- Best Surge Protector Overall
- Best Home Theater Surge Protector
- Best High-End Surge Protector
- Best Budget Surge Protector
Best Surge Protector
While a surge protector might seem like little more than a fancy power strip, the protection they provide can be crucial for guarding your electronic devices. Their protection is usually rated in Joules, which is a measurement of energy and indicates how much of a surge they can protect against; generally a higher rating means more protection from one of these devices.
It’s important that any power outlet in a house or similar building be properly grounded to ensure a surge has somewhere to go, even with a surge protector in place. The immense power of a bolt of lightning cannot be adequately handled by a surge protector, but good protection can deal with more common power issues like surges utility provider or other local sources. Read through the surge protector buyer’s guide below for information to help you pick the best model to safeguard your setup.
Best Surge Protector Overall:
When looking for a best, overall surge protector, consider the features it provides in total. First of all, the protection rating for the device needs to be high enough that it offers some actual protection. You really want to look for models that offer a rating of about 3,000 Joules or more. It is also helpful to look at the length of the cords and how many outlets they offered, as well as how those outlets were arranged so that you can plug in as many of your devices as possible for protection.
We've chosen these best surge protectors overall because they have at minimum of 3,000 Joules of protection which should keep your hardware safe against most surge events. You get at least eight outlets on these protectors which is ideal for both elaborate computer setups and home entertainment systems. All of these models have at least eight-foot long cords to give you flexibility in how you setup your system and hardware. You also get indicator lights on each of these surge protectors so that you can tell it is properly working and your system is safe.
This is a tremendous surge protector that offers everything you could want in a simple, elegant piece of equipment. It has a very high protection rating, as well as 12 outlets and a nice, long 10 foot cord. There are two indicator lights that let you know it is working properly and protection for phone lines and coaxial connections. Read Full Review
This option from CyberPower is an excellent model that gives you great features and has just about everything you could want. You get terrific protection from this model and it has 12 outlets, including four that are spaced apart for larger plugs. With an eight-foot cord and two indicator lights, this is a great option that should work in just about any setup. Read Full Review
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This is, in many respects, quite comparable to something like the CyberPower CSHT1208TNC2, but it's not quite as good in a few major ways. The protection rating on this surge protector is high, though there are models with higher ratings. This surge protector only has 10 outlets, but they are arranged quite well. Read Full Review
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This is an interesting design from Tripp Lite that includes eight outlets, three of which are designed for larger plugs such as those with transformers in them and the units cord itself is a very generous 10-feet in length. This model offers about 3,000 Joules of protection and includes two indicator lights. Read Full Review
Here is a great, straightforward surge protector that works well and includes a few extra features without giving you anything you don’t need. It has over 3,000 Joules of protection and 10 outlets, plus coaxial, phone, and network connections. The 10-foot cord gives you great freedom in setting up your system and it has a pair of indicator lights. Read Full Review
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Best Home Theater Surge Protector:
In considering at different surge protectors for a home theater setup, the first thing you should look at is the protection rating for each model. You want to find a good amount of protection, to make sure your equipment is properly protected. Beyond that, however, you should also look for great additional features and design elements that make these particular models excel in a home theater setting. They need to have enough outlets for all of your components, with additional features like outlet labeling and information displays that help make them easier to use than other models.
We've chosen these best home theater surge protectors because they have at least 2,000 Joules of protection for your HDTV and other hardware. They a minimum of at least eight outlets which should be enough for your entertainment system or home theater, and most include labeling options. You also get coaxial connectors on each of these picks which protect your system from surges through that line. All of these models also have cords that are at least five feet long which should be sufficient for a home theater setup and feature indicator lights or displays that let you know your system is safe and the surge protector is working properly.
You get a massive amount of protection of over 4,000 Joules with this model to keep your HDTV and other hardware safe. 12 outlets give you all the connections you could need and six of them are positioned for larger plugs. The six-foot cord is great for any setup and this model includes coaxial and Ethernet connections along with two indicator lights. Read Full Review
This is a solid choice that doesn't offer quite as much protection as the Belkin 12-Outlet Surge Protector, but is still quite effective. It includes color-coded labels for each device, and has enough 10 outlets for just about any setup. You also get phone and Ethernet connections along with three sets of coaxial connectors. Read Full Review
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If you prefer a console design, rather than a traditional surge protector, then give this one a good look. It has an excellent protection rating and eight outlets for a wide range of home theater devices. You also get coaxial and networking ports for additional protection along with an LED display and indicator lights. Read Full Review
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Pretty comparable to a lot of other home theater surge protectors out there, this is a great model with a simple, isobar design. You get 10 outlets and a pretty good protection rating with this model though it doesn't have as many secondary connections as some other ones on the market. The simple design is easy to set up and use so it's definitely worth considering. Read Full Review
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This is a pretty straightforward home theater power supply but it has just enough features to make it stand out compared to some other models out there. It has eight outlets (three of which are set apart for larger connections) but it's worth noting that four of them are switched outlets. This one has a somewhat low protection rating at only 2,160 Joules, but that should still be enough for the needs of most users. Read Full Review
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Best High-End Surge Protector:
For high-end surge protectors, first and foremost you should look for maximum protection, which typically comes down to the highest rating in terms of Joules. High end models should protect for over 3,000 Joules, which is a significant portion of a power surge event. While a bolt of lightning certainly puts out more energy than that, these devices can protect you from surges from your power provider and other sources. Beyond the basic protection they provide you also want to find surge protectors that have a lot of outlets so that you can plug in all the devices you need. A long cord is important, which gives you some flexibility in where you set up your surge protector.
We've chosen these best high end surge protectors because all of them give you at least 3,800 Joules of protection which can handle just about any surge event short of a lightning strike. All of these models have at least eight outlets which is enough for a computer setup or home entertainment system, at least eight-foot cords to give you great options for setting up your system, and indicator lights that help you ensure they are functioning properly.
There are a lot of great features with this surge protector, including great protection at over 6,000 Joules of protection. This one also has lots of outlets and a nice long cord to make setup easy. Rather than an indicator light, this one has a display that lets you ensure proper functionality. Read Full Review
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This is a truly impressive high end surge protector that is a great solution for a computer setup, home theater, or other area where you need to protect your electronics. The protection rating on it is excellent at over 4,000 Joules and it gives you a high number of outlets, each with covers for when they're not in use. Read Full Review
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This is a great choice for a home office or similar setup, with terrific protection and some great options overall. It has a very high protection rating, and 12 outlets for your devices. It also has a 10 foot cord which should be more than sufficient in many settings and includes connections for coaxial cables and Ethernet. Read Full Review
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Some great features all come together in this surge protector to make up a solid model. It has almost 4,000 Joules of protection and includes 10 outlets, including four spaced apart for larger plugs. You get an eight-foot cord and three diagnostic LEDs so you always know that your system is protected. Read Full Review
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While this may not be the very best high end surge protector, this model has a few great features that make it a solid option for any setup. It has a high protection rating and a 12 foot cord that should work in just about any office. It only has eight outlets, but there's a remote on/off switch on a cord that you can use to easily turn the protector off and on. Read Full Review
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Best Budget Surge Protector:
In looking at budget surge protectors, look for really affordable options for your home or office that still provide solid protection. There are surge protectors available for less than $10 that are little more than power strips and offer no real protection against a potential surge. While these models don't offer ratings as high as some high-performance models, they can still keep your electronics safe against many power surges. All of these come in at about $30 or less, and you might be able to find them for quite a bit less than that during a good sale.
We've chosen these best budget surge protectors because they all provide at least 1,500 Joules of suppression which can protect your equipment from a wide range of surge events. They all have at least six outlets which should be enough for most setups, though some of them do have more. You also get indicator lights on each of these models so you can tell that your system is protected and that the surge protector is functioning properly.
This is an excellent surge protector for the price and gives you performance and options that you can find on much more expensive models. With a rating of over 3,000 Joules and eight outlets, you can use this model for a computer setup, home entertainment center, or other use when surge protection is required. This model has a six-foot cord and indicator lights that let you know it's grounded and functioning properly. Read Full Review
In many ways, this surge protector is as good as, or better than, anything you can find in a budget price range. It has a very high protection rating, 12 outlets, an eight-foot cord, and connections for both phone and coaxial lines. The only real issue with this one is that it has a suggested retail price of $50 from Belkin, but you can typically find it for about half that price from retailers. Read Full Review
This model has a lower protection rating than some other models on the market, but it still offers enough protection for many setups. It has eight outlets, with four designed for larger plugs, and a six foot power cord. There are also connections for coaxial lines and phone lines with this model and indicators for power and grounding. Read Full Review
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The protection rating on this budget surge protector is less than half that of some other models out there but it's still a good choice. It is a direct plug-in design so there's no extra cord but you need to have a wall outlet close to your electronics. There are only six outlets on this model, but they can swivel to give you various angles for the cords you need to connect to it along with two diagnostic LEDs. Read Full Review
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While CyberPower is well known for their high-end surge protectors, their budget models are somewhat more limited. This one has a pretty good protection rating and seven outlets that are easy to use, including three energy-saving outlets. It has a five-foot cord, connections for a phone line, and two indicator lights. Read Full Review
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Surge Protector Buyer's Guide
Although picking a surge protector might initially seem simple, there are actually quite a few considerations to keep in mind before making a choice. Perhaps the single most important factor is the suppression rating, which indicates how much power the device protects your electronics from. You should also look at other considerations like the number of outlets, cord length, and other connections for devices or cables the surge protector can help defend. Noise filtering, clamping voltage, and additional safety features are all important in protecting your system more completely to prevent damage to your computer or other electronics.
Arguably the single most important consideration when looking at a surge protector is its suppression rating, which indicates how much power it can protect your system from in case of a surge. This rating is expressed in Joules, a unit for measuring energy, with higher values indicating greater protection. At the very minimum, you should look for a model with a rating of at least about 1,000 Joules or just a bit over it. 2,000 to 3,000 Joules is definitely preferable, and if you are really concerned about surges through your power lines, then look for a model with a rating over 3,000 or even 4,000 Joules.
Number of Outlets
While power suppression is incredibly important, all the protection possible is meaningless if you do not have enough outlets for all of your devices. The best way to determine how many outlets you need is to look at the devices you plan on plugging into the surge protector at that outlet. From there you can choose a model with one or two more available outlets. This gives you enough connections for all of your devices, plus some options for expanding your system or plugging in temporary devices.
If you’re not sure how many devices you’ll have plugged in together, then go for a surge protector with at least seven or eight outlets, although a dozen or more is definitely a better choice. Also be sure to pick a model with at least one (preferably two or three) outlets specifically for larger plugs; this helps you avoid using up two outlets for a single device.
This may not be a major issue, but it’s definitely worth considering. The length of the cord on your surge protector can help eliminate excess clutter or make it easier to set up your entire system. If all of your devices are close to a wall outlet, a shorter cord minimizes the extra cable you have between the wall and your surge protector. Conversely, look for a model with at least six feet of cable if you have a setup where extra reach is necessary. This ultimately comes down to your set up, so choose the protector with the right cord length for your arrangement.
Your first priority when choosing a surge protector may be available electrical outlets, but you should consider other connections too. If your protector will be near a cable modem or other cable cord you will be using, then look for a surge protector that includes a cable connection. This lets you run your cable signal through the protector, protecting your devices from surges that can come in along that line. Similarly, if you have a phone line near the area, choose a surge protector that has in and out phone connections so you can protect your telephone equipment. Other connections, like Ethernet ports, are also beneficial to protect your entire network from potential surges.
EMI/RFI Noise Filtering
Power surges may be your primary concern when choosing a surge protector, but many models also include filtering to reduce electromagnetic noise through your system. This is especially beneficial if you run networking cables through your surge protector since noise elimination can help improve a networking signals fidelity and clarity. Look for noise filtering of at least up to 50dB, though 75dB is better and helps keep signals clear of a lot of noise.
The clamping voltage of a surge protector indicates at what point it will divert power away from your devices and protect them from a surge. Fluctuations of voltage through power cables and from outlets is not uncommon, so surge protectors do not immediately go into action at any increase. Instead, there is a value known as the clamping voltage, and whenever voltage goes above this level, the surge protector steps in to keep your devices safe.
There are three common voltages: 330 V, 400 V, and 500 V. Lower values are better since you don’t want a surge protector to ignore too much, so 330 V is really ideal but 400 V is also acceptable. Avoid any surge protectors with a clamping voltage of 500 V.
Detachable cables are a great safety feature you should look for when picking a surge protector. This lets you more easily store a protector when not in use, and also prevents tripping over cables. You should also look for a surge protector that includes outlet covers, either ones that slide into place or removable ones. By covering unused outlets, it reduces the likelihood of accidental insertions from say, a curious youngster holding a metal fork. Such features are really ideal in a household with small children, but even in a professional setting they can be valuable.
Manufacturers and Warranty
As you consider different surge protectors, look for well known manufacturers that deliver quality products that are reliable over long-term use. Companies like Belkin, CyberPower, and Tripp Lite all produce excellent surge protectors that live up to the specifications indicated on the models they make. Fellowes and APC are also good companies that make a wide range of different surge protectors.
Look for a surge protector with at least a five-year warranty, though you can find many models with lifetime warranties. One thing to keep in mind, however, is that surge protectors can only handle a certain number of surges, after which they function as a power strip but no longer offer protection. Models with indicator lights let you know if you need to replace it or if it is still working properly.