The surge protector takes a hit instead of your hardware or A/V system, and it could potentially save you hundreds to many thousands of dollars, depending on what you have connected. You want to make the modest investment in a surge protector for the same reason you want to have a backup of your data: because there’s no going back after an adverse event.
Welkin 12-outlet Pivotal (model BP112230-08) Pivoting outlets, a low clamping threshold, high durability, and a cable organizer combine to make this a great surge protector at a reasonable price. Welkin’s 12-Outlet Pivotal SurgeProtector (BP112230-08) won’t cut off power when it can no longer protect your devices, but it does offer low clamping voltage (330V on all legs).
APC’s Surgeries Performance P12U2 is our new favorite surge protector that automatically cuts power when protection ends. If you don’t need those two extra outlets and the USB charging ports, the Trip Lite TLP1008TEL remains a good pick for about $14 less.
APC Surgeries (model P11VNT3) A solid entry that falls short in a couple of choices about continuous power and clamping voltage. APC’s Surgeries is only slightly less flexible than Welkin’s offering, and it won’t cut off power to your devices unless its main line-neutral protection fails.
If you place tremendous value in design, the Austere VII Series surge protector is the most attractive device in this category. With a brushed-aluminum enclosure, polished beveled edges, and braided-fabric power cord, we haven’t seen anything else that comes close in terms of its industrial design.
Advanced features, such as USB charging For travel models, how many outlets does it have while remaining compact and versatile, in addition to everything above? Features you typically won’t find in surge suppressors such as these are alarms or networked intelligence to alert a computer (and manage a controlled shutdown), or act as an Internet of Things device, to warn about electrical anomalies or provide a status report.
That’s changed dramatically over several decades, as utilities have cleaned up what’s delivered to homes and buildings. Depending on the age of a utility’s systems and how frequently lightning strikes occur, however, surges and huge spikes might be regular occurrences.
Electronics and all other electrically powered anything for a home or office can accept brief amounts of much higher maximum voltages, which you can logically determine must be true as modest surges are routine and electronic equipment in homes isn’t constantly failing without a surge protector ; it’s the big surges that need to be blocked. Surge protectors of the category we tested use metal oxide various (Move), a kind of circuitry that absorbs voltages above the clamping level and effectively burn away over time.
In an area with erratic voltage, your surge protector might wear out in months or a few years; on other electrical systems, it might last indefinitely. You can compare surge protectors’ durability, or the period over which the Move will remain effective, by looking at the number of joules advertised for the product.
Joules provide a rough basis of comparison that’s nearly impossible to test in lab conditions, as you’d have to simulate a variety of surges over long periods of time with multiple identical units of each model. Certification from Underwriters Laboratories (UL) provides assurance that the product has been independently tested.
We’ll use joules as a rough rule of thumb, as it tends to parallel differences in price and other features, too. If you have a surge protector already in place somewhere in your house or office, go take a quick glance at it and come back.
ThinkstockThe class of surge protectors reviewed here rely on Move (metal oxide various) to absorb excess voltage. Older surge protectors were typically designed around the concern that computers had spinning hard disk drives (HDDs) inside, and that it was better to lose surge protection and keep providing power than to drop AC power when protection had failed.
I confess that I only learned this in 2016; I checked mine, and had to replace one a few months later when that light suddenly disappeared. That’s the biggest choice you’ll face, and we considered it in the six surge protectors we brought in for testing.
We’ve provided a sentence about warranties in each review, just so you’re informed, but don’t count on collecting unless you’re a good record keeper. Because you can plug so much power into a multi-outlet device, it’s very easy to overload the thing into which you’re “daisy-chaining” the surge protector, which can cause product failure or even an electrical fire.
You can use one of those clever 3-to-2 adapters that I know too well as the owner of an old house, in which only about half the outlets were ever upgraded to modern standards. Some surge protectors have an LED that lights up if it’s not, or you can purchase a cheap plug-in detector from a hardware store.
If you don’t follow the guidelines spelled out for plugging your surge protector into the wall, you can damage it void the product warranty and any damaged-items protection that comes with it. This is a sudden, brief jump in voltage (lasting as few as 3 nanoseconds) above the standard 120 volts that runs through the home.
It might be caused by switching on a high- voltage electronic device, improper wiring, an overtaxed power grid, or even wind or rain, any of which can lead to equipment failure or electrical fire. Luckily, a set of surge protectors can save the day in a home office, entertainment center, or wherever big-ticket electronics live.
Should the house experience a surge, these devices stave off damage to computers, printers, gaming systems, and other electrical appliances. To narrow your options, keep reading for the ideal specs to look for in a surge protector and recommendations for some best surge protectors on the market.
At a minimum, look for surge protectors with LED lights that indicate whether the devices plugged into the surge protector are currently protected. Some products contain additional diagnostics LEDs that help diagnose power problems.
To help narrow the search, this guide showcases some best surge protectors on the market based on all these criteria. This UL-1449-Listed Trip Lite TLP1008TEL SurgeProtector Strip features 10 plug outlets, a clamping voltage of 150 volts, and up to 2,395 joules of surge suppression.
If surge protection becomes compromised, a built-in reset table 15-amp circuit breaker automatically shuts off power to the outlets and saves electronics. Thrifty tech enthusiasts can defend their laptop, phone, and up to six other essential electronic devices against voltage jumps and excessive heat with SUPERMAN’s USB fire-sale, fire-retardant surge protector.
Three bonus RJ11 jacks afford surge protection for telephone and fax equipment as well. Their flexible construction also means that they move in the direction of any arms that accidentally get pulled, so users are less likely to unintentionally cut power to the electronics by tripping over a cord.
With a clamping voltage of 400 volts, the device stops conducting power after it reaches a maximum absorption capacity of 1,080 joules. This UL-1449-Listed Trip Lite energy-efficient device not only protects, but also helps lower electric bills.
Essentially, it counteracts the “vampire” effect of low energy use by powered-down appliances that happen to be plugged into outlets. Its small size belies its powerful surge suppression: It can absorb up to 1,410 joules of energy, starting at a clamping voltage of just 140 volts.
The device was built to the UL 1449 3rd-edition standard, ensuring the highest level of safety. The UL-listed surgeprotector’s 400-volt clamp rating and 1,080-joule absorption capacity can help keep circuits from tripping needlessly, while the round, scratch-resistant base and 6-foot power cord make it easy to stay connected.
Though they often go unnoticed, electrical surges can occur many times a day in an average home. Moreover, surge protectors are relatively affordable: An investment of $15 to $100 for an average surge protector can help avoid hundreds, or even thousands, in device repair or replacement costs.
When the voltage from an outlet surges or rises above a certain threshold, known as the clamping voltage, ” a surge protector diverts excess current above that threshold to a ground wire that extends into the ground beneath the home, preventing damage to the devices plugged into the protector, but keeping them still powered and operational. These aren't the sexy pieces of hardware that grab headlines or turn your dusty old computer into a high-spec gaming PC.
It also limits the amount of voltage that can pass through to your devices, helping ensure they aren't damaged by a sudden spike. And, since they're not the most exciting product to shop for, we've saved you the trouble of searching for the surge protectors that are worth your while.
See It Surge energy: 2,880 joules Clamping voltage : 400 volts Mounting holes: Yes Outlets: 10 Cord length: 8 feet Dimensions: 2” x 5.25" x 12"If you're buying a surge protector for your valuable electronics, you'll want to get one that's going to help you cover as many of them as possible. It boasts 10 outlets, with six packed together and four spaced out, letting you keep large power bricks away from the bunch, so you can actually use all the plugs. The surge protector is built to handle 2,880 joules over its lifespan, which should help you get plenty of use out of it.
See It Surge energy: 4,500 joules Clamping voltage : 400-500 volts Mounting holes: No Outlets: 8 Cord length: 6 feet Dimensions: 3” x 1.14” x 11.75”You may want to protect your most precious and expensive electronics with a premium surge protector, but none of us are going to get the best surge protectors and put them on every outlet around our house. Where you just want to add some extra outlets and give your gadgets some added protection, the AmazonBasics 8-Outlet Power Strip SurgeProtector can get the job done for less than $20. This surge protector offers an impressive 4,500 joules of surge suppression, so it should last you a good long while, letting you get extra value out of the purchase.
See It Surge energy: 1,710 joules Clamping voltage : 330 volts Mounting holes: Yes Outlets: 6 (3 USB) Cord length: 3 feet Dimensions: 2.49” x 14.2” x 1.48”If the last piece of your smart home puzzle is a voice-controlled surge suppressor with its own mobile app, then the Kasey Smart Wi-Fi Power Strip is just what you’re looking for. Using the mobile app, you can also group plugs and command them as a unit, and you can create scheduled events to toggle devices, or use IFTTT for additional programmability. Each outlet gets its own recessed button to turn it on or off.
The Pivotal arranges four outlets in standard spacing down the middle and then four more on each side that can also pivot up to 90 degrees. It also features a convenient cable trap, so you can thread most or all of your cords through a channel at one end, keeping everything tidy.
It also includes coax and DSL/telephone port walkthroughs. The Pivotal doesn’t have a reset table circuit breaker, but it offers a beefy rating of 4320 joules. See It Surge energy: 1,050 joules Clamping voltage : 400 volts Mounting holes: No Outlets: 2 Cord length: n/a Dimensions: 3.5” x 2.5” x 1.75”If you’re a frequent traveler, the gear you take on the road is probably unprotected.
It’s a compact two-outlet surge protector that has a fully retractable three-prong plug for easy packing, and features a pair of outlets along with DSL/telephone sockets. Tripp Lite managed to pack 1050 joules of protection in this small package, but be aware that it will eventually fail with a closed circuit, so keep an eye on the status light. See It Surge energy: 4,320 joules Clamping voltage : 330 volts Mounting holes: Yes Outlets: 12 Cord length: 6 feet Dimensions: 1.3" x 5" x 12.3”APC’s P12U2 is a go-to option for people who have a lot of things to plug in.
The power cable also has a rotating shoulder, so you can orient it in any direction without bending or kinking the cable. It has a respectable rating of 4,320 joules, but like the other APC on this list, how it handles the loss of surge protection is a little dicey. The surge suppressor may cut off current to your equipment, or let it continue to flow with an indicator in the status light, depending upon how the Move fail.
The aesthetics may be lost if you keep your power strip behind furniture, but it’s hard to deny the beauty of this polished aluminum case with elegantly beveled edges and braided power cable. Otherwise, this is a pretty typical surge protector, though its eight outlets are generously spaced to accommodate oversize plugs. Austere’s rating of 4,000 joules should last longer than similar models, though when it eventually fails, it’ll continue to power your gear.
See It Surge energy: 1,500 joules Mounting holes: No Outlets: 8 (6 USB) Cord length: 6 feet Dimensions: 2” x 5.25" x 12"Sometimes a standard power strip can get pretty cramped when you've got a lot plugged into it. A tower-style surge protector can help ensure the things you plug into it don't get in the way of one another, and the Bested Power Strip Tower is a phenomenal option.
This tower also features six USB ports on the corners, and each can offer up to 2.4 amps depending on what the device on the other end of the cable supports. See It Surge energy: 1,445 joules Battery Backup: 1500VA/1000W Mounting holes: No Outlets: 12 (2 x USB) Cord length: 5 feet Dimensions: 11" x 14" x 3.9”With an uninterruptible power supply (UPS) you're protecting your devices differently.
I’d recommend using a suppressor that opens the circuit when the Move eventually fail, so your equipment isn’t left unprotected. The downside is your stuff may power down unexpectedly, and you’ll have to buy a new surge suppressor to get back in business.
The clamping value, in contrast, measures how much voltage gets through during any single spike, where a lower number is better for your gear. You might want to find a model that spaces outlets far apart or uses some sort of pivoting system to let you fit oversized plugs on the strip.
The find print can be onerous, and I guarantee you’ll never collect money over an equipment failure that resulted from a surge -related problem.