Surge Protector Buying Guide, What is Surge Protection
Surge Protector Buying Guide
What is a Surge Protector?
A Surge Protector is a device that is designed to protect PCs, servers, network equipment, audio/video equipment, computer peripherals and other electronic devices from damaging power surges and line noise interference. A Surge Protector usually includes multiple outlets and a power cord, allowing you to connect multiple components to a single power outlet.
Power Surges Definition: A brief increase in the voltage on an AC, telephone/modem, network or coax line.
Line Noise Definition: Distortion of AC, telephone/modem, network or coax line voltage caused by Electromagnetic Interference (EMI) and/or Radio Frequency Interference (RFI).
How does a Surge Protector work to protect against power surges and line noise?
A standard Surge Protector passes the electrical current along from the outlet to a number of electrical and electronic devices plugged into the power strip. If the voltage from the outlet surges—rises above the accepted level—the Surge Protector diverts the extra electricity to ground through the outlet's ground wire. In order to channel the excess energy of a surge from connected equipment, a Surge Protector requires connection to a properly wired and grounded AC outlet. Running a Surge Protector from an ungrounded outlet prevents the Surge Protector from doing its job. Most Surge Protectors include a "LINE OK" or "PROTECTED" diagnostic LED that will alert you to potential grounding problems.
When selecting a Surge Protector, there are a few questions that need to be answered.
How many outlets do you need?
Determine how many items you will be plugging into your surge suppressor, and purchase one with at least as many outlets as you expect to need. Remember that transformer plugs are wider than standard plugs. Many surge protectors are designed to accommodate transformer plugs without blocking adjacent outlets.
What level of protection meets your needs?
The industry standard for measuring electrical energy is Joules. A surge protector's Joule Rating tells you how much energy the surge protector can absorb before it fails. A higher number indicates greater protection.
What kind of equipment will you be plugging into your Surge Protector?
Home electronics, computers, office equipment and workbench tools have different protection needs. Be sure to choose a surge protector that protects your equipment on all inputs, including telephone lines (RJ-11), computer network (RJ-45), and cable jacks (coaxial).
Look for a "green" surge protector with special circuitry that reduces energy consumption and lowers your utility bills.
Will the surge protector be used in an environment where it could get damaged? Some surge protectors are made with all-metal housings which are virtually indestructible.
Cord Length & Plug Design
Determine how far you will place your surge protector from your grounded AC outlet, and select a surge protector with a cord at least that long. If you want to place furniture flush against the wall in front of the AC outlet, choose a surge suppressor with a right-angle plug.
Most surge protectors include diagnostic LEDs that confirm power availability and protection status. After repeated power surges, the protective circuitry will burn out so it's important to know whether or not your surge protection is still functioning.
Surge protectors come in multiple styles and sizes, including strip, in-line (for use with laptops), direct plug-in and under-monitor, among others.
Connected Equipment Insurance
In the unlikely event that a surge protector fails, this insurance covers replacement costs for any connected equipment damaged by a power anomaly. Make sure that the insurance amount is enough to cover all of your connected equipment.
Find the perfect Surge Protector for your specific application.
Now that you have some idea of what you're looking, the best way to choose the right model is to visit our quick and easy online Surge Protector Selector Guide.