Surge Protector Vs Power Strip: Which Is Right For You?

Do you ever feel like you’re constantly fighting with the power strip? Whether you are trying to plug in all your devices simultaneously or unplug everything every time there’s a storm, it can be frustrating. And you don’t have to deal with this mess anymore!

In this case, what should you do? First, you are thinking about which is a better power strip or surge protector and the differences between them. Yes, there are many similarities, but there are also some significant differences.

Also, how do you know which power strip or surge protector is best for your needs? The answer to that question depends on what type of devices you will use on your surge protector or power strip.

We have a guide that explains the differences between surge protectors and power strips and how to choose which one is best for your needs.

What Is Electrical Power Surge?

You’ve probably seen power strips a thousand times before. There are many outlets along with a long strip. On one end is a cable, and the other does not have one.

Using a cable connected to an outlet in your wall, you can power multiple devices using a strip. Power strips provide extra outlets for plugging in things. Remember that power strips can only handle a limited amount of wattage.

It’s estimated that 25 million lightning strikes occur annually in the U.S., resulting in some 213,000 lightning-related insurance claims. (blog.apc.com)

What Is Surge Protector?

A surge protector is a device that can be plugged into an outlet to help protect your electrical appliances from being damaged during a power surge.

Surge protectors have more than one line and at least two outlets, which allow you to plug multiple items into them. The number of lines or sockets will vary depending on the surge protector.

A surge protector’s indicator light will show when there are power fluctuations, so you know if something has happened to your wiring or appliances without having to go around checking each one.

You should use a surge protector when there is a power surge or an unusually high amount of electricity flowing through your wiring. Power surges can occur due to lightning, brownouts, and other factors.

Read:How Does a Surge Protector Work?

What Is Power Strip?

A power strip is a long extension cord with multiple outlets that can plug in over one electrical device at once without taking up space on the wall or floor. You can use them for many tasks, but remember that they are not safe as a surge protector.

Remember that a power strip cannot handle a power surge large enough to prevent damage to your electrical appliances. Therefore, it is only used for plugging multiple items at once.

Overloading a power strip

If you’ve ever tried to plug more than one device into one of them simultaneously, you know that they can start to get a little overloaded. Most power strips can handle a small amount of watts. Generally, a standard power strip can handle up to 1800 watts of 120v, but some can handle 3000-5000 watts. If you have an overloading issue with a power strip, you may need to replace it.

That’s why it’s always a good idea to use surge protectors when plugging in multiple devices if you want to protect them from a sudden power surge. Not only will they help prevent any accidents, but they’ll also protect your devices from getting fried if there is an unexpected power surge.

Surge Protector Vs. Power Strip: – What Are The Differences?

The significant difference is that surge protectors are specifically designed to reduce the risk of damage from power surges. In contrast, a power strip will only provide you with extra outlets. Here are some potential differences between them.

Cost of a surge protector

The average cost of a surge protector for an individual is between $30 to $100. However, the price depends on quality, durability, features, or any other unique benefits it may offer.

Since there are many types of power surges, such as panels, breakers, R.V.R.V. surge protectors, and more, we recommend using a surge protection system when possible to minimize the damage incurred by electrical fires due to voltage spikes.

Cost of an electric power strip

The average price of an electric power strip varies depending on the features. You might need to know about some things. What does it have, like how many outlets? Does it have surge protection? How long is it? Is there a warranty on the plug? Does it have USB ports or cable management built-in?

The average price of an electric power strip is about $15-$25, while more expensive models may be priced at up to $100. So you should purchase one according to the features, benefits, and needs.

Protection level of surge protector:

Surge protectors are designed to protect electrical devices from sudden, brief increases in voltage & high power surges. Generally, it has been designed to protect against all power surges; that’s why it can help protect your equipment from damage.

The more protection a device offers, the more it will cost. An inexpensive surge protector might provide only minimal protection. At the same time, a high-end one might be designed to protect against even brief power fluctuations that would otherwise damage your equipment.

Protection level of power strip:

Power strips offer a little more protection against power surges than surge protectors. They can protect against significant surges but are not impervious to them. In addition, most power strips have a built-in circuit breaker that will trip and shut off the power when there is a surge, which will help protect your electronics.

However, if there is a massive surge, it might still damage your devices. Some power strips also have a metal oxide varistor (MOV), which is supposed to divert any power surges away from your devices. However, these can also fail over time.

Main uses of power strip:

The power strip should be placed in an area where it will not be easily knocked over, as this could cause a fire. A power strip is suitable for use in areas where people will not trip over the cords.

Main uses of power strip

Uses of the surge protector:

The best place to use a surge protector is near your electronic equipment. This includes your computer, television, printer, and other electronics. It would be best to use a surge protector in your home office. You should put a surge protector in each room if you have many electronics.

Faulty wiring of power strip

When it comes to surge protectors, improper installation or wiring can lead to the excess voltage being drawn from the wall outlet, which could damage your electronics.

Faulty wiring of power surge

On the other hand, power strips can also be faulty if the wiring is not properly connected. This could lead to the excess current flowing through the strip, which could also damage your electronics.

Therefore, when choosing a surge protector or power strip, it’s important to ensure that the wiring is properly installed and configured.

Overloading Capacity

Surge protector and power strip’s overloading capacity can be a problem if not used properly. However, in general, the overloading capacity of the power strip is usually less than the surge protector.

So, if you are using them improperly, they can overload and cause damage to your equipment. Overloading both can create a fire hazard. Even melting the plug can be dangerous in your home or business. So, be sure to use them properly and avoid overloads.

Joules Rating

Joules rating of both power strip and a surge protector is not equal. Surge protectors have a higher joules rating than power stip. So more joules rating means more protection for your devices.

A power strip only offers more outlets and not joules rating. However, some power strip offers surge protector with higher Joules rating. So it is important to choose the right one for your needs.

Easy To Install & Uses

Surge protectors are generally more difficult to install than power strips. Power strips can simply be plugged into an outlet.

Also, surge protectors require the installation of either a filter or switchgear that protects your electronics from spikes in voltage.

Functionality of surge protector

If you talk about the function of both surge protector and power strip, then the surge protector is much better than the power strip. Most surge protectors, including R.V surge protectors, protect devices from power surges and spikes, protect your equipment from over-voltage events, filter noise, and protect against electromagnetic interference.

Functionality of power strip

On the other hand, a power strip is a simple device that can provide only one type of power, such as A.C, with more outlets.

Do all power strips have surge protection feature?

Power strips do not always have surge protection feature, so check the specifications before purchasing one. Some power strips only offer limited protection against spikes in voltage, while others may not have

So if you’re unsure whether or not your power strip has surge protection, it’s best to buy a dedicated surge protector instead.

Surge Protector Vs. Power Strip: Benefits

Below are the benefits of using a surge protector.

  • Reduces the risk of fire.
  • Protects against power surges.
  • Provides a safe electrical outlet for running sensitive and expensive equipment like computers, televisions, microwaves, etc.
  • It prevents an overload that can create sparks that could cause a short circuit or even start another fire in your home.
  • It makes it easier to plug in large items such as vacuum cleaners, printers, or speakers by giving you more space on the wall socket without using multiple outlets with extension cords.

Below are the benefits of using a power strip.

  • It can protect your electronics from damage due to power surges.
  • You don’t need to turn off all plugged things when you want to charge or use one thing. You just plug it in and then use it.
  • This will help you when you are rearranging your furniture. You won’t have to move plugs around.
  • They are still working if there is a power outage because their electricity comes from regular outlets.
  • They can make your work area more organized and clean-looking.
  • You can plug in multiple things, like a lamp or fan. This way, you don’t have cords all over the floor.
  • If something like a laptop is too far from an outlet, you can use its extension cord. You do not have to buy another one just for the place you want it placed.

Can You Plug A Power Strip Into A Surge Protector?

Plugging a power strip into a surge protector is generally safe, especially if it has no load protection.

Using a surge protector with built-in power strips and connecting the power strips to the surge protector will be even more effective. You won’t have to worry about whether the power strip can handle surges this way.

surge protector and power strip comparison

Which Is Better? A Power Strip or Surge Protector

Power strip and surge protector are both devices used to supply power to electronic devices, but they have some key differences. A power strip is a simple device with many outlets and allows you to plug several devices.

In comparison, a surge protector is a device that protects your electronics from electrical surges and lighting.

So, which is better? You may have noticed that these two items overlap quite a bit. A surge protector is the best solution if you have sensitive electronics that need protection against power spikes.

Check out Top-rated surge protectors for your home devices.


At the end of the comparison, electrical upgrade can significantly boost a home’s safety/protection and appearance. Also, it’s amazing how much the right electrical upgrade can change the look, feel, and functionality of your home or business.

In addition, never put anything heavy on top of them because they’re not designed to take weight like surge protectors are. That being said, many people use power strips and surge protectors interchangeably these days.

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