When you made the desition to purchase an RV, you looked at a way to protect your investment. Your first thought may have been insurance in case of an accident while on the road. You may have also thought about protecting that investment while at your home or while on a campground.

But what about protecting your investment from something like a fire. How many different causes of fire in an RV can you think of? What about one of the most common causes of fires in an RV? The best way to help prevent an electrical fire in the RV is by purchasing a surge protector for an RV.

What is a Surge Protector?

We start things by describing a surge protector for an RV and why they are so important for protecting your investment. The normal power enting your RV is 120 volts from the power pedestal at an RV resort. If for some reason the power coming into your pedestal has a momentary increase in voltage. That increase needs to be released.

This sudden or momentary increase in power can be due to lightning hitting the power lines anywhere within the electrical system. This bolt of electricity travels within the system until it gets released.

Another cause of power surge which is not common is a usage surge. Air Conditioners and electrical compressor, like in a refrigerator, require more power at startup. Once that appliance gets started, there is no longer a need for the increase in power. The power being used as a sudden decrease back to normal operating voltage. The added power will need to be released until the system balances to within normal use.

That is where the surge protector comes in. These increases and decreases in power within the electrical system, in case some short, milliseconds, and small amounts of voltage increases. The surge protector works like a shock absorber within the electrical system. The surge protector adsorbs this increase and prevents it from entering valuable investments such as your RV.

How Does the Surg Protector Work?

Not all Surge Protectors for an RV work alike. Some a simple extension cords, while others have a Metal Oxide Varistor or MOV within them. The MOV developed by General Electric in 1973 will divert the power within the surge protector.

It’s really that simple. Finding a Surge Protector for an RV with the MOV is important since the MOV work on both AC and DC voltage. The best Surge Protector will have a fuse or circuit breaker within the surge protector for added protection. They will also have lights to indicate the proper functions of the surge protector.

IT is recommended to check the polarity of an electrical pedestal before connecting any electrical appliances. A Surge Protector for an RV that also includes a way of checking the polarity within the electrical system makes an easier installation.

Surge Protectors for an RV have MOV as the protection for the appliance. Let’s look at a few Surge Protectors for RVs.

Camco Heavy-Duty Dogbone

Available in 30 and 50 amp models, the Camco Heavy Duty Dogbone is the most economic surge protector for an RV. I have all the functions of some the more expensive surge protectors at a lower cost.

Once the Camco Heavy Duty Dogbone is plugged into the pedestal, you get a light indicator letting you know if the pedestal is wired properly. Unfortunately, these lights can be difficult to see during daylight hours. You will also need to compare the light to a chart on the unit.

Since the cost of the Camco Heavy Duty Dogbone is on the lower end of the budget. It is a good Surge Protector for an RV newbie or for short stays.

One of the nice things with this surge protector is the grip for the plug. The grip makes it easy to plug and unplug the surge protector.

  • Protects your RV from dangerous high (>132 VAC) and low (<102 VAC) voltage levels
  • Automatically disconnects from dangerous voltage and reconnects after power stabilizes
  • Shows faults for reverse polarity, open neutral, and other power pedestal wiring issues
  • Integrated surge protection: 2,450 joules power rating for 30 Amps
  • Diagnostic lights for visual indication of a fault

Surge Guard Portable Surge Protector 

Surge Guard is another economic optional for surge protectors for an RV. It is shorter in length than the Camco Heavy Duty Dogbone. This will make storing the surge protector easy with limited storage. Surge Gard Portable Surge Protectors are also available in 30 amp and 50 amp.

Like the Camco, the Surge Guard Portable Surge Protector is a good place to start for a surge protector. The light indicator does has a short life span and can become unreliable, which can cause some problems after continued use. You can always check things the old fashion way or call an electrician.

  • UL listed surge protector designed to handle the high power consumption demands of RVers
  • Analyzes circuits to identify power supply status
  • Checks for open ground, open neutral, correct polarity and reversed lines/ground
  • Weather resistant with a rain-proof cover

Hughes Autoformer Power Watch Dog Surge Protector

The only Surge Protector for an RV found to have Bluetooth technology. This does come with a cost, however. The Hughes Autoformer Power Watch Dog Surge Protector is one of the most expensive of the RV surge protector. But, you get what you pay for. The Bluetooth app does have a few bugs to be worked out since it is the first of its kind.

The app gives the user a few reading on the operation of the unit while it is plugged in. The range on the app is short, only within the RV. The manufacturer says they are working on an upgrade for the app, but no time frame on the update.

The Hughes Autoformer Power Watch Dog is available in both 30 amp and 50 amp units. This is the Best Surge Protector for an RV. Whether you are a Full-timer or a Part-timer looking to protect your investment.

  • 4800 Joules of Advanced Surge Protection
  • Wirelessly Monitor Voltage and Current Draw
  • Complete LED Park Power Diagnostics with Wireless Fault Alerts
  • Replaceable Surge / Spike Module – Should you get hit by a large spike, simply order a new surge module.
  • The mobile app is available for free on iOS and Android platforms
  • Patent Pending on the Bluetooth

Final Thoughts

There are a lot of different Surge Protectors for an RV. They are designed to help you protect your investment by diverting increases and decreases within a power supply. Whether you are Full-time or Part-time, the surge protector should be part of your electrical connections at a location.

They may take a few extra seconds to set up, but is it worth saving your RV?

There has been some recent increase in RV fires that have been caused by electrical problems. The possibility could be due to the age of the wiring within the resort. This is a huge expense for resort owners to upgrade or replace. Your best defense is to purchase a quality Surge Protector for your RV.

Hopefully, you got some value from this.

Please share so others can benefit.


Ken Sagendorph

PS: Add any comments or experiences you want to share.



  1. Wendy


    We are working on moving to Florida in the Fall. And we have been thinking about purchasing an RV or camper while we are in the process of relocating and finding the perfect home. Although we haven’t found our perfect RV just yet, I am trying to get myself in the right headspace and be as prepared as possible. The idea of a Surge Protector for an RV never occurred to me. I need to make sure I share this with my hubby. It sounds like the Surge Guard Portable Surge Protector may be a good option.

    • Ken Sagendorph


      It is a long difficult process to find the perfect RV Wendy. We have been looked for over a year. I’m not sure where you are in the process. I did another post a few weeks ago that may help you: RV Beginners: Finding the Right RV Maybe it will help you round things done a little. 

      I believe if you make the investment of an RV you need to protect it. If you are moving to FLA, I’m sure you will have everything you own with you. You need to protect it as much as possible. 

      If you have any more question. Please contact me. I would be more than happy to assist you.

  2. Ayodeji


    Wonderful article and excellent writeup about surge protector for an rv. I recently started using one and I have never seen a well detailed description about the use like I did here, with these writeup I think you have shed a bright spotlight on this surge. Great tips in helping others learn more about ways to protect their investments through this preventive measure. 

    • Ken Sagendorph


      I glad I was able to help. I am a firm believer as a consumer, we need to be well informed before making any investment.

      I would be more than willing to answer any more questions you may have.

  3. Alblue


    Oh this is something that my uncle really need. He just bought his own RV and put a lot of effort in decorating the interior. While the probability of fire surge accident for newer RV maybe small, I agree that we should take protection as early as possible, even if it means small additional cost. Where do you recommend to buy those surge protector with best deal? I should forward your blog to my uncle. He will be happy to read your articles here 🙂

    • Ken Sagendorph


      Surprisingly fires from a surge is not uncommon in an RV, new or old. I have looked in a few different locations including local Walmarts and RV stores. The best prices I have found are on Amazon. I have created a short lst of the Surge Protectors covered in the post. Here is your Link to research:Surge Protection 

  4. ajibola40


    I see this article as informative, educative and what to look out for when buying a Surge Protector.

    I am not an electrician and I know less to nothing about all this surge protector. But one of the things I will like to do it to protect my RV’s expensive electronics. I seem to like Camco Heavy-Duty Dogbone surge protector. I will do some findings of it and later buy it for my RV electronics 

    • Ken Sagendorph


      The Camco is a great place to start if you are new to RVing or are looking to save money. It does a lot of the things the more expensive surge protectors do. They do have a few mixed reviews, but overall are great for the money.

      If you have any questions. Please feel free to contact me.

  5. Kenechi


    I have been using power surge and have seen power surge in many places and in the open electrical local markets stores but I have not seen an improved technology when it comes to power surge as the Hughes Auto power Watch Dog surge protector. Actually it’s a good improvement seeing a power surge with a Bluetooth feature. I am hopeful the company will also upgrade their app. It’s a nice one. 

    • Ken Sagendorph


      Yes, the technology of the surge protector by GE in the 70’s has not progressed too much. They developed a product back then way ahead of themselves not knowing the impact it not has. Now Hughes seems to have made a big stride in the surge protector. It could be a huge game changer in the surge protector. Especially for the Fulltime RVer. 

      I’m going to keep watching their progress. Looking forward to seeing how it goes. I will update things as I see them. 

  6. Adamu2


    Thanks for writing out this lovely article and I must say it a must for everyone to read and digest. Surge protector serves as protection for our home appliances and investments. Every home should apply this as an electrical protection at a location to protect our RV. I gained reading this article and will bookmark to share with friends. Thanks for the information 

    • Ken Sagendorph


      Glad to see you learned a little from the article Adam. I do believe you can never have enough protection when it comes to a large investment. If your RV is your home and a fire occurs, you could lose everything. 

      Please feel free to share and ask any questions. I would be happy to answer them for you.

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