Power Strips & Surge Protectors, the Shocking Truth

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So i finally broke down and bought the 85 inch TV that I had been dreaming about for months 👍. This was quite an investment for me. I’m not rich; I work extremely hard for my money. As I was making the purchase, my thoughts immediately flipped to “How do I protect this expensive television from harmful power surges?” . I needed a power strip with surge protection; and I needed it FAST! 😳

I’ll admit, I am a bit of a geek when it comes down to researching products before I buy them. And I believe spending the time to find the best power strip was well worth it in the long run. I’m going to basically share everything I’ve learned along my journey, in hopes that it will benefit you as well.

Here is what I learned on my quest for the best power strip

Spikes in electricity are more common than you may think. People always worry “What if lightning strikes my power lines?” But in all honesty, the most common cause of electrical surges are internal. Refrigerators, air conditioners, and other appliances cause surges multiple times a day when they’re switched on–especially when the home’s electrical wiring is faulty. However, if a single strike near a power line occurs, you can just about guarantee it will completely fry your television or computer monitor.

Standard Power Strip Type
Wall Mount Type
Outdoor Type
Battery Backup Type
USB Type
PC & Gaming Type
Stylish Power Strip Type
Whole House Type
Smart Type

Protecting you home electronics from power surges is important. I’ve come to realize that a basic power strip just wont do the trick. But many of these power strips will leave your devices super vulnerable and unprotected. If you want protection, the key is to ensure your power strip is highly rated to absorb or dissipate electricity. This is called JOULES RATING.

How many Joules is enough protection?

When looking to protect a costly television, I’ve found that a 1,400 to 1,500 joules protection rating works best. That’ll give you peace of mind that a surge wont blow your hard earned bucks 💥💰 to smithereens.

Aside from the Joules Rating, surge protector selection comes down to personal preference…and a few key distinguishing features.

Now, as I was doing my research, my primary goal was to protect my expensive television from potential electrical damage. Some folks have more grandiose ambitions, like protecting every electronic device in their home. That’s where the Mack Daddy of them all comes into play: a whole house surge protector.

Type: Whole House Surge Protector

Now I won’t go into too much detail, but these things are the “catch-all” of surge protection.

The Eaton has a model (CHSPT2ULTRA shown above) that is relatively inexpensive and easy to install. It is rated for 2820 Joules and has impressive surge “stopping power”.

Type: Battery Backup Surge Protector

I work in IT. So naturally I have a lot of computer equipment lying around. I repurpose old PCs as servers and operate networks within my home. One of the most frustrating experiences is trying to connect to a home server remotely, only to find sudden power surge has taken your server offline. Real datacenters use redundant power supplies and generators to combat that problem. In my home, I use a battery backup surge protector.

Both CyberPower and APC make popular models of battery backup surge protectors. My personal preference if for the CyberPower model. It features a continual monitor that does an excellent job regulating minor voltage fluctuations. It also offers 6 battery+surge outlets, as well as 6 surge-only outlets. I keep my router and DIY servers hooked up to this thing and never worry when I’m traveling.

Type: Tabletop PC & Gaming Surge Protector

This Power Strip Tower is a pretty nifty device that I keep on my desk, where I keep some of my smaller electronics (i.e. cell phone, tablet, speakers, bluetooth headphones, printer etc). Most of these electronics are USB enabled. So it is very convenient to have a USB surge protector handy for a.) charging and b.) added protection while charging.

Well thought out design
This one provides 900 Joules of protection. The thing I really like bout this model is the spacing between the sockets. Don’t you hate when you have a surge protector with a certain number of sockets but you can only use a fraction of them because your device plugs are too large. Well that’s not an issue with the Power Strip Tower.

Type: Weatherproof Outdoor Surge Protector

While I don’t have a ton of use for outdoor power strips, there are folks with elaborate outdoor home living spaces that do. So I thought I’d at least mention that your electronics can be protected under outdoor circumstances as well. I have dedicated an entire article to weatherproof outdoor power strips. **Spoiler alert: POWRUI Outdoor Smart Plug takes the cake!

Type: Smart Surge Protector

As mentioned above, the POWRUI does have “smart” features. But there are better products more suited for indoor applications. Today’s next gen smart power strips feature wifi connectivity and control via Android and iOS apps. And I’ll tell you, these things are super convenient.

Vampire Devices: Did you know that your devices can suck power while plugged in, even if they are switched off? Using smart power strips put you in control. And you can offset the kilo watt hour usage in your home significantly over time by using one. The Kasa Smart Power Strip features a smartphone app and is 100% compatible with: Google Home, Amazon Echo, and Amazon Alexa

Type: Standard Wall & Power Strip Surge Protector

Now that I’ve covered most modern and advanced scenarios, let’s get into some of the more practical “average Joe” uses for surge protection devices. I think of “standard” surge protectors in 2 varieties: wall mount design and power strip design. In my opinion, the former (wall mount design) greatly surpasses the latter (power strip design) in the design category. All things being equal….they just look better!

The wall mount surge protectors tend to provide a more seamless integration into home living spaces, while providing **mostly adequate** levels of protection for most devices. HOWEVER, the WALL MOUNT SURGE PROTECTORS DO NOT PROTECT AT THE SAME JOULE RATING AS THE STANDARD POWER STRIPS! The highest rated wall mount surge protector that I was able to locate protected at 1080 Joules. And I would caution agains relying on anything rated less than 1500 Joules to protect an expensive piece of equipment like my precious television set.

The Final Verdict

So, all things considered, I made the final decision to purchase and plug my 80 inch TV into this baby….the Belkin BP108000-06 8-Outlet Pivot-Plug Power Strip Surge Protector. And the I am super pleased with my purchase. The 2160 Joules rating, $150,000 connected equipment warranty, and lifetime guarantee really help me sleep at night. On top of all that, the 90 degree swivel connectors are really neat. The power strip layout has 8 outlets and all 8 are usable–no matter how large the connecting plug.

My Pick 🏆: Belkin BP108000-06 8-Outlet Pivot-Plug Power Strip Surge Protector

Belkin Belkin 8-Outlet Pivot Surge Protector (BP108000-06) Belkin 8-Outlet Pivot Surge Protector
** I’ve used this model to plug in my television, BlueRay player, audio system, and occasional smartphone/tablet. It’s pretty awesome and has a sleek design. But above all else, it gives me peace of mind! All is well with the world. This surge protector rocks!

Honorable Mention 🎗️: Belkin WALL MOUNT 6-Outlet Pivot-Plug Surge Protector

**To protect less mission critical electronic devices, I would definitely recommend the sister product of my top choice. My primary motivation for picking the power strip design over this one was the difference in Joules rating: 1080 joules vs 2160 joules.

FAQ Frequently Asked Questions:

How do i know if my power strip is a surge protector?

Power strips simply add additional outlet space, while surge protectors protect connected devices from sudden electrical spikes. Surge protectors use a rating system called Joule Rating. The Joule Rating refers to how much energy your surge protector can absorb.

What is a surge protector?

A surge protector is a device that, when used properly, suppresses electrical spikes of energy from passing to connected devices. Voltage is limited by either blocking or shorting to ground any electrical levels above a safe threshold.

What causes electrical spikes (ie power surges)?

Electrical spikes can be caused by internal factors like AC Units & refrigerators or they can be cause by external factors like lightning and obstructed power lines.

How does a surge protector work?

I don’t know; how does electricity work?…just kidding. At a high level, whenever voltage reaches a certain threshold, surge protectors simply re-route that excess energy via a pressure-sensitive valve. When the voltage is correct, the pressure valve is not activated and electrical current flows normally. However, when a spike/surge occurs, the valve activates immediately and redirects the overflow of energy.

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Sergio “Dr Surge” Miller

Best Surge Protection Staff Writer

Sergio Miller has been a staff writer at Best Surge Protection since 2016. He has been a science journalist for over eight years, covering a wide variety of topics, from computer algorithms to high tech electronics. Since joining Best Surge Protection, he has researched, tested, and written about surge protectors, power banks, generators, water heaters, and more.

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