Buying a reliable surge protector for your RV is extremely important. Not only does your vehicle need to be safe from faulty shore power, but the unit you choose should also give you a clear indication of any power issues that might arise.
However, with so many options on the market, knowing which protector is the best for you can be confusing. That’s where our review round-up and buyer’s guide comes in.
Below you will find 7 carefully selected RV surge protectors that we consider to be the most superior available today. These units cover a range of budgets, features and power capacities in order to suit the needs of most RV owners.
For our findings at a glance, just head to the table below. For a comprehensive review of each of our picks, plus a detailed buyer’s guide, keep on reading.
Top 7 Best RV Power Surge Protectors
50A / 4,200J
30A / 2,450J
50A / 3,580J
50A / 3,850J
30A / 825J
30A / 2,400J
50A / 4,200J
RV Power Surge Protector Reviews
The following surge protectors have been selected based on reliability, build quality, features and price point.
Our testing method involves a combination of the above criteria, plus recent customer reviews and feedback on performance, as well as analysis of how each of the models fares against others on the market.
1. TOP PICK PORTABLE: Camco Dogbone RV Surge Protector
Our top pick portable, plug and play surge protector for 2020 is the Camco Dogbone RV Circuit Analyzer.
This excellent electronic failsafe unit simply plugs into the socket before you link up your RV power cord.
The system has a built-in diagnostics display with lights that will provide a visual indication of any faults before your RV lead gets anywhere near the main power source.
The LED lighting combinations are designed to alert you if any electrical wiring issues exist.
When the lighting sequence matches ‘Correct Wiring’, you know you can safely connect the power source to your RV.
Should anything go wrong while your RV is linked up to the power, a surge protection system is in place that can handle a maximum of 4,200 Joules, (the Camco Dogbone is a 50-amp circuit analyzer).
This robust, weather-resistant RV Surge Protector also features a power grip handle ensuring you can safely and easily plugin or remove the unit in any circumstances.
Overall the Camco Dogbone RV Circuit Analyzer is a top quality unit that does exactly what you need it to do without fuss or fanfare.
High levels of surge protection with an easy to read LED indicator, you can safely plug this in and know that your RV is safe from a malfunctioning power source that could otherwise ‘fry’ your RV’s electrics.
Our top pick plug and play surge protector for good reason.
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2. Southwire Black 34930 Surge Guard
The 34930 Surge Guard from Southwire is another capable plug in unit, surge protector.
Here the manufacturers have opted for a 30A base model that features a 128-second reset delay.
The unit is designed to continuously monitor the incoming power supply and the easy to read LCD screen displays voltage and amp draw (RMS).
The list of faults that the unit is designed to protect your RV from is wide; should the power source create a surge, have an open ground or neutral, overheat the unit or be of reverse polarity, or miswired, your RV and all the electronics inside will be safe and secure.
The Southwire surge Guard also uses a 10-second start-up sequence within which any faults are detected before power is transferred to the RV.
Another benefit of this unit is the anti-theft provision. Southwire has included an anti-theft lock ring on the cord so no one can disconnect and walk off with your valuable protector.
Other features include a multi-mode surge protection system and an automatic reset on power restoration.
Build quality is good too with as the main Surge Guard receptacle is made from commercial-grade brass.
The Southwire Black 34930 Surge Guard 30A is a great plugin surge protector with some high-quality features.
We especially liked the LCD display that provides easy to read information on the status of the power source.
Add that to built in functionality such as the 10 second start up sequence and you have a recommended surge protector for your RV.
3. TOP PICK HARDWIRE: Progressive Industries HW50C EMS Surge Protector
For those looking for a more robust, permanent level of surge protection you cannot beat a hardwired unit.
And our top pick unit for that is the Progressive Industries HW50C Hardwired EMS Surge protector.
This Portable Electrical Management Systems (EMS) has been designed from the ground up to provide the ultimate protection for your RV against all manner of adverse power supply problems.
Open Ground, Open Neutral and Reverse Polarity detection and protection, Over/Under Voltage Protection, Accidental 240V Protection and A/C Frequency Protection all safely catered for here.
No matter what might go wrong with the supply you have connected your RV to, this hardwired unit will stand in the way to ensure that all your electrical appliances are kept safe and fault free.
The system has a built-in Remote Scrolling Digital Display. This continuously provides real-time information on the condition of the power supply.
Furthermore, the internal circuitry analyzing the power output is driven by state of the art microprocessors.
When the software running the system is changed or updated, unit owners receive a free upgrade to the new operating system at no extra cost.
And if issues arise within the unit, or components become damaged due to a major electrical fault, the HW50C uses replacement parts that are simply plug-and-play. In other words, your surge protector will carry on looking after your RV for many years to come.
For superior surge protection for your RV it is difficult to beat a fully installed hardwired unit.
Especially when you look at the advanced features on offer here. From high quality EMS system that can be updated with upgraded software, to easily replaceable parts should electrical faults arise.
This is a system that will continue to protect your RV for many years to come. And that’s why the Progressive Industries HW50C is our top pick hardwired unit for 2020.
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4. Surge Guard 35550 Hardwire Model
The second hardwire RV surge protector to make our list this year is the Surge Guard 35550.
This is another 50A model unit that offers superior protection to the long list of issues that can arise if you end up connecting your RV to a faulty power supply. (A 30A version is also available from Surge Guard).
With a robust 3850 Joules of power surge protection, this is easy to install a hardwire model that will connect to the main electrical circuit of your RV with minimum compatibility issues.
The unit fits into the bay of your coach, meaning it cannot be stolen or damaged by adverse weather conditions, (unlike plug adaptor style surge protectors).
Features such as automatic reset on power restoration and multi-mode surge suppression are all built into the system.
The unit also has a 128-second reset delay designed to protect the A/C compressor.
And of course, for 24/7 protection of your RV electrics, this hardwired unit continuously monitors the incoming shore power and will shut everything off if and when it detects any issues.
Overall the Surge Guard 35550 is a great unit that will help protect your RV via a hardwired configuration.
However, the fact you need to purchase the LCD display separately in order to gain full status reports, (unlike our top pick HW50C where the unit includes such functionality) is a negative in our opinion.
5. BEST BUDGET ADAPTOR: Progressive Industries SSP30X Smart Surge Protector
If you are looking for a budget friendly, yet still ultra reliable plug and play surge protector our number one choice in 2020 is the Progressive Industries SSP30X.[Another top pick from the ever reliable Progressive Industries, these guys really do know what they are doing when it comes to RV surge protection]
Here the specifications and good and the price point even better.
The SSP30X is part of the brands Smart Surge Protectors (SSP) line of units that are not only portable, (this is the adaptor kind after all), but have the added benefit of a built-in polarity tester.
This is designed to check the status of the power source before you even link up your RV power supply to the shore supply.
The list of faults that it can detect is great, with Open Ground, Open Neutral & Reverse Polarity Detection all catered for.
The unit also features a miss wired pedestal indicator as well as a surge failure indicator, (the ‘Smart’ aspect really isn’t just marketing copy). Faults are all presented to the user via a bright 3-Color LED Indicator.
Being an outside unit rather hardwired inside the RV the SSP30X also has a robust, waterproof construction that is weather-resistant and thermally protected.
The surge protector also has a rugged pull handle in order to ensure easy operation. Plugging the unit in, or removing the protector from a faulty source can all be done with the utmost safety.
Finally, there is a very generous lifetime warranty on this unit, a demonstration of the faith Progressive Industries has in its design and manufacturing process.
The Progressive Industries SSP30X is that good of a plug and play portable surge protector that it very nearly received our top pick overall.
However, with its reasonable price and quality features the fact it is our top budget pick is a no-brainer.
An excellent unit that will give you peace of mind when it comes to protecting your RV electrics.
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6. Power Watchdog Smart Bluetooth Surge Protector
One of the most innovative surge protectors to make our top 7 review round up, the Power Watchdog has some interesting features which may well tip your decision towards this unit.
The Watchdog has built-in Bluetooth capabilities that allow it to connect to an app on your smartphone.
Download the app, link up your phone and real-time status reports can be delivered to your phone on the condition of your RV power supply.
This excellent functionality means you can monitor voltage and current draw (amps) from the palm of your hand.
Should an extensive malfunction occur, the inbuilt smart circuit analyzer will shut down power to the RV. You will then receive a text alert directly to your phone.
2,400 Joules of Advanced Surge Protection is provided with the Power Watchdog. Other features include a built-in 90-second Power-on delay after a fault, (this system is designed to protect the electrics of your RV).
If a fault does cause a damaging spike of electricity, the unit has a built-in spike module that will take the hit. This protects your RV and is very easily replaced, simply order a new module and plug it in.
The unit itself has LED diagnostics with fault alerts so you have other options of notification beyond the use of the app.
Like all good adaptors at source, surge protectors the Power Watchdog is built to be weatherproof and has easy pull handles for safe operation and handling.
The main benefit of buying the Power Watchdog is that excellent smartphone functionality. Being able to receive real-time data and text alerts will be a real bonus for some. If that’s something you would use, this is the protector for you.
If however you see this more as a gimmick, there’s cheaper options out there.
7. Surge Guard 44270 Portable Surge Protector
The final surge protector to make our top 7 is another offering from Surge Guard. This time of the adaptor at source variety the 44270 offers 4200 Joules of surge protection, in a robust, all-weather conditions case.
This is a 50A unit which is the standard level for adaptor protectors of this kind.
As with the majority of the models reviewed today, the Safe Guard system will analyze circuits to verify pedestal power.
The unit also has inbuilt indicators that display the status of the source power.
The unit reliably tests the ground source and will inform you of the status of the open ground, open neutral and whether the correct polarity is present.
Essentially this is a simple, entry-level protector that is great for trailers and RVs and will help the user ascertain the quality of the shoreline power with ease.
The Surge Guard 44270 is a capable system that offers a good level of surge protection. The build quality is good and the unit reliable.
However, it does not shine in any specific way over other protectors that made our top 7. Essentially, there are better options with more features available.
What to Consider when buying an RV Surge Protector
There’s a number of factors you should keep in mind when choosing a surge protector for your RV.
And while we have reviewed what we believe to be the best options on the market today, you may still want to do your own research in order to select the best RV surge protector for your specific needs.
If this is the case, the following points will help you narrow down your search to only the most relevant models.
The amp rating of the protector is an important variable and this is dependant on the amount of power to draw your RV needs.
The majority of models are either 30A or 50A. If you have a number of electrical appliances within your RV that might also be used simultaneously, the higher amp protector will be less likely to overheat or cause other electrical power problems.
The Joules rating in another important specification you should be aware of. The higher the joules rating, the more excessive surge the unit will be able to protect your RV from.
So a good rule of thumb is to opt for a protector with a high joules rating, as this will be able to better dissipate the heat and electricity should malfunction occur.
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Having a unit that clearly indicates the status and condition of the shore power is vital. Some units will provide more information than others.
Many models simply use a LED light indicator that will provide clarity on whether the power source is safe.
Others go much further by giving real-time information on current and amp draw, as well as information on what kind of problem is present should there be one.
You can even buy surge protectors such as the Watchdog reviewed above that will connect to your mobile phone via Bluetooth and provide information through a downloadable app.
This protector also sends text alert messages should the power be shut down for any reason.
Portable or hardwire
Plug and play portable options are the most convenient and in many cases will suit most RV owner needs.
They are easy to use, (simply plug into the shore power and then connect to your RV power supply) and come in durable, weatherproof cases.
Hardwire units need to be fully installed into the RV. These offer greater security, (they cannot be stolen or become damaged in bad weather) and often offer high rates of surge protection.
The downside, of course, is that these are less convenient and may need to be professionally installed depending on your skillset.
Believe it or not but some surge protectors can make a lot of noise. The constant hum of the unit can be annoying at night, especially if you’re on a quiet RV park, or your window is close to the shore power outlet.
As manufacturers do not specify noise levels of the unit you will need to read reviews to see of any customers have experienced issues in this regard.
As our best budget pick above testifies, you do not need to spend a vast amount of money in order to get a good quality RV surge protector.
That being said, your budget should always stretch to buying a unit that safely meets the needs of your RV and prospected power consumption.
Have an idea of the money you wish to spend on buying the unit and then make sure that the specifications (and reviews) hold up so that you have something that you will not be disappointed with.