Do You Know What Size Electrical Service Your Camper Uses?

30 amp vs 50 amp

If you’re looking to purchase a new RV or find out what type of electrical system is already in place, you may want to know the answer to the question, “is my camper 30 amp or 50 amp.” If so, this article should be of help. You’d think that since most RVs are advertised as 30 amp, that this would be the norm. Yet, with today's options, it can still be hard to find the correct power source for your RV.

Are you looking to upgrade your camper to 50 amp (or at least want to know what's the difference between 30 amp and 50 amp)? Then this is the blog post for you! I'm going to save you some time and tell you everything you need to know.

How do you know if your camper is 30 amp or 50 amp?

If you are a new RVer, it is important to understand the difference between 30 and 50 amps because if you show up to a campground that does not have an electrical service that matches what your RV requires, you will not be able to hook up to their electricity supply. There are a couple of ways to find out whether your RV is 30 or 50 amps.

  • Check Your Electrical Service Panel
  • Open up the electrical service panel on your camper. This is usually located in the main living area and will have large breakers for each of the various systems in your camper (this may include lights, air conditioning, furnace, microwave oven, refrigerator and stereo). On each of these breakers there should be a number that indicates how many amps they require.

    You can also look at the electrical box located outside of your camper near where you connect to the power source. The size of the wires coming out of this box indicates whether it is 30 or 50 amps. If you see one thick wire, it is most likely 30 amps (this is typically 10 gauge wire) whereas two thick wires means it is probably 50 amps (typically 6 gauge wire).

  • Other way to check your amperage
  • The other way is by checking the power requirements of all of your appliances on board and adding them together. If the total is less than 3,600 watts (30 amps x 120 volts = 3,600 watts), then you have a 30-amp RV. If the total is over 3,600 watts (and up to 7,200 watts), then you have a 50-amp RV.

  • Find Out What Amp Your Camper is By Looking at the Plug
  • When you are plugging in your camper to the power source, you will either see a 30 amp plug or a 50 amp plug. The 30 amp plug is shaped like a sideways L where the 50 amp plug has 2 angled legs and one straight leg. If you don’t have a plug yet, you can look at the sockets inside your unit. You’ll be able to tell what amp it is by size and shape. A 30 amp socket will be smaller than a 50 amp one. This means that a 30 amp plug will also be smaller than a 50 amp one.

  • Find Out What Amp Your Camper is By Turning on the Appliances
  • If you are unsure of what type of camper you have, there is another way to determine if it is a 30 amp or 50 amp. The best way to do this is by turning on some appliances at the same time. If you turn on your microwave and water heater, your power will go out (if it is a 30 amp camper). However, if your camper is a 50 amp and you turn on the appliances at the same time, they will both be able to run without any problems.

If you find out that your camper is 30 amp, i would suggest getting a 30 amp surge protector, if you have a 50 amp camper, i would suggest a 50 amp surge protector


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What amperage is your camper?

It’s important to know that because you don’t want to plug your RV into 15 amp power. That would not be good. Your camper is most likely either 30 amp or 50 amp because those are the standard amperages all campers come in. So, how do you know which one it is? Here are a few ways.

Here is a popular 30 amp extension cord and also a 50 amp extension cord you can find on amazon.

Understanding Amperage

Like other things in life, there are two types of electrical outlets: 50 amp and 30 amp. Have you ever wondered what the difference is? If so, you're in the right place!

The number of amps coming into your RV is important to know because certain appliances and devices require a certain number of amps to run correctly.

For instance, if you have an air conditioner that requires 15 amps to run, but your electrical outlet at a campground is only providing 10 amps, your air conditioner will not run correctly.

Campers and RV's can be either 30 or 50 amp. They use different plugs but the same wires. To determine if your camper is a 30 or 50 amp, check the electrical box for a tripped breaker that looks similar to a common house breaker.

If your camper is not 30 or 50 amps, it may be a "small" camper that is only 20 amps, which means you will need to use an adapter to connect to both 20 and 30 amp power sources.

Amps measure how much electricity flows through a circuit at one time. The more amps you have the more electricity flows at once. Electricity is measured in watts, so if you have 10 amps flowing through a 120-volt circuit, you are using 1200 watts of power. If that same amperage is flowing through a 240-volt circuit, you are using 2400 watts of power (10 x 240 = 2400).


Hopefully, this has answered any questions you might have had about what a 50 amp camper hookup looks like. And it should also help you better understand why and how campers are rated as 30 amp or 50 amp hookups. If not, please feel free to get in touch with additional questions. I’m happy to help.

This is one of those things people don’t know much about. When it comes to campers, 50 amp power is typically the standard for wilderness and off-grid living. However, a lot of campers such as the well-known Coleman are still made with 30 amps. It all comes down to the size of the draw on your camper. Do you have a large outdoor kitchen or do you have many lights in your camper? If so, you’re more likely to need 50 amp power. But if you’re simply using it for sleeping, a 30 amp system will do just fine.

About Author:

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Hi, I'm Kevin Pommells, a lover of camping and the great outdoors as everyone says nowadays. I'm also a passionate soccer fan and the proud owner of, a website dedicated to helping campers and outdoor enthusiasts make the most of their adventures. With years of experience exploring the wilderness and a deep love for the sport of soccer, I'm always looking for new ways to combine my two passions and share my knowledge with others. Follow me for tips, tricks, and insights on all things camping and outdoor recreation.

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