What You Need to Know About RV Surge Protectors 31992

Having access to electrical power is one of the big things that sets camping in a travel trailer, motorhome, or fifth-wheel apart from other types of camping. It’s the amenities and features that help make RVing so enjoyable, and you need to make sure your RV’s electrical systems are protected and taken care of. An RV surge protector can help.

While there are numerous maintenance tasks you can do to ensure your RV’s electronics stay in tip-top shape, you should also take steps to protect your RV with a surge protector. Here’s what you need to know.

Why Do You Need an RV Surge Protector?

Camping RV charge electric power for use in car.

When you connect your RV to a power source—like shore power at an RV park—you expect the right amount of electrical power to come out of the outlet and for it to be wired up correctly.

A strange outlet can have numerous problems, though. It could be wired up incorrectly, which could cause problems on your rig. It could be prone to power surges or the voltage could be too low. All of these things can wreak havoc on your RV’s electrical system and even fry your electronics.

A surge protector is designed to protect your RV’s electronics from issues that stem from the outlet you plug into. An outlet that seems fine could suddenly provide a huge surge of electricity, like in the event of a lightning strike. It’s better to be smart and get yourself a surge protector than it is to get stuck with an RV with fried electronics.

What Does an RV Surge Protector Do?

Lightning striking a hill

Surge protectors plug into the outlet where you would plug in your RV. From there, you plug your RV’s cable into the surge protector. It acts as a buffer between your RV and the power coming out of the electrical outlet.

This intermediary device can monitor the amount of power coming out of the outlet and ensure there are no harmful or unwanted effects due to power spikes or other issues.

Different surge protectors do different things. Not all of them are created equal. As you can imagine, there are multiple price points for surge protectors and you generally get what you pay for.

What Kind of RV Surge Protectors Are Out There?

There are two types of surge protectors. The first is a simple surge protector the other is an electrical management system. While they do different things, they have the same purpose. They keep your RV’s electronics safe.

The Difference Between a Surge Protector and an Electronic Management System

The main difference between a typical surge protector and an electrical management system is its breadth of protection. A surge protector offers protection only from high voltage. This often occurs from a lightning strike, though there can be other culprits.

An electrical management system is a more robust solution. It can protect against high voltage, low voltage, reverse polarity, open neutral, open ground, and various other issues. These systems are more expensive, but they’re worth it. They protect your rig’s electronics more holistically, which is what you want.

What Surge Protector Equipment Should You Get?

Many electronic management systems are sold with the words “surge protector” in the product’s name. The reason? Most people know or at least have an idea of what a surge protector is. The worlds energy management system of the acronym EMS can be confusing to someone who knows they need some protection for their RV’s electronics but don’t know what to get.

Below are a few products I would recommend. These are energy management systems though they’re called surge protectors. They will protect your RV against a wide variety of problems and should ensure your electronics stay safe and function as designed.

1. Southwire Surge Guard Portable 30-Amp Surge Protector

30 amp surge protector


For RVs with a 30-amp electrical hookup, this Southwire Surge Guard is the perfect option. It will protect against a wide variety of wiring issues including reverse polarity, open neutral and open ground. It will also protect against low and high voltage, low and high frequency, and elevated ground line current.

The unit features a lock so you can keep thieves from stealing it once its put in place, and it has wireless technology included so you don’t have to get out of your RV any time you want to check its status. Unfortunately, the Southwire Surge Guard Wireless LCD Display that works with this system is sold separately.

2. Southwire Surge Guard Portable 50-Amp Suge Protector


50 amp surge protector

If you have a 50-amp electrical hook up on your RV, then the Southwire Surge Guard Portable 50-Amp Suge Protector is what you need. Like the 30-amp unit shown above, this surge protector is really an electrical management system protecting your RV from all of the wiring and electrical issues listed above.

This unit also has a security lock allowing you to ensure it won’t be stolen once it’s connected, and it comes with wireless connectivity. Again, the Southwire Surge Guard Wireless LCD Display is unfortunately sold separately, but at least it’s a possibility so you don’t have to go outside any time you want to check on your surge protector.

3. Southwire Surge Guard Wireless LCD Display

Wireless LCD Display

If you’d like to take advantage of the wireless features of the surge protectors shown above, this is the LCD display to buy. It provides total visibility to your surge protector’s status and the power source it’s connected to. This display works with both 30 and 50-amp surge protectors, and you can buy multiple to work with one surge protector if you wish.

With the equipment listed above, you should be able to keep your RV’s electronics issue free. This will allow you to camp worry-free when it comes to your RV’s valuable electronic components.

As always, stop by your local Camping World if you’re looking to sell or trade-in your used motorhome or travel trailer.

If you have any questions or comments, leave a message below!

What you need to know about RVs and surge protectors

Wade divides his time among various outdoor activities in both urban and rural environments. An adventurer by nature, he is always up for a challenging hike, fun hunt, or day out on the water with friends and family. When he isn’t enjoying the outdoors, he’s writing, reading, or tinkering with motorcycles and cars.
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  1. The geek in me appreciates the wireless display of the Southwire units. The practical side of me says that with a good EMS in place, power is either on or it isn’t.

    I have a Progressive Industries EMS-PT30X for my toy hauler. I’m rarely in a formal campground, but I’ve heard enough horror stories about the electrical systems in older campgrounds that I keep the EMS in the trailer. I’ve used the EMS once so far. I didn’t unbox it for several months after purchasing, only to find that the weather shield was missing. One email to Progressive Industries and a replacement was sent. Great customer service!

  2. I have a 50 amp 5th wheel. When the unit is not in use, it is plugged in to 30 amp service using a 30-50 adapter. I never use both a/c units at the storage space, so it works well. Do I need a 30 amp power management device for when on the 30 amp service and a separate power management device when plugged into 50 amp service, or will the 50 amp protect for both amperage?

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