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

The rise of technology has made the need for extra outlets more urgent than ever. Most normal power outlets only have two sockets that you can plug your devices into. This is often not enough. One solution is to use a surge protector or a power strip.

Sometimes these terms are used interchangeably, but surge protectors and power strips aren’t one and the same. Below we’ll cover what a power strip is, what a surge protector is and the difference between the two.

What is a power strip?

A power strip serves as a type of extension cord and offers multiple power sockets while plugging into an outlet in the wall. They typically come in the shape of a long, thin rectangular bar (hence the name). Many power strips have a switch that can cut power to all the outlets at once. A power strip doesn’t provide protection in the event of a power surge.

What is a surge protector?

A surge protector is like a power strip in that it plugs into a single outlet and offers multiple sockets that you can plug your electronics into. Many times, surge protectors will come in a different shape than a power strip. Instead of a long thin bar, most surge protectors are larger rectangles or squares, allowing them to house the necessary circuitry and equipment for surge protection.

What’s the difference between a surge protector and a power strip?

The main difference between a power strip and a surge protector is that a surge protector guards against high voltage spikes that could damage your electronics. You’ll be able to tell the difference between a power strip and a surge protector by the packaging. A surge protector will tell you the amount of energy in Joules (usually anywhere between 1,000 and 4,000 Joules) the product it can withstand. The shape of the surge protector and its higher price point are some other ways to tell the difference between the two.

What is a power surge, and how does it happen?

A power surge is a large and sudden increase in the amount of voltage coming through your electrical wiring. Power surges can harm your electrical devices. They can be triggered in several different ways, many of which aren’t the homeowner’s fault. Faulty wiring, electrical overload, lightning strikes and power being restored after a blackout are just some of the ways a power surge can occur.

Why should I opt for a surge protector instead of a power strip?

If you live in an area where severe thunderstorms happen often, you might want a surge protector instead of a power strip. If you live in an older home with older wiring, or if you simply want to preserve some of your more cherished and important electrical devices, you could implement a surge protector in lieu of a power strip. The added cost pales in comparison to the increased safety your devices will have, in addition to the greater peace of mind.

Call for your surge protector today

Did you know that surge protectors can be wired into your business’s outlets? It’s true, and if you want to make this investment for your company, call the team at Ham’s Electric, Inc. We’ve been offering essential electrical services for commercial applications since 1986, and would love to tell you more about how we can help you.