Everyone needs a good surge protector. After all, with as many electronics as each person has, you’re going to need to make sure that your stuff remains protected against power surges, brownouts, and the like. But some of the best actually do more than just that. Some provide you with energy-saving features and built-in batteries. So, which ones have the best features that you’d need in a surge protector? We’ve found the 10 Best Surge Protectors that will be well worth the money.
Top 10 Surge Protectors of 2018 Reviewed
- Top 10 Surge Protectors of 2018 Reviewed
- 1. Belkin 12 Outlet Pivot Plug Surge Protector
- 2. APC Back-UPS Pro 1500VA UPS Battery Backup & Surge Protector
- 3. Tripp Lite 1 Outlet Portable Surge Protector
- 4. APC 11-Outlet Surge Protector
- 5. AmazonBasics 6-Outlet Surge Protector
- 6. Tripp Lite TLP1008TEL
- 7. Accell Powramid Air
- 8. CyberPower CSP600WSU Surge Protector
- 9. BESTEK 6-Outlet Surge Protector
- 10. Tripp Lite TLP26
- Surge Protector Buying Guide
- What exactly does a surge protector do?
- Is a surge protector and a power strip the same thing?
- Types of surge protectors
- What is joules?
- What is clamping voltage?
- What’s the response time?
- What type of equipment are you protecting?
- How many ports do you need?
- How long is the cord?
- What happens when the surge protector’s capacity is reached?
- What about warranty?
- Other features to consider
1. 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
2. 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
3. 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 surge 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 surge 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
4. 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 surge 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
5. 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 surge 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
6. 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 surge 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 surge 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
7. Accell Powramid AirBest Surge Protector with USB
This is a uniquely shaped surge protector that is able to accommodate large adapters in all of its 6 outlets. But that’s not all that’s hot about this one. Aside from the innovative design, this surge protector also comes with 2 surge protected USB ports with an output of up to 2.4 amps.
The unit has a 1080 Joule rating, a response time of fewer than 25 nanoseconds, and a 5-year connected equipment $100,000 limited warranty. The grounded power cord is 6 feet long. The base is skid and scratch-resistant. There’s also an on/off button, a LED power indicator, and a 15-amp circuit breaker.
And once this baby reaches max capacity, it’s Power Stop technology ensures that it will no longer conduct power to your plugged devices. It’s very slim profile makes this an ideal surge protector just about anywhere. However, its clamping voltage (L-N: 500V, L-G: 600V, N-G: 600V) is on the high side. And some owners have reported that their USB ports broke after a few months of use.
- Slim profile
- Power Stop technology
- USB ports
- Durability issues
- High clamping voltage
8. CyberPower CSP600WSU Surge Protector
This is another uniquely designed surge protector. The CyberPower CSP600WSU is a direct plug-in surge protector 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
Surge Protector 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 surge protectors are made equal, then this means that some offer better features that could mean life or death to your laptop, smartphone, 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 surge 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 surge 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 surge protector that performs is called metal oxide varistors (MOVs). However, there is a limit to how much energy that can be absorbed. Once a surge protector 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 surge protector strips are ones that function as an extension cord, enabling you to position the surge protector 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 surge 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.
What is clamping voltage?
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’s 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 surge 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 surge 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 is a definite no-no. The same goes for using an extension cord with a surge protector. This is because it will not be able to guarantee you 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 protector’s 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 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 surge 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 an 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 surge 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.