One of the best parts of having an RV is enjoying life off the grid. Even when you’re deep in the wilderness, you’ll need to have a few modern comforts. And having modern amenities means one thing: using a surge protector to safeguard your electrical appliances is fundamental.
The dizzying array of options makes selecting the right one rather tricky. To help you figure it out, we’re going to compare our top picks for the best RV surge protector. We’ll also go over some tips and tricks in our handy buying guide to ensure that your investment will last for years to come and help keep your electrical system protected. Let’s get started.
Our Favorite RV Surge Protectors
|Best RV Surge Protectors||Category|
|Progressive Industries SSP-30XL Surge Protector (30 Amp)||Best 30 Amp Surge Protector|
|Progressive Industries SSP-50XL Surge Protector (50 Amp)||Best 50 Amp Surge Protector|
|Camco 55301 30 Amp RV Power Defender||Most Durable Surge Protector|
|Camco Heavy Duty Dogbone RV Circuit Analyzer||Easy to Use Option|
|TRC Surge Guard 44260 Portable Surge Protector||Most Affordable RV Surge Protector|
A Deeper Look at Our Top Picks
In this section, we’re going to take an in-depth look at each of these RV surge protectors. We’ll discuss what features set them apart, what we like, what we don’t like, and some pros and cons to each.
Best 30 Amp Surge Protector
Progressive Industries SSP-30XL Surge Protector (30 Amp)
We’re kicking things off with the Progressive Industries SSP-30XL Surge Protector, which is our pick for the best 30-amp surge protector. This trustworthy and reliable brand is a staple in the RV world, and with good reason. They provide excellent value for money that will keep your appliances safe from damaging power surges. Users love it.
They love it because it’s portable, so you don’t have to install it, and because it’s got a sleek, low profile design. The SSP-30XL has several protection features that RV owners will find useful, like thermal protection and a surge failure indicator that alerts you to fluctuations in power. It also includes a polarity tester so that you can check the status of a power source before using it.
You won’t have to worry about it being stolen as it comes with a locking bracket, and the rugged pull handle will help you plug it and unplug with ease. Overall, the only real drawback is that it doesn’t come with an LCD like many other comparable models.
- Comes with an excellent lifetime warranty
- Well-suited to outdoor use
- Highly portable
- No LCD
Best 50 Amp Surge Protector
Progressive Industries SSP-50XL Surge Protector (50 Amp)
Considering Progressive Industries’ reputation in electrical protection, it’s no surprise that the SSP-50XL won the title of the best 50-amp surge protector. This product is one of the best when it comes to keeping your electrical appliances safe on the road.
It features exceptionally high surge protection at 3,580 joules, and it also detects reverse polarity, signal surge failures, and open ground. The easy-to-understand LEDs tells you about issues it detects so you can take action to avoid them before plugging in. The SSP-50XL is weather-resistant so that it can be used outdoors, and it also includes a cover.
Plus, it has a couple of other handy features. One of those is a locket bracket, so you don’t have to worry about theft. The other is a pull handle, which facilitates plugging the device to any shore power.
The only downside is that it’s slightly larger than comparable models.
- Includes lifetime warranty
- Locking bracket allows you to secure the device for added security
- Easy to read display
- Has a sturdy handle pull
- The device has a rather large footprint
Most Durable Surge Protector
Camco 55301 30 Amp RV Power Defender
Camco is a big name when it comes to RV supplies, but they’re not known for electrical protection. Despite being somewhat new territory for them, Camco’s RV surge protectors are worth taking a look at. This one made our list for being super durable. It provides surge protection of up to 2,450 joules and protects against high and low voltage.
We like that it protects against reverse polarity, open neutral, and various other wiring issues. The unit disconnects automatically in dangerous conditions and reconnects when baseline power levels are restored. Diagnostic LEDs alert you to problems, and it also comes in a 50-amp version for bigger motorhomes.
The one major issue with this Camco model is that it’s not lockable. The yellow color is attention-grabbing, so this could make it vulnerable to theft. Considering that this surge protector is on the pricier side, the lack of security could be concerning.
- LED diagnostic lights make it easy to see problems
- Comes with power grip handles for easy transport
- No lock means no protection against theft
Easy to Use Option
Camco Heavy Duty Dogbone RV Circuit Analyzer
If you’re wondering how it received its name, just take a look at this Camco surge protector to understand why. With a dog bone shape, this 50-amp device wins our easy to use award. The useful power grip handle allows you to quickly plug and unplug the unit, which makes it perfect for RV owners who want to get on the road and go.
It provides robust surge protection of up to 4,200 joules. And the dog bone circuit analyzer does just that. It analyzes the circuit continuously and alerts you of any issues via the LED lights, which has a legend to explain what they mean. It’s weather-resistant, meaning you can use it in light rain situations, though heavy rainfall might need more weatherproofing.
The drawbacks are that there’s no way to tell when it needs replacing, and it only prevents one surge. You may also experience problems if you use this device in heavy rainfall.
- Diagnostic lights let you know about any circuitry system issues
- Intuitive design
- It doesn’t indicate when it’s burnt out and needs to be replaced
- It only prevents one surge
- Not entirely weatherproof
Most Affordable RV Surge Protector
TRC Surge Guard 44260 Portable Surge Protector
Rounding out our list, we have the TRC Surge Guard 44260. This final option receives our pick for the most affordable surge protector. It’s also quite versatile, as it is suitable for applications other than RVs. And users will get the satisfaction of knowing that their RV is protected by a surge protector from a reputable brand.
The TRC Surge Guard has a 2,100 joules protection rating, and we like it because it makes installation easy. You just plug in this portable unit, and you’re good to go. Once it’s up and running, this TRC model will identify faulty power, as well as verify pedestal power, so your equipment stays protected. It also automatically tests polarity.
The 44260 is weather-resistant and includes a lock, so you won’t have to worry about theft. And the light indicators make it easy to discover any issues in the power source.
There are a couple of drawbacks to this device. The display lights are somewhat difficult to see during the day, and it’s a bit heavy.
- No complicated installation
- Comes with a lock
- Identifies faulty power
- Display lights could be easier to see in daylight
- Somewhat heavy
Recap: Best RV Surge Protectors of 2021
- Progressive Industries SSP-30XL Surge Protector (30 Amp) – Best 30 Amp Surge Protector
- Progressive Industries SSP-50XL Surge Protector (50 Amp) – Best 50 Amp Surge Protector
- Camco 55301 30 Amp RV Power Defender – Most Durable Surge Protector
- Camco Heavy Duty Dogbone RV Circuit Analyzer – Easy to Use Option
- TRC Surge Guard 44260 Portable Surge Protector – Most Affordable RV Surge Protector
Buying an RV Surge Protector: What to Look For
Because this device protects your investment, it’s essential to arm yourself with some critical information before buying an RV surge protector. Here are some things you need to know.
Types of RV Surge Protectors
There are two types:
- Basic surge protectors: these devices do exactly what their name suggests. They protect your RV against unstable electricity at RV parks.
- Complete surge protectors: these devices offer a higher level of protection and come with a correspondingly higher price tag. Some come with electrical management systems that bolster RV protection. Their protection includes things like faulty wiring, high and low voltages, and open ground.
We recommend complete surge protectors, which (despite being pricier) provide much more comprehensive protection than basic ones.
Amperage: 30 amp vs. 50 amp
If you only pay attention to one thing when purchasing an RV surge protector, it should be amperage. There are 30-amp and 50-amp versions, and you must get the right one for your rig.
It’s easy to figure out which one you need. Look at your rig’s power cord. If it’s got three prongs, you have a 30-amp rig, which is typical in smaller campervans. If the power cord has four prongs, you’ve got a 50-amp rig, which is generally the case for motorhomes.
Surge protectors have evolved to be incredibly sophisticated. Modern versions use diagnostics to detect issues in the power supply and alert you if there’s a problem. These capabilities are quite handy when visiting new campgrounds with unknown power supplies.
When the diagnostics that we just mentioned detect irregularities, they use a LED display to let you know. It may seem like a trivial point, but the LED should be easy to read. It should also be bright enough for daytime use, which is a problem with some surge protectors. And though it may sound obvious, it’s critical to check the LED before plugging anything in.
Level of Protection: Automatic Shutoff & Alarms
Not all RV surge protectors are created equal. The level of protection they provide will vary from device to device, and this is another critical factor to pay attention to. Some useful safety features include automatic problem detection, emergency shutoff, and indicator alarms. After all, what good do diagnostics do if you have no way of knowing about the problem?
We recommend getting a surge protector with extras like these because they can be key in protecting your electronic devices from damaging high or low voltage that will cost you money.
You’ll notice a joules rating when shopping for surge protectors. The joules rating essentially tells you how much protection any given device will provide your rig. A surge protector should disperse heat in the event of a power spike. The higher the rating, the more effective the device is at preventing overheating.
Joules protection becomes especially important when you’re looking for devices with a longer lifespan and fuller protection.
You need to get a surge protector that is rated above the maximum level of energy your RV will generate. Make sure to consider all of the appliances you use regularly and concurrently.
The clamping voltage tells you what voltage will force the MOVs (Metal Oxide Varistor, a voltage suppression device) to send electricity flowing through your ground lines. The lower the clamping voltage, the more protection you have. Your UL rating (Underwriter’s Laboratory) should give you one of three ratings:
- 330 V
- 400 V (too high)
- 500 V (too high)
Underwriter Laboratories is the 3rd-party organization that writes the safety certification standards for tons of consumer products. When you’re dealing with electricity and surge protectors, safety is essential. So, make sure to check that your surge protector or EMS system has been UL certified before you buy it. All of our top picks above are UL certified.
Portable vs. Permanent (Hard-Wired)
Finally, you must consider portability when purchasing an RV surge protector. These devices are available in either portable or hardwired versions. Portable surge protectors are generally cheaper and weigh less. It’s also quicker to get them up and running since you can install them yourself.
Hardwired surge protectors, on the other hand, require professional installation and cost more. They do have one advantage over their portable counterparts. Because they are hardwired, you won’t have to worry about them being stolen. Though the counterargument is that many portable surge protectors include locks, and you can buy them separately if they don’t.
A good surge protector should be able to survive the elements. After all, you’ll be using it in unpredictable weather conditions on the road. If you get a portable surge protector, it will have to stay outdoors as well.
Need help finding other electrical items for your RV? Check out these articles:
Frequently Asked Questions
Are RV Surge Protectors Worth It?
RV surge protectors are a must have if you connect to shore power at camp sites. The power they provide is not always reliable and it is very possible for surges to occur. It is much better to spend the money on a surge protector than to risk losing part or all of your electronics in your RV due to a power surge.
How Do I Choose an RV Surge Protector?
Choosing the right surge protector depends on the type of RV you have. If you have a smaller RV you might only need a 30AMP protector, while if you have a larger RV you might need 50 or more AMPS in order to fully protect all of your electronics. It is best to consult a mechanic or take a look at your owners manual before buying a surge protector to figure out which one will be the best for your needs.
How Long Do RV Surge Protectors Last?
Surge protectors generally don’t last more than 2 years unless they are seriously taken care of or have never experienced a power outage. Even if they have never experienced an outage, but are stored outside or in a damp place it is recommended to replace them in order to make sure that you are fully protected at all times when connected to shore power.