RV electrical systems are very sensitive. Costly damage can be done if these systems are exposed to surges or low voltage. We started our search for the best RV surge protectors on the market. After extensive research, we found out we needed more than a surge protector. What we needed was an electrical management system (EMS).

RV surge protectors are designed to protect it from voltage spikes. Electrical management systems are designed to protect the RV from voltage spikes and other electrical damage. Additional protection includes: low voltage, open ground, open neutral, reverse polarity and accidentally plugging into 240 volts. With many antiquated campground pedestals, basic RV surge protectors will only provide limited protection.

An electrical management system is more expensive, but think of it as an insurance policy for the RV. Better to spend a few hundred on protection now to avoid spending a few thousand on repairs later.

Top 5 RV Surge Protectors with Electrical Management System

There are several things to consider when choosing the right product. Do you want portable or hard-wired? Does the RV require 30 amp or 50 amp service? Some RVs have electrical protection built-in. Make sure to find out before making a purchase.

1. Progressive Industries EMS – Portable

Progressive Industries makes one of the leading electrical management systems on the market. The portable EMS easy to use and no installation is required. We purchased the older version (PTC) of this portable EMS and consider it a must have RV gadget.

The new version (PTX) has a weather shield to protect it from the elements, a pull handle to make it easier to disconnect the unit, and better bracket for securing the unit to the pedestal. We haven’t had any issues with our unit and continue to use it every time we plug into shore power. It has also survived many severe thunderstorms. Read the full review of Progressive Industries PT30C.

Features:

  • Made in the U.S.A. Lifetime warranty.
  • Will automatically shut off power to the RV when AC power falls below 104 volts, or is higher than 132 volts.
  • Will not allow power to the RV when there is reverse polarity, open neutral, open ground, or when 240 volts is detected.
  • Will shut down power if AC power frequency deviates +/- 9 hertz from 60 cycles per second.
  • Designed for outdoor use with a security locking bracket to prevent theft.
  • Time Delay for Reset: 136 seconds
  • EMS-PT30X is for RVs with 30 amp service. Total Joule rating of 1,790, 44,00A surge current.
  • EMS-PT50X is for RVs with 50 amp service. Total Joule rating of 3,580, 88,00A surge current.

2. Progressive Industries EMS Hard-Wired

Similar to the Progressive Industries portable EMS, the hard-wired version comes with a display that can be installed on the inside of the RV.

Features:

  • Made in the U.S.A. Lifetime warranty.
  • Will automatically shut off power to the RV when AC power falls below 104 volts, or is higher than 132 volts.
  • Will not allow power to the RV when there is reverse polarity, open neutral, open ground, or when 240 volts is detected.
  • Will shut down power if AC power frequency deviates +/- 9 hertz from 60 cycles per second.
  • Remote digital display can be wired inside the RV to monitor status of the power source.
  • Time Delay for Reset: 136 seconds
  • EMS-HW30C is for RVs with 30 amp service. Total Joule rating of 1,790, 44,00A surge current.
  • EMS-HW50C is for RVs with 50 amp service. Total Joule rating of 3,580, 88,00A surge current.


3. Technology Research Surge Guard – Portable

The portable Surge Guard will shut off power to the RV when there is high or low voltage. It will also indicate other potential issues that can damage the RV. According to the user manual, the 30 amp version “Indicates possible mis-wiring or current to ground condition present. (Will prevent power on 50 amp unit only.)”

Features:

  • One year warranty.
  • Will automatically shut off power to the RV when AC power falls below 102 volts, or is higher than 132 volts.
  • Indicates surge failure voltage and amp draw, reverse polarity.
  • Time Delay for Reset: 128 seconds
  • 34830 is for RVs with 30 amp service. Total Joule rating of 2,450, 6,500A surge current.
  • 34850 is for RVs with 50 amp service. Total Joule rating of 3,850, 6,500A surge current.

4. Camco Power Defender Voltage Protector

Camco also makes a portable voltage protector that will shut off power to the RV when low or high voltage is detected. The display will show other electrical issues, but will not stop power from going to the RV.

Features:

  • One year limited warranty.
  • Will automatically shut off power to the RV when AC power falls below 102 volts, or is higher than 132 volts.
  • Shows faults for reverse polarity, open neutral, and other power pedestal wiring issues.
  • Time Delay for Reset: 140 seconds
  • 55301 is for RVs with 30 amp service. Total Joule rating of 2,450, 6,500A surge current.
  • 55306 is for RVs with 50 amp service. This unit has a total Joule rating of 3,850, 6,500A surge current.

5. Hughes Autoformer Power Booster with Surge Protection

The Hughes Autoformer is a power booster with built-in surge protection. When the input voltage is below 113 volts, the Autoformer will go into boost mode to increase the output by 10%. It does not draw power from the campground or any source the RV is plugged into.

Keep in mind the units are heavy. The 30 amp version is 21 pounds, the 50 amp version is 35 pounds. The company does offer an installation kit for outside storage compartments. However, they do not recommend hard-wiring the unit to the RV as that will void the warranty.

Note: we’ve stayed at campgrounds that do not allow products like this to be plugged into the pedestal.

Features:

  • Made in the U.S.A. Two year limited warranty.
  • Will automatically boost low voltage in the range of 95 to 115 volts.
  • Designed to absorb electrical surge or spike. If the Autoformer is damaged during a massive spike, the unit has to be sent in for service.
  • RV2130SP is for RVs with 30 amp service. Total Joule rating of 4,800.
  • RV220-50SP is for RVs with 50 amp service. Total Joule rating of 4,800.

How do you protect your RV from electrical damage? Let us know by leaving a comment.

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