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Best Surge Protectors and Reviews - Trust Me, You NEED This

Updated on January 16, 2015

Don't Let This Happen To You: GET A SURGE PROTECTOR!

See this photo? It should be enough to prove to you why you need the best surge protector you can afford.

Heck. This should show you why you should have ANY surge protector! This is the screen of my barely 1 1/2 year old HP laptop. You will notice that there is no "boot device" detected. You will notice that there is no operating system.

This sad story is the SECOND time this has happened to me. No more. This particular event happened over Memorial Day weekend, 2012, when John and I were enjoying an amazing weekend in Portland, Maine's "Old Port" - a very fun place to be.

The weather was perfect. Blue skies, clean spring air...

Until that night...

We always bring our laptops with us when we go away. We stay in a nice hotel that has wifi for our convenience.

What they DON'T have is a surge protector in the room - and that night, I left my computer plugged in.

A big thunderstorm roared through in the middle of the night. A doozy of a storm, complete with lots of lightening.

You do see where this is going, don't you?

The next morning, my computer was dead.

This article will offer suggestions on surge protectors. Get one. Bring it with you on vacation. And then... UNPLUG IT WHEN YOU'RE DONE!

A Storm Rolled Through...

Lightening can be fascinating to watch (uh... from a safe distance) - but this is not the first time it has played havoc with my equipment. Please learn from my mistakes!

If You are At This Website, Then You are on a Computer

And if you are on a computer, you need a power surge protector.

I mean it!

What is a Power Surge? - This video gives the short answer...

Basically speaking, a power surge is a "high energy event" that occurs on your wiring. This short video explains.

The receipt for my newest laptop.
The receipt for my newest laptop.

The Cost of a Power Surge versus Power Surge Protector...

My latest receipt

As you can see from THIS sorry photo, that I had to buy a new computer to the tune of $529.99 (no sales tax in New Hampshire). Oh... this was AFTER I spent $100 having a computer tech tell me that my hard drive was gone.

Evidently, I could have sent my hard drive to a lab with a "clean room" where they could have attempted to recover my data. It was going to cost about ... well, one estimate was over $1,000.

The new computer was cheaper.

BUT... you know what would have been cheaper than a new computer? A POWER SURGE PROTECTOR!

(John and I call incidents like these "seminars." Some of our "seminars" are more expensive than others.)

PS: Update: I also have since purchased a program (Carbonite) that backs up my computer to this thing called "the cloud." Ordinarily, I wouldn't trust all my precious writing and photos to be somewhere in the ether, but it has given me at least the illusion of peace of mind.

How Does A Surge Protector Work? (In a Nutshell)

According to the guys over at "How Stuff Works," a surge protector takes the excess voltage and diverts it to the grounding wire (the outlet's grounding wire, that is). See next module for more...

How a Surge Protector Works... - Clearly Explained in My Precise Drawing

Study this Fine Diagram Very Carefully... There will be a quiz
Study this Fine Diagram Very Carefully... There will be a quiz

So, this is according to the guys over at How Stuff Works. The thing in my drawing that says "Stuff that diverts the extra voltage to the ground wire" is actually something called a "metal oxide varistor, or MOV" (whatever THAT is).

If you'd like to read their stuff about this, and if you understand it, please let me know. All I know is that everyone seems to agree that we need surge protectors. (Source:

My surge protector has a grounding light indicator
My surge protector has a grounding light indicator

Quick Tip: Make Sure Your Surge Protector Has a "Grounding" Light

(to indicate whether or not your outlet is grounded)

My surge protector - pictured here - has 2 little lights on it: A light indicating that it's actively protecting my equipment, and the other (green light) that indicates that it's grounded.

That's important. Otherwise, where will the excess voltage go?

Let's Cut to the Chase and SHOP FOR A POWER SURGE PROTECTOR!

Enough fun and games. This is serious business. Buy yourself a power surge protector today! Here are a few to choose from.

WHICH Surge Protector Should I Buy for My Laptop or Computer? - Here's something I just learned!

Throughout this ordeal of my own computer crashing, I've learned more about surge protectors than I ever did before. KEY POINT: The MORE "joules" it is rated for, the BETTER! If it has a rating of say, 1,000 joules, it can handle - or absorb - more energy than one that's only rated for, say, 300 joules.

This means that you should occasionally replace your surge protector! It can ONLY HANDLE SO MANY "HITS" BEFORE IT IS NO LONGER EFFECTIVELY PROTECTING YOUR EQUIPMENT!

Honestly, I hadn't known this.

So, for less than $30, you can get a surge protector like this Tripp Lite with over 3,000 joules rating.

Trust me. It's less expensive than a computer.

Tripp Lite 10 Outlet Surge Protector Power Strip, 8ft Cord, Right-Angle Plug, Tel/Modem/Coax Protection, RJ11, & $150,000 INSURANCE (TLP1008TELTV)
Tripp Lite 10 Outlet Surge Protector Power Strip, 8ft Cord, Right-Angle Plug, Tel/Modem/Coax Protection, RJ11, & $150,000 INSURANCE (TLP1008TELTV)

It's got a joules rating of about 3,345, it's affordable, and as I mentioned above, it's cheaper than a new computer.

Oh, if you have a landline telephone or fax or modem, there's a protector outlet on this surch protector for that as well.

Did I mention it's cheaper than a computer? :) Sorry to keep harping on this, but I'm a tad bit sensitive these days.

This is an RV Surge Protector - Photo by Me! Kathy T!
This is an RV Surge Protector - Photo by Me! Kathy T!

RV Surge Protector

I happened to be at a yard sale when I saw THIS surge protector (see picture). I talked to the guy about it - turns out he is an electrician.

He said that some RVs may already have them built in - so check this out before you commit to buying one. Typically, he said, they will be 30 - 50 amps.

30 - 50 amp Surge Protectors for RVs

Based on what I learned from the electrician, here are a couple of RV Surge Protectors you can browse. Again, check to be sure you need one before buying one. Your RV may have one already.

Let me know your thoughts on my knowledge-packed and informative article! :)

Thanks for Stopping By! - Have I convinced you that you need a power surge protector?

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    • Lynda Makara profile image

      Lynda Makara 

      4 years ago from California

      I would freak out if that happened to my computer. Thanks for sharing your story and I really liked your drawing!

    • profile image


      5 years ago

      I use power surge protectors everywhere. Don't want no melting toasters lol. Thanx for all the great info

    • writerkath profile imageAUTHOR


      6 years ago

      @davenjilli lm: Thank you so much! :)

    • davenjilli lm profile image

      davenjilli lm 

      6 years ago

      this was helpful, I never knew so much about power surge protector, I have one but didn't really know why. angel dust sprinkled

    • writerkath profile imageAUTHOR


      6 years ago

      @NausetViews: Yes, I definitely still had a blast in Portland. In fact, we're heading out that way again soon! Uh... this time with the surge protector.

    • writerkath profile imageAUTHOR


      6 years ago

      @CruiseReady: I believe it! This was the SECOND computer I lost to this. I'm surprised we haven't lost more. But... come to think of it, our electronic clock/timer on our stove went kaplooy - I wouldn't be surprised if that was from lightning.

    • CruiseReady profile image


      6 years ago from East Central Florida

      Here, we have so many 'events' that the power company offers surge protection for the power coming into your house. (for an extra monthly fee, of course)

      Years ago, we lost a toaster, a modem, and a television from a single lightening strike!

    • NausetViews profile image


      6 years ago from Boston

      A surge protector is a must have. I've lost computers myself and it is no fun. Spend the money on a surge protector, it will be the best money you ever spent. ps- I hope you still enjoyed your weekend in Portland. It's a great city!

    • writerkath profile imageAUTHOR


      6 years ago

      @TonyPayne: Thanks Tony! Yeah... I learned the hard way this time! I'm going to research UPSs as well - I have a feeling that those would be a little more effective where we are. Thanks for the contribution!

    • TonyPayne profile image

      Tony Payne 

      6 years ago from Southampton, UK

      A surge protector is vital in the USA and many other countries, not so bad in the UK fortunately. When lived in Indiana, sometimes during an electrical storm the power would go off, then on, my desktop would try to reboot, and halfway through the power would go again. This is highly likely to damage your computer, even if you have a surge protector. It's like flicking the power button on and off, not good. I ended up buying a UPS as well, which made me feel a lot safer, and they aren't much more expensive to buy. You don't really need a UPS with a laptop though.

      What I do recommend is that if you take your laptop away with you, buy and pack your own surge protector for use where you are staying. It makes sense.

    • writerkath profile imageAUTHOR


      6 years ago

      @BarbaraCasey: Absolutely!

    • BestRatedStuff profile image


      6 years ago

      Without a doubt

    • profile image


      6 years ago

      Here in Florida, battery backups and surge protectors are absolutely vital, especially during rainy (hurricane) season.

    • writerkath profile imageAUTHOR


      6 years ago

      @ClassyGals: Thank you so much!

    • ClassyGals profile image

      Cynthia Davis 

      6 years ago from Pittsburgh

      Love that you featured inexpensive surge protectors and enjoyed reading the reviews. Angel Blessings**

    • writerkath profile imageAUTHOR


      6 years ago

      @MaggiePowell: :) Glad you enjoyed it Maggie! :) I had fun drawing it.

    • profile image


      6 years ago

      your drawing perfectly explains the mystery of the surge protector...I thought it just had loads of plugs so that I could plug in more stuff

    • writerkath profile imageAUTHOR


      6 years ago

      @LisaDH: You got that right, Lisa!

    • LisaDH profile image


      6 years ago

      Surge protectors are kind of like backup hard drives - you never know how much you need one until you lose everything. I have surge protectors on all my computers at home, but never thought about getting one to take while traveling. Thanks for the suggestion!

    • writerkath profile imageAUTHOR


      6 years ago

      @hartworks lm: We don't have TOO many up in NH - but the second I see them coming now, I UNPLUG stuff! :)

    • writerkath profile imageAUTHOR


      6 years ago

      @RichLeighHD: You got that right!

    • RichLeighHD profile image


      6 years ago

      Ouch... An expensive 'seminar' for sure!

    • hartworks lm profile image

      hartworks lm 

      6 years ago

      Already was convinced! We have a lot of thunderstorms where we live.

    • writerkath profile imageAUTHOR


      6 years ago

      @whiteskyline lm: Glad you enjoyed it! :)

    • whiteskyline lm profile image

      whiteskyline lm 

      6 years ago

      "It diverts the excess voltage into your household microwave for additional cooking power." Hahaahaha.

      I had to choose that!

      Surge protectors, great topic!

      Thanks for the helpful information Kathy!


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