Your home appliances are not always safe from a power surge – they can fry any time! By then, it is too late and you have to spend way more money on new equipment. Well, for a reasonable amount, you can save yourself the regret by investing in a surge protector.
The surge protector literally creates a firewall between the wild socket juice and your expensive electronics. It is like the sacrificial lamb that takes one, so your hardware or A/V system can live. The best of their kind do more than just protect your device. They now have extra energy-saving features and built-in batteries. They also take the role of power strips, with extra outlets, USB ports, rugged protective housing, and voice compatibility while at the same time offering all your plugged-in electronics the protection they deserve.
So, which ones have the best features you’d need in a surge protector? We’ve found the 10 Best Surge Protectors that will be well worth your money.
Top 10 Surge Protectors Of 2020 Reviewed
1. Tripp Lite 1 Outlet Portable Surge ProtectorBest Single Outlet Surge Protector
If you want a portable surge protector on overnight stays or vacations, you’ll love this wall-mounted protector from Tripp Lite. The Tripp Lite 1 Outlet has a 660 Joule rating, is UL 1449 certified, and features two LED indicator lights. This little protector comes with a lifetime warranty as well as a $5,000 insurance for any connected equipment damaged by a power surge.
This is a reliable surge protector that small enough to fit in any travel bag. However, the shape of the protector is a bit on the bulky side and may slightly cover an adjacent outlet. Small plugs may still be able to use the adjacent socket but bigger ones would not.
- 660 Joule rating
- Two indicator lights
- Bulky, takes up space of an adjacent outlet
2. AmazonBasics 6-Outlet Surge Protector
This 6-outlet surge protector from AmazonBasics has a 200-Joule 3-Line Basic Surge-Protection Rating, a 2-foot long 14 AWG power cord, a 15-amp circuit breaker, and a built-in power switch. There’s also a LED indicator light that turns on when the protector is switched on and properly grounded. The on/off switch also lights up when turned on. There are even mounting holes.
What’s great about this surge protector is that it’s a great option for someone with a limited budget who just wants something basic to protect surges from affecting their electronic devices – smartphones, laptops, etc. It even comes in packs of 2. However, the cord is super short which limits where you can use it.
- 15-amp circuit breaker
- On/off switch
- Very short cord
- Only 200 Joules
3. Tripp Lite TLP1008TEL
The Tripp Lite TLP1008TEL is a 10-outlet surge protector with a set of RJ-11 jacks for phone line protection, a 2395 Joule rating, and an 8-foot power cord. The unit comes with an on/off switch as well as two indicator lights – one for grounded and the other for indicating protection.
Out of the 10 outlets, 4 are widely spaced to accommodate large adapters. This surge protector is certified according to UL 1449 safety standards. And it is backed by a lifetime warranty as well as a $150,000 Ultimate Lifetime Insurance. What makes this different from a lot of other protectors is that it automatically turns off when it has reached its full energy capacity. What this means is that it won’t continue to power your devices if it can no longer protect them from surges and spikes.
There are drawbacks to this protector. First, it’s a bit expensive; you can get a 12-outlet protector with pivoting outlets at this price. Also, the unit feels cheaply made.
- Turns off when protection no longer can be guaranteed
- 2395 Joule rating
- Lifetime warranty
- A bit expensive compared to similar models
- Feels cheaply made
4. Belkin 12 Outlet Pivot Plug Surge ProtectorBest 12 Outlet Surge Protector
If you’re planning to plug in an army of electrical devices and equipment, then you definitely can’t go wrong with the Belkin 12-Outlet Pivot Plug Surge Protector. Obviously, it can handle 12 individual plugs.
But what makes it so special is that 4 of these are stationary while the rest are rotating to give you incredible flexibility on what you can plug into the various outlets. You get an 8-foot 14-gauge heavy-duty power cord, Coaxial protection, 1-in, 2-out RJ11 telephone/fax protection, and light indicators (protection and grounded). And this surge protection has a 4320 Joule rating.
In case you’re wondering, this unit comes with a Belkin Lifetime Warranty and $300,000 Connected Equipment Warranty. However, it’s very hard to claim on the warranty in case of tragedy strikes as some owners have reported. The cable management clip that comes with this protector is hard to use. And the on/off switch is a bit on the flimsy side.
- Rotating and stationery outlets
- 8-foot cord
- 4320 Joule rating
- Complaints about claiming warranty coverage
- Cable management clip is hard to open and close
- Power button switch is flimsy
5. APC Back-UPS Pro 1500VA UPS Battery Backup & Surge ProtectorBest Surge Protector and Battery Backup
This surge protector is actually a UPS or uninterrupted power supply that offers surge protection. It features 10 outlets: 5 outlets offer surge protection + UPS Power Backup while the other 5 only has surge protection.
If you need guaranteed power for a number of your devices during power outages, the APC PRO BR1500G is the way to go. When the backup power kicks in, this baby gives you enough time to save your files and shut down your computer properly while still keeping your router running so you never go offline when it matters most.
The battery power is 1500 VA / 865W with a runtime of 1 hour and 13 minutes at 100 watts. It has an LCD display, a voltage regulator, and a Dataline Surge Guard. What we really love about APC (or Schneider Electric) is their excellent customer service and warranty service. Now, this is a very reliable surge protector that will keep you going even when the power’s out.
Keep in mind that it is a UPS so it’s a lot more costly to buy this one than just your traditional surge protector. It does feature a cooling fan which is slightly noisy (white noise than anything else) but it may bother some owners.
- 10 outlets
- Excellent warranty service
- Backup battery
- Cooling fan can be noisy
- Very expensive compared to other surge protectors
6. APC 11-Outlet Surge ProtectorBest Surge Protector for Gaming PC
This 11-outlet surge protector from APC has a 3020 Joule rating, sliding safety shutters, telephone and Coaxial protection, and an 8-foot cord. Out of the 11 outlets, 6 are block-spaced to accommodate bulky adapters. The cord has 180-degree rotation and a right-angle plug. One of the features that makes this stand out is the presence of 3 light indicators. Yes, three.
It has the usual protection light indicator (green) and a Controlled On indicator (green). The third light turns on when there’s a building wiring fault which means you need an electrician to check the possibility of a faulty ground or some other problem. The company offers a Lifetime warranty and $100,000 Equipment Protection Policy with this protector. While this is a great surge protector with really good features, there are certain drawbacks. Plugging into the outlets can be quite difficult.
The same goes for taking them out. Also, this protector continues to supply power even when surge protection is no longer available so you’ll need to keep an eye on that light.
- Accommodates large adapters
- 180-degree rotating 8-foot power cord
- 3 light indicators
- Plugging into the outlets are difficult
- Does not turn off when protection is gone
7. Accell Powramid USB Surge Protector – 2 USB Charging PortsBest Surge Protector with USB Ports
Looking you for a way to protect your electronic devices from unnecessary power surges? If so, then you need the Accell Powramid USB Surge Protector. It has a total of six outlets, into which you can plug different devices at the same time. This includes even those devices with heavy-duty adapters and transformers. The 2 USB charging ports are great for smartphones, tablets, and other devices. Additionally, this also acts as a wireless charger for devices with that capability.
There many reasons why this is considered the best surge protector with USB ports. It is powerful enough to provide surge protection to your devices by up to 1080 joules. The device includes a 6-foot power cord, which is heavy-duty and long-lasting. This surge is certified to be durable and is backed by a $100,000 limited warranty for connected equipment.
- Has a total of 6 power outlets
- Includes 2 USB charging ports
- Has a warranty covering connected equipment
- Doesn’t have a failsafe mode
- The on/off button is in a confusing location
- Reports of only one USB port working
8. CyberPower CSP600WSU Surge Protector
This is another uniquely designed protector. The CyberPower CSP600WSU is a direct plug-in model that features 6 swivel outlets and 2 USB ports with a shared output of up to 2.1 amp. Each side of the surge protector has 3 outlets that pivot a full 90 degrees, providing you with a great deal of flexibility. The maximum protection capacity is 1200 Joules. Two indicator lights – “Protected” and “Grounded” – can be found in the middle of the surge protector. The unit comes with a limited lifetime warranty and a $75000 Connected Equipment Warranty.
For the money, this is a great surge protector that keeps a very slim profile. However, when this unit is plugged into the wall outlet, it covers the adjacent outlet. Also, its slim profile is defeated by the presence of the USB ports in front. This means that you can’t really plug this in an outlet behind a big piece of furniture unless you don’t plan on using the USB ports. And if your charger does “rapid charging,” there’s a good chance that the output from the ports is not enough.
- Pivoting outlets
- Slim profile
- 1200 Joules
- USB ports location (on the front)
- The surge protector covers adjacent outlets
- AMPS for USB ports are too low
9. BESTEK 6-Outlet Surge Protector
This surge protector strip from Bestek features 6 outlets, a 6-foot power cord, a right-angled power plug, keyhole mounting tabs, a lighted power switch, a 15-amp circuit breaker, and a 200-joule rating. For managing the cables of your plugged devices, the unit comes with a detachable velcro cord. This is a pretty basic surge protector. There aren’t any bells and whistles.
The price is reasonable. It’s not the lowest on our list but it’s definitely budget-friendly. What makes this a standout in comparison to others is the slim profile and right-angled power plug. It can fit behind furniture, a home entertainment system, at the back of your jars on the countertop, just about anywhere; and it won’t stick out like a sore thumb or take up precious real estate.
However, the outlets aren’t spaced far enough for large adapters so they end up covering adjacent outlets. Also, this is limited to small appliances, phones, and lamps.
- Slim profile
- 15-amp circuit breaker
- Limited to small appliances, phones, lamps
- Outlets are too near each other
- Only 200 joules
10. Tripp Lite TLP26Best Surge Protector for College Dorm
The Tripp Lite 2 Outlet Surge Protector is unlike any of our other picks. First of all, it only features 2 outlets that are surge protected with a 1080 Joule rating. Second, it has 4 USB charging ports that have a total output of 4.8 amps. Third, it has a recessed cradle slot where you can place mobile devices while they are charging. Fourth, it has a diagnostic LED which will warn you if the suppressor has been compromised. If it is, the unit is designed to automatically shutoff power to the outlets to prevent unprotected power from reaching your devices.
The 6-foot cord gives you flexibility on where you can place this dock/surge protector. The unit comes with a lifetime warranty and a $50,000 insurance. You also get a Protected LED light and a Grounded LED light. However, as we said, there are only two outlets. Also, these two outlets are too near each other that large adapters will block the other outlet. The dock is great for phones and bare iPads. However, those with cases will not fit in the dock.
- Dock + surge protector combo
- 4 USB charging ports
- Automatic shutoff when the suppressor is compromised
- Only two outlets
- Large adapters will block the adjacent outlet
- IPads in cases will not fit in the dock
How to Choose the Best Surge Protector: the Ultimate Buying Guide
We often make the mistake of taking small stuff for granted. One of those is the surge protector. Sure, everyone knows that it’s necessary if you want to prevent your electronics from frying. But do we really take the time to get the best one? Isn’t one as good as another? Unfortunately, not.
Since not all protectors are made equal, then this means that some offer better features that could mean life or death to your gaming laptop, smartphone, flat-screen TV, or home entertainment system. If you want to protect your most prized possessions (let’s face it, your laptop and phone are in that category), you’ll need to make sure that the surge protector you get is the one that suits your needs best. Below is a short guide to help you learn what features to look for in your next protector.
What Exactly Does a Surge Protector do?
We all know that a surge protector ensures your electronics don’t get fried during electrical surges. But how does it do that? Any increase in normal electrical line voltage can affect the performance of your device/gadget/electrical equipment either instantly or over time. The protector absorbs all that excess voltage and channels it to the ground wire, ensuring it doesn’t reach your electronics. The internal component of the protector that performs is called metal oxide varistors (MOVs). However, there is a limit to how much energy that can be absorbed. Once a one reaches capacity, it will fail.
Is a Surge Protector and a Power Strip the Same Thing?
Contrary to what some people think, these are two different things. A power strip is designed to provide you with multiple outlets but it does not have the capability of absorbing electrical surges and spikes. Basically, it’s just an extension cord. So while they may look the same, one will save you from future headaches while the other will not.
If you’re not sure if what you’re looking at is a power strip or a surge protector, look for words like surge protection (obvious, right?), surge suppressor, fused strip, or interrupter switch. Also, if it does not have a Joules rating, it is probably just a power strip.
Types of Surge Protectors
There are three types of surge protectors. The protector strips are ones that function as an extension cord, enabling you to position it close to where your equipment/devices are. Some can even be mounted on the wall.
Wall-mount surge protectors are those that do not feature a cord. Typically small with only 1 to 6 outlets, this is ideal for travel due to its portability or if you lack space for a power strip. Whole-home protectors, on the other hand, are installed inside the main breaker of the house.
What is Joules?
Joules is the measurement of how much energy will be absorbed by the surge protector before it fails. Obviously, the higher the rating, the better the protection. It also means it’ll take longer for the capacity to be reached.
This is the voltage that triggers your surge protector to start absorbing excess energy. You’ll want something low such as 400 V or less. Unlike the Joules rating, lower is definitely better here. Anything higher than 400 V is already too much.
What is the Response Time?
Surge protectors don’t react immediately to an electrical surge or spike. There will be a very short delay between cause and effect. However, the longer the response time means the longer your stuff gets exposed to the surge/pike. You’ll need to make sure that the one you choose has the shortest amount of time you can find. If you can afford it, get one that has a reaction time of 1 nanosecond or less.
What Type of Equipment are you Protecting?
Appliances, computers, phones, and workbench tools all have different protection needs. You ‘ll have to make sure that the surge protector you choose fits the gear to ensure protection and save you money. While the most expensive protector will definitely protect your phone, it may be overkill.
Also, some gear has transformer plugs which means you will have to consider the configuration of the outlets in the surge protector. You don’t want a transformer plug blocking a much-needed outlet. Widely spaced or rotating outlets will allow you to accommodate transformer plugs as well as standard ones without sacrificing precious real estate.
How Many Ports do you Need?
Surge protectors come in a variety of shapes and sizes. You need to determine just how many electronic products you’ll be plugging into the surge suppressor. Our advice is to buy a protector with 2 more outlets than what you think you need. There’s a good chance you’ll be needing those extra outlets in the future.
How Long is the Cord?
Daisy-chaining surge protectors are a definite no-no. The same goes for using an extension cord with a protector. This is because it will not be able to guarantee your protection from electrical surges or spikes. Also, it could increase the chances of overloading the electrical circuits of your house, causing an electrical fire. You have to make sure that the surge protector’s cord is long enough to reach the closest wall outlet.
What happens when the surge protectors’ capacity is reached?
Good question. It actually depends on the model you chose. Most surge protectors come with a protection indicator light to let you know that everything is a-ok. If that light turns off, then that means that it has already reached capacity and will no longer provide protection. Some models will still continue to provide power to plugged devices and equipment even though they are no longer providing protection to said devices and equipment. Others automatically shut down when the capacity has been reached which ensures your stuff continues to be protected from surges and spikes.
What About the Warranty?
Most manufacturers offer a warranty not just on their product but on the plugged in gear as well. However, you may need to provide original receipts for everything, including any devices plugged in that did not suffer any damage. There are also a number of limitations, exclusions, and conditions in the coverage so you need to thoroughly read every single text on that paper. In short, trying to collect on the warranty coverage can mean jumping through hoops with not much of a guarantee of a payout at the end.
Other Features to Consider
Ground indicator light: this tells you if the surge protector is connected to an outlet that is properly grounded.
UL rating: this stands for Underwriters Laboratories rating. Underwriters Laboratories is an independent, not-for-profit company that conducts tests on electric and electronic products to certify their safety. A good surge protector should be certified by UL as a “transient voltage surge suppressor.” This means that the product was able to meet the minimum performance and safety standard set by the UL (UL1449) for surge protectors.
Remote control: some protectors are located in hard-to-reach places such as the back of your incredibly large home entertainment system. Having a remote control will make for easier operation.
Energy saving features: some surge protectors will automatically turn off the power on certain outlets that have plugged-in devices drawing power on standby or turned off.
Audible alarm: sounds off when the protector is no longer able to function properly. Perfect for when you can’t see the indicator light.
Timer: some models come with timers that allow you to program when the surge protector turns on or off during the day.
USB connections: some models allow you to charge mobile devices using your USB connections. It’s important that you check the output amp rating because while 1 amp is enough for a smartphone, tablets require 2 amps for fast charging.