About This Listing
Model Number: MP-PRO
List Price: $
Street Price: $
The Monster Power Pro Power Center is an affordable PowerCenter combining entry-level Clean Power Stage 3 power conditioning for improved audio performance with a high level of surge protection.
The Pro provides the benefits of filtering out AC line noise, while Tri-Mode surge protection circuitry with Joule rating protects valuable components from power line spikes. When powering up sound systems, PRO prevents turn-on transients with three-stage sequential turn-on. Ideal for musicians, small studios, portable racks, and other budget-conscious applications.
The Pro has specially designed features for the sound professional, including a front panel XLR lamp connection for easy operation, rack handles for easy moving, and LED voltmeter. It installs easily in any 19" EIA-standard rack mount. Plus, comes with a heavy-duty PowerLine power cable with extra-long foot length to make setup even easier.
• Three separate isolation filter sections, including isolated Clean Power digital and analog audio filters for even more effective reduction of "dirty power" between connected components.
• Three-stage sequenced AC power turn-on and turn-off for equipment and overload protection.
• Tri-Mode circuitry provides audible and visual alarm for comprehensive power surge protection.
• 24k gold-plated ground plug for maximum conductivity.
• Front 12V XLR lamp socket provides 12 volts (pin 2) to the flexible MonsterLight.
• 12 switched outlets for power hungry equipment are color-coded for error free connections.
• 2 unswitched front panel outlets for convenient access.
• joule rating provides high level of surge protection.
• Input: 10' Power Cord
• Output: 12x 3-prong AC surge protected power outlets
2x 3-prong AC front panel unprotected power outlets
• Surge Energy Rating: joules
• Battery: None
• Typical Backup Runtime: N/A
• Audible Alarm: Yes
• Compatibility: Most AC powered A/V equipment
• Environmental Requirements: For indoor use in dry areas only
• Dimensions (WxHxD): x x 11" ( x x cm)
• Weight: lbs (kg)
• Box Dimensions (LxWxH): x x "
|Listed||5 years ago|
Mint items are in essentially new original condition but have been opened or played.learn more
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Monster Power Black Platinum review: Surge protection with a side of networking
When Wi-Fi can’t handle your streaming media needs, a wired network often can—and to avoid the trouble and expense of installing ethernet cables, you can buy powerline network adapters that send data over the existing electrical wiring in your home. But most of these products only perform well when plugged directly into a wall outlet: Surge protectors and power strips, which are designed to clean up electrical signals, can degrade data throughput.
Monster Power Black Platinum surge protectors address this problem by offering built-in powerline networking support in addition to support for cleaning electrical signals on coaxial cable, two USB charging ports, and six, eight or 12 outlets that are priced at $, $, and $ respectively; we reviewed the eight-outlet model (You can find all versions on Amazon at a slight discount.) The networking functionality (like that of most powerline products) is set up by plugging a small adapter (included) into a wall outlet near your router and connecting it to one of your router’s open LAN ports. You then simply run a cable from the Black Platinum’s ethernet port to the device you want to add to your network. Or if you want to connect multiple devices in the same general area, you can plug it into an ethernet switch and connect those devices to the switch.
The benefits of using a Black Platinum (as opposed to dedicated powerline networking adapters) include access to multiple surge-protected outlets from a single wall port. If you have streaming media devices in more than one location, you can add additional Black Platinums to extend the size of the network.
Unfortunately, you won’t be able to build out the network with powerline-networking products from any other vendors, because Monster didn’t adhere to any powerline networking standard. And since Monster does not offer stand-alone adapters, you’d need to buy more Black Platinums even if you don’t need the additional power outlets.
Also, the bandwidth of Monster’s powerline network is considerably slower than those based on the latest HomePlug technology, HomePlug AV2 MIMO. In our tests using the JPERF benchmark to measure TCP throughput, Monster’s network delivered a fraction of the performance that the Extollo LANSocket (the fastest HomePlug AV2 MIMO adapter we’ve tested so far) provided: 50Mbps per second, compared to more than Mbps.
In fairness, the lack of support for the HomePlug standard isn’t as much of a drawback as it sounds, because the HomePlug AV2 MIMO products we’ve tested don’t perform at anything close to their top speed when paired with adapters from different vendors. In other words, you’re better off buying all your powerline-networking hardware from a single vendor anyway.
Be that as it may, the Monster Black Platinum’s relatively slow speed could become an issue in homes where multiple users are streaming high-definition video over a powerline network. Netflix, for example, recommends bandwidth of 25 megabits per second for 4K Ultra-HD streams, compared to just 5Mbps suffices for p. But if some users are able to use your Wi-Fi network, reserving powerline for use in dead spots where Wi-Fi signals can’t reach, that might eliminate contention on the Monster network.
Monster markets the Black Platinum line as surge-protection devices first, and a modern entertainment center can certainly use the protection it offers for multiple devices. If you don’t have enormous bandwidth requirements—in other words, if Wi-Fi meets most of your high-speed networking needs, but you have a Roku, Amazon Fire TV, or Apple TV stuck in a dead zone—Monster’s dual-purpose solution is worth considering. But if you need a wired high-speed network that can reach multiple locations, and don’t want to fish ethernet cable through the walls—HomePlug AV2 MIMO is the technology you should reach for. Just don't plug those adpaters into surge suppressors.
Note: When you purchase something after clicking links in our articles, we may earn a small commission. Read our affiliate link policy for more details.
Monster Power Black Platinum
The Monster Power Black Platinum is expensive for a surge suppressor, but the powerline-network feature sets it apart from the competition—even if it is much slower than HomePlug AV2 MIMO adapters.
- 8-outlet surge suppressor and powerline network adapter in one
- Two amp USB power ports
- Protects a cable or satellite device
- Based on non-standard powerline networking technology
- You can't buy powerline adapters separate from the surge suppressors
- Much, much slower than the best HomePlug AV2 MIMO adapters
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Any power strip will work in a pinch to add a few extra outlets to a room, but it’s important to find one that won’t let harmful power surges fry your electronic devices or start a house fire. We’ve spent more than hours researching and testing surge protectors, and we’re confident that the Tripp Lite Protect It Outlet Surge Protector offers the best combination of protection and outlet quantity at a reasonable price. It absorbs common household surges—up to thousands of volts—before they reach your electronics, preventing damage and fires. And you don’t have to wonder whether it’s still doing its job, because once its protection has worn out, it safely cuts the power so you know it’s time to get a replacement.
If you want a surge protector for your home office or entertainment setup, the Tripp Lite Protect It Outlet Surge Protector TLPTELTV is your best choice. It has a critical auto-shutoff feature, more than enough outlets to keep all your gadgets powered, and both coaxial and telephone connectors. It offers great protection against household surges that come from other equipment in your home or fluctuations from the power company. Plus, it has a generous 8-foot cord, and it feels sturdy and robust.
For light-duty powering, such as under a nightstand or end table, the Accell Power Air is the way to go to protect gadgets such as phones, tablets, or alarm clocks from surges. It offers two USB ports and six AC outlets in a round package that’s smaller than a dinner plate. The USB ports put out a combined amps, enough to charge one smartphone or tablet at a high speed or two devices at low speeds. The circular outlet layout makes the Power Air usable with a variety of plug sizes. Its 6-foot cord is 2 feet shorter than that of the Tripp Lite outlet model but should still be plenty long for most people. The Power Air performed almost as well as our top pick against individual surges, though it might not hold up to as many surges over its lifetime given its lower joule rating (which describes roughly how much energy it can absorb before it dies—the company estimates it’ll withstand about 1, joules of use, whereas many larger models are built to handle more than 2, joules).
The Tripp Lite Protect It 3-Outlet Surge Protector SK30USB offers the portability of our favorite small power strips for travel but with even more protection. It has an auto-shutoff mechanism, making it one of the few three-outlet options we’ve found that will disconnect the power when the surge protection wears out. In addition to the three AC outlets, it comes equipped with two USB ports that offer a combined amps to charge a phone, a tablet, or a couple of low-power devices. It performs well compared with other small options we’ve tested, blocking almost as many volts as larger models. In contrast to many comparable models, its compact size, grounded (three-prong) plug, and optional screw in the center of the unit help keep it firmly attached to the wall outlet, which is important for preventing electrical fires or shocks. We’d choose the SK30USB for protecting a few small household appliances—say, an essential oil diffuser, a Nintendo Switch dock, and a coffee grinder—and a couple of smartphones, or even for tossing in a carry-on when we’re traveling.
With a cord measuring 25 feet, the Tripp Lite Protect It 8-Outlet Surge Protector TLP has the longest cord of any of our picks, making it the ideal choice for a garage, a basement, or any room where wall outlets are few and far between. It performed about as well as Tripp Lite’s outlet TLPTELTV (and better than Accell’s Power Air and Tripp Lite’s three-outlet SK30USB) in our surge tests. Since it’s unsafe to plug a surge protector into an extension cord or to daisy-chain multiple surge protectors together, you should get this model if the devices you want to protect are more than 8 feet away from an outlet. It has four fewer outlets than our top pick and no additional ports (coaxial, phone, or USB), but that’s a small sacrifice if you need the extra cord length.
Our top pick will protect most equipment in most cases. But the Furman Power Station 8 (PST-8) goes further, providing the best surge suppression of any model we tested—enough to give owners of high-end electronics peace of mind. It turned a 5,volt surge into just 40 volts, thanks in part to a shutdown circuit that turns off all power when a surge is detected. The PST-8 actually let less voltage through in our tests than high-end series mode surge eliminators that can cost hundreds more. But common equipment, such as a computer monitor, will be fine protected by one of our less expensive picks, so this model is best for people who insist on extra protection for particularly precious gear. Plus, it has a sturdy aluminum body and an 8-foot cord.
Everything we recommend
Why you should trust us
I’ve been a science journalist for more than seven years, covering a wide variety of topics from particle physics to satellite remote sensing. Since joining Wirecutter in , I’ve reported on portable power stations, solar chargers, USB-C cables, and more.
To separate fact from fiction about surge protectors, our team at Wirecutter reached out to experts in multiple fields while writing the original version of this guide. We talked to Mike Hyland, a year veteran of the utility industry and senior vice president of the industry’s trade association (the American Public Power Association), to learn about power grids and utility-scale surge protection. We chatted over email with Jack Loppnow, an insurance pro who has been in the industry since the s, and got advice on what part homeowners and renters policies play in protecting your technology investments. We also interviewed Joe Day, director of global business development at TerraCycle Regulated Waste, about how to recycle old surge protectors, power strips, and other common types of household electronic waste.
Additionally, we’ve asked Lee Johnson—an electrical engineer with more than 15 years of experience designing and testing electronics—to put our picks and new contenders to the test in six separate rounds of testing since
Who this is for
A surge protector does much more than supply extra outlets. It’s first and foremost a safety device—a relatively inexpensive way to protect expensive electronics. There’s little reason for anyone to leave their office, den, or home theater unprotected, or to hang on to old, worn-out surge protectors.
Yep, that’s right: Surge protectors don’t last forever. Most estimates put the average lifespan of a surge protector at three to five years. And if your home is subject to frequent brownouts or blackouts, you might want to replace your surge protectors as often as every two years. If you move as frequently as I do, every couple of years, a good rule of thumb is to just get rid of your old surge protectors as you’re packing up and replace them when you move into your new place. If you have a cheap, basic power strip (or the kind of multiport adapter that plugs right into a wall outlet), it most likely never had worthwhile surge protection capabilities to begin with. No judgment—my college roommates and I relied on a power strip that my parents had bought for their first house decades earlier. But you should replace these subpar options as soon as possible and be thankful that they didn’t catch fire or damage your electronics (PDF).
The surge protection components inside wear out a little more with each surge, and there’s virtually no way to know how much protection remains. Many cheap models continue to pass power to their outlets even after the protection is long gone. That’s why we suggest looking for a surge protector with an auto-shutoff feature, which stops the device from conveying power when the protection wears out.
Most estimates put the average lifespan of a surge protector at three to five years.
Although surge protectors can’t do much to protect your property against direct lightning strikes—which are pretty rare, anyway—they can help with the much more common surges that originate inside your home or building. They can also protect against occasional surges from your utility company and are especially worth having in areas with unreliable power grids.
Homeowners can opt to install a surge protection device (SPD) for their entire home, which is marketed on the premise of eliminating the need for plug-in surge protectors. However, the estimated cost to have an electrician install an SPD range from $ to $1,, and your home’s electrical panel and utility service must be modern enough for it to be safely wired in. Also, whole-house surge protectors are typically rated for a much higher let-through voltage than our picks, clamping at to 1, volts rather than volts or less. So although such a unit should be able to prevent damage to kitchen appliances, table lamps, and other electronics that are less sensitive to surges, you’d probably still want to use a plug-in surge protector for high-end computers and AV equipment. Lee Johnson, our engineer, hasn’t personally tested any whole-house surge protectors, but he says they’re worth considering only if you live in an area that’s at high risk for routine surges or line downings.
If your home theater costs more than a compact car, it may be worth considering surge protectors with series mode capabilities. They’re superior to their more common, MOV (metal oxide varistor) counterparts in pretty much every way: We’ve tested several such models in the past and found that they let virtually no extra voltage through. Their non-sacrificial components are also designed to last indefinitely. The downside is that they can cost more than 10 times as much to replace as our top picks. Plus, our maximum-protection pick from Furman, which is a hybrid model that costs less than true series mode options, produced similar results in our testing.
Finally, if you want to protect equipment that could be damaged by a sudden loss of power, a hard disk drive that’s susceptible to data corruption, or critical gear that can’t ever go down (such as a CPAP machine to treat sleep apnea), you shouldn’t be looking at a surge protector at all. Instead, you need an uninterruptible power supply (UPS), most of which have built-in surge protection. (If that describes you, read our guide to our top UPS picks.)
How we picked
We started our research by scanning the top results on Amazon, Google Shopping, and retailers like Home Depot and Walmart, as well as the websites of well-known brands such as Accell, Belkin, and Tripp Lite, to compile a list of models.
As we did for previous iterations of this guide, we considered the different ways that people use surge protectors. We knew we wanted something heavy-duty for use with home office gear, game consoles in a living room, home theaters, or other power-hungry entertainment setups. We also looked at smaller units designed for kitchen outlets or bedside tables, as well as series mode and hybrid models for people who want the highest level of surge defense.
We looked for models in each of those subcategories that had several specific traits, including the following:
- Automatic shutoff when the surge protector wears out: We preferred that the surge protector have an auto-shutoff feature so that it never leaves your equipment inadvertently unprotected. Otherwise, we required, at minimum, an indicator light that will notify you when items plugged into the unit are no longer protected against surges.
- At least eight AC outlets for living room or office use: We required at least eight AC outlets for the main, runner-up, and top-of-the-line contenders, at least four for the nightstand contenders, and one to four for our light-duty pick.
- A surge protection rating of volts or better: Although we verified each model’s abilities in our own electrical testing, we required that they be rated by one of the major product-safety corporations, UL or ETL, to bring a surge down to (at most) volts, giving preference to models that earned a lower, volt rating. Lower is better when it comes to let-through voltage, the measure of how much extra voltage reaches your electronics.
- High joule ratings: A joule rating tells you about how much energy the surge protector can absorb before it fails—in a video game, the joule rating would be the health meter—so, the higher the better. But you never get to see the meter itself, and how long the surge protector will last is just an estimate, so we didn’t put a lot of stock in the rating.
- Convenient auxiliary ports: We preferred (but did not require) our picks to have telephone ports for the significant percentage of people in the US who have a landline phone or a dial-up internet connection—about 37% and % of the population, respectively. We dismissed any nightstand or light-duty contender without at least one USB-A port with 2 amps or more.
- At least a one-year warranty: A one-year warranty is a bare-minimum requirement for something that you’re trusting to protect equipment costing tens or hundreds of dollars and that you’ll be replacing every few years regardless. Keep in mind that a warranty covers only defects in materials or construction and won’t help you when the surge components wear out as designed—and even a lifetime warranty doesn’t last forever.
- Long power cord: If a surge protector has a power cord, the longer, the better. This makes it more convenient to use and safer. (We explain in the Care and maintenance section why you shouldn’t plug a surge protector into an extension cord.)
- Sensible port layout and overall design: To keep oversize plugs from blocking nearby outlets, we wanted the surge protector’s ports to be adequately spaced. And we didn’t want something overly heavy or bulky that would look out of place in a room. We considered well-designed clamps, hooks, or holes for mounting the surge protector on a table or baseboard to be a bonus.
Over the years, we’ve also identified certain features (marketing ploys, essentially) that you can safely ignore:
- Noise filtering: On the more expensive surge protectors we’ve tested, noise filtration is a common “premium” feature that reduces electromagnetic or radio-frequency interference, which could cause data loss or audio/video disruptions in your connected devices. We measured the efficacy of this feature in past rounds of testing, but since most models performed similarly in this regard, we haven’t continued to test it. In any case, all quality power supplies, whether internal or external, have some noise filtration built in.
- Connected-equipment insurance coverage: Although many surge protectors are sold with this insurance, we disregard it when deciding which models to test for this guide. We suggest that you read the fine print, since often you’ll have to jump through a bunch of hoops to collect in the event of disaster. If you want financial protection you can count on, don’t get it from a tech manufacturer. Just make sure you’re covered by your homeowners or renters insurance policy.
- “Smart” surge protection: The smart surge protectors we’ve come across thus far are really more like “high-tech power strips,” says Wirecutter senior staff writer Rachel Cericola, who covers smart-home devices. In general, their joule ratings are lower, and their let-through voltage ratings higher, than those of the picks in this guide. We’ll keep an eye out for improvements, but for the time being the performance just isn’t there—and as with any internet-connected device, with smart surge protectors you’re opening yourself up to security risks.
Filtering our candidates through these requirements left us with a short list of six models to test against our existing picks in
How we tested
In the US, wall outlets nominally provide electricity at volts, but most electronic devices can handle more, allowing them to operate on the volt standard used internationally. In our rounds of testing, we subject each surge protector to a ridiculously powerful 5,volt surge and measure how much of the overflow voltage slips through. The resulting figures effectively tell us how many volts would be able to reach and potentially damage your devices at home. No household power surge exceeds 6, volts (PDF), and most don’t even come close, according to the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers. The major exception would be direct lightning strikes, but considering that a single lightning bolt carries upwards of 1 billion volts, no surge protector will save your TV from one of those.
Lee Johnson, a veteran electrical engineer, set up our testing parameters for this guide, which we’ve repeated with the same equipment each year since We attach each model to an EM Test NX5 surge generator to produce surges from volts to 5, volts in volt increments along each of the three legs of the wiring—line-to-ground (L-G), line-to-neutral (L-N), and neutral-to-ground (N-G)—and record the resulting output that would be passed along to any devices plugged into the surge protector. We follow that up with five consecutive surges of 5, volts and average those results. We record the output—lower is better, because it means the surge protector is holding back more power from your devices—for all three legs of wiring.
In and , Johnson dissected each surge protector to assess the components inside. He compared the thickness of the wiring, the size and arrangement of the protective MOVs, whether any filters or capacitors were incorporated into the designs, and the overall construction quality. For reputable brands selling surge protectors in the $15 to $50 range, the guts were so similar that the dissection yielded no useful information, so we haven’t torn down the models we’ve tested since.
To further demonstrate the importance of using a surge protector, Johnson subjected a (very old) Dell LCD monitor to a 5,volt surge, both with and without protection. After taking the protected hit, the display powered on and displayed an image with no problem. In contrast, when he funneled 5, volts directly into the unprotected monitor, it promptly cried out in pain, never to turn on again.
Our pick: Tripp Lite Protect It Outlet Surge Protector TLPTELTV
We’ve tested dozens of surge protectors, and we are confident that the Tripp Lite Protect It Outlet Surge Protector TLPTELTV is the best one to use with typical living room or office equipment. It provides all the safety features you need, plenty of outlets, stellar surge protection performance, and noticeably nicer build quality than we’ve seen on other units we’ve tested.
The Tripp Lite TLPTELTV has an auto-shutoff feature that powers down the unit permanently when it has worn out and is no longer able to block power surges. Unlike most surge protectors, which continue to power electronics even after the protection is gone, our pick is safe and trustworthy because you know that if it’s still providing power, it still has some protection left. In addition to its auto-shutoff function, the unit has two little LED indicators: one that tells you when surge protection is functioning and another that lets you know if you have a short circuit, a blown fuse, or a wiring problem that requires intervention from an electrician.
When we sent 5,volt surges of electricity through the Tripp Lite outlet model, it suppressed as much as any surge protector we tested (with the exception of series mode or hybrid options like our upgrade pick). In our tests, it averaged a let-through voltage (the remaining amount of the surge that passes through to your devices) of volts, well below UL’s volt (PDF) rating.
Note that every surge protector we tested came in under volts except for the cheap, generic model we picked up at a big-box store. That discount unit let through a whopping volts on the main (L-N) leg and provided no protection whatsoever through the other two legs. Don’t buy generic surge protectors if you care about actual surge protection.
This Tripp Lite model’s 12 AC outlets should be more than sufficient for most people’s needs—that’s enough for a TV, a gaming console, a soundbar, and an excessive number of lamps. You can find surge protectors with more than 12 outlets (Tripp Lite, for example, makes one with 24 outlets), but they’re generally too big for around-the-house use, and they tend to lack peripheral ports like USB, telephone, and coaxial connectors.
The Tripp Lite TLPTELTV also has dual coaxial connectors, so you can hook up your cable box, plus three telephone ports. (Unlike Ethernet connections, telephone ports don’t support high-speed internet, so although you can use these ports to protect a landline telephone, you can’t use them to shield network gear from damage.) If you’re setting up a media center with equipment that requires a coaxial or telephone connection, these extra ports are nice to have. Just as with AC outlets, power runs through them, so they can be affected by lightning and other types of surges; for example, a spike in power through incorrectly grounded cable lines (which are not uncommon) can destroy an unprotected cable box. Unlike our nightstand and light-use picks, this Tripp Lite outlet model doesn’t have any USB ports. But since this type of surge protector commonly sits out of reach (behind a couch, desk, or TV stand) and is designed for more heavy-duty usage, we don’t think USB ports are all that important.
The unit’s exterior matches its solid performance with a sturdy, utilitarian shell. Unlike with your run-of-the-mill power strips (or even the Hyper Tough surge protector we considered in a previous round of testing), its veneer seems built to stand up to most minor scratches and scuffs. It’s compact enough to slide under a bed or entertainment center, and a set of holes on the back gives you the option to mount it on a baseboard. Its thick, rubberized cord is 8 feet long, making it convenient to run underneath bookshelves and couches. And unlike our other picks (except the Tripp Lite TLP), it has a degree plug that’s ideal for tight spaces. Tripp Lite offers a limited lifetime warranty that protects against any defects or failures for the life of the product—but be warned that it’s not considered a defect for the surge protection to eventually wear out as designed.
Flaws but not dealbreakers
Our primary concern regarding the Tripp Lite Protect It Outlet Surge Protector is that it’s a little tight on space. It has four well-spaced outlets for large power bricks, but the single row of eight outlets quickly gets overcrowded, especially with bulky plugs. It would have been nice if some of the outlets had been located on a different face of the body, or if the unit had rotating outlets like Belkin’s outlet PivotPlug does. It also lacks USB ports, which several of our other picks have, so you’ll need to use a separate wall charger to charge a phone and other USB-powered devices. But the unit’s good overall performance outweighs these minor drawbacks.
Best for the nightstand: Accell Power Air
We like the Accell Power Air for light-duty use around the house, even though its UFO-like looks might be off-putting for some. Like our top pick, the Power Air safely shuts down once it can no longer protect your electronics, so you’ll know when you need to replace it. The low-profile shape (about 7¼ inches in diameter and 2 inches high) is more practical than most for sliding it under nightstands or end tables where space is at a premium. And despite its smaller size, the Power Air was able to suppress the most common surges about as well as most larger models.
The Power Air’s auto-shutoff feature will permanently power down the unit when it has reached the end of its life and is no longer able to suppress surges. That’s the safest way to be sure that your surge protector is actually protecting your electronics. Even if you aren’t using this model to power pricey equipment, as you might do with one of our main picks, it’s nice to have the added peace of mind.
The unit has half as many AC outlets as our top pick, but six is sufficient for a light-duty surge protector. Plus, it has two USB ports with a combined amps—upgraded from amps in an older model, the Accell Powramid—so it gives you slightly faster charging speeds for most smartphones and tablets. Even if you plug in a reading light, a sunrise alarm clock, an essential oil diffuser, and a Qi wireless-charging dock—the makings of a well-equipped bedside table—you’ll still have a couple of outlets to spare.
In our testing, the Power Air let only an extra volts through, on average, when we tested it against 5,volt surges. That puts it in the same class as our top picks, though their results were closer to volts. However, it probably won’t last quite as long—it’s rated to absorb only 1, joules before it wears out, much less than the joule ratings of the Tripp Lite (2,) and APC (4,) models. Even though our other picks have lifetime warranties, the five-year warranty on the Power Air is appropriate considering that’s about as long as you should keep a surge protector anyway, since most protection circuits will wear out in three to five years.
The Power Air is sleek and compact, with a flattish shape that makes it easy to slide under an end table. Its 6-foot cord is thick, flexible, and durable, and its outlets are spaced generously around the top of the unit, giving you full access to all of them. Lastly, its blue and green LEDs (which let you know, respectively, if the unit is powered on and protective) are well marked and clearly visible on top.
For light use and travel: Tripp Lite Protect It 3-Outlet Surge Protector SK30USB
If you want something that offers solid protection in a small package—say, to power a few appliances and a couple of smartphones on your kitchen counter—get the Tripp Lite Protect It 3-Outlet Surge Protector SK30USB. In our full guide to small power strips for travel, we recommend models with as many as four AC outlets and up to two USB ports. But whereas most of those power strips offer only low-level protection against power surges, the SK30USB proved almost as protective as larger contenders in our testing.
In addition to three AC ports on its front-facing side, the SK30USB has two amp USB ports. It also has an auto-shutoff feature, making it one of just a few small, portable surge protectors we’ve found with this capability.
In our testing, the SK30USB’s let-through voltage ( volts) was well under its volt UL rating and our target range of less than volts. Although its expected lifespan is shorter than that of the rest of our picks—it’s rated for joules, versus ratings in the thousands for our other picks—it comes with a lifetime warranty, which is impressive for such an inexpensive device.
As for look and feel, the SK30USB is made of glossy plastic and has a sleek, streamlined design. Even though it juts out about an inch from the wall when plugged in, it blends into the background fairly seamlessly. Rather than the tiny LED you get on most surge protectors, the unit has a clearly visible strip of plastic on top that lights up to indicate that its protection is working. (On the downside, this light might be annoying in a bedroom while you’re trying to sleep.)
It has a three-prong plug, as well as a plastic rod that fits into the bottom hole of the second outlet, ensuring a snug connection. If you’re using the SK30USB at home, it also has a screw that you can insert directly into the wall (replacing the screw in the middle of your wall outlet plate) for an even sturdier fit, but we don’t recommend doing this if you’re planning to use the unit for travel. The AC and USB ports are pretty tightly spaced, but that’s to be expected on such a small unit.
For reaching faraway outlets: Tripp Lite Protect It 8-Outlet Surge Protector TLP
Many homes, especially older ones, don’t have a ton of outlets—and you should never plug a surge protector into an extension cord. If you have a wall outlet right behind your desk or entertainment center, you’ll be perfectly happy with our top pick’s 8-foot cord. But if your surge protector needs to wrap around a room, or even down a hallway, get the Tripp Lite Protect It 8-Outlet Surge Protector TLP It has fewer outlets and ports than the outlet Tripp Lite TLPTELTV, but if you need the extra cord length, it’s your best bet.
In our surge testing, the Tripp Lite TLP blocked all but of the 5, volts we pumped into it. That’s just 10 more volts than our top pick let through, which means most devices you plug into it will be well protected in the event of a common household surge.
Like our top pick, this model has an auto-shutoff mechanism, so it’ll stop working when its surge protection has worn off. That way, you can recycle it (or use it as an ugly doorstop, bookend, or ready-made sculpture) as soon as it has stopped serving its main purpose, rather than continuing to use it without knowing whether your devices are actually protected.
Despite being 25 feet long, the rubber-sheathed cord is just as flexible as that of any other surge protector we’ve tested. Like our top pick, this model has a plug that is flat and angles to the right, and the main body is encased in a sturdy, plastic shell. The unit and its cord are both a dusty white color rather than the typical black, which we think makes it blend more easily into most rooms’ decor—unless, of course, you prefer a darker color palette.
The TLP has four fewer outlets than the TLPTELTV and no coaxial or phone ports. But if you need the extra cord length and can live without those ports, that’s a fine trade-off.
Like the other Tripp Lite models we’ve tested, this one is backed by a lifetime warranty. We’ve had good experiences with Tripp Lite’s customer support in the past, and that can be helpful if you run into any issues with your unit.
For maximum protection: Furman Power Station 8
Most people don’t need this degree of protection, but the Furman Power Station 8 (PST-8) offers the strongest surge protection of the dozens of models we’ve tested, besting even high-end series mode surge protectors that cost hundreds more. Even though our tests showed that common equipment like computer displays can survive surges when protected by our less-expensive picks, spending more for added protection may be worthwhile in some cases—say, if your home theater, recording studio, or office workstation budget is in the five figures. If you prefer to have complete peace of mind no matter your situation, there’s no more affordable way to get it than the PST
In our testing, the PST-8 repeatedly allowed just 40 volts of a 5,volt surge to pass through to its eight outlets. Instead of relying on standard MOVs to absorb the entire surge, Furman adds extra protection: Once a surge goes over volts, the entire unit shuts down to protect itself and any connected equipment (switching the unit on and off resets it). Any surge that gets through before the shutdown passes through a series of capacitors as well as a large inductor meant to filter the extra power. The large MOV, similar to those found in less-expensive units, sacrifices only part of itself as a last resort after the filtering stage. This is why you won’t find a joule rating listed for the PST-8, according to Furman—since other surge protectors rely solely on MOVs to absorb energy, it’s not an apples-to-apples comparison.
The Furman Power Station 8 (PST-8) offers the strongest surge protection of the dozens of models we’ve tested, besting even high-end series mode surge protectors that cost hundreds more.
The company also claims that the PST-8’s circuit design has led to a repair-replacement rate below % since it was introduced. In other words, for every , customers, only five have needed to repair or replace their units, and Furman says in all instances the damage was physical breakage (dents, cracks, or parts snapping off) rather than an internal failure. Given how effective the setup was at swallowing our test surges, we have every reason to believe that the PST-8 will provide more protection for longer than standard surge protectors in the under-$50 price range.
Senior staff writer Chris Heinonen, who has tested hundreds of TVs for Wirecutter over the years, uses the PST-8 to protect the array of TV sets that crowd his living room at all times. “It’s flipped two or three times when we’ve had flickering lights or other weird power issues,” he told me. “I’m always glad I have it for the expensive things—and I should probably get another one.”
This improved protection comes at a cost, though, and not just in terms of price. With only eight AC outlets in total—plus two telephone ports and two coaxial connectors—the PST-8 could leave you short when you’re trying to power a lot of electronics. Its layout leaves something to be desired, too, with just two AC outlets properly spaced to accommodate large plugs. Lastly, its three-year warranty (no registration needed, but valid only if you buy from an authorized seller) is one of the shortest we’ve seen, which is disappointing since we expect its surge protection capabilities to last much longer than those of less-expensive models. (Furman says these units are often used by touring musicians and therefore subject to more wear and tear than household surge protectors, hence the comparatively short warranty.)
If you have pricier-than-average gear, though, these trade-offs make sense. Although the PST-8 isn’t quite as convenient, it will provide more protection than our other picks. And it’s sturdily built overall, with an aluminum body and a long, 8-foot cord.
Other good surge protectors
If the Tripp Lite SK30USB is unavailable, get the APC Essential SurgeArrest PE3WU3. The two models are nearly identical, except the latter had a worse let-through voltage in our testing, allowing volts compared with the former’s volts—not great, but still well under our volt cutoff.
Similarly, if you can’t get the SK30USB, or if you want more USB-A ports, consider the Tripp Lite Protect It Personal Charging Station with 3-Outlet Surge Protector SK34USBB. It had a slightly worse let-through voltage in our testing, and we don’t think its built-in phone holder is especially attractive or practical. But if you don’t mind those drawbacks, it has all the key features our picks offer (UL certification, an auto-shutoff mechanism, and a lifetime warranty) and four USB-A ports, which is more than we’ve found on any other small, portable model we’ve tested.
If you’d rather have two USB-A ports instead of our top pick’s coaxial and phone ports, and don’t mind sacrificing some surge protection, consider the APC Performance SurgeArrest P11U2 or APC Home Office SurgeArrest PH12U2W. The former has one fewer outlet than our top pick while the latter has a shorter cord, and in our surge tests they both let through more volts than our top pick ( and , respectively, compared with ), but they should still provide plenty of protection for most household devices if you can overlook those drawbacks.
If our top pick is unavailable, the APC Performance SurgeArrest P11VT3 is another good alternative. The two models are nearly identical, except the P11VT3 blocked fewer volts (all but , compared with ) in our surge tests and has one fewer outlet.
Another good alternative to our top pick is the Belkin PivotPlug Outlet Surge Protector BP It’s similar to our pick in many ways: It has an auto-shutoff mechanism, an 8-foot cord, three phone ports, two coaxial connectors, and a lifetime warranty. It also performed a smidgen better than our top pick in testing, blocking all but volts. However, the rotating outlets don’t offer a ton of benefit over widely spaced, stationary outlets (unless you have exceptionally wide or oddly shaped plugs), and they add a lot of bulk to the otherwise streamlined unit.
The Tripp Lite SpikeCube used to be our also-great pick for light use and travel. But unlike our current pick in that category, it doesn’t have an auto-shutoff feature, nor does it offer USB ports, and it has only one AC outlet. It’s rather homely, too.
The Accell Powramid and Accell Powramid Air are older versions of the Accell Power Air. When we tested them in previous years, both performed worse than our current pick in terms of let-through voltage. Their extra height also makes them harder to slide under a nightstand.
We like the look and feel of the Anker PowerPort Strip PD 6, and the fact that it offers a fast-charging USB-C PD port in addition to two USB-A ports and six AC outlets. But it’s one of the most expensive and least protective options we’ve tested, and it’s not UL or ETL listed.
Monster Power - Home Office USB, 6 outlets and 2 USB connectors, wall mount, Joules , Fire Proof Technology
Step up to better-quality power for home or office that not only includes Monsterâs Connected Equipment Warranty, but enhanced features like HD Clean Power Stage 1 and Dual Mode Plus--which automatically disconnects your equipment from dangerous power and sets off an alarm. Monster exclusive Fireproof MOVs protect you from dangerous fires caused by typical surge protectors. This is affordable, safe protection.
We encase our MOVâs in a specially engineered ceramic material that does not melt when there is a power surge. Thatâs what makes it your best defense against fire. And thatâs why you need Monster Power Protection equipped with Monster Fireproof MOV Technology.
Featuring USB charging, this surge protector safeguards not only your AV equipment, but powers and protects mobile devices, like a smartphone or tablet.
The power in your home is subject to interference or noise that can be seen and heard on your system. Our surge protectors include Monster Clean Power technology to help ensure that your components perform at peak levels.
Each of our surge protectors is backed by a connected equipment warranty. If any equipment properly connected to one of these devices is damaged by power surge we will replace the damaged equipment. The Monster surge protector must be in use as instructed.
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