What to Look For in a Surge Protector in 2022
How well a surge protector shields connected devices depends on many factors, chief among them being the design. Most options on the market use efficient and cost-effective Metal Oxide Varistors (MOVs) which receive and divert excess voltage from your equipment. But this causes them to take the brunt of the surge, making them degrade over time — they’re essentially sacrificial components.
However, some more expensive options use newer systems that ditch sacrificial parts for components that block excess voltage instead. This model shields both your devices and the surge protector, allowing the latter to last longer on average than its MOV counterparts.
Another factor to consider when buying a surge protector is the joule rating. It’s more important for MOV-based systems and is an indicator of the amount of energy and the number of surges a protector can take before it fails — so, the higher is better.
There’s also a clamping value that measures how much voltage is let through to your appliances in a single spike, 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 trips if a high enough voltage manages to get through, adding an extra layer of protection.
Just as important as the protection mechanism is what happens when the device becomes compromised. Most quality surge protectors have a built-in kill switch that makes them inoperable if they can no longer provide protection. Others continue to work as ordinary power strips without any protective benefits. This defeats the purpose of having a protector in the first place and puts your devices at risk. All the units on our list either have an emergency stop system or LEDs notifying you once components inside are degraded.
Finally, a warranty is worth considering should a surge suppressor fail to act as it should. Many companies promise restitution in the event of a failure, but make sure you note down all the details if it does or it may be difficult to collect.
Our list comprises some of the best surge protectors available, so keep reading on to find the best one for you.
- ✓ Reasonable price
- ✓ High joule rating
- ✓ Well-spaced ports with outlets for power bricks
- ✓ Tripp Lite warranty
- ✗ No USB ports
- ✗ Ports may be tight initially
The Tripp Lite Surge Protector is our best pick overall if you want a surge protector for just about any use case. This general-purpose device ticks all the essential boxes — it has a sturdy and robust feel, up to 12 reasonably spaced ports, a cord length of 8 feet, and a decent 2,880-joule rating.
Beyond the basics, the Tripp Lite surge protector has a crucial auto-shutoff feature that prevents power from reaching your appliances once the protection wears out. This is also handy if you miss the diagnostic LEDs indicating 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 slots if you ever decide to attach it to a wall, desk, or workbench.
The Tripp Lite TLP1208TELTV is UL-listed, giving you extra peace of mind. But what if, for some reason outside your control, it fails? Tripp Lite offers compensation if that happens and makes it easy to do so, judging from reviews.
Best Surge Protector Overall
- ✓ USB ports, including a Type-C outlet
- ✓ High joule rating for the price
- ✓ Smart design with well-spaced out ports
- ✗ Using USB ports simultaneously reduces on charging speed
- ✗ Rear plastic plate is a bit flimsy
If you are looking for a surge protector that can be plugged directly into a wall outlet, LVETEK is a solid option. Although wall chargers are generally small, this budget-friendly pick offers five power outlets that are well-spaced to ensure you do not sacrifice one to use another.
It also has four USB charge ports (three USB-A and one USB-C) to plug-in extra devices. Each port can supply current up to 2.4A, but the combined rating is 5V 4.2A, so do not expect to charge four devices at maximum speeds.
In terms of protection, the LVETEK surge protector has a 1,680-joule rating which is really decent for the price. It’s also ETL certified and comes with a light indicator that tells you if the device is still capable of protecting your appliances.
Best Wall Surge Protector (AKA Wall Wart)
LVETEK Surge Protector
A budget-friendly surge protector that mounts firmly on your wall and gets the job done.
- ✓ Unrivaled surge protection ability
- ✓ Lasts longer than most of the competition
- ✓ Sturdy aluminum design and an 8-foot cord
- ✗ Pricey
- ✗ No USB port
Our best surge protector overall will easily protect most devices. But if you have really costly equipment such as gaming PCs you’ll want something more powerful to make sure your expensive equipment does not get fried. In that case, the Furman Power Station 8 (PST-8) is for you.
Unlike most surge protectors that use Metal Oxide Varistors (MOVs) to divert surge current, the Furman PST-8 uses Series Multi-Stage Protection Plus (SMP +) that provides great surge filtering alongside an automatic shutdown circuit that cuts off the power when a surge is detected. This setup protects both your appliances and the surge protector, allowing it to last longer in theory than MOV-based options.
Physically, the device is huge (mostly long) and stands out in any setup, so it’s difficult to hide under a desk or behind an entertainment center. But it should feel right at home beside the average large and LED-lit gaming PC. It has eight AC outlets, two cable satellite ports, and two telecom connectors, so you can plug all of your components into it.
However, all of these upgrades come at a high cost, with this surge protector costing easily double the price of most of the other recommendations on this list. It’s worth it, though, for how expensive gaming PCs are to buy or build.
Best Surge Protector for Gaming PCs
Best Surge Protector for Home Theaters: Panamax M8-AV-PRO
- ✓ Premium filtration for sound and visual quality
- ✓ Good variety of outlets with an 8-foot long cord
- ✓ Panamax $ 5,000,000 surge protector warranty
- ✗ High cost
- ✗ Lacks USB ports
The Panamax M8-AV-Pro is your best bet if you need a surge protector for a home theater system. It houses eight AC outlets, two coaxial ports, and one telephone / LAN outlet. The M8-AV-Pro does, unfortunately, lack USB ports, but when it comes to hooking up home theater equipment, USB ports aren’t the most important outlet on a surge protector.
Aside from standard surge protection, the M8 features high-current noise filtration to eliminate pops, hisses, and hums from sound. It also has a 12-volt trigger to activate or deactivate four of the outlets with a piece of source equipment, if you do not need them.
In addition, the Automatic Voltage Monitoring (AVM) capability continuously checks incoming voltage and disconnects your equipment when there’s an excess or undervoltage, similar to the Furman Power Station 8. Power is automatically restored when the voltage level normalizes.
The M8-AV-PRO also features the company’s Exclusive Protect or Disconnect circuitry that cuts off AC power to connected equipment in the event of a catastrophic surge such as lightning. Essentially, you can have peace of mind and know 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 which covers up to $ 5,000,000 in damages for equipment damaged by AC power, cable, telephone, or lightning surge. This is one of the best warranties for surge protectors around, so if something happens, you know you’ll be able to replace your 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 just about any bag and can shrink even further courtesy of the retractable three-prong plug. It’s also very light at less than four ounces, so you can afford to toss the Traveler in a bag and have it whenever you need it.
Tripp Lite’s compact device has two AC outlets that can easily charge your laptop and phone on the go, alongside DSL and telephone ports. An intuitive design sees both ports placed on either side of the device, ensuring you can take advantage of both simultaneously.
Its 1,050-joule rating is generous for its size and should keep your devices safe while on a journey. 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 offer — if something happens while traveling, you know you’ll be covered.
Best Travel Surge Protector
- ✓ Enough battery to keep multiple devices running for a while after a blackout
- ✓ Easily replaceable battery
- ✓ Battery stacking capability for longer use
- ✗ High cost
- ✗ No USB port
If you want a surge protector that doubles as a UPS to keep your PC running during a power outage, the APC UPS Battery Backup Surge Protector is one of the best options available. It has a rating of 1,500VA / 865W that can last from a few minutes to several hours depending on whether you have your TV, PC, and other large gadgets or just some routers plugged in. The device has ten outlets, all of which are surge protected; however, only five can tap from the battery power.
The system has an automatic voltage regulator that instantly corrects voltage fluctuations without taking a toll on the battery. Unfortunately, it also has a beeping sound characteristic of UPSs, but you can silence it with a front panel soft key.
If you’re one to monitor your battery, there’s a small LCD with plenty 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 just that.
You can also get an extra battery backup if you have more devices or want to power your appliances for longer. And once you’ve used the surge protector for a while and the battery health begins to deteriorate, you can easily swap out the battery cell with a replacement.
Best Battery Backup Surge Protector