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February 6, 2011

When a Surge Protector isn’t a Surge Protector

Filed under: Uncategorized — admin @ 7:44 am

So, you bought your new [fill in your favorite new, fancy, expensive electronic device], and plugged it into the wall.  But, not before buying a $12 surge protector from CVS.  Well, there may be a problem here, and it’s possibly not what you think.

A $12 surge protector can actually save your precious new $1,200 device from a variety of electric surges.  However, it needs to be a surge protector and not just a power strip.

What’s the difference? A power strip is nothing more than a splitter that distributes AC power to many different devices.  Surge protectors generally perform that function, but ALSO have components that can absorb or redirect an electrical surge – instead of your components doing so.

How can you tell? First of all, surge protectors generally say “surge protector” on the packaging and power strips generally say “power strip” on the packaging.  Another clue is to look for a Joule rating.  This refers to how much electrical energy can be absorbed before the unit blows.  Surge protectors have them.  Power strips don’t.  The higher the Joule rating the better.  Look for 500-1000 or more.

So, here it is in black and white:

GOODhttp://www.amazon.com/Tripp-Lite-SUPER7-7-Outlet-Protector/dp/B00006B828/ref=sr_1_3?s=electronics&ie=UTF8&qid=1297003715&sr=1-3

BAD: http://www.amazon.com/Fellowes-99000-6outlet-Power-Platinum/dp/B00006B8JX/ref=sr_1_3?s=electronics&ie=UTF8&qid=1297002855&sr=1-3

And, yes, CVS sells both surge protectors and power strips.  So, look carefully and choose wisely, or your new Apple may get baked.

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