Surge Protector Buying Guide
Why use it?
There are many reasons that a person should use a surge protector. Whether it is at home or in the office, electronic equipment needs to be protected against power surges and spikes.
If the surge is bad enough, it can damage the electronics beyond repair. We have listed several reasons that surge protection is important and the benefits that can be had by using a good quality one to protect all of your electronics.
- On average, a regular household can get as much as 350+ power surges each year.
- Brownouts, voltage spikes, power surges and over voltage can occur as much as 5 times per day.
- As much as 50% of electronic equipment failures can be linked to power surge failures.
- If equipment is subjected to frequent power surges the equipment can become damaged which will shorten their lifespan and cause you to have to replace them more often.
- Power spikes and surges are the leading cause of data loss with computers.
- Getting the right surge protector for your electronic equipment will ensure their safety and extend their lifespan.
- Choosing to use a surge protector will protect all the valuable equipment in your home or office. In addition, many surge protectors are backed by the connected equipment warranties which give you even more safety and security.
There are several different kinds of surge protectors on the market. We have listed their differences below so you can better sort through the choices when you are shopping for one.
- Whole House Surge Protectors – These are surge protectors that have been installed in the home’s main electrical system. It will guard the entire house’s outlets from external power surges. It can also provide some protection against any power surges that occur due to appliances. It is best to use additional point-of-use surge protectors in addition to the whole house system for additional protection within the home as well.
- Surge Protector Strips – These are most commonly used as point of use protection. They are plugged into a regular electrical outlet and several pieces of equipment can be plugged into one strip. Make sure that the power strip states that it is a surge protector or suppressor which is the only ones that are designed to handle any kind of power surges. If it does not state that they are surge protectors or suppressors, they are simply power strips and won’t provide any protection from surges at all.
- Battery Backup/Uninterrupted Power Supply – Battery backups have many uses. They give instant power to any devices that are connected so there is no interruption in the event of a power surge or power outage. They also provide surge protection but this will be something you want to check on to be sure. The UPS or uninterrupted power supply works by running the equipment off the battery constantly. The power that is coming from the outlet keeps the battery charged at all times. One of the benefits to this configuration is that it will further separate the electronic devices from any surges or spikes.
- Wall Mounted Surge Protector – These look just like a regular electrical outlet but it has a surge protector built right into the plug. They are good for providing basic level protection in the spaces that a full fledged sure protector doesn’t fit.
Things to Look For
When you start shopping for surge protectors, there are several basics that you will want to look for. We have listed these below.
- USB Ports – A surge protector with usb ports can charge mobile devices as well as tablets quickly and safely while protecting them from surges.
- Multiple Outlets – Surge protectors come with many different amounts of outlets. It is better to buy the surge protector that you need for the area you are using it in. You can get multiple protectors that will have different outlet amounts that you can customize to the needs you have. Variations include 1, 3, 4, 6, 7, 8 and 12 outlet varieties.
- Cord Length – Cord length will vary from protector to protector. Choose the cord length that fits the area you will using it in. You will not need a protector with a 10 foot cord if it is only 3 feet from the outlet.
- LED Indicators– This will let you know whether the surge protector is grounded correctly and if the devices are being protected.
- Protective Housing – The protective housing is important to help the surge protector resist corrosion, scratches, impacts and other things that can potentially ruin it.
- Joules – These will range from 300 to more than 4000 joules. The higher end your items are that you are protecting the higher joules you want.
- Outlet Safety Covers – These are imperative for homes where children are present. These safety covers prevent children from sticking objects into unused outlets.
There are many different features that a surge protector can have. You want to look for protectors that have features that will work with your needs. Below are many of the features that you will see offered with certain surge protectors.
- Auto warning device – These are alerts that are in the form of lights or alarms that will let you know when the surge protector needs to be replaced with a new one. The elements of a surge protector wear out after a time, so replacing the protector with another one is important to have continued protection for your electronics.
- Power shut down – This auto shut off system will cut the power to a strip’s outlets whenever the surge protection elements have reached capacity. The benefit to this feature is that it will not leave your items vulnerable to more surges while you are thinking it is fine.
- Warranties – Warranties are always a good idea to replace any defective unit or unit that has been damaged. Each warranty will more than likely have different restrictions and rules so read them to know exactly what the warranty covers.
- Line Conditioner – This system will constantly adjust the current that is coming from your outlets and will smooth out irregular fluctuations along with actual surges.
- Cord Fire Protection – This feature will cut off the power whenever a sensor picks up on damage to the wire insulation due to fire or some other cause.
- Safety Covers – Covers that block the unused outlets. Sometimes these are attached to the device and sometimes they are individual pieces.
- Concealed Design – This feature keeps everything neat and tidy.
Surge protectors are very important in keeping all of your electronics safe and free from power surge damage. It is not wise to ever have electronic devices plugged directly into a wall outlet without protection or to have them just plugged into a power strip.
Choosing the right surge protector is something that should be taken seriously and the information given in this guide can be used to sort through all of the choices so the right selection is made. You will be very glad that you took the time to protect the electronics from surges and spikes that occur in the home and office on a regular basis.