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Choose the Right Power Strip for Your Device

Think that power strip offers one-size-fits all protection? Think again. Picking up the cheapest, 5-star rated power strip from Amazon probably won’t get the job done when it comes to surge protection. Each power strip style is intended for a specific use.

Power strips versus surge protectors

Many homeowners mistakenly assume any power strip they purchase will include surge protection. This is not always the case. A power strip is merely a block of electrical outlets used to distribute power to multiple devices, some offer surge protection, many others – especially the inexpensive ones – do not. Worsening matters, both devices look nearly identical.

Do I really need surge protection?

Unless you like upgrading your appliances without notice regularly, that answer is a resounding yes. Many events can cause destructive power surges, from weather to traffic and animal related power line damage to rolling blackouts from area overuse – even large appliances cycling on and off in your home can result in power surges from within. Point-of-use surge protection, in addition to whole house surge protection, is an inexpensive way to protect your appliances (and your checkbook) from these risks.

Which power strip is best for my appliances?

* “I need more outlets.” – Power Strips
Extremely inexpensive, plain old home/office power strips and bench/cabinet strips offer multiple outlets for added space in powering or charging appliances, electronics, mobile devices, and power tools – but do not offer surge protection.

* “I’d like better surge protection.” – Surge Protector Power Strips
Alone or as an addition to whole house surge protection, surge protector power strips plug into a standard outlet and offer protection for multiple devices in a single strip. How can you differentiate one from a plain old strip? Look for UL listed protectors that specifically denote “surge protection” or “surge suppression” – or you might get zapped with a replacement bill.

* “I’d like better surge protection, but don’t have much space.” – Wall-Mount Surge Protectors
Wall-mount surge protectors typically utilize both the top and bottom plugs of a traditional wall outlet, and offer not only additional outlets, but surge protection as well. Protruding only about an inch from the wall, they provide basic surge protection in tight spaces where a full surge protection strip would be difficult to stash.

* “I want surge protection, but I’m concerned about moisture dangers.”
For areas like kitchens, bathrooms, and garages where water could become a safety issue during the operation of kitchen appliances, hair appliances or power tools, GFCI power strips will automatically cut power when a short circuit is detected, reducing electrical fire and electrocution risk.

* “I want to save energy, but I’m tired of flipping switches.” - Advanced Power Strips (APS)
Advanced power strips help reduce wasted energy – often referred to as vampire loads – when appliances sit idle. To prevent the need of constantly reaching behind furniture to turn the strip off and on, low cost APS technology offers features such as built-in timers, motion detectors, remote control operation, and more to ensure ease-of-use, making them a great fit for entertainment centers and home offices. Like traditional power strips, some offer surge protection, some do not. Look for UL protection ratings to identify.

Shopping for the right surge protection fit left you feeling frazzled? Mr. Electric® can help. Contact us today.