Abilities – Some of the simple and older models will shut down unexpectedly when there is a surge detected, no alerts, etc. Today, modern versions use diagnostic tools to test and identify the power source problems and alert when it sees something. This factor is vital because it will tell you the wiring condition before you even connect your RV.
  • Fault Display and Monitoring – Displays are essential indicators to caution and warn you when there are power irregularities with your electrical hookup. These indicators include LED lights, LCDs displays (text-based), or displays with error codes. Some models feature remote displays via a separate unit or through a mobile app. 
  • Level of Protection – The regular surge protectors can only protect you from a specific limit, usually measured in Joules. Some can protect your RV from miswiring, open grounds, open neutrals, reverse polarity, wire overheating indication, and many more. Others can save your equipment from common problems like under or over voltage as well. We recommend that you always opt for complete protection.
  • UL Seal of Approval and other third-party Certifications – UL Certification is essential, especially if you purchase electronic units. UL (Underwriter Laboratories) is one of the third-party organizations that provide product certification standards that ensure workers’ and consumers’ safety. 

4. Compatibility to your RV

The most important thing to consider is the unit’s compatibility or model to your travel trailer or RV. We listed the following key specifications:

  • Clamping Voltage – This rating will tell you what voltage will the MOVs (Metal Oxide Varistors) to conduct electricity to the ground line. The three levels of protection in the UL rating are 330V, 400V, and 500V. The lower the clamping voltage, the better it protects. In general, more than 400V clamping voltage is too high.
  • Joules Rating –  reduce or suppress the surge to a manageable degree. The faster the time response, the better. Usually, when it restricts voltage passing to your RV, the ideal response time is (1) nanosecond or less.  Generally, the more the joules, the better. This rating will determine how much the unit can protect you from a spike or surge. A model with up to 1000 Joules is adequate for smaller electronics. The Joules will be the basis of the lifespan of your unit. Remember that over time, the parts inside the protector will wear down, reducing its effectiveness.
  • Amperage  – It is one of the most important metrics to determine if the model is compatible with your RV. Amperage will let you know whether you can use it and connect your RV. As an RV owner, you should familiarize yourself with the type of RV you have. Most 30A connectivities will have three prongs, while 50A connections have four prongs.
    We recommend using a 30A surge protector to a 30A RV or trailer and a 50A suppressor to a 50A RV. Some RV can have attachments or adapters known as a dogbone at the end of the power cord. Make sure to check it so you won’t get a false reading and end up choosing a wrong and incompatible surge protector.  
  • Weight and Size – You also have to consider the weight and size of the unit. You install hardwired versions inside your RV, so knowing its dimension and size will help you determine if it’s compatible with your RV. You can look at its weight and size (for the portable units), considering you’ll use it outside and could either be dangling together with your RV plug or the adapter-like models that you can directly plug into the power pedestal.  Some units will have a longer cord. Therefore, they can almost reach the ground sometimes. Using these portable units on a low-type power pedestal may not be the best idea since it can be susceptible to damage when it rains. Water may quickly get into the item during operation.

5. Customer Ratings and Reviews

You must consider user reviews as one of the best indicators that the unit you are looking into is a good model. Reading the reviews of the customers who have used the protector unit is the best way to determine the equipment’s usability and quality. Customer ratings and reviews can give you testimonials from the customer’s perspective and prove if the unit performs well.

Other Features to consider when selecting an RV Surge Protector:

Here are other features to consider as well. These factors may either be vital to you or not, depending on what you need for your RV.

  • Installation Requirements –  The installation will vary depending on what type of protector you want for your RV or coach. Some you can plug and play (portable), and some, you will need a certified electrician (1-time installation) before you can use the unit or model (hardwired). You need to pay an extra fee for the installation. Some EMS units will require an extension cord, while others do not. 
  • Warranty – Manufacturers and brands have different warranty policies. Usually, they give (1) year of limited warranty on the date of purchase. Others will offer a limited lifetime warranty and not cover labor or shipping charges when you return them for repair or replacement. A lifetime warranty usually means that a manufacturer will repair or replace the unit during its expected lifetime. We suggest that you read the manufacturer’s warranty policies to avoid any nullification of the warranty.

Owner’s Guide and other Information about RV Surge Protectors, Surge Guard, Power or Electrical Management Protection Devices

As an RV owner, here’s what you need to know about surge protectors and other electronic units for your RV.

Power Strips, Surge Protectors, and EMS

Power strips are simply expansions of a single outlet and will provide numerous outlets for multiple connectivities. Some of these strips will have surge protector integration but will not be enough for high-powered equipment. Surge protectors, in simple terms, protect your gear from high surges and spikes. The EMS, however, will shield your equipment against all other types of electric power problems and prevent them from damage.  

The most differentiating factor is the EMS’s ability to protect your equipment from under or low voltages. Some surge protectors will have detection, but it does not guarantee to protect you when it happens. Electrical Management Systems will continue to monitor your electric supply and connectivity status. Purchasing an Electrical Management System will cost you more, but it will give you complete protection.

Portable VS Hardwired Protection

A Portable RV surge protector is the one you plug into the power pedestal before connecting your RV. On the other hand, Hardwired is the type of unit that you permanently install inside your RV. You will need a certified electrician or authorized technician for the installation. If you’re going to choose a hardwired model, opt for a model with a modular design. Having separate modules will make it easier to replace the broken parts without purchasing the whole unit.

PROs

Portable

Hardwired

  • You can use it as a tester before you connect your RV plug.
  • Easy to replace
  • No installation
  • Less expensive than hardwired
  • 1-time installation
  • You can view the displays inside your RV. Some are compatible with a remote screen display.
  • You don’t have to worry about natural outdoor conditions.
  • You don’t need to worry about the security of the unit since it’s inside your RV. You won’t leave them behind.

CONs

  • It can be susceptible to theft if you don’t lock it, or you might accidentally leave it behind on the pedestal.
  • It may not be ideal if you connect them to a low-type pedestal during heavy rains and floods present.
  • You may have to check it outside from time to time, especially if it doesn’t have a remote display connected inside your RV or a mobile app.
  • You’ll need a professional to install this unit and will cost an extra fee.
  • Usually more expensive than portable surge protectors
  • Hard to replace, although some units have a modular design where you can easily replace a particular part without removing or replacing the whole unit

Tips (care, maintenance, and other things to remember in general when using a Surge Protector)

  • Make sure the 30A or 50A circuit breaker is turned off at the electric pedestal before you plug in your RV surge protector or RV power cord. Doing this prevents any electricity from arcing between the pedestal and your line.
  • It’s best to check each outlet for any signs of damage like burn marks before plugging it in.
  • When you plug in your surge protector, be sure to check that the light indicators do not show any problems or errors. In case there are errors present, report them immediately to the campground manager.
  • Always consider locking your protector on the pedestal to prevent theft. Some brands offer their security locks, but you can choose to purchase from third-party brands as well.
  • We recommend that you always seek professional help when installing a permanent or hardwired surge guard. Since a standard home’s power needs differ from RVs, make sure that the electrician you are hiring has enough knowledge about RVs and their wireworks. Take note that improper installation will damage, burn out, or cause the RV surge protector to work inefficiently. 
  • Do not overload by plugging in gadgets, equipment, and such at the same time and exceeding your RV’s maximum current rating. Doing so can cause overheating and, in some cases, fire.
  • Unplug idle or unnecessary gadgets and equipment when not in use. You should unhook the RV surge protector if you decide to use an RV generator for your trailer or coach as well. Using RV generators will always display an open ground indication and prevent electricity supply from reaching your RV.
  • Do not directly cover the surge protector with rugs, poufs, or other items that might prevent the heat from escaping. 
  • Remember, it does not last forever. Some units will indicate if or give you an alert if it’s no longer protecting you from surges but will still allow electricity to pass through. Look for that indication so that you’ll know when to replace the surge protector module or the whole unit.
  • Always consider replacing your surge protectors after any large event like a nearby lightning strike or multiple power outages in succession.

FAQs: All About RV Surge Protectors, Surge Guard, and other Electrical Protection Devices for Electronics, Appliances, and Alike

What causes transient voltages or surges?

Power surges or transient voltages usually happen if there is a significant increase in the voltage rate designated in electricity flow. Such progressive increases can destroy your equipment. Anything containing a microprocessor such as TVs, computers, cordless phones, microwaves, and many more can potentially be vulnerable to surges and other power issues. 

Large or high surges can cause instantaneous damage and usually happens when lightning strikes. It can range from frying circuits, melting plastics and other metal parts. Low-level transient voltages are not enough to melt parts but will cause electronic rust that gradually degrades an electronic unit’s internal circuit until it fails. There are also small surges. It doesn’t leave any outward evidence, but it might be happening dozens of times each day without you noticing. 

Here are some factors that can cause a transient or progressive increase in voltage:

  • Lightning strike – is probably the most familiar but one of the least common causes of a surge or spike. In some cases, even if it doesn’t directly hit, a nearby lightning strike can affect a power shoreline, buildings, or running poles. Whether it’s underground or not, it can cause a boost in electric pressure by millions of volts.
  • Operation of high-powered electrical devices – RV appliances include air conditioners, refrigerators, and microwaves. These types of equipment require a lot of power. The switching on or off creates a sudden and brief demand for electric power that can destabilize the system’s voltage flow.
  • Faulty wiring –  sometimes defective wiring from the equipment, overloaded connections from RV electric power hookups, or flawed RV park electrical wiring (especially on old RV camps) can also cause progressive and uneven flow of power or energy fluctuations and transient voltages.  

Can I use a 50A RV Protector on a 30A RV?

We can say that it is possible to use a 50-amp surge protector for a 30-amp RV, but we do not recommend it. Both the 30 and 50-amp protectors will turn off the power when it fluctuates above a certain threshold. The difference is where that threshold lies.

Since a 50-amp protector has a higher threshold, it might not detect and shut off quickly enough to what a 30-amp protector to a 30-amp RV would do. This problem can lead to damages and possibly larger future issues with the power system of your RV.

How do I test if the Surge Protector for my RV is working?

Identifying whether the unit you are using is working or not is very easy and fool-proof. Models available today have a light indicator feature that shows you when it is active. There are also several models with an auto-shutdown mode, where it will automatically shut off your electronics or gadgets when the power surge suppressor wears out. Replacing the item is a must if the light indicator is not lighting up during operation.


Conclusion

From our standpoint, there’s no reason not to get an RV surge protector. However, not all of them are created equal. There are multiple features and price points for surge suppressors. You will get what you pay for with some models and brands. It would help if you based on your RV’s electrical system’s specifications when selecting the best surge protector model.

An electrical management system is a more effective solution than a regular surge protector. It covers and fully protects your RV from all RV park electricity hookup issues. These systems can be more expensive than normal and basic ones, but we assure you that they are worth it. Knowing the basics of what you need and your camping or RVing style will help you find the right protector for you. Investing in this type of equipment is essential because safety should always be your priority.

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