Quick Tips: Surge Protectors

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Extensive workstations need a lot of power. Wall sockets stop cutting it once you have to plug in multiple monitors, speakers, and your computer. Here’s a quick guide to what you need in a surge protector.

Surge Protection

Not all power strips are created equal. Some strips simply extend the number of available outlets and give you more power sockets to work with. Strips with “Surge Protection” built in will protect your devices in the event of a power surge or random electrical anomaly. These strips are going to cost a bit more, but it’s worth knowing that your devices are protected.

Make sure that anything you buy has “Surge Protection” or “Surge Protector” in the product name or product description. You’re being dangerous otherwise.

What do you need in a surge protector?

The first question to ask yourself is, “How many outlets do I need?” There’s no point in buying a 15-outlet surge protector if you’re only going to plug in your phone charger and desk lamp.

The next questions to ask yourself if “What am I plugging into this surge protector?” Your home office setup will need more protection than your bedside table’s. This power protection rating is measured in Joules, and you can find this rating on most surge protectors. Here’s what you need for different types of items:

Small power needs: 600-1000 JoulesKitchen appliances, phone charger, alarm clock, desk lamps

Medium power needs: 1000-2000 Joules – Laptops, tablets, routers, printers, scanners, fax machines

Heavy power needs: 2000+ Joules – Desktop computers, speaker systems, HDTV setups, video game consoles

Specific recommendations

There’s no reason to buy something outside of your power needs. For example: This Tripp outlet is great for smaller power needs.

 It only has six power outlets and a rating of 790 Joules. It’s a good bedside table or kitchen surge protector.

Those with medium power needs could consider the Fellowes Mighty 8 Surge Protector. It’s rated for 1300 Joules and has eight available outlets. This would work for a smaller home office setup that includes printers and scanners.

However, if you’re looking to expand your home entertainment system this Belkin surge protector is a great choice.

 It’s rated for 4320 Joules and has 12 plugs for the most extensive of entertainment or home office setups.


Another point to consider when shopping for surge protectors is an included warranty. The manufacturer will reimburse you for lost products in a situation where the surge protector fails. Make sure to check if there’s an included warranty, and see how much it will cover.

It’s important to note that this warranty usually won’t hold up if you’ve plugged too much into too weak of a surge protector. Make sure that your surge protector is rated for the right type of application. This warranty only applies when the surge protector itself fails, so don’t expect the manufacturer to reimburse you when you spill water on a computer plugged into their product.


Now you’re equipped to keep your appliances safe and secure. Happy shopping.

About the Author
Brian Galloway is an unabashed tech geek based in Nashville, Tennessee. When he's not obsessively searching for the next computer upgrade, he's probably curled up on the couch with a book and the day's third cup of coffee.

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