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What Is The Difference Between Power Strips and Surge Protectors?

In short, one is designed to just be an extension of your electrical outlets if you have a couple extra devices that need charging or power to work, and one actively protects your appliances against power surges. Learn the difference between the two to determine which one is right for your needs.

What Is A Power Strip?

A power strip is the traditional rectangular strip you’ll see lying around someone’s office with four or five additional outlets to avoid overloading a single power outlet with multiple appliances or electrical devices. They provide on/off switches to control the flow of power through them, and can generally be trusted to be used with appliances or devices that require little power, such as lamps, phone chargers, or desk fans.

Power strips without surge protectors built in are the less expensive option of the two, falling somewhere in the $10-$20 range depending how many outlets are on it.

What Is A Surge Protector?

Surge protectors offer protection (obviously) from electrical surges up to a certain amount of volts, which is measured in joules and is displayed on the packaging. They offer the benefits of a power strip while also allowing you to plug in some heavier-duty equipment such as computers, TVs, refrigerators, and others that probably wouldn’t be as safe when subjected to a voltage surge.

With surge protectors, the more you pay, the higher the joules rating you can expect to get. Depending on the level of protection you want for your appliances, you can pay anywhere from $20 to upwards of $50. One thing to keep in mind is that as it gets subjected to surges over time, the effectiveness of the surge protector is reduced due to the internal parts wearing down.

We’ve seen it all at MM Electric. If you’ve experienced a power surge recently, contact us to go over your options to protect yourself from future damage.