Are Power Conditioners Worth It? [Explained]

Power Conditioners

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When it comes to electrical devices, it’s hard to tell which one will actually work for you. Just like you’re confused with power conditioners right now.

They are claimed to prevent electrical devices from getting fried up with excessive voltage supply. Well, you can also get the same job done using surge protectors.

So, are power conditioners worth it?

In this article, I’ll go deep into power conditioners and explain every aspect of them. You’ll get to know how power conditioners are different from surge protectors and power strips. Stay tuned till the end to learn whether power conditioners are worth it for you or not.

What is a Power Conditioner?

A power conditioner is a buffering device that minimizes the voltage fluctuations between the power outlet and your audio system. It helps in uninterrupted power supply to your equipment.

Also, by smoothing out any voltage spike, electrical noise, and transients, power conditioners protect your equipment from sensitive load damage.

Now, why would you need a power conditioner? Follow the next segment to know the answer. 

Why Use a Power Conditioner?

The main reason you’ll want to use a power conditioner is to prevent electrical devices from power surges. Apart from improving the quality of electricity, you can also increase the quality of the sound system. Power conditioners are capable of doing both. 

I’ll tell you how a power conditioner is capable of doing all of these.

What Does a Power Conditioner Do?

When you plug a power conditioner into an outlet and other devices, it regulates the power surges from the outlet to the other electrical equipment.

While powering up these electrical devices, two types of interference can appear. One is Electromagnetic Interference (EMI) and the other is Radio Frequency Interference (RFI). Both of these interferences produce unwanted noise in the electrical circuit by the external source.

A power conditioner removes this electrical noise (EMI and RFI) and improves the audio quality. 

It also helps to correct the voltage supply protecting your device from any power spikes. Moreover, it removes the waveform distortions and makes the frequencies cleaner and more accurate.

But you won’t find all of these features equally present in a power conditioner depending on the quality. There are different types of power conditioners that are renowned for their unique features.

Types of Power Conditioners

In total, you’ll find 3 types of power conditioners in the market. They are AC Generators, Passive Filters, and Balanced Transformers.

Check out the following sections to know what each type of power conditioner does.

Type 1: AC Generators

AC generators are high-profile power conditioners. They are popular for neutralizing the noise in the audio and video spectrum.

What they do is take the main supply and convert it into AC voltage. They reduce all kinds of distortions and ensure a symmetrical waveform. So, the electrical noises vanish and make your equipment perform better.

The newly produced AC voltage also helps in protecting your devices from voltage fluctuations. But this also makes the conditioners dissipate a lot of heat while in operation.

As the AC Generative power conditioner is capable of maintaining many functions, it’s the most expensive power conditioner.   

Type 2: Passive Filters

Now, if you’re looking for a budget-friendly option, passive filters will get you the job done. This type of power conditioner only helps in noise reduction to the basic level.

They can remove high-frequency noise and clean the audio quality. But they don’t work as effectively as AC Generators in protecting against power surge damages.

That’s why passive filters will cost you the least.  

Type 3: Balanced Transformers

If you’re looking for something in between passive filters and AC generators, Balanced Transformers will be the best option for you.

These power conditioners are larger and heavier than passive filter power conditioners. As the name suggests, they contain balanced transformers which bring balance to the AC power feed.

They can improve the audio and video quality to some extent but not as much as the AC generators. Let’s say it plays a role in what’s best for both world’s ends.

So, you’re now clear about the functionality of power conditioners. It’s time for you to judge whether they are worthy or not.

Are Power Conditioners Worth it?

Power conditioners are worth it if you’re looking to solve noise problems in your electrical devices with a small upgrade. However, they’re not essential devices for your equipment. If you have enough money to spare, you can invest in one benefitting from its features.

Now, to determine whether power conditioners are worth it or not, you have to check the quality of their features first. For example, you’ll have to measure the audio or video quality before and after using power conditioners.

I’ve talked to a few audiophile friends and asked them about their experience using power conditioners. I’ll summarize their answers below and explain whether it’s a great addition or not.

Do Power Conditioners Improve Sound Quality?

Yes, power conditioners improve sound quality to some extent. They are able to clean up the frequency range in the 50-60 Hz sine wave. As a result, the buzzing or humming sounds reduce to a greater extent when you use a power conditioner.

Do Power Conditioners Improve Picture Quality?

In most cases, power conditioners don’t improve the picture quality. They only have the ability to clean interferences that can produce a better sound. But they don’t act well when it comes to video quality.

Pros and Cons of a Power Conditioner: Quick Comparison

Here’s a quick overview of the pros and cons of a power conditioner. Hopefully, this segment will help you to decide whether you should buy a power conditioner or not.

Pros:

  • Provides surge protection in most cases.
  • Many power conditioners come with horizontal and vertical outlets.
  • Portable anywhere.
  • Removes noise distortions from the audio systems.
  • Prevents power line distortions.
  • Separates the power source equipment.

Cons:

  • Doesn’t work with modern pre-amps.
  • Some power conditioners don’t have enough power outlets.
  • You might find difficulty in plugging multiple items at once with some conditioners.

As you can see, power conditioners have both benefits and limitations. Now it’s time to compare with other similar devices to know their real worth.

Are Power Conditioners Better Than Surge Protectors?

If you’re concerned about protecting your electrical equipment from voltage spikes, you’ve probably heard about surge protectors. They are also called surge suppressors.

When the voltage spikes get higher within 1-30 microseconds approximately, the surge protectors limit the unwanted voltage supply. In other words, they have similarities with power conditioners in terms of saving your device from electrical fry.

So, this brings us to a question. Is power conditioners really worth buying when you have surge protectors doing the same job?

Well, judge it with all fairness from the comparison table below on power conditioners vs surge protectors.

Power ConditionersSurge Protectors
Power conditioners act against any potential electrical damage to the device (operation disruptions, degraded components, and system failures).Surge protectors only save the device from voltage spikes.
It’s easier to predict the power conditioner’s capacity since it solves the same power issues repeatedly.You can’t predict the capacity of surge protectors.
Power conditioners clean dirty power supply.Surge protectors don’t have power-cleaning properties.
The power conditioner alters the main supply constantly for producing a clean supply.Surge protectors only alter the power when necessary.
Power conditioners are expensive.Surge protectors cost less but need frequent replacements.

So, comparing the two, a power conditioner seems worth buying more than a surge protector.

Are Power Conditioners Better Than Power Strips?

Just like surge protectors, power strips also have similar functionalities as power conditioners. They have in-built EMI and RFI shielding technology that helps to prevent unwanted power surges.

However, power conditioners and power strips have many differences. Take a look at their unique features below and judge yourself if power conditioners are better than strips. 

Power ConditionerPower Strip
Provides strong power surge protection.Automatically switches off the overload voltage flow.
Capable of filtering noise from audio.Can’t eliminate noise in the audio.
Doesn’t have the capacity to use several power outlets.They can expand one power outlet into several outlets for a better user experience.
Power conditioners improve audio quality to some extent.Power strips aren’t capable of improving the audio quality.
Perfect for live recordings.Only protects the device from making unwanted hum.

In this case, it’s like a tie. If you’re looking for a better sound experience, power conditioners are worth going for. But if you want more power outlets, power strips are better than conditioners.

Do Power Conditioners Save Money?

Yes, power conditioners save money. Depending on the quality, you can buy a power conditioner from $50 to $300. Without a power conditioner, you risk damaging your electrical equipment. It’ll cost you around $280 to $4000 for an electrical repair.

By spending only $300 on a power conditioner, you’re saving hundreds and thousands of dollars. It’ll also lower the utility bill since you’ll be using fewer amps. So, it’s a win-win situation for you!

Who Should Buy a Power Conditioner?

At this point, you know what a power conditioner does and how it works. Sure, it saves you from a lot of mishaps. Also, it makes sure you have your pockets tight and do not spend extra.

However, power conditioners are not a prerequisite for everyone. It’s a device that’ll make your life a bit easier but you can still function well without it.

So, when should you buy a power conditioner?

You should buy a power conditioner if you live in an area with frequent thunderstorms. Because of thunderstorms, the voltage frequency fluctuates a lot. As a result, your electrical components can get damaged quickly. Also, if the power is dirty and full of distortions in your area, you should buy a power conditioner.

In these cases, it’s worth getting a power conditioner.   

Do You Need a Power Conditioner for Your Studio?

Now, let’s check if a power conditioner is good for a studio owner. As someone with a studio, you’ll look for the following benefits:

  • The power conditioner can help provide surge protection.
  • It can improve the audio quality by removing noise from high-frequencies.
  • It cuts the hum or buzzing noise from your audio devices.
  • It helps in the recording.

Luckily, a power conditioner can help you out with all these aspects. But you can expect the same quality from every model. Again, if you have any line distortions, you should use a power conditioner for your studio.

A way to check the voltage of your power line is to use a voltmeter. Check whether the main voltage is closer to 120V if you’re in US or Canada. If you’re residing in Europe, the appropriate measure is 230V.

If you detect any kind of voltage issues, you should use a power conditioner. It works almost similarly for a home theater as well.

Do You Need a Power Conditioner for Your Home Theater?

You’ve set up a home theater at your home. Would you want to replace the expensive sound systems frequently? I bet, you wouldn’t want that.

But if you live in an area where the power supply is horrible, you’ll need to buy a power conditioner. When the voltage goes up and down, it easily destroys your equipment. So, for protecting your expensive subwoofers, receivers, and TV, power conditioners are a must for you.

Again, if you are a heavy home theater user, you’ll need a power conditioner. It’s because when you use electrical equipment repeatedly, it becomes prone to excessive wear and tear. It impacts the longevity of the device. And power conditioners help in this case.

Final Verdict

So, after reading this article, what do you think? Are power conditioners worth it? As you’ve seen a power conditioner has more functionalities than a surge protector and power strip. But it also has some cons as well. Hopefully, all this information will help you to decide whether power conditioners are the perfect option for you or not.    

Palash is an entrepreneur in the tech industry and the author of the Smart Home Protector. As a tech entrepreneur & reviewer of a home safety gadget store, his job helps customers remain on top of what's coming next in our rapidly changing world.

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