What to look for when buying a new surge protector

(Disclaimer: The Amazon links in this blog post are affiliate links, so I can make a few extra coins to help pay for a fraction of the cost to host this website. #CommissionsEarned)

1) Warranty

Every good surge protector should have a limited lifetime warranty. Some surge protectors only have a one-year warranty. What? Like who changes their surge protectors every year?! Check them once a year, yes. But buy a new one every year. Lame. Buy one with a lifetime warranty.

2) Spend at least $25

There are power strips under $25, but they tend to be too weak. Do you want your house to burn down? Spend the extra ten bucks, cheapwad.

3) Right-angle plug

These plug into your wall and leave a nice flat space instead of sticking out.

4) 3,000 Joule protection

Any decent surge protector will have at least 3,000 Joules of protection.

5) 10-foot cord

There are some surge protectors out there that have only one foot or three feet of cord. What?! Get one with at least 10 feet. You’ll have a lot more flexibility, and you won’t be bending the cord to make it fit behind the shelf. The majority out there have eight feet of cords, but trust me, the extra two feet in a 10-foot cord is worth it.

6) Get a 12-outlet protector

There are plenty of 8-outlet ones out there. And then you end up plugging another cheap extension cord to extend the number of outlets. Not safe. Just get a 12-outlet protector and be safe.


Belkin 12-Outlet Power Strip Surge Protector

I was going to recommend the Belkin 12-Outlet Home/Office Surge Protector. It has all six points listed above, and it sells for $25 versus the $40 at places like MicroCenter, ACE Hardware, and Office Depot. But I got the surge protectors from Amazon, and it was just two surge protectors sitting inside the shipping box.

cheap surge protectors in a box from Amazon

No warranty information. No idea if these are used or new. And they feel cheap and plastic-like. That kind of plastic that toys from the dollar store are made of. Yeah. A dollar-store-feeling surge protector is not the thing you want.

I’m shopping for surge protectors again

I will be using the information in this post! Stay tuned, as I’ll update this post with my new recommendation.

This is part of a series covering surge protector safety for National Check your Surge Protector Day.

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15 years ago

did you know they sell extension cord strips at the dollar store? Anything electrical should be banned from dollar stores.

Leigh Hanlon
15 years ago

Another issue is the spacing of the outlets on surge protectors. Too often, the manufacturers don’t figure on the large number of wall warts that must be accommodated.

15 years ago

I forget what kind I have.. I think it was about $20-25 at either Best Buy or Wal-Mart. It has two rows of outlets facing opposite directions, the end outlets have more space around them to allow wall-warts to be plugged in without crowding the other outlets, and it has covers that slide over unused outlets. (SAFETY!) In addition to the warranty, check for a “liability guarantee insurancy thingy” or whatever it’s called – you know, where they guarantee “up to $15,000” worth of equipment if the surge protector fails. Oh, I also have a cheap UPS that’ll run my laptop for like 45 minutes if the power fails. The thing is HEAVY.

Tom Saaristo
15 years ago

I pretty much live by the mantra “you get what you pay for”. There is no way I would be a surge protector because it was cheaper. I love the right angle plug tip! I truly wish more electrical appliances and accessories and gadgets had right angle plugs

Tom Saaristo
15 years ago

I don’t think I could BE a surge protector, but I might try … but I still wouldn’t BUY one surge protector over another because it was less expensive.

Andre Alforque
15 years ago

Depends on what I’m using it for, but around my entertainment center and computer, I use a UPS. Never know when something will strike; always good to have power to do a final save and shut-down properly. Currently I have two APC 550VA units which contain non UPS outlets (surge-protection only). $50 is worth the peace of mind in my opinion.

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