Confused about what I need to protect my hardware from electrical damage


Dec 17, 2016
I've seen threads where some people recommend surge protectors and where others say it's not even necessary and a power strip would be better. They also mention whole house protection at the main electric panel. Is this true and why do other also start recommending other types of equipment like power line conditioners, psu's, and/or automatic voltage regulators instead?

TBH I'm very confused as to what the difference between these things are. But even looking at reviews on Amazon when it comes to certain surge protectors from Tripp Lite, Belkin, and APC for instance, people start mentioning problems with the fire hazards they've had as well as other negatives. So it's hard to know which reviews to trust anymore.

So if any of you reading this wouldn't mind suggesting what works for you that is as cheap as possible, yet still does what it's supposed to, then that's all I need. Thank you guys.

The Paladin

Taken from an article on "9 things you should know about surge protectors"

Power strips and surge protectors (also called surge suppressors) are different;

Power strips are cheap, multi-outlet products that are merely an expansion of a wall outlet. These usually have a circuit breaker of some sort, but most don't offer any real "protection" from electrical issues. Some might have the barest level of protection, but they're all pretty much just like plugging into the wall direct.

Surge protectors offer some level of protection against power spikes. How much and how well varies considerably.
Surge protectors offer protection in amounts called joules. Think of this like a reservoir of protection. If a product has 1,000 joules of protection, that means it can take ten 100 joule hits, or one 1,000 joule hit. Generally, the more joules the better.

Most surge protectors are trigger designed, when they sense a surge on the line they cut power by triggering a fuse.

How do you know how many joules a protectors has left, or if the rating is even accurate? Well, you don't. The Wirecutter did a massive test on surge protectors, essentially blowing them up to see how well they worked, to see if they could answer this question.