One of the most often overlooked, yet most important component for your electronics is the surge protector. What makes a good surge protector? What is the perfect balance between functionality, style and quality? There are many features to consider when purchasing your first surge protector or replacing one that has been sitting behind your dusty computer for years. Here are some things to initially consider:
- Is what I’m buying really a surge protector?
- Do I need a UPS (Uninterruptible Power Supply) with a battery back-up?
- How many outlets will I need?
- What types of plugs will I be plugging into it for space consideration?
- How much energy can it absorb?
What Makes A Surge Protector Good
A power strip may seem like a simple device you should not need to devote much brain power to. But you want to be careful when buying a power strip. You do not want to under-buy and you most certainly do not want to over-spend.
First know this: Not every power strip is not a surge protector. A power strip can just be a glorified splitter and not provide any protection whatsoever. When purchasing a “power strip” make sure to spend a little extra on the box that specifies surge protection.
Also, do you need a Uninterruptable Power Supply (UPS), meaning do you need for your computer to stay on in the event of a power outage? The vast majority of home users will not need this capability, but if you are a writer, programmer, or if you run a home server, you may want to look into this. Obviously, if you have a laptop, the laptop will have its own battery backup.
When thinking about how many outlets you need, it’s not enough to sit back and count your devices. You may notice the plug to your office phone is fat and bulky and takes up a lot of real estate on the surge protector. When shopping for a surge protector, make sure you find one that has space between the outlets to accommodate all of your non-standard plugs.
The amount of energy a surge suppressor can absorb is its joule rating. The higher the joule rating, the better protected you will be against a massive surge. You’ll typically want a joule rating of 600 or more to start. You’ll also want to compare the response time. This is measured in nanoseconds and the faster the response time, the more likely your components will survive
Lastly, make sure whatever you buy has the UL seal of approval stamped on it. In a global market we now live in, it is easy to buy a cheap knock-off that has not been put through the strict testing and quality standards as provided by the Underwriter’s Laboratories.
A Power Strip With Style
It’s not enough to be functional these days. Your power strip needs to be stylish. We like the cool design of the PowerCube. The PowerCube comes in multiple colors and styles. One version has a lengthy cable to plug into a wall and can be mounted on your desk with a peel and stick adhesive back.
It sports four outlets around the cube and one face has charging ports for your smart phone or other USB devices. Additional cubes can be plugged in to daisy-chain them together and gain additional ports or functionality. The red version of the PowerCube has five outlets, but keep in mind you will lose one if you use the mounting bracket.