30 Amp Vs 50 Amp RV Surge Protector: What Are The Differences?

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Do you own an RV? If so, there is a chance that you have to deal with the issue of not having enough power. So what do you do when your 30 amp RV protector isn’t enough to power all of your gadgets and appliances?

The answer may be in switching out to a 50amp surge protector. There are many benefits to upgrading which I will go over below! But it’s more important to know about the good comparison between 30 amp vs. 50 amp RV surge protectors.

If you have a better idea about the pros and cons of RV surge protectors including 30 Amp and 50 Amp, you’ll be able to make a more informed decision about which should you use or not for getting maximum benefits.

So let’s get started to know what the main differences between them are!

What Are the Differences Between 30 Amp and 50 Amp RV Electrical Systems?

The main difference between 30 and 50 amps is the amount of power both can provide at any given time. A 30 amp surge protector is capable of providing almost up to 3600 watts, while 50 amp systems are capable of providing up to 12000 watts.

Most plugs of a 30 amp have three prongs with 120-volt wares, and a 50 amp plug has four prongs with 120-volt wares. Both 30 and 50 amp are able to provide 12 volt DC power. Also, NEMA 14-50 outlet has been used in both types of RV surge protectors.

However, 30 amp systems are generally used in Recreational Vehicles (RVs) with a gross vehicle weight of up to about 10,000 pounds. Whereas, 50 amp systems are used in all types of RVs, including those that weigh up to 30,000 pounds. The difference in power is why many people choose to upgrade their 30 amp RV protectors.

30 amp Vs. 50 amp RV: Key Features & Differences

There are a few key differences between 30 and 50 amp RV surge protectors.

Some of these features include:

Protection Capability

Both types of 30 and 50 amp protectors are designed to provide power surge protection for your RV appliances. But since a 50 amp RV protector is three times stronger, that’s why it is able to block 3 times more power surges than a 30 amp protector.

Watt Capacity

30 amp protectors can provide a wattage maximum of 3,600 watts. On the other hand, 50 amps models are able to provide a maximum of 12,000 watts. So if you’re going to be camping where it is quite hot during the summertime, a 50 amp surge protector is highly recommended.


Since 50 amp protectors are designed to be stronger, many manufacturers make them out of more durable materials. For example, 30 amp models are often made out of plastic or a mix of metal and plastic. Whereas 50 amp models are usually made out of all metal materials, including the plug.

Quality of Wires

The wires on the 50 amp protector are usually coated with chrome. So that they will not corrode, the wires are usually not exposed to the elements. Whereas 30 amp protector wires are usually exposed to the elements and may corrode over time. 


Since 30 amp is much less powerful, they are also much cheaper than 50 amp models. In fact, it is almost 3 times less expensive than a 50 amp surge protector. So if you want to save money and get the most benefits, upgrading your 30 amp to a 50 amp surge protector would be a good decision.

30 amp Vs 50 amp RV: Pros & Cons

Pros & Cons of 30 amp RV surge protector


  • Cheaper than a 50 amp model.
  • Much easier to install and store since it’s smaller.
  • Cost-effective mostly less than $100.


  • Not enough power to run the heavy appliances.
  • Can be damaged by high power surges.

Pros & Cons of 50 RV Surge protector


  • More powerful and can block much more power surges.
  • Lasts longer since it’s made of metal materials.
  • There are many models that can keep your appliances safe for less than $150.


  • More expensive than a 30 amp model.

Limitations with 50 Amp to 30 Amp Plug Adapters

If you want to upgrade your 30 amp RV protector to a 50 amp surge protector, it is wise to know the limitations of these adapters. Here are some limitations that you need to know.

  • The 50 amp may be too big for your 30 amp power cord. This can cause problems with plugging it into the outlet.
  • The 50 amp protector should be put on the cord first before being plugged into an outlet.
  • The 30 amp usually has a clip that is used to attach it to the power cord. This clip might not work with a 50 amp protector since that one is bigger.
  • The 50 amp usually doesn’t have clips since it’s metal and may get damaged using them.

So based on these factors, I can say that upgrading to a 50 amp RV surge protector is very smart since it will give you more safety and power for your appliances. But there are some limitations with adapters so you need to keep this in mind.

What Size Surge Protector Do I Need for RV?

If you have a larger RV, you may need up to 80 amps. Once you know how much power you need, you can select a surge protector that can handle that amount of current. Most RV surge protectors have two or four outlets. If you only have a few devices that need to be plugged in, a two-outlet model will suffice.

When choosing a surge protector for your RV, pay attention to the max voltage rating. This is typically around 240 volts for RVs in North America. Make sure the surge protector you select can handle this voltage without issue.

You should also look for a surge protector with thermal protection; this will shut off the power if it starts to overheat, which could prevent an electrical fire. Lastly, don’t skimp on quality when selecting one for your RV. Look for models from reputable brands that offer good warranties.


Here I will share some frequently asked questions about 30 amp and 50 amp surge protectors.

Can I plug a 30 amp RV into a 50-amp power pedestal?

Yes, you can plug a 30-amp RV into a 50-amp power pedestal. In this case, you will need to use an adapter to do so. You may not have access to some of the amenities that the 50-amp power pedestal provides, but it is possible.

Will a 50 amp surge protector work on a 30 amp?

No, a 50 amp surge protector will not work on a 30 amp. It can’t be converted. If you do this, it may cause problems with the RV’s wiring system and appliances. Also, if you use a 50 amp protector on 30 amps, it will get damaged too.

How many joules do I need for a 30 amp RV?

Usually higher joules ratings are good for protecting any devices from unwanted electrical issues. But in general, a 30 amps RV surge protector should have at least 2000-3000 joules.

Top Brands of 30 & 50 AMP RV Surge Protectors

Hughes Autoformers PWD30-EPO, 30 Amp

POWSAF 50 amp Surge Protector


The debate of 30 Amp vs. 50 Amp RV Surge Protector is one that many RVers have. Some say that the 30 Amp is just as good as the 50 Amp, while others claim that the 50 Amp is a must-have for any RVer. So, which is the right choice for you?

The answer: If you want to only use your RV for short periods of time and not run any high-demand appliances, a 30 Amp should suffice. Whereas, if you are planning on using your RV for extended periods of time or running any high-demand appliances, a 50 Amp would be a better choice.

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