Surge protectors are the kind of product that you regret not having once your electronics are fried due to fluctuations in electricity. Sadly, your electronic devices aren’t covered by warranty when they suffer permanent damage because of surges, so these power mediators are basically an untapped source of money-saving. And since they can help save maybe even tens of thousands of dollars in electronic equipment, let’s have an in-depth look at what they can do.
Choosing a Surge Protector/Power strips
It’s completely understandable if you haven’t thought about investing in surge protectors up until now. That means that you’re probably unaware of what separates the good products from the bad ones, so have a look at the following info:
- There is a difference between surge protectors and power strips. Power strips are extension cords with multiple power outlets. They typically have a circuit breaker but they don’t all have surge protection equipped by default.
- If you look for a surge protector, you will find the word “Joules” somewhere in its description. This is a unit of measurements that tell you how much surge protection a device can offer. The higher the number, the more protected your electronics are.
- It’s really important to keep in mind the fact that as surge protectors regulate electricity input, they don’t always last forever. In fact, as they are exposed to these spikes, the parts inside them will wear down in time and become less effective at doing their job.
- Try to purchase a surge protector that offers warranty for your electronics. That means that if the electronics plugged into the protectors suffer damage because of spikes or surges, you can be reimbursed for their value.
- You will most likely find surge protectors that offer USB connectivity for your mobile devices. While that’s cool and everything, remember to check the amp rating as well. 2 amps usually means quicker charging. This number indicated how much electricity flow you can get through cables connected to that port.
Why You Need Surge Protection
Imagine buying a fancy gaming computer or a flat-screen smart TV with the latest in OLED technology and 4k image rendering, only to have them fried during a power outage or because electricity spikes are through the roof and your electronics can’t handle that. Or a home office with all sorts of electronics running. It could be catastrophic.
Power surges are a nuisance and you should never assume they can’t happen to you. They usually occur during storms that can down the power lines in your area. As your electricity provider tries to stabilize the system and bring you back your power, the power flow can initially be inconsistent, causing spikes that your outlets and electronics can’t stand up to. In other cases, power surges can be born straight at home, due to electronic devices that require large amounts of power when you turn them on (like generators or air conditioning units). One thing that you should know at this point is that no surge protector can actually save you from lighting strikes.
It’s important to note that a lot of surge protectors come with more than just outlets and USB ports. They also have coaxial pass-through and telephone connections, but it turns out that these aren’t usually protected against surges, so it might not be a good idea to purchase surge protectors with ports that aren’t at all protected (since electricity can travel through these cables too).
Remember to always check out the number of Joules before purchasing a surge protector. For reference, one Joule translates into electricity needed for a one-watt LED to stay on for about a second. Depending on what you plan to plug into the protector, you might needs units that offer protection of thousands of Joules.
Best Surge Protectors
The APC surge protector was our very first choice for this list, as it comes with 11 power outlets and a bunch of other ports and features that such a product needs to be truly efficient. This 3400 Joule surge protector power strip has outlets backed up by safety shutters, but also comes with seven master-controlled outlets.
There are also inputs for phone line/DSL splitter and coaxial cables for audiovisual connection. It’s the ideal purchase for household electronics and computers, and it comes with a 6-foot cord that can be rotated at a 180-degree angle. You also benefit from lifetime warranty and equipment protection that will keep you backed up in care of irreversible damage.
- 11 outlets.
- Building wiring fault indicator.
- Inputs for coaxial cables.
- Lifetime warranty.
- Equipment protection.
- Complaints about short lifespan.
The Jacklyed is a power strip tower that’s suitable for tabletop use, but can also be concealed underneath a desk or behind a piece of furniture if you want to prevent cables from being all over the place and in plain sight. The reason why this would sit best on a tabletop is because it has power outlets all around the tower, plus a couple of USB ports for extra connectivity.
The base is where the power cord lies, as it can be retracted whenever you want to move the tower around and don’t want the power cable getting in the way. There is also a handle placed on top of the unit for easier transportation.
- 4 USB ports.
- RoHS, CE & FCC Certificates.
- 900J surge protection.
- REtractable power cord.
- Carrying handle.
- Not a permanent surge protection solution.
UPS is short for “uninterruptible power supply” and it’s basically like a back-up battery that will give you some emergency power when the main supply fails for a limited amount of time. The APC UPS is a reliable generator that offers seven outlets for you to plug your electronics, but only two of them have surge protectors (and they are properly indicated with a text above them).
It comes with one USB charging port for your mobile devices, which is pretty handy when you need to charge your phone or tablet. The power cord measures 5 feet in length . The model is compatible with a replaceable battery, which is available as a separate purchase.
- Multiple VA options.
- Replaceable battery.
- USB charging port.
- Free power management software.
- Replacement battery sold separately.
The Belkin power extension cord comes with 12 outlets, each of them equipped with surge protectors for peace of mind knowing your electronics are safe even in case of high power fluctuations. You can use it to connect your phone, DSL line, fax, coaxial cables, and even ethernet ports. If you feel like 12 power outlets is too much, you can choose other variants of the same product, as there are versions with 7 or 8 outlets available as well.
The surge protection is pretty impressive as well, with 3,940 Joules. It has a 15-amp circuit breaker, ground fault detection, and a cord length of 8 feet, although you have other length options at your disposal if 8 feet is too much/not enough.
- Multiple outlet options.
- Multiple cord length options.
- USB charging port.
- Surge protection for all outlets.
- Poor RJ45 function.
With 6 outlets and 1,080 Joules of surge protection, 360 Electrical’s Power Curve is a sleek product that works well in narrow spaces and can easily find its way against a wall behind different pieces of furniture. You can rotate each of the power outlets to redirect the plugs in any way comfortable to you. That means that you can use larger plugs without worrying about blocking the others next to it.
At the end of the protector, you can spot the power switch which is also used as a circuit breaker. There is also a LED notification that lets you know if there is circuit grounding and what the surge protection status is. The cord measures only 4 feet in length, and that might be a downside for some of you hoping for a longer extension.
- Rotating outlets.
- Auto shutdown technology.
- Fits large plugs.
- LED surge indicator.
- Short power cable.
If it’s a surge protector outlet you’re after, you have to look into the Monoprice. It is a rotating power outlet surge strip that comes with two fixed outlets, plus another six that can rotate at a 180-degrees angle to fit multiple power adapters of different sizes. It’s perfect for everyone who was ever frustrated about having a large plug that occupied the other two next to it.
It offers a surge protection of 2,160 Joules and has a circuit breaker of 15 amps. The power switch is illuminated for easier spotting in the dark, and it also doubles as a circuit breaker reset. Next to it, you can spot two LED indicators that notify you if circuit grounding and the surge protection status. The cord length is 6 feet and the outlet doesn’t include USB ports.
- 6 rotating outlets.
- Power surge protection status indicator.
- Grounding LED indicator.
- Tends to heat up quickly.
If it’s sturdy power outlets with surge protection you’re after, let’s take a look at this gem right here. It houses eight outlets in a tower-like design that make this product suitable for tabletop use, especially due to its USB connectivity. It comes with three USB ports for charging your devices, which can easily be placed on the outlet’s flat top.
It offers 300 Joules of surge protection, which isn’t very much, but it also depends on what you plug into the outlets. It doesn’t have ground fault detection and the cord measures 6 feet in length.
- Great for tabletops.
- 3 USB ports.
- 2 outlets on each side.
- The wireless charger is limited.
With braided cables that can withstand quite a lot of wear and tear, and a very convenient price per product, this pack of two surge protector outlets are quite the worthy investment. Each of them houses six outlets that provide 900 Joules surge protection in key moments of power outage or spikes. They are equipped with 5-foot cords with right angle plugs.
They have a slim design that allows you to place them in narrow spaces, including between furniture and walls. The power switch is backed up by lighting and doubles as a circuit breaker. Each product equips two USB ports that have Smart IC Technology for faster charging depending on what device you plugged in.
- Good price.
- Solid braided cables.
- USB ports.
- Smart IC Technology.
- Poorly designed mounting keyholes.
The Huntkey surge protector is a very straightforward product that’s shaped like a cube and has a very lightweight construction. It offers four surge-protected outlets to keep your electronics safe, but it also includes three USB charging ports that will come in handy for charging your mobile devices, so if you’re looking for a good surge protector with USB, the Huntkey should have you covered.
The USB ports are equipped with Smart IC Technology, meaning the outlet can detect the device being plugged in and operates at the maximum charging speed for your device. It has a bunch of other cool features, such as automatic overload protection, a design made with fire-prevention materials, and a 5-foot heavy-duty power cord. It has a 380 Joule surge protection and a right angle flat plug.
- Travel size compact design.
- Overcurrent protection.
- USB Smart charge technology.
- The case made with fire-retardant material.
- USB ports don’t charge very fast.
Surges and electricity spikes come and go, and without proper surge protection, the damage done to your electronics might turn out to shorten their lifespan considerably. Since there are so many good surge protectors on the market, prioritize your needs and look for models that come with the features you’re most interested in.