The Best Surge Protectors (Review & Buying Guide) in 2021
Your devices aren’t long for this world without a surge protector
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BY Hank O'Hop / LAST UPDATED ON November 17, 2020
We might not struggle to protect ourselves from what our ancestors had. But modern problems require modern solutions. When talking about electronics, not much is quite as dangerous as an unexpected surge of power. This occurrence can not only damage your devices but be a serious threat to your home. A surge protector is a simple yet practical line of defense you can use to prevent the risk of a surge frying your appliances. But, like everything else, you are bombarded with options. We’ve put together this guide to help you sift through the options and find the one that works best for your needs.
For this guide, we are covering surge protectors intended for home use. If you need a surge protector for an RV, we strongly suggest you check out our buying guide for the Best RV Surge Protectors.
Efficient, versatile, and reliability make this our top pick. Features a total of twelve power outlets, and two USB ports. The 4,000 Joule rating provides a long and healthy lifespan.
- High number of outlets makes it possible to use this surge protector for multiple devices
- High Joule rating promotes maximum protection of appliances
- Flimsy build is off-putting
- Loose power switch and small indicator light do not reflect the overall quality of this tool
Two surge protectors for the price of one. This design features a total of six power outlets and two USB ports, which will prove useful in most settings.
- Low price point makes this an excellent option for anyone
- Inclusion of a wall mounting template helps keep your home organized
- Low Joule rating makes for a short lifespan
- Even a single surge may be all that this model can handle
Special design features a total of 12 power outlets, eight of which can pivot. This gives users maximum flexibility and allows them to make use of every outlet on this model at once.
- Pivoting outlets provide the necessary space to use all outlets
- High Joule rating provides maximum lifespan and protection of devices
- Pivoting outlets tend to move very easily
- This can prove to be very annoying in tight spaces
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Benefits of Surge Protectors
- Protects your electronics. The most significant benefit of a surge protector is that it will protect your electronics from power surges. Without one, a spike in the power supply can fry those costly appliances you rely on every day.
- Protects your home. When electronics fail, several hazards arise. In the worst-case scenario, they can cause an electrical fire. A surge protector is an excellent line of defense you can use to protect your home and your loved ones.
- Can be used as an adapter. In many cases, the proper power supply may not be present. A surge protector can work as an adapter that will allow you to safely convert the power source. Even less sensitive electronic devices should always be linked to a surge protector when converting power supply.
- Cleans things up. In many cases, multiple electronic devices exist within proximity of one another. A surge protector can collect all the power cords and link them to the same source. When properly placed, this can clean up desks, entertainment centers, and other spaces.
Types of Surge Protectors
Most surge protectors on the market fall into this category. These surge protectors are very similar to a power strip on the surface but are very different. What makes them different from a power strip is that they will protect your device from power surges. Otherwise, they are very similar in appearance. Strip type surge protectors feature a power cord that separates them from the power supply and feature multiple power outlets. Some will even feature outlets that offer protection specific to an appliance adding flexibility to the unit.
This is another common type of surge protector on the market. These models are small power cubes that mount directly to the wall outlet with no power cord or extension. Most will feature multiple outlets to power various devices, but some can feature just a single outlet. These are small and compact, making them great for use behind entertainment systems, under desks, or in any other area where an outlet is hidden behind something.
Many surge protectors work to convert the power supply. Most commonly, they are built to allow devices that work on a 120-volt power supply to connect to a 220-volt outlet. It is imperative to use a surge protector in these instances because there is already a huge difference in the base power output.
While none are on this list, whole-house protectors may be something worth considering. These types work to protect any device plugged into any home outlet with no need for a separate device. These are far more costly than traditional offerings, but make for a much cleaner appearance of the home and provide peace of mind no matter where you are drawing your power from.
Holsem got its start in 2012 with the main focus of providing people with products that improve daily living. Its primary focus is on modern electronics and smart home technology. That includes everything from kitchen-ware to USB cables. Amongst its offerings, you will find the Holsem12 Outlets Surge Protector Power Strip and other surge protectors worthy of your consideration.
Since 1983, Belkin has been a leading supplier of innovative electronics meant to improve the quality of living. It is headquartered in Playa Vista, Calif., and now offers three brands: Belkin, Linksys, and Wemo. Dedication to the craft is how they can produce a quality product such as the Belkin 12- Outlet Pivot-Plug Power Strip Surge Protector and many others.
Surge Protectors Pricing
- $10-$20: Most surge protectors exist within this price range. However, most feature lower outlet counts and offer less protection.
- $20 and up: Surge protectors that list for more than $20 typically have higher outlet counts, better protective abilities, and will have a much longer lifespan. Adapter style protectors may also exist in this range.
A surge protector has a definitive lifespan and will only be able to absorb so much energy until it’s no longer capable of protecting your devices. The joule rating is a measurement of how much energy it will be able to absorb until it must be replaced. The higher the rating is, the longer it will last. It also coincides with how much protection it offers for devices, and again, a higher rating is always better.
Maximum Spike Protection
A surge protector is meant to protect your equipment from spikes in voltage. Therefore, it’s essential to pay attention to how much voltage it’s designed to handle. This will ultimately dictate how much it can take before failure and is no longer able to protect whatever is plugged into the outlet.
In all reality, a surge protector only reduces voltage. As an example, when it faces a surge to 6,000 volts, it may only reduce it to 600 volts, which will still transfer to your device. What it reduces the load to is known as clamping voltage, and it’s still possible that your device will fail when exposed to a surge of what can get through. Therefore a lower clamping voltage is always better.
- Ample Outlet Count: Outlet count is a secondary characteristic to consider. Of course, you will want one to support more devices, but it shouldn't outweigh a surge protector's performance. Still, if you have multiple devices near one another, a higher outlet count is a great way to save some money as you won't need to invest in various units.
- Power Conversion: If you are looking to convert a power supply, you can do so with the use of a surge protector. Many exist that are meant to convert 220-volt to 120-volt. With that said, if you are ever going to run a 120-volt device on a 220-volt power supply, you should always use a surge protector to preserve your equipment and your well-being.
- Power Cord Length: Surge protectors often feature a power cable, and the length of the power cable is worthy of paying attention to. More reach can be invaluable when it comes to being able to rearrange a room to your desire while still being able to protect your electronics. But you may also want a smaller cord to reduce clutter in spaces where an outlet is relatively close to your work station or entertainment system.
Best Surge Protector Reviews & Recommendations 2021
- A power strip and surge protector are two different things. A power strip cannot protect your devices and should not be used in place of a surge protector.
- When buying a surge protector, you should always look for proper certifications that verify the ratings. Otherwise, you can be investing in a gimmicky product that will provide no real protection.
- A surge protector does protect your devices by redirecting spikes of voltage to the ground in your outlet. In return, this can trip your breaker and is something you should expect.
- Many people associate a surge protector with keeping electronics safe from lighting. This is not true. A surge protector cannot protect your devices from the extreme nature of a lightning strike.
- If you’re using power generated by a generator, a surge protector is an absolute must. Of course, if you need a generator, our buying guide for the Best RV Generators is the read you need.
- While they may offer additional reach, they are not meant to function as an extension cord. If you need a little more cable, we highly recommend visiting our Best Outdoor Extension Cord Review.
Q: What does a surge protector do?
A surge protector is used to protect electronics from voltage spikes. Surges of power can overload a device and destroy it, and a surge protector works to prevent that from happening.
Q: Do I need a surge protector for TV?
Your TV has microprocessors that are very delicate and can be destroyed from a power surge. Therefore, you should use a surge protector for your television.
Q: What is the best surge protector?
Which surge protector is best depends on your budget and application’s demands. However, our favorite is the Holsem12 Outlets Surge Protector Power Strip.
Q: How long do surge protectors last?
While it does depend on how many surges it is exposed to, and how powerful they are, a surge protector typically lasts three to five years.
Our favorite is the Holsem12 Outlets Surge Protector Power Strip. That’s because it’s versatile and innovative, plus it’s just the right level of protection most homeowners will want. However, Cable Matters 2-Pack 6 Outlet Surge Protector is an excellent option for anyone on a budget.