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Home tools Buyer's Guides from tech enthusiast who loves technology and clever solutions for better living.
Home tools Buyer's Guides from tech enthusiast who loves technology and clever solutions for better living.
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Top 10 Best Whole House Power Surge Protectors Reviewed In 2018Last Updated February 1, 2018
№1 – Intermatic IG2240-IMS Whole Home Surge Protection Device with Consumable Modules
There is no need to risk installation of electricity to your home. This device is intended for homes and small businesses. The Intermatic power surge protector with a consumable module will ensure all your appliances such as TV, refrigerators HVAC and other office equipment are 100% protected. Once there is a minor breakdown in the device, spare parts are available instead of discarding the full equipment. The LED light indicates when the protector has developed a mechanical problem. It has three power modules; power voltage is 120/240v and ideal for residential lighting.
№2 – WHOLE HOUSE LIGHTNING POWER PANEL SURGE SUPPRESSOR PLUS the Spike-Ender brand COAX Cable Suppressor
This device from Sycom is a highly designed to offer the best protection ever. The surge protector comes enhanced with spike terminators. The featured technology ensures it is very sensitive, with 5 Nanoseconds response capacity. Installing it is a minute job, it has only three wires. The two black cable can connect to the either of available two poles. Encasing is of superior quality thus making it weatherproof; it can be installed even on the exterior side of the house. Once installed you enjoy manufacturers’ lifetime warranty.
№3 – Leviton 51110-1 120/240 Volt Panel Protector 4-Mode Protection-white
The white encased Leviton 51110-1 is a very able device, with a capacity to protect homes and light commercial enterprises. With just simple interconnection with your circuit breaker, all your expensive machines are safe. The protector can offer protection for up to 26,000 of surge each mode. It has LED indicators that show the safety status for each power phase. The device is compatible with Decora home control system. It can operate in extreme conditions as it has a temperature operating range of -10 to 60 degrees Celsius.
№4 – Square D from Schneider Electric SDSA1175 Panel Mounted Single Phase Type 1 Surge Protective Device
When you think about power surge and its effects on your electronics, you will not hesitate to install one in your house. The Square D SDSA1175 device is very compact and durable. The heavy duty casing is ideal as the device is usable for both indoor and outdoor application. The single phase designed protector can operate on 120/240V three wires, or be two 120V, 60Hz electrical installations. A combination of two devices can be employed in the suppression of 3 phase power. The electricity operation status is monitored through installed light indicators.
№5 – Square D by Schneider Electric HOM2175SB Homeline Surge Breaker Surge Protective Device- 2 Load Center Spaces
In majority homes, it is common to find they rely mostly on surge strips to protect their appliances. While this is a good idea, surge strips cannot be effective than whole house surge protector. Also, their protection ability is limited to smaller appliances. The Squire D HOM2175SB protector can offer wholesome protection in your home. It has circuit equal protections and throughout receptors to detect any mishap. It operation is easy through enhanced indicators. The device is applicable in service entrance locations and homeline load centers. It designed to be used in three wire single phase design 120/240V AC.
№6 – Leviton 51120-1 Panel Protector, 120/240V
Leviton 51120 power surge protector is the surest way to ensure you are fully protected from electrical related damages. Its high technology construction and design allow total reliability. It is very accurate on the real time operation of the equipment and can be monitored using the light indicators. The device is durable having placed on j-metal casing thus can be installed anywhere without weather affecting its operations. It enjoys 4 protection mode and voltage of 120/240V. Having it installed in your home, you will benefit from the safety of all your appliances and lifetime warranty.
№7 – Intermatic IG1240RC3-Whole Home Type-2 Surge Protection Device
The Intermatic IG1240RC3 is a state of art power surge protector suited for light commercial, residential and house usage. The technology used enhances it to be compatible with a 120/240V panel. The MOV technology gives every component protection against heat. Unlike other devices, this one is housed in NEMA 3R polycarbonate case. It boasts 3inches 12-gauge color coded lead, nominal discharge 20kA and short circuiting rating of 50kA. The protector is US and Canada safety standard compliant.
№8 – Eaton 109420 Ultra Surge Protection 3Rd Edition
This Eaton 109420 power surge protector is meant to be used for both outdoor and indoor applications. It is very simple to install as it connects universally with any brands load center panel. Also, it can be attached to telephone or cable protection module. With it, you can be able to know when the device is working properly though LED indicators. It employs type two SPD protection modes.
№9 – Siemens QSA2020SPD Whole House Surge Protection with Two 20-Amp Circuit Breakers
With this surge protector, it assures you full-time protection. It is designed to protect the whole house, whether the spikes are generated internally or externally. It comes with two standard single or two pole breakers. Once installed it protect the entire panel and other branches from electric spikes. When installing it, the initial power voltage is 140V and is compatible only with Siemens panel. With this equipment, you can be assured of the safety of your house and appliances.
№10 – Square D by Schneider Electric HEPD80 Home Power Surge Protector
This power surge device guarantees you superior quality. It comes with a combination of high-tech engineering and ease of installation. Instead of relying on unreliable strip protectors this equipment replaces all. It can be able to handle surge current of up to 25,000 amp, SCCR. CSA and UL 1449 3rd Edition Type 1 SPD. With any power panel, this device can be mounted. HEPD80 comes with 5 years warranty or $50,000 connected equipment warranty.
Brand: Sycom and Spike-Ender
This device from Sycom is a highly designed to offer the best protection ever. The surge protector comes enhanced with spike terminators. The featured technology ensures it is very sensitive, with Nanoseconds response capacity. Installing it is a minute job, it has only three wires. The two black cable can connect to the either of available two poles. Encasing is of superior quality thus making it weatherproof; it can be installed even on the exterior side of the house. Once installed you enjoy manufacturers’ lifetime warranty.
Leviton 51110-120/240 Volt Panel Protector 4-Mode Protection-white
FlePow Surge Protector
Intermatic Whole Home Surge Protection Device (IG2240-IMS)
Protect it all with this whole home surge protective device from Intermatic. Today’s technologies in small businesses and homes need the most comprehensive surge protector to escape random spike damages. This device comes with Consumable Modules, and it offers coverage for 100-percent of your client’s huge investment equipment, from computers and appliances, to TVs and HVAC equipment. It utilizes consumable modules that allow your clients to replace a module safely and easily when the built-in LED light shows it has been compromised.
Belkin F7C01008q Surge Protector
Control power to your whole computer system with a single click. This gadget comes with a wireless remote switch that allows you to shut off power, including standby power. With this whole house power surge protector, you can switch off up to devices. Ideally, it features two always-on outlets that stay on for electronic devices, which need continuous power like your cordless phone or router. The 4-foot cord length ensures peerless performance and advanced functionality.
One year ago
Since our interim update, we’ve added full test results from our extensive look at how well surge protectors live up to their claims. Our new top pick is now the Tripp Lite TLP1008TEL, which cuts off power when it can no longer protect devices. The Belkin PivotPlug 12-Outlet Surge Protector BP112230-0takes a runner-up slot for when you want a device that keeps working when it’s protection is out, signaling you with a light. The APC SurgeArrest 3020J was bumped from top pick in the previous guide and then from the runner-up position in our interim update, as we discovered it neither fully cuts power nor lets power through after protection is exhausted.
Two years ago
We still like last year’s APC SurgeArrest pick, but after further testing, we like the Tripp Lite TLP1008TEL more. It actually shuts off once its protection circuit wears down whereas the APC keeps delivering power without protection until you notice that the small LED indicator has burned out. The SurgeArrest is now our runner up pick. We’ve also added the Accell Powramid D080B-015K as a light-duty pick for nightstands or side tables. Although most testing is done, these are preliminary picks and subject to change with further testing.
Most surge protectors rely on an easily ignored LED indicator to tell you when they’ve ceased protecting your gear. We picked the TLP1008TEL because when its ability to block surges wears out, it cuts the power off entirely. So long as your devices are energized, you know that surge protection remains in place and there’s no ambiguity as to when it needs to be replaced. (If you want to protect equipment that will likely be damaged if power is abruptly removed, we recommend an uninterruptible power supply, or UPS. For more details, see Who this is for.)
The TLP1008TEL’s outlets offer enough space to satisfy most home office or media center needs, and provide plenty of protection to those outlets to safeguard your electronics from the most common electrical threats. Even though there are bigger and more expensive surge protectors available, our extensive research and testing showed that they didn’t provide enough additional benefit to be worth their higher cost.
Belkin PivotPlug 12-Outlet Surge Protector BP112230-08
The PivotPlug offers good protection and a design that maximizes access to outlets for all kinds of plugs, but keeps providing power even when it can no longer stop surges.
If the Tripp Lite is unavailable, the Belkin PivotPlug is also a capable surge protector and has an excellent design that offers more outlets at a similar price. But, unlike the Tripp Lite, once its MOVs fail it puts your electronics at risk from further surges by providing power even after the protection ceases being effective, which it marks by an indicator LED not being lit (though you might prefer this if you’re plugging in hard drives or other sensitive electronics that you fear might be harmed by a sudden shutdown). With 1total outlets, the Belkin model includes eight tilting outlets along the sides that allow you to fit all manner of power blocks at myriad angles. It’s as clever as it is useful.
Accell Powramid D080B-015K
This compact, conical design gives easy access to all six outlets and has two USB ports, and blocks power when protection fails.
For lighter duty, like under nightstands or side tables, the Accell Powramid D080B-015K is the way to go. It has two USB ports and six outlets in a comparatively small package. The USB ports put out a combined 2.amps, enough to charge one smartphone or tablet at high speed or two devices at low speed. The Powramid has a clever-enough design that makes all the outlets usable, even with larger plugs. Despite the silly name, the Powramid packs some serious protection and tested almost as well as our larger pick. To fit that much protection in a small package, Accell used a compact circuit that might not last quite as long, but offers a great deal of protection. Even at this lower price, Accell products safely prevent power from passing through when the protection has failed—you’ll know when it’s time to replace it in a few years.
Who this is for
A surge protector offers peace of mind when you’re concerned about sudden power spikes that could fry your expensive electronics. You may live where severe weather regularly causes power fluctuations (though don’t expect a surge protector to help you in the event of a direct lightning strike), or be on an electrical utility’s system that can’t provide good, consistent power. You may also just want figurative insurance—more about actual insurance later—against an unlikely event that requires a small investment to forestall.
Because a surge protector is a “better safe than sorry” device, experts recommend getting one that stops providing power the moment the internal circuitry that protects against surges stops working. For most people, that isn’t a problem, because most modern hardware can cope with the sudden loss of power—and better the loss of a power strip than the destruction of hardware that could cost thousands of dollars to replace.
However, if you have equipment that could be damaged by a sudden loss of power, mission-critical gear that can’t ever go down or needs a specific shutdown or power-up sequence, or even just a desktop computer with a hard disk drive (HDD) susceptible to data corruption in the case of sudden removal of electricity, then you shouldn’t be looking at a surge protector at all. Instead, you want an uninterruptible power supply, or UPS. A UPS is basically just a big battery that you place between your outlet and your gear, and most of them have surge protection built in. You can read about our top UPS picks here.
Many surge protectors keep power flowing when their protection fails and the only way you know that they have failed is if you notice the “protected” LED that should be lit up has gone out or changed color. Because the circuits that protect against surges in affordable power strips have a non-linear failure curve (they’ll die suddenly one day during or after a surge), there’s literally no way for a device to track its own lifespan and know when it will fail. The best estimate available is only the end of an equation that adds up the capabilities of various internal components. This is why a hypothetical smart surge protector couldn’t warn you, even if it had Bluetooth, ZigBee, Weave, or Wi-Fi built-in—or even a bleeping alarm—though it could alert you after it failed.
If you live in an area with a stable power grid and a mild climate, you can probably skip the surge protector without too much risk. That’s what Nick Platsis, product manager at Anthem AV does, and Anthem makes receivers that can cost into the five figures. Ultimately though, the low cost of surge protectors makes them worthwhile for a vast majority of people looking to stave off this one type of catastrophe.
How surge protectors work
It’s easy to pick surge protectors based on the number of outlets or a snazzy design. But without reliable protection, all you have is a power strip. All power strips offer are more outlets, while a surge protector is first and foremost a safety device that also has extra outlets. It treats out-of-control electricity like a runaway truck ramp on a mountain road, diverting it before it crashes into your TV, computer, or other pricey piece of equipment.
Instead of water barrels or piles of sand, a surge runs into a series of metal-oxide varistors (MOVs). These components sacrifice a little of themselves each time they take a hit, and how much they can take over their lifespan is expressed as the joule rating of a surge protector. Many small hits—or one giant one—reduce or eliminate a surge protector’s effectiveness.
The better the MOVs are and the more that are crammed inside, the longer it should last, but make no mistake: Surge protectors don’t last forever–they’re consumable devices, like lightbulbs. But most people don’t know that, because they’re typically not marketed or explained that way. That gunk-covered surge protector you bought at a Circuit City years ago? It probably isn’t providing any protection at this point, even if it does supply power.
Surge protectors don’t last forever–they’re consumable devices.
If, like our top pick, your surge protector safely shuts down (forever) once it’s protection capabilities have been expended, then you don’t have to worry. Just replace it when it stops passing power. If not, replacing your surge protector every three to five years would likely be on the safe side in most areas. If you experience a major blackout, utility problem, or natural disaster, consider replacing your surge protectors as soon as possible.
MOVs are worn away slowly by many unnoticeably small surges over time, and the more worn they are, the smaller a jolt needs to be to burn them out completely and deal a death blow to your sensitive electronics. So if you haven’t been replacing your surge protectors regularly, you may still be just one big jolt away from frying your TV. The number of hits your protector can take before dying is loosely correlated with its joule rating. Indeed, if you’re staring at a shelf full of surge protectors, the marketing departments would have you choose based on this figure alone. This seems like a really concrete measure, but buying a surge protector based on nothing but the joule rating is like buying a car based on nothing but the horsepower. And unlike clamping voltages and response times, which are tested and certified by the independent labs at UL, each manufacturer is allowed to calculate joule ratings in own way.
Buying a surge protector based on nothing but the joule rating is like buying a car based on nothing but the horsepower.
Electrical components also have variable tolerances—they’re not manufactured to exact specifications, but to function with an acceptable range. For instance, when our electrical-engineering consultant, Lee Johnson, opened the Tripp Light and examined its varistors, he found the components are designed for a percent tolerance above or below their rated clamping voltage. “That means a 330-volt UL-rated unit could test between 36volts and 29volts coming out of the manufacturer,” he said.
How we tested
Electrical power supplied through a standard residential outlet uses three wires: line (or “hot” or “live”), neutral, and ground. AC power comes in via the line wire, passes through a device that uses power, and “returns” through the neutral, forming a complete circuit. The ground wire serves to drain excess potential energy and protect against electric shock when there’s a wiring fault in a powered device of any kind. (Modern two-prong devices are heavily insulated against shorts, and typically use polarized plugs that have one blade larger than the other, so that they can only be plugged in with the line and neutral connections in the right place.)
The Isobar did only about as well as our picks, despite costing more than twice as much. For these results, lower is better.
The difference between the ostensibly top normal AC voltage of 170 volts and where clamping begins (at 330 volts or higher) is called the “let-through voltage,” and that is our baseline for comparing surge protector performance. If a protector clamps voltage exactly at 330 volts, the let-through amount would be 330 minus 170—that’s 160 volts. The real-world let-through voltage we tested has a direct impact on how much damage electronics might incur.
Whenever we refer in this guide to let-through voltage on AC power legs, we’re using the voltage above 170 volts for consistency, including in our charts. With auxiliary ports, where clamping should be at zero volts, we subtract nothing. We didn’t want to see more than 160 volts in net let-through voltage.
We often rely on UL’s certification, and all the devices we picked have passed UL testing. However, UL certifies surge protectors at multiple levels, and some, like the Tripp Lite TLP 1008TEL, are certified at a less stringent 400-volt let-through rating. Tripp Lite’s own specs for this model, however, list 150 volts of let-through (320 volts total) as its actual clamping voltage level, and we were able to confirm that in testing. While we’d prefer the UL rating to be in line with the claimed clamping voltage, we’re comfortable that our testing confirmed it. The other picks all have a 330-volt UL rating.
Surge protectors also can put different amounts of protection on each of the legs we described earlier. Some have designs that put the highest protect on the L-N leg, the most likely path to damage equipment as it passes directly through the transformer or motor of a powered device.
In our chart, we show let-through voltage for each of our picks Johnson tested and across each leg. Both the best and the worst let-through performance came from Belkin, with its 12-outlet PivotPlug letting through just 12volts of the surge and its remote-switch-equipped Conserve (not picked) allowing 190 volts through. Our top pick, the Tripp Lite TLP1008TEL, was in the middle, letting through 14volts on the L-N leg.
Our top pick, the TLP1008TEL, performed well on all three legs, not just one. For these results, lower is better.
Of nine models we put through our tests, not a single one stood out as consistently the worst or the best on all branches.
We found the largest differences in protection on the N-G leg, where the Accell unit allowed 20volts through but the Isobar only let through 10volts. Of nine models we put through our tests, not a single one stood out as consistently the worst or the best on all branches.
Four of our tested units had auxiliary ports, which should let almost no power through above 0 volts, but only the Isobar’s telephone and Ethernet ports had real protection: those ports blocked 90 percent of a 600-volt spike. When we sent the same spike through the coaxial ports, they were basically unprotected, allowing 570 volts through. The APC Surge Arrest, on the other hand, let just 5volts through on the coaxial line, but offered no protection on the telephone lines. Some manufacturers claim only to “filter” these ports, others claim to protect them. But the difference is often not clear, and the protection wasn’t consistent in our tests. Thankfully, while surges are possible on auxiliary lines, they’re far less common than on electrical lines.
None of the models tested provided worthwhile protection on all three port types.
In addition to our bench tests, we took into account Johnson’s feedback after he tore apart our top performers. The Tripp Lite and our previous pick from APC had identical varistor components in slightly different configurations. And just like the more expensive Isobar unit, they all use the same diameter wiring—1AWG—and they all have current limit fuses and filtering capacitors on the incoming AC line.
The differences are mostly in how the components are used. For instance, both the APC and Tripp Lite units have eight varistors, but the APC unit has on the L-N, on the L-G, and on the N-G leg, while the Tripp Lite distributes them in a 4, 2, configuration. The Tripp Lite model puts 200 V varistors on the critical L-N leg with two 470 V as backups after those burn out.
Overall, the APC had a slightly more robust design, but the differences weren’t glaring, nor were they decisive in light of its less-than-stellar performance in testing. Comparing photos from the last teardown, we didn’t notice any major component changes in the APC from year to year, so we can only attribute the drop in performance to our test unit being on the opposite side of the manufacturing variances this time around.
If you spend a lot more on the Isobar unit, you will get some internal upgrades, like varistors that are each rated for double the voltage of the eight varistors in our picks, and larger capacitors and inductors on the incoming AC line, which provide greater noise and voltage suppression. Since our tests didn’t show a huge gain in performance when hit by individual surges, we suspect that the Isobar may keep protecting you for longer, but it isn’t necessarily better on a per-surge basis. Because the Isobar units tend to cost more than twice as much, we’d only recommend them if we could confirm they last twice as long, which requires extremely long-term testing.
We tested the Accell PowerGenius Rotating 6-Outlet Surge Protector with Dual USB Charging with our compact group. It tested well on the main leg with 130-volt L-N let-through voltage, but had worst-in-class protection on the N-G leg with 204-volt let-through. Overall, it didn’t offer much better protection than our preferred model from Accell—the Powramid—and the PowerGenius design is much less useful. Outlets have to be rotated a full 90 degrees to work, and many average-sized plugs will easily block the rotation or simply won’t fit when the outlets are twisted in certain configurations.
We dismissed the Belkin SurgePlus 6-Outlet Wall Mount Surge Protector with Dual USB Ports before testing because it’s priced similarly to the PivotPlug model, and the PivotPlug’s design is much more useful. It has two USB ports, but so does our pick from Accell, which also fits more power bricks. The SurgePlus’s conventional design of two rows of three outlets is much too cramped to adapt to changing needs.
What it does: Provides basic protection for multiple devices.
Look for: Switches for each outlet; space between outlets for three-pronged plugs and transformers; indicator lights to show if unit has worn out; clamping voltage of 400 volts or less.
A power surge may last for only a few millionths of a second, but at its worst, it carries tens of thousands of volts, enough to fry circuit boards, crash hard drives, and ruin DVD and home-entertainment systems. Lightning-induced surges are the most powerful and most feared: A 200,000-amp jolt crashing through a power line will burn standard 20-amp wiring like a lightbulb filament. But a lightning strike has to be less than a mile from the house to cause harm, and in fact most surge-related damage is not caused by lightning.
Far more common, if not as dramatic, are surges caused by downed power lines, sudden changes in electricity use by a nearby factory, or even the cycling on and off of laser printers, electric dryers, air conditioners, refrigerators, and other energy-sucking devices in the home. The damage inflicted by these minor power fluctuations can be instantaneous — but may not show up for some time. “You might not even notice it,” says Andy Ligor, a consultant with A.M.I. Systems Inc., a firm that installs both residential and commercial surge-protection systems. “Then a year or so later your microwave stops working.”
What it does: Protects phone lines and coaxial cable, in addition to plug-in devices.
Look for: A clamping voltage of 330 volts of less; built-in thermal fuses. UL 497A for surges through telephone lines and UL 128for electromagnetic and radio interference.
Guarding against surges requires a two-pronged approach: a whole-house suppressor to tame the big, dangerous power spikes and an individual circuit (or “plug-in”) surge suppressor for vulnerable appliances and electronic devices. Both types essentially act like pressure-relief valves. Normally they just sit there, allowing electric current to flow through them. But with higher-than-normal voltage, the devices instantly divert excess voltage to the ground wire. (The best ones react in less than a nanosecond.) As soon as voltage levels return to normal, the flow of electricity is restored, unless the surge was big enough to melt the fuse built into some units.
Uninterruptible Power Supply
What it does: Supplies clean, fluctuation-free power. Battery backup buys time to save data during a power outage.
Look for: Indicator lights for burned-out fuses; phone and cable connectors. Make sure it’s plugged into its own power strip.
Before buying a plug-in unit, check that it does the following: •Meets UL Standard 144(second edition) •Has a clamping voltage — the amount that triggers the diversion of electricity to the ground — of 400 volts or less. The lower the number, the better the protection •Absorbs at least 600 joules of energy •Protects all three incoming lines: hot, neutral, and ground. Look for “L-N, L-G, N-G” (line to neutral, line to ground, neutral to ground) on the product’s spec sheet •Stops functioning when its circuits are damaged by a surge
Both whole-house and plug-in types can get zapped without your knowing it; look for indicator lights that signal when a unit no longer works.
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.
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.
Also View on
Belkin’s outlet home and office surge protector will protect your electronic equipment from any kind of surge and spike due to inclement weather or power outages.
It is perfect for high end home offices and professional work spaces as well.
This is the perfect item for protecting laser printers, home theater systems, big screen TVs, computers and much more.
The outlets on this surge protector have sliding safety covers. It also features a detachable cord management clip that helps keep the cables organized.
The right angle plug allows the cord to stay close to the wall so it is not in the way of stands or entertainment centers.
Things to Look For
When you start shopping for surge protectors, there are several basics that you will want to look for. We have listed these below.
USB Ports – A surge protector with usb ports can charge mobile devices as well as tablets quickly and safely while protecting them from surges.
Multiple Outlets – Surge protectors come with many different amounts of outlets. It is better to buy the surge protector that you need for the area you are using it in. You can get multiple protectors that will have different outlet amounts that you can customize to the needs you have. Variations include 1, 3, 4, 6, 7, and 1outlet varieties.
Cord Length – Cord length will vary from protector to protector. Choose the cord length that fits the area you will using it in. You will not need a protector with a foot cord if it is only feet from the outlet.
There are many different features that a surge protector can have. You want to look for protectors that have features that will work with your needs. Below are many of the features that you will see offered with certain surge protectors.
Warranties – Warranties are always a good idea to replace any defective unit or unit that has been damaged. Each warranty will more than likely have different restrictions and rules so read them to know exactly what the warranty covers.
Line Conditioner – This system will constantly adjust the current that is coming from your outlets and will smooth out irregular fluctuations along with actual surges.
Cord Fire Protection – This feature will cut off the power whenever a sensor picks up on damage to the wire insulation due to fire or some other cause.
Safety Covers – Covers that block the unused outlets. Sometimes these are attached to the device and sometimes they are individual pieces.
Concealed Design – This feature keeps everything neat and tidy.
Whole House Surge Protectors vs Power Strip Surge Protectors
Odds are, a few items inside your home (like your computer, TV, DVD player and such) are plugged into multi-strip extension cords that also provide point-of-use surge protection.
Most of those types of surge protectors provide the minimum level of protection for everyday household items.
But is that really enough protection for your home electronics and appliances?
Are power strips the best way to protect your things from lightning strikes and sudden jolts of electricity?
The fact is, you might want to consider a whole house surge protector. Here’s why…
Surge Protectors Are A Must
Any device that has a digital display or draws electricity (even in small amounts) may turn into a magnet when lightning strikes near your home.
Even if lightning hits an electrical power line or transformer a half-mile away, it could send a spike down the power line that will take out everything in its path!
This could amount to many thousands of dollars in damage very quickly.
Whole House Surge Protectors vs Power Strips
Lightning-generated electrical spikes can send a 200,000-amp jolt down the line, instantly burning out any device that runs on electronic chips.
The ultra-fine connections contained in microchips don’t stand a chance at handling that type of power.
That’s why an investment of a couple hundred dollars for a whole house surge protector makes so much sense. It protects your entire home and everything in it!
There is no way that a power-strip surge protector can protect like that.
Point-of-use surge protectors simply protect your electronics from very minor day-to-day surges that typically travel through your home’s electrical lines. Think: temporary downed power lines, a blown transformer, hot summer days and many of your neighbors’ AC units kick on at the same time. Even the motors in your own appliances can cause surges in your home’s electrical lines.
In and of themselves, these types of minor surges do not pose any risk to your electronics on a daily basis. However, over time and after enough of those minor surges have hit your electronic devices, those devices will have a much shorter lifespan.
That is, unless you use power strip surge protectors! Power strip surge protectors take the brunt of the abuse from daily electrical surges — rather than your electronics taking the hit.
Keep in mind, your power strip surge protectors themselves will eventually wear down and become less and less effective over time. But they do their jobs well in terms of protecting your electronics from the dozens of minor electrical surges that naturally occur every day in your home’s electrical wires. That’s why they should be used in addition to a whole house surge protector.
When to Use a Surge Protector
When should you use a surge protector? All the time. The real question is really which devices you should connect to a surge protector. You don’t need a surge protector for your desk lamp or your standing fan, but you do want a surge protector for expensive devices that have intricate microprocessors, like computers, televisions, stereo systems, and media centers.
Think of it this way: if there was an electrical surge that destroyed all of the devices connected to your outlets, which lost devices would pain you the most? Plug those into a surge protector. It’s better to be safe than sorry. On an offbeat note, surge protectors can be useful for reducing cable clutter and improving organization
Ways To Clean Up Computer Cable Clutter Under Your Desk
Ways To Clean Up Computer Cable Clutter Under Your Desk
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Read More with your electronics. All of the cables end up being directed to the same destination, making it much easier for you to handle them all neatly.
Choosing the Right Surge Protector
It can be difficult finding the right surge protector for your needs at a good value, mostly because people don’t talk about it very often. What makes a surge protector good? And why are some surge protectors much more expensive than others? Are there any features you should be looking out for?
Surge protectors only have a limited lifespan depending on how often they are put to work. Even when the surge protector properly diverts a surge so your electronics aren’t damaged, the protector itself can be damaged in the process. One of the most important features then is an indicator light. An indicator light will let you know that your surge protector is working fine. Is the indicator light not working? Time to buy a new surge protector.
As for protection power, good surge protectors will come with a UL rating, a rating put out by the independent Underwriters Laboratories that tests the safety of electronic devices. Don’t bother with a surge protector that doesn’t have a UL rating. Also make sure that the product is a “transient voltage surge suppressor” as many UL-rated power strips still might not offer surge protection.
This is the maximum amount of energy the surge protector can absorb. If the surge breaches this maximum, the surge protector will be rendered useless. The higher the joule rating, the more energy can be absorbed by the surge protector, so a higher joule rating will often indicate a longer lifespan for the product. For best household protection, you’ll want a surge protector with a joule rating of at least 600.
The response time is how long it takes for the surge protector to detect a surge in electricity. A lower value means a faster response. This reduces the time that your plugged-in devices are exposed to the surge, thus protecting them better. Ideally, you’ll want a surge protector with a response time of nanosecond or faster.
Recommended Surge Protectors
If you need some help getting started with finding a good surge protector, here are some that we recommend. All of these have a UL rating of 1449, which is what you should be looking for.
Belkin’s 1outlet surge protector comes equipped with an indicator light, a clamping voltage of 500V, a joule rating of 3940, and a response time below nanosecond. It even comes with in-built cable management and Blockspace Outlets for oversized adaptors.
Tripp Lite Outlet Surge Protector Power Strip 6ft Cord 790 Joules LED & INSURANCE (TLP606)
Tripp Lite Outlet Surge Protector Power Strip 6ft Cord 790 Joules LED & INSURANCE (TLP606)
Home and Office AC surge suppressor protects your computer/laptop, home theater system and other devices from a voltage spike and more
Another strong surge protector with outlets, an indicator light, a clamping voltage of 150V, a joule rating of 790, and a response time below nanosecond.
Portable direct plug-in AC surge suppressor protects your computer/laptop, home theater system and other devices from a voltage spike and more
Here’s an interesting surge protector with only outlet. It has two indicator lights — one for grounded, one for protected. It has a clamping voltage of 150V, a joule rating of 600, and a response time below nanosecond.
Defending Against the Surge
The take-away? All electrical grids experience electrical surges, some more than others. These surges can damage electronics and surge protectors are there to keep those surges under control as much as possible. You’ll want to use surge protectors for complex and valuable electronics, such as computers, appliances, and media centers. Keep in mind that it’s not enough to have a surge protector; you need one that’s properly rated for your needs.
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It is automation of the home, housework or household activity.
Home automation may include centralized control of lighting, HVAC (heating, ventilation and air conditioning), appliances, security locks of gates and doors and other systems, to provide improved convenience, comfort, energy efficiency and security.
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Most people have a lot of home electronics equipment. This can include a computer, a home theater, a microwave oven, a washer and dryer set, a fridge and much more. A power spike can easily render any one of those items worthless unless some kind of defense mechanism is in place.
The best defense against a surge of that magnitude is to get a surge protection device for every appliance you deem important and irreplaceable. For best results, find power surge products with multiple outlets so that you can plug all your home entertainment components into it, and even a light or two.
The home isn’t the only place that needs a surge protection device. The office is where you make your livelihood, so you need to make sure your components are always up and running. This is why you’ll want to invest in the very best surge protection device, or SPD, so that you know you’ll never lose data, and more importantly so your business never experiences any downtime due to a nasty power surge.
There are many surge protection products that are designed for business systems and many come with battery back up so that you know you’re always protected even if the surge arrester device can’t get power.
Protect Your Investment
When you own your own home, or even if you live in an apartment or trailer, you want to make sure your home electronics are well protected. After all, there aren’t many home electronics that are cheap these days. You can easily spend thousands of dollars at your local home theater store, and that’s just to buy your TV.
With all of that money invested in your electronics, the best way to protect that investment is to take some money and put it into a good power surge protector. If you don’t, you may literally be playing with fire.
Kill the Power Vampire and Save Your Wallet
Power vampire, also commonly known as phantom load or vampire draw, are standby power that cause electricty leakage even the plugged in devices or appliances are not in active use. This may help explain why your home electricity bill is always on the high side even though most of the equipment or appliances are not switched on. Get an energy efficient surge protector and you will quickly notice how much you can save in a year.
Keep Your Family Safe
They say that you should never talk on the phone or take a shower during a lightning storm. The reason is because you have a higher chance of getting electrocuted if a lightning strike ever did hit your house.
These surge protectors are designed to trip when they get a surge of power, thus blocking any more power from flowing through the outlets and into your electronics. The protectors then only need be reset so that your family and electronics can remain as safe as possible.
Useful Features to Have When Shopping for Power Surge Protector
Built-in Diagnostic Capabilities
These days, it is not hard to find power surge protection devices that offer built-in diagnostic LEDs to indicate properly wiring and grounding of connected devices, surge protection functions and availability of the power outlets and so on. Be sure to list down what your requirements are before getting one.
Whole House Surge Protectors
These are generally known as Type Devices that protect the entire house from harmful effects of electrical surges from lightnings and huge power spikes. They provide the first line of defence starting from the circuit breaker panel. Surge protection at this point can help minimize the surge voltages entering your home to an acceptable level for your electronics devices.
If you’re one of those DIY (Do it Yourself) warrior and you want to install the device yourself, make sure you know what you’re doing. Typically these products are designed to go on your home’s power supply, which means you’re going to be playing with a lot of voltage. For that reason, if you don’t know what you’re doing, it’s best to find a professional to show you how.
You may be tempted to skimp on the whole house surge protection in order to save money. However, if you live in an area that’s susceptible to lots of lightning storms, like Memphis or Jacksonville, Tennessee, you will want to make sure you make the investment.
All it takes is one surge for your whole house to experience a shutdown of massive proportions. That can destroy your home entertainment system, your computer, and anything else that’s plugged in when the surge occurs.
Wall Outlet Surge Protectors
If you are someone who does not have lots of inter-connected appliances or peripherals laying around, it is definitely ideal to go for wall outlet surge protection.
Having multi-outlet surge protection at home works too but not many people are too keen about it as it will involve lots of work in the event that the wall outlet power surge protector is damaged.
Fortunately, there are also wall mount surge protectors where a multi-outlet surge protector can be plugged into the wall socket itself. See image on the left and right for a clear visual view.
Surge Protector Power Strips
There are many brands and models to look for when shopping for one and most people prefer to get it online since they are able to do both feature and price comparsion.
Be sure to check out our recommended range of surge protector devices and choose one that truly fits your requirements and budget.
Incidents Where Battery Backup is Helpful
When you buy power protection, you don’t usually think about the power surge protector not being able to get power to it. However, this can happen in a variety of instances. One of those is during a bad storm. If your house is ever struck by lightning, the power can go out.
That means that if you have a regular surge protector, your electronics components are no longer protected. If your house was to get struck by lightning again, and that caused a power surge, your home electronics equipment could still receive that surge even though they’re plugged into the surge protector system.
However, if you had your components plugged into a battery backup surge protector, the components would be protected even if the surge protection system wasn’t receiving any power to it. That’s extra protection any homeowner could use.
This came up because of a mistake I made.
For years I have been buying surge protectors from APC. For so many years that I forgot why. Thus, when I needed one recently, I purchased a Tripp Lite model.
Not just any one, though, I went for a high end surge protector: an Isobar Ultra. It’s metal rather than plastic. And, it’s relatively expensive, so I opted for one with only four outlets (the Isobar Ultra, shown above).
As far as Joules goes, this baby is loaded wtih 3,300 of them. It has a let-through voltage under 3(very good) and a response time of zero (also excellent). It has two isolated filter banks, which I take on faith, is better than having just one.
The box it comes in calls it a “Premium Surge Suppressor”. Tripp Lite says the “ISOBAR is the world’s number one selling premium suppressor series with more than 1million satisfied customers and a safety-tested history of 20+ years”.
Below is a diagram from the box it came in, further detailing surge protection features that I don’t understand.
Perhaps you can see why I made the mistake I did. It seems like a good choice.
But, before throwing out the packaging for my new surge protector, I took a quick look at the included documentation. Techies, after all, read the fine manuals. I didn’t expect much, after all, what’s there to know about using a surge protector?
The forgotten reason for buying APC models, that’s what.
See for yourself, here is a PDF of the Owners Manual for the Tripp Lite Isobar4.
See that box near the top, just above the Installation section (screen shot above). It says
All models feature an internal protection that will disconnect the surge-protective component at the end of its useful life but will maintain power to the loadnow unprotected.
Translation: when the thing dies, your stuff is not protected.
It is a nothing-special, average, ordinary, middle-of-the-road APC surge protector.
Like other APC models however, it comes with “Catastrophic Event Protection”. Here’s how APC describes this feature:
SurgeArrest components such as MOVs and Thermal fuse ensure instantaneous reaction to lightning strikes and wiring faults. If the surge components are damaged due to power spike or over voltage, excess power cannot reach your equipment.
The important phrase being “Excess power can not reach your equipment.” When the APC NETdies, it stops passing electricity through to your devices. If it can’t protect your devices, it won’t power them at all.
That’s Defensive Computing. APC goes on to say … most surge suppressors continue to let power through even after circuits have been damaged, leaving your equipment exposed to other damaging surges.
Surge Protection Installation
Whole house surge protectors help protect appliances and electronics in your home from damaging electrical surges.Electrical surges are spikes in the electrical voltage coming into your home. These spikes are most often caused by your power provider, electrical problems inside your home, or lightning strikes. Surge protectors work by regulating the flow of electricity throughout your house. When the voltage goes up, the surge protector drains all of the excess voltage into the ground and away from sensitive equipment and electronics in your home. The unit is installed in your main electrical panel and can stop electrical surges before they reach the rest of the home.
If you own a TV, computer, dishwasher, irrigation clock, intercom, doorbell, well pump, A/C unit, or similar appliance, you should invest in a whole house surge protector. Even a small surge coming from your local power company can damage and reduce the life of equipment. Whole house surge protection is inexpensive and helps protect the most costly items in your home.
Whole house surge protectors are installed in your electrical panel. They protect your entire electrical system by ending any electrical surge the enters your electrical panel. However, they DO NOT eliminate the need for secondary surge protection (plugin surge protectors) for your sensitive equipment. Lightning strikes do not always enter the home through the power line and sometimes follow cable or phone lines, irrigation clock circuits, invisible dog fence circuits, and pool equipment circuits into the home. In such case, the lighting strike may damage sensitive equipment before the surge ever gets to your main panel. Once the power surge gets to the panel, the surge protector will keep the surge from spreading across the system, but for the equipment on that circuit it can be too late. Always, install secondary surge protection on your sensitive electrical equipment.
Get Protected Today & Enjoy Watching TV Next Time it Storms……..
Circuit breakers keep wires from catching on fire
Circuit breakers have one job: Prevent the wiring inside your house from starting a fire.
When would this happen? When there’s too much electrical current (amps) flowing through the wires, causing them to overheat and start a fire. Wires are rated to handle a certain amount of electrical current.
For example, when a 15-amp circuit has 20 amps flowing through it, eventually the circuit breaker will ‘trip’ (cut off the flow of electricity). Tripping the breaker prevents wires from overheating and igniting wire’s insulation.
Think of an electrical overload like attempting to fit a 3waist into pants with a 3waist. You’re going to cause damage somewhere!
Circuit breakers are NECESSARY. When your circuit breaker goes bad, it needs replacing ASAP.
Common causes of power surges
Surge protectors are OPTIONAL but highly recommended in Florida because homes here have the highest exposure to lightning in the nation.
As you can see from this image from the IBHS, Florida has a very high flash density (incidence of individual lightning strikes):
Of course, only whole-home surge protectors—not power strip surge protectors—will protect your appliances from large voltage spikes from nearby lightning strikes.
A whole-home surge protector is a device that’s installed in your electric circuit breaker box or main point of power entry to your home.
A protector is only as effective as its earth ground.
It is a religious belief (immune from challenge) that prevents westom from understanding how plug-in protectors work (as clearly explained in the IEEE surge guide).
Your best solution is one ‘whole house’ protector connected short to an earth ground that both meets and exceeds code.
Repeating from the NIST surge guide: “Q – Will a surge protector installed at the service entrance be sufficient for the whole house?
Service panel protectors are very likely to protect anything connected to just the power wires. But they do not, by themselves, prevent high voltage between power and phone/cable/… wires, which the NIST guide suggests causes most equipment damage.
First of all thanks for reading my article to the end! I hope you find my reviews listed here useful and that it allows you to make a proper comparison of what is best to fit your needs and budget. Don’t be afraid to try more than one product if your first pick doesn’t do the trick.
Most important, have fun and choose your Whole House Power Surge Protectors wisely! Good luck!
So, TOP10 of Whole House Power Surge Protectors
- №1 — Intermatic IG2240-IMS Whole Home Surge Protection Device with Consumable Modules
- №2 — WHOLE HOUSE LIGHTNING POWER PANEL SURGE SUPPRESSOR PLUS the Spike-Ender brand COAX Cable Suppressor
- №3 — Leviton 51110-1 120/240 Volt Panel Protector 4-Mode Protection-white
- №4 — Square D from Schneider Electric SDSA1175 Panel Mounted Single Phase Type 1 Surge Protective Device
- №5 — Square D by Schneider Electric HOM2175SB Homeline Surge Breaker Surge Protective Device- 2 Load Center Spaces
- №6 — Leviton 51120-1 Panel Protector, 120/240V
- №7 — Intermatic IG1240RC3-Whole Home Type-2 Surge Protection Device
- №8 — Eaton 109420 Ultra Surge Protection 3Rd Edition
- №9 — Siemens QSA2020SPD Whole House Surge Protection with Two 20-Amp Circuit Breakers
- №10 — Square D by Schneider Electric HEPD80 Home Power Surge Protector