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Is it time to change your surge protectors?

Spring storm season is here, don't wait until it's too late because lightning strikes can devestate electronics without protection from a quick surge.

Is it time to change your surge protectors?

Photo by Bert Folsom - stock.adobe.com

Quick, when was the last time you replaced your surge protectors? If you’re like most people the answer falls somewhere between “never” and “I can’t remember.” It’s understandable—surge protectors are the sort of tech we don’t give much thought to until after we need them. Unfortunately, modern electronics have increasingly sensitive circuitry that can easily be destroyed by even moderate exposure to severe voltage fluctuations. Summer storms bring an increased risk of lightning strikes which can absolutely devastate home electronics.

Online estimates for replacing surge protectors vary anywhere from two to five years on average. However, many surge protectors will continue to function as normal power strips even after they no longer offer protection against power fluctuations, giving users a false sense of security.

If you’re not in the mood to gamble with the safety of your home electronics, here are a few highly rated surge protectors available on Amazon.com to put your mind at ease.

Amazon Power Strip Surge Protector

As the name implies, this is a good quality basic power strip with surge protection. The Amazon Basics surge protector offers eight outlets, three of which are spaced out for larger plugs and a re-settable circuit breaker. LED lights let you know your power is grounded and active surge protection is in place. While this unit may lack the additional bells and whistles of some of the others on this list, it does offer a substantial 4,500 joule energy rating. This is the number of volts the strip can absorb and the key factor in determining how long it will last—not bad for less than $20.

TP-Link Kasa Smart Plug

If you’re looking for something with more features, the Kasa Smart Plug Power Strip HS300 has you covered. This wifi-enabled device offers six individually controlled smart outlets, three built-in USB charging ports and around 1,710 joules of protection. The Kasa smart app lets you monitor the energy output for each connected device and turn them on and off individually. If you own an Alexa or Google Home you can even program voice commands to control your electronics.

APC Surge Protector Power Strip P12U2

Need a surge protector that’s large enough to handle everything attached to your home entertainment center? APC offers a 12-outlet, 4,320 joule surge protector with two extra USB ports. The power strip looks a bit bulky, but it weighs less than 2 pounds and offers wall mounting brackets to keep it tucked neatly out of the way. It also comes with a lifetime warranty and a built-in failsafe that disables power when it no longer offers surge protection. This way there is no ambiguity about when it’s time to replace the device.

Tripp Lite SUPER7B

A recognized name in surge protectors, Tripp Lite offers a lifetime warranty on its products and features the built-in failsafe that deactivates the power once the protection device has worn out. This seven-outlet model has a 7-foot cord with a right-angle plug. It offers protection up to 2,160 joules and a re-settable circuit breaker to protect against overloads. If you want high-quality protection without breaking the bank, Tripp Lite offers excellent options for home and office.

Furman Power Conditioner PST-8

If you invested in high-end audio/video equipment, you need to invest in equally high-end protection for it. The Furman Power Conditioner goes beyond standard surge protection. The advanced linear filtering cuts down on AC line noise resulting in superior clarity for professional-rated equipment. Furman offers the highest degree of protection against electrical surges with its extreme voltage shutdown circuit that turns the unit off automatically if the power spikes above 137 volts, protecting both itself and the valuable equipment connected.