If you need to protect your electronics from power spikes, surges, and outages, then you need the right surge protector that is both effective and affordable. However, since there are so many kinds out there, you should check out our buying guide for surge protectors right here!
How do Surge Protectors Work?
As to the purpose of surge protectors, they’re used to help safeguard electronic equipment—televisions, computers, home theaters, appliances, game systems, etc.—from electrical spikes and surges. Surges typically last longer than spikes but have less voltage. They’re usually caused by sudden changes in electricity demand, such as equipment or appliances that use a great deal of power (furnaces, air conditioners, laser printers, or refrigerators).
On the other hand, spikes are shorter, lasting only fractions of a second but possibly carrying thousands of volts. They can be caused by storms or issues with power lines like downed trees.
Even small spikes or surges can affect or even destroy the performances of electronic equipment. However, surge protectors can be used to absorb and then channel harmful excess voltage from the devices they’re connected to up to a certain capacity.
Types of Surge Protectors
The basic types of surge protectors include the power strip surge protector, which has a cord to provide flexibility for positioning them close to equipment, often having between 6-12 outlets. Some power strip surge protectors come with mounting holes that allow for wall hanging. The other basic surge protector is the wall-mount surge protector, which does not come with a cord and typically has 2-6 outlets.
It’s important to note the difference between multi-plug adapters or power strips and surge protectors. Adaptors and power strips have more outlet space, but they have no surge protection. They can be distinguished by the packaging’s voltage protection and joule ratings.
Specifications and Features
As a potential buyer, it’s important that you understand the common specifications of surge protectors and know the features to look for in order to select the best product for any devices you have:
- Joule rating: indicates total energy the device can absorb before needing to be replaced. Oftentimes, higher ratings mean the device will protect longer and better.
- Underwriters Laboratories Voltage Protection Rating (UL VPR): indicates clamping voltage, which is the highest voltage a surge protector lets through before limiting additional voltage. Lower ratings offer better protection, with the lowest being 330 volts.
- Power filtration: reduces radio frequency interference (RFI) and electromagnetic interference (EMI) on power lines to provide better picture and sound quality in entertainment equipment.
- Response time: determines how fast surge protectors react, with lower response times being better.
- Three-line protection: protects along ground, neutral, or hot wires.
- Auto shut-off: safeguards devices linked to surge protectors by turning the power off when catastrophic surges occur.
- Protection indicator light: indicates unit is protecting equipment. When the light switches off, you need a new surge protector. Audible alarms are similar.
- Ground indicator light: indicates properly grounded outlet is connected to the surge protector.
- Built-in circuit breaker: ceases electrical flow when electrical circuit has overloaded—when connected devices are using more electricity than the circuit can manage.
When using a surge protector, it would be wise to take some safety tips into consideration:
- Only use a surge protector inside and in a dry location.
- Don’t exceed your surge protector’s electrical rating.
- Don’t connect aquariums or similar water-based products to a surge protector.
- Don’t plug in a surge protector to a power strip, an extension cord, or a different surge protector.
- When using a surge protector for devices like appliances or power tools, ensure that it fulfills the device’s amperage requirements and will handle the device’s current.
Finally, remember to follow the manufacturer’s instructions for your surge protector to ensure proper safety and use.
If you need surge protectors, check out our eBay store for some great deals!