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 hookups you don’t know what kind of shape the electrical units are in or if they were even wired right. Surges are also another worry and they can really happen at any time for a number of reasons. A surge protector is an easy, effective way to protect your trailer and it’s 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 service outlet. You then plug your trailer into the surge protector. Surge protectors are considered must-haves for RV and trailer owners, especially ones that use hookups at different campgrounds and RV parks.
There are surge protectors for 50 amp and 30 amp RVs and you want to make sure you get the one for the kind of RV you have. 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.
What Size Of Outlets Can I Plug My RV Surge Protector Into?
30 Amp Surge Protector To 50 Amp Outlet
You can plug a 30 amp surge protector into a 50 amp outlet and your trailer will be protected to the full capacity of the surge protector. Your 30 amp trailer will run normally and everything will basically be the same. All you need is the 50 to 30 amp adapter which you will plug into the 50 amp outlet, followed by the surge protector, then your trailer. (click to view 50 to 30 amp adapter on Amazon)
50 Amp Surge Protector To 30 Amp Outlet
If you have a 50 amp trailer you should have a 50 amp surge protector, if you try and use a 30 amp surge protector you will only be able to run your trailer with 30 amps 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 but the 50 amp surge protector should be able to protect your RV from power surges even though it’s plugged into a 30 amp outlet. (click to view 30 to 50 amp adapter on Amazon)
30 Amp Surge Protector To 20 or 15 Amp Outlet
Even when plugging into a 20 or 15 amp outlet you should use your surge protector. A powerful surge can happen through any size of an electrical outlet and you should protect your trailer at all times. Remember that 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 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 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)
Best RV Surge Protector Options
Southwire makes some of the best surge protectors on the market today. I use a Southwire surge protector on my own 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 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 the surge protector to the pedestal or something else. I highly recommend locking the surge protector at all times.
The surge protector 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 surge protector 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.
When I plug my trailer into shore power I always plug the surge guard in first and let it start up. Once the 10-second sequence has completed the surge guard clicks to the on position. I always check to make sure the surge protection light is on before plugging in my travel trailer.
A surge protector like the Southwire 50A Full Protection Surge Guard 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 the 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 unhook your trailer and get everything set up.
The 30 amp Southwire full protection surge guard has all the features of the 50 amp one I reviewed above. The only difference it’s for 30 amp trailers instead of 50 amp ones. You can plug this surge guard into a 50 amp outlet with an adaptor if necessary and it’s the one I use on my own 30 amp travel trailer.
Southwire is a great company and I’ve been recommending their surge protectors to RVers for years. You want a product that won’t fail your RV when a surge or electrical problem happens. These surge protectors are reliable and will keep your RV or travel trailer safe in any weather at all times.
Have any questions about surge protectors and outlets? Leave a comment below.