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Will A 50A RV Surge Protector Work In A 30A Outlet?

What Is An RV Surge Protector?

Appliances and the electrical systems inside your RV or travel trailer are not cheap to fix or replace.

When you pull up to an RV park or campground with electrical hookups you don’t know what kind of shape the power pedestals are in or if they were even wired right.

Related Product: We level our RV with the innovative Andersen RV Leveling Set (click to view on Amazon)

Power surges are also another worry and they can happen at any time for a number of reasons.

A surge protector is an easy, effective way to protect your camper and its electrical appliances from faulty wiring and power surges.

There are a few kinds of RV surge protectors but the most common style is plugged directly into the 50, 30, or 20 amp outlet. You then plug your trailer into the surge protector.

They are considered must-haves for RV and trailer owners, especially ones that use hookups at different campgrounds and RV parks regularly.

There are RV surge protectors made for 50 amp and 30 amp RVs and you want to make sure you get the one for the kind of RV you have.

See Also: The Surprising Differences Between 50A & 30A RVs

Don’t buy a 50 amp surge protector for your 30 amp RV, and don’t buy a 30 amp surge protector for a 50 amp RV.

They don’t make 20 or 15 amp RV surge protectors but if you have a small 20 or 15 amp trailer you should use a 30 amp surge protector with an adaptor just to be safe.

30 amp RV power pedestal with an RV surge protector plugged in
Some RV Parks offer 30 amp power only. In these cases being able to plug a 50A RV surge protector into a 30A outlet is necessary.

What Size Of Outlets Can I Plug My RV Surge Protector Into?

30 Amp RV Surge Protector To 50 Amp Outlet

You can plug a 30 amp surge protector into a 50 amp outlet.

Your camper will be protected to the full capacity of the surge protector, and the 30 amp camper will run normally and everything will basically be the same.

All you need is a 50 to 30 amp adapter which you will plug into the 50 amp outlet, followed by the surge protector, then your RV. (click to view 50 to 30 amp adapter on Amazon)

50 Amp RV Surge Protector To 30 Amp Outlet

If you have a 50 amp RV you should have a 50 amp RV surge protector, if you try and use a 30 amp surge protector you will only be able to use 30 amps worth of power whenever you plug it in.

Some campgrounds only have 30 amp service and it’s ok to plug your 50 amp surge protector into the 30 amp outlet.

Just remember that your 50 amp RV will only be using 30 amps of power because of the outlet.

A 50 amp RV surge protector will be able to protect your camper from power surges even though it’s plugged into a 30 amp outlet. (click to view 30 to 50 amp adapter on Amazon)

See Also: Use An RV Surge Protector With A Generator (Open Ground Fix)

30 Amp RV Surge Protector To 20 or 15 Amp Outlet

Even when plugging into a 20 or 15 amp outlet you should use an RV surge protector.

A powerful surge can happen through any size of an electrical outlet and you should protect your camper at all times.

Remember you are using a smaller power source and using high power appliances like the air conditioner or electric water heater will likely flip the breaker on the 20 or 15 amp outlet.

To plug a 30 amp RV surge protector into a 20 amp or 15 amp outlet all you need is an adaptor. (click to view 30 to 20/15 amp adapter on Amazon)

50 Amp RV Surge Protector To 20 or 15 Amp Outlet

Much like the 30 amp, a 50 amp surge protector will still offer protection to your 50 amp RV in case of a power surge.

You will not be able to use the larger electrical appliances in your 50 amp RV when plugged into 20 or 15 amp outlets but it will still be able to run things like the fridge and keep the batteries charged.

All you need is a 50 to 20/15 amp adaptor. (click to view 50 to 20/15 amp adapter on Amazon)

See Also: How To Connect/Plug RV Camper Into Generator (15/30/50 Amp)

My RV Surge Protector Recommendations

For a full review with even more choices check out this article here.

Southwire 50A Full Protection Surge Guard

Surge Guard Southwire Full Protection Portable with LCD Display, 50A...

Check Price at Amazon

Southwire makes some of the best RV surge protectors with EMS on the market today. I use the 30 amp version on my own travel trailer and so far it’s worked wonderfully.

I’ve even been protected from some faulty outlets at sketchy RV parks.

The 50 amp Southwire RV surge protector is full protection which means protection from power surges, open ground and neutral, low voltage, overheating, reverse polarity, bad pedestals, and more.

There is an LCD screen on the unit which shows the voltage and amp draw in real-time. The screen is small but easy to read even in daylight.

There’s a thick plastic ring on the neck you can use to lock it to the pedestal or something else. I highly recommend locking your RV surge protector at all times.

It will automatically reset when power is lost with a 128-second delay.

There is also a 10-second start-up sequence so don’t be alarmed if the power doesn’t automatically turn on when you plug the RV surge guard into an outlet.

There are 3 LED light indicators, two will illuminate green to show the power is on and the surge protection is functioning. There is a caution light that will flash red when something is wrong.

See Also: The Best Camping Gas Generators That Will Run Your RV AC

When I plug my camper into shore power I always plug the surge guard in first and let it start up. Once the 10-second sequence has been completed the surge guard clicks to the on position.

I always check to make sure the surge protection indicator light is on before plugging in my travel trailer.

The Southwire 50A Full Protection Surge Guard EMS is a must-have for all RV owners.

The Southwire offers more protection than other surge protectors and its quality and durability are unmatched. It’s fully rain and snow proof and it’s never failed me.

Whenever I pull into an RV park or campground the first thing I do is test the pedestal with my RV surge protector before unhooking my trailer and setting up.

There have been a few cases where the outlets were malfunctioning and I’ve had to move to a different site. It’s good to know if something is wrong before you start the backing process.

Southwire 30A Full Protection RV Surge Guard

Southwire 34930 Surge Guard 30A - Full Protection Portable with LCD...

Check Price at Amazon

The 30 amp Southwire full protection RV surge guard has all the features of the 50 amp one I reviewed above. The only difference is it’s for 30 amp trailers instead of 50 amp ones.

You can plug it into a 50 amp outlet with an adaptor if necessary and it’s the one I use on my own 30 amp travel trailer.

See Also: Best Portable Quiet Inverter Generators For RV Camping

Southwire is a great company and I’ve been recommending its RV surge protectors to RVers for years.

You want a product that won’t fail your RV when a surge or electrical problem happens.

Have any questions about RV surge protectors and outlets? Leave a comment below.

by Jesse
Jesse has always had an interest in camping, technology, and the outdoors. Who knew that growing up in a small town in Sweden with endless forests and lakes would do that to you?

6 thoughts on “Will A 50A RV Surge Protector Work In A 30A Outlet?”

    • Hi Al,

      It should work. Have you tested multiple 30 amp receptacles?

      It could have something to do with the 50 to 30 amp adaptor. If the wiring is a little worn inside the adaptor the surge protector could be reading it as a problem and blocking the power.

      You could try a new/higher quality adaptor to see if that helps. Also, ensure all the connections are solid so that nothing will set off the diagnostic part of the surge protector.

  1. We have 50 amp Rv. Camping at a 30 amp spot. We have a 30 to 50 adapter. Now I need a 30 amp power surge cord. Is this correct?

    • If you already have a 50 amp surge protector for your RV it should work fine. Just plug it into the adapter then the adapter into the 30A outlet.


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