|Portable RV Surge Protector EMS-PT30X|
|Surge Guard 34850|
|Camco Heavy Duty|
|Surge Guard 44280|
A power surge can cause expensive damage to your appliances.
You can either decide to get a surge protector to prevent it or wait until you need to buy a new fridge after a surge.
The choice is on you, and I always say better safe than sorry!
Here are the best surge protectors for your RV.
Keep reading to learn more about surge protectors and understand their importance!
Our Top 2 Choices
Portable RV Surge Protector EMS-PT30X
Surge Guard 34850
Portable RV Surge Protector EMS-PT30X
This Progressive Industries surge protector gives you the highest level of security you can expect from a portable surge protector.
It is available in two versions for a 30 amp and 50 amps system.
The casing is weather-proof and the protector has a convenient pull handle.
The bracket is lockable so you don’t have to worry about security.
- Excellent protection
- Plug and play operation
- Easy to read display
- Isn’t UL certified
Even though it is hard to beat EMS protection, this portable surge protector by Progressive Industries is close.
The product comes with a lifetime warranty.
Surge Guard 34850
The Surge Guard by Technology Research is similar to the winner of the list.
It offers great protection and has a high maximum capacity of 2.450 joules.
The product only has a 1-year warranty.
As far as the packaging goes, it is of medium quality, but still good for outdoor use and resistant to corrosion.
- Lightweight and portable
- Continuous monitoring of amp draw
- Protects AC compressor
- Doesn’t have a lock hasp accessory
- Field service not enabled
The Surge Guard protector keeps your RV safe from poor camp installations.
The Automatic reset on power restoration is a great touch.
Camco Heavy Duty
If you are looking for basic protection and you are buying on a budget, then please consider the surge protector by Camco.
It has ergonomic handles which simplify plugging and unplugging.
The device has easy-to-read light indicators and a durable casing.
However, the system can only indicate problems, and won’t protect your RV from reverse polarity.
- Light indicators
- Limited protection
- One time surge protection
Camco surge protector is a basic protector, which won’t cost you a lot of money.
If you know where you park and how high the quality of installation is, maybe Camco can be good enough.
Surge Guard 44280
Progressive Industries hardwired RV surge protector is top-notch in the permanent protector’s category.
As expected, it requires complex installation, but it delivers maximum protection.
It is UL listed protector which continuously analyzes circuits and identifies power supply status.
The device protects against open neutral, reverse polarity, open neutral, and other issues that can damage your electronics.
- Maximum EMS protection
- Interior installation
- Broad protection
- Expensive professional installation
- Might affect resale value of your RV
If you are looking for a piece of mind when traveling to new places, hardwired surge protectors are the way to go.
The Progressive Industries one is the safe bet.
Surge protectors keep the electrical components in your RV safe from unexpected fluctuations in current.
It is necessary for lighting strikes, surges, faulty wiring, and other similar issues that can cause sudden current change.
Campers know that campgrounds offer have power fluctuations, because of improper maintenance and many people connected to the grid at the same time.
But, before we get into details with RV surge protectors, let’s break things down about RV power failures.
RV Power Failure: What can be the Cause
Almost all power failures in RVs are caused by one of the following four things.
If you park in the older campsite, there is a risk that the campground doesn’t have updated electrical wiring.
During the summer months, because of excessive air conditioning use, the risk of low voltage is even higher.
A power surge is a sudden and significant increase of power.
The most common reason is a lighting strike, and the symptoms are smoke, damaged electronics, and burnt wires.
When the live and neutral wires aren’t switched correctly, the electronics stay on the grid even after you turn them off.
Open Ground Outlets
Unprotected surges can happen when there is a defect to the current ground wire.
An outlet without ground connection can also cause it.
Portable VS Hardwired Surge Protection
RV users can choose between two styles of surge protectors.
Several factors such as convenience, ease of use, and safety determine the style for you.
Portable surge protectors go directly into the shore power electrical box.
They are compact, lightweight, and easy to use.
I like that the portable surge protector doesn’t require installation, so I can say it is a plug-and-play product.
But, you need to retrieve it and store it when you are leaving and plug it in whenever you reach the new campsite.
They go outside your RV, so there is a risk for theft.
You can try locking them to reduce the risk of theft.
The alternative is hardwired surge protectors.
They go into the electrical panel and look like a medium-sized black box.
You need to install them, and sometimes even hire a professional to do it properly.
Once installed, hardwired protectors require minimal maintenance.
Hardwired surge protectors offer continuous protection and are safe from weather and theft.
The Difference Between Management System (EMS) and Standard Surge Protector
If you are looking for a new RV surge protector, you are probably wondering about EMS and standard surge protectors.
The two differ by the level of protection and price tag.
EMS surge protector offers broader protection.
It protects against wiring issues, reverse polarity, low/high voltages, open ground and an open neutral connection.
RV Insurance Policy
I always advise RV owners to maintain insurance coverage for their campers.
However, many insurance policies don’t cover the power surge events and potential damage to RV electrical system.
Therefore, it is always advisable to check with your chosen insurance company to clarify the options about electric damage.
If the insurance policy doesn’t cover the surge damage, a quality surge protector is a must.
Features to Look for in a Surge Protector
Here are the best features to look for in a surge protector.
Reverse Polarity Detection
This feature protects you against poor electrical wiring.
However, if you are staying in the campground, you are unaware of the electrical wiring work.
Therefore, reverse polarity detection is a safe option for traveling.
The most common problem occurs when neutral and live wires connect to opposite terminals.
The consequences can be severe damage to electrical appliances.
When the grounding wire isn’t installed properly or damaged, a protector won’t work.
Therefore, before you rely on a surge protector, check the open ground error.
Accidental 240V Connection
A 120 Volts outlet is the most common in the United States, but some appliances need a 240 Volt supply.
Those are clothes dryers, stoves, electric cars, ovens, etc.
When you accidentally plug your motor home into a 240V without a surge protector, you risk excessive and immediate damage to your electronics.
AC Frequency Monitoring
EMS surge protectors monitor the AC frequency and keep your system safe from deviations that are too far from 60Hz.
It is practical touch for traveling around the country because older campsites have an unstable frequency.
Some surge protectors come with LED displays to monitor error codes.
Others include indicators.
In both ways, it is useful to know what the problem is.
Error Code Recall
Memorizing past errors allows you to understand what happened to your power supply system while you were absent and prevents future troubles.
Things to Consider When Buying a Surge Protector
Let’s check the most important things you need to analyze before you buy your surge protector.
30 Amps or 50 Amp
Amps measure electrical current, and there are two systems – 30 amp and 50 amp.
The amperage depends on the size and electrical requirement of your appliances.
Smaller RV usually have 30 amps systems, while large ones with multiple appliances such as invert AC, refrigerators, etc. have 50 amp systems.
If you have a 50 amp system and you plug it in a low voltage 30 amp max power source, you can destroy the system and cause burns.
So, a 50 amps surge protector works with a 50 amp RV power supply.
The same applies to 30 amp surge protectors.
In most cases, every surge protector has manufactured both systems.
The Class and RV Size
The larger the camper and the larger the electrical use, the greater the need for electrical protection.
People with a class A or C motorhome, or fifth wheelers are advised to choose the EMS system, because of the advanced protection.
In most cases, large motorhomes have high-end electronics, so a surge can cause a lot of damage.
The Camping Location
Electrical power supply quality differs across different campgrounds.
Modern campsites have professional installations that reduce the risks of a power surge.
Older campgrounds haven’t been maintained, so there is a high risk for potential damage and problems.
If you camp on few locations that prove to be safe, you can pick a standard surge protector.
If you like to explore and park in older campgrounds, an EMS surge protector might be a better choice.
There are good and bad sides to hardwired and portable surge protectors.
To sum up, let’s go briefly through them.
Hopefully, you will be able to decide which style is for you.
Portable Surge Protectors Pros:
- Simple plug-and-play operation
- Suitable for outdoor use
- More options on the market
- Cheaper than hardwired
Portable Surge Protectors Cons:
- High theft risk
- When not plug in, you need to find a place to store it
- You must plug it on every trip
- Must hang vertically
- Can malfunction due to poor weather
Hardwired Surge Protectors Pros
- Easy to use
- Better security
- Maximum protection against different issues
Hardwired Surge Protectors Cons
- You might need to require a professional to install it
- Not suitable for outdoor users
Don’t wait until your fridge or TV gets fried to get a surge protector.
Prevent it whether by choosing a portable or hardwired unit.
The choice is totally on you.
Remember, even a cheap portable, one-time surge protector is safer than traveling without one.
Have you tried any of the products on my list?
Share your thought on my list!
Best Overall Choice
Portable RV Surge Protector EMS-PT30X
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