Best surge protectors 2023: Reviews and buying advice
After your equipement gets fried is the wrong time to realize you need a surge protector. It’s too late at that point. Fortunately, you can spend a very reasonable amount of money to put an almost literal firewall between your expensive (and cheap) electronics and the electrical coming in from a wall socket. A surge protector throws itself into the line of fire, sacrificing its components again and again so that your devices stay functional.
Here are our top picks in several categories. If you’re not sure what type of protection you need, scroll down a bit further and we’ll help you decide.
Updated February 2, 2023 to add a link to our Legrand Wiremold Power Cable Management Box review.
TP-Link Kasa Smart Wi-Fi Power Strip (model HS300) — Best smart surge protector
- Six switched AC outlets that can be programmed with complex schedules
- Includes an “away” mode for simulating someone present in a home or office
- Works with Amazon Alexa and Google Assistant
- Outlets can be combined in scenes with other Kasa Smart devices
- No manual in the box, not even a tiny one
- Power cord is slightly too short for versatile placement
- No Apple HomeKit or Siri Shortcuts support
TP-Link really has produced the ultimate surge protector. All six of its outlets can be controlled and scheduled individually—and with a polished mobile app, no less—and you can also control any of them with voice commands. There are three USB charging ports here, too. As you can see from the link above, the model HS300 has been selling for much less than its $79 MSRP. The same is true of TP-Link’s smaller Kasa Smart model KP303. It has three outlets and two USB charging ports and was going for $25 on Amazon at the time of this writing.
Read our full
TP-Link Kasa Smart Wi-Fi Power Strip (model HS300) review
Charg 3in1 — Most innovative surge protector
- Replaceable surge-protection cartridge
- Extremely long overall cable length
- Designed for desk mounting and utility
- USB charger and AC jack at end of cord for desktop mounting
- Expensive relative to overall features
- A bit ungainly
Charg puts nearly every charging and protection feature in a single power strip: Replaceable surge protection, USB charging, a long cord, and cable management. The feature that sets this product apart from the crowd is the fact that you can buy a new surge protection cartridge when it wears out. All surge protectors will wear out over time. When that time comes with almost any other surge protector, you’ll need to toss it in the garbage. Not this one. We also dig that all the plugs can be hidden on the underside of your desk, and that cord is super long. As much as we like it, there are some areas that could use improvement: The outlets on the two strips won’t accommodate oversized wall warts without blocking an adjacent outlet, for instance.
Read our full
Charg 3in1 surge protector review
Belkin 12-outlet PivotPlug (model BP112230-08) — Best all-purpose surge protector
- Pivoting outlets alleviate AC adapter crowding
- Handy cable organizer
- 12 outlets
- No circuit breaker, protection relies entirely on MOVs
- Four outlets in the middle don’t pivot
- Coax and phone connectors are generally useless
Belkin’s 12-Outlet PivotPlug Surge Protector (BP112230-08) won’t cut off power when it can no longer protect your devices, but it does offer low clamping voltage (330V on all legs). This is a very flexible and adaptable surge protector, with an eight-foot cord and both protection and ground-fault indicators. Unlike TP-Link’s product, Belkin’s device has been selling for more than MSRP lately.
Read our full
Belkin 12-outlet PivotPlug (model BP112230-08) review
Philips 6-Outlet Surge Protector Power Strip (model SPC3064WG/37) — Best budget-priced surge protector
- Higher-end surge protection features in a very inexpensive power strip
- Compact design
- Anti-tangle braided cable
- Shuts off when power protection fails
- No LEDs to indicate grounded or protected status
- Warranty claims must be made within 15 days of product failure
Don’t make the mistake of dismissing the Philips model SPC3064WG/37 surge protector as a mere power strip. Sure, it doesn’t offer much in the way of flashy features, but it will protect whatever hardware you plug into it, and it’s in the rare class of devices that will shut off when it can no longer fulfill that mission. The APC product below does the same and it has twice as many outlets, but it costs more than twice as much.
Read our full
Philips 6-Outlet Surge Protector Power Strip (model SPC3064WG/37) review
APC SurgeArrest Performance P12U2 — Best surge protector that powers off when it can no longer protect
- Well-spaced outlets
- Includes two fast USB charging ports
- Excellent clamping voltage level for main AC power
- Highly legible and attractive “protected” and “grounded” indicator lights
- USB charging ports are too close to two outlets
- The insurance for failing to protect your gear will be even more difficult to collect than most
APC’s SurgeArrest Performance P12U2 is our new favorite surge protector that automatically cuts power when protection ends. It’s a 12-outlet model—two more than our previous pick had—and it has two super-convenient fast-charging USB ports. The Tripp Lite TLP1008TEL is another good choice, but it doesn’t have the USB charging ports and it has two fewer outlets. We liked the TLP1008TEL a lot better when it was selling for much less than APC’s product.
Read our full
APC SurgeArrest Performance P12U2 surge protector review
Austere VII Series 8-outlet surge protector with USB charging ports — The most attractive surge protector
- Elegant design, high-end materials, and premium build quality
- Five USB charging ports, including a USB-C PD port capable of delivering 45 watts
- 15-amp circuit breaker, EMI/RFI noise filtration, and outlets that are electrically isolated from each other
- Price tag reflects aesthetics and materials more than features or performance
- No smart features
- Only a 5-foot power cord
If you place tremendous value in industrial design, the Austere VII Series surge protector is the most attractive device in this category. With a brushed-aluminum enclosure, polished beveled edges, and a braided-fabric power cord, we haven’t seen anything else that comes close in terms of its industrial design. And it’s not just pretty, this surge protector has all the features you’d want to protect your expensive electronics, plus a USB-C Power Delivery port. Whether you find that combo worth $230–$30 more than when we first reviewed it–is up to you.
Read our full
Austere VII Series surge protector (8 outlets) review
We considered several common factors for three scenarios: a home-entertainment system, such as a TV, disc player, streaming media box, and receiver system; a home office or cubicle with a desktop computer and peripherals, including monitors and hard drives; and an on-the-go option, if you want to travel with a multi-outlet strip that also gives you piece of mind, especially in hotels and conference rooms, where you don’t know what kind of power will be provided.
We evaluate these features in our surge protector reviews:
- Does the surge protector continue to provide power when its clamping capability has burned out? (See the next section for an explanation of precisely what that means. )
- How easy is it to plug in both regular 2-prong and 3-prong cables intermingled with various kinds of USB adapters and wall warts?
- What’s the ratio of cost to features and outlets?
- Does it offer advanced features, such as USB charging?
- For travel models, how many outlets does it have while remaining compact and versatile, in addition to everything above?
Features you typically won’t find in surge suppressors such as these are alarms or networked intelligence to alert a computer (and manage a controlled shutdown), or act as an Internet of Things device, to warn about electrical anomalies or provide a status report. For that, you’ll need to step up to an uninterruptible power supply (UPS), which combines a continuously charged battery backup, power conditioning, and surge protection. Those cost from a little to much more.
What does a surge protector do?
These reviews are of surge protectors designed for a home office or a home-entertainment system. Such power mediators have a single function: keeping voltage from exceeding a certain rated level, beyond which equipment can blow a fuse, burn out its power supply, or completely fry its circuitry beyond repair. The surge protector takes a hit instead of your hardware or A/V system, and it could potentially save you hundreds to many thousands of dollars, depending on what you have connected.
You want to make the modest investment in a surge protector for the same reason you want to have a backup of your data: because there’s no going back after an adverse event. Getting ahead of a problem that may be unlikely but not improbable saves you from the enormous consequences if it occurs. (You do have multiple backups of your data, right?)
The electrical grid wasn’t designed for electronics, and surges and spikes used to be more regular and higher, as they didn’t affect electric motors. That’s changed dramatically over several decades, as utilities have cleaned up what’s delivered to homes and buildings. Depending on the age of a utility’s systems and how frequently lightning strikes occur, however, surges and huge spikes might be regular occurrences.
A surge protector should more accurately be called “a thing that blocks excessive voltage when it exceeds a certain extreme point.” This cutoff, called clamping, is typically 330 volts (V), 400V, or 500V. While 330V or above might seem high compared to the 120V nominally delivered in the U.S., it’s not really that out of whack. Alternating current (AC) voltage centers around 120V, but it cycles or alternates from -170V through 0V to +170V and back again; 120V is the rough average.
Electronics and all other electrically powered anything for a home or office can accept brief amounts of much higher maximum voltages, which you can logically determine must be true as modest surges are routine and electronic equipment in homes isn’t constantly failing without a surge protector; it’s the big surges that need to be blocked.
Surge protectors of the category we tested use metal oxide varistors (MOVs), a kind of circuitry that absorbs voltages above the clamping level and effectively burn away over time. In an area with erratic voltage, your surge protector might wear out in months or a few years; on other electrical systems, it might last indefinitely. (There’s a much more expensive type of surge protector designed for high-end audio and very expensive electronics. It costs about ten times as much and it effectively never burns out.)
You don’t get full protection from an electrical strike with a surge protector: a strike near your home can exceed any consumer’s device’s ability to block the expended energy, though a circuit breaker on some models might trigger first. If you’re concerned about electrical strikes, you need to upgrade how the electrical feed comes into your house (or convince a landlord to do the same). But electrical strikes miles away can induce smaller surges that protectors will absorb.
Phone jacks and coax connectors don’t add much to value to a surge protector.
Some surge protectors include telephone and coaxial pass-through connections for protecting DSL and cable-/satellite-TV connections. Industry reports and testing indicates these protections are effectively pointless, so we didn’t consider their presence or absence in our testing and reviews.
You can compare surge protectors’ durability, or the period over which the MOVs will remain effective, by looking at the number of joules advertised for the product. Joules measure how much energy is expended; the more joules, the more energy. So in an exactly equal situation in the same house with routine surges, a unit rated for 1000 joules should last half as long as one rated at 2000 joules.
In practice, this is very, very hard to determine. MOVs don’t degrade in a perfect linear fashion, and not all MOVs are of the same quality. Joules provide a rough basis of comparison that’s nearly impossible to test in lab conditions, as you’d have to simulate a variety of surges over long periods of time with multiple identical units of each model. That’s what manufacturers do in designing and testing their products. Certification from Underwriters Laboratories (UL) provides assurance that the product has been independently tested.
We’ll use joules as a rough rule of thumb, as it tends to parallel differences in price and other features, too. But when the MOVs burn out, what happens next?
Surge protectors don’t last forever
I’m about to blow your mind—or at least the minds of most people. If you have a surge protector already in place somewhere in your house or office, go take a quick glance at it and come back. Now, without looking again, is the “protection” light still lit? Can’t tell me? That’s a problem.
The class of surge protectors reviewed here rely on MOVs (metal oxide varistors) to absorb excess voltage.
Older surge protectors were typically designed around the concern that computers had spinning hard disk drives (HDDs) inside, and that it was better to lose surge protection and keep providing power than to drop AC power when protection had failed. On surge protectors like that, the only indication of whether protection remains active is a protection light.
If the light isn’t lit, the MOVs have burned out, and there’s no protection left.
Now go back and look at those protectors again: which ones are burned out? Those are the ones you want to replace post haste. I confess that I only learned this in 2016; I checked mine, and had to replace one a few months later when that light suddenly disappeared.
That’s the biggest choice you’ll face, and we consider it in all the surge protectors we review. But there are three variants when protection fails:
All power stops flowing, which will immediately remove electricity to all connected devices. With SSDs or streaming audio/video equipment or a Blu-Ray or other disc player, that’s not a big deal. Better to lose power than to let a surge through.
Some power stops flowing. There are three different paths for electricity with AC power, and one is more important to protect against surges than the other two. (See below for more detail.) Some protectors thus only stop power passing through if that critical juncture’s MOVs die. You have to look at the protection light to know the state of protection.
Power always flows, but the light turns off. In this scenario, you must stay alert, particularly during a storm and right afterwards, or whenever your lights flicker .
AC power has three “legs” over which power passes. With a three-wire outlet, which is required for surge protectors, those are line, neutral, and ground. Power comes in over line, passes through neutral, and cycles through negative and positive voltage; that’s one leg (known as L-N).
There’s also a leg each from line to ground (L-G) and neutral to ground (N-G), which prevent a short circuit in the wiring from causing a fire or an explosion. A proper ground wire in an outlet connects back to a grounding rod for an entire home or building that drains voltage literally to the earth.
The Charg 3in1 is an exception to the rule that no surge protector will last forever: It has a replacement surge-protection module.
Does a warranty add value to a surge protector?
Many surge protector manufacturers offer limited warranties for damage to things plugged into the protector if said damage stems from voltage passing through to the device. These warranties (we’ve seen them offer anywhere from $20,000 to $300,000 in coverage), however, have so many provisos and exclusions—including having to apply for coverage within 15 or 30 days of damage with some, proving the right electrical setup, and providing receipts for all damaged goods—that the odds of meeting all the terms and collecting seem low. We’ve provided a sentence about warranties in each review, just so you’re informed, but don’t count on collecting unless you’re a good record keeper.
One last detail: a long power cord—at least 8 feet—is a must with a surge protector. That’s because for safety and power load, you must plug your surge protector directly into a wall socket, not into another surge protector, power strip, or uninterruptible power supply. Because you can plug so much power into a multi-outlet device, it’s very easy to overload the thing into which you’re “daisy chaining” the surge protector, which can cause product failure or even an electrical fire.
Don’t use a 3-to-2 prong adapter with a surge protector
You also must plug a surge protector into a properly grounded 3-prong outlet. You can use one of those clever 3-to-2 adapters that I know too well as the owner of an old house, in which only about half the outlets were ever upgraded to modern standards. Don’t know if your outlet is properly grounded? Some of the surge protectors have an LED that lights up if it’s not, or you can purchase a cheap plug-in detector from a hardware store. If you find your house isn’t grounded, call an electrician immediately; it’s a hazard. Fortunately, it can be cheap to fix unless the house was badly wired.
If you don’t follow the guidelines spelled out for plugging your surge protector into the wall, you can damage it void the product warranty and any damaged-items protection that comes with it.
Best Surge Protector of 2023
What is the best surge protector overall?
We put 16 of the top surge protectors under $100 to the test, and against all of our requirements the APC P11U2 hit the mark, impressing us with its 11 outlets — six of which have a wide spacing to accommodate larger power adapters — along with its USB ports that allow you to directly charge your devices, its high joule rating (more on that in a bit) and its long power cord. It even comes with a lifetime $250,000 equipment protection policy, which can provide a little peace of mind. That, along with its exceptional functionality, makes this our recommendation for the best surge protector you can get right now. However, if you’re looking for a specific feature or a smaller size (the P11U2 is pretty large), we have more recommendations below.
So why do you need surge protection anyway? We’ve all got lots of electronics we want to plug in, with power strips upon power strips branching out like stubby snakes from every outlet. OK, maybe it’s not that bad in your own house, but even beyond the convenience of extra plugs, the best surge protectors can actually prolong the life of your gear. They can, as the name suggests, protect electronics from the power surges that can slowly wear down the delicate hardware inside all modern electronics.
Though the terms are often used interchangeably, there is a big difference between power strips and surge protectors. A power strip is essentially just a wired, multi-outlet extension of a power outlet. A surge protector adds in circuitry, which is designed to prevent damaging power spikes from making their way to your TV, soundbar or really anything that’s plugged in.
One of the easiest ways to tell if the product you’re considering is a basic strip or an actual surge protector is by checking if it has a joule rating. All surge protectors will have one, and it’s essentially how much of a power surge it can protect against. These devices do wear down over time, and while there’s no easy way to tell how much the protection is reduced, some strips do offer a dedicated “protected” LED. Most manufacturers recommend replacing a surge protector every few years. For more about how they work, check out these 10 shocking facts about power strips.
Best surge protectors
How I tested surge protectors
When I tested these surge protectors there were three things I looked for: well-spaced sockets, a high joule rating (preferably 1,000 or more), and whether it came with a “connected device” warranty. Firstly, one of the most important things was having enough outlets to fit the wall wart power adapters that come with most products. These bulky connectors usually take up two or more spaces on normal outlets and power strips. So I physically checked each power strip to see if its outlets were sufficiently spaced to fit multiple warts.
Secondly, a joule rating was required, and all my picks had joule ratings comparable to or higher than their competitors. It’d be great to have a minimum or recommended joule rating, but such a thing doesn’t exist for these kinds of products.
I also gave preference to products that come with a guarantee in case your gear gets destroyed by a power surge. Nearly all of my picks have this kind of warranty, often in the range of hundreds of thousands of dollars. Are you likely to get your money back if your gear gets zapped? Hard to say. Insurance like this is hard to collect on, as some companies will only replace connected gear “at their option. ” Having this sort of guarantee does give you some peace of mind, however, more than you have without it, and perhaps it will cover you in a way your homeowner’s or renter’s insurance doesn’t.
With all of this in mind, I compiled a list of nearly 50 surge protectors and then chose the top 16 to test out. My last bit of testing was hands-on. Specs can tell you a lot, but very quickly I found some of these to be better than others. Some had features that seemed useful, but weren’t. Others were larger or smaller than they seemed in pictures, which in some cases was a good thing or in the case of the travel surge protectors, not so much. Our top picks were the ones that had the best combination of features, specs, and felt the most practical in normal use.
Read More: 10 Shocking Facts About Power Strips
Other good surge protectors
The APC P6WU2 is a chunky wall-mount design with six side-mounted outlets and two USBs on the front. Depending on what you’re plugging into it, they might bunch up or not fit against the wall. The Amazon S9P658O300A00 can fit more plugs for a somewhat-similar footprint. However, the APC has a connected device warranty ($50,000), while the Amazon doesn’t. For something similar but smaller, check out the Belkin BSV300ttCW mentioned below.
The Belkin BE112230 shares the flat design of the switched Belkin F7C01008q, just without the switch. It has six wide-spaced outlets, a claimed 3,940 joules of protection and a connected equipment warranty.
The Belkin BST300bg is a decent travel alternative to the Accell. It has three outlets on the front and two USBs on the top. The plug swivels so you can orient it multiple ways. The Accell is a little smaller, but this is a good runner-up.
The wall-mounted Belkin BSV300ttCW has three outlets and two USBs, all on the front. Its most interesting design feature is a lipped top surface where you can lean your phone while it’s charging.
The cube-shaped Belkin SRA006p3tt5 is similar to the Anker, in that it’s a small protector at the end of a long cord. The Anker’s smaller size and dedicated USB-C connection are more convenient, but if you’re connecting larger wall warts they’ll likely fit better on this.
Frequently asked questions about surge protectors
Search Movement of Russia – Moral Code of the Search Engine
Moral Code of the Search Engine
Code of Moral and Ethical Rules
members of the All-Russian public movement to perpetuate the memory of the fallen defenders of the Fatherland “Search Movement of Russia” 90 003
1. Attitude to the laws of the Russian Federation
and internal documents of the Movement
The movement was created with the aim of consolidating the members of search associations in carrying out activities to perpetuate the memory of those who died defending the Fatherland and patriotic education of citizens of the Russian Federation. Regional branches of the movement have been created in 74 republics, territories and regions of Russia.
Members of the All-Russian public movement to perpetuate the memory of the fallen defenders of the Fatherland “Search Movement of Russia” (hereinafter referred to as the Movement):
– comply with the laws of the Russian Federation, the Charter of the movement, the provisions of this code;
– undertake voluntary obligations to comply with the decisions of the Coordinating Council of the Movement.
2. Attitude to search as a voluntary non-profit business
The movement is a socially oriented non-profit organization. Carrying out the important and honorable work of preserving the memory of the fallen defenders of the Fatherland, the participants of the movement consciously treat their work as an activity gratuitous in material terms.
Members of the Movement recognize:
– search work cannot be a commercial activity and is not carried out for commercial gain;
– personal belongings of soldiers and commanders, documents and items relating to the history of the Great Patriotic War may not be objects of trade and enrichment.
0002 The main goal of the Movement participants is to search for the remains of soldiers and commanders of the Red Army who died on the battlefields during the Great Patriotic War, their possible identification, preparation for the reburial ceremony.
Members of the Movement deem it necessary:
– to prevent behavior that offends the memory of fallen soldiers;
– carry out exhumation without violating the rules and procedures established by the Movement;
– do not take photos and videos of people against the background of the remains (i.e. posing) and the remains themselves, with the exception of protocol photography and video filming of the excavation process, exhumation of the remains and their burial, as well as filming in order to document the work of the search movement;
– to take all necessary measures for decent storage of the found remains of the defenders of the Fatherland until their solemn burial;
on the sites of past battles, the searchers realize that, together with the remains of soldiers and officers, they raise weapons and ammunition, personal belongings of soldiers, which are monuments of history and culture, helping to establish the names of the dead heroes and specify the course of hostilities.
Members of the Movement recognize:
– the relics of the Great Patriotic War discovered during search operations are not the personal property of the finder or other persons and organizations;
– the relics of the times of the Great Patriotic War discovered during the search work belong to the relatives of the dead or the state and the people are their owner;
– all discovered relics should contribute to the cause of perpetuating the memory of the dead and the war;
– all found personal belongings of soldiers and commanders, their awards and documents from the Great Patriotic War, in accordance with the procedure established by the legislation of the Russian Federation, are transferred to the relatives of the victims, to state and public museums, or for temporary storage to institutions and organizations where specially equipped places for their storage and exposure;
The movement does not aim to specifically search for foreign military graves. At the same time, the search engines correctly refer to the remains of the soldiers of the armies of the opponents of the Soviet Union in the Great Patriotic War.
Members of the Movement:
– upon discovery of foreign military graves, or the remains of soldiers of foreign armies on the former battlefield, they undertake, in the manner prescribed by the legislation of the Russian Federation and intergovernmental agreements, to transfer the remains of foreign soldiers discovered during field search work armies and personal belongings belonging to them, helping to establish the identity and belonging to the army, a representative of authorized organizations on the territory of the Russian Federation;
– assist these organizations in their direct work without commercial gain.
Anna Tsivileva, Chairman of the State Support Fund for Participants of the NWO “Defenders of the Fatherland”, met with a participant in hostilities :: Krd.
May 3, 2023
Photo: Stanislav Telekhovets
Anna Tsivileva thanked Arsen Epoev and presented him and his family with memorable gifts. Vice-Governor Alexander Topalov, First Deputy Head of Krasnodar Maxim Slyusarev, Head of the regional branch of Defenders of the Fatherland Alexander Starovoitov also visited the NVO participant.
“Today, Arsen has returned to his usual life, keeps in touch with his colleagues, sends humanitarian aid. And he conducts “Lessons of Courage” so that schoolchildren know and remember history. Arsen has not yet received the status of a combat veteran, there are difficulties with the documents. We will definitely help him with this,” Anna Tsivileva noted.
The Chairman of the Federal Fund added that one of the tasks of the organization is social support for veterans of the Northern Military District and assistance in obtaining all the necessary support measures, including medical and social rehabilitation, drug provision, psychological assistance, rehabilitation equipment and sanatorium treatment.
– In Krasnodar, a large number of support measures are being implemented on a systematic basis for participants in a special military operation. We listen to each of them and point-wise help in solving problems. They defend the interests of the Motherland, so we are obliged not to abandon them,” Maxim Slyusarev stressed.
Arsen Epoev volunteered for the NWO zone last spring. After returning home, he continues to keep in touch with the guys who are on the front line.