What’s the Difference Between a Power Strip and a Surge Protector?

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Surge protectors typically look similar to energy strips, however not all energy strips are surge protectors. Solely surge protections truly assist shield your devices towards energy surges. Many energy strips are simply glorified extension cords with none safety. However you’ll be able to inform whether or not a strip gives surge safety with simply a few seconds of examination.

Not Each Power Strip Offers Surge Safety

An influence strip plugs into a wall outlet and gives retailers for a number of gadgets. However that’s all a easy energy strip does. It’s basically an extension wire with a number of retailers and no fancy options, though it might need a change to rapidly minimize energy to all related gadgets. Connecting a machine to a energy strip is rather like connecting it to a wall outlet, at the very least when it comes to security.

A surge protector (generally referred to as a “surge suppressor” as an alternative) typically is available in the form of a energy strip. Like energy strips, most surge protectors plug into a wall outlet and supply retailers for a number of gadgets. However, surge protectors even have electronics inbuilt that assist forestall energy surges from damaging related gadgets. Connecting a machine to a surge protector gives extra safety than merely connecting it to a wall outlet.

Whereas widespread energy strips and surge protectors look related, not all energy strips are surge protectors. Surge protectors are a bit costlier. For instance, you would possibly pay $20 for a surge protector, whereas a similar-looking energy strip prices solely $10.

With regards to costly electronics gadgets like your TV and residence theater system, or your pc and different fancy electronics, utilizing a surge protector is a good thought. However, while you’re simply plugging in a espresso maker or toaster, a easy energy strip is simply effective.

Whereas surge protectors typically are available energy strip form, they don’t all the time. For instance, you may get a single-outlet surge protector that lets you plug a single machine into a single wall outlet, however with surge safety. The ability strip design is simply extra widespread.

Methods to Inform the Difference on the Packaging

When purchasing for a surge protector at a retailer, you should definitely search for the phrases “surge protector” or at the very least “safety” or “suppression.” You’ll typically see energy strips and surge protectors close to one another in the retailer, and they’ll look related at a look. The ability strips shall be cheaper, however learn the effective print: Something that simply says “energy strip” isn’t a surge protector.

Surge protectors are sometimes rated in the quantity of Joules of power they’ll soak up, so that you’re more likely to see this info clearly marketed on the surge protector. For instance, the Belkin surge protector we linked above boasts a three,940-joule power score. If you’re scores, a surge protector rated at 1000-2000 Joules is often ok for smaller electronics—networking gear, smartphones, printers, and so on. In case you’re defending residence theater gear, gaming consoles, or desktop and laptop computer computer systems, search for one thing over 2000 Joules. And when you’re defending a number of giant elements on a single surge protector, search for a good greater score.

So long as you understand to search for surge safety, the product packaging (or net product itemizing) makes it simple to keep away from plain energy strips and discover a surge protector.

Methods to Inform the Difference on the Gadget

You probably have a bunch of energy strips mendacity round and you’re unsure whether or not they’re surge protectors or not, you’ll be able to inform with a fast examination. Surge protectors typically (however not all the time) have a “Protected” or “Safety” gentle on them that lights up after they’re plugged in. This tells you that the surge protector is useful and doesn’t must be changed.

In case you flip the machine over and learn by means of the effective print on the again, you may even see a “suppressed voltage score” or related specification. In case you see something that refers to “safety” or “suppression” on it, the machine you might have in your fingers is a surge protector.

If the surge protector could be very outdated, there’s a probability that it not capabilities as a surge protector and must be changed. That’s the goal of the gentle on new surge protectors, after all. In case you see a gentle that doesn’t activate when the surge protector is related to an outlet, the surge protector has worn down and it simply capabilities as a energy strip with no surge safety.

In case you don’t see a “protected” gentle or something associated to safety or suppression printed wherever on the machine, you’re holding a easy energy strip and not a surge protector. It’s effective in your espresso maker, however you most likely don’t need to hook up your own home theater system to it.


And when you’re on the lookout for much more safety in your desktop or laptop computer pc, you would possibly need to contemplate an uninterruptible energy provide (UPS) as an alternative. These additionally supply surge safety and the potential to plug in a number of gadgets, but additionally shield towards sudden energy loss with a battery backup. They offer you the time to avoid wasting paperwork and energy down your pc gracefully must you lose energy.

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