Like travel insurance, key finders, and cupboard locks, surge protectors are the kind of product you don’t know you need until it’s too late. After which, you’re left with a broken stereo, radio, or television set and a that haunting ‘shoulda, woulda, coulda’ feeling of regret.
It’s a matter of foresight.
Don’t let your expensive electronics get fried! Protect your Electronics by getting yourself a sturdy, reliable & battle tested surge protector.
We’ve put together a comprehensive list of the best surge protectors 2020 so you don’t have to spend hours doing the research or worse yet just picking one at random and hoping for the best. We’ve done all the grunt work for you.
|Tripp Lite HT10DBS|
|Monster EXP 800||x8||1,440|
Best Budget Option
Best Portable Surge Protector
|Monster Home Office 650|
Best Wall Mounted Unit
1. Tripp Lite HT10DBS – Best Surge Protector 2020
On our quest to find the best surge protector on the market, we discovered this excellent Tripp-Lite Home Theatre device. The first thing to know is that this is a heavy duty product. It is designed for home use, but it’s suited to something like a home cinema or a large stereo or computer set up. In other words, this thing can handle anything you throw at it.
It has ten sockets, so you’ve got plenty of space. There are three isolated filter banks, which will prevent line noise from interfering with performance. It also has three coaxial sockets (in and out), an RJ-45 Ethernet socket (in and out), and a telephone socket too (in and out). This might sound like a lot to pack in, but they’re curved around most sides of the device.
One of our favorite features was the little colored labels. This is a great way to keep track of everything and make sure that you’re pulling out or connecting the right plugs. The Tripp-Lite Surge Protector comes with a sizeable eight-foot cord of its own, so you won’t be tugging it across the room or worrying about extension cords if there isn’t an outlet nearby.
Say what you will about it’s bulky design, but make no mistake that the Tripp Lites’ entire ‘ISOBAR’ product line is built tough as nails and has one of the best warranties in the industry to back up their products. It was a tough decision between This Tripp Lite Home Theater unit and the Belkin unit below, but having used the smaller 4 socket version of these surge protectors for years I can personally attest to how indestructible and dependable these units truly are. That’s why the HD10DBZ is our favorite pick for the best surge protector of 2020.
2. Belkin BP112230 – A Super Close Second Place
We’ve got to say that we loved this Belkin Surge Protector. It has lots of cool features, but one of the best is the tilting, swiveling sockets on the left and right-hand sides. While the sockets running down the middle (four) are pretty standard, these ones are individually adjustable. Each socket pivots (hence, the name) by as much as ninety degrees.
This is great for maneuverability and plugging awkwardly shaped adapters into the board. Tall bricks, wide bricks, and any other tricky devices become very easy to master when you can just angle the whole socket outwards. There is a total of twelve outlets, with eight capable of pivoting. While the device itself is on the small side, this clever structure makes up for it.
It is rated for 4320 joules and comes with an eight-foot extension cord, so you shouldn’t have any trouble getting it where you need it. You can, of course, hang it on the wall if you’d prefer not to have sockets at ground level. The device contains an RJ-45 Ethernet and a coaxial socket. When you’re working with multiple cables, tuck them into the ‘tidy’ hole on the bottom.
If you’re knowledgeable about electronics, you might have heard of APC. The manufacturer has been producing premium gadgets and devices for a long time. So, you can expect its surge protectors to impress. The APC P11U2 is no exception because it offers superb build quality, a satisfying outlet layout, and a few nifty extras on top.
This particular APC surge protector runs five outlets for standard two and three prong plugs down the middle. However, it also makes room for a further three outlets on each side of this, so you’re definitely getting good value for money. The question is, can APC make such a busy configuration work, without any frustration or super tight squeezes?
Well, we managed to fit plugs in all five vertical sockets and four on either side without any serious cramping or space issues. Depending on the size of the plugs, you might be struggling with anymore but, at the same time, we’d probably recommend buying two surge protectors if you want to cram it full of devices.
We especially liked the fact that it has three status lights and a circuit breaker reset. You would only use this on the rare occasion that a major surge knocked out power to all devices. The LED lights are handy for keeping an eye on overall efficiency. The Overload light, for example, lets you know when things are running a bit hot, and you might want to remove a device.
Monster wants you to get serious about power surges. It is keen to list all of the rather horrid problems which can occur if you don’t protect your electronic devices. And it wants you to know that it creates some of the best surge protectors money can buy. We’re inclined to agree that it’s one of the finest available because it has a superb build quality.
It is not quite as heavy duty as some of the other protectors on this list, but it is a worthy choice for light to moderate use. It offers a total of eight sockets, with all outlets positioned vertically along the sides. While this won’t please the electronics beats among you – with great hulking computers and theater systems – it is plenty for radios, stereos, TVs, and other small devices.
One thing which we do like about the Monster Core Power protector is its structure. The entire case is made out of fireproof ceramic which is, according to the manufacturer, 100% flame resistant. We’re not suggesting you go out and test this though, so you’ll have to take the company at its word.
Monster Clean Power technology promises to keep your electronics free of noise and interference. We did notice an improvement actually. If you’re concerned about performance, this could be the right surge protector for you. It rates for 1440 joules and offers dual coax protection for antenna lines. What’s more, that tough case is great for use while traveling.
5. Amazon Basics 12 Outlet – Best Budget Option
This next product is our choice for best surge protector if you’re on a tight budget. It is very affordable and, surprisingly, it stands up really well against many of the top brands. In fact, you’ll struggle to find a surge protector any cheaper than this which will guarantee you reliable performance. It is a compact thing, though it does manage to fit twelve sockets.
It is probably not compatible with heavy duty use, but moderate electronics set ups are fine. There is a very appealing three line surge system, and this is designed to safeguard smaller objects like phones and lamps. The need for variable protection is often overlooked by manufacturers, so it’s nice to see Amazon producing such an intuitive design.
The indicator function is pretty basic, but it does the job. The red light is illuminated for as long as the protector is active. It won’t shut off if the protection fails though, so you might want to consider this when working with high-end equipment. Ultimately, the Amazon Basics Surge is a very capable, very efficient little product.
It is rated for 4350 joules. The sockets can be further protected, when not in use, by sliding the little covers across the top. Just be careful when doing so, as rough handling might cause them to come loose. As is standard, you’ll find three telephone sockets and two coaxial outlets located on the back of the device.
One of the most common reasons for investing in surge protectors, besides cautionary prevention, is geographic relocation. Often, if you move or travel somewhere distant, you’ll find that the technology is built very differently. Sometimes, this means that plugging devices straight into wall sockets is a fast track to destruction.
The APC P11GTV Surge Protector is a great product for anybody looking to move abroad and keep their electronics safe. It provides eleven sockets. There are five down the middle and three on either side of the case. These six are angled downwards just a little, but it’s enough to stop plugs getting cramped and jammed together.
As standard, it comes with an Ethernet and a coaxial socket (in and out).There is also protection for a telephone line if you wish to hook one up to the board. Again, this is great for anybody who is traveling or planning to relocate.
As far as surge protectors go, this Tripp-Lite is a winner. In all of the product descriptions, it looks rather cramped and tight, but we didn’t find it too frustrating. Getting all the plugs you need into the sockets makes for a squeeze sometimes, but the other features are worth it. For one thing, this is a protector unit which shuts off if there’s any kind of system failure.
So, you never have to worry about your electronics getting fried, just because the internal system is wearing down. It’s easy to forget that surge protectors have a finite lifespan. They do exhaust themselves after a time, and automatic shut off features are the easiest way to ensure that no damage is done when they die.
The Tripp-Lite (or the TLP1208TELTV) contains eight sockets lined up on one side, with a further four on the other. This is quite an unusual design, especially compared with other brands. However, the idea is that the eight sockets are spaced quite tightly. For bulkier adapters and plugs, you can use the broader four on the opposite side.
It is rated for 2880 joules and comes with coaxial and telephone pass through protection. Plus, the case is structured in a way which allows for a snug fit behind a desk or cabinet. If you’re looking for a solid surge protector and need it to power your computer station, we would recommend this product.
8. Accell Poweramid – Best Portable Surge Protector
Now, we move on to the intriguingly named Accell Poweramid. It might have a bit of a silly name, but it’s an impressive device, particularly if you only plan for light to moderate use. In fact, it is a perfect fit for nightstands and side tables. You can slip the very compact, disc like frame under the table and it won’t get in the way.
It also looks a lot cooler than most other surge protectors, so you probably won’t mind having it out on display either. Unlike many other brands, Accell has gone for a conical shape. The bottom is round, but the frame tapers inwards, to the middle point where there’s a little indicator light. Aesthetically, it is our favorite of all the products on the list.
It should be noted that Poweramid is often compared to another popular surge protector; the wonderfully silly PowerSquid. It is also manufactured by Accell, but the company is keen to point out that improvements have been made. The Poweramid is built with updated noise canceling technology.
It offers up to 40DB of filtration, and this ensures that video and audio feeds aren’t ruined by unwanted interference. So, it is significantly cleaner, in terms of picture and sound quality, than the PowerSquid. Though it only has six sockets, the clever layout means that they can all be used at once, even with a few bulkier plugs.
9. Monster Home Office 650 – Best Wall Mounted Surge Protector
The Core Power EXP 650 is a surprisingly simple device, though it offers a high level of quality. The design looks a little different because it is broader than it is longer, but there are no big shocks here. The sockets have been slightly recessed for easier access, and there are two USB ports right on the front of the protector. It will be a downside for some that the product offers just six sockets, but users with light to moderate intentions shouldn’t find this too off putting. Perhaps the niftiest feature is the fact that it is designed to be hooked on the wall.
Most surge protectors come with this option, but the Monster EXP 650 has clearly been shaped and formulated for vertical life, as opposed to an existence on the floor. It should be noted that the only source of input power is from a single 120V outlet. It means that users need to be careful when adding high current devices.
If you must plug a high current machine into the protector, take some of the other devices out first. Ultimately, the product is intended for use with small scale audio and computing equipment. If you want protection for your microwave or home cinema set, maybe find a more robust system. It is rated for 1080 joules and is ideal for charging smartphones.
The Belkin 6 Outlet Wall Protector is a fairly simple and straightforward product. There are no fancy designs, strange shapes, or curious perks. It does what it says and you get what you’re expecting. This is, in no way, a bad thing. Not everybody wants a fancy or complex surge protector, with heavy duty capabilities.
Sometimes, all you need is an efficient, reliable way to keep your small electronics in check. We’re talking mobile phones, lamps, mini stereos, radios, alarm clocks, and anything else you might keep in your bedroom. This Belkin surge protector is perfect for these types of devices, so pick it up if six sockets are more than enough for you.
The flat wall mount design is sleek and stylish. It won’t take up much space or stand out against the décor. Plus, it provides solid state protection for fax, phone, and modem inputs. The product is rated for 1045 joules, and because there are only six outlets, there’s plenty of room for spikes and surges to be tolerated and absorbed, even when fully engaged.
Buying the Right Product for You
It is really important to pick with care when shopping for surge protectors. The reality is that a poor choice can end up causing more damage than it prevents. This is why it’s worth spending a little time reading up on the best products and balancing the cost with the strengths of the design and technical capabilities. Ultimately, all surge protectors aren’t made equal.
The next section will give you some pointers and hopefully help you select a surge protector which fits your needs, electronics and environment.
Know Your Power Products
The first thing to know is that there is a major difference between power strips and surge protectors. The former is another very common object in the home, but it doesn’t perform the same function. If you end up buying a strip when you really need a protector, you might still be putting your computer, TV, or another device at risk of a blowout.
In simple terms, power strips are just adaptors. They merely allow you to split the outlet into more than one port, so you can utilize multiple plugs with a single socket. They do not provide any protection against electric surges or spikes. So, don’t get the two confused. If it’s surge prevention that you want, leave the adapters on the shelf.
Pick the Right Number of Ports
As you’ve seen from our list of the best surge protectors, these products come in a huge variety of shapes and designs. The smallest contain as few as four sockets, but bigger protectors commonly offer twelve or more. While it can tempting to opt for the largest number of sockets instantly, you’ve got to think about their configuration.
It won’t do you any good to have a heavy duty 12-port protector which can only be used at 50% capacity because the sockets are poorly positioned. This is why you should consider both the capacity and the design when shopping. Generally, twelve ports will cater to even the heaviest of electronic set ups.
Get a Good Match for Your Gear
The next step is to consider what you’ll plug into the surge protector. While it is possible to use a great many different devices, peak performance is achieved when the design of the protector matches the devices. For instance, audio and TV equipment tend to benefit from more sophisticated products than, say, a lamp or a radio alarm clock.
Also, look for the energy absorption rating and what is known as the clamping voltage. The former is very important, and it tells you exactly how much power the device can safely absorb before it breaks down. When you’re dealing with energy surges, you want to be sure that the rating is high enough to regulate the input properly. So, generally, higher is better.
The clamping voltage is the point at which the voltage ‘activates’ the surge protector. It determines how much power passes through the device before it decides that the levels are excessive and potentially damaging. At this point, it switches the surge protection on and starts dissipating some of that unwanted power.
Figuring Out the Number of Joules
As mentioned, the higher the absorption rating, the more energy the surge protector can divert away from your electronics. Nevertheless, it’s not always necessary to opt for the highest rated products. Some items, like lamps and alarm clocks, are just not valuable enough to require an elevated level of protection.
You might disagree, of course, but the thing to remember is that the price goes up alongside the joule absorption rating. So, it’s not always economically viable to be buying an advanced device for a replaceable machine. On the other hand, anything you really don’t want to replace (stereos, plasma TVs, computers, etc.) is worth a more robust form of protection.
There are no hard and fast rules, but there are some general ratings which most people use to identify suitable products. For instance, small items like alarm clocks, blenders, and plug in lights warrant a protector with around 1,000 (or less) joules of protection. Power tools, printers, copiers, and routers are better with around 1,000-2,000 joules.
The most expensive equipment (laptops, gaming computers, data hard drives, surround sound systems, etc.) deserve more than 2,000 joules of protection in most cases. Ultimately, it comes down to your definition of valuable. You might have external hard drives filled with music, pictures, and documents. They probably don’t have much financial worth, but the material on there could be priceless to you.
How Surge Protectors Work
So, we know that surge protectors are defensive devices. They are designed to absorb power spikes so that all of that extra energy doesn’t end up in your electronic components. The result is fried circuits and a broken TV or stereo, so it really is something to avoid. While surge protectors cannot handle something as robust as a lightning strike, they are pretty helpful.
Essentially, they work in much the same way as a runaway ramp on a dangerous road. The surplus power is diverted away from the electronic device and into a series of metal oxide varistors (or MOVs). The MOVs pretty much ‘take the hit’ on behalf of the machine. The surge does have a detrimental impact, but on the MOVs, rather than the device.
What this means is that surge protectors are finite. They have a lifespan because the MOVs lose their capacity for absorption over time. It is a kind of sacrifice that they make for the protection of the electronics, and this is why they eventually run out of steam. It’s important not to assume that the product will last forever.
Some surge protectors come with special warning lights or shut off systems so that electronics are not unintentionally exposed to spikes at the point of failure. You might want to consider this when shopping for a new one. Generally, a high-quality surge protector will last for around five years. Though, there are lots of variables which can affect build quality.
Surges – Everything You Need to Know
The first step in protecting your electronics is, of course, knowing why you’re safeguarding them in the first place. Unfortunately, a lot of the information found online about surge protection isn’t very accurate. This is because technology changes so fast and not all websites and forums update their advice to reflect this.
The first thing to know is that there’s more than one type of power surge. In most cases, they come from the primary electric grid. It is less common for them to originate in the home, but it is possible. Technically, the right term to use is ‘transient voltage;’ surplus amounts of electrical power which randomly affect electronics.
Of course, it isn’t always random. Lightning strikes are a type of surge and, unfortunately, one of the few forms of damage which it is very difficult to mitigate. This doesn’t mean that having a surge protector is pointless – there is a chance that strikes will be partially absorbed – but it does mean that no product can reliably claim to beat them.
What isn’t usually discussed is the relationship that surge protectors share with the grid and the energy providers. These nifty products are a great defense against unexpected spikes, but it isn’t as if power lines are constantly fraught with danger. Far from being a primary form of protection, surge protectors are, in many ways, the final line of defense.
They are there to safeguard electronics if, on the rare occasion, a power surge does manage to enter your home, prevent circuits from being fried. However, modern homes are built with integrated protections (like circuit breakers), and energy companies are constantly monitoring fluctuating levels in local areas. For this reason, surges are increasingly rare anyway.
Obviously, the problem is that, when they do hit, there’s no going back. Once a TV or laptop is fried, there’s no fixing it, and this is why people choose to buy surge protectors. They are affordable, easy to use, and consume minimal electricity, so you’re not going to be adding to existing utility bills. As far as precautionary measures go, they’re highly recommended.
Surge Protector Best Practices
Don’t forget that surge protectors are another type of electrical device. If you use them incorrectly, you might end up putting your possessions in danger, instead of making sure that they’re safe. For instance, you should never plug one surge protector into another. They are simply not designed to handle this kind of voltage.
You could start a fire, melt circuits in your electronic devices, and even blow the wiring in your walls. It is a bad idea, so don’t be tempted by it. If you need more outlets, try to buy a bigger board. Or, use two protectors separately, as intended. Similarly, avoid plugging protectors into un-grounded sockets, whether you’re using a prong adapter or not.
In most cases, it renders the entire system unworkable, and it can be risky too. To reiterate, it’s important to use your surge protector in the recommended manner. You can read up on this in the instruction manual. Those guidelines are there for a good reason. Follow them, and you’ll have no problems with blowouts, melted fuses, or electrical fires.
Some surge protectors have status lights to indicate that they’re good to go and ready to provide protection. They vary from product to product, but most contain what is known as a grounding indicator. If you plug the product in and the light does not illuminate, it could be a sign of a serious electrical fault. Do check the manual to confirm that this is what the light demonstrates.
It may not be a danger, but the best option is to switch off as many outlets as is practically possible and call an electrician immediately. Grounding faults are no joke. They can cause very serious electrocution injuries and even death. Get your wiring inspected if you have any concerns about its safety or current condition.
The final piece of advice is just to remember that your surge protector will need replacing at some point. If you’re worried about keeping track of its lifespan, pick a product with an auto shut off function. It powers itself down when a minimal level of defense is reached. That way you, you know when it has given up the ghost, and you can order a new one.
Best Surge Protectors 2020 – A Quick Review
Best Surge Protector Overall
The Tripp-Lite Home Theatre Surge Protector is our #1 pick due to it’s best in class warranty and incredible build qaulity. We also really like it’s sweet style and colored labels so that you don’t accidentally unplug the wrong thing.
Best Budget Surge Protector
The Amazon Basics 12 Outlet Protector is our choice for anybody on a tight budget. The three line surge protection is perfect for smaller electronics like lamps, radio alarm clocks, and mini stereos.
Best Portable Surge Protector
The Accell Poweramid is a quirky looking product. It is a little different to the others because it is not arranged in a board shape. Instead, the sockets are installed on a conical wheel. It is a small surge protector, but ideal for use with lamps and other moderately powered electronics.
Best Wall Mounted Surge Protector
The Monster Home Office Wall Mounted Surge Protector is a compact, easy to mount product. The idea is that you install it in a bedroom or lounge, at a convenient height. This keeps the wires neat and out of the way. It also helps you avoiding tripping over it.
So, we’ve learned an awful lot about surge protectors and why they are a valuable addition to the home. The reality is that all households can benefit from this type of protection. Power surges are present within every grid, and even low-level spikes inflict damage over time. You may not experience any dramatic events, but these surges could still be causing havoc.
Investing in the right surge protector is a good way to prolong the life of television sets, microwaves, lamps, radios, stereos, surround sound systems, and much more. You can browse our list for inspiration and help with finding the best surge protector in 2020. The products listed were chosen for their build quality, affordability, and additional features.
If you want to learn more about surge protection, there is a lot of valuable information online. Just make sure that you’re looking at a relatively recent website or article. Requirements do change, especially as electronics become increasingly advanced. And finally, don’t worry about it too much. With the right protector, your devices will be fully reinforced against errant power hikes and surges.