The best surge protectors are both easy to use and filled with features that protect your most prized tech gear from power fluctuations. They’re also accessible and come with enough outlets for your gadgets and devices. But when so many power strips look alike, how can you tell which one is the best?
We rounded up the top picks for power strips and outlet solutions for the home, office, and classroom to help you save time and money when shopping.
The Best Surge Protectors
These products top the list. See how they compare for features and price, then decide for yourself which is the best surge protector for your needs.
The top 5 surge protectors are:
- APC Surge Protector with USB Ports
- Belkin 12 Outlet Surge Protector
- JACKYLED Surge Protector Tower
- Amazon Basics Surge Protector
- Kasa Smart Plug Power Strip & Surge Protector
Best Surge Protector Reviews
Whether you need to protect multiple outlets in an office or you’re powering a home entertainment center, these top surge protectors have the features and functionality you’re looking for.
The Bototek Heavy Duty Surge Protector is a modernized version of the traditional power strip, and it provides 10 total outlets and 4 USB ports. Two of the outlets are spaced far apart from the rest, so you can connect larger plugs like those from power banks. The USB ports free up space on the board, too, so you’ll have no problem finding room for all of your devices.
The 6-foot, heavy-duty power cord is slightly shorter than others on our list, but the clever design of the back of the strip allows you to hang it on the wall (with your own screws). This feature, combined with the spread-out outlets, helps to make it a good pick for tight spaces. Overall, the Bototek Heavy Duty Surge Protector offers good value for a variety of applications.
Another power strip with lots to offer is the Witeem 12 Outlet Surge Protector with USB. It brings the best of all worlds, including 12 dedicated power outlets and 4 fast-charging USB ports. It also features child-resistant shutters on each of the outlets, a nifty safety measure that makes it attractive for homes and schools.
Its cord is only 6 feet long, but it does have wall-mounting holes on the back side of the unit. However, the outlets aren’t spaced out very well, which makes it difficult to use larger plugs without wasting space or crowding the entire protector.
The Witeem 12 Outlet Surge Protector still provides more outlets and USBs than most competitors, though. Plus, the price is right. For those who need a place to plug in basic office equipment or appliances, the Witeem does the job.
The JACKYLED Surge Protector Tower is one of the more uniquely designed power strips, standing upright on a turntable base for maximum access from a variety of angles. The power-saving benefits come from an independent switch on each “layer” of outlets, so you can plug just a few devices into a single layer. This also helps to avoid the issue of “vampire” electrical use, because each layer has an on/off switch for power management.
There are a total of 4 USB ports that work in tandem with the 10 AC outlets. The retractable 6.5-foot cord keeps clutter to a minimum, and the power reset switch is located underneath. This helps to keep curious pets or kids from accidentally resetting the unit.
There’s a risk that continual winding and unwinding of the retractable cord, paired with the spinning design, could lead to damage over time. But if you use it carefully on surfaces where the turntable function isn’t overused, the JACKYLED Surge Protector Tower is a clutter-free way to charge and protect devices in shared workspaces.
The Amazon Basics Surge Protector lives up to its name in design and function. It is very basic, lacking USB ports for charging without plugs. But it does come with an incredible number of outlets – 12 in total. Four are spaced far apart from the rest, perfect for larger plugs.
The cord on this power strip is very long, too, at 10 feet. That outranks most of the surge protectors offered in the same pricing category. The Amazon Basics Surge Protector is a fan favorite because it’s an affordable and convenient way to protect most of your gear. Even without USB ports, the design makes it easy to charge up your gear in even the most cramped spaces.
If you need an all-around, suitable power solution, the Anker Power Strip Surge Protector with USB is a good choice. It has a balance of features and provides 12 AC outlets and 3 USB ports. The 6-foot-long cord is standard, and the USB ports’ PowerIQ tech is designed to give you a faster charge than any out-of-the-box adapter.
However, the outlets aren’t placed very far apart, making it likely that you won’t add larger plugs to the mix without giving up space. But it does have a larger number of places to connect than some other power strips. Plus, the offset cord prongs ensure you won’t compete for space if you connect another device to the same outlet.
For aesthetic and functionality purposes, the Anker Power Strip Surge Protector with USB is a solid pick that won’t break your budget.
APC is an established brand from Schneider Electric, and the APC Surge Protector with USB Ports has earned its place on the list in part for its reputation for quality and reliability.
This 11-outlet power strip also has 2 USB charging ports, all spaced apart quite well for a surge protector of this size. The sliding outlet shutters keep pets and kids out of unused sockets. Also, the ground fault indicator tells you if there are problems with the wiring, even when the device is in use.
This device costs a bit more than similar strips, but the 6-foot cord’s unique design helps it stand out. It’s made to rotate in the direction you want the cord to rest, giving you more room in tight spaces with fewer chances of tangles or twists. For those seeking time-tested brand integrity and a surge protector with all the popular features, you can’t lose with the APC Surge Protector with USB Ports.
When you need more than a basic power strip, consider the CyberPower CP1500PFCLCD PFC Sinewave UPS System. This battery backup (uninterruptible power supply, or UPS) has 12 NEMA 5-15R outlets, with half of them running on battery backup. It includes 2 additional USB charge ports (1 Type-A and 1 Type-C). And you can check your system’s performance with the tiltable color LCD panel.
A UPS system is worthwhile for those who need surge protection as well as an interim source of power for sudden outages. And when you choose the CyberPower CP1500PFCLCD PFC Sinewave UPS System, you’ll upgrade your power game. Just know it comes at a price that’s nearly 6 times the standard power strip.
The Tripp Lite ISOBAR6Ultra Isobar 6 Outlet Surge Protector surpasses other surge protectors because of its design. The metal housing spaces 6 NEMA 5 15R outlets widely for convenience and safety. It’s simple in appearance, but shows users at a glance if the device is powered on and if the line is properly grounded.
This surge protector has a sturdy 6-foot cord, comes with fully removable outlet covers, and even has holes for wall mounting. It may lack USB ports, but the Tripp Lite ISOBAR6Ultra Isobar 6 Outlet Surge Protector makes up for that in durability and design.
The only smart surge protector on our list is the Kasa Smart Plug Power Strip & Surge Protector. This device features 6 smart outlets, and you can control them independently with a mobile app or voice-activated assistant device. It also has 3 USB ports.
The Kasa doesn’t have as many outlets as some of the other choices here, but its technology perks are significant. Control your devices while away from home, or monitor what’s using power and adjust the settings with Alexa or Google Assistant. You can even schedule outlets to power on or off at various times of the day. If you’re looking for the power strip of the future, you’ll find a lot to love about the Kasa Smart Plug Power Strip & Surge Protector.
The Belkin 12 Outlet Surge Protector provides a dozen protected outlets and a power bar with phone line protection for up to 3 landline or VOIP connections and 2 coaxial cable jacks. It also has a handy cord “corral” design, so you can neatly collect your equipment’s wires near the bottom of the strip.
The outlets are spaced rather wide, too. This allows you to fit larger plugs and charging bricks than more cramped configurations. It also has an 8-foot cord, which is adequate for most uses in the office or around a home theater system.
Additional benefits include child-safe sliding locks to deter any prying little fingers. It does not have rotating outlets, but the outlets face different directions. This makes it easier to fit oddly-sized plugs than in strips where every outlet faces the same way. Plus, the prominent indicator light keeps you in the know by displaying green for “protected” and red for “not protected.”
The 2-pound protector is much wider than its counterparts but lays flatter on a desk or floor. It’s also lacking USB ports. But if you need child-safety features and ample outlet spacing, the Belkin 12 Outlet Surge Protector is a wise investment.
What to look for in a good surge protector
Surge protectors may look similar, but they can differ in practicality and reliability. Here are some crucial features to keep in mind as you shop.
USB ports are too convenient to pass up. Most modern power strips have them, and they can save you space on the strip. However, make sure to check the amperage of each USB slot, because some won’t support fast-charging or charging for larger devices. Also, you may reduce the protector’s efficiency if you overload its USB ports.
Space for plugs
Whether you pick a strip with rotating outlets or find one with extra inches between them, don’t settle for a surge protector with closely spaced outlets all lined up in one direction. That setup is impractical when using larger gadget plugs, and it can prevent you from using every outlet as intended. Look for outlets that face a different direction or have ample room for bulkier chargers.
What is the best surge protector for you?
Brand names shouldn’t always matter, but in the case of the APC Surge Protector with USB Ports, the APC name is just another reason it leads the pack. This power strip has 11 outlets, 2 USBs, and a smart cord design that prevents it from getting bent behind desks and entertainment centers. The outlet spacing is generous, too, allowing you to plug in most devices and make use of every outlet. But APC’s reputation for quality and customer service really gives it the edge.
About the Author: Linsey Knerl is a contributing writer for HP Tech Takes. Linsey is a Midwest-based author, public speaker, and member of the ASJA. She has a passion for helping consumers and small business owners do more with their resources via the latest tech solutions.