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How To Buy The Best RV Surge Protector For Your RV?

RVing is a fun thing to do. While you are camping outside, you might have some pretty expensive electronics inside your trailer. And if you want to protect these appliances from electrical damage, a surge protector for your RV is what you need.

The Progressive Industries EMS-HW30C is the best 30 amps surge protector for RVs money can buy. On the other hand, Progressive Industries EMS-PT50X is one of the best 50 amps RV surge protectors out there. Both are amazing in terms of build quality, can handle really high voltage spikes, and offers complete protection against any possible electrical issues.

However, these products might not be suitable for everyone because of their price tags. That’s why I’ve come up with a list of top-rated 30 amps and 50 amps surge protectors for RVs in this article. Here, I will also explain why you need this product for your motorhome and talk about the things you need to consider before buying one.

Do You Need An RV Surge Protector For Your RV?

Yes, you do. RV surge protectors not only protect the electrical appliances that are inside your trailer from power surges but also shield them from low voltage and incorrect wiring issues that can potentially damage them.

RV surge protectors can prevent such damage. These devices shield your trailer’s electrical appliances from multiple potentially damaging issues. These are discussed below:

Power Surges

When too much electricity runs through the electrical wiring to your trailer, this can damage electrical components in your RV. And lightning is the most common cause of this power surge problem.

When lightning strikes, you will notice a drastic increase in voltage, which RV power surges are capable of handling, thus keeping your RV’s appliances safe from electrical damage. However, sometimes, these devices might end up fried because of this large spike in voltage. In that case, you will need to purchase a replacement.

This might seem a slight inconvenience to you. But the cost of purchasing a new surge protector will seem minuscule to you when you compare it with the replacement cost of the fried electrical appliance that would’ve occurred if your RV was not protected by this device.

Incorrect Wiring

Incorrect wiring is another thing that can potentially damage your trailer’s electrical appliances. An electrical connection can become faulty in multiple ways, from loose connection and disintegrated electrical wires to an inexperienced/unqualified electrician who modified or set up wires incorrectly.

And if that happens, the damage could already be done to the electrical appliances inside your camping trailer even before you realize there is something wrong with the wiring. In this case, you will need to spend a huge amount of money on replacing and repairing things.

Just installing a good-quality RV surge protector in your trailer can rid you of this headache.

Voltage is Too Low

Most people are aware of how damaging high voltages are towards electrical components. But only a handful of people know low voltage can cause just as much damage as high voltages.

When it comes to electrical voltage, it is a constantly changing electrical unit that can either jump to high levels or drop very low in a matter of moments. And if your RV is not equipped with a device that is continuously monitoring it all, your trailer will always be at risk of potential electrical damage.

The low voltage issue is more common when you are in a campsite packed with trailers. As each of these RVs is drawing power from the camp’s power supply, this can easily overload the campsite’s power supply, leading to your RV getting lower voltage than it was supposed to.

And if your RV is not getting the electrical power that it was supposed to (lower than 104 VAC), this can seriously damage the electrical appliances onboard. A huge power drop (brownout) is much more damaging than a power surge.

That’s why it is very important you install an RV surge protector in your trailer so that it can shut off power in such an event. Otherwise, these low-voltage issues can cost you thousands of dollars in replacing and repairing damaged electrical appliances.

 

 

Things to Consider Before Buying An RV Surge Protector

Consider that RV surge protectors are basically lifesaving equipment for your RV. You need to buy the best one you possibly can afford. In order to get the best possible RV surge protector for your trailer, there are certain things you need to consider. These are discussed below:

  • Type of The RV Surge Protector

You can find two types of RV surge protectors in the market – the first one is regular surge protectors and the other one is known as EMS (Electrical Management System). When it comes to regular surge protectors, they only shield your RV’s electrical appliances from large voltage spikes.

On the flip side, an EMS system provides complete protection from power spikes, low voltage, open grounds, reverse polarity, and open neutral issues. Whenever the electrical management system (EMS) in your RV senses any issues that can potentially cause damage to your trailer and the appliances onboard, it shuts off the electrical power immediately.

However, an EMS tends to cost way more than a regular surge protector. That’s why many RVers opt for regular surge protectors to save some money. However, I will recommend you to get both an EMF and regular surge protector if money is of no concern to you.

And this will provide you the best possible protection against any possible electrical problems that your trailer might come across.

  • 30 Amp Or 50 Amp

As mentioned before, different trailers use different power ratings. Usually, RVs use either 30 amps or 50 amps connection. And if you want to protect your RV and all the appliances on board, you will need to know which power connection your motorhome uses before buying an RV surge protector.

You can identify which type of connection your motorhome uses is by looking at the number of prongs on your RV’s shore power connector cord. A 50 amps connector cord will have 4 prongs whereas a 30 amps connector cord will have 3 prongs.

After you’ve correctly determined your motorhome’s connection’s power rating, then you can proceed to look for a properly rated RV surge protector that matches all your requirements.

  • Portable or Permanent

Like power rating, you also have the option to choose between a portable and a permanent surge for your motorhome.

Portable RV Surge Protector

This type of surge protector offers the best “plug & play” option. You will need to plug one end of the portable surge protector into the available power station’s female power outlet and the other end of your trailer’s shore power cord. And when you are leaving the campsite, you can simply unplug it, and store it inside your RV.

Permanent RV Surge Protector

This type of surge protector is directly hardwired to your RV. Usually, these devices are installed underneath your motorhome, in the same compartment that you use to access your trailer’s shore power cord.

Note: Both permanent and portable RV surge protectors come with their own benefits and drawbacks. However, I will recommend you get a permanent protector for your motorhome. They are much more reliable and durable as opposed to portable ones.

  • Additional Features

Here are some of the additional features that you should look for in an RV power surge protector:

Weather-Resistant: This feature is really important for RV surge protectors. They should be able to withstand adverse weather conditions. Usually, these protectors are built with weather-resistant materials or come with a plastic cover.

Size: An ideal RV surge protector is not bulky or heavy. Keep that in mind as the main idea behind RVing is to travel light.

LED Light Indicators: Make sure the surge protector comes with LED light indicators. This will make the diagnostic process very easy.

Polarity Check: this feature will make sure the correct connection of the electrical lines and neutral conductors.

UL Certification: This is perhaps the most important feature you should look for in an RV surge protector. A product that is UL certified means it has passed all the safety checks and meets all the standards for safety. However, Underwriters Laboratories (UL) is not the one to provide such safety certification. So, make sure your RV’s surge protector comes with similar certification.

Joule Rating: The joule rating indicates how much an RV surge protector can handle excess energy. The higher this rating is for such protectors the better.

Response Time: This indicates how fast a surge protector will respond in the event of a voltage spike. The lower this number is, the better.

Extra Safety Features: A good quality surge protector will have an emergency shut-off switch or/and an alarm. They also should be able to prevent electric shocks and fire.

Locks: Having a lock ensures that your RV’s surge protector won’t get stolen. If it doesn’t come with a lock, you can use an RV surge protector lockbox to prevent it from stealing.

EMS Key Features: If you are getting an EMS over a regular surge protector, make sure it comes with an LED display. This will make the monitoring process much easier.

Warranty: When you purchase a surge protector, make sure it comes with a warranty. Usually, the industry-standard warranty only covers the protector itself. But some may include connected equipment/device coverage if they are damaged.

Best 30 Amps RV Surge Protectors

Here are the top 3 best 30-amp surge protectors for you RV:

1. Progressive Industries EMS-HW30C

When it comes to RV surge protectors, the Progressive Industries EMS-HW30C is the best of the best there is out there. It is a permanent EMS system suitable for any type of RV.

This product can operate in a wide range of temperatures (- 40° Celsius to 105° Celsius) and has a high joules and amps rating. And it can protect your RV from over ten different electrical issues including low and high voltages, open grounds, low and high frequencies, and much more.

Not to mention it comes with an LED display. So you can easily identify the source of the problem. The Progressive Industries EMS-HW30C also offers a lifetime warranty for this product. So, if anything unfortunate happens to your surge protector, Progressive Industries has you covered.

Specifications

  • Manufacturer: Progressive Industries
  • Country of Origin: United States
  • Weight: 3 lbs
  • Joules Rating: 1,790 J
  • Dimensions: 5” x 9” x 5”

Features

Wide Operating Temperature Range: The Progressive Industries EMS-HW30C can operate between – 40° Celsius to 105° Celsius without even breaking a sweat.

Lifetime Warranty: This product comes with a lifetime warranty. So, if anything happens, Progressive Industries has got your back.

Pros

  • Install just one time and that’s all

  • Offers protection against all types of electrical issues

  • UL certified

  • Lifetime warranty

Cons

  • Costly

  • Need to hire a professional for installing the product

2. Southwire Surge Guard EMS 35530

This is another hardwired surge protector that I’ve included in this list. The Southwire Surge Guard EMS 35530 is very popular among RVers for its ability to effectively protect trailers from electrical issues.

It has a very high joules rating. So, no matter how high the voltage spike is, this product can handle the excess power without breaking a sweat. Other than that, it also provides protection against miswired pedestals, open neutrals, and grounds, reverse polarity, elevated neutral current conditions, and low voltage issues.

The Southwire Surge Guard EMS 35530 also has a 128-seconds delay feature. This feature offers additional protection to your motorhome’s AC compressor unit from any sort of electrical issues.

Specifications

  • Manufacturer: 3A Technology
  • Country of Origin: Honduras
  • Weight: 4.3 lbs
  • Joules Rating: 2,450 J
  • Dimensions: 12” x 8” x 10”

Features

Automatic Reset Feature: The Southwire Surge Guard EMS 35530 surge protector is equipped with an automatic reset feature. This enables the protector to restore your RV’s power immediately after the electrical issue has been resolved.

High Joules Rating: This RV surge protector is capable of handling 2,450 joules of excess energy from a voltage spike.

Pros

  • Affordable price

  • Easy installation

  • Required to set up only one time

  • Optional LCD display for remote monitoring

Cons

  • Comes with a one-year warranty only

3. Southwire Surge Guard 34930 Portable Protector

This is yet another Southwire product that I’ve included in this list, and for good reasons. Southwire Surge Guard 34930 is a portable surge protector that is compatible with any RV.

This protector offers a portable solution against multiple electrical issues including low and high voltages, plug/receptacle overheating, incorrect wiring, and much more. Like the previous Southwire product that I’ve mentioned in this article, it also comes with an LCD display through which you can monitor your RV’s voltage and current amps.

The Southwire Surge Guard 34930 Portable Protector also comes with a built-in locking cord. So you can rest assured nobody will be able to steal it when you are not looking.

Specifications

  • Manufacturer: ‎Southwire
  • Country of Origin: ‎Honduras
  • Weight: 3.39 lbs.
  • Joules Rating: 2,450 J
  • Dimensions: 23.25” x 5.5” x 4.25”

Features

LCD Display: The Southwire Surge Guard 34930 Portable Protector is equipped with an LCD screen through which you can monitor the voltage and amp levels of your RV’s electrical systems.

Auto Shut Off Feature: This product comes with an auto shut off feature. If it detects any anomaly in the electrical system, it will automatically shut off the power which provides extra safety to your electrical appliances.

Pros

  • Portability

  • Offers complete electrical protection

  • Comes with a lifetime warranty

Cons

  • Not UL certified

  • Doesn’t have a handle which makes connecting and disconnecting it a bit tricky

Best 50 Amps RV Surge Protectors

Here are the top 3 best 50-amp surge protectors for you RV:

1. Progressive Industries EMS-PT50X

If you are looking for the best 50 amps portable surge protector for your RV, then this is the one you should get. When it comes to the portable EMS options, the Progressive Industries EMS-PT50X is the best in its class.

It has a really high surge protection rating. Not to mention this surge protector has weather-resistant housing. So, no matter what the weather condition is, you can rest easy knowing that your RV and the onboard appliances will stay safe.

Specifications

  • Manufacturer: Progressive Industries
  • Country of Origin: Mexico
  • Weight: 5 lbs.
  • Joules Rating: 3,580 J
  • Dimensions: 18” x 6.25” x 5”

Features

High Amps and Joules Rating: The Progressive Industries EMS-PT50X has a joules and amps rating of 3,580 joules and 88,000 amps respectively.

Locking Bracket: This Surge protector is equipped with a built-in locking bracket that prevents others from stealing it.

Pros

  • High amps and joules rating

  • Easy to set up

  • Comes with an LED display

  • Equipped with a built-in locking bracket

  • Comes with a lifetime warranty

Cons

  • Can only be used in the vertical orientation

  • A bit bulky

  • Expensive

2. Camco 55306 50 AMP Power Defender Voltage Protector

The Camco 55306 50 AMP Power Defender Voltage Protector is definitely among the top-rated portable RV surge protectors out there. It is a feature-packed product and has excellent durability.

This product is built to withstand the harshest of weather conditions. It offers protection against reverse polarity, open grounds, open neutral, and other wiring issues. Not to mention it has a very high joules rating (up to 4,200 joules for 50 amps connection).

The Camco 55306 50 AMP Power Defender Voltage Protector also comes with diagnostic LED indicators. This can help in providing useful information to RV owners about different electrical issues so that they can address the problem.

Specifications

  • Manufacturer: ‎Camco
  • Country of Origin: China
  • Weight: 6.82 lbs.
  • Joules Rating: 4,200 J
  • Dimensions: 27.5” x 5.4” x 5.9”

Features

Diagnostic LEDs: These LED indications provide a clear indication of faults when you connect your RV to a shore power outlet.

Weather Resistant: This surge protector can operate even in the harshest possible weather conditions. But for that, you will need to install it in the upright position.

Pros

  • Very high surge protection rating

  • Equipped with auto-connect/shut off feature

  • The diagnostic LED indicators provide extra convenience

  • Can withstand extreme weather conditions

3. Progressive Industries SSP-50XL Surge Protector

If you are looking for an affordable surge protector for your RV, the Progressive Industries SSP-50XL Surge Protector will be the right choice for you. It has an excellent build quality and is packed with features that you can expect only in top-tier protectors that cost almost double.

It can absorb up to 1,650 joules of energy and can detect open grounds and neutrals and reverse polarity. Also, it has diagnostic LED indicators that will give you warnings in case of any incorrect wiring issues. It also comes with a built-in thermal protection cover to provide extra safety to your RV’s electrical systems.

With the convenience it provides, this product is a bang for the buck considering its price point.

Specifications

  • Manufacturer: Progressive Industries
  • Country of Origin: Mexico
  • Weight: 2.2 lbs
  • Joules Rating: 1,650 J
  • Dimensions: 14” x 5” x 3.5”

Features

UL Certified: The Progressive Industries SSP-50XL Surge Protector is Underwriters Laboratories (UL) certified which means this product meets all the standards for safety.

Locking Bracket: Built-in locking bracket in the Progressive Industries SSP-50XL Surge Protector prevents it from getting stolen.

Pros

  • Inexpensive

  • Weather-resistant

  • Thermally protected

  • Easy to plug in/disconnect

Cons

  • Has a relatively lower joules rating

Conclusion

When you search the market for an RV surge protector, you will find plenty of options available for you. But don’t just pick one because you were impressed by the product’s title or aesthetics. Do your research and make sure it has all the safety features.