Fri. Feb 23rd, 2024


Don’t risk it: You need a surge protector to save your electronics from power surges. The right surge protector can take a beating and will protect your gadgets even after it fails. We’ll help you pick the best ones for your situation.


UPDATE: 01/19/2024

We’ve reviewed our recommendations and have updated our picks for the best surge protector, and best wall surge protector.

What to Look For in a Surge Protector in 2024

How well a surge protector shields connected devices depends on many factors, chief among them being the design. Most options on the market use efficient and cost-effective Metal Oxide Varistors (MOVs), which receive and divert excess voltage from your equipment. But this causes them to take the brunt of the surge, making them degrade over time—they’re essentially sacrificial components.

However, some more expensive options use newer systems that ditch sacrificial parts for components that block excess voltage instead. This model shields both your devices and the surge protector, allowing the latter to last longer on average than its MOV counterparts.

Another factor to consider when buying a surge protector is the joule rating. It’s more important for MOV-based systems and is an indicator of the amount of energy and the number of surges a protector can take before it fails—so, the higher is better.

There’s also a clamping value that measures how much voltage is let through to your appliances in a single spike, with most surge protectors ranging from 333 to 500 volts—but the lower the number, the better. Meanwhile, many surge suppressors include a circuit breaker that trips if a high enough voltage manages to get through, adding an extra layer of protection.

Just as important as the protection mechanism is what happens when the device becomes compromised. Most quality surge protectors have a built-in kill switch that makes them inoperable if they can no longer provide protection. Others continue to work as ordinary power strips without any protective benefits. This defeats the purpose of having a protector in the first place and puts your devices at risk. All the units on our list either have an emergency stop system or LEDs notifying you once components inside are degraded.

Finally, a warranty is worth considering should a surge suppressor fail to act as it should. Many companies promise long-term warranties that cover failures. But make sure you note down all the details if it does, or it may be difficult to collect.

Our list comprises some of the best surge protectors available, so keep reading on to find the best one for you.

How Did We Research

Models Evaluated

Hours Researched

Reviews Analyzed

20

8

12

How-To Geek’s product recommendations come from the same team of experts that have helped people fix their gadgets over one billion times. We only recommend the best products based on our research and expertise. We never accept payment to endorse or review a product. Read More »

Tripp Lite TLP1208 SAT Surge Protector on a gradient background
Tripp Lite

Pros

Cons

High joule rating with low clamping voltage

No USB ports

LED status indicator with auto shutoff feature

Ports may be tight initially

✓2 well-spaced outlets and coaxial ports

$250k Tripp Lite warranty

If you’re worried about lightning, surges, and spikes damaging your expensive electronics, the Tripp Lite TLP1208 SAT is the product you want. It’s easily one of the best surge protectors currently available and ticks all the essential boxes, including up to 2,880 Joules of guaranteed surge protection against electrical damages.

The TLP1208 SAT is UL-listed with a verified clamping voltage of approximately 182.2V, making it one of the safest and most trusted options on the market. Additionally, its powerful automatic shutoff feature automatically cuts the power supply to your equipment when the unit has been compromised, offering excellent protection for your devices.

With 12 well-spaced outlets, you can conveniently connect and protect your electronic devices. It also comes with dual Type F coaxial gold connectors and 1-line telephone, modem, or Ethernet cable input. The Tripp Lite TLP1208 SAT also comes with diagnostic LED indicators and audible alarms that let you know your protection status easily.

The TLP1208 SAT surge suppressor features a low profile design and lays flat with keyhole options for wall mounting. It comes with an 8ft AC power cord that allows you to reach distant wall outlets. The manufacturer even promises $250,000 equipment protection insurance and a limited lifetime warranty for damages from a power surge.

tripp lite surge protector

Tripp Lite TLP1208 SAT Surge Protector

Best Overall Surge Protector

An all-purpose surge suppressor that ticks all the boxes as far as protection, versatility, price, and warranty goes.

APC Surge Protector P6W on a gradient background
APC

Pros

Cons

✓ 1080 Joules surge protection

✗ No USB ports

✓ 6 well-spaced side-facing outlets for convenience

✓ UL listed with auto shutoff function

If you prefer a surge protector without a cable and that plugs directly into a wall outlet, the APC Surge Arrest Wall Surge Protector is a solid option. This small but mighty multi-plug surge protector offers up to 1080 Joules of surge protection for your electronic devices.

Featuring six well-spaced side-facing outlets, the APC Surge Arrest P6W allows you to safely connect and protect your most essential electronic devices in an orderly way. Its low-profile design and wall mounting screw allow it to hang tight and sit flush against the wall.

The APC Surge Arrest P6W is UL listed with a Let-Through Voltage rating of 300V, making it one of the safest options out there. It also comes with a protection status LED indicator as well as a building wiring fault LED indicator.

The APC Surge Arrest P6W automatically cuts power supply to your equipment when the unit has been compromised, further protecting your connected devices. What’s more, it comes with a $50,000 connected equipment protection policy and a lifetime APC warranty.

APC Surge Protector P6W pfp on transparent background

APC Surge Arrest Wall Surge Protector

Best Wall Surge Protector

The APC Surge Arrest P6W is a compact but powerful wall surge protector that ticks all the boxes as far as protection, versatility, price, and warranty goes.

Furman surge protector on pink background
Furman

Pros

Cons

✓ Unrivaled surge protection ability

✗ Pricey

✓ Lasts longer than most of the competition

✗ No USB port

✓ Sturdy aluminum design and an 8-foot cord

Our best surge protector overall will easily protect most devices. But if you have really costly equipment such as gaming PCs you’ll want something more powerful to make sure your expensive equipment doesn’t get fried. In that case, the Furman Power Station 8 (PST-8) is for you.

Unlike most surge protectors that use Metal Oxide Varistors (MOVs) to divert surge current, the Furman PST-8 uses Series Multi-Stage Protection Plus (SMP+) that provides great surge filtering alongside an automatic shutdown circuit that cuts off the power when a surge is detected. This setup protects both your appliances and the surge protector, allowing it to last longer in theory than MOV-based options.

Physically, the device is huge (mostly long) and stands out in any setup, so it’s difficult to hide under a desk or behind an entertainment center. But it should feel right at home beside the average large and LED-lit gaming PC. It has eight AC outlets, two cable satellite ports, and two telecom connectors, so you can plug all of your components in on it.

However, all of these upgrades come at a high cost, with this surge protector costing easily double the price of most of the other recommendations on this list. It’s worth it, though, for how expensive gaming PCs are to buy or build.

furman surge protector

Furman Power Station 8 (PST-8)

Best Surge Protector for Gaming PCs

Knocks down surges like a champ, but it’s excessive unless you have high-end equipment like gaming PCs.

Best Surge Protector for Home Theaters: APC Surge Protector

APC Surge Protector on pink and yellow background
APC

Pros

Cons

✓ 11 total power surge protector outlets

✗ Not gigabit Ethernet certified

✓ 8′ cord with 180 degree rotation and right angle plug

✗ Lacks USB ports

✓ $100,000 in equipment protection

The APC Surge Protector is your best bet if you need a surge protector for a home theater system. It houses eleven AC outlets, a coaxial port, and one telephone/LAN outlet. Unfortunately, it lacks USB ports, but when it comes to hooking up home theater equipment, USB ports aren’t the most important outlet on a surge protector.

The APC provides essential surge, spike, and lightning protection for your electronic devices, features 6 outlets that are block spaced for larger adapters, and has an eight-inch cord with 180-degree rotation and a right-angle plug.

It comes with the company’s lifetime warranty, which covers up to $100,000 in equipment protection for AC power, cable, telephone, or lightning surge damages. This is one of the best warranties for surge protectors, so if something happens, you know you’ll be able to replace your electronics.

APC Surge Protector P11VT3

APC Surge Protector

Best Surge Protector for Home Theaters

$40 $45 Save $5

The APC Surge Protector features Telephone, DSL and Coaxial Protection, as well as 11 total power surge protector outlets.

Tripp Lite Traveller on grey background
Tripp Lite

Pros

Cons

✓ Portable design

✗ No USB port

✓ High joule rating for the price

The Tripp Lite 2 Traveler is a great choice for a travel companion. It’s small enough to fit in just about any bag and can shrink even further courtesy of the retractable three-prong plug. It’s also very light at less than four ounces, so you can afford to toss the Traveler in a bag and have it whenever you need it.

Tripp Lite’s compact device has two AC outlets that can easily charge your laptop and phone on the go, alongside DSL and telephone ports. An intuitive design sees both ports placed on either side of the device, ensuring you can take advantage of both simultaneously.

Its 1,050-joule rating is generous for its size and should keep your devices safe while on a journey. Just pay attention to the diagnostic light to know when to replace it.

The Tripp Lite Portable Surge Protector is UL-rated and backed by the company’s $50,000 damage protection offer—if something happens while traveling, you know you’ll be covered.

tripp Lite 2

Tripp Lite Portable Surge Protector

Best Travel Surge Protector

The small footprint and lightweight build make it convenient to carry along on trips.

APC surge protector on pink background
APC

Pros

Cons

✓ Enough battery to keep multiple devices running for a while after a blackout

✗ High cost

✓ Easily replaceable battery

✗ No USB port

✓ Battery stacking capability for longer use

If you want a surge protector that doubles as a UPS to keep your PC running during a power outage, the APC UPS Battery Backup Surge Protector is one of the best options available. It has a rating of 1,500VA/865W that can last from a few minutes to several hours depending on whether you have your TV, PC, and other large gadgets or just some routers plugged in. The device has ten outlets, all of which are surge protected; however, only five can tap from the battery power.

The system has an automatic voltage regulator that instantly corrects voltage fluctuations without taking a toll on the battery. Unfortunately, it also has a beeping sound characteristic of UPSs, but you can silence it with a front panel soft key.

If you’re one to monitor your battery, there’s a small LCD with plenty of information at a glance. But if you want to see all the nitty-gritty, the bundled Windows PC power-management software will give you just that.

You can also get an extra battery backup if you have more devices or want to power your appliances for longer. And once you’ve used the surge protector for a while and the battery health begins to deteriorate, you can easily swap out the battery cell with a replacement.

apc 1500va

APC UPS Battery Backup Surge Protector

Best Battery Backup Surge Protector

An excellent battery backup with easy cell replacement and the ability to add more power sources.

FAQ

What is a good joules rating for a surge protector?

In general, the higher joule rating, the better, because the higher the joule rating, the longer the surge protector will last.

Can you plug a surge protector into a surge protector?

You should not plug one surge protector into another. Daisy-chaining surge protectors and adding more devices runs the risk of overloading the first surge protector in the chain, which is dangerous.

Can you plug an extension cord into a surge protector?

For the same reason you shouldn’t plug a surge protector into a surge protector, you should not plug an extension cord into a surge protector. If the extension cord only has one outlet, though, plugging it into the surge protector should be fine—but you should plug it directly into an outlet if possible.

What’s the difference between a surge protector and a power strip?

Power strips and surge protectors are extremely similar, wherein you can plug multiple devices into them. However, surge protectors provide your devices with extra protection, while power strips do not.

When should I replace my surge protector?

A surge protector’s lifespan is measured in joules, which is the amount of energy the protector can absorb. While it’s not easy to tell how many joules a surge protector has absorbed, if your protector is on the older side, it’s a good idea to replace it.

Do you need a surge protector when charging your phone?

A power surge can fry your phone. It’s best to plug your phone into a surge protector to protect it. While it’s not required, it’s recommended.



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By John P.

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