Best Surge Protector / Spike Board

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Last Updated: August 14, 2017

After more than 25 hours of researching, testing and searching for the ideal surge protector for most people, we recommend the Whirlpool Surge Protector 4- Sockets. It has a good build quality, has individual switches, and comes with a good 5 year warranty.

If you need a multi-plug to connect expensive electronics, it is better to go for a surge protector than a normal multi-plug. If have surge protector that is more than 3-4 years old, it is better to replace it even if it seems to be working fine. Read below to find out exactly why.

 

The Best Surge Protector for most people

1. Whirlpool Surge Protector 4- Sockets


Our Top Pick, The Whirlpool Surge Protector has good build quality, individual switches, and comes with an excellent 5 year warranty. The Surge protector has a energy rating of 375 joules and a max spike capacity of 13500Amps. It is made of Full Copper wire & Fire Resistance Material and has  1.5 metre cable. There are separate switches & neon Indicators for each socket the unit has been designed for easy wall mounting. Best for normal use for televisions etc. in areas where there are not many frequent power cuts or surges.

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For those who need more sockets

2. Belkin 8 Socket Surge Protector


The second pick, The Belkin 8 socket surge protector is a highly rated surge protector and comes with a lifetime warranty (5 years). This is part of Belkin’s Essential series and it is well built and lasts long. The Surge protector has a energy rating of 700 joules and a max spike capacity of 19000Amps. The only downside is the single switch which means all plugged-in units will turn on or off.  The 8 sockets makes this perfect for those needing more sockets like for personal computers or home theatres.

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A better and more robust surge protector for expensive electronics 

3. APC 6 Strip Surge Protector

If you have expensive electronics or stay in a place with a lot of power outages and fluctuations go for a more robust surge protector. Perfect for those with high-end home theatres or expensive computers, this surge protector is worth its price.

 

APC is a brand by Schneider Electric specialising in UPS and other power management devices. This APC Surge protector has a energy rating of 1800 joules and a max spike capacity of 30000Amps.

The ON/OFF switch also works as a circuit breaker that automatically moves to the Off position when an output overload condition occurs. There is a Surge Protection LED which illuminates green during normal operation to indicate that the surge protection is on. If the LED is not illuminated, then the SurgeArrest is not working. There is another Wiring Fault LED which LED illuminates red to indicate that a building wiring fault has been detected.

The unit comes with a limited 5 yer warranty though the warranty on Surge/Spike/Master and Slave power saving function is only 1 year.

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What is a surge protector and why should I get one ?

Many people we spoke to believed that a surge protector is just another term for a power strip or that “its an extension cord with more plugs”. A surge protector is more than just an apparatus for turning one outlet into six – it plays an important role in electronic device maintenance, such as protecting your laptop.

What is an electrical surge?

An electrical surge, or power surge, is an intense, sudden voltage increase that travels through electrical wiring. Common causes of surges include:

-Lightning strikes.

-Power outages and downed power lines.

-Tripped circuit breakers.

-On/off cycles of large appliances and tools – Air-conditioners, Geysers, refrigerators, washing machines.

– Accidents and malfunctions at the power company or on the electrical grid.

A surge protector is designed to protect any device with a standard AC plug from damaging power surges whereas a power strip provides only an extension cord and additional outlets

What equipment needs surge protection?

A surge protector is critical for electrical equipments what have sensitive electronic circuitry. Equipments like:

– Computers and computer peripherals such as printers, monitors, and routers.

– TVs, , STB cable boxes, sound systems, and other home theater components.

Note: If you need to protect a computer and face frequent power cuts, consider an uninterruptible power supply (UPS), which provides surge protection and battery backup to keep the computer on during an outage.

 

How does a Surge Protector work?

A surge protector protects the device from sudden electrical surges or spikes. When an electrical surge occurs, the surge protector diverts the surge through grounding wires straight to the earth, thus preventing the excess current from reaching the connected equipments and keeping them safe. A surge protector is only as effective as the electrical grounding circuit that is made available to it.

 

How to decide which surge protector 

1. Number of ports – This depends on how many components you decide to plug into the board. Typically 4 ports are enough but for PC’s and Home theatres, you may need upto 8 ports.

2. Value and type of Equipment – If you are plugging in Expensive equipments like televisions, Home theatres or PC’s obviously go for the best you can afford.

3. Absorption rating in Joules –  Surge protectors also carry a “joule” and/or “surge-current” rating.Check the absorption rating – the higher the better. The higher the rating of these two categories, the better is the quality of the internal surge-stopping components.

 

What are joules rating in Surge Protectors?

Surge Protector Lifespans are measured in Joules.

The joule rating shows how much energy a surge protector can absorb before it fails. The higher the number the more the protection.

So if a unit has a 600 joules rating it means it can take 10, 60 joules hit, or one 600 joules hit. Simply put, after about 10 power shocks the protection will be over and while the multi plug will work, you will receive no further protection. There is no way to tell in most surge protectors, when will surge protection be over.

The type and value of the equipment to be protected are key factors in determining the amount of protection needed. Are you protecting a $500 PC or a $10,000 home theater? Obviously, the higher the value, the higher the level of protection required. If you’re located in an area with frequent thunderstorms, also consider a higher level of protection.

 

When to replace your surge protector ?

With words like life-time warranty etc, most people think that their surge protector lasts a lifetime as long as it is supplying power. Unfortunately that is not the case.

The reality is that like all electronics, surge protectors will wear out and degrade in quality and capacity over time. Hence, it is necessary to replace these products periodically to ensure your electronics will be protected against power surges and other electrical issues.

A variety of conditions can indicate that it is time to replace surge protectors. As mentioned before, If your unit has a 600 joules rating and it takes a 600 joules hit it will stop providing surge protection.

There is no way to tell when will surge protection be over. Few indicators are –

1. Voltage fluctuation – are you in a area with frequent voltage fluctuations ? If so chances are high that your unit will need frequent replacement

2. Frequent power cuts- This is another indicator of a problematic connection

Basically, If you’re aware of your surge protector taking a big hit, you should probably replace it.

Unfortunately most surge suppressors continue to let power through even after circuits have been damaged, leaving your equipment exposed to other damaging surges.

 

Will a surge protector protect me from lighting strikes ? 

Most people think that the main casue of electrical surges is lightning, but that’s not accurate. The surge caused by a lightning bolt is so high that most surge protectors won’t be able to protect you from that. The only way to be absolutely sure that your devices won’t be surged during a lightning storm is to unplug them.

The main culprit of electrical surges are electrical devices that require lots of power to operate. Depending on the wiring of your home, you may notice at times that your lights flicker when powerful devices turn on and off, e.g. your geyser or air conditioner. When these devices are switched on, they demand a lot of electricity, which puts a lot of strain on the grid and can cause surges.

 

Is a surge protector same as a voltage stabiliser ?

They are similar yet crucially different.  Stabilizers are static devices that stabilize voltage before passing it on to the connected equipments. If your utility voltage is low; your stabilizer senses it, boosts it to the required level of voltage and then feeds to the connected equipment to work without troubles. Conversely, if the Voltage is high, the stabiliser will reduce the output levels and then pass only the desired power.

Note that a stabiliser does not give constant voltage output? But it helps operate the connected appliance/equipment in a safe voltage range.

A surge protector like the name implies, only protects the device from sudden electrical surges or spikes. It does not have the ability to boost voltage. When a surge is detected, a surge protector diverts the surge to the ground, preventing the excess current from reaching the connected equipments.

While it is always better to have surge protection, Voltage regulation or stabilising is generally not needed unless you live in an area prone to voltage swings or power system problems.

 

My Surge Protector comes with a Lifetime Warranty.  What is the meaning of a Lifetime Warranty?

Most manufactures have definitions of lifetime warranty. For instance, this is what Belkin says about “Lifetime Warranty”

“When we say Lifetime Warranty, we refer to the life of the product, not the life of the buyer or other individuals.  Over time, products will become worn and obsolete; materials and parts will wear down or may become unusable due to advances in technology.  A lifetime product warranty therefore means that the product over its reasonable life span will work the way it is supposed to under normal conditions and use.  Taking all of these factors into account, we have determined that the reasonable life span of this product is five (5) years from the date of purchase.”

 

Also read :

  1. How to Choose the right surge protector ? – by Tripp lite
  2. Why (and When) You Need to Replace Your Surge Protector – HowtoGeek
  3. Do you really need a Surge Protector?  – Makeuseof
  4. What does a Voltage Stabilizer do ? – VGuard

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Posted in Electronics