Surge Protector or Power Strip? These Tips Help You Find It Out!

When you shop online and search the key words Surge Protector or Power Strip, do you confirm that you have been looking at the correct one that you really need?


Surge Protector and Power Strip can look and function somewhat the same. But do you ever consider which one will have your back when the storms hit your home?

A power strip is basically just an extension cord with a lot of outlets at one end. Plain and simple. However, a surge protector looks like an extension cord with a lot of outlets at one end, but it has a higher power—it can absorb, or “clamp” a power surge that could potentially go downstream towards your more expensive equipment. Although they look similar, you may be able to see the variance in the power strip and the surge protector when you come across a joules rating on the packaging. Only surge protectors will have this rating. Joules are a unit of measurement for energy (like watts or calories). They measure how long your appliances will be protected. Sometimes, it may only take one massive surge in power to exceed the number of joules that your equipment is protected against, but sometimes, it could take ten or fifteen little surges to do this. Surge protectors may cost you a little more than a power strip, but just remember they save you thousands in protection. Your more expensive devices, such as your computer, flat-screen televisions, stereo systems, etc., should be plugged into surge protectors. Smaller items like alarm clocks, coffee makers and phone chargers aren’t really in need of the extra protection and can be plugged into a power strip.

You should use a surge protector if you live in an area that has a lot of electrical storms, a rural area, or in a building with a lot of motors inside (large furnace, elevator). Power strips are great if you have multiple electronics within a close proximity to one another. Most outlets in residential and commercial areas only include two sockets, which is not always sufficient, so having the extra strip is really convenient. Power strips usually have several outlets, a circuit breaker, and some sort of on/off switch, which is great for businesses or restaurants looking to conserve power.

Keep in mind that the number of joules your power strip protects against works somewhat like a reservoir. When you initially purchase your surge protector, you may see a label of 2,000 joules, but this will deplete over time. As your surge protector takes hits from the power spikes, the level of protection will diminish, either in one massive strike or over time.

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