If you’re a homeowner, chances are you have multiple electronic devices that need to be powered and protected from power surges. While shopping for accessories to protect your electronics, you may have come across two terms: surge protector and power strip. At first glance, they might seem interchangeable, but there are significant differences between the two.

So, what is the main difference between a power strip and a surge protector? What sets these two devices apart from one another?

Below, we’ll examine the key characteristics of a surge protector vs. power strip, then discuss why you should be using surge protectors to keep your devices safe.

What’s the Difference Between a Power Strip and a Surge Protector?

A power strip is simply a device that plugs into a wall outlet, then provides multiple electrical sockets for you to plug your devices into. They are often used in areas where there are not enough outlets or as a way to centralize power cords.

On the other hand, a surge protector is a device that not only provides multiple electrical sockets but also protects your devices from power spikes. A power spike or surge is a sudden increase in voltage that can potentially damage electronic equipment in an instant.

As you can see, the key difference between a power strip and a surge protector is that one provides a level of protection while the other does not. The primary function of a surge protector is to act as a circuit breaker, diverting excess voltage away from your devices during a power surge. With one of these devices, you can safely plug multiple devices into a single outlet, knowing that they’re protected from electrical damage caused by sudden power surges.

Why Use a Surge Protector Instead of a Power Strip?

If you live in an area that’s prone to lightning strikes or voltage spikes or if you have expensive electronics, investing in a surge protector is a smart move to protect your devices from electrical damage. At Universal Home Experts, we offer surge protection to keep your home secure. Get in touch with us to schedule your electrical service in Houston, TX, or to learn more about our products.

Joules Rating: What Does It Mean?

Another characteristic of a surge protector vs. power strip is its joules rating. A joule is a unit of energy. In the context of surge protectors, this rating is used to measure how much energy the device can absorb without failing. So, the higher the joules rating, the more protection the surge protector can provide.

It is recommended that you choose a surge protector with a joules rating of at least 600 joules or higher. This rating will provide sufficient protection for most electronic devices.

Wall Outlet Space

Aside from protection, another notable characteristic of a surge protector vs. power strip is how much space they take up. Power strips are relatively compact and take up little space, making them ideal for smaller areas. Surge protectors, on the other hand, are larger and bulkier than power strips due to their added electronics. If you have limited space or must plug in many devices, power strips might make sense — depending on your needs.

Extension Cords

Finally, another important attribute of a surge protector vs. power strip is the use of an extension cord. While it’s possible to use an extension cord with a power strip, doing so can increase the risk of power surges. Extension cords are not designed to absorb voltage spikes in the same way that surge protectors are. Using an extension cord without a surge protector can even increase the risk of a fire caused by electrical overload.

Turn to Our Experts for Whole-House Surge Protection

When it comes down to it, the primary difference between a power strip and a surge protector is the protection they can provide. While power strips can be a convenient way to organize cords, they do not protect your devices from power surges. In contrast, surge protectors provide a level of protection that power strips simply can’t.

Ultimately, the safety of your electronics is crucial, and investing in a surge protector is a smart choice that helps ensure your electronics stay safe when a power surge occurs. If you’re ready to reclaim your home’s safety, call Universal Home Experts. We specialize in everything from surge protection to electrical repairs in Houston, TX, and the surrounding areas. Contact us today to schedule an appointment!

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