What is a Surge Protector?
A surge protector is a device that can protect a home’s electrical system at either the main electric panel or individual outlets and guards against surges, or spikes, in electricity.1 These surges can damage or destroy household appliances, entertainment equipment, and other expensive household devices. Homeowners often spend a fortune replacing damaged electrical appliances due to surges.
While it’s impossible to prevent electrical surges in the home, homeowners can quickly suppress the transient spikes in electricity that cause damage. The most affordable option is surge protectors, but consider these tips before purchasing a surge protection device.
Power Strips vs. Surge Protectors
There is often a misconception that power strips and surge protectors are the same device. While the look may be similar to a surge protector, a power strip’s only function is to allow more devices to be connected to a wall outlet. Power strips are not designed to protect devices from electrical surges. On the other hand, surge protectors are less expensive than a typical power strip, and they keep home appliances safe from electricity spikes. However, some power strips have been upgraded to offer some surge protection, so it’s important to research each product before purchasing
Joules is the unit that is used to describe the strength of a surge protector. The higher number of joules the higher the strength of the surge protector. The higher number means that the surge protector will protect appliances from a very high voltage spike or multiple small voltage spikes. However, remember that it’s important to occasionally check whether surge protectors are working at their optimum strength; they eventually wear down and decrease function.
Claim Warranty on Your Appliance if it Gets Damaged
Some surge protectors offer warranties for appliances connected to them. However, the warranty may only cover a certain amount, so it’s important to check. It is more likely that the warranty will go unused as surge protectors are perfectly capable of protecting appliances from surge damage.
Install More Electrical Outlets
The technological world is dynamic and is constantly creating more useful products. But most of these products need a power source. And without enough outlets, the chance of overloading any particular circuit increases as electrical equipment is added.
A Surge Protector with Larger Spacing
Some appliances have plugs that look like small boxes with prongs. These are referred to as wall warts, and they convert AC power into DC power. Unfortunately, they also occupy more space than a traditional plug. So, ensure that the surge protector has more space between sockets to accommodate these types of plugs. Some surge protectors can even rotate or move around to make space for larger plugs.
When considering power surge protectors for devices, we often forget about phone and cable lines. However, these are at equal risk of a power surge as other devices in our home, so make sure that cable and phone lines have surge protection. Surge protectors are also available with the connectors for phone or cable lines.
Surge Protectors with USB
Surge protectors are also available with a USB connection instead of a conventional wall plug. However, consider the amp rating before purchasing. These surge protectors are usually available in 1 or 2 amp. 2 amps is generally enough to charge your mobile devices.
Replacing Surge Protectors
Power surge protectors need to be replaced every once in a while because they eventually wear out. Some surge protectors include an alert feature when it has worn out. However, not all surge protectors come with this feature, so it’s important to check the device occasionally. The rule of thumb for replacing surge protectors is every 3-5 years, and sometimes sooner.2
Popular Surge Protectors
Finding the best power surge protector is up for debate, but listed below are a few that are popular and have good customer reviews.*
APC SurgeArrest P11VNT3
Many users think that surge protectors need to have many outlets to support the number of home electrical connections that require surge protection. This surge protector includes many connections for several appliances.
Belkin PivotPlug BP112230-08
The Belkin PivotPlug is unique because it allows large plugs to be connected as it pivots 90 degrees. It also includes a cable trap that easily hides the device and keeps the room tidy.
Tripp Lite (two outlets)
This 2-outlet plug can easily be packed into luggage because it has a three-prong plug with retractable prongs. It can offer protection up to 1,050 joules, which makes it ideal as an outdoor surge protector.
APC SurgeArrest P12U2
The APC SurgeArrest P12U2 comes with eight outlets, allowing for more devices than a traditional power strip. The best part is that it comes with safety shutters which is a good option for homes with children. It also has a rotating shoulder that prevents the cable from kinking when configuring in a particular direction.
Philips Surge Protector
The Philips Surge Protector is a good option with a space-saving design. Unlike traditional power surge protectors, this model includes an LED light as a protection indicator.
* FirstEnergy Home’s review of this product is solely opinion. FirstEnergy Home did not receive compensation for the review. FirstEnergy Home, and any FirstEnergy affiliates, are not affiliated with the manufacturer of the product, nor is there any endorsement or sponsorship between the product manufacturer of the product and FirstEnergy Home or any of its affiliates.