Surge protectors are an inexpensive way to keep your gadgets protected and ensure their security against unexpected power spikes. There are various types of surge protectors that are available on the market and most of them have the same features. However, there are a few things to keep in mind when it comes to some of the details of those features. Here is what you need to know about surge protectors.
10 Things to Know About Surge Protectors
1. It Pays to Do Your Research
Surge protectors have a wide range of features which makes choosing one a bit difficult. To make this easier for you, it is best to educate yourself when buying a surge protector.
You also need to know the best types of brands to buy. The top brands are Tripp Lite, APC, Furman and Belkin.
Determining the type of surge protector you need is also essential. They come in many shapes and sizes and with many different features. Such options and features include: number of outlets, USB ports/types/amps/voltage, cord length, cord thickness, protection level, etc.
Check out this handy surge protector guide by Tripp Lite to learn the basics.
Top 3 Surge Protectors by WireCutter
1. APC 12-Outlet Surge Protector – Best Overall
2. Tripp Lite 12 Outlet Surge Protector – Best for TV/Phone Line
3. Accell Powramid Air Surge Protector – Best Looking
The Geek Street Recommended Surge Protector:
Equipped with 2880 joules of protection power, the APC 11-Outlet Surge Protector is a great bargain for the money. Not only does it have 11 outlets, it also has outlets for two USB ports with 2.4 AMPs of charging power.
The cord attached to the surge protector runs along the side in order to save space. The ports are also positioned so that you can plug in six large power adapters on the sides while the remaining 5 plugs can be used for standard plugs. It also has indicator lights to let you know when you are protected or even if there is faulty wiring in the building where you’re located.
If a surge does happen, not only will this protect your devices, but if the worst happens and one of your devices breaks, you’re covered. In fact, this particular surge protector offers up to $250,000 in damage protection. And the surge protector itself comes with a lifetime warranty. It doesn’t get much better than this APC surge protector.
2. Surge Protectors Are Not Power Strips
Power strips are cheaper than surge protectors. It is a multi-outlet product that is just an extension of a wall outlet. The strips usually have an on and off switch, but it does not offer surge protection from electrical issues.
3. Surge Protector Joules Are Vital
The energy released by surge protectors is measured by joules. The higher the joules, the better protection you will get. If you get a protector with 1000 joules, it means it can take up to 1000 joules of energy without damaging your device.
4. Determine the Surge Protector USB Amps
Most of the surge protectors have USB charging ports that enable you to charge mobile devices simultaneously. Focus not only on the number of USB ports but on the amps of total current on each port.
The amps refer to the load capacity. The higher the amp, the better the flow, and the stronger the load capacity. It is best that you know how does a surge protector work.
5. Sufficient Surge Protector Outlets
Surge protector with multi outlets is popular because it is powerful and convenient. You can quickly charge your devices at the same time.
You can choose the number of outlets you need. But, you need to keep in mind that more outlets do not mean that it is better.
Once the outlets are not right for your devices and appliances, the surge protector might not be able to protect them, and it is just a waste of money.
6. Beware Power Spikes
Spike is short duration electrical transients that include power outrage, short circuit, lightning strikes, tripped circuit breakers, etc. It may occur in any type of line such as power lines, network lines, phone lines, and others. Extensive damage may occur if these lines are not adequately protected. The devices on the end of them will be destroyed if not hooked up to a surge protector.
7. Get the Right Surge Protector
Don’t be fooled by ads or sales promotion. There is no such thing as a universal surge protector that will suit every single device. The voltage differs depending on your location. For instance, you bought one in the US with a 110V US plug. This protector will not work in India or Africa. Some areas need adapters or voltage converters to work properly. Here you can find electricity mains by country.
8. Choose a Portable Surge Protector for Travel
There is no surge protector that will work in every single country unless you have the proper adapters. However, there are some surge protectors that are as close to universal as possible. The surge protector below, for instance, will work in USA, Japan, New Zealand, Australia, Europe and the UK. It will also work in other countries provided they follow the same standards of any of the previous countries listed.
9. Choose a Surge Protector with a Good Device Warranty
Find a brand that provides a guarantee on the device connected to the surge protector. For instance, in the US, a Belkin surge protector offers a $300,000 Connected Equipment Warranty. The warranty states that if your device gets damaged by a lightning strike or a surge spike, even if it is correctly connected to the protector, it will be repaired or replaced up to $300,000. Not bad.
10. Surge Protection Will Not Last Forever
A surge protector will wear out eventually. Some surge protectors will give a warning when their protection drops below a safe level. Some will keep functioning without protection, and you will not know it has failed until after a power spike damages your device(s). Although there is no hard and fast rule that applied to everyone as to how often to replace a surge protector, a good rule of thumb is every 2-3 years. If power surges happen more frequently near you, then the protector should be replaced more often and less often is power surges happen less frequently.
The reasons for getting a surge protector can vary. If you are living in an area where there are lots of thunderstorms, this is one reason to have a surge protector. If your power constantly shuts off for no reason, that’s another. Even if you are in the desert, your refrigerator or A/C could kick power spikes down the lines to your A/V gear. It’s best to get a surge protector and be safe rather than sorry.
If you want to save your device(s) from getting damaged in case of an unexpected power surge, you need to have a surge protectors. If you have questions or ideas you want to share, feel free to comment below.
Author’s Bio: Richard Browny is a full-time writer and professional electrician. He applies everything he knows about electricity and devices in the articles he writes.