When jumping from one location to another it’s inevitable that you’ll run into a bad power source. Finding a high-quality RV surge protector shields you and your RV from potentially damaging power fluctuations.
In this article, I’ll take you through 10 surge protectors that I believe are worth every penny. I’m splitting the article up into 30 Amp and 50 Amp surge protectors.
- Progressive Industries (30 Amps)
- POWSAF (30 Amps)
- Southwire Surge Guard (30 Amps)
- Hughes Autoformers (30 Amps)
- Briidea Adapter Circuit Analyzer (30 Amps)
- Progressive Industries (50 Amps)
- POWSAF (50 Amps)
- Hughes Autoformers (50 Amps)
- Camco Power Defender (50 Amps)
- HISVICON Surge Protector (50 Amps)
Without further ado, let’s dive straight into the best RV surge protector.
1. Progressive Industries (30 Amps)
If you’re looking for a reliable RV surge protector from an established brand, the
Progressive Industries 30 Amp is a solid option backed up with a lifetime warranty
Sturdy and weather-resistant, it is simple to use and packs some useful features into its clean design.
A trio of diagnostic LEDs help diagnose pedestal wiring faults and prevent your RV
circuit from being instantly fried upon connection.
Housed in durable Lexan® plastic, it is hard-wearing and boasts thermal protection to protect against overheating.
Handily, it also has a locking bracket to help secure it from sticky-fingered campers. Although you will need a separate lock and chain.
Although the surge rating of 825 joules (22,500A) is unremarkable, it is UL certified and reacts in less than one nanosecond to protect against electrical surges.
The drawback with a low surge rating is that the equipment may not survive a significant power spike. And the warranty will not cover replacing the item; it is not considered a defect when it does the job of protecting your equipment from a power surge.
Unlike a few other options we’ll look at in this list, it doesn’t cut the circuit in the event of a low voltage brownout or high voltage overload.
But it is a great all-rounder that does all the important things you would expect from a leading plug-and-use RV surge protector.
- Easy to read circuit analysis
- Lifetime warranty against defects
- Sturdy yet lightweight
- Low surge rating
- No power off for low/high V
- Tiny weather guard connectors
2. POWSAF (30 Amps)
When looking for an RV surge protector that is portable, convenience matters. The
POWSAF 30 Amp protector taps into that need with an easy pull handles and simple, powerful features.
Boasting a comparatively high surge rating of 4,100 joules, this device has the added benefit of protecting against low-voltage brownouts. These two features help it stand out from many similar products.
For added reassurance, this has a 3 level surge protection system. That’s 2 more than many models out there. The addition of a transient voltage suppressor (TVS) and gas discharge tube (GDT) really helps push that surge rating up.
LED indicators help you identify any problems with the pedestal wiring before plugging in your RV. The Power Watch Dog – the manufacturer’s catchy name for the function – readily highlights problems with reverse polarity or the grounding of your power source.
As you would expect, the device is weather-resistant. And although this sports big, easy-grip handles, it is slightly unwieldy at 16 in long and flimsier than some similarly priced products.
Some campers have also reported problems with the connectors being too loose in
pedestal sockets. This might explain why the manufacturer only offers a 36-month
warranty against defects.
But if you are looking for a unit with a high surge rating that is quick and easy to use, this RV surge protector fits the bill.
- 3 level surge protection
- Reliable circuit analysis tool
- Easy-grip handles
- Less robust than similar units
- Only 36 month warranty
- Loose fitting connectors
3. Southwire Surge Guard (30 Amps)
The first thing that stands out about this device is the price. Although more expensive than some portable RV surge protectors, this unit packs a lot in.
A sturdy piece of equipment, it includes a digital display that is easy to read and alerts you to any wiring issues. Such as reverse polarity, miswired pedestals, and grounding faults.
But if you’re curious, you can also discover just how much power your RV is eating up. This is a feature more commonly found in expensive integrated Electrical Management Systems (EMS).
It comes with some tasty specs too. Protected against both low voltage brownouts and high voltage surges, it offers multi-mode surge protection with a rating topping out at 2,450 Joules.
Should it cut the power supply, it will reset itself so you can stay curled up in the warmth of your RV. And it puts some devices in the shade with a swift 10-second start-up sequence.
Constructed using high-grade brass, the manufacturer is confident enough to offer a limited lifetime warranty.
If that’s not enough, it has patented Easy-T-Pull handles for convenience. And to stop it ‘walking away’ while you sleep, a handy lock ring makes it easy to secure.
What’s not to like? Well, this is a device that delivers a lot, but the design is not perfect.
Notably, the protection around the connectors can be obtrusive, with some questions about just how weatherproof it is. And the unit itself is unusually bulky for a portable device.
- Multi-mode surge protection
- Digital display inc. power monitor
- Quick start-up sequence
- Bulkier than other units
- Concerns about weather proofing
- Tricky to fit in some pedestals
4. Hughes Autoformers (30 Amps)
The Hughes Autoformers 30 Amp – aka Power Watchdog – comes with a striking design, plenty of features, and a smartphone app that sets it apart from other portable RV surge protectors.
First, let’s cover the basics.
The surge rating tops out at a respectable 2,400 Joules. It features Emergency Power Off (EPO), which will instantly cut the electric supply during a power surge or electrical fault.
It also cuts the power in the less common event of a power brownout, when voltage
levels dip below 104 Volts.
And should it power off, it will reset itself after 90 seconds once the power has
It also checks the other boxes for essential features. Weatherproof design, easy pull
handles, and a handy locking bracket. But this device has its very own USP, and it is not the intimidating dog motif.
Unusually, this device comes with Bluetooth connectivity and a smartphone app (iOS and Android).
This allows you to monitor performance and usage without leaving the comfort of your RV, or even the couch. If you can find a good reason, you can even remotely monitor via the internet.
Last but not least, it comes with a limited lifetime warranty. For such an intricate device, this may be useful.
So, what are the drawbacks?
For starters, this device is bigger than many other devices, weighing in at a hefty 5
pounds. And while the app is useful, the display on the device is difficult to read. This puts the emphasis on using the app, which may not suit everyone.
It also inexplicably displays a bright, undimmable light when in use. You won’t be able to use this discretely; securing it is a must.
- Power off for surges
- Bluetooth app is convenient
- Limited lifetime warranty
- Bigger and bulkier than most
- Smartphone app is not perfect
- Unnecessarily illuminated
5. Briidea Adapter Circuit Analyzer (30 Amps)
Following on from the previous feature-rich RV surge protector, we have the no-frills Briidea Adapter Circuit Analyzer. One for the budget-conscious, this basic unit does a surprising amount for a low, low price.
The first thing that leaps out is just how small the device is. Weighing a nanoscopic 8 ounces, it is about the same size as a plug adapter. It will readily pop inside your glove compartment.
You will also notice that it lacks a digital display. Remarkably, the small LED lights will help you find pedestal wiring faults. The table posted on the unit helps you make sense of the light sequences. Arguably, it pays for itself with this function alone.
It also has a surge rating of 1,050 Joules, which is not too shabby for such a small
Inevitably, such a compact device has drawbacks. Aside from the comparatively
complicated system for identifying wiring faults, it can be awkward to handle.
Unsurprisingly, it also lacks some useful features found in higher-priced units: no
automatic reset after a power surge, no protection against low-voltage brownouts, not durable enough to survive a significant power surge.
Oh, and there is no way to secure it. But at this price, that’s unlikely to concern many.
- Pedestal fault diagnostic display
- Pocket-sized and takes up no space
- Pocket money price
- No automatic reset function
- Tricky to understand the display
- Limited durability
6. Progressive Industries (50 Amp)
Having looked at the 30 Amp solutions, it’s time to check out the 50 Amp devices for power-hungry users.
This RV surge protector from Progressive Industries boasts similar features to its 30 Amp cousin but doubles the surge rating to 1,650 Joules.
It is a tough, weatherproof device that is easy to use.
It offers reliable circuit analysis to protect against wiring faults at the source, including open ground and open neutral faults. It also checks for reverse polarity on both power lines that form a 50 Amp shore power source.
To protect all those devices running off your 50 Amp power cable, it will cut power
when it surges above 132 volts and if the power drops below 104 volts.
UL certified and approved in Canada, this comes with a lifetime warranty against defects.
On the downside, the surge rating is comparatively low. There’s little doubt it will do its job and protect your RV circuits during a surge, but it will not reset itself and may not be good to use again after a huge power spike.
And while the LED display is simple enough to use, it could be considered inadequate when set against RV surge protectors with detailed digital displays.
- Very detailed circuit analysis
- Protects from voltage faults
- Robust, clean design
- Low surge rating
- No automatic reset
- Bulky unit
7. POWSAF (50 Amp)
If you’re looking for an RV surge protector with a standout surge rating, the POWSAF 50 Amp offers protection up to a lofty 4,100 Joules.
Not only that, it offers a unique and sophisticated 3-level surge protection circuit. In addition to the typical metal oxide varistor, there is a gas discharge tube and
transient voltage suppresser. Extra layers of protection to safeguard your RV circuits, allowing you to relax and enjoy the show during a lightning storm.
And to save you from having to step outside during bad weather, it will automatically reset after a power surge or brownout.
The unit also boasts a clear LED display to test shore power sources for the usual faults, including reverse polarity and badly wired pedestals.
For ease of use, it has quick-pull handles and a tough exterior that has been proofed against all weather conditions.
Although this unit delivers all the key requirements, it only has a 36-month warranty.
It could also be improved with a locking bracket, although threading a bike chain
through the pull handle could do the job in a pinch.
- 3-level surge protection system
- Automatic reset after surges
- Easy pull handles
- Short warranty against defects
- No locking bracket
- Awkward fit for some pedestals
8. Hughes Autoformers (50 Amp)
Another appearance in this guide for the Power Watchdog, with good reason because it packs a lot in.
Important to note, this is NOT a portable RV surge protector. This needs to be hardwired into your RV by a professional electrician.
But it’s worth the extra effort and expense because this is a complete Electrical
Management System with some standout specs.
You get a high surge rating of 4,800 Joules and a unit that gets working within 4 seconds of being plugged in (it can take up to 2 minutes for similar products). You also get an Emergency Power Off function that protects against power surges and low-voltage brownouts.
As expected with a higher-end unit, it automatically resets if there is an issue. However, if the unit does overload, you will not have to replace a fuse within the box before it comes back to life.
And when the sun is blazing and your AC unit is working overtime, the unit activates a 90-second delay before resetting which helps preserve AC unit compressors. On the flip side, power-hungry AC units can also trigger the emergency power off, which can leave your RV overheating when you’re not around to fix it. Pet owners beware.
Just like the 30 Amp portable version, this comes with a handy smartphone app. Not only will this alert you to electrical problems, it lets you monitor usage so you can find out just how much energy your devices use.
This is an affordable EMS, but it does require the additional expense of hardwiring.
Plus, not everyone will be on board with using the smartphone app, not least with its short Bluetooth range which may incorrectly warn of a power fault when disconnected. And if you need your AC unit on at all times, the sensitivity of this surge protector could be a negative.
- Emergency power off system
- Starts up quickly
- Easy to replace inner fuse
- App has notable limitations
- EPO can be to sensitive
- Needs hardwiring before use
9. Camco Power Defender (50 Amp)
The Camco Power Defender is a solid piece of kit that covers all the surge protection bases.
An upper-end surge rating of 4,200 Joules is complemented with protection from both high and low voltage faults. It has an auto-connect and disconnect feature, so it will reactivate itself once normal power is restored.
It comes with a straightforward LED display to diagnose any issues with campsite
Weatherproof and more rugged than similar devices, it has chunky handles for ease of use. The drawback is that makes this one of the bigger units in our guide, weighing a hefty 6.82 pounds.
As you can see, it checks all the right boxes. But there are a couple of points that count against it.
The unit lacks a quick reboot in the event of powering off, which causes a potentially frustrating 140-second delay before you get back online.
It also lacks a decent warranty. And the big solid design can count against it on some campsites, as it may not neatly fit the onsite pedestal.
- High surge rating of 4.200 joules
- Automatic reconnect
- Simple diagnostic LED panel
- Lacks a quick reset functionality
- Chunky design is inconvenient
- Warranty is limited
10. HISVICON Surge Protector (50 Amp)
We round out this guide to the best RV surge protectors with one of the least featurerich products, but one that offers great value at a low price.
The pocket-sized HISVICON Surge Protector offers a surge protection rating of 3,150 Joules.
As you might expect, this little unit only protects against power surges. You won’t get any protection against low-voltage brownouts and this will not restart after a power surge.
You do get a couple of LED lights to reassure you that it is working. But that’s all you get. There is no circuit analysis to identify faults with the power source.
The warranty is short (90 days) and it will almost certainly need replacing after any big power spikes.
And while it is packaged in flame-retardant material, it is not protected against all
What you get is a simple surge protector that will safeguard your electrical equipment against everyday power surges. It is a no-frills device that does what it says on the packet. Just don’t expect anything more.
- Surge rating of 3.150 joules
- Weighs just 9.9 ounces
- Cheap to replace if burned out
- No fault diagnostic panel
- Feature-less surge protection
- No weather-proofing
Frequently asked questions
Let’s take a closer look at some of the questions you may stumble upon when looking for an RV surge protector.
What is an RV surge protector?
An RV surge protector is an electrical device that functions as a protective layer between the power outlet on your campsite and the inlet in your RV.
The device is either plugged directly into the power source before connecting your RV power cable or wired directly into the electrical circuit of your RV.
It protects your electronics and batteries from high-voltage power surges (sudden
increases in voltage). The surge protector will divert the extra electricity into the unit’s grounding wire if a power surge suddenly occurs.
It diverts power almost instantly, stopping it from traveling through your RV circuit.
Many surge protectors will also disconnect the electricity supply to protect against
ongoing power spikes.
Power surges can be caused by faulty electrical pedestals on campsites, a surge
throughout the power network, and lightning strikes.
Quality surge protectors also protect against a phenomenon known as brownouts, low-voltage problems (less than 100 volt supply) typically caused by power station
transformer failures. This can cause problems with electrical devices overheating,
notably air-conditioning units.
How to choose an RV surge protector?
The first decision that matters is whether your RV is running a 30 Amp circuit or 50 Amp circuit.
If you get a surge protector with the wrong Amp rating, you will need an adaptor to use it. But it is better to simply buy the correct surge protector.
The next consideration is whether you want to use a less-expensive portable RV surge protector or a hardwired Electrical Management System (EMS).
They both have their benefits, but a portable surge protector typically lacks some of the features found with EMS units. But they are also cheaper, convenient to use, and you can find some that offer similar features to EMS devices.
An EMS needs to be wired into the electrical circuit of your RV by a qualified electrician.
Both types of surge protectors come with a range of features and specifications that will influence your decision
What is the best surge protector for an RV?
The best surge protector will vary from user to user. Our list includes some of the best on the market.
The most important factors will be the surge rating and additional circuit analysis tools.
Surge ratings are typically measured in units of energy, Joules. The higher the number, the more durable it is. This can determine how well the equipment will survive an overwhelming power spike.
Circuit analysis tools found on many surge protectors enable you to diagnose any faults with the power source before you even plug in your RV.
This can include faults such as reverse polarity, open and neutral grounding, and other wiring faults. Shoddy electrical maintenance is commonplace on RV campgrounds. Circuit analysis offers an extra layer of protection for your electrical devices and batteries.
After these two critical factors, other considerations should be based upon how you
intend to use the surge protector.
These can include:
- Whether it automatically resets after a power spike or fault. Not all of them do.
- How long does it take to reset? Many will take around 2 minutes to reset.
- For portable RV surge protectors, weatherproofing is essential.
- You may also prefer a unit with easy-grip handles.
- Additional data about your electricity usage, whether via a digital display or even a smartphone app, can be useful.
As covered in our guide, the Progressive Industries 50 and 30 Amp portable RV surge protectors check many of these boxes at an affordable price.
How to keep your RV surge protector from getting stolen?
When you’re spending upwards of $100 on a piece of kit that is left unattended outside your RV, it is sensible to take theft precautions.
Some campsites will have lockable electric pedestals that secure the device, with only room for the cable to protrude.
But they are not found everywhere, and sometimes your portable surge protector will be too big to make use of this protection.
To counter that, many portable surge protectors come with a locking bracket. This is usually a ring attached to the unit that you thread a lock and cable through to secure it to the pedestal.
Other portable surge protectors have robust handles that can fulfill the same function. But there also exists a range of products specifically designed to secure portable RV surge protectors. These range from simple lockable boxes to locks fitted with alarms that will wake up the entire campsite if anyone tries to walk away with your surge protector
How to lock your RV surge protector?
The easiest, and arguably, most effective method is a simple lock and chain. Whether you use a python cable or chunky metal chain, this method will deter everyone but the most determined thief.
This is a simple procedure if the surge protector has a locking bracket or ring and the campsite pedestal has a corresponding hole. Just make sure to buy a cable that fits through the ring.
A more basic method is to crudely wrap the chain around the cable of your surge
protector and the pedestal pole. Wrap tightly, then fix it with a solid padlock.
How to install your RV surge protector?
One of the benefits of a portable surge protector is that they are a plug-and-use
You insert the correct connector into the campsite pedestal, also known as the shore power source. Then connect your RV power cable to the opposing connector.
If your surge protector has a circuit analysis function – a useful feature – you should check the readings before connecting your RV power cable. This will warn you of faults before any of your precious electrical devices are even connected.
Once you get the all-clear, you can connect your RV circuit to the device.
In many cases, you will have to wait a short period before the circuit is live, usually no more than 2 minutes.
In the event of a power surge, some units will reset themselves. Some will need
disconnecting and plugging back in. If the power spike was unusually high, like with a direct lightning strike, the unit may need replacing.
That’s a wrap. I really can’t underline the importance of picking up a surge protector for your camper. Should you run into a bad power source when jumping from location to location, you won’t risk damaging the batteries in your RV.
You might also consider looking into travel trailer insurance if you want to make sure not to run into unexpected financial problems.