PCs and computer peripherals such as printers, monitors, and routers TVs, DVRs, cable boxes, satellite receivers, sound systems, and other home theater components Video game systems Lighting, tools, small appliances, and office equipment Auto-Shutoff For additional safety, surge protectors can offer an automatic shutoff feature, which prevents power from reaching connected devices entirely if the protection becomes inadequate.
Devices that are critical to work/home life and those that are otherwise costly or fragile require a greater degree of protection. Count the devices you want to plug into your surge protector and purchase a model with at least as many outlets.
If you want to protect devices that run while you are not in immediate vicinity, be sure to select a model with auto-shutoff functionality. If furniture or other objects will be between your surge protector and its AC outlet, gauge the distance between them and purchase a device with an input cord of adequate length.
If your surge protector will be installed in an area with high foot traffic or might otherwise be vulnerable to the occasional impact, consider a model with metal housing. Data Line Protection Computers and network equipment can be susceptible to power surges travelling over Ethernet (or coaxial/telephone/modem) cables.
They may also include special features that protect against electric shock and anti-microbial coating to inhibit the growth of bacteria on the device. Portability If you are travelling with equipment that needs protection, look for surge protectors with fold-down plugs and compact designs that can easily be stored in luggage, purses, briefcases and backpacks.
Specialized Use Some in-line POE surge protectors are IP66 rated for resistance to dust and water. Warranty and Insurance A surgeprotector's job is to absorb the brunt of power surges and spikes, so your equipment doesn't have to.
TrippLite's Isobar® line is the gold standard in surge protection with over 20 million units sold worldwide. Models offer data line protection, USB charging, metal casing, auto shut-off and other key features×.
Look for words on the product or packaging like surge “, “protection” or “suppression,” and also look for a joule rating. A power spike, while shorter, can involve a far higher voltage increase and is often caused by an electrical storm.
Both surges and spikes can damage appliances, corrupt data on computers, and in extreme scenarios, they can start fires. Features like individual outlet control and other special circuitry will reduce energy consumption and lower utility bills.
It depends on the device's joule rating and the frequency and severity of the surges it absorbs. The key is to check the LED indicator to ensure your device is providing adequate protection and/or purchase a surge protector with an auto-shutoff feature.
Components inside a Triple Isobar premium surge protector prevent power problems from damaging your equipment. They usually show up as audio static or video “snow” and are caused by other equipment operating on the same electrical system as the affected device.
This makes it ideal for powering and connecting IP devices like security cameras, access control readers, wireless access points (Was), VoIP telephones, POS systems, sensors and lighting. It is most often caused by a power grid interruption, followed by a resumption in which the line voltage is higher than normal.
§ 2501–2581), which requires the U.S. Government to procure products that were manufactured in the United States or other authorized countries. TAA-Compliant products are required in federal procurement contracts such as GSA, ID IQ and DOD.
Output Volt-Amps (VA) is a measurement of electrical power and is used to size a UPS system for the equipment that will be connected to it. Floor-Standing Rack Depth Designations Shallow27 inchesMid-Depth31 inchesStandard37 inchesDeep42 inches Wall-Mount Rack Depth Designations Patch-Depth< 16 inchesSwitch-Depth16 to 23.99 inchesUPS-Depth24 to 31.99 inchesServer-Depth> 32 inches PC/Server Connection determines the correct cable kits (e.g. PS/2, USB, VGA, DVI or Cat5) for a KVM Switch based upon how it will be connected to a PC or server on the network.
There are variations of the VESA pattern based on location, size and weight of the display. Active cooling uses energy to transfer or remove heat from one area and pass it onto another.
Phase is used to describe the two main types of alternating current (AC) electric power produced by a utility, generator or UPS system. Joule Rating is the unit of energy, based upon the International System of Units, by which surge protectors are rated for their ability to absorb surge energy to protect connected equipment.
It has adjustable pivots that allow the rack to be locked into a closed or open (90-degree perpendicular) position. NIAP-Certified Secure identifies a KVM that meets the strict requirements set by the National Information Assurance Partnership (IAP) regarding the security of VMS to safeguard data from accidental transfer or unauthorized access.
It allows equipment to run cooler, last longer and operate without malfunctions and reduced performance. Multi-User is a capability of a KVM switch that permits more than one user to control different network devices simultaneously but not concurrently.
Dual Input Cords provide connection to separate primary and secondary power sources for Plus with Automatic Transfer Switching (ATS) functionality. Digital Load Meter is a local display on metered, monitored, switched and ATS power distribution units (Plus) that reports output power consumption in amps in order to facilitate load balancing and avoid overloads.
Cat5 KVM Switch is a device designed to enable users to control multiple computers or network equipment connected via Cat5 cabling. Auto Transfer Switch (ATS) Plus ATS Plus provide redundant power to connected equipment with separate primary and secondary power sources.
(If the power requirements are listed in amps, multiply by the input voltage to find the wattage.) For assistance with UPS sizing, contact our application specialists at firstname.lastname@example.org or +1 (888) 447-6227.
We’ve spent more than 150 hours researching and testing surge protectors, and we’re confident that the Triple 12-Outlet SurgeProtector offers the best combination of protection and outlet quantity at a reasonable price. And you don’t have to wonder whether it’s still doing its job, because once its protection has worn out, it safely cuts the power, so you know it’s time to get a replacement.
It offers great protection against household surges that come from other equipment in your home or fluctuations from the power company. However, it features prominent LEDs indicating a wiring problem, and it has just as many AC outlets as our Triple top pick.
In our testing, it clamped down on surges as hard as the Triple 12-Outlet did, and its joule rating is about 30% higher (meaning it’s designed to last longer, but that’s just an estimate). The APC’s shorter (6-foot) cord means you’ll have a harder time reaching faraway outlets, but we think it’s still plenty long enough for most people.
It offers two USB ports and six AC outlets in a round package that’s smaller than a dinner plate. It has an auto-shutoff mechanism, making it one of the few three-outlet options we’ve found that will disconnect power when the surge protection wears out.
Collapse all To separate fact from fiction about surge protectors, we reached out to experts in multiple fields while writing the original version of this guide. We emailed with Jack Lucknow, an insurance pro who has been in the industry since the 1960s, and got advice on what part homeowner’s and renter’s policies play in protecting your technology investments.
There’s little reason for anyone to leave their office, den, or home theater unprotected, or to hang on to old, worn-out surge protectors. And if your home is subject to frequent brownouts or blackouts, you might want to replace your surge protectors as often as every two years.
If you have a cheap, basic power strip (or the kind of multiport adapter that plugs right into a wall outlet), it most likely never had worthwhile surge -protection capabilities to begin with. But you should replace these subpar options as soon as possible and be thankful that they didn’t catch fire or damage your electronics (PDF).
That’s why we suggest looking for a surge protector with an auto-shutoff feature, which stops the device from conveying power when the protection wears out. They can also protect against occasional surges from your utility company and are especially worth having in areas with unreliable power grids.
Finally, if you want to protect equipment that could be damaged by a sudden loss of power, a hard disk drive that’s susceptible to data corruption, or critical gear that can’t ever go down (such as a CPAP machine to treat sleep apnea), you shouldn’t be looking at a surge protector at all. Photo: Sarah Loose started our research by scanning the top results on Amazon, Google Shopping, and retailers like Walmart and Home Depot, as well as the websites of well-known brands such as Triple, Ac cell, and Welkin, to compile a list of models.
As we did for previous iterations of this guide, we considered the different ways that people use surge protectors. For our top picks, we knew we wanted something heavy-duty for use with home theater gear and game consoles in a living room (or computer equipment in an office).
We also looked at smaller units designed for kitchen outlets or bedside tables, as well as series mode and hybrid models for people who want the highest level of surge defense. Otherwise, we required, at minimum, an indicator light that will notify you when items plugged into the unit are no longer protected against surges.
In a previous round of testing in 2017, our engineer dismantled each surge protector in order to assess the components and construction. According to the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers, no home would ever experience a power surge over 6,000 volts (PDF), and most don’t even come close.
The major exception to this would be direct lightning strikes, but considering that a bolt means upwards of 1 billion volts, no home surge protector is going to save your TV from one of those. He compared the thickness of the wiring, the size and arrangement of the Move, whether any filters or capacitors were incorporated into the designs, and the overall construction quality.
For reputable brands selling surge protectors in the $15 to $50 range, the guts were so similar that the dissection yielded no useful information, so we haven’t torn down the models we’ve tested since. To further demonstrate the importance of using a surge protector, Johnson subjected a (very old) Dell LCD monitor to a 5,000-volt surge, both with and without protection.
In contrast, when he funneled 5,000 volts directly into the unprotected monitor, it promptly cried out in pain, never to turn on again. The internal designs of the Surge (left) and ZeroS urge models (right) we tested in 2017 were very similar, including these sealed metal boxes.
But when we tested several models previously (the Surge SA-15, the ZeroS urge 2R15W, and the Furman Power Station 8), we put them through the same paces as their less expensive and more common Bio-based counterparts. We also tore apart each unit and found similar designs and construction, with only minor differences in the visible components.
We’ve tested dozens of surge protectors and are confident that the Triple 12-Outlet SurgeProtector (TLP1208TELTV) is the best one to use with typical living room or office equipment. Note that every surge protector we tested came in under 400 volts except for the cheap, generic model we picked up at a big-box store.
If you’re setting up a media center with equipment that requires a coaxial or telephone connection, these extra ports are nice to have. But since this type of surge protector commonly sits out of reach (behind a couch, desk, or TV stand) and is designed for more heavy-duty usage, we don’t think USB ports are all that important.
Unlike with your run-of-the-mill power strips (or even the Hyper Tough surge protector we considered in a previous round of testing), its veneer seems built to stand up to most minor scratches and scuffs. It’s compact enough to slide under a bed or entertainment center, and a set of holes on the back gives you the option to mount it on a baseboard.
Its thick, rubberized, 8-foot cord is 2 feet longer than the one on the , making it more convenient to run underneath bookshelves and couches. The joule rating tells you how much the surge protector can take before it’s worn out, so our top pick is unlikely to last as long as the APC model.
This means that if either of its other two legs (L-G or N-G) breaks down first, it will continue to send power to your devices, and they could sustain damage in the event of a surge. It lacks telephone and coaxial connectors, which might be an inconvenience if you want to hook up your landline phone, dial-up internet, or cable box through your surge protector.
It also has a rating of 4,320 joules, which is about 50 percent higher than that of our top pick (though it’ll protect your equipment equally well from any single surge). Like our top pick, the Power Air safely shuts down once it can no longer protect your electronics, so you’ll know when you need to replace it.
Its 6-foot cord is thick, flexible, and durable, and its outlets are spaced generously around the top of the unit, giving you full access to all of them. Lastly, its blue and green LEDs (which let you know, respectively, if the unit is powered on and protective) are well-marked and clearly visible on top.
In our full guide to small power strips for travel, we recommend models with as many as four AC outlets and up to two USB ports. It also has an auto-shutoff feature, making it one of just a few small, portable surge protectors we’ve found with this capability.
It has a three-prong plug, as well as a plastic rod that fits into the bottom hole of the second outlet, ensuring a snug connection. The AC and USB ports are pretty tightly spaced, but that’s to be expected on such a small unit.
Most people don’t need this degree of protection, but the Furman Power Station 8 (PST-8) offers the strongest surge protection of the dozens of models we’ve tested, besting even high-end series mode surge protectors that cost hundreds more. Instead of relying on standard Move to absorb the entire surge, Furman adds extra protection: Once a surge goes over 137 volts, the entire unit shuts down to protect itself and any connected equipment (switching the unit on and off resets it).
Any surge that gets through before the shutdown passes through a series of capacitors as well as a large inductor meant to filter the extra power. The large MOVE, similar to those found in less-expensive units, sacrifices only part of itself as a last resort after the filtering stage.
The Welkin Surplus USB Swivel Charger (BST300bg) was by far the worst performer in our latest round of testing, letting through more than 800 of the 5,000 volts we threw at it. The Triple Sinecure used to be our also-great pick for light use and travel, but unlike our, it doesn’t have an auto-shutoff feature, nor does it have USB ports.
We bought the cheapest surge protector we could find at a local Walmart (the Hyper Tough 6-Outlet PS682B_B) for a previous round of testing, and it failed spectacularly in pretty much every way. We liked the six high-amp USB-A ports of the Powerade 12 in 1 SurgeProtector, but we found that it didn’t slide as neatly under a nightstand or bed as more streamlined models like the .
Plus, our from Furman, which is less expensive than true series mode protection, provided similar performance in our tests. Always replace your surge protectors after any large event (such as a lightning strike down the block or multiple outages in rapid succession), and if you’re plugging in new gear, check each outlet for burn marks or any sign of damage.
If your protector delivers power even after its Move have failed, plan to replace it anytime you have a major electronics upgrade, or at least every three to five years. The extra connections and cord length of a surge protector also add resistance that can allow heat to build up, potentially catching fire or otherwise damaging the device.
We know they’re not the prettiest things to look at, but you should never cover up any part of a surge protector or extension cord with rugs, poufs, or other decorative items. She has been a science journalist for over seven years, covering a wide variety of topics, from particle physics to satellite remote sensing.
Since joining Wire cutter, she has researched, tested, and written about surge protectors, power banks, lap desks, mousetraps, and more.