3 Simple Tips to Choose the Right Surge Protector
Consider the Devices Being Used
The first thing before buying a surge protector is to think of what you want to plug into the surge unit. I have a surge protector for many different applications. I have a surge protector that I use when I travel which has connectivity for my phone and smart watch as well as an outlet for my computer when I use it on the road. I connected a surge protector with eight outlets, coax and USB for our living room because I knew I had to plug my TV, DVD, sound bar, cable box, gaming device and headphones. I could also plug my phone into it as well if it needs a charge. In my garage, we have a metal surge protector with 6 outlets that we have multiple battery chargers and my outdoor Bluetooth speaker always plugged in but also enough outlets if I need to use it for my pressure washer, shop vacuum and miscellaneous tools. Once you have identified what you want to plug into the surge protector make sure it has the connectivity options needed such as number of outlets, USB-A, USB-C, Coax, Ethernet, etc.
Distance from the Outlet
After you determined what you want to plug into your surge protector the next thing you need to think about is how far those electronics and devices are from an electrical outlet? For a surge protector to work properly it MUST be plugged directly into a wall outlet. So, then you must determine if your devices will reach the outlets or if you will need a corded surge unit to protect your equipment. If the devices that you want to plug into a surge can reach the wall outlet with a little slack I would opt for a Surge Tap so long as it has all the connectivity you need. A surge wall “tap” is a device that plugs directly into a wall receptacle with three prongs built into the device and supplies extra outlets that are surge protected and may have USB outlets as well. A wall “tap” does not have a cord. Wall taps are ideal for tight spaces because they fit snug against a wall and work well for kitchen appliances like a fridge. If your devices do not come close to a wall outlet measure the difference from the wall outlet to the plugs of the devices furthest away from the outlet. For example, if the difference is 4ft from the furthest appliance plug to the outlet I would suggest you get a 6ft-8ft corded surge protector. I would suggest having a little slack in the cord lines so nothing gets tugged out of the surge protector. All surge protectors with cords are mountable so you can mount them to a wall or furniture if you desire so it stays put. If you do not desire to mount your surge protector make sure it will lay on the ground flat while being used.
Know What Joule Rating You Need
The main thing to consider when purchasing a new surge protector is the joule rating. In simple terms joule ratings are what save your appliances from one large surge of electrical power or an occurrence of small surges throughout your electrical lines. Small appliances like lamps, radios, digital clocks would need less than 1000 joule rated surge protector. This is because they are relatively inexpensive and do not draw as much power even when they are turned off. To guard medium appliances or mid-range priced electronics like power tools, home printers, and mini fridges you would need a surge protector between 1000-2000 joules. For all major electronics and high cost appliances I recommend a Joule rating higher than 2000. As a rule of thumb the higher the joule rating the better the protection so think of the cost of your appliance and determine what joule rating you would consider buying to protect it.
Definition: For more on Joules, power in general is defined as energy over time. Watts are defined as 1 Watt = 1 Joule per second (1W = 1 J/s) which means that 1 kW = 1000 J/s. A Watt is the amount of energy (in Joules) that an electrical device is burning per second that it's running. One joule equals the work done (or energy expended) by a force of one newton (N) acting over a distance of one meter (m). One newton equals a force that produces an acceleration of one meter per second (s) per second on a one kilogram (kg) mass.