Are All Power Strips Surge Protectors?

power strip and surge protector

Are All Power Strips Surge Protectors?

The easy answer to that question is “no.” It’s not safe to rely on any old power strip to protect your electronic devices from power surges. While power strips and surge protectors look similar, only one of them offers any protection for your devices. Keep reading to find out the difference between a power strip and a surge protector to make sure your electronics and appliances are protected.

What Is the Difference Between a Power Strip and a Surge Protector?

Power strips are simply an extension of a wall outlet. Their purpose is to make additional outlets available for your electronics to be plugged into. Even though some of them might have a basic built-in circuit breaker, regular power strips don’t offer any real protection for your electronics.

A surge protector looks like a power strip, but it also has the ability to absorb a power surge or voltage spike that could potentially damage your electronics or appliances. These surges may be caused by lightning strikes, short circuits, sudden power restoration, or tripped circuit breakers.

Do You Need a Power Strip or Surge Protector?

Expensive electronics should always be plugged into a surge protector. Computers, televisions, gaming consoles, and other major electronics require surge protection. You can also purchase single outlet surge protectors for your larger appliances. Just remember to review how many joules the surge protector can divert to make sure it is appropriate for that appliance. The small investment could save you a lot of money down the road.

What To Look For When Shopping For a Surge Protector

When shopping for a surge protector, you can’t just go by their looks. Oftentimes they look the same as a standard power strip. Reading the details on the packaging and even the surge protector itself will ensure you are purchasing the correct product.

Look for key words on the packaging such as “Surge Protection” or “Surge Suppression.” There should also be a light on the surge protector that says either “Protected” or “Protection.” When plugged in, this light indicates that the surge protector is working.

Another thing to look for is the joules rating, which indicates how much energy the surge protector can divert. A surge protector with a 200 to 400 joules rating should be adequate to protect personal electronics. If you are using a surge protector for large appliances, choose one with a rating of 600 joules or more.

How Long Do Surge Protectors Last?

Just like most other things in life, surge protectors don’t last forever. Most experts put the average surge protector lifespan somewhere between three and five years. And keep in mind that every time the device absorbs a surge, its performance degrades. If it’s been more than a few years since you started using a surge protector, it’s time to replace it.

Can Damaged Electronics Be Recovered?

If the unthinkable happens, you can trust Electronic Restoration Services to validate your electronics and appliances that have been affected. Ask your adjuster how ERS can help. Our technicians also have the training and expertise to restore all kinds of electric and electronic devices after fires floods, and just about any other kind of damage. Call ERS at 866-225-5377 or submit a claim online.