Best power strip-style surge protectors
Get peace of mind and better performance from your gear
In this article: The best strip-style surge protectors...
... and some tips on what to look for in surge protectors.
efore I came to Crutchfield, I didn’t think too much about surge protectors. Then I discovered that the inexpensive power strips I tend to use often don’t provide any protection at all. I was dismayed to see my gaming PC and monitor plugged into vulnerable outlets.
When it comes to your own beloved electronics, you are going to want to protect them with the best surge protectors. Below we list best strip-style surge protectors Crutchfield has to offer. First, let's talk about what to look for in a surge protector.
On the left is a look at what's inside a cheap power strip. On the right you see the guts of a Panamax surge protector. Which one would you rather have protecting your gear?
How do surge protectors work?
There are two basic types of surge protectors – sacrificial and non-sacrificial. Both styles have electronics that recognize when there is a spike in voltage, also known as transient voltage.
When a sacrificial unit receives transient voltage, it pushes the spike toward a metal oxide varistor (MOV). The MOV then heroically absorbs the transient voltage, preventing damage to your devices. MOVs can only take on so much damage before they are used up, or, sacrificed.
Non-sacrificial units prevent damage in two ways. First, they monitor and restrict the maximum amount of voltage that is able to pass through to your device. This is known as clamping voltage. If there is a surge that is too powerful to clamp, the protector will shut off distribution of power to all devices in milliseconds.
What to look for in a strip-style surge protector
Size and number of outlets
You probably need more outlets than you think. Consider that bulky power adapters will sometimes block access to adjacent outlets. Also think about where you intend to set up your protector and how much space is available.
One of the added benefits of a good surge protector is power conditioning. This is achieved by using filters to get rid of electromagnetic interference (EMI) and radio-frequency interference (RFI). The result is cleaner sound and better TV pictures.
All the surge protectors on this list provide noise filtration.
The higher the joule rating, the more energy your surge protector can absorb before it is “sacrificed”.
Connected equipment warranty
Some surge protector warranties will pay to replace equipment that was damaged by a surge while properly connected to the power protection unit. Careful though, these warranties are are typically full of fine print. Make sure you read through them and document your installation well.
The best strip-style surge protectors
Furman SS-6B — entry level protection
I own the Furman SS-6B, one of our most popular models. I have had it for a couple years and use it for my electric guitar, amp and pedal board. I purchased it because of Furman’s reputation among musicians.
I am impressed by the heavy-duty metal construction. It feels like it will last forever. The power cord is a generous 15 feet.
The layout allows six connections easily. If you are looking for a Furman that can fit into tighter corners, consider the Furman SS-6.
- 6 AC outlets
- 540 Joule rating
- Surge protection of 400V
- 15' power cord
- RFI/EMI noise filtration
- Protection indicator light
What our customers say
Panamax SP8-AV — protection designed for A/V equipment
The Panamax SP8-AV has a unique outlet design which allows you to connect eight plugs at a time. On the other side, you have input/output jacks to protect your landline phone and TV connections.
Panamax builds their strip style surge protectors with premium noise filtration. This will work to eliminate unwanted loss of detail, hisses and hums generated by dirty power.
The SP8-AV contains Panamax’s protect or disconnect™ circuitry. This means it will disconnect AC power to connected equipment in the event of a catastrophic surge. This technology essentially makes the Panamax SP8-AV a non-sacrificial unit, as it will opt to power off rather than burn through its MOVs.
- 8 outlets
- 1125 Joule rating
- Surge protection of 500V
- 6' power cord
- RFI/EMI noise filtration
- Brackets for wall mountain
- Protection and ground OK indicator lights
- Protect or disconnect™ technology
- $50,000 lifetime limited connected equipment warranty