Are you having issues finding the best RV autoformer available? This issue isn’t an uncommon thing when there happen to be so many options out there. It’s almost impossible to find a top-tier one without doing a large amount of research beforehand.
But I intend to make this researching process much easier by walking you through it. This task will consist of talking about everything needed to make a smart choice about your next autoformer. I’ll talk about topics like determining factors, benefits, maintenance, and much more.
These discussions will ensure you become an expert on all things autoformers. I’ll even provide reviews of the two models that I consider the best on today’s market. You’ll see from these reviews what awaits when you start searching.
I just want to ensure this entire process becomes as easy as possible. There’s no reason people have to pull their hair out over buying an autoformer. This article will ensure your hair remains where it belongs.
Let’s get this process started now and find the autoformer capable of making your rig’s appliances run smoothly. This device will make sure you’re never at the mercy of an older RV park with a low voltage system ever again.
|Preview||Hughes RV2130-SP||Hughes RV220-50SP|
|Dimensions||10 x 10 x 14.5 inches||13 x 10.75 x 14.5 inches|
|Weight||14.5 pounds||38 pounds|
|Capacity||30A/ 2,400J||50A/ 12,000W/ 4,800J|
|Voltage||Increases 10% Starting at 113V||Increases 10% Starting at 113V|
Best Autoformer for RV Reviews
This section will contain overviews of what I consider the two top-rated RV autoformers on today’s market. These talks should make it much more clear about what a person should be looking for in these devices. It’ll also help you understand the more detailed topics in our following sections.
1. Hughes Autoformers RV2130-SP Voltage Booster/Surge 30 Amp Autoformer
This Hughes RV autoformer is easily among the best available today. It has many features that will help your rig’s appliances get enough juice even in the oldest campgrounds. A great example would be its built-in surge protection.
It’s a feature that’ll ensure this device remains completely safe and effective. In other words, it’ll help guarantee your rig and appliances don’t become damaged from a power surge. You also have to love this product’s easy install process.
Many buyers find it simple and straightforward, thanks to the included manual. You shouldn’t have any issues installing into your rig’s electrical system. But the Hughes autoformer install kit does come separately, which was a drag.
If you don’t want to pay a little extra for the install kit, the product can be plugged into a campground or park’s power pole. This aspect is made possible with its 6-foot power cord that features a design, which isn’t a tripping hazard.
You should also be impressed by the product’s overall design. This autoformer only weighs 21-pounds to ensure transporting it isn’t much of an issue. I didn’t even break much of a sweat, moving this from storage into my RV. Trust me; this outcome isn’t a small feat.
Its top-tier design will ensure this model lasts a long time, as well. This product was made from the most durable materials out there and should ensure it remains usable for years to come. Other customers were more than happy when it came to durability in this Hughes autoformer’s reviews.
The product’s boost function was another appealing aspect. It’ll ensure you can get the right amount of electricity from low-voltage sources even in the hottest temperatures. Poor options tend to have serious issues when trying to match this ability.
2. Hughes Autoformers RV220-50-SP Voltage Booster/Surge 50 Amp Autoformer
Our second option is a better choice for larger RVs like a Class A motorhome due to its 50 amp design. But its higher amp rating isn’t the only reason a rig owner should consider this model. It has many other aspects capable of making your life much easier.
The plug-in design was one of these standout aspects for me. It ensures using the device is an easy task that almost anyone could do. It’s just a simple matter of plugging the power cord into the RV park’s power pole. You’ll need to make sure it’s connected to your rig, as well.
It sounds easy enough, right? Well, the product only gets more impressive with its built-in surge protector. This feature will ensure to protect both the booster and your rig when a dangerous spike occurs.
It’ll take the impact rather than any damage coming to the more critical parts of this process. You can expect this surge protection to be adequate, too, as it has a Joules rating of 4800. This should be more than enough to ensure everything remains safe and undamaged.
The voltage boost provided by this product is quite impressive, as well. It offers a fully automatic 10% voltage boost when it’s needed. This makes it a valuable device to have for anyone who intends on using old RV parks with less than reliable power sources.
It’s one of the main reasons a Hughes model is a much better choice than going with either a Franks autoformer or Powermaster autoformer. These two brands can never seem to match the boosting abilities of a model built by them.
Durability has never been among any Hughes autoformer’s issues, either. This product is no different, with its durable design made from the best materials. There’s no reason to believe this model won’t be in your life for a long time due to this construction.
RV Autoformer Buyer’s Guide
Choosing the best RV autoformer isn’t a simple matter of selecting the first one available on Amazon. Making the right choice will require knowing certain important factors. This info will ensure a buyer makes the correct choice about what model fits their needs.
As a result, I’ll discuss these vital factors with a large amount of detail. You’ll soon have everything needed to make a perfect choice. Any feeling of stress or frustration will disappear by reading these following discussions.
As you know, the autoformer is a device capable of helping a rig owner in stabilizing voltages that comes from a specific power supply and transferring it into devices or equipment. These appliances include things like coffee makers, dishwashers, microwaves, and ovens.
In most cases, these kinds of appliances run on 1200 watts. You can then add these 1200 watts to the overall wattage of other devices like converters, entertainments, and fridges. The total usually comes around to be a little more than 3000 watts.
Your rig will usually only be able to support a max of 3000 watts, but using an excellent autoformer increases this total to 3600 watts. The only way a person obtains a top tier autoformer is through ensuring their designs are made from top materials.
But some brands try to cut costs by adding in subpar materials into the design. However, you’ll need to avoid these models to help you prevent potential issues like power surges. After all, one little surge could cause severe problems for your rig and endanger everyone on board.
A great way to examine these materials is by reviewing other people’s encounters with the device. If these customers find these issues, they will not hesitate to talk about them. I’d suggest making sure your chosen autoformer is durable enough to deal with outdoor conditions, as well.
Looking for descriptors like weatherproof or heavy-duty in the product description can go a long way to ensure the product’s top-tier. It’s the only way to make sure these devices become a long-term investment rather than a short-term one.
The device’s Joules rating is one of the primary factors when buying an RV autoformer. It’ll tell a buyer how much surge suppression or protection the device will provide a rig. I’d suggest looking to purchase a model with a higher Joules rating as it’ll ensure overheating doesn’t occur.
If left unchecked, overheating can cause severe damage to both the autoformer and your rig’s appliances. Therefore, do the smart thing by buying an autoformer with a higher Joules rating to prevent it from ever happening.
An autoformer without at least some electricity running from the device is useless. In other words, it won’t be able to work correctly without the right amount of amps. As a result, please check the amp rating and making sure it’s right for your rig before setting on an option.
If you don’t, this entire process will end up being a waste of time. This outcome isn’t something you or I want.
Every buyer would be wise to ensure their autoformers are UL certified. This aspect is an indicator that you’ve bought a capable product, which will protect your rig from power surges. Therefore, it seems like something a good autoformer would need.
It’s also a good sign that your chosen autoformer will be durable and practical. As a result, you won’t have to buy a replacement anytime soon. This situation sounds like a good deal to me. I’m betting you feel the same way.
Ease of Install
The product’s install process should be straightforward and easy. Otherwise, this entire process might become much more stressful than anticipated. I’d suggest checking the unit’s manual before buying to ensure you have a guide and directions about the install process.
In most cases, you can find these pieces of info in the product description or manufacturer’s website. You can then determine whether the install is something you feel comfortable doing. I’d also recommend first-time installers to look for an option with a plug and play design.
These models have gained a reputation for being easy to use and install. But if you don’t feel comfortable doing these tasks, it never hurts to call a professional. These experts will get the job done and won’t cost a whole lot, given it’s a rather small job.
You’re going to want an option with a lightweight design, as well. This aspect will make the device easy to move during the install and storing processes. You should make sure this design is compact, too, but durable enough to withstand certain outdoor and weather conditions.
Many rig owners find it essential to ensure these products aren’t too heavy because they’re always moving it. If they don’t have a lightweight design, these devices become a lot of weight to put inside your rig.
The price of these devices will differ from product to product. It’s why many buyers find it useful to create a budget to help deal with the insane number of options available. But it’s vital to ensure these budgets stay realistic.
How does a buyer do this? You must account for every crucial feature in your perfect model. For instance, a rig owner who wants a model with a higher Joules rating will need to understand these options will cost more.
Once you do have a realistic budget, this process becomes a lot more manageable. It’ll lessen the options to only models capable of meeting your needs. You’ll no longer have to wade your way through a sea of possibilities.
But please, don’t make your budget too tight, or the right option might appear to be some unsafe model. It’s a much better idea to spend a little extra to ensure your new device is capable of doing its job safely and without any serious issues.
RV Autoformer FAQs
Our FAQ section will answer any remaining questions the buying guide didn’t cover. After reading it, a buyer should have all the info needed to buy the perfect RV autoformer. Let’s get started and wrap this entire process in a nice, easy bow.
How does an autoformer work?
RVs can sometimes pull too much power from the system. This issue will reduce the amount of power available to all the others, which are connected inside that system. In a low voltage scenario, this could be just as damaging to electronics as a power surge. But thankfully, RV owners can protect their rigs and electronics by using an autoformer (auto transformer).
Some rig owners believe autoformers will pull power from the park, but this isn’t true. These devices will instead protect the park by keeping the number of amps needed for an RV low. It can offer this obvious benefit through changing the amperage usage by lowering it and increasing the voltage.
More importantly, appliances tend to run better when using lower amps and higher voltage. It also helps that they would be using less power from the park. But I must warn you that some campground and park owners will not let rig owners use them.
This situation goes back to the misconception I mentioned above. It’s a lousy outcome because these devices do ensure your appliances run much more efficiently and safely.
Who is this for?
The primary purpose of an RV autoformer is protecting your electronic devices and rig from damage caused by voltage fluctuation. Some autoformers can even protect a motorhome from low and high voltage, open ground, open neutral, and detect reverse polarity.
Therefore, autoformers are a crucial device capable of regulating the voltage supply to almost any electronic appliance. They can offer this vital benefit by blocking or shorting the voltage supply to a device; it’ll keep the electricity that’s coming into an appliance from going past a safe limit.
These benefits make it a vital device for anyone who intends on camping at campgrounds. You see, the power systems at these parks are often unpredictable. This becomes almost a given at older RV parks. It’s not uncommon to find utility poles, which are set up on a connected chain.
As a result, a rig having issues a few sites down could have a severe impact on other RVs that are connected within the same system. It’s also important to note that the available power can fluctuate when people begin to turn off and on their own devices.
These reasons alone make it clear that an autoformer could be a useful thing for campground RVs to utilize. Otherwise, you might not get the power needed to run your rig’s electronic devices safely.
Are RV autoformers illegal?
In contrast to autotransformers, RV autoformers are legal to use with a camper or rig. However, reading a campground’s guidelines is requisite before entering an area. Some locations have specific rules against using an RV autoformer, RV transformer, or any RV voltage booster.
So I’d suggest being up-to-date on the regulations to avoid any issues, especially safety problems that stem from a subpar electrical system. If not, it could create an awkward or dangerous situation for everyone involved.
What is the correct sequence to use RV autoformers with surge protectors?
Using the proper sequence when connecting autoformers with surge protectors is crucial. Otherwise, it’ll lead to dangerous situations and safety concerns. So avoid these issues by utilizing the sequence of autoformer to surge protector to RV.
To start, plugin autoformers first into the campground’s power pedestal. The step should then be followed by connecting the surge protectors and, finally, your motorhome. It’ll prevent any malfunctions when utilizing an autoformer or surge guard voltage regulator/protector.
What do you do if RV autoformers are boosting voltage too high?
A common mishap with autoformers is when they boost the voltage too high. The device will then turn off to avoid any safety issues. However, this mishap often has an easy fix as it’s usually caused by loose wiring within the electrical connections.
To fix the problem, restart the process by turning all power off to the cables. Next, locate the loose connection and tighten it to stop your autoformer for RV performance issues. I’ve had this issue occur before as I tend not to tighten my autoformer plugin as securely as possible.
However, some RVers can’t fix their autoformers by redoing their plugins or connections. It’s possible the problem could be a more severe mechanical issue. In these cases, it becomes imperative to contact a professional to see whether repairs or replacements are needed.
Most autoformers will come with a warranty policy to protect customers. So buyers may be able to send their malfunctioning autoformer back to the company. It’s why I often recommend purchasing an autoformer or any RV voltage regulator with these policies.
Can you use an RV autoformer with a generator?
Rig owners can usually use autoformers with generators. But it’s not always possible depending on an RVers particular setup. For example, autoformer/surge protector combo devices are known not to work with generators due to surge protector’s inclusion.
So it becomes vital to read the instructions before using one with a generator. The guide should provide all crucial info about how to use your autoformer correctly. If you don’t, the device won’t boost voltage and offer the necessary RV low voltage protection.
Advantages of using an RV autoformer
Many RV owners tend to loathe replacing damaged RV appliances. After all, buying new appliances can be downright expensive. But it can be avoided rather easily by investing in a solid piece of equipment that can stabilize electrical flow inside these devices. Of course, I’m talking about an autoformer.
But a lot of RV owners aren’t too aware that an autoformer is needed to ensure their rig’s appliances’ best performance. Due to this, I thought going over some advantages that come from using these devices would be in everyone’s best interest:
- Prevents appliances from becoming overworked or overload. You see, these appliances will work harder when receiving low voltage. This situation causes the amperage to increase, which will lead to a malfunction. Autoformers will stop this from occurring by automatically boosting low voltage coming into your appliances.
- Ensures an RVer can use their more modern rigs in old campgrounds that haven’t made upgrades to their systems in years.
- These devices will protect your motorhomes from phase and polarity reversals, which often happen due to lousy power output installs.
- Some models will have built-in surge protectors to ensure a power overload doesn’t occur.
Aside from these benefits, it’s essential to realize that finding the right one can be a little tricky. This difficulty comes from brands creating updated models year after year. I’d suggest a person who wants to get one to consider both the price and brand before making their final choice. Looking into each model’s performance via other customers’ encounters will help, as well.
Overall, these devices are meant to provide a rig owner with the assurance their devices will work safely. It doesn’t matter whether you’re plugging into a campground pedestal or at home; these autoformers will get the job done.
How to install and use?
Autoformers aren’t an electronic device that a rig owner should take lightly during the install process. You should proceed with care and ensure everything goes smoothly. If you don’t have any experience with these devices, it might be wise to contact an expert. This suggestion should especially be followed for installs featuring hard wiring.
But if you’re confident and have the experience, these next few steps should help you set up a plug-style portable autoformer without any issues:
- Set the autoformer, with the handle pointing up, on the ground.
- Attach the device’s cord to your RV’s electrical post
- Connect the rig’s wire into your autoformer
- If you plan on using an extension cord, attach it to the campground’s post, then connect your autoformer into it, and proceed to connect the rig into the autoformer.
However, please remember that these types of tasks shouldn’t be underestimated. I’d also suggest making sure your new autoformer is well-ventilated. This action will ensure it doesn’t overheat and cause significant issues. From there, you can then use the device how it was intended.
Lastly, don’t attempt to modify your autoformer. You will likely compromise the effectiveness of your rig’s appliances and everyone’s safety who lies inside it. It’s not worth whatever benefits might come from the modification.
Understanding the difference between autoformer vs. transformer
There’s one primary difference between an autoformer and a transformer, which is the former has one winding, while the latter has two: a secondary and primary. This difference makes the voltage adjustment in an autoformer usually smaller than what a transformer offers.
As a result, an autoformer isn’t capable of being used to reduce high voltage. This situation would require a built-in surge protector, such as with the two options in our product review section. It’s why the top-tier models are built to serve two roles, with them being both a surge protector and an autoformer.
Any care and maintenance tips?
Cleaning an autoformer is a bit more tricky than people might realize. I’d recommend following these tips to ensure nothing happens during the process:
- You must always disconnect any other electrical connections from their power source before cleaning. This action will stop any power surge from occurring and damaging your rig’s appliances. After these necessary precautions are taken, you can then process to plug in whatever device is needed during the cleaning process.
- This might seem like common sense, but don’t use a wet cloth. Electricity and water are never a good combo; this situation is no different. In fact, if you do think your autoformer is a bit dirty, the very first thing to do would be disconnecting it from its power source.
- Make sure to contact an expert whenever you suspect something’s wrong with your autoformer. It’ll make sure no further damage to the unit that might require you to buy another one to replace it.
- Once you’re done using the autoformer, set it in a location where there isn’t a lot of humidity. This becomes essential for anyone with a non-weather resistant or weatherproof model.
After reading this article, finding the best RV autoformer shouldn’t be much of a challenge. You just need to apply what you’ve learned here into the search. From there, the right choice should become evident and apparent.
This right choice might be one of the options from our product review section! But even if it’s not, these discussions should’ve provided a guide to finding the perfect choice. However, a question or two still could come out during your search.
If this does happen, feel free to use our comment section. I’ll make sure to answer your questions as soon as possible. Thanks for reading!
Hi, I am Dane Heldt, a full-time RVer since 2016. I am always passionate about building and joining an RV community where people share their love for RV lives. This blog is a dream of mine, as I can finally share my experiences to help people who want to start living differently. So, feel free to reach out to me!