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30 amp and 50 amp RV Service Cover

30-Amp and 50-Amp RV Service: What's the Difference?

Written By: Amber S
Last Updated: 5/15/2024
Est. Read Time: 13 mins.
The appeal of camping in an RV lies in its creature comforts, such as modern appliances and convenient electronics. Of course, for these items to work, you need to connect to a power source. If you're lucky, you'll be able to plug your RV cord right into a power pedestal or generator at the campground. However, as most RVers know, electrical connections aren't always so simple. Sometimes only a 30-amp outlet is available, but you have a 50-amp cord. Or maybe you want to hook up to a home outlet to store your RV for the winter.Fortunately, adapters make it easy to hook your 30-amp cord to a 50-amp outlet (or vice versa), plug into a generator, or connect to a home outlet. Learn more about choosing the right adapter for your application below. Then read on to learn more about useful electrical accessories, such as extension cords and surge protectors, that make RV life easier.

30-Amp and 50-Amp RV Service: What's the Difference?

Before you can select the right adapter for your cord, it helps to have a bit of background knowledge about the electrical system you're dealing with. For RVs, you'll mainly be dealing with 30-amp or 50-amp service. Your RV will require one or the other, and fortunately, there's a simple way to check which type of plug your RV has: 30-amp plugs have three pins, and 50-amp plugs have four.30-amp service is more common in smaller RVs with fewer power-hungry appliances. For instance, you will typically find only single AC units in 30-amp service RVs. 30-amp RV plugs have a single 120-volt hot pin, a flat neutral, and a round ground pin. On the other hand, large RVs usually have 50-amp service to power their more lavish setups (think double AC units, washer/dryers, etc.). 50-amp plugs have two 120-volt hot pins, a flat neutral pin, and a round ground. A 30-amp RV can handle up to 3,600 watts; a 50-amp RV puts you up to 12,000 watts, so the increase in power is quite substantial.Once you know what type of power your RV requires, it's just a matter of making sure your plugs are the correct size to fit into a given power source. The power pedestals at campgrounds often provide both 30-amp and 50-amp outlets, although some only provide 30-amp outlets. An adapter will allow you to be prepared for whatever the campground offers.
30-Amp vs 50-Amp Service
30-Amp to 50-Amp Adapter
30-Amp to 50-Amp Adapter
50-Amp to 15-Amp Adapter
30-Amp to 15-Amp Adapter

Can I Plug My 30-Amp RV Cord into a 50-Amp Power Pedestal?

Yes!

Some worry that the additional power provided by a 50-amp receptacle will fry their RV's electrical system, but this isn't so. You can plug a 30-amp RV cord into a 50-amp power receptacle, such as a power pedestal at a campground, by using an adapter. The female end of the adapter will plug into your RV cord, and the male end will plug into the power pedestal. Adapters come in two main styles: dogbone-style and plug-style, as seen below.
With this type of setup, you'll enjoy the full benefits of your RV's 30 amps of power. However, note that with a 30-amp RV, the maximum power you can use is 30 amps, regardless of the receptacle you plug into—in other words, even if you plug into a 50-amp receptacle, you'll still be limited to 30 amps of power.
30-Amp to 50-Amp Diagram
30-Amp RV Cord Plug to 50-Amp Adapter
30-AMP TO 50-AMP DOGBONE ADAPTERS
ECONOMY
Mighty Cord Dogbone Adapter
Mighty Cord Dogbone RV Power Cord Adapter
# A10-5030FBK
  • Heavy-duty, weather-resistant construction
  • 12-in. long
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VALUE
Mighty Cord Dogbone Adapter w/ Handle
Mighty Cord Dogbone RV Power Cord Adapter
# A10-5030FHVP
  • Built-in handle with finger grips for convenient grip
  • Heavy-duty, weather-resistant construction
  • 12-in. long
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PREMIUM
Camco Power Grip Adapter
Camco Power Grip RV Power Cord Adapter
# CAM55175
  • Built-in handle for easy removal
  • 18-in. long
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30-AMP TO 50-AMP PLUG ADAPTER
Mighty Cord Adapter Plug
Mighty Cord RV Power Cord Adapter Plug
# A10-5030AVP
  • 50-amp male end
  • 30-amp female end
  • Grooved design for easy removal
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Can I Plug My 50-Amp RV Cord into a 30-Amp Power Pedestal?

Yes!

With an adapter, you can plug a 50-amp RV cord into a 30-amp power pedestal at a campground. The female end of the adapter will plug into your RV cord, and the male end will plug into the power pedestal. However, note that without a 50-amp receptacle, you won't be operating at full power, so there will likely be some limitations on how many appliances you can run at once.
For instance, if you have a large RV with two air conditioners, you will probably be limited to running one at a time, and other power-hungry appliances (such as microwaves) must be run with caution. Still, 50-amp receptacles aren't available at every campsite, so in these cases, it's best to have a 30-amp adapter with you. Adapters come in two main styles: dogbone-style and plug-style, as seen below.
50-Amp RV Cord into 30-Amp Pedestal Diagram
50-Amp RV Cord Plug to 30-Amp Adapter
50-AMP TO 30-AMP DOGBONE ADAPTERS
ECONOMY
Mighty Cord Dogbone Adapter
Mighty Cord Dogbone RV Power Cord Adapter
# A10-3050FBK
  • Heavy-duty, weather-resistant construction
  • 12-in. long
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VALUE
Mighty Cord Dogbone Adapter w/ Handle
Mighty Cord Dogbone RV Power Cord Adapter
# A10-3050FHVP
  • Built-in handle with finger grips for convenient grip
  • Heavy-duty, weather-resistant construction
  • 12-in. long
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PREMIUM
Camco Power Grip Adapter
Camco Power Grip RV Power Cord Adapter
# CAM55185
  • Built-in handle for easy removal
  • 18-in. long
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50-AMP TO 30-AMP PLUG ADAPTER
Mighty Cord Adapter Plug
Mighty Cord RV Power Cord Adapter Plug
# A10-3050AVP
  • 30-amp male end
  • 50-amp female end
  • Grooved design for easy removal
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50-AMP TO 15/30-AMP PLUG ADAPTER
Power Grip RV Power Maximizer
Power Grip RV Power Maximizer: 50-amp female to 15-amp male and 30-amp male
# CAM55025P
  • Lets you plug RV's 50-amp power cord into 15-amp and 30-amp electrical outlets
  • Allows RV to receive 45 amps of combined power
  • 50-Amp female end connects to RV's 50-amp plug
  • 15-Amp male end plugs into 15-amp receptacle
  • 30-Amp male end plugs into 30-amp receptacle
  • Built-in handles for easy removal
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Can I Plug My RV into a 15-Amp Home Electric Outlet?

Yes!

When it comes time to store your RV, it's often a good idea to hook the motorhome to a power source at home to keep the battery charged. For this, you may wish to plug into a 15-amp socket.
Note that this type of connection will only provide a light charge—you won't be able to run your RV at full power the way you can at the campground. However, plugging into a home outlet will ensure your battery is charged and ready to go when RV season rolls back around. Adapters come in two main styles: dogbone-style and plug-style, as seen below.
15-Amp Male Adapter Plugs
30-AMP TO 15-AMP DOGBONE ADAPTERS
ECONOMY
Mighty Cord Dogbone Adapter
Mighty Cord Dogbone RV Power Cord Adapter
# A10-1530BK
  • Heavy-duty, weather-resistant construction
  • 90-degree female connector allow easier connection in tight spaces
  • 12-in. long
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VALUE
Mighty Cord Dogbone Adapter w/ Handle
Mighty Cord Dogbone RV Power Cord Adapter
# A10-1530HVP
  • 2 built-in handles for easy removal
  • Heavy-duty, weather-resistant construction
  • 90-degree male/female connectors allow easier connection in tight spaces
  • 12-in. long
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PREMIUM
Camco Power Grip Adapter
Camco Power Grip RV Power Cord Adapter
# CAM55165
  • Built-in handle for easy removal
  • 12-in. long
WATCH VIDEO REVIEW
30-AMP TO 15-AMP PLUG ADAPTERS
ECONOMY
Mighty Cord Adapter Plug
Mighty Cord RV Adapter Plug
# A10-1530AVP
  • 15-amp male end
  • 30-amp female end
  • Grooved design for easy removal
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VALUE
Power Grip Adapter Plug
Power Grip Adapter Plug
# CAM55223
  • 15-amp male end
  • 30-amp female end
  • Hourglass shape for easy removal
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PREMIUM
Power Grip Adapter Plug
Mighty Cord RV Power Cord Adapter Plug
# CAM55325
  • 15-amp male end
  • 30-amp female end
  • 90-degree design for easier connection and less strain on power cord
  • Hourglass shape for easy removal
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50-AMP TO 15-AMP DOGBONE ADAPTERS
ECONOMY
Mighty Cord Dogbone Adapter
Mighty Cord Dogbone RV Power Cord Adapter
# A10-1550VP
  • Heavy-duty, weather-resistant construction
  • 90-degree female connector allow easier connection in tight spaces
  • 12-in. long
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VALUE
Camco Power Grip Adapter
Power Grip Adapter Plug
# CAM55168
  • Built-in handle for easy removal
  • 12-in. long
WATCH VIDEO REVIEW
PREMIUM
Mighty Cord Dogbone Adapter w/ Handle
Mighty Cord Dogbone Adapter w/ Handle
# A10-1550D90VP
  • LED power indicator
  • Heavy-duty, weather-resistant construction
  • 90-degree female connector allows easier connection in tight spaces
  • 12-in. long
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Which RV-to-Generator Adapter Do I Need?

To plug your 30-amp or 50-amp RV cord into a generator, you will want to use an adapter made specifically for this purpose. Generator plugs come in 3-prong and 4-prong styles, so you'll need to make sure your adapter fits your generator's plug style. Note that these styles have nothing to do with whether the RV cord is 30 or 50 amps—30-amp cords can be adapted to fit both 3-prong and 4-prong generator plugs, as can 50-amp cords.When choosing a generator, you will want to make sure it offers enough power for your camper. Check out this article for help on choosing the right generator for your needs. Also consider reducing your motorhome's power requirements, such as by installing LED bulbs in place of standard bulbs.
Generator and RV-to-Generator Adapters
30-AMP GENERATOR ADAPTERS
VALUE (3 PRONG)
Mighty Cord Dogbone Adapter
Mighty Cord Dogbone Adapter
# A10-G30330VP
  • Female end connects to 30-amp RV cord
  • Male end connects to 3-prong 30-amp generator outlet
  • Twist-lock design keeps connector secure
  • Heavy-duty, weather-resistant construction
  • 12-in. long
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PREMIUM (3 PRONG)
Camco Power Grip Adapter
Camco Power Grip Adapter
# CAM55272
  • Female end connects to 30-amp RV cord
  • Male end connects to 3-prong 30-amp generator outlet
  • Twist-lock design keeps connector secure
  • Built-in handle for easy removal
  • 12-in. long
WATCH VIDEO REVIEW
VALUE (4 PRONG)
Mighty Cord Dogbone Adapter
Mighty Cord Dogbone Adapter
# A10-G30430VP
  • Female end connects to 30-amp RV cord
  • Male end connects to 4-prong 30-amp generator outlet
  • Twist-lock design keeps connector secure
  • Heavy-duty, weather-resistant construction
  • 12-in. long
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PREMIUM (4 PRONG)
Camco Power Grip Adapter
Camco Power Grip Adapter
# CAM55382
  • Female end connects to 30-amp RV cord
  • Male end connects to 4-prong 30-amp generator outlet
  • Twist-lock design keeps connector secure
  • Built-in handle for easy removal
  • 12-in. long
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50-AMP GENERATOR ADAPTERS
VALUE (3 PRONG)
Mighty Cord Dogbone Adapter
Mighty Cord Dogbone Adapter
# A10-G30350VP
  • Female end connects to 50-amp RV cord
  • Male end connects to 3-prong 30-amp generator outlet
  • Twist-lock design keeps connector secure
  • Heavy-duty, weather-resistant construction
  • 12-in. long
WATCH VIDEO REVIEW
PREMIUM (3 PRONG)
Camco Power Grip Adapter
Camco Power Grip Adapter
# CAM55412
  • Female end connects to 50-amp RV cord
  • Male end connects to 3-prong 30-amp generator outlet
  • Twist-lock design keeps connector secure
  • Built-in handle for easy removal
  • 12-in. long
WATCH VIDEO REVIEW
VALUE (4 PRONG)
Mighty Cord Dogbone Adapter
Mighty Cord Dogbone Adapter
# A10-G30450VP
  • Female end connects to 50-amp RV cord
  • Male end connects to 4-prong 30-amp generator outlet
  • Twist-lock design keeps connector secure
  • Heavy-duty, weather-resistant construction
  • 12-in. long
WATCH VIDEO REVIEW
PREMIUM (4 PRONG)
Camco Power Grip Adapter
Camco Power Grip Adapter
# CAM55422
  • Female end connects to 50-amp RV cord
  • Male end connects to 4-prong 30-amp generator outlet
  • Twist-lock design keeps connector secure
  • Built-in handle for easy removal
  • 12-in. long
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Can I Plug My RV into My Dryer Outlet?

No!

While the outlets for 30-amp RVs look quite similar to dryer outlets, you should not attempt to connect your RV this way. RV and dryer outlets are not of the same NEMA configuration: 30-amp RV plugs are NEMA TT-30, whereas 30-amp dryer receptacles are NEMA 10-30. These configurations are not interchangeable. In fact, plugging your RV into your dryer outlet can cause major damage to your RV's electrical system.
The best way to keep your RV juiced at home is to plug into an ordinary 15-amp outlet, or, for a more powerful alternative, a qualified electrician can install an electrical hookup for your RV at home. The inlets below can be installed along with the proper wiring for a home RV hookup.
30-amp RV outlet and household dryer outlet
Pictured: 30-amp RV outlet (left) and household dryer outlet (right)
30-AMP POWER INLETS
ECONOMY
Epicord 30-Amp Twist Lock Power Inlet
Epicord 30-Amp Twist Lock Power Inlet
# 277-000137
Black: # 277-000138
  • For 30-amp twist-lock RV power cord
  • Dust cover protects inlet from water and debris
  • UV-stabilized glass-filled polyester
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VALUE
Mighty Cord 30-Amp Twist Lock Power Inlet
Mighty Cord 30-Amp Twist Lock Power Inlet
# A10-30INVP
Black: # A10-30INBKVP
  • For 30-amp twist-lock RV power cord
  • Secure, watertight dust cover protects inlet when not in use
  • Durable polyester construction
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PREMIUM
Furrion 30-Amp Twist Lock Power Inlet
Furrion 30-Amp Twist Lock Power Inlet
# 431861
  • For 30-amp twist-lock RV power cord
  • Dust cover protects inlet from water and debris
  • LED power indicator
  • Fiber-filled casing for harsh marine environments
  • Colors available: White
WATCH VIDEO REVIEW
50-AMP POWER INLETS
ECONOMY
Epicord 50-Amp Twist Lock Power Inlet
Epicord 50-Amp Twist Lock Power Inlet
# 277-000139
Black: # 277-000140
  • For 50-amp twist-lock RV power cord
  • Dust cover protects inlet from water and debris
  • UV-stabilized glass-filled polyester
WATCH VIDEO REVIEW
VALUE
Mighty Cord 50-Amp Twist Lock Power Inlet
Mighty Cord 50-Amp Twist Lock Power Inlet
# A10-50INVP
Black: # A10-50INBKVP
  • For 50-amp twist-lock RV power cord
  • Secure, watertight dust cover protects inlet when not in use
  • Durable polyester construction
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PREMIUM
Furrion 50-Amp Twist Lock Power Inlet
Furrion 50-Amp Twist Lock Power Inlet
# 381660
  • For 50-amp twist-lock RV power cord
  • Dust cover protects inlet from water and debris
  • LED power indicator
  • Fiber-filled casing for harsh marine environments
  • Colors available: White
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What Wire Gauge Can My RV Use? Should I Use a Household Extension Cord?

No!...well kinda...

Power cord extensions are there for you when the electric box is just out of reach. It's important to use a wire gauge designed to handle your RV's current—keep in mind that most ordinary household cords will not be sufficient for use with an RV. Using a household extension cord with an improperly small wire gauge can damage the cord and/or your RV's electrical system.
Instead, there are a variety of extension cords available that are designed for RV use. 30-amp RV extension cords typically feature 10-gauge wire, and 50-amp cords usually feature 6-gauge hot and neutral wires with an 8-gauge ground.Most RV extension cords range from 10 to 50 feet long. Keep in mind, however, that the longer the extension cord, the more voltage drop you'll experience. If the drop is too severe, large appliances like AC units and refrigerators may not be able to draw their required voltage and may not function properly. For this reason, it's best to go with the shortest possible extension that will suit your needs.
RV Power Cord
30-AMP POWER INLETS
ECONOMY
Mighty Cord RV Extension Cord
Mighty Cord RV Extension Cord
# A10-3025EH
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VALUE
Mighty Cord RV Extension Cord
Mighty Cord RV Extension Cord
# A10-3025EHLED
  • Lengths available: 25 ft., 50 ft.
  • 30-amp male plug
  • 30-amp female plug
  • LED indicators illuminate when connected to power
  • Built-in, foldaway handles for easy removal
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PREMIUM
Power Grip RV Extension Cord
Power Grip RV Extension Cord
# CAM55197
  • 50 ft. long
  • 30-amp male plug
  • 30-amp female plug
  • Built-in handles for easy removal
  • Strap buckles around cord for easy transport and storage
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50-AMP POWER INLETS
ECONOMY
Mighty Cord RV Extension Cord
Mighty Cord RV Extension Cord
# A10-5025EH
WATCH VIDEO REVIEW
VALUE
Mighty Cord RV Extension Cord
Mighty Cord RV Extension Cord
# A10-5025EHLED
  • Lengths available: 25 ft., 50 ft.
  • 50-amp male plug
  • 50-amp female plug
  • LED indicators illuminate when connected to power
  • Built-in, foldaway handles for easy removal
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PREMIUM
Power Grip RV Extension Cord w. Strap
Power Grip RV Extension Cord
# CAM55195
  • 30 ft. long
  • 50-amp male plug
  • 50-amp female plug
  • Built-in handles for easy removal
  • Strap buckles around cord for easy transport and storage
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30-Amp vs. 50-Amp Surge Protectors: Which Do I Need?

The last thing you want to do is damage your RV's electrical system at the campsite. Fortunately, electrical protection devices such as surge protectors and voltage analyzers/monitors can offer you peace of mind. Both will help protect your RV from improperly wired electrical boxes and power surges.A surge protector does just what its name suggests — it triggers when it detects a power surge and prevents the current from wreaking havoc on your RV. Voltage analyzers and voltage monitors take the protection a step further by detecting faults with the electrical box and indicating any issues. Voltage analyzers disconnect when they detect surges and must be manually reset. Voltage monitors protect against surges as well as low voltage; they disconnect and reconnect automatically.You should use a surge protector that matches your RV power type. For instance, use a 50-amp surge protector with your 50-amp RV, and use a 30-amp surge protector with your 30-amp RV. Use an adapter if you have to use a power pedestal that doesn't match up with what you have.

Can I use a 50-amp surge protector with a 30-amp outlet?

In this case, your RV is 50 amps and your power pedestal is 30 amps. You can use your 50-amp surge protector as long as you use the right adapter (a 50-amp to 30-amp adapter, where the 50-amp side plugs into the surge protector).
Using an RV Surge Protector - 50-Amp RV

Can I use a 30-amp surge protector with a 50-amp outlet?

Here again, you can use your 30-amp surge protector with your 30-amp RV provided you're also using the right adapter (30-amp to 50-amp adapter, where the 30-amp side plugs into the surge protector).
Using an RV Surge Protector - 30-Amp RV
Voltage Analyzers Vs Voltage Monitors Infographic
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