Power Strip Surge Protectors
A surge protector simplifies your life by multiplying the number of electrical devices connected to a single point, while protecting them from damage due to surge problems. But which is the best choice between Legrand, Belkin, APC and other lesser known brands?
When plugged into a power outlet, our many electrical devices are subject to voltage spikes on a daily basis, most often when they are turned on. These surges are usually small and not serious, but they gradually reduce the life of electronic circuits. However, the phenomenon of overvoltage can sometimes have much more serious consequences. Indeed, some external events such as lightning that falls near your home, or anomalies on the electrical network, can cause high intensity surges that will irreparably damage your devices. In total, power surges are responsible for 60% of the damage caused to equipment connected to the home network!
To protect your valuable equipment from this type of damage, the simplest and least expensive solution is to invest in a surge protector, better known as a lightning protector. For a modest sum ($10 to $40), you will considerably extend the life of your electrical equipment. Some models of surge protectors will even provide you with free insurance covering up to several tens of thousands of euros of damage! But how do you make the right choice among the multitude of references that abound on the market? Follow the guide!
How to Choose Your Power Strip With Surge Protection?
When buying a power strip surge protector, the first thing you choose is the number of outlets. While there are single-outlet surge protectors (handy for protecting a single appliance like a washing machine), most models generally have 3 to 10 outlets to accommodate everyone’s needs. As long as you don’t plug in several large appliances at once, don’t be afraid to use 10 outlets at once; these power strips are usually rated at 10A or even 16A, which means 2300 or even 3680W! To give you an idea, a 55″ LCD TV does not consume more than 100 W, a gamer PC rarely more than 300 W, and a game console consumes between 80 and 150 W. So there’s plenty to go around.
Equipping yourself with lightning protection plugs is a response to a safety issue. The respect of the standards is a first step in this direction. The presence of the NF logo (French Standard) or the CE logo (European Conformity) is therefore a good thing. This is not synonymous with production in France or even in Europe, but products bearing these labels must meet the safety standards in force in our country. It is all the more important because in case of a possible fire caused by a power strip, an insurance company could refuse to cover the costs if there is no such certification. And knowing that you can find power strip surge protectors that meet the European standards from 10 EUR, we have chosen not to propose any product that does not in the comparison below.
Some models offer additional features. For example, there are references with RJ-11/RJ-45 plugs to protect against power surges that could occur in case of a storm via the telephone network and damage your internet box for example. In the same way, power strips also protect the TV antenna in case lightning strikes your house and chooses this path to destroy your TV set. It is also not uncommon to find power strips with USB ports to charge your mobile devices. Finally, the major brands do not hesitate to accompany the sale of their power strip surge protectors with a damage guarantee of several tens of thousands of euros. It covers the devices connected to it in the event that they suffer a failure due to a power surge. As always with this type of insurance, you have to be careful to respect the conditions (register the power strip on the manufacturer’s website, keep the invoices of the appliances you plug into it, etc.), but it is worth it!
Best Power Strip Surge Protectors: 2021‘s Top Picks
|Legrand 050097||Belkin BSV603ca2M||Belkin BSV804ca2M||Eaton MGE Protection Strip||APC SurgeArrest Performance PMF83VT-FR||Tour Multiprise BEVA|
|Protection limit*||Unknown||650 J||900 J||525 J||2 960 J||1 000 J|
|Power Cord Lenght||1,5 m||2 m||2 m||1 m||2,74 m||2 m|
|Prises supplémentaires||USB (x2)|
|Insurance||35 000 €||35 000 €||20 000 €||100 000 €|
|Warranty||2 years||2 years||2 years||2 years||Lifetime||2 years|
*The efficiency of a lightning arrester is indicated by a value in joules (J) which corresponds to an energy absorption capacity.
Legrand, French leader for all electrical equipment, is a reassuring brand. It is also the only manufacturer to have its lightning arresters certified NF, which is an additional guarantee of safety!
Belkin Power Strip Surge Protectors
In recent years, Belkin has established itself as a leader in surge protection. Although this manufacturer is primarily an accessory manufacturer and not an electrical equipment specialist, it offers a complete and well-made range of surge protectors.
Eaton/MGE Protection Strip
Eaton is not well known to the general public, but it is nevertheless one of the world leaders in electrical protection! Ideal for small budgets, its Protection Strip line protects your appliances from the most common surges even if they don't qualify as lightning protection. This 4-outlet model has no frills, but still has a switch and an LED indicating the status of the protection. The outlets are angled for easy transformer insertion.
Apc Surgearrest Performance: The Best Power Strip Surge Protector?
APC's SurgeArrest Performance is probably the best lightning power strip with surge protection on the market. And if the public price is not the same (2 to 3 times the price of the competitors' models), they are frequently found on special offer, which makes them extremely interesting!
The BEVA surge protection tower is one of the best sellers on the internet, and for good reason: it offers no less than 12 electrical outlets and 5 USB ports! And all this for a price defying all competition. Moreover, its tower shape is very convenient to put it on a desk and connect all the devices that can be found there (a computer, one or more screens, a printer, a lamp...) as well as all the mobile devices of the daily life (smartphones and tablets).
⚡ What Is a Power Surge?
A power surge is a momentary increase in electrical voltage. When an electrical device receives too much voltage, it is likely to burn, literally. This doesn't necessarily mean that there will be flames and a fire starting, but the wires/tracks in it are not sufficiently dimensioned, so they overheat and end up destroying themselves, which, as you can imagine, is never desirable for electronic equipment. An analogy to this is that if the water pressure in a pipe is too high, there is a good chance that the pipe will burst, depending on the pressure and the duration of the overpressure.
Surges must be distinguished from voltage spikes. Voltage surges - lasting more than 3 nanoseconds - are frequent and usually small. For example, the network delivering 255 V instead of 230 V. Voltage spikes (2 nanoseconds maximum) are rarer, but generally much more violent and dangerous. This is the case of a lightning strike nearby which can produce an electric current of several tens of thousands of Volts and Amperes! Lightning arrestors protect against surges of up to 6000 V. This is more than enough to prevent fluctuations in the electrical distribution network and even to compensate for nearby lightning strikes. Another solution is to install a surge protector in your switchboard: some surge protectors can withstand up to 20,000 V, which provides very effective protection for all the electrical equipment in your home. On the other hand, if a lightning bolt strikes your home, it is likely that these protection measures are not enough, as the discharge is rapid and of high power (up to millions of volts and joules!). To protect your electrical installation from such a scenario, you need to install a lightning arrestor on your roof. This is a metal spike placed on the highest point that will attract the lightning and redirect the electrical current directly to the ground.
💡 How Does a Surge Protector Work?
The basic principle of a lightning protection plug is to divert to the ground the surplus of current when the voltage is abnormally high (i.e. higher than the 230 V of the standard electrical network in France). This means that a lightning plug can only provide protection if it is properly connected to a grounded wall outlet! Although there are several methods to achieve this, most lightning protection outlets are equipped with MOVs (Metal Oxide Varistors). At normal voltage, these components offer a very high resistance, so the current takes its normal path. But the higher the voltage, the lower the resistance, which has the effect of letting some of the current pass through the varistor to ground. In addition to varistors, lightning arresters sometimes have additional safety devices. For example, a circuit breaker that blows or a fuse that melts and cuts off the power supply if the voltage increases too much. Some also have a thermal fuse that cuts off the power supply if a short circuit causes overheating, to avoid any risk of fire.
Almost. Any household electrical appliance can be connected to a lightning multiple socket as long as it does not consume too much energy. Generally, these outlets support 10 to 16 A, that is 2,300 to 3,680 W, which is not a problem. Even for a washing machine or a vacuum cleaner! Only electric cooking plates exceed this power, but these are anyway connected to a dedicated electrical circuit in your electrical panel, and not through a standard wall socket. The same goes for electric heaters, although their power (usually 500 to 2000 W) is not too high for surge protectors.
❓ What Is the Difference Between a Surge Protector and a UPS?
For the average person, a UPS Battery Backup is nothing more than a lightning plug equipped with a battery in order to continue to operate the devices connected to it for a few minutes in case of a power outage. This is especially valuable to have time to save your work on the computer and turn it off properly if you have no electricity during a storm or work. For the electrician, an inverter is a device capable of generating voltage and alternating current from a different source. For example, to transform the direct current of its battery or renewable energy sources such as solar panels into alternating current usable by our domestic electrical appliances.