Surge Guard Buyers Guide

What is Surge Protection?

Surge protection for your RV, travel trailer or 5th wheel, is protection against voltage spikes on power lines. Faulty power can lead to severe damage to electronic/electrical equipment anywhere along the powers line of travel. There are a few things that determine how effective your surge protector will be, but the number of joules is a rating that should give you an idea of what device is right for you. Most Surge protectors not only protect you from spikes but also contain over/under voltage protection, which is built in to protect you from gradual increases or decreases in line voltage. Exceeding the maximum or minimum voltage for which your appliances are rated is not only hard on the equipment but can also cause failure to the product and render it inoperable.

Poor power quality flowing through your RV can not only shorten the life of your electronic equipment, but can also leave you with some pretty high electrical system repair bills. Power quality in RV parks is not something you can control and is dependent upon many factors. The number of users pulling from the RV park power supply, weather conditions, faulty wiring and even old or outdated wiring materials can affect the quality of power entering your RV. With RV's becoming more and more sophisticated a few short seconds of faulty power can cause serious damage and totally wipe out appliances such as stereos, satellites, microwaves, televisions, refrigerators and more!

RV Surge Guard Size

To find a Surge Guard that best suites you, first look at its Amp rating.

“Amperage, also called current, is the amount of electrical energy flowing through an appliance at any given time. This measurement is expressed in units called amperes, often shortened to amps.”

The Amps listed on the surge guard identifies which type of power you will most commonly be using when plugging in your RV. You can get adapters to adapt the input power if you go to a park where your regular supply is not available. It is however not recommended or safe to purchase either a large or small amperage Surge Guard and always be adjusting the power supply through the use of power adapters. Choose the Surge Guard that is best suited for your application and this will decrease the risk of fire, overheating and other electrical failures.

RV Surge Guard Protection Rating

You will need to look at the Surge Guards Protection Rating. This is measured in Joules. 

“A Joule is a unit of energy. One easy way to understand a Joule is just to think of it as a Joule is to energy as an inch is to distance.”

The most common way of rating the amount of protection that a surge protector will provide is to look at its joule rating. When too much energy due to spikes or faulty supply tries to enter your coach the Surge Guard comes into action and dissipates that extra energy as heat, ultimately protecting you from any potential danger.

*Most important thing to remember: Joule rating reflects the maximum energy that protective circuits can dissipate. Therefore: the greater the joule rating, the better the protection.

Surge Guard Types

There are two different types of Surge Guards:

Portable Hardwire
30 amp portable surge guard OR

30 amp permanent surge guard


Portable units require no installation and plug directly into the park pedestal. Portable units check to make sure there is not faulty power coming from the park line and warns you if there is potential danger. Portable units are weather resistant so there is nothing to worry about no matter where you travel.

Hardwire (or sometimes referred to as permanent) units are installed inside the RV’s interior or in the compartment where your power enters your vehicle. A hardwire unit ensures that your surge guard is always plugged in and ready to protect you and that there is no chance in forgetting to plug in when you get to your destination. 

TRC Surge Chart

Click here to view all the RV surge guards we carry.