With an increasingly connected world where everyone has a phone, laptop, gaming system, and smart appliances, having surge protectors for the home is more important than ever before.
Unfortunately, it’s not as simple as running to the store and grabbing just any surge protector off the shelf. The market is oversaturated with them, and if you don’t know what you’re looking for, you may end up with a sub-par surge protector that isn’t equipped to handle your specific devices.
That’s why we’ve compiled a list of the 6 best surge protectors for the home — according to professional electricians. Keep reading to learn more!
What Happens During a Power Surge?
Power surges typically occur when the flow of electricity in your home gets interrupted, shutting off and starting up again. They also occur when an appliance or device sends electricity flowing right back into the electrical system.
When a power surge occurs, the flow of electricity can easily spike to 169 volts or more. When this happens, an arc of electrical current is created and that arc will generate enough heat to severely damage the electronics and circuits boards of any devices plugged into an outlet. If lightning were to strike a transformer, you’re looking at upwards of thousands of volts which can be catastrophic.
How Do Surge Protectors Work?
Surge protectors work by using one of two devices to diffuse excess voltage:
- Metal oxide varistor (MOV)
- Gas discharge arrestor (GDR)
MOVs are the most common protective components found in surge protectors. MOVs essentially work by “absorbing” excess voltage, acting as a shunt resistor to divert unwanted current into the ground.
GDRs work in a similar way, as gas is a poor conductor of electricity. So, when the voltage surges above a certain level, the electrical power ends up ionizing the gas — which makes it a more effective conductor — allowing the current to pass onto the ground line. This goes on until the voltage returns to normal levels whereby the gas deionizes and returns to being a poor conductor again.
In short, surge protectors work by diffusing or absorbing excess voltage and re-routing it from your devices.
6 Surge Protectors the Pros Recommend
There are tons of surge protectors on the market, and they all vary in type, price, style, voltage handling capacities, and so on. The most important thing to consider when it comes to choosing a surge protector is its joule rating.
The higher the joule rating, the more protection the surge protector offers. However, it’s important to choose a surge protector with a joule rating that matches your devices. For example, a joule rating that ranges from 200 to 400 is safe for most small devices while more sensitive equipment — like your computer or a small kitchen appliance — will require a surge protector with a joule rating of at least 1000.
Now let’s talk about the top surge protectors you can choose from:
1. APC Performance SurgeArrest P11VNT3
The P11VNT3 is best for premium electronics, like your TV, computer and other multimedia devices. This surge protector is as dependable as they come, and features:
- A 3020+ joule rating
- A fail-safe feature that will cut off power to all your electronics once the protection runs out
- 11 standard three-prong outlets with safety shutters
- Ports for a coaxial cable, telephone line, and ethernet line
The only downsides are that the P11VNT3 lacks a USB port for device charging and can limit your speed up to 100 megabits per second (Mbps).
2. Belkin Pivot Plug Surge Protector BP112230-08
The BP112230-08 is the perfect surge protector for devices that have bulky power adapters and features:
- A 4320 joule rating
- 12 outlets
- Ports for a coaxial cable and phone line
- An indicator light for protection failure
- A generous $300,000 warranty for devices damages
However, the BP112230-08 also lacks USB ports and does not offer an automatic shut-off feature.
3. Philips 6-Outlet Surge Protector Power Strip
You don’t have to spend a lot of money for quality surge protection. The Philips 6-outlet power strip is certified by ETL and does include an automatic shutoff feature as well as:
- A 720 joule rating
- A braided power cord
- Options for a 4-foot, 6-foot, and 10-foot cord length
- 6 outlets
This surge protector is impressive for being only $22. Of course, it’s only suitable for smaller appliances and devices.
4. EATON CHSPT2ULTRA Ultimate Surge Protection Power Strip
The CHSPT2ULTRA is equipped with a Type 2 whole-home surge protective device that gets installed right on your electrical service panel. It also features:
- 108,000 amps of whole-home surge energy protection
- Has a durable enclosure that allows for both indoor and outdoor use
- Protection for all appliances and electrical equipment
Because this surge protector is designed for the whole home, it requires an electrician to install it properly. However, it’ll protect your home in the event of a bad electrical storm that makes contact directly with your electrical system.
5. TP-Link Kasa Smart Wi-Fi Power Strip HS300
The HS300 is unique in that it’s a smart power strip you can control it wirelessly via a remote control app you can download on your phone. It also features:
- A 1710 joule rating
- Real-time energy monitoring
- USB ports
- Independent commands to turn off connected devices in each outlet
While the HS300 offers USB ports and an ample joule rating, it’s not suitable for larger and more valuable devices such as desktop computers or gaming systems.
6. Anker PowerExtend USB-C 3 Capsule
Anker’s PowerExtend USB-C 3 Capsule (also referred to as the Anker 623 Power Strip) is the perfect little surge protector for charging small devices. It’s features include:
- A 300 joule rating
- 3 outlets
- 3 USB ports
- A type-C charging port
It should be noted that this device is essentially designed for quickly charging devices versus leaving them plugged in due to its low joule rating. The best thing about the Capsule is that it can charge devices quickly, which makes up for the low-end surge protection.
Don’t Be Afraid to Ask for Help
Keep in mind that unless you’re investing in a whole-home surge protector, it’s a good idea to invest in multiple surge protectors based on your devices and needs. Of course, if you’re still unsure about your surge protector options, you can always call your local Electric City pros for advice and to learn more about our services!