How to Choose the Right Surge Protector for You

Your Guide to buying the best surge protectors


Surge protectors are an essential tool to help protect your electronics from power surges. In this comprehensive buying guide, we will explain what surge protectors are, the different types available, and the key features to look for when purchasing one. We will also provide helpful tips on how to test your surge protector and how to get the most out of it. By the end of this guide, you will be equipped with the knowledge and understanding to find the best surge protector for your needs.

Key features

  1. Protection Rating: Look for a surge protector with a protective rating of at least 600-900 joules, as this will ensure your electronics are properly protected from power surges.
  2. Outlets: Consider how many outlets you need as surge protectors can come with anywhere from two to 12 or more outlets.
  3. AC Protection: Make sure the surge protector you choose offers AC protection, as some surge protectors only offer protection for coaxial cables and phone lines.
  4. Safety Features: Look for surge protectors with safety features such as overload protection, automatic shutdown, indicator lights, and surge protection joule rating.
  5. Cord Length: Consider the length of the cord, as longer cords are often more beneficial depending on the location of your surge protector.
  6. Certification: Ensure the surge protector is UL-listed or ETL-certified, as this is a sign that the product has been tested and meets safety standards.
  7. Warranty: Look for surge protectors with a good warranty, as this will ensure you are protected if the device fails or malfunctions.

See the most popular surge protectors on Amazon

Important considerations


  • Protection against power surges: Surge protectors provide a first line of defense against electrical surges that can damage your electronics and appliances.
  • Data and phone line protection: Surge protectors can also provide protection to your home's data and telephone lines, which are susceptible to power surges.
  • Cost effective: Surge protectors are relatively inexpensive compared to the cost of replacing expensive electronics and appliances.
  • Added convenience: Surge protectors can provide added convenience by allowing you to connect and power multiple devices in one location.
  • Easy installation: Surge protectors are easy to install and can be done in a few minutes with minimal tools.


  • Cost: Surge protectors can be costly, and depending on the brand and features, they can range from a few dollars to over one hundred.
  • Limited protection: Surge protectors are limited in their protection capabilities and are unable to protect against all potential power surges.
  • Not portable: Surge protectors are not portable devices, and must be hardwired into a wall outlet in order to offer protection.
  • Maintenance: Surge protectors must be checked and maintained on a regular basis in order to continue providing effective protection.
  • Fire risk: If misused, surge protectors may cause a fire hazard and could lead to property damage or injury.

Best alternatives

  1. UPS (Uninterruptible Power Supply) - An uninterruptible power supply is a device that provides a backup power source to connected electrical equipment in the event of a power outage.
  2. Battery Backups - Also known as an uninterruptible power supply (UPS), a battery backup is a device that provides a backup power source to connected electrical equipment in the event of a power outage.
  3. Generators - Generators are devices that provide an alternative source of power when electrical power is not available. They can be used as a backup to power your home or business in the event of a power outage.
  4. Surge Protection Strips - Surge protection strips are devices that provide protection against electrical surges and spikes. They are typically connected to electrical outlets and can help protect electronic equipment from damage caused by power surges.
  5. Power Inverters - Power inverters are devices that convert direct current (DC) power from a battery or other source into alternating current (AC) power. They can be used to power electronic equipment in the event of a power outage.

Related tools, supplies, and accessories

  • Surge Protector - Device that absorbs excess voltage spikes and diverts them away from connected devices.
  • Power Strip - A power strip is a multi-socket extension cord that can be used to connect multiple appliances to a single power outlet.
  • Ground Fault Circuit Interrupter (GFCI) - A device designed to prevent electric shock by breaking an electrical circuit when it senses an imbalance between the incoming and outgoing current.
  • Lightning Arrestor - A device designed to protect against lightning-induced surges by dissipating the energy of the surge.
  • Surge Protector Outlet - An outlet that has a surge protector built into it, providing additional protection against voltage spikes.
  • Surge Suppressor - A device designed to reduce the voltage of a power surge by diverting the excess energy to the ground.
  • Surge Guard - A device designed to detect and suppress power surges and voltage spikes.
  • Surge Protector Junction Box - A junction box containing surge protection components that protect equipment from voltage spikes.

Common questions

  1. What are the different types of surge protectors?
    Surge protectors come in a variety of types, including power strips, wall outlets, and plug-in strips. Power strips provide an array of outlets that run off one plug while wall outlets replace a standard wall outlet to provide additional outlets and a surge protector. Plug-in strips, also known as point-of-use strips, provide an additional layer of protection at the power source outlet.
  2. Do surge protectors need to be replaced?
    Surge protectors should be replaced every two to three years, as they are designed to protect from a finite number of power surges. If a surge protector is exposed to multiple power surges, its effectiveness in providing protection can decrease over time.
  3. What is the difference between a power strip and a surge protector?
    A power strip provides a set of multiple outlets that are fed from one wall plug. A surge protector provides additional protection from power surges, which can damage or destroy electronics. Surge protectors are more expensive than power strips, but provide protection from unpredictable power fluctuations.
  4. How do I know if a surge protector is working?
    Typically, surge protectors contain indicator lights that indicate whether or not they are still providing power protection. It is important to check these indicator lights regularly to ensure the surge protector is still functioning. Additionally, surge protectors also contain a circuit breaker, which will trip when the surge protector has reached its limit.


A recent survey by Consumer Reports found that the majority of Americans believe that surge protectors are able to prevent fires and other disasters in the home. In reality, surge protectors can help protect your valuable electronic devices from a power surge, but they do not actually prevent fires, floods, or other disasters. However, the survey did show that the majority of people believe that surge protectors can actually protect them from these disasters. Source

Disclaimer: This buying guide was not created by humans, and it is possible that some of it's content is inaccurate or incomplete. We do not guarantee or take any liability for the accuracy of this buying guide. Additionally, the images on this page were generated by AI and may not accurately represent the product that is being discussed. We have tried to convey useful information, but it is our subjective opinion and should not be taken as complete or factual.