Best RV Surge Protector – 30 & 50 Amp Voltage Guard

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Surge protectors are among the most essential individual pieces of safety gear you’ll buy for your RV. They protect the complex (and expensive) components of your RV’s electrical system from damage or destruction due to faulty campsite wiring or even a lightning strike outside your RV.

We reviewed some of the very best RV surge protectors to help you find the perfect model for your rig’s specifications and your comfort zone.

Best RV Surge Protector

Surge protectors are pretty straightforward as far as safety gear goes. You either plug them in between your RV and the power pedestal or hardwire one into your RV’s electrical system.

Picking out the best one depends on just how much power you’re drawing and what level of protection you’re looking for.

Our list below contains some of the best RV surge protectors out there, including both portable and hardwired EMS models.

Best EMS RV Surge Protector

Progressive Industries Portable EMS RV Surge Protector

Progressive Industries Portable RV Surge Protector

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The Progressive Industries Portable EMS RV Surge Protector is a pedestal mounted RV surge protector available in both 30 Amp and 50 Amp versions. It’s designed to attach to the power pedestal at your campground or RV park and provide portable protection against surges and power spikes.

Each offers a substantial array of indicators and alerts to help you quickly monitor the status of your RV’s power supply. They have integrated LED lights that are easy to read even under bright light conditions.

They both operate with a less than one nanosecond response time and provide exceptional protection for your RV. The 30 Amp model is rated at 22,500 Amp max spike/ 825 joules while the 50 Amp model is rated at 45,000 Amp max current spike/ 1,650 joules.

That’s plenty of protection for even the most sensitive electronics.

If you’re looking for a pedestal mounted surge protector for your RV Progressive Industries has one that will fit the bill.

Pros – Things we liked
30 Amp and 50 Amp versions
Array of indicators and alerts
Under one nanosecond response time
30 Amp rated at 22,500 spike
50 Amp rated at 45,000 spike
Cons – Things we didn’t like
Tech support not great

Best RV Surge Protector for Power Spikes

Camco Power Grip Defender Voltage Protector

Camco RV Power Defender Voltage Protector

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The Camco Power Grip Defender is a pedestal mounted surge and voltage protector for both 30 Amp and 50 Amp connections. It uses a double-ended design with power grip handles to make it easy to attach and detach as needed.

It offers a range of integrated protections to guard against problems such as reverse polarity, open neutral, and other wiring issues. The 50 Amp version provides up to 4,200 joules of protection, plenty to guard even high-draw RVs.

It has built-in LEDs along the front of the body to let you tell at a glance if there are any problems. It also has an auto-shutoff and power restoration feature that disconnects from power under dangerous conditions then starts it back up again once things are back to normal.

Camco is well-regarded in RV circles for the quality of its products and the breadth of its offerings. The Defender Voltage Protector offers a lot of value but is definitely pricey.

Best RV Surge Protector for Small Budgets

Camco PowerDefender Circuit Analyzer with Integrated Surge Protection

Camco Integrated Surge Protection

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The Camco PowerDefender is a pint-sized circuit analyzer with a built-in surge protector. By plugging it into your site’s power pedestal, you can analyze the quality of the power provided to see if its safe for your RV to connect.

Even better, it includes a 30 Amp, 1,050 joules rated surge protector. It can tell you right away if there are problems with the power like reverse polarity, open neutral, and other wiring issues. One thing to keep in mind though is that it doesn’t protect against high/low voltage events.

We love how compact this protector is. It doesn’t have the additional cord sticking out that many comparable models do, a really nice touch if you’re looking to save space.

While the Camco PowerDefender Circuit Analyzer isn’t technically a fully-fledged surge protector, it does offer some advantageous features and the necessary protection needed against the most common faults.

Best Overall RV Surge Protector

Surge Guard 44260 Entry Level Portable Surge Protector

Surge Guard Entry Level Surge Protector

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The Surge Guard 44260 is an entry-level portable surge protector rated for up to 30 Amps. It uses the standard pedestal mounted ‘dogbone’ style and has a range of basic circuit analyzer features.

By hooking it up to the RV park’s power beforehand you can find out if there are any immediate threats to your RV such as an open neutral, open ground, or reverse polarity. All this info is readily available on the LED-lit display on the front.

It offers excellent surge protection as well. It’s rated at up to 2,100 joules, but shouldn’t be expected to last more than a single significant surge.

Still, though, for a product clearly labeled as entry-level, the Surge Guard 44260 offers good value for the money and does everything it says it will.

Best RV Surge Protector for Warranty

Progressive Industries Hardwired EMS-LCHW30 RV Surge & Electrical Protector

Hardwired EMS RV Electrical Protector

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The Progressive Industries EMS-LCHW30 is a hardwired EMS designed to provide comprehensive long-term protection for your RV. It’s rated at 30 Amps and offers a full range of fault diagnosis tools to help you identify and plan for power issues.

It provides a full range of protection against all issues you’re likely to encounter, including multi-mode surge, voltage, polarity, and lost or open neutral protection. It’s rated to stand up to 44,000 Amp max spike and 1,790 joules.

EMS style surge protectors require a more involved initial setup process, including hard wiring. Once it’s connected though you can be sure that your RV will be safe from electrical faults and issues.

The EMS-LCHW30 is an excellent option if you’ve got a 30 Amp RV. It offers comprehensive protection plus a range of useful indicators to let you know just what’s wrong.

Best RV Surge Protector for Error Message Indicators

Surge Guard Hardwire Model

Surge Guard 50 Amp Hardwire Model

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The Surge Guard Hardwire Model is an EMS protection system designed to offer total protection for your RV’s electrical system. It’s a 50 Amp protector that boasts an impressive 3850 joules of surge protection.

The front display uses a small LCD screen to present error messages and indicators, allowing you to know just what’s setting off your protector. Because this is an EMS unit you can rely on it to handle multiple surge events.

It has a rapid response time under one nanosecond and uses an auto-shutoff and auto-restart function. This allows you to continue using your RV even after a tripped surge protector as it will restart itself without your interaction.

All in all the Surge Guard Hardwire Model is a reliable, robust, and easy to use EMS unit that provides a ton of value to the frequent RVer.

Compare the Best RV Surge Protector

Table Comparing the Top 6 RV Surge Protector
Image Title Price Rating Buy
OpenProgressive Industries Portable RV Surge Protector Compare Progressive Industries Best RV Surge Protector
$$$$$
94
Buy on Amazon
OpenCamco RV Power Defender Voltage Protector Compare Camco Power Grip Voltage Protector
$$$$$
94
Buy on Amazon
OpenCamco Integrated Surge Protection Compare Camco PowerDefender Surge Protection
$
90
Buy on Amazon
OpenSurge Guard Entry Level Surge Protector Compare Surge Guard Entry Level Portable Surge Protector
$$
96
Buy on Amazon
OpenHardwired Ems RV Electrical Protector Compare Progressive Industries Electrical Protector
$$$$
90
Buy on Amazon
OpenSurge Guard 50 Amp Hardwire Model Compare Surge Guard Hardwire Model
$$$$
88
Buy on Amazon

Buyer’s Guide to Buying the Best RV Surge Protector

Picking out the best surge protector has a lot more to do with your RV’s specs than it does with the protector itself. There are certainly differences between various models, but the crux of the issue comes down to how much power your RV requires and what level of protection you’re looking for.

Price

RV surge protectors are critical, complex electronic devices that protect the enormously expensive electric systems of your RV. As such, they’re going to be more costly than a lot of the other gear you pick up.

Entry-level models start out at around $100, but we wouldn’t be at all surprised if you wind up dropping as much as $500 on a top of the line EMS unit. It all depends on the cost of your RV’s electrical system and the level of protection you need.

EMS vs Surge Protector

There are two major categories of RV electrical protection equipment. Surge protectors are one; the other is an Electrical Management System (EMS).

If you’ve ever hooked up a computer or TV, you know what a surge protector is. They’re often confused with power strips or extension cords and offer protection against electrical surges to protect sensitive electronics.

An EMS is different. It’s a hardwired product that is connected permanently to your RVs electrical system and provides comprehensive protection against surges. It’s more time consuming to do yourself but does simplify your RV experience once installed.

It also provides protection against a broader range of electrical threats and is generally more reliable and somewhat safer than a basic surge protector.

30 Amp vs 50 Amp

This one basically comes down to the needs of your RV. If you’ve got an RV that requires a 50 Amp power supply, you’ll need a 50 Amp surge protector.

Display

Many of the newest and most advanced RV surge protectors now offer a digital display. Many older RVers would question why you would need a display for a simple surge protector, but we for one find it useful under the right circumstances.

A display lets you know at a glance the status of the power coming into your RV. It can alert you if there are significant surges happening and provide other essential information like the amps and voltage.

UL Seal of Approval

Underwriter Laboratories is the most respected and widely used third-party testing lab for electrical and safety equipment. The UL seal of approval means that a manufacturer has submitted its product for testing and passed.

We recommend you avoid any surge protector or EMS that doesn’t have the UL seal of approval.

Joules Rating

The Joules rating on a surge protector mainly relates to how well a protector will handle a sudden power spike. The higher the joules rating, the more powerful the spike your surge protector will be able to handle without burning out or causing a potential fire hazard.

If you’re hooked up to a powerful plug it’s a good idea to have a higher joules rating. It extends the life of your surge protector and better protects your RV.

Clamping Voltage

The clamping voltage is one of the most important metrics by which to rate a surge protector. It refers to the number of volts a surge protector or EMS will allow through to your systems before ‘clamping’ off and blocking more.

High voltage surges are the number one threat to sensitive electronics, so having a surge protector adequately sized to your RVs needs allows just the right voltage without risking your systems.

Alerts and Protections

One often overlooked feature of a good surge protector is the ability to alert you when there’s an issue. Any good surge protector will automatically protect your systems, but those that also provide you with a visible/audible alarm go a step further.

They make it much easier to tell when something’s wrong and allow you to deal with minor issues before they become significant problems.

Noise Level

One thing a lot of RV novices don’t account for is the noise that electrical systems can produce. If you run 30-50 Amps through a connector, there will be at least some humming, but lower-quality surge protectors can be a lot louder.

If you’re in a campground with rigorously enforced quiet hours, you may be asked to unplug a noisy EMS or surge protector.

Weight & Size

As with anything in the confined space of an RV, weight and size is a consideration. Realistically you should look at it well after the fundamental electrical and functional aspects.

So long as you’re sure a specific surge protector will work for your RV, you can look at different size models.

Automatic Restart and Shutoff

Automatic restart is one of our favorite features to have on a surge protector. After a breaker is flipped and your RV is protected from a surge it turns the power back on when conditions are safe.

It’s especially useful if you’re at a campsite with iffy power, as the last thing you want is to have to get up and flip a restart switch multiple times.

Response Time

Response time measures how quickly a surge protector reacts to a surge as measured in nanoseconds. Faster is obviously better, with a response time under one nanosecond ideal.

Installation Requirements

Depending on whether you went with an EMS or a surge protector, the installation will vary widely. EMS hookups still require an extension cord to connect your RV to the hookups.

Surge protectors are much easier to install as they basically don’t require an installation. So long as you’ve got it with you, you can plug it in between your RV and the hookup.

Final Thoughts

When picking out the best RV surge protector for your needs you should first consider the specs of your RV’s electrical system.

Once you know the basics of what you need to you’ll be a lot better equipped to find the model that fits your style of RVing.

Whether you decide to go with a convenient EMS unit or like a portable surge protector’s flexibility, you’re sure to find something that will work for you on our list.

About Karan Riley

I am the owner and main contributor to RV4Campers. I first got bit by the RVing bug when I joined a friend who was into Van Life for weekend getaways. It became apparent very quickly that this was a style of life I enjoyed and wanted more of, so it wasn't long before I had my own travel trailer. I didn't have a lot of money to throw around back then so I did lots of research into all the gear and gadgets. And this is how my RV passion exploded, I've now spent countless hours playing around with many different bits of kit and reading user manuals. And it's this wealth of knowledge I bring to RV4Campers.