We may earn a commission if you make a purchase through one of our links. Learn more

Tech Accessories

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.

Belkin 12-Outlet Surge Protector (P-BSQ1200-06)

There is a lot to like about this home theater surge protector, starting with a rating of 4,320 Joules, which should keep your hardware safe from just about all surge events. You get 12 outlets on this model (more than enough for even an elaborate home theater) and six of them are positioned for large plugs such as those that include a transformer. For additional protection you also get coaxial cable connectors, Ethernet connections, and even two USB ports to protect your system from additional surge opportunities. The six-foot cable should be long enough for just about any setup and includes a right-angle plug that makes it easy to plug this into an outlet behind a piece of furniture. You also get two indicator lights which let you know that the surge protector is grounded and protecting your hardware.

Tripp Lite HT10DBS Surge Suppressor

This home theater surge protector has a protection rating of 3,840 Joules, which is pretty impressive, though there are protectors out there with higher ratings. It still offers a great amount of protection overall, and can keep your equipment safe from a wide range of potential surges. It has 10 outlets, which should be enough for just about any setup, and each outlet is labeled and color-coded. There are also three sets of coaxial in/out connectors, and plugs for a phone line and Ethernet cables. The eight-foot cable is nice and long, making this a great option if you do not have an outlet right at your home theater location, and includes a right-angle plug for easy use. There are three diagnostic LEDs on this model, which let you know your system is protected, has power, and that the outlet is grounded.

Monoprice 9290 8 Outlet Home Theatre Power Center

This is a pretty simple, slick home theater surge protectors with a console design that makes it a great addition to just about any entertainment setup. It has a protection rating of 3,500 Joules which isn't the highest on the market but is still very good. There's an LED display that shows you information about incoming power levels which lets you keep an eye on just what's going on with your system, along with indicator lights that let you know it has power, is grounded, and protecting your hardware. Of the eight outlets, four of them are switched and four of them are always-on; this means that four outlets are designed so that three of the devices plugged into them only have power when you turn on the other master device like your tv. While this is a great setup for conserving power, keep in mind not everyone likes that kind of switched setup. There are two sets of coaxial connections and a pair of networking ports for terrific overall protection.

Tripp Lite AVBAR10 Isobar Audio Video 10 Outlet Surge Protector

In many ways this home theater surge protector is quite comparable to the HT10DBS from Tripp Lite though there are a few noteworthy differences. This model offers only a 3,384 Joule protection rating which is quite good but certainly not as high as some other models on the market. You get 10 outlets that are color-coded and four of them are spaced out for larger plugs. While it does have three sets of coaxial connections, you only get one set of Ethernet and one set of telephone connections. For most setups, that probably won't be a major issue, but if you know that you need more networking connections then you should consider another model with more jacks. The eight-foot cord is very long, making it easy to place this surge protector just about anywhere and it has a right-angle plug for your convenience. There are three diagnostic LEDs on this model which let you know the system has powered, grounded, and working to keep your hardware protected.

Monster MP HT 800G Home Theater PowerCenter with Monster GreenPower

This surge protector offers a decent amount of protection, with a rating of 2,160 Joules, which is definitely better than a lot of surge protectors or power strips out there. This model has eight power outlets which should be enough for most home theater setups with three of the outlets set apart with wide spacing so it's perfect for larger plugs (such as those with built-in transformers). One thing to keep in mind is that four of the outlets are switched outlets, meaning that three of them rely on the other one to be on for power to run to their devices. While this helps cut down on power consumption when not in use, it could be a problem for some home theater setups. There's also a set of in/out coaxial connections and plugs for a phone line with all of the outlets and connections labeled and color-coded, so you can easily see what's plugged into each one. Like our other picks, this unit has indicator lights which let you know it's grounded and protecting your hardware.

Belkin 8-Outlet Surge Protector (P-BSQ800-06)

Belkin 8-Outlet Surge Protector (P-BSQ800-06)

There is a lot to like about this surge protector, starting with 3,500 Joules of protection at a remarkably affordable price. That’s a suppression rating comparable to protectors that are more than twice the price of this one. You also get eight outlets on this model including two that are separate, making them ideal for larger plugs and even phone-line protection. The six-foot cord on this one should be good enough for most setups and it has a right-angle plug that fits easily behind a desk or other piece of furniture. There are two indicator lights on this surge protector, with one letting you know the device is working properly to protect your hardware and the other indicates the outlet is safely grounded.

Belkin BE112230-08 12-Outlet Home/Office Surge Protector

This offering from Belkin is about as good as it gets, but the price is a bit unreliable for a budget model. You get an energy rating of 3,940 Joules with this model which is even more than the amount of protection offered by the Belkin P-BSQ800-06. This surge protector has 12 outlets, with six of them positioned in a way that makes them ideal for larger plugs and the other six clearly designed for standard-sized connections. There are also in/out phone and coaxial lines on this model to protect your data lines from damaging your equipment in the event of a surge. The only real issue with this model is the price; Belkin suggests a $50 price tag which is reasonable, but high for a budget surge protector although you can usually find it for $30 or less from retailers. You get two indicator lights on this model that let you know it's protecting your hardware and that your outlet is properly grounded.

V7 SA0806B-8N6 8 Outlet 1800 Joules Surge Protector

The supression rating on this budget surge protector is only 1,800 Joules, which is about half of the rating of some high-end protectors, but still better than a lot of cheap models. This one has a great design overall, with a total of eight outlets, four of which are set aside from the rest and spaced out enough for larger plugs. If you have a number of peripherals with transformer plugs, this can be quite helpful. There are connections for in and out coaxial lines, to protect your modem or a nearby television, as well as one in and two out-lines for a telephone and fax machine. This surge protector has a six foot power cord which should be sufficient in most situations, but it isn't the longest option available. Two LED indicators let you know that your system is protected by this model and that your outlet is grounded.

Tripp Lite Protect It! SWIVEL6 6-Outlet Surge Suppressor

While the protection rating on this model only comes in at 1,500 Joules, that's still quite a bit higher than many cheap surge protectors that are really little more than power strips. This device still provides some protection against surges from your power company or similar external sources. The major difference between this budget surge protector and a lot of others on the market is that this one has no cord, and instead plugs directly into your wall outlet. This is great if your desk or electronics are close to an outlet, as it eliminates an extra cord but it can be ineffective if your outlet is far from your devices. There are only six outlets on this device and none of them are spaced out for larger plugs but they can be "swiveled" to change their angle. This lets you more easily plug various items into them without the cords or plugs getting in the way of each other. Two diagnostic LEDs let you easily see if this device is protecting your hardware and warns you if your outlet isn't properly grounded.

CyberPower 7050SG Energy Saving Surge Suppressor

This model has a decent protection rating, though it's not quite as high as some budget surge protectors. You get a suppression rating of 2,250 Joules, which is somewhere in between the very best and the lowest acceptable ratings. There are seven outlets on this pick which should be enough for a single-computer setup, but might be insufficient for a desk with multiple computers or if you have a lot of peripherals. Of these seven outlets, one is set apart for a large plug (such as one with a transformer in it) which lets you still use the other six for standard-sized plugs. Three of the outlets are energy efficient so they rely on a master plug to shut down hardware that's not in use. While this surge protector doesn't have connections for a coaxial line, there is a single phone-in connection and two phone-out ports for a telephone and fax machine. Two diagnostic lights let you know it's protecting your hardware and that your outlet is grounded.

Tripp Lite 10 Outlet Eco-Surge Protector

This is a tremendous surge protector that gives you an insane amount of protection and just about everything else you could want. It has a protection rating of 6,480 Joules, which is far more than most other models and will protect your hardware from most common surge events short of a lightning strike. There are 10 outlets on the back of this protector, including two that are spaced out for larger plugs, along with Ethernet and phone connections, plus six total coaxial connections. This pick also has an eight-foot cable which swivels to make it easier to setup your system. This model includes three diagnostic LEDs that indicate power, protection, and grounded status. There is also an illuminated LED panel that gives you real time amperage readings of some of the outlets to help you avoid power overloads. All of this comes together to make a terrific high-end surge protector that is ideal for use with just about any setup.

CyberPower Home Theater Series CSHT1208TNC2G Surge Suppressor

While high end surge protectors are something of a niche market, this one really stands out as an example of how to do everything right. The protection rating on this model is excellent at 4,350 Joules, which is about as high as you'll probably need. You get 12 outlets with this model plus connections for coaxial and networking lines as well as an 8 foot cord so you can position it just about anywhere. The only real potential problem with this surge protector is that 6 of the outlets are controlled by a "master" outlet. When the device in that master outlet is turned off, it turns off the other controlled devices. The only potential issue with this protector is that half of the outlets are "controlled" to reduce power consumption, which can be problematic in some setups. You get two indicator lights on this model that let you know when your system is protected and grounded.

Belkin BE112234-10 12 Outlet Home/Office Surge Protector

This is a great choice for just about anything from a home office to a home theater setup with a lot of devices that all need protecting. In terms of raw protection, this is one of the best models out there with a rating of 3,996 Joules which should protect you from a wide range of surge incidents. It has 10 feet of cord which should be more than enough for a wide range of offices and entertainment rooms, in addition to a right-angle plug that lets this unit fit easily behind a desk. This model has 12 outlets for devices including 6 that are spaced out for larger plugs. There's a phone-in connection and two phone-out plugs for a telephone and fax, as well as connections for coaxial cable and Ethernet. Two indicator lights on this surge protector let you know that your hardware is protected and also warn you if your outlet is not properly grounded.

Tripp Lite Isobar 10-Outlet Home/Business Surge Protector (HT10DBS)

This surge protector gives you excellent protection with suppression for up to 3,840 Joules, which is about as good as you could want. The all metal construction helps keep this model durable over long-term use and also helps it withstand surges and continue functioning. There are 10 outlets on this model, four of which are separated for larger plugs, in/out connections for both phone and networking cables, and three sets of coaxial connectors. The eight-foot cord is great for computer and entertainment system setups, plus it has a right-angle plug that is easy to fit behind a desk or television stand. You also get three diagnostic LEDs that indicate power, protection, and grounded status so you can tell your system is protected and everything is running properly. There are also colored plug labels on this surge protector, so it is easy to tell what device you have plugged into each outlet.

Tripp Lite Isobar 8 Outlet 120V Surge Suppressor

This is a great choice for an office or similar setting, since it provides great overall protection and some nice extra features. The protection rating on this one is quite solid, at 3,840 Joules, which is perfect for a home or business. It has a 12 foot cord that lets you position it in a wide range of locations behind a desk or in a similar position where it won't be accidently kicked or hit. There are only eight outlets on this surge protector and none of them are set apart for larger plugs. However, Tripp Lite makes up for this a bit with a corded remote control that lets you turn the surge protector on and off. It has a nine-foot cord and can easily be mounted on a wall; this is a pretty unique feature that lets you switch the protector (and all devices connected to it) on or off  without needing to crawl under or reach behind your desk. The power switch is illuminated so you know that it is still providing protection and not simply acting as a power strip.

Belkin BE112234-10 12 Outlet Home/Office Surge Protector

This is a great choice for just about anything from a home office to a home theater setup with a lot of devices that all need protecting. In terms of raw protection, this is one of the best models out there with a rating of 3,996 Joules which should protect you from a wide range of surge incidents. It has 10 feet of cord which should be more than enough for a wide range of offices and entertainment rooms, in addition to a right-angle plug that lets this unit fit easily behind a desk. This model has 12 outlets for devices including 6 that are spaced out for larger plugs. There's a phone-in connection and two phone-out plugs for a telephone and fax, as well as connections for coaxial cable and Ethernet. Two indicator lights on this surge protector let you know that your hardware is protected and also warn you if your outlet is not properly grounded.

CyberPower CSHT1208TNC2 Home Theater 12-Outlets Surge Suppressor NET, and AV protection

This is a terrific surge protector that does just about everything right, with no unnecessary features or secondary issues that detract from its value. It has a protection rating of 3,150 Joules, which isn't the highest of any similar model, but it's good enough to protect you from a wide range of surge events. One of the best things about this surge protector is that it includes 12 outlets which give you more options than a lot of other models. Eight of the outlets are positioned close to each other for easy reach, while the other four are spaced out for larger plugs, such as those that include transformers. Each outlet also has a cover that you can easily slide over them to keep unused outlets clean and free of dust. The eight-foot cord on this model should be long enough for most setups and it has a right-angle plug to fit easily behind any piece of furniture. This surge protector includes connections for coaxial, phone, and networking cables for terrific overall protection, and it has two indicator lights to let you know your hardware is protected and the outlet is grounded.

Tripp Lite TLP1008TELTV Surge Protector

This surge protector offers 3,345 Joules of protection, which isn't the highest protection available, but should be sufficient for a lot of situations. This model gives you 10 outlets, which should be enough for many computer setups and entertainment systems, but they lack extra features like covers or color coding. Four of them are spaced out for larger plugs that include transformers and the other six are together for standard ones which is a very user-friendly arrangement. There are in and out connections for a coaxial line as well as phone input and out-lines for a telephone and fax machine but there's no Ethernet protection which may be essential for some computer setups. You get an eight-foot cord which makes this a great option for a wide range of setups and two indicator lights let you know that it is grounded properly and protecting your hardware.

Tripp Lite Protect It! 8-Outlet A/V Surge Protector (AV810)

An unusual but effective design from Tripp Lite makes this a great choice for a small home office or similar setup. It has eight outlets which should be enough for a single computer but might be insufficient if you have a lot of peripherals or multiple computers at one desk. Three of the outlets on this surge protector are designed for larger plugs which is great if you have a printer and other devices that have transformers with all of them including sliding covers. It has a protection rating of 3,240 Joules which is quite nice and should be enough for most systems and surge events. The 10-foot cord on this model is quite long to give you a lot of options for where you place this model. You get two telephone connections and four coaxial connectors on this surge protector which gives you a lot of options for protecting your hardware. Two indicator lights let you know that your system is protected and grounded.

Fellowes 99115 10-Outlet Power Guard Surge Protector

This is a simple, well-designed surge protector that works well and includes some great features. It offers 3,300 Joules of protection, which should handle a wide range of surge events and keep your hardware safe. You get 10 outlets on this model though none of them are spaced out for larger plugs which is probably the one real weakness of this one. The outlets are all color-coded to make it easy to keep track of what device you have plugged in and there are also connections for phone, networking, and coaxial cables. The 10 foot cable gives you a lot of options for where you place this surge protector and it has a right-angle plug for easy use around furniture. Additionally, there are two indicator lights that let you know it's properly grounded and protecting your hardware.

Buyer's Guide

 

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.

Suppression Rating

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.

Cord Length

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.

Additional Connections

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.

Clamping Voltage

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.

Safety Features

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.

Greg Wiesen
With an AA in Computer Animation, I have spent years building computers and playing video games. I learned early on that the best way to figure out a new software program was to just start pushing buttons and see what happens (saving often, of course), and that is still my philosophy. From hard drives and motherboards to graphics cards and "holographic" keyboards, I enjoy checking out and playing with all the tech I can get my hands on. I have written hundreds of informative computer and technology articles in the past, and I believe that anyone can understand and use a computer. I'll worry about research and trying out different hardware, you just enjoy the results.
Related
Go to top