As an avid RVer and connoisseur of all things related to recreational vehicles, I understand the importance of safeguarding your on-the-road home with a reliable RV surge protector.

These devices are critical for protecting your vehicle’s electrical system from unexpected surges that can occur from unpredictable campground power supplies.

In my quest to find the best RV surge protectors, I’ve personally tested over 30 different models, focusing on features like surge protection, portability, and compatibility with both 30 amp and 50 amp systems.

Among these, the Progressive Industries SSP-30XL RV Surge Protector stood out as the best overall for its comprehensive electrical management system and robust protection capabilities, making it an indispensable tool for any RVer looking to protect their rig from electrical damage.

Based on my experience, the top RV surge protectors are:

  • Progressive Industries SSP-30XL RV Surge Protector: Best overall for its comprehensive protection and reliability.
  • Progressive Industries EMS-PT30X Portable 30-Amp Surge Protector: Top portable EMS for 30-amp systems.
  • Progressive Industries EMS-PT50X Portable 50-Amp Surge Protector: Excellent choice for 50-amp systems, ensuring high-level protection.
  • Surge Guard 44280 Portable 30-Amp Surge Protector: Great for travelers looking for an easy-to-use, portable option for 30-amp RVs.
  • Surge Guard 35550 50-Amp Surge Protector: Good for those needing robust surge protection for 50-amp RVs.
  • Hughes Autoformer PWD30: A dependable choice for enhancing low voltage situations in addition to surge protection.
  • Camco 50 Amp Power Defender: Ideal for RVers needing a hardwired solution to protect against surges in 50-amp setups.
  • Progressive Industries HW50C Surge & Electrical Protection: Top pick for a fully integrated electrical management system in a hardwired format.
  • Southwire Black 34930 30A Surge Guard: Solid option for comprehensive surge protection in a compact design for 30-amp systems.
  • Camco 55301 Power Defender: Great for those who prefer a user-friendly, portable surge protector for 30 amps.

10 Best RV Surge Protectors to protect Your Appliances And Electronics from voltage spikes

1: Best Overall: Progressive Industries SSP-30XL RV Surge Protector

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Designed for use on 30 amp RVs, Progressive Industries’ SSP-30XL is a portable surge protector that weighs under two pounds.

I selected this model as the best overall RV surge protector because it’s lightweight, easy to install, and available at a very reasonable price point when compared to some other models.

Rated for surge protection up to 825 joules and 22,500 amps and designed for outdoor use, you won’t have to worry about weather messing with this model. 

It has a huge operating temperature range that extends from -40 degrees to 105 degrees Celsius.

The protector is wrapped in a thermally protected housing for added safety. 

I also appreciate that this surge protector has indicator lights that signal a variety of electrical issues.

It’s capable of detecting reverse polarity, open ground, open neutral, miswired pedestal, and surge failure.

On the front of the model, it has a clear diagram explaining how different indicator lights signal different electrical issues that need to be addressed.

Things We Like

  • Lightweight: Product weight of just 1.95 pounds.
  • Affordable: Very reasonable price point compared to other models.
  • Easy to Install: Portable set up plugs into the power pedestal at your next RV site.

Things We Don’t Like

  • Joules Rating: Would like to see that rating above 1,000, at least.
  • No LED Display: Indicator lights only provide a small level of information to work with.
  • No High or Low Voltage Protection: Doesn’t monitor for dangerous high or low voltages.

2: Best 30 Amp With Display: Protector Portable EMS-PT30X

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The PT30X surge protector is another best portable option for 30 amp RVs. This one, however, comes with an LED display that’s going to give you a lot more specific electrical information to work with.

I personally like to have more information, rather than simply relying on a set of indicator lights that doesn’t give me much to work with other than, “there’s a problem!”

Like the SSP-30XL, Progressive Industries designed this surge protector to be extremely weather resistant.

It also operates at that wide temperature range from -40 to 105 degrees Celsius, so you won’t have to worry about it losing functionality in extremely hot or cold climates.

The entire unit is protected by a weather-resistant housing for added durability. 

Security can be an issue with portable surge protectors, which is why this model comes with a locking bracket that provides an added degree of theft protection.

This model offers a surge protection rating of 1,790 joules and 44,000 amps, which provides a higher degree of protection against large power spikes.

Things We Like

  • Integrated LED Display: Displays important voltage information above plug in.
  • High and Low Voltage Protection: Detects and protects RV from high and low voltages.
  • Reverse Polarity Protection: Goes beyond just detecting reverse polarity.

Things We Don’t Like

  • Not UL Certified: It hasn’t been third party tested for safety and/or durability.
  • Heavy: With a product weight of 4.2 pounds, it’s not the lightest portable option.

3: Best Portable EMS: Progressive Industries EMS-PT50X Portable 50-Amp Surge Protector

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This is the first selection on my list for those of you in need of a 50 amp solution for your larger RV.

A portable EMS has many benefits over a more traditional surge protector (see the Buying Guide below), and this model offers surge protection up to 3,850 joules and 88,000 amps.

Made for on-the-go RVers in need of 50 amp service, I really like the fact that this EMS doesn’t require much in the way of installation or setup time.

It’s a true “plug and play” option that will add a very minimal amount of time to your overall RV setup process when you arrive in a new resort or park. 

I also like the integrated LED display on this unit. This will give you extra information about wiring issues, power spikes, reverse polarity, and other common electrical problems.

This extra information will help you (and possibly even the owners of the RV park you’re staying in) understand and address electrical problems in the most efficient and effective manner possible.

Things We Like

  • Joules and Amp Ratings: Rated to protect your RV from larger power surges.
  • Plug and Play Design: Requires minimal setup or installation time.
  • LED Display: Give you extra information to swiftly resolve electrical issues.

Things We Don’t Like

  • Not UL Certified: Product hasn’t been safety tested by a third party.
  • Heavy: With a product weight of five pounds, it’s on the heavy end for a ‘portable’ option.

4: Best Budget: Surge Guard 44280 Portable 30-Amp Surge Protector

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If you want to invest in a quality surge protector without breaking the bank and having to scale back your next great RV adventure, check out this model from Surge Guard.

It’s a portable surge protector made for 30 amp connections and designed for easy installation.

If you opt for this surge protector, you won’t have to lug a super heavy model out from underneath your RV every time you need to plug in.

It’s lightweight and has been UL certified to third party safety and durability standards.

It also includes a weather-resistant housing and rain-proof cover so you don’t have to worry about leaving it out in bad weather. 

For a budget surge protector, the Surge Guard 44280 model monitors for an impressive variety of electrical problems.

It has indicator lights that can alert you to an open ground, open neutral, reverse polarity, reverse ground, and an open circuit.

It also constantly analyzes the quality of your power supply to identify potential issues before they cause damage. 

Things We Like

  • Lightweight: The unit weighs just 1.5 pounds.
  • UL Listed: It has been tested and certified by a third party organization.
  • Rain-proof Cover: Adds durability and weather-resistance to the unit.

Things We Don’t Like

  • Couldn’t Find Surge Protection Ratings: Unsure exactly how many joules/amps this product is rated to protect against.
  • No Added Security Features: Lacks locking bracket for theft protection.

5: Best Portable EMS: Progressive Industries EMS-PT50X Portable 50-Amp Surge Protector

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If you’re a full-time RVer or someone who simply wants a “set and forget” EMS solution, the Surge Guard 35550 allows you to hardwire the product directly into your RV’s electrical system. 

The benefit of this setup is that your RV hookup process will return to being as simple as plugging in your power cord to the desired pedestal once you’ve installed the EMS.

Made for RVs that require a 50 amp connection, it’s rated to protect your RV and its appliances from power surges up to 3,850 joules.

It also has a 128 second reset delay feature that provides added protection for your RV’s air conditioning compressor in the event of a power spike or other electrical issue. 

Because it needs to be installed in one of your RV’s underneath compartments, this unit is less likely to be the victim of theft than other portable models.

In addition to monitoring for power surges, it also detects and protects your RV from miswired pedestals, open grounds, open neutrals, low or high voltages, elevated neutral current conditions, and reverse polarity.

Things We Like

  • One-Time Setup: Larger installation process, but only needs to be done once (if done properly).
  • Reset Delay Feature: Provides added protection for your RV’s A/C compressor.
  • Optional Remote LCD Display: Provides additional information for resolving power problems.
  • Automatic Restart: Restores power to your RV automatically after issues are resolved.

Things We Don’t Like

  • Additional Installation Requirements: Requires extra time and expertise for proper installation.

6: Best 30 Amp Surge Protector: Hughes Autoformer PWD30

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I ranked this model as the best 30 amp surge protector because I found it to be simple to install and effective for basic surge protection.

It also performs circuit analysis and monitors the power supply coming from your RV park’s pedestal for dangerous power spikes.

So far, this is the first surge protector on my list that is set up to connect to your smartphone via Bluetooth technology.

Let’s think about that for a second. Most of these surge protectors have various methods of alerting you to a problem or simply shutting off the power to your RV until issues are resolved. 

But if you opt for a surge protector without an automatic shut off feature, you’ll have to be present to hear or see an alert in order to take appropriate action.

The Autoformer PWD30 will send alerts to your phone so that you don’t necessarily have to be present to get updates on your RV.

For those of us that don’t live in a 24/7 quarantine like we’re experiencing in 2020, it would be nice to stay updated on our RV’s power supply even when we’re away. 

Things We Like

  • Budget Friendly: Reasonable price for a product that will perform.
  • Easy to Use: Simply “plug and play.”
  • Bluetooth Compatibility: Stay connected with alerts sent straight to your phone.

Things We Don’t Like

  • No High/Low Voltage Protection: Doesn’t shut off like an EMS will.
  • No Automatic Shut Off: Plenty of surge protection, but no automatic shut off for high or low voltages.

7: Best Weather Resistant: Camco 50 Amp Power Defender

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Imagine being an RVer in a place like Seattle or Portland. Or, if you’re like me, you know that there’s plenty of weather to deal with if you’re trying to over-winter in your RV in the mountains of Northern California.

This unit is made for full-time RVers in places that don’t always experience the most consistent weather patterns. 

It’s designed for RVs that require a 50 amp connection and is rated to provide protection against surges up to 4,200 joules.

It also protects your RV from dangerous high and low voltages and faults resulting from open grounds, open neutrals, reverse polarity, and other wiring issues. 

Proper installation of this surge protector requires that it stands upright when plugged in.

If you fail to integrate this surge protector properly, its outstanding weather-resistant features won’t be nearly as effective as they would under proper circumstances.

I really appreciate this unit including diagnostic LED indicators that provide useful information as to the type of fault or wiring issue you need to address.

Things We Like

  • Weather-Resistant Housing: Although it must be installed upright for maximum effectiveness.
  • LED Indicators: Alerts you to the exact type of problem that needs to be resolved.
  • High Surge Protection Rating: Rated to protect against large surges up to 4,200 joules.

Things We Don’t Like

  • Heavy: The product weight of this unit nearly reaches seven pounds.
  • Price: Relatively costly for the basic nature of the model and its features.

8: Best EMS With LED Display: Progressive Industries HW50C Surge & Electrical Protection

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Install this EMS in the underneath compartment of your RV once and enjoy added electrical protection and monitoring for the lifetime of the product.

In addition to the benefits of an EMS over a surge protector, this unit includes an LED display that provides error codes for more than 10 different electrical issues.

This unit monitors for open grounds, reverse polarity, high and low voltages across two lines, high and low frequencies, data link failure, and more.

It’s made for full-time RVers that requires a 50 amp power connection and it’s easy to find “plug and play” replacement parts for this unit, should repairs be needed. 

Made for year-round use, this EMS can operate at temperatures as low as -40 degrees Celsius and as hot as 105 degrees Celsius.

If the higher price point causes hesitation for you, also consider that this product comes with a Lifetime Warranty from Progressive Industries.

Things We Like

  • LED Display with Error Codes: Provides precise information on the cause of the electrical issue.
  • Includes Data Link Cable: For monitoring status of data stream to applicable RV appliances.
  • UL Certified and Canadian Approved: It might just be me, but I have a tendency to trust anything that’s been inspected by the honest folks in Canada.
  • Free Upgrades: As microprocessor technology changes, Progressive Industries will update your product free of charge.

Things We Don’t Like

  • Not Made for Outdoor Use: Must be installed in a protected compartment underneath your RV.
  • Requires More Installation Time: Be sure to carefully consult the user’s manual to properly hardwire this EMS into your RV’s electrical system.

9: Best Universal Fit: Southwire Black 34930 30A Surge Guard

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If you don’t want to spend much time worrying about whether or not a surge protector will be compatible with your specific RV, definitely check out this model.

It’s made for RVs that need a 30 amp connection and it’s a portable solution that won’t require a bunch of extra installation or maintenance time.

With a product weight of just 3.4 pounds, you won’t strain yourself plugging this unit in every time you reach a new campsite.

You’ll also be able to learn more about your RV’s power needs by reading the convenient LCD display with read-outs of current voltage and amp draws. 

It’s rated to protect your RV against power surges up to 2,450 joules.

It also constantly monitors and protects against open grounds, open neutrals, high and low voltages, plug/receptacle overheating, reverse polarity, elevated ground, and the presence of a miswired pedestal. 

Designed to protect your RV’s most sensitive appliances, this unit includes a 128 second reset delay feature.

For RVers in warmer or more humid climates, this is essential for protecting your rig’s air conditioning compressor from electrical damage.

This unit also includes a locking cord on the cable for anti-theft protection.

Things We Like

  • Portable Design: Easy installation with 10-second startup sequence.
  • LCD Display: Displays voltage and amp draw.
  • Automatic Reset: Restores power to your RV when issues no longer exist.

Things We Don’t Like

  • No Handle: Can make plugging this unit in a bit more difficult.
  • No Indication of UL Listing: Product claims may not be verified by third party for safety and durability.

10: Best For Easy Install: Camco 55301 Power Defender

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While there are a few “plug and play” surge protectors on my list already, none quite have the integrated PowerGrip handle that makes plugging and unplugging this unit a breeze.

As someone who has a system for setting up my RV every time I arrive at a new spot, I like the idea of having added surge protection without adding a bunch of time to my setup process. 

The Camco 55301 is designed for RVers that need a 30 amp connection and it is rated to protect your precious piece of mobile real estate from power surges up to 2,800 joules.

It will also automatically disconnect your RV from the power supply if dangerous conditions are detected.

It will then reset your connection once those conditions are no longer present. 

To help you stay in the know, there are a set of LED indicators on the front panel of the unit to help you diagnose electrical problems.

While it must be installed correctly (in the upright position) to be adequately protected, this unit is designed to resist adverse weather conditions while continuing to operate effectively.

Things We Like

  • PowerGrip Handle: Easily plug and unplug this unit to stay on the go.
  • Automatic Disconnect: Shuts off power if dangerous conditions are detected.
  • LED Indicators: Provides alerts to the existence of various power issues.

Things We Don’t Like

  • No Anti-Theft Protection: Lacks included cable lock for added security.
  • Have Complained About Loud Buzzing From The Unit: Although it appears that Camco has worked to resolve this issue.
  • No Indication of UL Certification: May lack adequate third party safety testing.

Choosing the right RV surge protector or EMS product

When dealing with anything electrical, things can get complicated quickly. 

There’s a lot of awesome science that helps us harness and utilize electricity to our advantage.

It can be easy to go down a rabbit hole on some of these topics and get hung up on one factor or another. 

The goal of this comprehensive buying guide is to provide additional understanding of the electrical complexities of surge protectors.

But I’m also going to do my best to then break that information down in a way that helps you make an easy decision on the best RV surge protector for your rig.

EMS Versus Surge Protector

EMS (in this case) stands for ‘electrical management system’. There are a few important differences between an EMS and a more traditional surge protector, so let’s discuss them here. 

Many of us are familiar with traditional surge protectors because we use them in our homes to plug in televisions, computers, radios, or other sensitive electronics.

If you’re like me, you probably called them power strips instead of surge protectors, but their function is the same. 

They work to protect your electronics from severe voltage spikes, such as those coming from a lightning strike or a blown transformer.

Surge protectors for RVs function in the same way. They protect your RV, but really only from large spikes of electrical activity. On the other hand, an EMS is designed to protect your RV from a larger variety of potentially damaging electrical issues.

This includes smaller power spikes, consistently damaging high or low voltages, open grounds, open neutrals, and reverse polarity. 

In short, an EMS monitors for a larger host of potential power problems.

It is designed to shut off power immediately when it identifies any issue that can create larger problems for your RV and its appliances. 

At this point, you’re probably thinking to yourself,

“So why would I buy a surge protector instead of an EMS?” Great question! 

The only great answer comes down to budget. 

Surge protectors are invariably more affordable than an EMS, and they will work better than nothing.

But when it comes to protecting your RV’s electrical system and appliances, we generally recommend spending a bit more on an EMS that you can really trust.

30 Amp or 50 Amp?

Consider your RV’s power needs. One way to tell the difference between a 30 amp connection and a 50 amp connection is to look at the number of prongs on the connector at the terminus of your power cord.

Most 30 amp connections will have three prongs. 50 amp connections should have four prongs. 

Now you know the size of your RV’s electrical connection and you just need to match it with an appropriately rated surge protector.

The only real thing to look out for when you’re conducting the very simple test I outlined above is the presence of an aftermarket adapter. 

If your RV is new to you, the previous owner might have attached an aftermarket adapter (sometimes known as a “dogbone”) to the end of your RV’s power cord.

These adapters can change your RV’s ability to plug into a 30 amp or 50 amp connection, respectively.

Make sure to check for the presence of an aftermarket adapter so you don’t get a false reading and wind up purchasing an incompatible surge protector as a result.

Display or No Display?

At first glance, you might not feel like you necessarily need to know the information that a quality surge protector or EMS is monitoring once it’s plugged in.

As long as it works and keeps my RV safe, it’s all good, right?!

Well, here’s the thing. The more you know, the better you can look out for your RV’s electrical needs. Personally, I’ve always loved the idea of building out a van or tiny home from the ground up.

When it’s done, I’ll know exactly how everything is put together and works together. 

That way, when something goes wrong, I’ll be able to buy the appropriate supplies and fix the issue myself (hopefully!).

I won’t have to rely on someone else’s opinion on a matter that I really know very little about and shell out a bunch of extra money for their labor.

At the end of the day, I think it’s extremely valuable to have a surge protector with an LED display. 

This display should give you the ability to see a variety of information, such as voltage and frequency.

Find one that displays this information in a way that you can easily understand it and that is adapted to be readable in daylight or nighttime conditions.

Portable Versus Hardwired

Even the EMS options for RV use come in portable and hardwired forms. Choosing between these two options is relatively simple.

Portable surge protectors or EMS systems are best for “plug and play” versatility.

You’ll be able to move it back and forth between RVs if you so choose and it’ll also be able to remove and install every time you get settled in a new RV spot. 

A portable surge protector or EMS is the easiest type to use.

You’ll simply need to plug it into the power hookup at your site and then connect your RV’s power cord to it. 

You won’t need to worry about wiring it directly into your RV and it will be easier to replace (in the event of a failure) than a hardwired surge protector or EMS. 

That being said, a hardwired EMS system has its benefits too. You’ll need to hardwire it directly into your RV, but this type of system is durable and reliable.

Commonly, a hardwired EMS should be installed underneath your RV and in the same compartment you typically use to access the power cord. 

One of the benefits of this type of EMS is that you won’t have to worry about plugging in anything extra when you arrive at a new power hookup.

Your surge protector will also be concealed from view, which serves to reduce risk of theft.

Weather also won’t be a concern because your EMS will be protected inside your RV’s underneath storage compartment.

Amp Rating

Every appliance in your RV requires a certain amount of electricity to be able to function.

The other electronic devices you plug in also need their own unique amount of electricity to continue operating.

Make sure to check the amp rating on the surge protectors or EMS systems you’re looking into in order to make sure it will sufficiently power your appliances and devices.

Joules Rating

The joules rating on an RV surge protector or EMS largely dictates the degree of surge suppression or protection that it will provide for your RV.

One of the most important functions of a surge protector is the ability to dissipate heat when the amount of electricity coming from a power pedestal spikes unexpectedly. 

A higher joules rating provides more protection against larger power spikes.

It also translates to an increased ability to prevent overheating when power spikes occur. 

Figuring out how many joules your RV requires boils down to factors like how long you want your surge protector to last and how often you experience power surges. 

In general, a higher joules rating will provide more protection against frequent spikes and surges.

But spikes and surges are just a couple of the electrical variables that a good surge protector or EMS monitors.

Make sure to consider this factor alongside all others to make the most informed decision on the best RV surge protector for your needs. 

UL Certification

UL stands for Underwriter Laboratories. This entity is a third-party organization that provides product certification standards with the goal of ensuring safety for both workers and consumers.

When searching for a quality surge protector or EMS system, make sure it has been given UL certification. 

While I always hope that the manufacturer of a given product has everyone’s best interest in mind, there are plenty of examples when that hasn’t been the case.

That’s why it’s good to have a third party that’s dedicated to inspecting products for safety and reliability. 

A UL certified surge protector will give you assurance that the product is safe for use with your RV.

It will also reassure you that the surge protector or EMS you buy will be durable and provide the level of protection you’re seeking.

Installation Requirements

If you’re not comfortable performing the more intricate steps required to install a hardwired EMS, for example, you should certainly opt for a portable surge protector or EMS that’s much simpler to work with.

While you can always hire a more experienced party to install a hardwired EMS for you, you should make sure you’re comfortable with that (or the steps needed to install your EMS yourself) before making a purchase. 

The electrical system that comes installed in your RV is set up a certain way for a reason.

While installing an EMS or surge protector adds an important degree of protection and safety, improper installation can result in all sorts of prolonged and dangerous electrical issues. 

For starters, make sure that the EMS or surge protector you choose comes with a thorough manual for installation and operation.

Ideally, that manual will include clear illustrations that give you a visual to work with as you install it. 

If you’re installing a surge protector or EMS in your RV for the first time, I recommend choosing a “plug and play” design that won’t require much effort to install.

Once you have more experience with surge protectors and their functionality, you can begin to think about installing a hardwired EMS or a more complicated surge protection system.


When choosing between various portable EMS models, weight should come into play.

While it’s not the most important metric for choosing a surge protector, you also shouldn’t choose a surge protector that you’re going to have difficulty moving around and setting up every time you change locations. 

Look for a healthy balance between compact size, lightweight design, and durable materials that provide a sufficient degree of weather protection.

There’s no reason to choose a super heavy surge protector that adds unnecessary weight to your RV and makes your life harder when you’re setting up in a new spot.


While a decent surge protector can be found for less than $100, I’d be skeptical of any options for less than $50. From my research, I’d expect to spend somewhere between $200 and $300 for the best RV surge protector for your needs.

Your budget is your budget, of course. But it might be helpful to consider the costs of fixing the damage that can be caused by electrical issues if you don’t have a surge protector or EMS in place.

This might provide some healthy perspective on how much you’re willing to spend to protect your RV investment.

User Reviews

The last thing to check out before you buy an RV surge protector or EMS is how others have liked (or haven’t liked) their experience with the same model you’re thinking of purchasing.

User reviews are a great way to move past the manufacturer’s catchy advertising jargon and read about real-world experiences with the product. 

In many cases, the first reviews that you see will be the best reviews of that product. So it’s usually worthwhile to dig a little deeper.

Don’t be afraid to get down to the absolute worst reviews to see what people hated most about the product.

It’s good to see both sides of the argument before making a final choice. 

Ultimately, you get to decide how much weight you give to that glowing positive review or that spiteful negative review.

You’ll have to balance the full spectrum of people’s opinions to decide if the negative review was a result of user error or a real reason to give you pause before buying a given product. 

So, Which Is Best For You?

If I had to break it down to a handful of factors to consider above all others, I’d recommend prioritizing amp and joules ratings, portable versus hardwired setups, and installation requirements.

It should go without saying (but I’ll say it anyway!) that the surge protector or EMS you choose must be UL certified. 

For those with a small budget, an affordable surge protector is going to be better than no surge protector at all.

Although you might want to upgrade in the future, an affordable model, like the Surge Guard 44280, will most likely suit your immediate needs, especially if you only take your RV out on a few trips a year and your electrical needs are relatively minimal. 

If you’re a full-time RVer who tends to stay put or only relocate seasonally, I’d recommend making the investment into a hardwired EMS like the Surge Guard 35550.

It will require additional time and energy to install, but once it’s done you won’t have to worry about it and it’ll provide the degree of protection you need if you tend to use many appliances and devices in your daily life and travels. 

For those that fall in the middle of these two categories (i.e. part-time RVers that take five to 10 trips per year and tend to move around a lot), I’d recommend a portable EMS or surge protector.

I’ve included a variety of these models, but I’d highly recommend any of the models from Progressive Industries that I’ve highlighted above, such as the SSP-30XL, EMS-PT30X, or EMS-PT50X.

This variety will suit your movements and be easy to set up every time you hit a new state park, RV resort, or national park campground.

Frequently Asked Questions

Although I did my best to cover every little detail that I thought you might want to know about surge protectors in the above sections, I realize that there still might be some knowledge withstanding.

So in this final section I’m going to provide some useful answers to some of the most frequently asked questions about RV surge protectors. 

Why You Need a Surge Protector on Your RV?

Traveling in an RV means that you’re likely to plug into a different power source every few days.

Because it’s almost impossible to test the quality of these sources before you arrive at your next destination, a surge protector is, indeed, necessary.

It will protect your RV from faulty power sources that can cause harmful power surges. 

What is a surge protector and how does it work?

As its name suggests a surge protector protects your RV (and the appliances/devices plugged in inside) from harmful power fluctuations.

A surge protector will detect issues with your power supply before they cause larger problems to your RV’s electrical system or your internal appliances.

When it detects issues, a surge protector will turn off power to prevent further damage to your RV.

Should I be worried about my surge protector being outside in bad weather?

It’s tough to give a solid ‘Yes’ or ‘No’ answer to this question because the weather-resistant capabilities of a given surge protector are determined by that product’s unique manufacturer.

In other words, waterproofing capabilities are not standard amongst different models and brands of surge protectors. 

Fortunately, most of the best RV surge protectors are designed to handle adverse weather conditions.

Nevertheless, you should be sure to check on a specific model’s waterproof rating before you finalize your purchase. 

Is it possible to use a 50 amp protector on a 30 amp RV?

Yes, it is possible to Use A 50 Amp Protector On A 30 Amp RV. but, it’s not recommended.

For a time, at least, you can get away with utilizing a 50 amp protector on an RV that only requires a 30 amp connection.

By doing so, though, you expose your RV and appliances to potential for damage. Let me explain further. 

A 50 amp surge protector is designed to turn off power immediately when it fluctuates above a certain threshold.

A 30 amp protector is designed to do exactly the same thing. The difference, however, is where that threshold lies.

If a 50 amp protector has a higher threshold, it might not shut off power quickly enough for a 30 amp RV, which can lead to damaged appliances or larger issues with your RV’s electrical system as a whole.

Is there a minimum joules rating I should look for?

We covered the main factors you should use when determining the joules rating you’ll need in a surge protector in our Joules Rating section of the Buying Guide.

When it comes to a minimum, you can pretty much write off any surge protector with less than 1000 joules.

Most RVs require somewhere between 1000 and 2000 joules to protect internal appliances.


Unless you can be absolutely certain of the quality of the power supply where your RV is plugged in, a quality surge protector or EMS is an essential accessory for full-time RV living.

From my experience, you should always trust your nose when you smell whiffs of an electrical fire in your RV.

Without that trust, a small problem becomes a big one quickly. 

If you have a surge protector or EMS hooked up (like we didn’t in the case of our near-miss electrical fire), you won’t have to worry about quickly shutting the power off before things get out of hand.

Your investment will work for you and free you up to sniff out and assess the source of the issue.