The best RV transfer switch can make your motorhome adventures more enjoyable and worthwhile. It is a simple technology that acts as a traffic cop, directing power flow from two power sources to your RV’s power distribution center. You will never be dependent onshore power again.
If you take care of your generator and the transfer switch, you will have a steady electricity supply for your RV’s critical appliances. You only need to choose the right transfer switch to install in your rig. This article will help you decide which product to use in your adventures.
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12 Top-Rated RV Transfer Switch Reviews 2023
1. Go Power! TS-30 Automatic Transfer Switch
The Go Power! TS-30 is the world’s best RV automatic transfer switch money can buy. It costs half the price of top-tier units yet performs similarly.
This automatic transfer switch for campers and recreational vehicles provides ample power for your motorhome’s essential appliances. It channels 30 amps of power to your circuit breaker panel, powering your air conditioning unit and other critical devices when your RV’s power supply is low.
Most ATS devices only connect to generators. You will be glad to know that you can also link this ATS to your power inverter.
If you have solar panels on your RV, this device should be able to draw AC power from your inverter and move it to your distribution center. You will have enough energy to get your appliances running until you can plug your vehicle back to a shore power station.
Operating this device is effortless. It has a time delay mechanism to help prevent damaging your generator. Momentary outages will not harm your RV’s electrical system because of this unique feature. The product safety certification from UL and CSA should also give you more confidence.
DIYers will like the knockout feature of this automatic transfer switch. Installing the device in your motorhome should never be a problem. It will look like a professional electrician installed it.
While the device comes with a delay timer, you cannot set it to your preferences. Moreover, the product only works with 120-volt systems. The two concerns are minor, considering the great value it provides.
2. Progressive Dynamics PD52V Transfer Switch
If you are looking for an easy-to-install 50 amp RV transfer switch, get Progressive Dynamics’ PD52V 5200 Series. Not only does it fit in your motorhome like a glove, but it provides you ample power for your RV’s essential appliances and electronics.
The automatic transfer switch with an advanced time-delay circuit makes it easy to shift from generator power to shore power electricity. It delivers the right electric current to your distribution center, powering your devices when your RV’s 12-volt system runs out of juice. The product works best with RVs and rigs that have a 50-amp electrical system.
I noticed many customers citing the product’s ease of installation as its best attribute. A few factors contribute to this competitive advantage. It has a removable cover and a wiring schematic printed on the cover’s underside. The terminals are also more robust than other brands, ensuring effortless wiring installation.
I like the transfer switch’s thick steel housing. You will feel more confident about the transfer switch components’ security. While some folks comment that the holes are larger than usual, you can address this by using a space reducer.
The product prioritizes power from your generator while providing 240 volts for power-hungry appliances. It is one of the best transfer switches you can ever put in your modern rig.
However, I do find its warranty to be shorter than industry standards. It also does not come as a pre-wired system. It is not an issue since the product is already straightforward to install.
3. Elkhart LPT50BRD Automatic Transfer Switch
Motorhome owners never question the quality of Elkhart products. There is so much to like about their products, from their robust design to their innovative electrical technologies. The LPT50BRD is a testament to the company’s quality design philosophy.
The transfer switch has a peak wattage rating of 12 kilowatts, more than enough to handle the large load coming from a top-tier generator. Powering your motorhome electronics is a cinch.
I love the transfer switch’s DC relays, making it less noisy than products with AC relays. You may still hear a slight buzzing or humming sound, but it is never annoying. At least, you know that your ATS is working.
The product also features a 22-second time delay. What separates it from the pack is its unmatched time-delay mechanism. It allows for better control of the function, letting you choose the time delay length. You might want to be careful when setting it to the lowest setting because a time delay feature has a generator protective function.
People also appreciate the strong terminal strips. It makes wiring easier to secure. Unfortunately, I would have preferred if the terminal screws were either Torx or Allen’s heads. The product comes with an ordinary Philips screw, making it look cheap.
Installing the device can be problematic for people who do not understand basic electric circuitry. The package does not come with an installation guide, although the customer service is supportive enough.
4. Xantrex 8080915 Auto Transfer Switch
Some RV owners do not need to power all their appliances when their 12-volt battery supply runs out. They may only need a few appliances running to make their journey comfortable. If you are like these RV owners, you may want to check the Xantrex 8080915 PROWatts.
It is essential to understand that this product can only deliver 15 amps of power to the breaker panel. It may be insufficient for all RV applications, but it will do for the emergency operation of non-power-hungry devices and appliances.
The ATS comes with a price tag that budget-conscious RV owners will find pleasing. The product and its installation will never hurt your budget. It is one of those units that you can have several installed in both your house and your motorhome.
Newbies will like the pre-wired design of this RV power transfer switch. You no longer must fret about securing connecting wires to the device terminals, eliminating faulty electrical connections.
Unfortunately, its connecting wires are a bit short. Most pre-wired products on the market offer a two-foot connecting wire on all terminals. The product only has 12 inches of connecting wire.
Some people may also have an issue with the product being made in China. What you should know is that the brand is a North American company. It went into a partnership with the Shanghai Power Transmission & Distribution Co. in 2007. While it is Chinese-made, you can still feel confident about its North American quality.
If you are not convinced, the product’s ETL and UL certification should erase any doubts about its quality. It reassures you that the product conforms to strict safety and performance standards.
5. WFCO T30 Transfer Switch
The WFCO Group is one of the most trusted names among RVers and automobile owners. They have made reliable and efficient power switching components since 1976. One of the company’s well-loved automatic transfer switches for RVs is the T30.
The product is an RV automatic transfer switch 30 amp 120-volt unit that can power modest-sized RV generators. It connects to your vehicle’s shore power module and the generator. The device makes switching between the two power sources as effortless as possible without requiring any input from your part.
The ATS’s time delay mechanism is more variable than other brands, ranging as short as 20 seconds to as long as a full minute. The actual delay depends on prevailing power conditions. It reflects the device’s sensitive circuitry to protect your generator.
I like the product’s compact housing design. It is small, making it easy to fit even in the tightest spots. The housing also looks solid. Both attributes lend to the product’s ease of installation.
Performance-wise, the transfer switch comes with product certifications from reputable organizations. You will never feel short-changed when you decide to install this in your motorhome.
I found two minor issues with this automatic transfer switch. One is the recommended generator wattage rating. While it can work with a 5-kW generator, it is most efficient with 3.6-kW systems. Two is its boxy appearance. Some folks find it ‘unappealing.’ Nevertheless, the unit still makes one of the most reliable transfer switches you can buy.
6. Technology Research 41300 Transfer Switch
The Technology Research 41300 is a 30 amp RV transfer switch that looks larger but weighs lighter than similar products. It can provide your motorhome an emergency power supply without flipping any switch.
The device prioritizes the power coming from your standby generator. It draws enough power from the generator to supply the electrical needs of your motorhome’s essential appliances. In case of power fluctuations or outages, the device automatically switches to a more stable power supply.
I noticed some customers changing the recommended wiring configuration to prioritize shore power. While it is possible, I suggest learning basic electrical concepts to make your effort worthwhile.
The product features an electrical interlock that simplifies the process of switching between power sources. It ensures the safer starting of the generator by turning off the main breaker first. The system does the action without requiring your input.
Unlike other brands, this automatic transfer switch has two modes of time delay. One protects the generator, while the other takes care of the shore power unit. It has a 30-second delay when switching to generator power and a 3 to 4-second delay when drawing electricity from the shore power. It is an efficient mechanism that safeguards your motorhome’s electrical components.
While the product is lightweight, it is not as space-efficient as other brands. It also does not come in a pre-wired configuration. Good thing the company designed its product with optimal installation convenience. You do not have to call a professional electrician because it already comes with clear labels on the terminals or contact points.
7. Furrion F50-ATS Automatic Transfer Switch
If money is not an issue or if you want only the best for your motorhome, Furrion’s F50-ATS should be at the top of your list. This automatic transfer switch has several innovative technologies that other brands can only dream of having. Best of all, the device works splendidly with many modern motorhomes.
This device features two interlock mechanisms that ensure efficient power transfer performance and device protection. The electrical interlock takes care of the efficient switching between power sources. You will never notice that you are already running on shore power instead of generator power.
The mechanical interlock serves a protective function by ensuring switch contactors do not parallel each other. The function prevents overvoltage, keeping your device’s integrity for many years.
The ATS also features VibrationSmart and ClimateSmart technologies that work to improve device durability. Some products cannot withstand temperature extremes. This automatic transfer switch performs even if you drive in freezing conditions.
Rough terrain is no match for the unit’s vibration-resistance. It keeps the components secure inside its UL 94-certified fireproof plastic housing.
The company uses only solid brass in its terminals to ensure maximum electrical conductivity without generating too much heat.
The technologies integrated into this automatic transfer switch give it a price tag that is more than twice your average ATS. While installation is straightforward, absolute newbies to electronics may still find the set-up to be confusing. A little brush-up on your electrical systems knowledge should do the trick.
8. WFCO Electronics T-30 Transfer Switch
The WFCO T-30 is almost like the brand’s T30 model. They have almost the same name if not for the hyphen separating the ‘30’ from the ‘T’ in this product. They perform exceptionally well in directing power flows from different sources to your motorhome’s breaker panel.
The main difference between this product and the other model is its size. It is more compact, allowing for more convenient installation. You only need a surface area of about 11 square inches to get this unit secured near your breaker panel.
The three knockout holes are large enough to insert the appropriate-gauge connecting wire, getting the system ready.
The system has a variable 20 to 60-second time delay mechanism that protects your RV’s generator and shore power unit. The delay is necessary to account for momentary outages or power fluctuations. It allows the system to kick start the powering process only when sure of a power source’s electrical supply.
As far as performance goes, you will feel more confident about the product’s certifications. Other brands are content with single product performance and safety certification. This ATS has three coming from the world’s foremost testing and certification organizations: ETL, UL, and CSA.
This automatic transfer switch looks like a bank vault in terms of strength. Though it is without fancy vibration or temperature-extreme protection technologies, you can feel secure in the robustness of its housing.
Too bad the product requires wiring installation. It is also surprisingly heavy for its size. I can only assume it is because of its heavy-duty housing construction.
9. Surge Guard 40100 Automatic Transfer Switch
If you are tired of activating an RV manual transfer switch every time there’s a power outage in your RV, I suggest getting the Surge Guard 40100. The device is a neat solution that removes the hassle of physically switching between power sources.
This automatic transfer switch’s basic design follows that of other ATSs on the market. The only difference is its dual-voltage feature. Most products come in either 110-120 or 220-240 volts. This ATS can accept both electrical systems, allowing you to enjoy greater versatility in different applications.
Some products prioritize the electric current coming from the shore power unit. This product continuously monitors generator power output to decide when it is right to switch to shore power. The delay in the switching is quite fast. Some products can switch to shore power in 20 seconds. This ATS can do it in 3 to 4 seconds.
As soon as the system senses a stable generator power, it automatically switches from shore power to provide your motorhome with sufficient electricity. It waits about 30 seconds before activating the generator to account for momentary outages or unstable electric supply.
The feature also protects your motorhome’s generator and regular power supply, saving you money from costly repairs.
While the ATS has a quiet operation, the switching noise can be annoying yet useful in letting you know that the system has switched to a different power source. What unsettled me are the reports of component durability. Some switches malfunctioned after only several months of use.
10. Arterra Distribution T-57 Transfer Switch
This automatic transfer switch is ideal for motorhomes with 50-amp electrical systems. It can direct the right amount of electricity to your distribution center and power your RV’s critical electronics.
This transfer switch comes with a 120V/240V dual-voltage rating, allowing you to use it in many applications. I have seen customers using the unit in their homes. They use it to bring power to their appliances in case of an outage. If the system performs well in household applications, it should be exceptional in your RV.
Like all automatic transfer switches, this product also has a variable time delay module. It protects the shore power unit and generator from unnecessary starts. The mechanism safeguards these motorhome electrical components, letting you enjoy more of your journey and saves you from expensive RV generator repairs or replacements.
Installing this automatic transfer switch should not be difficult. Looking for a suitable RV transfer switch location is also straightforward, owing to its compact design.
It also helps that its mounting holes are on the housing’s sides, allowing you to secure it with screws effortlessly. The knockout holes are also easy to access for your connecting wires. I only wished it came pre-wired to make the installation easier.
My only concern with this ATS is its country of origin. Not many customers like Chinese-made products. However, I want to point out that it has ETL, UL, and CSA certification. It should dispel any concerns you may have about the product’s performance, quality, and safety.
11. Technology Research 40100 Transfer Switch
Technology Research is famous for its reliable and affordable transfer switches and related products. However, the 40100 Surge Guard is quite different in that it is more expensive than the company’s other models. It is for a good reason, though.
The company designed this 3 way RV transfer switch with high-end motorhomes and luxury coaches in mind. It maximizes the sophisticated technologies present in these vehicles, allowing you to make your journey more worthwhile and enjoyable.
It is perfect for RVs with 50-amp electrical systems, although it should be fine when used in the home.
Like other top-tier transfer switches, this unit features a mechanical interlock that protects the system against over-voltage. It prolongs the service life of your motorhome’s shore power unit and generator, guaranteeing more years of adventuring with your family.
I like that the device’s time delay module provides a safe window for generator or shore power operation. These components will not kick into full gear unless all the parameters are clear and stable.
The system delays activation of the shore power unit by 3 to 4 seconds while delaying generator activation by 30 seconds, which is a lot safer than a 20-second time delay.
Installing the device is not that difficult. However, pre-wired systems can make installation more hassle-free. The sad thing is that this unit does not have such a configuration. I find its price tag to be on the upper limit of modern 50-amp transfer switches.
12. MOES Automatic Transfer Switch
Most transfer switches have a boring design, often looking like ordinary boxes that you mount near your circuit breaker panel. If you are looking for a device that has a more contemporary look, I recommend the MOES Dual Power Controller Automatic Transfer Switch.
The brand designed this ATS for use in inverters and AC mains. However, you can also use it in motorhomes, especially if you have solar panels on your vehicle. Its main advantage is its multi-volt design. It works with 12V, 24V, 48V, 110V, and 220V systems. It automatically detects the device voltage connected to it.
I like the large LCD screen of the device because it reminds me of a high-end Boondocker automatic transfer switch. Setting the unit’s different parameters is easy, with the display keeping you abreast of your inputs. It also makes monitoring your device effortless.
You can set its battery cut off level, recovery voltage rating, and low voltage parameter. You rarely see these features from even the most expensive ATSs.
It is also worth mentioning the transfer switch’s compact size. This unit is only 2.8 inches deep, 7.4 inches tall, and 6.7 inches wide. Most ATSs we have on the market have a boxy design.
I am a bit concerned that the company decided to power the LCD using AC electricity. It can confuse some users when they turn the unit in battery mode, but the LCD does not turn on. I also find the user manual to be not very friendly. Some terms are quite confusing and challenging. Installing the system can be frustrating for absolute newbies.
What to Look for When Buying an RV Transfer Switch
Motorhome owners know that only a best RV transfer switch will do if they want to power their RV’s essential devices during an outage or when shore power is unavailable.
Unfortunately, newbies often find it confusing and challenging to choose the right transfer switch for their campers. Here are some of the most important things you must look for when buying an RV transfer switch.
Amps and Wattage
You must look for two things when buying an RV transfer switch: your camper and generator’s amperage and wattage ratings. In general, the device should closely match your rig and generator’s power specifications.
Most campers today have either a 30-amp or a 50-amp system. If you are not sure about your vehicle’s amperage rating, it would be wise to check the manual. Choose a 30-amp transfer switch if you also have a 30-amp generator and camper electrical system.
When it comes to the wattage, it is often better to pick a transfer switch with a higher wattage rating than your RV generator’s operating wattage. For example, a 5-kilowatt device would be ideal for a 5,000-watt RV generator. It would even be better if you can get a device with a higher wattage rating.
It is crucial to get the amperage and wattage ratings right to avoid any problems, like RV transfer switch failure and electrical issues.
We are talking about a device that bridges at least two power sources and your motorhome’s electrical distribution center. You will want a transfer switch that is not only efficient but also safe. A malfunctioning RV transfer switch can produce disastrous consequences to the unit, your vehicle, or anyone from your family.
It would be ideal to buy a UL or CUL-certified transfer switch. If the product does not have this certification, you can check if it has accreditation from other reputable organizations that test and certify products against safety standards. You will have greater peace of mind knowing your device will not explode in your face, provided you install it correctly.
I also recommend reading customer reviews. They may not be authoritative sources, but they can give you an insight into the device’s real-world performance. Take note of any safety issues that customers may raise. You can check other reviews to verify if such safety issues are isolated cases or are serious concerns.
It would be better to buy a transfer switch that already comes pre-wired. It makes RV transfer switch installation more straightforward and more affordable, too. Purchasing a non-pre-wired device requires you to buy additional wires.
One of the most significant advantages of pre-wired systems is ensuring the right wire connection to the device terminals. There is no need to consult the RV transfer switch wiring diagram because the manufacturer already did it for you. The only work you will do is connect the wires to the generator, the shore power unit, and the breaker panel.
You will want every transfer switch component to be of the most robust and most durable materials if you expect the device to last many years.
Do not be swayed by ‘heavy-duty’ labeling. Some companies put the term on their label even though it is not heavy-duty. You will have to research the design materials used in the manufacture of the transfer switch.
Durable transfer switches minimize the need to purchase a replacement device or part. In addition to the cost, disassembling and reassembling the system can be tedious and bothersome.
Most buyers always look at the warranty information because it gives them an idea about how much the manufacturer believes in their product. A company that offers a two-year warranty may suggest that it stands by its transfer switch only for up to two years. You are on your own beyond that.
On the other hand, a switch with a 10-year warranty tells you that its manufacturer trusts its product quality. It is willing to answer any issue that may occur within the warranty period.
Camper transfer switches can cost you between $50 and $200, on average. I suggest working with a more realistic budget to make your transfer switch purchase more worthwhile.
Other Important Factors to Consider
Here are a few more factors that you can consider when buying a transfer switch for your motorhome.
Transfer Switch Type
Transfer switches are either manual or automatic. Manual ones are less expensive, although they can be cumbersome to operate. You will need to flip a lever to switch between the two power sources – generator or shore power. It can be frustrating to find the switch in the middle of the night without a flashlight.
Automatic transfer switches do all the work for you. They continuously monitor electric parameters. If they sense an impending power outage, the system automatically starts the generator. It gives you electricity the moment your RV loses its electric power.
Ease of Maintenance
One issue about transfer switches is creating a brief arc every time the device switches between power sources. It can lead to problems with the transfer switch contact points.
The device should have a design that minimizes the creation of an electric arc. It also makes RV transfer switch troubleshooting easy. If the device does not have this feature, it would be best to clean the contacts easily.
Time Delay Feature
An important feature to look for in a transfer switch is the time delay. It overrides momentary outages that may result in a false generator start. It protects the system, ensuring optimum function in the long-term. It would be nice to have an adjustable time delay mechanism to set the feature to a shorter time than its predetermined delay.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
Does my RV have a transfer switch?
Modern and high-end RVs often have a factory-installed transfer switch to improve vehicle safety and provide continuous power to the vehicle’s electronics. If you are unsure, you can check for its presence.
The primary function of a transfer switch is to direct power to your vehicle’s electric distribution panel. You should see a box anywhere between the circuit breaker panel, the backup generator, and the shore power unit. You should see three large wires, two going into the box and another going out.
If you see neither the box nor the wires, your RV may not have a transfer switch.
How big of a transfer switch do I need?
If you refer to a transfer switch’s physical dimensions, you should consider the area where you will install the device. It should be big enough to allow for adequate ventilation inside the box. It should also be small enough to fit in tight spaces.
If by big you mean the transfer switch’s electrical capacity, you should look at your generator’s load. Your chosen transfer switch should have an amperage rating that is the same as your generator. As for the wattage, you can get a transfer switch with a higher wattage rating than your generator’s. Check the device’s voltage compatibility, too.
What is the life expectancy of an automatic transfer switch?
An automatic transfer switch for RV can last up to 100,000 operations or about 20 to 25 years. However, maintenance and product quality can impact this device’s operational lifespan.
Neglecting standard upkeep procedures can shorten the product’s lifespan by several years. Mediocre-quality transfer switches might only last less than a decade.
Hence, RV owners must exercise caution when buying a smart transfer switch for their motorhomes.
Are automatic transfer switches safe?
Yes, automatic transfer switches for battery backup are safe. These devices feature state-of-the-art logic controllers serving as the system’s brains. This component monitors the electrical frequency and voltage of primary and secondary or backup power sources to determine when it must activate the transfer protocol.
Logic controllers have multiple electrical connections, such as fuse blocks, connection terminals, power sources, and power disconnects in various form factors and configurations. The transfer mechanism is also a crucial component of an automatic transfer switch.
Unfortunately, not all brands have similar manufacturing processes and quality control procedures. Some companies might use substandard components, undermining the automatic transfer switch’s safety.
Haphazard manufacturing practices might also produce a defective ATS that fails in its principal function.
Hence, RV owners must be diligent in researching an automatic transfer switch’s technical specifications and real-world performances.
Can you bypass an automatic transfer switch in an RV?
Yes, RV owners can bypass an automatic transfer switch in a motorhome. Some automatic transfer switches have a bypass isolation contactor technology, allowing users to flip a switch to reroute the electrical energy from the ATS.
Unfortunately, most RV automatic transfer switches do not have this feature. In such cases, RVers can disconnect the transfer switch’s electrical wires and connect shore power to the main electrical cable supplying the motorhome’s circuit breaker.
However, many RV experts discourage this practice because of the potential safety risks involved.
How different is a 30-amp from a 50-amp RV transfer switch?
The most significant difference between a 50 amp transfer switch and a 30-amp unit is their voltage-carrying capabilities. An RV transfer switch 30 amp model can only accommodate a maximum of 120 volts, equivalent to about 3,600 watts (120 volts x 30 amps = 3,600 watts).
On the other hand, a 50-amp switch has two 120-volt prongs for a combined voltage rating of 240 volts. Hence, one can expect a 50-amp switch to handle as much as 12,000 watts (240 volts x 50 amps = 12,000 watts).
This difference applies to both automatic and manual RV transfer switch units.
How do you hook up a generator transfer switch to an RV?
Hooking up a generator transfer switch to your RV is easy, although it may require some elbow grease.
Open the generator transfer switch and look at its wiring configuration. Most products come with a schematic to simplify wiring installation. Take note of the location of the shore power, generator, and circuit breaker terminals. Determine the location of the hot bus, ground bus neutral bus, and other components.
Turn off all RV power before you start hooking the transfer switch. You may need to remove the electric outlet for the shore power, replacing it with the transfer switch. Connect the generator wires to the correct terminals in the transfer switch. Do the same with the shore power wires before securing the circuit breaker wire to the transfer switch.
Turn on the power of your RV. Let it run for a while before plugging your RV into a shore power outlet. You should hear a clicking sound. Turn on your generator. You should hear another click after about 30 seconds. Turn off the generator, taking note of a click. It is a sign that you are successful in hooking up a generator transfer switch to your RV.
Cover the transfer switch and secure it in place.
Do you need a transfer switch for a portable generator?
Portable generators do not need a transfer switch. However, it would be wise to have one. It is mainly useful for whole-house generators. It helps in the safer distribution of power to your appliances during an outage, ensuring the continuous operation of even your hardwired appliances and devices.
Without a transfer switch, you will have to connect your portable generator directly to your grid power service panel. Doing so increases the risk of frying your appliances or damaging the portable generator. You might even endanger electric utility workers who may be in the area fixing the power lines because of the surge.
The best RV transfer switch lets you enjoy your motorhome adventures better. It matches the wattage and amperage ratings of your RV’s electrical system and generator. The ideal transfer switch for campers is effortless to install and will last many years with proper maintenance. You will never have an RV adventure in the dark again.
It has the appropriate safety standard certification for peace of mind. If you pick the right transfer switch for your RV, you can always look forward to more fantastic weekend getaways. The correct transfer switch will come through for you, regardless of your adventures.
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