Is An RV Surge Protector Really Necessary?

rv surge protector

With spring fast approaching and unstable weather not far off, the question “Is an RV Surge Protector necessary?” get’s asked more and more often.  You may have arrived at this question through a camping friends experience with power issues or a close call during a nasty storm.  And the short answer is yes, an rv surge protector is very important and here’s why. Surge protectors act like an electrical gatekeeper to your RV. With high-end units monitoring every aspect of power and lower end units just keeping out the most destructive types of electrical issues.  As power requirements increase and campgrounds power infrastructure do not, experiencing damage to your electrical and electronic components becomes much more likely. We go in-depth on what an RV surge protector is and how the different units can protect your RV in our article “RV Surge Protection 101”.

The next question becomes “which one do you recommend” and that is not as short an answer.

We sell the top two brands of RV surge protection which are Progressive Industries and Surge Guard have used both in our own RV’s. They both work equally well with only minor differences between the two brands. We offer a complete side by side comparison guide broken out in 30 or 50 amp and portable vs permanent units to easily see those differences. So for the most part selecting between the brands comes down to brand loyalty and if you have none than price or potentially the dimensions of the units will be the determining factors.

The easier part of determining the right RV surge protector is first matching it up to the power requirements of your RV, either 30 or 50 amps. Having this knowledge we only have to decide which features you and your RV really need. If all you’re looking for is protection from lightning either by a direct strike or a surge though the power lines, then we recommend the new Progressive Industries SSP30X for 30 amp RV’s which runs under $100 and SSP50X for 50 amp RV’s which is just over $100. These units not only protect from lightning, but will also indicate issues with the campground power before plugging in your RV. They are both portable and simply plug into the campgrounds power post with not installation required.

But with today’s decked out RV’s rolling off the assembly line with inverter/chargers, LED tv’s, convection ovens, multiple AC units, home theatre and satellite systems, the smaller units just don’t do enough. A bigger issue than lightning to today’s electronic RV’s is poor campground power. And more times than not it’s low fluctuating voltage which can shorter or end the life of the electronics in those RV accessories. In this case we recommend the full featured systems that both Surge Guard and Progressive Industries offer. With these units in place the power is cutoff to the RV when power is below 104 volts or above 132 volts and you would be surprised how often this happens if you have not monitored it in the past. These units will also protect from wrong voltage, mis-wired power pedestals and so much more by not allowing power into the RV. These units also have voltage displays and some even include remote displays to view power issues from inside the RV. These full featured power monitors provide the greatest protection from potential power issues that will damage your RV’s delicate electronics.  They are available in portable units such as the Progressive Industries EMS PT30C for 30 amps or the EMS PT50c for 50 amps.  If your looking for something more permanent than look no further than the hardwired Progressive Industries EMS HW30C or EMS HW50C that re designed to be installed in the electrical bay of your RV.

While we are answering questions, another that comes up often is: “can I plug my 30 amp surge protector into a 50 amp power pedestal?” and the answer is yes. You will need a 30 amp female to 50 amp male adapter to do so. And conversely “can I plug my 50 amp surge protector into a 30 amp power pedestal?” and again the answer is yes. The unit will still offer the same protection but with only 30 amps of power. You will need a 50 amp female to 30 amp male adapter to make that connection.

For a wide choice and best advice on choosing the right rv surge protector for you, contact us today.

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Is An RV Surge Protector Really Necessary? was last modified: February 29th, 2016 by Bill Rowell

About the Author

Bill Rowell
I have been camping and RV'ing with my Wife and 2 children for the past 20 years. We began our RV'ing careers in a 1995 Jayco pop-up camper which we got caught in the rain in every time we used it. In 1998 I found a 1989 Winnebago Chieftain 23' Class A motorhome which we loved. During that time I was always looking online for good RV information but unable to find it. So I decided to start a website called which is a forum for RV'ers to share information. We wanted a family friendly site in which members were willing to help each other and leave the drama out. In 2000 I purchased our first new RV which was a 30' Coachmen Mirada Class A. For a new RV I had to make a lot of modifications to this motorhome just to make it a road worthy RV. My displeasure with traditional RV's lead me to Truck Conversions and in 2002 we built our first Showhauler motorhome. In 2004 we built our second Truck Conversions which was an improvement over the first, but a trip to the Winnebago factory in 2006 sealed my fate with the rest of the family who saw a Winnebago Vectra diesel pusher in our future. So in 2006 we made the move and enjoyed traveling the country in that until 2010 when we thought we would downside since the kids were off doing their own thing. Somewhere in that time we found ourselves with way to many irons in the fire and decided to focus all our energy on as well as another business we own and thus said goodbye to This was a very tough decision since we had made so many RV'ing friends and great memories, but times had changed and it was time to leave it in new hands to continue it's growth. In 2010 we downsized to a Winnebago Cambria Class C which I really liked, but we quickly found was not the most roadworthy choice for long range travel. So in 2012 we went back to Showhauler and with all of the updates they made to their product found the last motorhome we will ever buy. (Sound familiar) There is never a last RV you'll ever buy when your a die-hard RV'er :-)

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