Stay Current - Pick the Best Surge Protector for Your PC
Updated: September 13,2022
Thunderstruck is a great song. It's not a great state for your precious hardware to be in, though. The Aussie legends from AC/DC are not ones to shy from high voltage, but even they'd advise you against shaking your PC all night long. Avoid the electrical highway to hell by getting the best surge protector you can find.
We’re spending more and more time on our PCs: whether playing video games, browsing the Internet, or working on them, we’re pretty much pasted to our computers, and that’s when current spikes can hurt the most. Don’t worry. We’ve done the homework in picking quality surge protectors for you - all you need to do is pick your favorite and plug in.
Tripp Lite TLP1008TEL
- 15A resettable circuit breaker
- Plenty of outlets
- Lifetime warranty and $150,000 connected equipment insurance
- Some outlets are tight
Let’s start with our favorite. The TLP1008TEL may not look all that impressive next to some other surge protectors on our list - it isn’t the most powerful device and looks kind of pedestrian if we’re honest. But what makes it our favorite - and the best surge protector for PC - is its blend of affordability, a wealth of features, and a generous warranty.
This surge protector has 10 AC outlets that can absorb up to 2,395 joules of energy, and when that threshold is reached, it features a circuit breaker that automatically cuts power to your electronic devices. It activates from 400 volts onwards, and a diagnostic LED light lets you know whether everything is working properly.
As with most quality surge protectors, there are plenty of additional features to mention. In addition to 10 power outlets, there are also three passthrough ports for phone and DSL cables or coaxial cables.
Although there is no network (Ethernet) protection, the eight-foot cable is great for people who need a surge protector with a long power cord, while the design with six close and four spaced-out outlets is fantastic for oversized plugs.
The best feature, however, is the lifetime warranty and coverage of up to $150,000 should your connected devices get damaged while using the Tripp Lite TLP1008TEL. Lightning strikes are scary, but Tripp Lite is confident that its high-joule surge protector works even under extreme duress.
We should also mention the excellent USB ports and tough build. Little wonder the TLP1008TEL is often recommended on Reddit, considering its multiple levels of protection and fairly affordable price. It’s a great piece of gear that won’t let you or your expensive electronics down.
APC P11VT3 11-Outlet Surge Protector
- Very versatile
- 180-degree rotation pivoting cord
- Lifetime warranty and $100,000 connected equipment insurance
- Warranty conditions are vague
APC is a well-known brand when it comes to surge protectors and smart power strips. The model we’ll be looking at is similar to the Tripp Lite TLP1008TEL in many ways, and despite being far from the most affordable surge protector on our list, it still offers plenty of bang for your buck.
For starters, the surge protection is rated for 3,020 joules and boasts a clamping voltage of 330 V - more than many surge protectors these days and enough to deal with even the excessive voltage caused by electrical surges caused by direct lightning strikes. You know, the stuff that may well fry standard surge protectors.
Much like the TLP1008TEL, and other best power strips on the market, the APC P11VT3 “SurgeArrest”, provides power protection for more than just your power supply and monitor. It’s not a UPS, so there is no uninterruptible power supply here if the grid goes down.
In addition to the six spaced-out outlets for wider plugs and five tightly grouped ones for standard ones, the P11VT3 also features three telephone ports/DSL inputs and two for network connections. There is some debate about the usefulness of an ethernet surge protector, but it certainly can’t hurt to have the option.
P11VT3 is an excellent choice for people who like a power strip with a long cord. The 8.01 ft. cable is a feature worth mentioning, as it has a flat end and 180-degree pivoting, making it easy to manipulate. This and the mounting holes make the P11VT3 one of the best wall-mount surge protector offerings on the market.
The multitude of LED indicators to help you with troubleshooting is also something to take note of. Finally, there’s the $100,000 insurance and lifetime warranty, although APC is a little light on the details about how exactly the insurance works. Nevertheless, this APC surge protector is a solid purchase.
HOLSEM 12-Outlet Surge Protector
- Excellent surge protection rating
- Flame-retardant material and 24-month warranty
- Three USB ports and 12 outlets
- Closely packed outlets
This 12-outlet surge protector provides a lot of power, has three extra slots for USB devices, a two-year warranty, and comes in a flame-resistant casing. Unfortunately, the central power outlets are close together.
If not the best power strip surge protector, this is undoubtedly one of the beefiest ones on our list. How much energy can it withstand during a surge? With a protection rating of 4,000 joules and up to 1,875 W of power, this is one powerful surge protector.
In addition to the twelve AC outlets (which should be enough to plug in just about every device you need), there are three USB ports (two at 3.1A and one at 1A charging speed) and a large power switch. It is possibly the best heavy-duty surge protector in its price range, but it’s not perfect.
The outer six outlets are nicely spaced out, but the central ones are very tightly packed. Considering how many devices you can plug into this surge protector power strip, it’s a shame that the cable is only six feet long, so your wall outlet can’t be too far away.
In addition to having a flame-retardant casing to protect against electrical fire, the HOLSEM 12 has a double-break overload switch. While this surge protector comes with a 24-month warranty, it doesn’t offer insurance for other damaged devices.
Overall, this is a great USB power strip with excellent surge protection capabilities. It has enough juice to power even the strongest of gaming PCs while hosting additional protection for up to three USB connections. We wish the cable were longer and the central outlets more spaced out, but you can’t have it all.
AmazonBasics 6-Outlet Surge Protector
- Very affordable
- Room for one oversized plug
- Fairly portable
- High clamping voltage and weak protection rating
Yup, Amazon also makes multi-plug outlet surge protectors. With this six-outlet surge protector, you get what you pay for - it’s pretty good value for the money, but the low price doesn’t really get you great surge filtering.
Our surge protector reviews have thus far looked at some pretty high-end models, but not all power strips are meant to save you from apocalyptic weather conditions.
AmazonBasics, as the name implies, caters more to budget-minded consumers. Its 1,000-joule protection rating and 800 volts of clamping mean that this 6-outlet surge protector is a solid option for plugging in several smaller devices like mobile phones, but it’s far from ideal for sensitive high-power equipment such as gaming PCs.
It might not be a top-tier product, but at under ten bucks, this is certainly one of the best cheap surge protector options on the market.
As such, don’t expect much in the way of extra functionality - there’s a standard six-foot cable, five standard outlets, and one that fits oversized plugs. There is an LED indicator but no option to cut power when the surge protection wears out, so you should definitely pay attention to that little light.
This is a budget product, which means there are no fancy bells and whistles here, and it comes with no warranty. The high clamping voltage does mean a longer lifetime, but it almost makes this model a glorified Amazon power strip.
That said, less demanding devices and appliances such as mobile phones and desk lamps will still appreciate the added protection. Just don’t go plugging air conditioners, fridges, or your $3,000, 1,000 W gaming machine into it.
Belkin BP112230-08 12-Outlet Surge Protector
- Pivoting side outlets and durable casing
- Lifetime warranty and $300,000 connected equipment insurance
- Long cable and cable trap
- No power kill switch
Much like APC, Belkin is a well-known maker of dependable surge-protected extension cords, power banks, and other electronic equipment. The BP112230-08 is a 12-outlet power strip with almost industrial-grade surge protection, excellent clamping voltage, a solid cable, and enough extra features to make even the people from the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers happy.
This heavy-duty surge protector comes with 4,320 joules of power and 400 V of clamping voltage. This means that it will keep even the most sensitive of equipment safe, although triggering at lower voltages will also reduce its lifetime.
The eight outer outlets have the ability to pivot, making this the best surge protector for Mac computers or laptops, which often have oversized plugs. In fact, it’s one of the best designs we’ve ever seen on a surge protector, featuring only four non-movable outlets while having a durable, damage-resistant casing and smart-cable management for its eight-foot cable.
In addition to the 12 power outlets, this Belkin surge protector comes with a heavy-duty power cord and also has pass-throughs for coaxial and telephone/DSL cables but no USB ports. There is no kill switch either, so once your surge protection is out, you’ll want to replace the whole system to be safe.
The BP112230-08 is perhaps the best laptop surge protector on our list. But it’s more than that. In addition to the sturdy construction and powerful protection rating, it also comes with a fantastic $300,000 connected equipment warranty and a lifetime warranty for the Belkin power strip itself.
This isn’t a cheap product, but you’re really getting what you pay for. The lack of a kill switch on a piece of equipment costing over 30 bucks is a bit disappointing, but considering the fantastic construction, unique features, and robust warranty, the Belkin BP112230-08 is still an easy recommendation.
APC SurgeArrest P12U2
- Excellent protection and low clamping voltage
- Good USB protection
- Flexible cable
- The cable could be longer
It’s no accident that we have two APC models on our list. The Schneider Electric brand has a great line of surge protectors and outlet extenders, and the P12U2 is no exception. With powerful protection, plenty of outlets, low clamping voltage, and some innovative ideas, there’s a lot to like here.
First off, much like HOLSEM’s 12-outlet surge protector, this is a sturdy multi-plug surge protector with a protection rating of a massive 4,320 joules and a clamping voltage of 330 volts. The two are some of the best surge protectors for high-end PC platforms, but we prefer the P12U12’s certified 330 V clamping voltage for added peace of mind.
The 12 AC power outlets are all protected with safety shutters and arranged in an interesting manner: two rows of four closely packed outlets on each side, with two more for oversized plugs on each side.
The central part has two 2.4A USB outlets, keeping you safe from a power surge on the two USB ports. There is also a very stylish system for notifying you about the state of surge protection - a set of green LED letters spells PROTECTED on the plastic on the top-right corner of the brick.
Every little detail matters when picking a surge protector for your PC. While it’s great that this model has a flexible cable with a rotating shoulder, it would be nicer if it were a little longer or had rotating outlets.
Similarly, while you may be eligible for up to $300,000 dollars in connected equipment damage, there is a sketchy 10-day claim policy, which is much lower than the typical 30 days that most manufacturers provide.
Overall, though, this is another very solid surge protector from Schneider Electronics. It is powerful, dependable, and has USB protection as well.
TP-Link Kasa Smart Wi-Fi Power Strip HS300
- Remote control and app support
- Excellent clamping voltage
- USB charging ports
- High price and short cord
Here’s something a bit different. TP-Link is a company renowned for network-related gear such as modems and routers. The Kasa Smart Wi-Fi Power Strip is neither the most powerful nor the most affordable surge-protected outlet extender on our list, but it certainly provides some of the most advanced features you’ll see on any device on this list.
Let’s start with the basics. For a 6-outlet power strip with surge protection, 1,710 joules are decent, but it’s not a great amount of protection. A low clamping voltage of 330 V is, however, very welcome for protecting your sensitive computer gear.
These are certainly nice specs, but the HS300 is one of the top-rated power strips for different reasons. Each of its six outlets can be remotely controlled via Google Assistant or Amazon Alexa.
You can also use the provided app to group the outlets and determine when they will turn on or off, depending on your needs. The HS300 also comes with three handy 5A USB charging ports and the option to monitor the energy consumption of your devices via an app.
So far, so good, right? Well, there are a few slight inconveniences that stop the HS300 from being the best surge protector for your computer. Namely, if we ignore the more durable models out there, price is another issue.
All this fancy smart tech doesn’t come cheap, so be prepared to fork over twice the amount you’d pay for non-smart, high-end surge protectors. Also, the cable is woefully short at only three feet, but if your “entertainment center” is a small home setup, that shouldn’t be a problem.
Overall, this smart surge protector is a fantastic piece of gear that will make you feel like you’re already living in the future, so paying a little extra for it and dealing with a slightly shorter cord seem like decent tradeoffs.
Austere Power VII Series
- Beautiful design and excellent build quality
- Strong performance
- PureFiltration system
- Bulky and pricey
Sometimes it’s hard to tell the best power strip for computer use. The Austere Power VII Series costs almost ten times what some really solid competitors retail for and 20 times the price of some basic models such as the AmazonBasics 6-Outlet Surge Protector. But what does all that money get you, and is it a worthwhile deal? Let’s find out.
First off, the unit has a surge protection rating of 4,000 joules - a class-leading performance for a 6-outlet surge protector. Unfortunately, there is no information anywhere on the clamping voltage, but considering the price and specs, we are going to assume it’s either 330 V or 400 V.
At nearly 200 bucks, this isn’t going to be voted the best surge protector for PC on Reddit or similar forums anytime soon, but it does have some features that try to justify the steep price.
There’s the sleek brushed aluminum construction, flame-resistant MOV circuits, and thermally protected outlets. The Austere VII also features EMI/RFI filtration called PureFiltration, which provides better clarity for your video and audio devices by insulating the signal from noise and artifacts, such as those caused by power fluctuations.
If you’re looking for a surge protector with USB charging, Austere has you covered. There’s a 45 W USB-C PD port for charging laptops and other smart devices, two more USB-C ports, and two USB-A ports as well. This makes it probably the best power strip for a laptop if you’re not on a budget and one of the top choices for USB-powered devices in general.
Finally, unlike most other competitors on the market, the Austere VII comes with a stylish and sturdy woven cable called WovenArmor. The only concern here is that the cable is only five feet long, which may be too short for some people.
A surge protector’s build quality is important. In that regard, Austere has got you covered.
Along with the other premium features, you really feel that you’re getting a unique and solid product. Whether the significant price mark-up is a worthy tradeoff for such luxury is up to you to decide, but nevertheless, the Austere VII is surely a quality product.
Belkin Single Outlet SurgeCube
- Good protection for the size
- LED indicators and RFI filtration
- Doesn’t offer much for the price
There is a reason why Schneider Electric and Belkin have two models each on our list. The SurgeCube wall surge protector is Belkin’s smallest and most affordable product, so while you shouldn’t expect miracles, this is still a great portable surge protector that will cost you less than a trip to McDonald’s.
First off, the basics. This is a super-portable surge protector outlet that clamps onto your existing outlet on the wall, with no cables needed. For such a small device, it has an excellent 885-joule protection rating, but don’t expect it to last for ages. In fact, it’s the best small surge protector around if you’re looking for good protection in a super-portable package.
That said, the accent is on this being a very small gadget. It’s a portable budget product, so don’t expect much in terms of extra features. There are LED indicators to let you know that your devices are grounded, but no fancy extras like USB chargers or kill switches. It does, however, feature 150 kHz-100 MHz RFI noise filtration.
The SurgeCube may not be the most powerful or feature-rich surge protector for your computer, but the mix of portability, good protection, and affordable price makes it an easy recommendation for anyone who needs protection on the go. It’s not exactly the best surge protector for a gaming PC or a high-end audio system, but that wasn’t the intention anyway.
Top 5 Surge Protectors for Your PC
- Tripp Lite TLP1008TEL
- APC P11VT3 11-Outlet Surge Protector
- HOLSEM 12-Outlet Surge Protector
- AmazonBasics 6-Outlet Surge Protector
- Belkin BP112230-08 12-Outlet Surge Protector
Our Evaluation Method for PC Surge Protectors
The first thing we consider when evaluating top-rated surge protectors is how much power they can absorb. This is done by looking at the surge protector joule rating. Every time a surge happens, small voltage-dependent variable resistors called metal oxide varistors “take the blow” and help ground the excess energy, protecting your devices.
MOVs have a lifespan that depends on how much excess power they divert from your components. The math is very simple here - the more joules your surge protector has, the longer it’s likely to work as advertised without turning into a glorified basic power strip.
Remember, unlike surge suppressors (that are meant to keep the current steady and the electric line running even during power surges), surge protectors are less complicated devices but can deal with stronger power surges.
Obviously, getting the best surge suppression is a far better idea than buying the cheapest surge protector you can find, but the price difference is also massive. Whether you’re after surge suppression or protection, you’ll want something that can withstand large electric shocks, so the surge protection rating matters a lot.
Clamping voltage on a surge protector refers to the voltage that activates the surge protector. The alternating current on most surge protectors usually sits at around 120 V but can cycle anywhere from -170 to 170 V. Top surge protectors have this value at around 320 V and up, with the lower numbers obviously being safer but leading to a shorter lifetime for your surge protection.
Remember that your electrical devices are rated to survive somewhat higher short peak voltages compared to their average working requirements. Still, in order to be safe, a power surge protector will often come with a circuit breaker, which protects your gear by killing power to it should the surge be too powerful to handle.
Easily replaceable surge protection is an important part of keeping your equipment safe, so good surge protectors will have an indicator light showing the current surge protection status, so you’ll know when it’s time to replace them before the protection fails completely.
A basic consideration when picking a power bar or surge protector is how many electrical outlets it has. For a gaming PC, it will need to have at least six, although depending on your needs, you may opt for one eight outlets, or more.
Remember, your power supply and monitor will need one, as will most serious gaming speakers. While most peripherals such as headphones, microphones, keyboards, and mice are powered by your PC’s USB ports, you also need to power your router, and most people will want to have a phone charger plugged in and protected, too.
Having 10 or 12 outlets is usually overkill, but it’s certainly better than getting one of those old-fashioned power extenders with three AC outlets and calling it a day.
For the most part, a surge protector is just an advanced power strip: an electrical outlet extender that also protects your devices from power spikes and surges. In addition to factors such as cable length and whether your surge suppressor comes with mounting holes, there are also bonus features to consider.
The top surge protector models come with additional functionalities, such as USB charging or outlet pivoting, which lets you protect USB-powered devices directly or accommodate oversized plugs.
The final consideration when buying surge protection is the price and value for money that you are getting. Surge protectors are fairly cheap for the most part, starting at around ten bucks and going up exponentially. More advanced models with higher-quality MOVs and advanced features are obviously going to cost much more, though.
There are even models out there for professional audio equipment that have effectively unlimited lifetimes, but be prepared to pay much higher premiums for those. The best surge protection for your PC will obviously depend on the kind of rig you have, but be aware that even the most expensive models tend to be much cheaper than even the cheapest high-end gaming components that they are there to protect. Gaming controllers and high-end GPUs like the RTX 2080 may be essential gamer tools, but they can quickly become paperweights without adequate protection.
Frequently Asked Questions
Power surges are sudden voltage spikes. They can occur due to electrical storms, power grid malfunctions, and, yes, even power outages. They are, however, typically short-lasting, while outages mean a complete loss of power over a potentially long period of time, hence the need to invest in the best PC surge protector you can afford.
Yes. While power spikes are a rare occurrence on most electrical networks these days, a good UPS or surge protector will protect your sensitive electronics should one happen by grounding excess voltage and/or killing power to your devices completely, so they do not get overloaded.
Yes, in fact, it’s one of the highest-rated manufacturers. If you’re looking for the best power strip for your PC with surge protection, you can’t go wrong with brands like APC, Tripp Lite, or Belkin. We have two APC models reviewed on our list, so make sure to check those reviews out.
At least 1,000. While a random budget surge protector from Walmart will do the job for less demanding hardware, it won’t help protect precious PC components. Models upwards of 700 joules are fine for the likes of mobile phones and tablets, but the best surge protector for a gaming computer will have to be much stronger.
The higher the rating, the more powerful surges they will be able to deal with, and the longer the surge protection will last.
If you’re willing to spend a little more than planned, you should definitely consider investing in a good UPS rather than a surge protector. UPS devices provide additional protection, all while painting power for your work or gaming session. A UPS is a bit like a bulky battery backup system with a surge protector by default.
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