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RV Upgrade That’s Worth It: A/C Soft Start Up

| Updated Apr 30, 2024

Soft Start Up will let you run your RV AC much more efficiently, even on less than 30 amps. And thus, it is an RV upgrade that’s worth it for you…

Air conditioning is one of the best luxuries RVs offer. Yet, it’s common for RVers to find themselves in situations where they can’t use it. 

They end up with sleepless nights because they’re hot and sticky. Or, they are jolted awake every time the A/C thunks and rattles as it turns on.

RV air conditioners take so much start-up energy that sometimes you simply don’t have enough power. This is especially true for boondockers whose coach batteries don’t have enough energy to spare. 

Even moochdockers frequently can’t plug into their friend or relatives' outlets because they only have 20 amp household outlets available and most trailers, campers and Class B or C motorhomes have AC's that need 30 amp service.

Thankfully, there is a solution that can enable you to use your RV A/C far more often! Plus, it pulls double-duty as a surge protector. That solution is called A/C Soft Start Up, and I’m going to tell you all about it.

Soft Start Up vs Soft Start RV

Before we jump in, I need to clarify something. You may have heard of Soft Start RV, or even have one installed on your RV air conditioner. The Soft Start RV is the original wired version of SoftStartUp. 

Both the Soft Start Up and Soft Start RV eliminate low-power RV A/C start problems. But there are a few key improvements with the newer Soft Start Up. I will explain these improvements in detail below, but here’s a quick summary…

Soft Start Up Improvements Over Soft Start RV:

  • No wiring or installation (you simply plug it in)
  • You only need one Soft Start Up for multiple RV AC units and some appliances
  • Is also a surge protector

What Does Soft Start Up Do?

You know that thumping noise your air conditioner makes when it turns on? Or the “trailer shaking” you experience when your A/C compressor kicks in? That’s your A/C working hard to turn on (and drawing a lot of power to do so).

The Soft Start UP or Soft Start RV reduces and eliminates that clunking start-up noise. Having that peace and quiet is valuable in itself, but that’s not the biggest benefit. 

With the Soft Start Up, you can start and run your A/C on much less power. It reduces the startup power required to start your RV A/C by up to 50%! 

RV Upgrade That's Worth It: A/C Soft Start Up

With a Soft Start Up, you can:

  • Start & Run RV A/C On A 30-Amp Hookup
  • Start & Run RV A/C on a Medium Size Generator
  • Start & Run RV A/C on a 20-Amp Household Hookup

The device is small and lightweight. It’s only 18”x4”x3” and weighs less than 2 pounds. So, you don’t have to worry about it affecting your GVWR or taking up too much space.

It works for all RV types, including campervans, travel trailers, motorhomes, 5th wheels, and more. You can use one Soft Start Up for multiple RVs or even use it at home.

More Benefits

  • Built-In Surge-Guard For Added Protection
  • Compressor Overload (Surge) Prevention
  • Free 30-Amp Adapter to Household Power

It also comes with a 2-year warranty, a 90-day trial, and a money-back guarantee if you’re not completely satisfied.

Soft Start Up is also popular among CPAP users or those that have O2 machines. The device gives them access to more power sources so they can reliably get the power they need to operate their medical devices. 

(I also recently wrote about another RV upgrade that’s worth it and can help you with your power challenges. So, be sure to read about Battle Born Batteries, too.)

How Does Soft Start Up Work?

It’s not the power you need to run an RV A/C that’s the problem; it’s the power needed to start the A/C. That big clunk you hear when your A/C compressor kicks on is a big power spike.

That sudden power spike is what commonly flips breakers in your generator or the house you’re plugged into. It’s also what pulls too much energy at once from your coach battery.

The Soft Start Up reduces this power spike AND it turns the compressor on at a slower rate. So, instead of a jolting spike, you get a “soft start” that turns on your air conditioning more conservatively. 

It’s much quieter and doesn’t flip your breakers. All you need to do is plug the Soft Start Up into the power outlet and then plug your RV into it.

Here's an Interview I recently did about Soft Start Up with RV Electricity Expert Mike Sokol:

What Does This Mean For Boondockers and Moochdockers?

This soft start means you can start your A/C using a medium-size generator or 20-amp household hookup.

If you have a 30-amp connection, you can start up to 2 A/Cs and add more appliances as your power source allows.

It’s important to note that this device does not reduce the amount of power while the A/C is running. It’s all about the start-up.

Soft Start Up Discount

For Jennifer and me, this is an RV upgrade that’s been well worth the cost. We started off with a Soft Start RV when it first came out and were really happy with it. But now, this new Soft Start Up is even better. Here's a photo of it plugged into the 30 amp pedestal on our Michigan RV property.

soft start up
RV Upgrade That's Worth It: A/C Soft Start Up
Soft Start Up plugs directly into the 30 amp RV power pedestal or even a 20 amp household outlet. This is ours hooked up at our Michigan RV property. We take it with us when we take our Class C motorhome on the road.

You can’t beat the ease of plugging it in. Plus, it replaces your surge protector as a 2-in-1 device. The normal price for one unit is $899, but we have a very significant discount for you…

Since we are long-time users and happy customers of Soft Start America products, we partnered with the company, and our followers can now save $300 with this link.

That’s excellent savings! Plus, it comes with a risk-free 90-day money-back guarantee and free shipping to the U.S. and Canada.

We hope this RV upgrade helps you enjoy cool, quiet, and restful nights in your RV just like us! 

Soft Start RV: A Cheaper Alternative

RV Upgrade That's Worth It: A/C Soft Start Up
The original SoftStartRV

The original Soft Start RV devices are still available at a lower price than Soft Start Up. So, if you don’t mind doing wiring and installation (or hiring someone to do it), you might prefer this option. 

Keep in mind, however, you need one Soft Start RV for every A/C. They are normally $349 each, but you can save $30 on 1, $60 on 2, or $90 on 3 devices using this link.

Note that if you need more than one Soft Start RV, you’re probably better off getting the Soft Start Up. When you math it out, the $500 discount on Soft Start Up is a better deal.

But if you only want one and don’t mind installing it on your roof, then the SoftStartRV will do the trick. It’s not too hard to install…

Is Soft Start RV Easy to Install?

With Soft Start Up, there is no installation. You simply plug it in and go.

Soft Start RV, on the other hand, requires installation that involves wiring.

The wiring is fairly simple, but the job requires you to be on the roof of your RV. That means you’ll be 12 feet or so off the ground, which is a valid safety concern.

To DIY, you have to be confident that you can safely maneuver on your RV roof. If not, you’ll need a technician to come and install it for you. Any RV technician or electrician would be able to install it easily.

If you think you can install it safely, then you can do it yourself. It will take about 30-45 minutes. However, everything is color-coded, and the company’s website has very helpful diagrams and instructions

The company also offers this service where they will virtually assist you while you’re on top of your RV! You take your iPad or phone up with you, and they can walk you through it.

There are also plenty of YouTube videos showing how to install them for various A/C models.

RV Electricity Expert Mike Sokol says that if you’ve installed an inverter before, you could install the Soft Start RV. (If, of course, you can safely work on your roof.)

The Science Behind Soft Start Up & Soft Start RV

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Besides the video earlier in this post about SoftStartUP, I earlier interviewed Mike Sokol, an expert on all things electrical in an RV, about the original Soft Start RV. Again, this was before the new and improved Soft Start Up was released, but how they work is the same. 

I highly recommend you watch this video, too, because Mike explains how the SoftStart technology works and offers tips for getting the most out of your RV power setup. 

RV Upgrade That's Worth It: A/C Soft Start Up 1

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Mike Wendland

Published on 2022-12-09

Mike Wendland is a multiple Emmy-award-winning Journalist, Podcaster, YouTuber, and Blogger, who has traveled with his wife, Jennifer, all over North America in an RV, sharing adventures and reviewing RV, Camping, Outdoor, Travel and Tech Gear for the past 12 years. They are leading industry experts in RV living and have written 18 travel books.

7 Responses to “RV Upgrade That’s Worth It: A/C Soft Start Up”

May 28, 2024at5:10 am, My boy pro gba said:

I totally agree with the sentiment that this upgrade is worth it. We recently installed the soft start on our A/C and it’s been a game-changer. No more jarring starts and it’s reduced the noise level significantly. Definitely a must-have for any serious RVers.


April 23, 2023at10:20 am, Louis Howard said:

Per their website: SoftStartUp Is No Longer Being Offered for Sale
Coming Summer 2023, by Popular Request, the SoftStartUp-50 Amp


April 24, 2023at9:30 am, Team RV Lifestyle said:

Thanks – we will check this out!

Team RV Lifestyle


December 10, 2022at5:58 pm, Gwen Harper said:

I have the Hughes Watchdog Smart Surge Protector. Would this replace that or can it be used in conjunction with the Soft Start? Seems a shame to get rid of the surge protector we have as it’s only a year old.


December 12, 2022at10:57 am, Team RV Lifestyle said:

Hi Gwen – Mike recommends reaching out to Soft Start for their input in this – He wouldn’t want to lead you wrong – Happy Trails – Team RV Lifestyle


December 09, 2022at8:19 am, Jane Schwartz said:

We have a 50 amp set up on our RV. Can you use the soft start on our rig if we use the dog bone to take it from 50 to 30 amp?


December 09, 2022at10:44 am, Team RV Lifestyle said:

Hi Jane – Probably best to direct these sorts of questions to the manufacturer. Best to you! Team RV Lifestyle


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