All About Surge Protectors: An Electrifying Beginner’s Guide

power strip surge protector

There’s no doubt that we rely on our devices to work, to play, and to communicate. Not being able to use your computer, phone, or television might be a minor inconvenience to some, but to others, it can represent a total disaster of a day. Not only can a mishap like this completely disrupt your plans, but it might even mean you have to replace this very expensive equipment. That’s often the case if your electronics experience a power surge or spike — which means you need to do everything in your power (pun intended) to protect your gadgets.

That’s where surge protectors come in. But how exactly does this technology work? Is it even necessary? And how do you go about choosing a surge protector for computers, television sets, and other technology? We’ll answer those questions in today’s post.

What is a surge protector and how does it work?

Surge protectors are aptly named; they protect all kinds of electronic equipment from power surges and power spikes. These events occur when electrical line voltages undergo sudden shifts — like when an appliance that requires a lot of power turns on or off or a storm causes a power line interruption. Surges typically last longer than spikes do, but they carry less voltage. However, both of these instances can irreparably damage your electronic equipment. Surge protectors will absorb and then channel the extra voltage away from the devices they’re connected to, thus saving you both money and emotional devastation.

Won’t my power strip do the same thing?

A lot of people assume that their power strip fills the need for surge protection. But actually, these two pieces of equipment are not the same thing. A basic power strip will simply provide multiple electronic outlets into which you can plug your electronics. This may allow you to use many types of gadgets at once, but it won’t protect them from surges. However, there are power strip surge protectors, which offer both of these capabilities. Just remember that not every power strip is automatically going to protect your devices; you need to ensure that it actually offers surge protection, too.

Are surge protectors for computers, TVs, and other electronics really necessary?

In a word: yes. You might think that the chances of your device being impacted by a lightning strike are slim to none — and you may be right about that. But that’s not the only instance in which having surge protection is essential. If you use a window unit air conditioner, live in a building with old electrical wiring, have ever dealt with a downed power line, or rely on technology, you need a power strip surge protector. While you don’t need to plug a desk lamp or a box fan into these outlets, they’re the only thing you should use to power up your laptop, charge your phone, or connect to your TV or gaming system. That way, you’ll have peace of mind that if a spike or surge should occur (which happens more often than you’d think!), your devices will be safe.

What should I look for in a power strip surge protector?

There are several factors to consider when choosing a power strip surge protector. First of all, you need to ensure that it has the number of ports you need and that they are spaced so that they can all be used at the same time. Then, you’ll have to pay attention to the protector’s energy absorption rating, which is represented in joules. This number should be as high as possible. For example, to protect an entertainment center, computer, or home theater equipment, get a surge protector with a joule rating of 2500 or higher. You may also want to look at the clamping voltage, a number expressed in volts that basically indicates when the surge protector starts doing its job (you’ll want this number to be as low as possible). Finally, check out the protector’s warranty and certifications to ensure it’s the real deal.

When it comes to your electronics, it’s always best to be prepared and protected. By purchasing a surge protector, you’ll safeguard your tech against the unforeseen.

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