In any workshop, there will be many types of electronics operating at any given time. All these electronics are likely to be connected through a power strip.
However, does the power strip provide surge protection? That will be the question in the minds of many people.
Well, surge protectors have been on the rise to help protect the electronic devices in the workshop from damage because of unstable power.
We must point out that not all the surge protectors will have the same level of protection. Some are better than others and it all depends on its protection rating.
Before you choose a surge protector, there are a few things you need to keep in mind. This guide gives you all that information to help you make an informed decision.
Table of Contents:
- What is a Surge Protector?
- What to Consider When Buying Surge Protectors for Your Workshop
- Other Considerations
- Can I Plug an Extension Cord into a Surge Protector?
- 7 Devices You Should Never Plug into a Power Strip
- Top 3 Best Surge Protectors
- Final Thoughts
What is a Surge Protector?
A surge is when there are irregularities in the power flowing from the outlet to the devices. These irregularities can lead to unstable power, which sometimes can affect the device’s performance.
Some devices have sensitive circuits, so experiencing these surges can easily damage them. It is why you need a surge protector.
The work of the surge protector as the name suggests, is to keep the surge from reaching the electronics. As such, the devices will now experience a smooth and consistent flow of the power.
The more the surge protector absorbs the irregular power, the less it will last. You might want to consider replacing it based on the manufacturer recommendations to keep protecting your devices.
If you are ready to get yourself the best power strip surge protector, then check out the buying tips below to help you get started.
What to Consider When Buying Surge Protectors for Your Workshop
With the many surge protectors in the market, sometimes it is hard to determine which is the best option. Many will use the previous users’ ratings to find the best unit.
However, there is a lot more that goes into picking the best surge protector. Below are some of the features to keep in mind.
1. What are Joules and How Many Do I Need?
The most important consideration for buying a surge protector is the Joules rating. This rating highlights the maximum amount of energy the surge protector can take before it fails. It is obvious here that the higher the number, the better the protection.
It often depends on the type of electronics you need to protect. For light energy electronics such as the lamps or clocks, a surge protector with a rating of 1000 should be fine.
If you have to use power tools, computers, and heavier equipment, we recommend you get a unit with a joule rating of 2000 and above.
2. What is Clamping Voltage?
The clamping voltage determines at which voltage will the protector jump in to start protecting the other electronics connected to it. It will often vary from one unit to another. You need the clamping voltage to be lower unlike for the joules where we wanted a higher number.
3. What are UL Standards?
The Underwriters Laboratories (UL) are responsible for setting up the important safety standards for surge protectors and other devices. For such protectors, they have to meet the safety standard referred to as UL 1449 Voltage Protection Rating (VPR).
The standard defines the amount of voltage that the protector allows to go through the connected devices. Here we are looking at a lower number for the best protection.
4. What is Response Time?
The response time is how long it will take for the surge protector to kick in and protect the devices from the moment a surge happens.
You have to note that surges can take nanoseconds to occur. So, you need a surge protector with a response time of a nanosecond or less for the right protection.
5. The Number of Ports
Depending on the number of devices you want to connect, then it will be best to look at the number of ports available. Some models are likely to have up to six ports so that you can have multiple devices protected at any given time.
1. Energy Savers.
Some surge protectors will have the option of turning off the connected devices which are not in use. The aim is to help with saving the energy use in the workshop. It can also be a protection feature against burning of motors.
2. GFCI Protection.
This type of protector will automatically detect a short circuit and quickly shuts off the power. This can save your workshop against an electrical fire.
The timers in a protector will help you to decide when a protector is on or off during different times of the day. It is always good to have such a feature as you never know when you might need it.
Can I Plug an Extension Cord into a Surge Protector?
Theoretically, it should be fine, but there are a few things that you should know about such a connection. One thing you have to make sure is that the extension cord can live up to the surge protector load or even more.
An example is that when you are using a surge protector having a 14-gauge cord, make sure that the extension cord has the same rating or it is even better.
If that is not the case, you might end up putting too much load on the extension cord. This can easily lead to a fire hazard.
Even if you do this type of connection, we recommend that you do it for temporary use only. The last thing you want is to subject the extension cord to unnecessary wear and tear. It is not designed for such types of loads.
You should instead consider using a surge protector having a longer power cord so that it gets to the different appliances safely. You can also install an outlet closer to the device you need to power through a surge protector.
7 Devices You Should Never Plug into a Power Strip
Many people often choose power strips to connect multiple devices into a power strip because there are not enough power outlets in the house. However, not all devices should be connected to a power strip. Here is a list of the top 7 Devices you should never plug into a power strip.
1. Freezers and Refrigerators
These two are large appliances that will draw a lot of power at any time. Also, they have the on and off cycle. This means that they can overload the power strip.
As such, you need to connect them directly to the wall outlet where they do not risk tripping the circuit or overloading the power strip.
A microwave is a nice thing to own for food preparation, reheating your favorite food, and much more. However, this act of warming your food needs a lot of power.
You should then consider connecting it directly to the wall if you want it to work better. Having a dedicated outlet is always recommended by the manufacturers.
3. Coffee makers
Most people might be surprised to see the coffee maker on this list. You might think that brewing a nice cup of coffee in the morning will not draw a lot of power.
However, it takes a lot more energy to convert the roasted beans into a hot cup of coffee. Always put the coffee maker directly into the wall outlet for safety.
The toaster needs to get hot to toast your bread slices. To get these wires hot means drawing a lot of current in a short timeframe.
The sudden drawing of this high current can make the power strip to overheat. This same effect can happen when using waffle irons, toaster ovens, and electric skillets.
5. Hot plates and slow cookers
With the increasing number of kitchen appliances, you might not have enough power outlets to set up the appliances. Even if that is the case, do not use the hot plates and slow cookers connected through a power strip.
These appliances need to run for longer and have a higher energy draw. This can lead to overheating the power strip.
6. Hair care appliances
Appliances for hair dressing such as hair dryers can draw a lot of current in a short time. They need to do so to get hot faster so that you can use it. To prevent tripping the circuit breaker, consider plugging it directly into dedicated wall outlets.
Since you would be using such appliances in the bathroom, it is best to use a GFCI outlet to avoid accidental water exposure.
7. An additional power strip
Daisy chaining of power strips is not advisable. This is because you can easily overload the electrical system. Just know that doing this also violates multiple fire safety codes.
You might want to get a power strip with a longer cable if the appliance is far rather than connecting several power strips together.
Top 3 Best Surge Protectors
Kensington SmartSockets 6-Outlet Tabletop Surge Protector
This is a top choice for anyone who needs to safeguard their computer and other sensitive equipment. With its protection rating of 1,500 joules, we will recommend it for smaller electronics. As such, it will also be good for protecting the lamps, clocks, and small power tools that do not draw a lot of power.
You will get up to 6 outlets to use in a room. It should be easy to see that connecting multiple devices is possible. Also, the circular design allows for the best spacing between the different AC adapters connected to the protector.
The unit features a 16-foot cord. The cord provides you with enough leverage to use the surge protector at a longer distance from the wall outlet.
Having the color-coded rings can help with easy cord management. This should make you easily identify which device is connected to which outlet.
Considering it is in line with the UL and CSA certifications, you can buy it knowing that it will provide the best warranty to protect your devices against power surges.
- It allows for connecting multiple devices
- The color-coded rings help with cable management
- The 16-foot power cord improves the overall versatility
- Some feel the protection of 1500 joules is not enough for most workshops
Kensington SmartSockets 8-Outlet Premium Surge Protector
This is another top choice as a premium surge protector. You will find that it has more protection rating of 3090 joules than the other model mentioned above.
As such, it will be perfect for most workshops that have various power tools and other heavy equipment.
You will also like it for having 8 outlets on the unit. The outlets allow for connecting the different types of devices you might want to use in a workshop.
There is also enough spacing between these outlets so that you can fit the different types of plugs with ease.
Just like the other model above, this one also has color-coded rings. These rings help you to have a better cable management. You will always know the type of device connected to each outlet.
Coming from Kensington, we all know that it will live up to your durability needs. The manufacturer made this one to be strong so that you can use it for years to come.
It is also good for EMI/RFI noise filtration, making it better on overall for multiple applications around the workshop.
- It offers up to 8 outlets
- The protection of 3090 joules makes it ideal for a workshop
- It offers EMI/RFI protection
- The power cord could be longer for more versatility
Belkin 12-Outlet Pivot Plug Power Strip Surge Protector
For those who might be on a budget, this is a nice option for them to consider. Even if it is one of the budget units on the list, it does offer the best protection too.
With its rating of 4,320 joules, it is ideal for any workshop with power tools and other heavy equipment.
Having up to 12 outlets makes it a lot more versatile than what you get with other units. There are 8 rotating outlets and 4 stationary outlets.
The rotating outlets allow for correctly setting up the AC plugs depending on their orientation. It will then be good for using different types of devices.
The surge protector is backed by a lifetime warranty. It is easy to see that many people would opt for it knowing that it can deliver on the best protection. No manufacturer will give you such a warranty if they are not confident in the product.
For its protection rating, other than being used in the workshop, the same can be used in the office. You can find it being ideal for safeguarding computers, appliances, and other types of office equipment from the power surge damage.
- The model has 12 outlets
- It offers a protection rating of 4,320 joules
- It is built to last for long
- It does not have the best cable management system
Right now, you have an idea of what makes the best power strip surge protector. Always look at its rating in terms of joules to see if it will live up to your workshop needs. We all know that power tools can be expensive. So, it is best to take all measures to protect them.
We have highlighted three top options for you to pick. Whichever you decide is the right one, just know that it will deliver on the best protection. If you want more outlets and better power rating protection, then go for the Kensington model.