Surge Protector Lifespan is Shorter Than You Expected

Some of the surge protector device components and features are as follows:

  • It is an iron core transformer that transfers alternating current (AC) power, however, and it cannot absorb sudden surges.
  • It is a Zener diode that protects against the common circuit spikes and is sometimes merged with a transient voltage suppression diode.
  • If a situation arises where a circuit breaker is out or blows a fuse that is where a surge protector comes in and provides internal protection and protects against device and exterior surges.
  • It will provide you uninterruptible power supply takes in spikes while using a low pass filter and allows external power beyond the battery, which then supplies uninterrupted power.
  • A metal oxide varistor (MOV) is thermal fused and what it does is it limits the voltage three to four times that of a regular current. Parallel to this is the MOV connections that expand life expectancy and thereon increase the current capacity. If it gets exposed to several large transients or numerous small transients, MOVs will eventually self-destruct.

Now let’s talk about a transient surge protector. It attempts to limit the voltage supplied to an electric device by either blocking or shorting current in order to reduce the voltage that comes under the safe threshold.

Now you can do the same by using an inductor that inhibits a sudden change in current. And, shorting is done by spark gaps, Zener-type semiconductor, and MOVs, all of which begin to conduct current once you reach that certain voltage threshold, or by capacitors that inhibit a sudden change in voltage. Some surge protectors use multiple elements.

Now talking about the surge protectors for homes, they can be in power strips that are used inside or a device outside at the power panel. Now, sockets in a modern house use three wires that are line, neutral, and ground. There are many protectors out there that connect to all three in pairs due to the condition such as lighting, where both line and neutral have high voltage spikes that need to be shorted to ground.

So in order to protect your home from these damages, it is important that you invest in a good surge protector and not to forget the UPS battery as well. There are an array of companies from which you can attain this equipment, but one of the most trustworthy companies out there is Schneider Electric. They have an array of surge protection devices that can be installed in the system to ensure protection from over or under voltage.




While you can buy separate battery backups and surge protectors, the only way to safeguard your computer is to invest in a battery backup surge protector. They will keep your computer on long enough for you to safely shut it down in the event of a blackout. They will also ensure that the current flowing to the computer is stable. This is because they have some basic surge protection mechanisms that will defend your machine against voltage spikes.

Surge arresters

This power distribution device can be used for low, medium, and high voltage applications. Economically, surge arresters are better than surge

protectors. Different surge arresters are available based on their withstanding capability. The main problem with them is that they are designed for protecting large electrical distribution systems from lightning surges, and not for sensitive solid state equipment. The surge arresters have high let through voltage, and the value of this voltage exceeds 1200V. It reduces the length of transmission lines by removing shield wires.


The surge arrester is best to protect insulation of transformers, panel boards, and wirings. However, it doesn’t work well for solid state components.

What Is a Good Recommended Surge Protector?

I use the APC Back-UPS Pro 1000VA Uninterruptible Power Supply (UPS) on my main office computer, where I need to avoid losing power. Many UPS's have excellent surge protectors built-in, such as this one.

You can also find power strips with surge protection. If you only want protection from power surges and don't need guaranteed power without interruption, I recommend the Tripp Lite Isobar. I use that to protect my expensive video and stereo equipment. It has 10 Outlets and enough room to plug in a few large transformer adapters, as shown in the image below.

FAQs About Whole-House Surge Protectors

There may be a few questions about surge protectors for the home that remain unanswered. Some of the more common queries are addressed below. It’s also worth checking out our useful power outage survival guide.

Q: What is the difference between a power strip and a surge protector?

A power strip simply provides additional outlets. Surge protectors can look very similar but include devices to prevent power spikes from damaging the equipment plugged into them. True surge protectors will detail the protection provided.

Q: How do I choose a whole-house surge protector?

The right SPD for your needs will depend on your home setup, types of electronics and appliances you’d like to protect, and frequency of high-risk events such as lightning storms or power surges. The considerations outlined above should offer considerable guidance, but if you are still not sure which device is right for you, consult a suitably qualified electrical professional.

Q: If a surge comes from appliances like AC units and larger appliances, do I still have device protection before the breaker panel?

The best whole-house surge protector will prevent external power fluctuations from damaging equipment inside the home. They can also prevent feedback from internal surges traveling through the breaker system. However, a best-case scenario is to protect sensitive electronics with a strip surge protector as well.

Q: Do whole-home surge protectors work against lightning?

Yes. The recommended minimum protection from a whole-house system is 40,000 amps, though many are much higher. A lightning strike is usually around 30,000 amps. That said, it’s always advisable to unplug what you can if a lightning storm is imminent.

Q: How long does a whole-house surge protector last?

It’s impossible to say because component wear depends on the frequency and severity of power surges. Many manufacturers claim a life expectancy of 5 years or more, although 10 years is not uncommon. However, some low-cost devices may need to be replaced after just one significant lightning storm. If temporary loss of power is a major concern you might want to consider a back-up generator.

What Causes Power Surges and Voltage Spikes?

Lightning is well known for creating power surges. But voltage spikes can also come from high-powered equipment that is on the same circuit. These can create huge spikes in the electric line when you turn them on and off.

For example, if you have a refrigerator or air conditioner on the same line as your computer, you may get interference that can damage the machine. Sometimes it might just be an unexpected reboot, but it can also cause a hard disk crash that cannot be recovered.

The average surge protector will not protect your equipment from lightning strikes. If this is a major problem in the area where you live or work, you need to consider full-building protection with an external lightning arrestor that diverts lightning strikes to ground.

If this is your concern, check with your power company and your telephone company. Ask what precautions they have taken to protect you and what recourse you have if their lightning protection fails.

Technical difference between surge arrestors and surge protestors

Internal Monitoring Capabilities

It is the ability to identify internal failure quickly, and to activate remote alarm or light for indicating the failure. The surge arresters don’t have this quality whereas surge protectors are able to identify failure and to activate a remote alarm or light quickly.

EMI/RFI filtering

The surge arresters don’t provide the facility of filtering EMI/RFI. However, the high quality surge protectors can do this job.

Internal Fusing

Internal fusing is defined as protection of the equipment from overload current. This facility is also unavailable in surge arresters whereas you can protect your equipment from overload by using high quality surge protectors.


The design of surge arresters are based upon gapped MOV design. On the other hand, surge protectors are design by hybrid MOV.

Interrupts power

Interrupts power and is also known as crowbar. This feature is available in surge arrestors; however, the surge protectors don’t have it.


Surge arresters have limited warranty whereas surge protectors have a warranty of at least of 5 years.

Life Expectancy

Surge arresters are “use and throw away” type devices, and have limited life. However, surge protectors have a life of more than 25 years if they are sized appropriately.

How to Choose the Best RV Surge Protector

After you have decided whether to get an entry-level RV surge protector or the extensive RV electronic management system based on your needs, choosing the best RV surge protector or choosing the best EMS is pretty straightforward. 

30 amp vs 50 amp

Your RV’s electrical system will typically be either a 30 amp service or a 50 amp service. How to know which one your RV has? Check the type of plugs in your RV: 30-amp plugs have three pins, and 50-amp plugs have four.  

The more recent RVs and trailers usually come with a 50 amp service while the older ones come with a 30 amp service. In general, a 30 amp service is more common is smaller RVs with less appliances that consume electricity. 

First, choose the RV surge protector or EMS that matches your RV’s electrical system. If you have a 30 amp service, choose a surge protector that’s for 30-amp RVs. If your RV has a 50 amp service, pick a surge protector for 50-amp RVs. 

Most RVers that buy surge protectors will add one or more adapters for more versatility, for instance when you have a 50-amp RV and a 50-amp surge protector but sometimes can only access 30-amp power outlets and vice versa. 

In the first case, you just need to plug the 30-amp side of the dogbone adapter into the 30-amp pedestal outlet, and the 50-amp surge protector into the 50-amp side of the dogbone adapter, and your 50-amp Shore Power Plug on the RV goes into the surge protector.

Portable vs permanent

The portable RV surge protector is what you would normally come across. You would plug the portable RV surge protector into the power outlet at the campground, then plug your RV’s cable into the surge protector. 

Meanwhile, a permanent RV surge protector is wired inside your RV. 

To pick the best RV surge protector, consider each type’s pros and cons. 

A portable RV surge protector does not require installation and can easily be replaced if it gets fried while protecting your electronics. However, being portable means it can get stolen, unless you have it locked up, which requires buying a separate lock. 

Other cons include it’s quite easy to forget it at the campground. If the power outlet is too low, you might have to leave the surge protector on the ground. If the ground is wet, this is not recommended. 

In contrast, a hardwired surge protector is a part of your RV and cannot be stolen. You won’t have any problem in bad weather and won’t ever have to leave the surge protector on wet ground.

However, installation is complicated and requires experience. If you’re a first time RV owner, most likely you’ll have to get a mechanic to install it for you. Installation also means when you sell your RV, you’re also selling the surge protector with it and cannot keep it for your next RV. 

You can find an RV surge protector for $100 and above, while an EMS can cost from $250 to $500. Consider the amount of time and money they can save you, their price is actually not exactly “expensive”. 

Our Verdict

The Siemens FS140 offers tremendous versatility, an outstanding level of protection, and can be used in harsh environments. Unfortunately all that comes at considerable cost. The Eaton CHSPT2SURGE is perfectly adequate for most people, though adding Type 3 devices for individual appliances is probably a good idea.

Top RV Surge Protector Brands

We understand that electricity issues are complicated, and when you do not want to spend too much time being overwhelmed with too much information, your safest bet is to grab the best RV surge protector by a major brand. In this case, the choice is easy, as these four brands below clearly stand out with well-rounded, thoughtfully designed products that are consistently mentioned in countless RV surge protector reviews. 

Of course, which is the best RV surge protector for you depends on your specific electrical consumption and budget, however, in general, you can hardly go wrong with a highly rated model from Progressive Industries, Surge Guard, Camco and Southwire.

Progressive Industries 

Progressive Industries is arguably the top pick for many professionals and full-time RVers when it comes to the best RV surge protector. Progressive was started in 1999 by a full-time RVer who saw a need to provide superior electrical protection to RVs with more sophisticated electronics. 

Being relatively young, their expertise partly is attributable to their laser focus on this product. Today, Progressive Industries continues to be the sole company that only produces RV surge protectors. 

The brand offers portable RV surge protectors in both 30-amp and 50-amp varieties, as well as a line of hardwired units to help keep your RV safe and secure without risk of theft. 

Offering a full line of RV ‘surge protection’ products, Progressive Industries stand out in all important criteria: superior customer support, decent warranty, consistent quality, thoughtful design, durability, functionality and comprehensive protection. Although their hardware is a little bit more expensive than the competition’s, the superior quality that they offer is well worth the marginal price gap.


Camco is known in the RV world as one of the most trusted makers of quality and durable RV gears, devices and equipment. You name it, Camco has it and more importantly, their products generally receive high ratings from professionals and RVers alike.

The brand offers some of the best choices when it comes to high quality and durable surge guards on the market. In addition to reliable protection for your electronics, user friendly design, Camco’s RV surge protectors are made with heavy-duty materials and components that can withstand the harsh outdoor elements and weather changes. 

All of Camco’s models are of the portable variety, and available in both 30-amp and 50-amp. Some of the protectors even come with included analytical tools to help you learn more about what’s going on with your power connection in real time. 

Another plus is Camco’s line of surge protectors are on the less expensive end of the spectrum, so they’re ideal for budget campers. With Camco, you can look forward to long-term use down the road, thus getting the best out of your investment.


Unlike Progressive Industries which has a deep focus on RV surge protectors, Southwire, formerly known as Technology Research, has been around a while but doesn’t specialize in RV only products. This is a name you will come across consistently in RV surge protector reviews.

The brand offers a full line of RV surge protectors under the brand name Surge guard, with models available in both the 30 amp and 50 amp varieties, as well as both portable and hardwired types. You have a wide range to choose from in terms of level of protection to suit your specific needs, while being assured that whichever model you choose will offer superior protection, functionality, smart features and durability.

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