Best RV Power Cords, Extension Cords, & Plug Adapters in 2023
(Camp Addict does NOT accept payment from any company to review or endorse their products.)
We'll get right into it... almost all RVs or campers are powered by one of two types of electrical systems.
Your power comes from either your:
- 12-volt system
- 120-volt system
Simply put, the12-volt system is powered from your batteries.
The 120-volt system is the system that needs power from an external power source, an inverter wired into the 120-volt system, or a generator.
You may be using a combination of both systems, depending on how you happen to be camping.
But here's the complication... the power connections at campgrounds are not all alike.
You will find different sized and shaped power receptacles.
Different receptacles mean different amperage ratings, and you have to use the appropriate power source for your rig.
Your RV either requires a 30-amp or a 50-amp plug to connect to the power source.
Power Adapters To The Rescue!
You can use different RV plug adapters to connect when there's no direct match for your RVs power cord.
You also may need an RV extension cord to reach the power supply, if the distance is too far to reach.
Getting power from a 120-volt source to your RV is kind of a big deal.
You need to make sure you have the right RV power cord for your rig and it needs to be high quality.
This is one place you don't want to be cheap.
You are dealing with high voltage and high amperage.
Below are our #1 picks for the best RV power cords, RV extension cords, and plug adapters.
We give reasons behind every choice made.
RV Electrical Systems
There's SO much to know (insert crying emoji here)! Cords and adapters are only one part of an RV electrical system.
To learn about everything else that pertains to your RV electric, read our RV Electrical Systems Guide.
RV Power Cord, Extension Cord, & Plug Adapter Reviews
Best RV Power Cord
Camco Power Grip Power Cords
What is the difference between an RV power cord and an RV extension cord?
The RV power cords reviewed here use a marine-style twist-lock receptacle end.
You only need this product if your RV DOES NOT come with a permanently connected power cord.
30 amp (90º receptacle) - Choose Length
50 amp (90º receptacle) - 25 foot Length
30 amp (straight receptacle) 25 foot
50 amp (straight receptacle) 25 foot
Continue Reading Camco RV Power Cord Review
Best RV Extension Cord
Camco Power Grip Extension Cords
What is the difference between an RV power cord and an RV extension cord?
When you need an extension cord for your RV, not any old extension cord will do.
These are offered as 30-amp extension cords and 50-amp extension cords.
30-amp Extension Cord - Choose Length
50-amp Extension Cord - Choose Length
Continue Reading Camco RV Extension Cord Review
Best RV Plug Adapters
Camco and Conntek Adapters
An RV plug adapter allows you to plug your existing cord into an outlet designed for a different amperage.
You may have a 30-amp RV extension cord but it only reaches a 15-amp outlet. What do you do? You use an RV plug adapter.
Below are purchase links for the most common RV plug adapters (dog-bones) you might need.
For additional RV plug adapter choices, please expand the 'continue reading...' section directly below.
You will see all the other adapter choices listed near the bottom of this section.
15-amp to 30-amp Adapter
15-amp to 50-amp Adapter
30-amp to 50-amp Adapter
50-amp to 30-amp Adapter
Continue Reading RV Plug Adapter Review
Ergonomic Cord Grips
All of the RV power and extension cords that we recommend come with ergonomic handles. They make disconnecting MUCH easier.
RV plug ends fit together very snuggly (as they should to ensure a good electrical connection) and therefore can require a bit of effort to pull apart.
The ergo grip handles (Camco calls them a 'Power Grip') give you something to grab ahold of when disconnecting your RV cord.
It puts a whole lot less strain on your fingers. You're welcome.
Recommendations for Replacement Parts & Accessories
Here are some helpful accessories and other gear for use with your RV power systems.
Products range from storage for your cords, to shore power cord replacements, to upgrading your RV's power inlet.
RV Cord Replacement Parts
What happens if the dog chews off the end of your power cord? Or, what if the cord gets damaged in the middle?
There are replacements available for plug ends, receptacle ends, and the RV cord itself if yours is hardwired to your rig.
Replacement RV Cord Plugs and Receptacles
Camco makes replacement plug and receptacle ends for both 30-amp and 50-amp RV cords.
They can replace the male ends of shore power cords or both ends of extension cords. This way you don't need to replace the entire cord.
If the cord is damaged enough, just replace it.
We replaced Kelly's 30-amp plug because the outer cable sheathing had 'opened' up exposing the three interior wires and the prongs were a bit burned.
Plus, her old plug didn't have an ergonomic grip, so it was hard for her to disconnect.
There were times she didn't think she would get it separated from her RV surge protector. The replacement was really easy!
Now her cord is repaired and the plug works like new (duh, cuz it is new!).
(If you need the female end of an RV shore power cord, also known as a marine-style twist-lock connector, see the section just below.)
30-amp RV plug replacement 'heads' (for the plug, or male end) come in two sizes:
Mini plugs are used for hardwired RV power cords that have the plug end inside a rather small storage door. Or you could use it if you have really small hands.
All of the Camco RV receptacle replacements come with their Power Grip handles.
This makes it easier to disconnect the 'head' after use.
30-amp RV Plug Replacement
50-amp RV Plug Replacement
Mini 30-amp RV Plug Replacement
30-amp Receptacle Replacement
50-amp Receptacle Replacement
Replacing The Plug (Male) End Of An RV Power Or Extension Cord
Replacement RV Power (Shore Power) Cords
Conntek makes replacement 30-amp RV power cords and 50-amp RV power cords.
These are for rigs that have a hardwired shore power cord. The replacement cords come in various lengths and have the plug end installed.
There are bare wires on the other end so you can connect it directly to your RV.
30-amp replacement shore power cords use 10 AWG wire and have a right angle TT-30P plug (male) on one end.
Replacement 50-amp RV cords (shore power) use 6 AWG wire (3 wires) and 8 AWG (1 wire) with a right angle 14-50P plug on one end.
NOTE: These replacement power cords don't have ergonomic grips on the plug end.
Replacement 30-amp RV Cord (pick a length)
Replacement 50-amp RV Cord (pick a length)
Replacement RV Power Cord Twist-Lock Ends (Female)
If you have a removable RV shore power cord, there are replacement female ends available However, they are pricey and you're probably better off purchasing an entire new RV power cord.
Marine-style twist-lock female ends are available in both 30-amp and 50-amp RV plug versions.
The 30-amp RV plug version includes both the receptacle and weatherproof cover as a kit.
You have to purchase the 50-amp RV plug pieces separately.
Like we said, just buy a new power cord. We are just showing you the options that are available.
We don't necessarily recommend you pull the trigger on buying these components separately.
30-amp Twist-Lock Replacement Kit
50-amp Twist-Lock Replacement Receptacle
50-amp Twist-Lock Replacement Cover
SmartPlug - A Better RV Power Cord
The current style of RV power inlets has been around for decades. It has a few major issues.
For one, it's hard to use (line up the L-shaped pin, twist to lock, then tighten down the lock ring after you get it aligned on the threads).
If there is looseness at the electrical connection (a common issue), a massive amount of heat is generated due to resistive heating.
This can cause the plug to melt, or worse. The SmartPlug came onto the market about a decade ago.
It was first marketed to the boating industry to replace the marine-style twist-lock that is also prevalent there.
The SmartPlug system is MUCH easier to use, provides a better electrical connection (eliminates resistive heating), and is all around a better product.
Is it a necessity? No. Could it prevent a fire? Absolutely.
Unlike many cases of a solution looking for a problem, the SmartPlug actually fixes a genuine issue that exists with the traditional RV power inlets.
There are countless examples of a poor electrical connection at the marine-style power inlet causing the female plug to become burned.
This renders it dangerous to use. The worst-case scenario, and this happens, is that the poor connection causes a fire.
If you are upgrading from a fixed power cord to a removable one, it's highly advisable to spend a bit more money and get the SmartPlug conversion kit.
This uses your existing power cord (replacing the receptacle end with a SmartPlug connector) and replaces the power inlet that is part of your RV.
If you are unhappy with your current marine-style twist-lock connector, you can easily switch it out for a SmartPlug (view instructions here).
If you don't feel comfortable dealing with electrical bits on your rig, have a handy friend help you. Or, pay a professional to do the install.
Some of the features of the SmartPlug include:
SmartPlug was kind enough to provide Camp Addict with a 30-amp conversion kit (combo kit) for Camp Addict Co-Founder Marshall.
He converted his existing marine-style twist-lock shore power cord set to the far superior SmartPlug system.
Directly below is a video showing the conversion process and what steps are required.
Hint: It's not that difficult and it's not rocket science! It has been amazing.
Marshall HATED connecting his marine-style twist-lock power cord to his travel trailer.
It just wasn't easy. And that locking ring? Ugh! It NEVER engaged properly the first time.
The SmartPlug eliminates ALL the hassles of the marine-style connector and is so simple to use.
We get products to test from time to time, and we let the manufacturer know upfront that we won't review something we don't trust or like.
That's part of the deal.
However, this one was a definite winner.
RV SmartPlug Combo Kit Installation
Stainless Steel SmartPlug Conversion Kit
30-amp SmartPlug Kit
50-amp SmartPlug Kit
Non-Metallic SmartPlug Conversion Kit
SmartPlug Combo Kit - Plastic (available in white, gray, and black)
30-amp Kit (White)
30-amp Kit (Gray)
30-amp Kit (Black)
50-amp Kit (White)
50-amp Kit (Black)
There is an optional SmartPlug weather-resistant cover that protects the receptacle (female) end of your SmartPlug power cord from moisture when not in use.
It also comes with a lanyard that you can use to attach the cover to your cord set when not in use.
Marine-Style Twist-Lock RV Power Inlets
If your existing marine-style twist-lock RV power inlet on the side of your rig has seen better days, you can purchase replacement power inlets described below.
If you have a hardwired RV power cord and want a marine-style cord, you can convert it.
Simply use one of the kits below.
Replacement Marine-Style Twist-Lock RV Power Inlets
If your RVs power inlet has seen better days, you can replace it with a new and/or better one.
Replacement RV power inlets that use the marine-style twist-lock (waterproof) connectors come in three different styles:
- traditional square inlet
- contoured inlets
- stainless steel power inlets.
All styles are available in 30-amp and 50-amp versions.
These replacement RV power inlets are fairly easy to replace, assuming you know a thing or two about electricity.
Since we are talking about the main power input of your rig, you want to know what you are doing before you replace the inlet.
Otherwise, hire a professional.
30-amp Receptacle Contoured
50-amp Receptacle Contoured
30-amp Receptacle Stainless Steel
50-amp Receptacle Stainless Steel
Marine-Style Twist-Lock RV Power Inlets Conversion Kits
You can ditch your fixed RV power cord and convert it to a removable, marine-style twist-lock connector.
This makes dealing with shore power cords that much easier.
These shore power plug conversion kits come with everything you need to ditch the fixed power cord and turn it into a weatherproof, marine-style power inlet.
Your life will become sooooo much easier.
OK, that's an exaggeration, but at least one small part of your life will become easier - dealing with your RV's power cord.
While installing this conversion kit isn't rocket science (see video below, or you can download the PDF instructions here), you should be fairly handy and not be afraid of electricity.
If you have any doubts about your skill level, have a handy friend help out.
Better yet, hire a professional.
A Better RV Power Inlet
Want an easier way to connect shore power to your RV?
You could install a SmartPlug conversion kit, which is a superior option to the conventional twist-lock connector.
30-amp Conversion Kit
50-amp Conversion Kit
Installing An RV Power Plug Conversion Kit
RV Power Cord Accessories
Camco Power Grip Storage Bag
If you like things tidy, you'll like this.
Camco sells a large nylon duffel bag. It has two compartments:
- a large main (zippered) compartment that can hold 50 feet of power/extension cord (or a couple smaller cords)
- a smaller, padded compartment for everything else
Camco Power Grip Storage Bag
Camco Power Grip Cable Lock
Use the Camco Power Grip Cable Lock to 'tie' your Power Grip (or other ergonomic grips) shore power and extension cord.
Or use it to secure your RVs power cord to the power pedestal and/or an RV surge protector.
The Power Lock is a 60' security cable with braided steel wire that has a tough vinyl coating.
One end of the cable is a loop that you pass the other end through (locking pin), then secure it together with the included lock head.
Camco Power Grip Cable Lock
Camco Power Grip Power Ball Lock
Ever wonder how to keep your RVs power cord accessories from being stolen?
Besides the cable lock featured directly above, Camco offers their Power Grip Ball Lock.
It's a spherical clamshell made of tough plastic that locks a connection point (shore power cord to extension cord, or power cord to surge protector).
While this won't secure your cords to a stationary object, it does 'tie' cords together. They cannot be separated so it's harder to walk off with.
As a bonus, the ball keeps connectors off the ground, out of any water in case of rain.
We're not 100% sold on this concept, but hey, it's a thing so we are showing you that it's available. (Lock and keys included.)
Camco Power Grip Ball Lock
7-Way Plug Cover
The end of your 7-pin electrical plug is susceptible to having its electrical connections corrode.
This is because the end is exposed to the elements when it's not in use.
This leads to electrical connections not working, and therefore trailer lights, battery charging, and maybe your brakes not functioning properly.
You can keep dirt, rain, and critters out by using the 7-pin plug cover from GR Innovations.
This made in the USA cover is a must-have for all travel trailer owners with a 7-pin style connection to the tow vehicle.
GR Innovations supplied Camp Addict with a 7-pin plug cover to test out.
Camp Addict co-founder Marshall has been happily using it and it's working exactly as advertised.
Camco Power Cord Strap
Neat freaks- check this out!
If you don't want to spring for Camco's above power cord, their simple strap might be right for you.
This nylon strap with carrying handle has a plastic quick-disconnect so that you can easily wrap it around your neatly coiled cord. There's not much else to it.
Simple. Effective. Get one! (or two, or three...)
Camco Carrying/Storage Strap
Well, kids, we're about done here.
There's more than meets the eye when it comes to RV power cables, extension cords, and plug adapters.
Mostly, you want to protect your RV by getting the proper extension cords and adapters rated for the power load they will be expected to handle.
If you have a question you want to ask, please read the existing comments below first.
Then, if you have a question that isn't answered below, feel free to ask.
Camp On, Addicts!
Authors: Kelly Beasley & Marshall Wendler
He-llllo. I'm the co-founder of Camp Addict, which my biz partner and I launched in 2017. I frigging love the RVing lifestyle but in December of 2020, I converted to part-time RV life. Heck, I lived in my travel trailer for over 5.5 years, STRICTLY boondocking for pretty much all of it. Boondocking is a GREAT way to live, but it's not easy. Anyway, I'm passionate about animals, can't stand campgrounds, I hardly ever cook, and I love a good dance party. Currently, I can be found plotting and scheming whether or not to start collecting farm animals (or plotting my next RV trip!) at my beautiful new 'ranch' named 'Hotel Kellyfornia', in Southern Arizona.
Camp Addict co-founder Marshall Wendler brings his technical expertise to help explain RV products in an easy to understand fashion. Full-time RVing from April 2014 - December 2020 (now RVing about 50% of the time), Marshall loves sharing his knowledge of the RV lifestyle. Marshall spends the majority of his RVing life boondocking. He is the part of Camp Addict that knows 'all the things'. He's good at sharing his technical knowledge so you can benefit.
I have a living quarters horse trailer. The power is set up for 30 amp. The original plug looked like the one “Kelly” had in this article. The plug pulled apart from the sheathing exposing the individual wires. I replaced it with the Camco mini to ease unplugging. The mini did not quite fit all the way into the hatch, the slight protrusion seemed ok. The hatch lid had broken off years ago and the cord always stayed put…. Until yesterday. Upon returning home, I found the cord without a connector stuck on the folded stair with about 4 ft of cable protruding. At some point on our return home yesterday on a 240 mile trip, the cord wiggled out and the connector sheared right off. The cord end must have flipped up and caught on the folded stair pretty quickly after the end sheared off as there is very little wear on the cable. The hatch is 2″ deep, 2.7″ ID and the hole in the side of the trailer is 3″. I’ve looked at Home Depot, Lowes, Amazon, and internet searching and the one that looks promising is the Conntek 30 amp.
With the original plug I also had a terrible time disconnecting it. The Conntek looks like it would be difficult as well. Might you have any other suggestions?
Thanks for checking out Camp Addict!
That sounds like the kind of excitement one doesn’t need when towing a trailer! I’m glad to hear that nothing happened other than the plug end when on a trip of its own.
I wish trailer manufacturers would make a shore power compartment that worked in real life and gave plenty of room for the plug end, etc.
If you search for “30 amp replacement plug male” on Amazon, there are a ton of choices. Many have a pull of some sort, like the Camco one we suggest. Trouble is the pull makes the plug bulkier, so depending on the cord compartment size/layout, it might not fit in there. So it become an issue of what is more important – being able to disconnect the cord easier via a pull, or foregoing the pull and having a more compact plug end that fits into the compartment.
Big help, right?
I hope you find a plug that will work best for your situation so that you don’t have any more of this type of excitement in the future.
I have a 50 amp female to a 30 amp and 20 amp male splitter. I want to connect the 50 amp female to the trailer and the 30 amp male to my 3500 generator and the 20 amp male to my 2000 generator. I will only run 1 generator at a time. Will I get a feedback from the running generator to the “off” generator? I assume the splitter I purchased was designed for this application.
As we explain in the “Y Adapters” section of the “Best RV Plug Adapters” review box above, the adapter you mention is “Designed to have the male ends plugged into both a 15-amp outlet (non-GFCI) and a 30-amp outlet, and the female end plugged into your 50-amp shore power cord (this setup gives you a theoretical maximum of 45 amps – 15 plus 30 amps).”
In other words, it’s used to combine two shore power sources, giving you a theoretical amperage that is higher than one of the single sources.
It isn’t intended to be used with generators. I have no idea what would happen in the use case that you mention.
Why do you want to use a Y adapter? If you are running one generator at a time, why not just plug your RV’s power cord into the generator that you are going to use?
I’m wanting to buy an adapter to convert a 30amp to a 50amp is there an advantage to buying a cord adapter versus a plug adapter?
So the hockey puck style adapter ‘extends’ straight out from the receptacle and then your RV power cord connects to it. This creates a ‘stacked’ plug setup that usually is horizontal to the ground. The weight of the heavy gauge power cord hanging off this may cause the hockey puck adapter to want to come out of the power pedestal. Especially if the pedestal outlet plug has some looseness to it (which is common with age/use).
The cord style adapter has a 90 degree ‘turn’ at the male end where it plugs into the power pedestal, which means the weight hangs down immediately. With this setup, you will rarely have the cord wanting to pull itself out of the power pedestal.
Plus, for what it’s worth, I just like the ‘feel’ of the cord style adapters better. Not sure that means anything, but I’m just more comfortable using this style adapter.
I recently bought a travel trailer that is 30 amps. It included a 25′ 10 gauge, 30 amp power cord. One of the campgrounds I go to I need a much longer cord. Is it ok to use a 25′ extension instead of purchasing a 50′ power cord. I was told it is not good to add an extension to an RV cord.
First, we want to thank you for reaching out looking for an answer to this.
Electricity is so dangerous, and so many people get it wrong! So we’re glad you’re seeking help.
To answer your question, we recommend you get the shorter 25’ 30 amp (made for) RVs extension cord.
This way you aren’t having to always deal with such a long 50’ cord.
AND using shorter cord is always better. There’s less resistance for the electricity to pass through.
You should NOT use a regular household extension cord. This may be what that someone was referring to.
So no, it’s not true that you should not use an extension cord. It’s best if you don’t have to to use one. But if you cannot reach otherwise, then an extension cord made for RVs with the appropriate gauge will be just fine!
Thanks Diane, have fun with your explorations and stay safe out there.
I am trying to find an RV adaptor splitter that has a 30 amp male that plugs into campground electrical box and splits into a 50 amp to camper and a 110 volt to be used for porch lights. Is there such a splitter? Any help would be awesome.
Not that I’m aware of and here’s my take on why.
You are asking a 30amp power source to supply power to a 50 amp rig, so you are already running a potential power deficit. To ask the 30 amp power source to additionally supply a potential 15 amps of power (the standard household outlet that you want to run porch lights from) would mean a further potential power deficit.
In other words, you would be asking a 30 amp power source to supply up to 65 amps of power (50 amp + 15 amp). No manufacturer in their right mind would put out a product capable of this. Can you say fire liability?
You can get this type of a setup going from a 50 amp power source to a 30 amp RV plug and a 15 amp household plug, but not the other way around.
Just keep in mind that when you plug a 50 amp RV into a 30 amp outlet you have to be very careful to limit the number of high power consuming devices at one time to not trip the power pedestal’s 30 amp circuit breaker.
I assume you are wanting to put some sort of 120-volt patio lights around your RV? Why not just plug them into your RV’s external 120-volt power outlets that are being fed when your rig is plugged into the 30 amp outlet?
I’m new to campers. I have a 1999 keystone montana 3250rk.
I found a Coleman 10/3 STW 30 amp cord. My camper is a 50 amp 3 pole 4 wire hook up.
Will this cord run my camper or will it cause problems?
You have a 50-amp rig. You need to use a 50-amp extension cord.
It’s VERY important that the extension cord you use is rated to handle the maximum load your RV can draw, or bad things can happen.
Plus, if you are trying to use a 30-amp cord with a 50-amp rig, you are going to have to use a 30-amp to 50-amp adapter where the extension cord plugs into your rig. This is one more potential failure point/cause of problem in your RV’s power supply. It’s best to eliminate as many of these potential ‘issue’ spots as possible.
Welcome to RVing! I know it’s really overwhelming, but you are doing the right thing and asking questions.
Have a question, is there a highly recommended power cord splitter? An rv and toy hauler trailer sharing a space at rv park
Please tell me that the two RVs are sharing at least a 50-amp connection. There is no scenario that ends well if two RVs are trying to share a single 30-amp connection. You will be having to do some super energy management (i.e. not using any appliances with appreciable amperage draw) if you want to share a 30-amp outlet.
A single RV will require, at the very least, a 30-amp outlet.
OK, assuming you are sharing a 50-amp outlet, you are still going to have to be very mindful of power use. But it is doable. If you are careful and aware.
There are two Conntek products listed at the very bottom of the RV Plug Adapter section of this page that handle splitting a single 50-amp supply into two. One splits it into two 30-amp plugs (you won’t be able to use 30-amps from each at one time due to simple math – 30+30=60 which is more than the 50-amps available). The other splits into a single 30-amp and a single 15-amp plug.
Best of luck sharing a power supply. BE VERY CAREFUL!
Thank you for your response and I found out that the park pedastal has a 30amp and a 50 amp plug in and I will be getting a dog bone adapter for my 30 amp to plug into the 50 amp if the other person will be using the 30 amp. Hope I am understanding this subject
It sounds like you are getting it, Stephanie. Yes, if you have a 30-amp RV, you would need a dogbone adapter to connect to the 50-amp input. Remember, the 50-amp plug has four prongs while the 30-amp plug has three prongs. Easy peasy!
Hello Camp Addict, I was wondering how I could use an abandoned 30 amp 3 wire disconnect at my home to install a outlet to power my 30 am p travel trailer? I did buy a 50 covered outlet for the house just in case I ever wanted to upgrade the trailer, which has lugs for 4 wires.The 3 wires are 2 hots and a ground as you mentioned with the dryer outlet (not to use). how do these 50 amp 4 wire to 3 wire premade adapters work?
Thanks for any help you can offer,
I have no clue if you can do what you are asking. I know nothing about how houses are wired electrically and wouldn’t even know where to start. It’s best to talk to a qualified electrician about this, but you do need to be crystal clear about what you are looking to do. Wire an outlet for an RV and not a dryer.
Ok, thank you.
Thank you for this great article and the other useful information on this site. I’m a new rv owner, and have a couple questions.
You recommend the Camco dogbone adaptor for 30 to 15 amp, but also say that Conntek is good for other connectors. Is their 30 to 15 amp also a good choice? I’m asking because the 15 amp plug on the Conntek is smaller, making it easier to store.
My second question is about using a good quality 10 gauge regular extension cord to plug into a house outlet. The connection would be my rv power cord into a dogbone adapter into the extension cord into the outlet. My impression from your article is that it’s better to use do rv cord into rv extension cord into the dogbone adapter, straight into the house outlet – but I don’t understand why, as long as the gauge of the extension cord is 10g.
Thanks for you help, and it’s so cool you answer questions!
Glad you like Camp Addict. Thanks for visiting and for the question!
The Conntek 15200 (30 amp female to 15 amp male) dog bone would be a fine choice. I see that is may have a slightly smaller 15 amp end, but I seriously doubt you are going to gain any storage space using this dog bone over the Camco one. Either is a fine choice.
If you could find a 10 gauge heavy duty, outdoor use household extension cord that is of high quality maybe you could get away with using it. Not sure why you would want to buy one of these instead of an RV specific one. A quick check of prices showed the Camco 25 foot 30 amp extension cord is as inexpensive, or even costs less, than the household specific ones on Amazon.
I hope you aren’t planning on running high energy use appliances in your RV via a 15 amp connection. You may be able to run the AC by itself. Or the electric water heater by itself. But you aren’t going to have too much luck running both at once (or with other 120 appliances)
There’s a reason why RVs come with a minimum of a 30 amp input. 🙂
Good luck and Camp On!
You guys explain things beautifully !!! ????
San Antonio, Texas
Well, thank you very much! Glad we are easy to understand- nothing easy to understand (to me) about electricity! It was a tough subject to cover. More for me than for Marshall. Cheers!
We camp at a location where our 30 amp trailer is about 120 ft. from the 30 amp power source. Our electrician said we should get an “SO” cable to run to the trailer. Are RV extension cords good for this distance instead? Is an SO cable appropriate?
120 feet is a really long distance to use an RV extension cord. In fact, you’d have to use at least 2 RV extension cords to travel this distance. They really aren’t intended for this long of a run.
The problem is voltage drop over this long distance using the gauge of wiring that a 30-amp RV extension cord has. In the case of the extension cords reviewed on this page, the gauge of wire used is 10 AWG. Over a 120 foot run, assuming a 30-amp load (which would be the max your rig is capable of ‘using’ since it’s a 30-amp rig), we are talking around a 6% voltage drop. This is too much.
I used this online voltage drop calculator to figure out this voltage drop.
You really want a low single digit voltage drop, so no more than say 2-3% is ideal. For a 120 foot run you’d want to use no smaller than a 7 AWG wire.
I assume that is why your electrician suggests an SO (common type of wire that can be buried) wire for this run. Assuming they are wanting to use a gauge of wiring that is appropriate.
I’d listen to your electrician here, and go with a properly sized wire rather than trying to string together a couple/few RV extension cords. You need to be concerned about voltage drop over this length of wiring run, so it’s best to do things right.
Thanks for the question, and Camp On!
“Trailers = 2 electrical systems
A 120-volt system that is used when you plug into shore power.
A 120-volt RV system running things from your RV battery.”
Yes, it was a typo! ???? Thank you very much for pointing it out! It has been corrected. Electricity is confusing enough without us making a mistake like that! Grrrr. Thanks again- you’re the best! ????
Thank you so much for sharing your wisdom. I have not purchased my rv yet, but I’m trying to do all my research and get my ducks in a row before purchasing. I plan on being a fulltime. I have already saved this site for reference!!!
Thank you so much! Glad to be here to serve you.
Having a plan is great- plan, and you shall follow. Good luck with picking your new RV!
We sure hope to get more and more categories out there on this site. We are working on an RV manufacturer reference post, which might help you in your search.
Cheers, and have fun with it all!
Thank you for your site. My RV is hooked to my sons house and I’m going to live in it, some of the time! However, some of the major appliances don’t work. I think I’ve figured it out, thanks to your article! The extension cord I bought is a 15 amp cord. Duh. I knew it would be something so simple it would embarrass me. I know very little about electricity and even less about rvs! I am learning. It’s an older RV, with few bells and whistles. I’m assuming it’s a 30 amp. Should I buy a cord capable of 50 amps, simply to be sure?
Thank you for the comment, we all appreciate a little massage now and again! : )
Ok, so yes, electricity can be complicated and scary. You will get used to it as you get more comfortable using your part-time home, we promise! (I wish Camp Addict had been around when I hit the road!)
The good news is your question should be an easy one to answer. First question- does your RV have a power cord connected to it? Let’s start from there!
Waiting for your reply. ????
Yes, it does…. but it’s not long enough to reach the house.
Ok, how many prongs are on the end of it? Three or four? (Make SURE there’s no short adapter connected to the end.) If 3, it’s a 30 amp. If 4, it’s a 50 amp RV. Simple as that!
Yes. But, it’s not long enough
Ok, no worries. This is easy! Look at the end of your power cord. If it has three prongs, it’s a 30-amp RV. If it has 4 prongs, it’s a 50-amp RV.
Make SURE there is not an adapter connected to the end of your power cord. (You could have a 50-amp to a 30-amp ‘dogbone’ adapter that makes you think you have a 30-amp RV instead of a 50-amp RV.)
Also, make sure the power cord you DO get is made for RVs. You can find these on Amazon or at your local camping store.
Let us know what you find your RV to be, ok?
Thank you soooo much. I was going to have to hire an RV set up guy to come out. I’d of sure been sad if I paid $100 for the trip and he just changed the cord! Lol
Of course! What did you find that you have? 30 or 50?
I don’t know yet. LOL. I am not in the area where the RV is right now. My son has been trying to get it set up and we have not been able to get it done. The information that you have given me is going to be so helpful thank you
Ok, good luck with it all! Let us know how it works out!
Awesome information, especially for a newbie like me. Purhased many of the items based on your recommendations.
That’s great to hear! And thank you for supporting Camp Addict, we truly appreciate you!
Great and concise information!!! Thank you.
Glad you found the RV power cord page helpful, Kathryn. You are very welcome and Camp On!
Everything I wanted to know! Thank you RV breaking it down! IT may save a Rig or a LIFE!
We sure hope so! Thanks for finding us and for taking the time for the nice comment. Go ahead and Camp On SAFELY, Patricia!