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The best RV surge protector

Which RV surge protector is best?

If you own an RV or travel trailer, a surge protector is one of the most necessary purchases you’ll make to support your rig. Electrical surges at campsites are common and can fry your electronics and the delicate circuitry in your RV’s refrigerator and air conditioner.

A reliable surge protector can cost anywhere from $80-$350 but will save you thousands of dollars in damages. Believe it or not, different RV surge protectors offer different levels of protection. Knowing which style fits your needs is crucial to keeping your RV and electronics safe.

Things to know about RV surge protectors

Do you need a surge protector or an electrical management system?

RV surge protectors generally cost $80-$150 and protect your RV or travel trailer from surges in voltage.

Electrical management systems protect your rig from high and low voltage and reverse polarity, open ground and open neutral. A good EMS can save your RV from faulty park power sources for $250-$350.

Hardwire vs. plug-n-play surge protectors

Hardwired RV surge protectors are mounted onto your RV, whereas plug-n-play models plug into the park’s power source externally. 

Plug-n-play models are typically more expensive but require less effort to install. One significant advantage of hardwired units is you don’t have to worry about theft.

30-amp vs. 50-amp connection

You’ll need to know whether your RV or travel trailer requires a 30-amp or 50-amp connection. 

30-amp plugs typically have three pins, including a flat 120-volt pin, a flat neutral pin and a round ground pin. 50-amp plugs have four pins, including two flat 120-volt pins, a flat neutral pin and a round ground pin. 

If you’re unsure what kind of plug your RV uses, consider reaching out to the manufacturer for clarification.

Surge rating

The surge rating is how much energy the surge protector can absorb before it fails. 30-amp surge protectors generally have a surge rating of around 2,000, whereas many 50-amp surge protectors can handle 4,000 joules of electricity or more before they fail. Getting a surge protector with a high surge rating saves you the hassle of replacing your unit down the line.

Which RV surge protector should you buy?

Best 30-amp RV surge protector

Hughes Autoformers Power Watchdog Smart Bluetooth Surge Protector 

This Bluetooth-capable electrical management system allows you to monitor park power conditions in real-time from your smartphone and offers 2,400 joules of surge protection. The Power Watchdog shuts off entirely if the park’s voltage is unsafe and turns back on when it remains safe and stable for 90 seconds. The surge protector is available as a plug-n-play version or hardwire version.

Sold by Amazon

Southwire Surge Guard Portable 120-Volt Surge Protector 

If theft is a concern, Southwire’s Surge Guard model can provide you with additional peace of mind thanks to a security ring on the cord that lets you lock it in place. This EMS is compatible with Surge Guard’s wireless liquid crystal display that allows you to monitor park power conditions from inside your rig.

Sold by Amazon 

Camco 55301 RV Power Defender Voltage Protector/Monitor 

Camco’s convenient EMS offers an impressive 2,800 joules of surge protection and has a convenient grip that makes it easier to plug and unplug. Although this model doesn’t allow you to monitor power conditions from inside your RV, it has easy-to-understand LED diagnostic lights to make you aware of potential faults.

Sold by Amazon and Home Depot

Progressive Industries Portable RV Smart Surge Protector 

This surge protector isn’t technically an EMS, as it doesn’t shut off when the voltage goes above or below the acceptable range. It offers a wide range of capabilities nonetheless. The SSP-30XL’s LEDs indicate open grounds, miswired pedestals and reversed polarity, in addition to surge failures.

Sold by Amazon and Home Depot

Hughes Autoformers Power Watch Dog Surge Protector 

Much like the SSP-30XL, this surge protector indicates open grounds, miswired pedestals and reversed polarity with its built-in LEDs or convenient smartphone app.

Sold by Amazon

Best 50 amp RV surge protector

Hughes Autoformers Power Watchdog Bluetooth Surge Protector 

This advanced EMS has an impressive 4,800 joules of surge protection. The 50-amp Power Watchdog EMS is smartphone-compatible, just like its 30-amp counterpart, making it easy to monitor real-time power conditions.

Sold by Home Depot

Camco RV Power Defender Voltage Protector/Monitor 

Camco’s 50 amp EMS packs 4,200 joules of surge protection into an easy-to-use piece of equipment. The simple LED indicators tell you everything you need to know about park power conditions. If the voltage is risky, it shuts off until it’s safe for a full 140 seconds.

Sold by Amazon

Progressive Industries Portable RV EMS Surge Protector 

At 3,580 joules, the surge rating on this EMS is slightly lower than most 50-amp electrical management systems. Still, its lifetime warranty, scrolling display and rugged design make it an excellent choice for nearly any RV.

Sold by Home Depot and Amazon

Southwire 34950 Surge Guard 

This durable EMS continuously monitors and displays voltage and amp draw, which is pretty handy if you’re at a park that charges per kilowatt-hour for electricity.

Sold by Amazon

Hughes Autoformer Power Watch Dog 50 AMP Surge Protector 

This smartphone-compatible surge protector offers 4,800 joules of surge protection. Should you get hit by an exceedingly significant surge, the surge/spike unit is replaceable. Therefore, you won’t have to replace the entire unit.

Sold by Amazon

Surge Guard 44270 Entry Level Surge Protector 

Surge Guard’s RV surge protector has 4,200 joules of surge protection. This unit’s design includes easy-to-understand LED indicators that alert you if your power source has an open ground, open neutral or reversed polarity.

Sold by Amazon


Cody Stewart is a writer for BestReviews. BestReviews is a product review company with a singular mission: to help simplify your purchasing decisions and save you time and money.

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