SmartRVing is supported by its audience. When you buy via links on this site, we may earn an affiliate commission. Learn more

The Best RV Autoformer

What is the best RV autoformer? Owning an RV can be challenging because of the costs and maintenance tasks that are involved. Electricity related issues are just one of many situations that RVers must deal with. Parks usually cannot handle the influx of RV users, all connecting into the shore power during peak times. As a result, fluctuations and under-voltage become a common problem.

The results of these inconsistencies in power can lead to costly damage to your electric equipment, so an effective prevention would be the installation of an RV autoformer. Since this plays a massive role in stabilizing your electricity, you must be mindful when selecting an RV autoformer. It might be another expense, but it is a smart and worthwhile expenditure that would lead you to save on costs in the future.

Best RV Autoformers

1. Hughes Autoformers RV220-50SP

  • 12,000W capacity
  • Automatic 10% boost when required
  • Surge protection unit is completely replaceable
  • 2-in-1 system
  • Cable and lock included
  • It is expensive compared to the usual surge protectors

The Hughes autoformer rv220-50sp is pegged as the world’s “All in One” solution when it comes to RV power. It is a robust voltage booster and surge protection in one system. The brand itself is a legend because of its reliable and consistent performance. It is a unique and patented voltage booster for your RV, and now, it also is the world’s most forward-thinking surge protection.

Based on various Hughes autoformer reviews specific to this 50SP voltage booster, this unit is always on the top when monitoring the incoming power to your RV. This ensures that you are protected from surges or spikes. You will also like that since surge protection is an additional feature that is replaceable. Should there be a spike, the unit will receive the major hit. No damage would come to your RV.

It is also good to know that the Hughes Autoformer is so far the only US patented voltage boost up solution. The other voltage boosters don’t share the same premium perks and have limitations. Additionally, it is also user-friendly with its LED Park Power Diagnostics tool.

This 50 amp autoformer will automatically boost the voltage by 10% if it descents to 113 and below. It will continuously increase by 10% until the voltage reaches 90 volts, which is the minimum volt for your RV.

The only reason why you might have hesitations purchasing this heavy-duty voltage booster is its price. Although this boost transformer is pricier, having two systems for the price of one is fair. Besides the fact that the brand is reliable, you can be assured that the Hughes autoformers rv220-50-sp voltage booster/surge 50 amp is worth every dollar of your purchase.

2. Hughes Autoformers RV2130-SP Voltage Booster

  • 3,600 Watts capacity
  • Automatic 10% boost when required
  • Can easily be moved from one RV campsite to another
  • Duo system of voltage booster and surge protection
  • Locked and safe from thieves
  • The degree of boost can lead a trip to the breaker

A powerful voltage booster but lightweight enough that you can quickly move it from your RV campsite to another since it only weighs 21 pounds. You are getting more than what you bargained for with the Hughes RV2130-SP Voltage Booster.

The Hughes autoformer 30 amp features 2,400 Joules of surge protection, and it can automatically boost your voltage by 10% once it drops to 114V and below. Like the other Hughes Autoformers series, this one is also a combo unit of a voltage booster and replaceable surge protection.

As the only US patented voltage boosting systems available on the market, Hughes’s model has a 3600 Watts capacity that is so easy to use. It has a boost indicator light coupled with a LED park power diagnostic tool. It is designed to be 100% transportable, and storage won’t be a problem either because of its compact design. It also comes with an ideal 6 feet power cord, and you don’t need to worry about this 30 amp autoformer being stolen when it comes with a lock.

Thanks to this device, the fluctuation and unreliable voltages at RV park sites will no longer cause damage to your RV and electrical appliances because it will adjust in real-time. No more surprises of having your surge protector turn off on you and no more personal power outages. This voltage booster can efficiently resolve Under-voltages.

What can be a real deal-breaker for this is the level of the voltage boost that may cause a trip to your breaker. If your preference is lightweight and practical when it comes to a voltage booster, then this is the answer. This is a great deal and a smart investment, as you can use it for a long time.

Why Should You Trust Us

We review products with a careful and fair consideration, intending to provide as much information about the products as possible. We want to equip you with the knowledge to make your decisions upon purchase based on unbiased information.

We aim that with our reviews and information gathering, you can clearly understand the concepts and definitions related to autoformers. You can see the difference between an autoformer vs transformer and know what brands to look for so that you will be happy and satisfied with such a significant purchase.

Hughes is a trusted company with products that are worth investing on. We understand that you want your hard-earned money to go to a product that is of top caliber and worth the price. We know that, and we share the same sentiment because we are consumers ourselves.

Trust us because we want to empower you with information before you ultimately make your own decision of which brand and model to purchase for your RV autoformer. As we all know, knowledge is power, and we believe that equipped with it, your decision making can be faultless and sans the regrets and what-ifs.

What Is An RV Autoformer And How Does It Work

autoformer-vs-transformer

A lot of people are confused about the difference between an autoformer and a surge protector. While it is true that both measures the voltage that goes into the RV, their primary responsibilities are way different. Some autoformers can function as both an autoformer and a surge protector.

Every RV owner should have a surge protector handy if you tend to travel and visit various RV parks and camping grounds. It is smart to have either a surge protector and autoformer regardless of whether it’s a combo system or two separate devices.

An RV autoformer, as the name suggests, is a combination of the words automatic and transformer. But for an RV, it doesn’t imply that it is an auto transformer. Yes, it is a confusing concept.

The main objective of RV autoformers is to increase the voltage that is going into your recreational vehicle when it determines that the voltage is too low. It will change the voltage, specifically the amperage relationship, and lower or raise the voltage as needed. Although it is often mistakenly called an autoformer, the right term should be a step-up transformer or also a voltage booster. An RV autoformer is not designed to take power from the park or camp. It also does not make electricity or affect the input voltage.

An RV autoformer running at the full output of 50amp will utilize 1 amp but will lead the appliances to cycle more frequently. This can also cause the system to run cooler and use a reduced amount of total power from the camp or park.

You must get your terminologies and definitions right and have a clear understanding because autotransformers specifically for RVs are considered illegal as per the National Electrical Code. Meanwhile, RV autoformers, like the Hughes RV autoformer, are perfectly acceptable because, again, it is not an autotransformer but an RV voltage booster.

Types Of RV Autoformers

Getting the correct autoformer for your RV is essential so it can function efficiently. You must obtain the one that suits your needs and be compatible with your RV and your electrical needs. Getting one that is lacking and wouldn’t regulate and boost the voltage is a waste of money.

There are different options of autoformers. Usually, it is categorized based on its overall electric current capacity and based on the features integrated on it.

The two main types of autoformers will be the 30 Amp autoformer and the 50 Amp when based on current capacity. Technically, you must investigate your RV’s current rating to know which one you need. Larger RVs with more electrical devices would be best to have a 50 Amp onboard.

The function is the same, but the main difference will be with the capacity since a 30Amp autoformer will have 3,600 Watts while the more significant 50 Amp has 12,000 Watts. Both can be designed to be portable and lightweight, too, depending on the model and manufacturer.

Another way that RV autoformers can be classified would be based on their features. There are the basic autoformers or just voltage controllers. Some are designed to have dual functions like both having the properties of being a surge protector and a voltage booster.

There is also the autotransformer, which only has a single winding compared to the typical transformer, which has two primary and secondary windings. As a result, voltage modifications are usually smaller in an RV autoformer when compared to a transformer.

Overall, consider the capacity of the RV autoformer before anything else. From there, you can slowly assess if it is a perfect fit for your RV or not. Also, it is best to purchase one with combo functionalities because it saves you the complexities of having two separate types of equipment.

Benefits Of Using An Autoformer For RV

hughes-autoformer-rv220-50sp

Repairs and replacements on damaged RV appliances are stressful and not to mention a super expensive problem. This can easily be prevented by an autoformer which can stabilize the flow of electricity and prevent any damages to your electrical appliances.

Not all RVers are keen on investing in this equipment more because of the lack of awareness when it comes to its benefits. Below are some specific advantages of having an RV autoformer:

  • You can slowly grow your financial savings. You don’t need to re-allocate a portion of the budgets to purchase new electrical devices for your RV destroyed by electricity and current-related problems.
  • RV autoformers allows you to conveniently use your modern RV in older parks where the power pedestals are still not updated. You don’t need to drive for miles in search of the ‘newer’ parks saving you time and gas and a much-needed rest by the end of the day.
  • This equipment can protect your recreational vehicle from polarity and phase reversals that might be brought about by incorrect power output installations.
  • It gives your appliances a breather and prevents them from overworking. You might not be aware, but your electrical devices tend to work harder if the voltage they are getting is lower. Due to this, the amperage upsurges and may lead to the appliances and tools to malfunction. An RV autoformer can minimize the chances of this from happening since it will, by design, boost a low voltage once detected.
  • Autoformers who have dual functions have an integrated surge protector that helps secure your RV from a power overload.
  • There is no need to program and do calculations yourself because autoformers adjust automatically. You don’t need to worry about having the incorrect conversions. For example, A portable Hughes autoformer 50 amp can boost the voltage to up to 10% if it detects that the RV park’s power drops and goes below 117V. It will lower the amps automatically. Once the RV park’s power goes back to 118V, the autoformer will just let the power flow without any boost needed.
  • By far, the most significant advantage of having an RV autoformer is the peace of mind knowing that your appliances and other electronic investments are safe every time you connect your camper at home or in an RV park site.

With just some of the benefits mentioned earlier, you can rethink your options and needs. Most likely, you will agree that this is much-needed equipment.

How We Picked

hughes-rv-autoformer

Owning an RV and getting it all equipped and comfy always comes with a lot of costs. Initially, it seems the flow of money would still be going out, but eventually, you’ll reap everything that you’ve invested. This is why you must be keen on making sure that your RV, including your electrical devices, is well protected.

One of the main concerns of RVers would be the destructive power fluctuations that are common in campgrounds and RV parks. This problem is extremely hazardous to your electrical devices. If unlucky and you end up connecting to a faulty park power, then you might as well say your goodbyes to all your electronics.

Therefore, getting an RV autoformer is essential, but you don’t just purchase the first one you see. Here are a few things that you need to consider when choosing your RV autoformer.

  • UL Listed – it would be better if you get a model that is UL certified. This is one assurance that the product you will be buying is a quality autoformer capable of protecting your RV and appliances from the power surges. It is also a reasonable basis and indication that your choice will last for a long time.
  • Joules Rating – this is one of the main factors that you need to consider before buying your RV autoformer. This will tell you the level or amount of protection you get from the product. This is the surge suppression capability of your autoformer. Go for a product that has a higher Joules rating because, with a higher rating, you won’t worry anymore about under-voltage or overheating.
  • Amp Rating – you must make sure that the autoformer has the right amp rating for your RV. It should be the correct amount to function properly if your autoformer does not have any electricity running from it. Then it will not work as expected.
  • Weight and Size – every available space is valuable in an RV. The last thing you should want is a cramped and uncomfortable recreational vehicle. Opt for an autoformer that is lightweight and compact; easy to move around from one RV ground to another. Do not sacrifice the quality of materials, though, just for the weight. Make sure that although light and compact, it is still solid and can work with the dynamic outdoor conditions, including the weather.
  • Installation – you would prefer a system that is easy to install. For instance, if you are eyeing a Hughes, you should be able to rely on the instruction manuals and guides included in the Hughes autoformer install kit and set it up with confidence. To make the process more hassle-free, look for the plug and play units.
  • Budget – set your budget and stick with it. There are ways that you can get discounts so you can take advantage of these opportunities. For instance, Hughes autoformer issues a price slash locally or online, then you can time your purchase. You can also use a Hughes autoformer coupon if you have one to save a couple of dollars.

Frequently Asked Questions

Q: What are the most popular RV autoformer brands?

A: Finding the correct RV autoformer, such as a Powermaster autoformer, is quite a challenge. Most manufacturers find the need to upgrade their designs almost every year to keep up with the ever-changing RV lifestyle. If you are keen on purchasing an autoformer for your vehicle, consider not just the brand and price but also its overall performance.

Here are the top three most popular and well-rated autoformer brands that deliver a consistent and top-notch quality result. There are only a few of them, so picking the right one is essential.

  • Hughes Autoformers – founded by an RV enthusiast in 1995. Hughes, the founder, also experienced himself the low voltage and even fluctuating supply that can be provided by RV campsites. He also had to deal with damaged electrical devices, so he created his autotransformer, which eventually also helped thousands of other RVers. The results of his highly reliable autoformers are results of his first-hand experiences.
  • Southwire – this company has a wide array of electrical connections and devices used for transmission. They have various cords and connectors, including voltage regulators.
  • InnoTechRV – their single autoformer, the Power Master VC-50, is worth checking. It is a reliable combo of an auto-transformer and a surge protector.

Q: How to install?

A: An RV autoformer should be handled with care because it is an electronic device. If you have zero to limited knowledge in installing an RV autoformer or are not confident in doing so, it would be best to get a professional electrician to do it for you. Wiring is required, so this is not something that should be done prematurely. If you are fully confident, you can use these steps to install your plug and play portable autoformer:

  • Place the unit with the handle facing upwards.
  • Connect the cord of the autoformer to the electrical post of the RV.
  • Connect your RV cord into the autoformer.
  • If you are to use an extension, connect it to the park’s post and plug the autoformer into it. Proceed in connecting the RV into the autoformer.

Q: How to use it?

A: After installation, there are no necessary actions required from you. It is a simple task of connecting the power cord to your RV park’s power pole. But aside from that, you don’t need to do anything because the autoformer will automatically do what it is supposed and expected to do, which is to boost voltage as required.

You must make sure that the system is well-ventilated while in use so you can prevent it from overheating. Another reminder is to keep the area dry. Also, you must use your RV autoformer as designed and nothing more. You don’t modify it or change parts when not needed, as this can compromise its functionality and the overall safety of everyone in your RV.

Q: How to maintain & care/ clean?

A: Good news, most RV autoformers are easy to clean and maintain. It does not require any unique accessories to care for it. Here are some precautionary steps that you can follow should you want to clean your RV autoformer:

  • Make sure it is disconnected from any electrical connection from the primary power source. This is to avoid any power surge from causing any damages to your RV and electronic devices. Once you are done with the maintenance that you need to do, only then should you reconnect your electronics that you are going to use.
  • Don’t use a wet cloth. Water and electricity don’t go together, and forcing these two or accidentally allowing the two to meet is a sure disaster. If your RV autoformer is already dirty and dusty, disconnect it from the power source first then wipe it with a microfiber cloth or towel that is just a bit damp.
  • If you think that there might be something wrong with it, have a professional electrician look. Don’t even attempt to touch it as you might cause more damage than good.
  • If not in use, store your RV autoformer in a room with the least humidity. This is critical especially if your unit is not weather-proof

Q: Where to buy?

A: Suppose you are finally on the stage where you just need to close the deal and bring home your Rv autoformer, congratulations! Purchasing one can be quickly done from your local home improvements outlets like Walmart, Home Depot, or Lowes. Note, though, that not all these stores carry the brand or model that you like.

One option for you is to make a trip to your local or nearest RV retail store. They might have one on-hand, or you may also pre-order and come back to pick it up.

More conveniently, especially now, would be to join the bandwagon and go online shopping. Amazon would have different RV autoformers that you can choose from. If you want a pre-loved or a second-hand RV autoformer like the much-coveted Franks autoformer, eBay might be your best chance.

Conclusion

Your RV is an investment, so are the devices that you have on it. Therefore, you need reliable equipment to help you protect it from any power surge or the low voltage problems typical in RV parks. You can do this by investing further and getting yourself an RV autoformer.

Choosing the best RV autoformer can be quite a challenge, but being proactive and keeping yourself informed about the latest trends, brands, and reviews are some of the ways to make the decision making less daunting. The right decision on the make and model can lead to a gratifying future where you can save on costs and repairs while ensuring the safety and longevity of your RV appliances.

Leave a Comment