The Best Surge Protectors & Surge Protector Reviews
Power surges can occur when external sources increase the electrical charge at a particular point in home power lines. This can increase the current flowing to your wall outlet and damage your home electronics. A surge protector will disarm that surge and protect your equipment.
As technology advances, there is an increased need for surge protection due to smaller and more sensitive electronics. With so many devices to choose from, making an informed choice can be difficult on your own.
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What To Look For In A Quality Surge Protector
Modern surge protection devices (SPDs) of high quality will most certainly follow these guidelines and have the features presented here.
Clamping voltage is a measurable safeguard against overvoltage that prevents damaging surge power from entering equipment. When the voltage levels of a power line swell to dangerous levels, the clamping voltage will cause a surge protector to activate and block the incoming surge.
An ideal clamping voltage is 300 volts. Most surge protection devices have clamping voltages of 330V. You should avoid anything higher than that if possible, but up to 500V is considered the cap for safety.
Energy Absorption / Joule Rating
Energy absorption, often represented as the Joule Rating, determines how much energy a surge protector can absorb, or how many volts of surging electricity it takes to effectively render the device useless.
While a lightning strike and surges in excess of 6,000 volts will almost certainly destroy your device and anything connected to it instantly, generally the higher the Joule rating the longer your device will protect you.
It's also always good practice to replace your surge protection devices every two years.
As a general rule of thumb, the best-rated device would protect 300 Joules per outlet.
Response time measures how long it takes for an SPD to react once its detected a surge on the power line. A recommended response time is one nanosecond.
Three-line protection refers to the wiring system of your home consisting of three wires: Line (hot wire), Neutral and Ground. Each line is represented as L-N, L-G, N-G in three-prong outlets. As a surge can jump to any of these lines, the best protection afforded by surge protection for connected equipment is three-line.
Phone / Data Lines/ Coax
Phone, data and coaxial cable lines are just as vulnerable to surges as power lines. These lines can tie into computers or high definition televisions which will result in costly damages if not protected.
EMI / RFI Filters
Electromagnetic Interference/Radio Frequency Interference is also referred to as line noise. There are several descriptions that fit into this category such as loss of characters during a data transmission, a hum from your device or picture distortion or image loss on your HDTV. While line noise cannot be 100% eliminated, EMI/RFI protection can reduce most interference.
Ground Indicator Light
A visible light on the SPD will indicate that your outlet is properly grounded and your connected equipment is protected.
Protection Indicator Light
A second indicator light, along with the ground indicator, signifies that the SPD is functioning properly. If the light goes off, you are unprotected and need to replace the device.
Sometimes you position your device where it can't be readily seen. This is where indicator lights fail to alert you to vulnerabilities. A built-in alarm will alert you of device failure.
Power Shut-Down Protection
When your device does fail, power shut-down protection disables all outlets from allowing any power flow to your connected equipment. This keeps out future surges until you can replace your device.
Most quality devices carry some line of protection for damage caused to the device and any connected equipment that is clearly a result of a surge or a faulty device, called a Connected Equipment Warranty (CEW).