Protecting Your Airstream or RV: Choosing a Surge Protector

If you’re not an electrician, the decision-making process regarding a surge protector can be quite daunting.  Right off the bat, I recommend doing some research by reading forum posts, visiting manufacturer’s websites, and checking out shopping sites such as Amazon for reviews and other information. 

Wondering if you even need a surge protector?  I did too. I did some research and found that most experts and veteran RVers recommend a surge protector in addition to any internal system safeguards your unit may have to provide extra protection.  Frankly, I feel the extra peace of mind and added protection is worth the cost to protect your unit’s systems.

There are two types of surge protectors available: portable surge protection units that you can plug in to the power pedestal in the campground or units that can be hard-wired in to your coach as a permanent fixture.  I chose a portable plug-in unit at this time and may look to a hard-wired solution at some point in the future after our manufacturer’s warranty ends.  Being the caution ones, my wife and I are hesitant to make any major systems changes during our warranty period.   

Progressive Industries EMS-PT30C

I wanted an easy answer to protecting the electrical circuitry in our Airstream, Shining Hope, and found what I believe to be the best value for our needs: Progressive Industries EMS-PT30C surge protector. It’s a portable 30-amp unit that we plug in to the post at the campground and then plug our main 30-amp cord in to it.  It comes with a LIFETIME warranty – doesn’t get much better than that!

Progressive recommends their EMS units to provide the best protection for your RV.

Some surge protectors do just that – protect your RV’s electrical stuff from a power surge only. These are often the less expensive choices. Then there are surge protectors like the EMS-PT30C that protect from a power surge and do much more like protect from faulty wiring at the post, protect from voltage fluctuations at the power pedestal, and even provide important informational readouts and statuses.   

Having done some research while preparing this post, it appears the EMS-PT30C (and the 50 amp PT50C) are discontinued, however, some are still available through resellers, and according to Progressive Industries’ website, they still carry a lifetime warranty.   

Progressive’s latest surge protector model is the EMS-PT30X, which is the same unit as ours, but has added features and improvements such as an all-weather shield assembly, a rugged pull hand, an improved secure locking bracket, built-in scrolling digital display and a tough Lexan housing.  The newer units are a little pricier, so you’ll need to decide if the improvements are worth it. 

Personally, I’d recommend if you can, grab a EMS-PT30C or EMS-PT50C before their gone! (You can click on the product links in this post to view and purchase on Amazon.) 

There are other manufacturers besides Progressive Industries out there, one being Surge Guard.  Here is a valuable comparison chart courtesy of so you can see products and features side-by-side and decide which surge protector is right for you.


Finally, my wife and I like to buy Made in USA products whenever possible.  So it’s a bonus that Progressive Industries products are proudly made in America!

I highly recommend Progressive Industries’ EMS-PT30C, EMS-PT50C and their newer upgraded models.  What about you?  Which surge protector are you using? Please share your feedback the comments area below.   

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