What to look for in surge protection in 2022
How well a surge protector shields connected devices depends on many factors, the main one being design. Most options on the market use efficient and cost-effective metal oxide varistors (MOVs) to accept and dissipate surges from your equipment. But that makes them bear the brunt of the increase, so they degrade over time – they’re basically sacrificial parts.
However, some more expensive options use newer systems that instead ditch the sacrificial parts for components that block excess voltage. This model shields both your equipment and the surge protector, so the surge protector lasts longer on average than its MOV counterparts.
Another factor to consider when purchasing a surge protector is the joule rating. This is more important for MOV based systems and is an indicator of the amount of energy and number of surges the protector can take before it fails – so the higher the better.
There’s also a clamp rating that measures how much voltage goes through your appliances in one peak, 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 will trip if a high enough voltage manages to penetrate, adding another layer of protection.
Just as important as the protection mechanism is what happens when the device is compromised. Most quality surge protectors have a built-in kill switch that is disabled when they can no longer provide protection. Others continue to function as normal power strips without any protective benefits. This defeats the purpose of protection in the first place and puts your device at risk. All of the units on our list have either an emergency stop system or LEDs to alert you when components inside are damaged.
Finally, the warranty is worth considering should the surge suppressor not work as it should. Many companies promise refunds in the event of a failure, but make sure you note all the details if they do, otherwise they may be difficult to obtain.
Our list includes some of the best surge protectors available, so keep reading to find the best one for you.
- ✓ Reasonable price
- ✓ High Joule rating
- ✓ Well spaced ports with outlets for power cubes
- ✓ Tripp Lite Warranty
- ✗ No USB ports
- ✗ Ports may be tight at first
Overall, the Tripp Lite surge protector is our top pick if you want surge protection for almost any use case. This all-rounder ticks all the boxes – it’s got a sturdy and robust feel, up to 12 sensibly spaced ports, an 8-foot cable length, and a respectable 2,880 joule rating.
In addition to the basics, the Tripp Lite surge protector has a crucial auto-shutoff feature that prevents power from reaching your appliances once the protector wears out. This is also useful if you are missing the diagnostic LEDs to indicate whether the device has been compromised or not.
This surge protector also has coaxial and telephone connectors for easy connection to various external devices. There are even mounting holes if you ever decide to mount it to a wall, table or workbench.
The Tripp Lite TLP1208TELTV is UL listed, giving you extra peace of mind. But what if it fails for some reason beyond your control? Tripp Lite offers compensation if this happens and makes it easy, judging by the reviews.
Best overall surge protection
- ✓ USB ports including Type C socket
- ✓ High joule rating for the price
- ✓ Smart design with well spaced ports
- ✗ Simultaneous use of USB ports reduces charging speed
- ✗ The back plastic plate is a bit flimsy
If you are looking for a surge protector that can be plugged directly into an outlet, LVETEK is a good choice. Although wall chargers are generally small, this affordable selection offers five outlets that are well spaced to ensure you don’t sacrifice one for another.
It also has four USB charging ports (three USB-A and one USB-C) for connecting other devices. Each port can deliver up to 2.4A of current, but the combined rating is 5V 4.2A, so don’t expect to charge four devices at maximum speed.
In terms of protection, the LVETEK surge protector is rated at 1,680 joules, which is really decent for the price. It is also ETL certified and comes with an indicator light to tell you if the device is still able to protect your appliances.
Best Wall Surge Protector (AKA Wall Wart)
LVETEK surge protection
A cost-effective surge protector that mounts firmly to the wall and gets the job done.
- ✓ Unrivaled surge protection capability
- ✓ Lasts longer than most of the competition
- ✓ Solid aluminum design and 8-foot cable
- ✗ expensive
- ✗ No USB port
Our best surge protection coverall will easily protect most devices. But if you have really expensive gear like gaming PCs, you’ll want something more powerful to make sure your expensive gear doesn’t get fried. Then the Furman Power Station 8 (PST-8) is for you.
Unlike most surge protectors that use Metal Oxide Varistors (MOVs) to dissipate the surge current, the Furman PST-8 uses Series Multi-Stage Protection Plus (SMP+) which provides excellent surge filtering along with an automatic shutdown circuit that cuts off power when overvoltage. is detected. This setup protects both your device and the surge protector, so in theory it will last longer than MOV-based options.
Physically, the device is huge (mostly long) and stands out in any setting, making it difficult to hide under a desk or behind an entertainment center. But it should feel right at home next to an average-sized, LED-backlit gaming PC. It has eight AC outlets, two cable satellite ports and two telecom connectors, so you can plug in all your components.
However, all of these upgrades come at a high price, with this surge protector easily costing double the price of most of the other recommendations on this list. It’s worth it, though, given how expensive gaming PCs are to buy or build.
The best surge protector for gaming PCs
Best home theater surge protector: Panamax M8-AV-PRO
- ✓ Premium filtering for sound and image quality
- ✓ Good range of sockets with 8ft cord
- ✓ Panamax Surge Protection Warranty $5,000,000
- ✗ High price
- ✗ USB ports are missing
The Panamax M8-AV-Pro is your best choice if you need surge protection for your home theater system. It includes eight AC outlets, two coaxial ports and one phone/LAN outlet. Unfortunately, the M8-AV-Pro lacks USB ports, but when it comes to connecting home theater equipment, USB ports aren’t the most important outlet for surge protection.
In addition to standard surge protection, the M8 is equipped with high-current noise filtering that eliminates crackling, hissing and humming from the sound. It also has a 12-volt trigger to activate or deactivate the four sockets with part of the source device when you don’t need them.
In addition, the Automatic Voltage Monitoring (AVM) function continuously checks the incoming voltage and disconnects your device when overvoltage or undervoltage occurs, similar to the Furman Power Station 8. Power is automatically restored when the voltage level returns to normal.
The M8-AV-PRO also features Exclusive Protect or Disconnect circuitry that will disconnect power to connected equipment in the event of a catastrophic surge such as lightning. Basically, you can rest easy knowing that this surge protector will protect your expensive home theater setup.
The Panamax M8-AV-Pro is UL Listed and comes with the company’s warranty that covers up to $5,000,000 for damage to equipment damaged by AC power, cable, telephone, or lightning surges. This is one of the best warranties for surge protectors, so if something happens, you know you’ll be able to replace the electronics.
- ✓ Portable design
- ✓ 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 almost any bag, and can be made even smaller with a retractable three-pin plug. It’s also very light at less than four ounces, so you can afford to throw the Traveler in your bag and have it whenever you need it.
The compact Tripp Lite has two power outlets that can easily charge your laptop and phone on the go, along with DSL and phone ports. The intuitive design sees both ports located on either side of the device, ensuring you can use both at the same time.
Its 1,050 Joule rating is generous for its size and should keep your devices safe on the go. 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 offering—if something happens while you’re traveling, you know you’ll be covered.
The best travel surge protector
- ✓ Enough battery to keep several devices running after a power outage
- ✓ Easily replaceable battery
- ✓ Possibility of stacking batteries for longer use
- ✗ High price
- ✗ No USB port
If you want a surge protector that doubles as a UPS to keep your computer running during a power outage, the APC UPS Battery Backup Surge Protector is one of the best options available. It has 1500VA/865W power which can last from a few minutes to a few hours depending on whether you have a TV, computer and other large devices connected or just some routers. The device has ten outlets, all of which are surge protected; however, only five can draw from the battery.
The system has an automatic voltage regulator that instantly corrects voltage fluctuations without taking a toll on the battery. Unfortunately, it also has the characteristic UPS beeping, but you can mute it using the front panel soft key.
If you’re one to watch your battery, there’s a small LCD display with lots 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 that.
You can also get an additional backup battery if you have multiple devices or want to power your appliances for longer. And once you have been using the surge protector for a while and the battery condition starts to deteriorate, you can easily replace the battery with a new one.
Best backup battery surge protection