When you put together a computer system, one piece of standard equipment you’ll probably buy is a surge protector. Most designs serve one immediately obvious function — they let you plug multiple components into one power outlet. With all of the different components that make up a computer system, this is definitely a useful device.
But the other function of a surge protector power strip — protecting the electronics in your computer from surges in power — is far more important. In this article, we’ll look at surge protectors, also called surge suppressors, to find out what they do, when you need them, and how well they work. We’ll also find out what levels of protection are available and see why you might not have all the protection you need, even if you do use a quality surge protector.
One drawback to owning lots of awesome electronics is finding enough outlets to plug everything in. With a desktop computer, you likely need extra outlets for a monitor, printer, desktop speakers, wireless router, mobile devices, and other gadgets. For a home theater system, there’s the television, stereo receiver/amplifier, preamp, subwoofer, speakers (sometimes), turntable, DVD/Blu-ray player, gaming consoles, and cable set-top box to consider.
The solution? Get an outlet tap/splitter, which would typically be your everyday power surge protector or power strip. While both these options offer extra outlets, that’s where general similarities end. Most (but not all) surge protectors are also power strips, but power strips are not surge protectors. You’ll often see the two types displayed together on the same aisle of your local hardware or electronics retail store. But don’t just grab the first one that catches your eye! There are significant differences and benefits to consider.