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Types Of Surge Protectors

When considering surge suppression or surge protection for your electronic devices and appliances you have some options.

6 outlet wall outlet extender with surge protection
Figure 1 - 6 outlet wall outlet extender with surge protection

There are five basic styles of surge suppression or surge protectors that are available.

Outlet power extenders:

surge protection power bar
Figure 2 - Power bar with surge protection
surge supression outlet/receptacle
Figure 3 - Surge suppression outlet/receptacle

Power outlet extenders, as shown in Figure 1 are devices that plug into standard electrical receptacles and provide surge suppression to the device plugged into it. Some power cubes have additional connections to provide protection for a telephone line.

Power cubes are available in single and multiple outlets.

Note: Not all power cubes have surge suppression.

Power Bars:

Power bars, as shown in Figure 2, are devices that plug into a wall outlet and have a strip or strips of additional outlets. Not all power bars are also surge protectors or surge suppressors. Many power bars are only designed to provide additional sockets to plug in other electrical devices and do not provide any surge suppression or surge protection at all.

Power Bars may also provide protection for electrical spikes that appear over all or some cable TV, telephone and Ethernet wiring systems.

Note: Not all power bars have surge suppression.

Receptacles (Outlets):

Duplex electrical receptacles with surge suppression, that are designed to replace a standard residential 15 amp outlet, as shown in Figure 3, are also available. These devices have the advantage of blending into the d├ęcor of a home, rather than having a power bar that is far from aesthetically pleasing.

The following video provides installation instructions for a duplex electrical receptacle with surge suppression.


whole house surge protector/suppression
Figure 4 - Whole house surge protector

Whole House:

Whole house surge protection, as shown in Figure 4, has the advantage of protecting all electrical appliances and electronic equipment. A whole house surge protector is usually mounted next to the main electrical distribution panel (load center). Many of the whole house surge protectors also provide protection for cable TV and/or a telephone line. One major advantage is that it protects the electronics in appliances that operate from 240VAC circuits, such as electric ranges and clothes dryers.

universal power supply
Figure 5 - Uninterrupted power supply (UPS)

Additional information on whole house surge protection.

Uninterrupted Power Supplies:

An uninterrupted power supply (UPS), as shown in Figure 5 is most commonly used in home applications to provide back-up power to computer systems. However, most of the uninterrupted power supplies also provide surge protection and some provide surge suppression for cable TV (Internet), Ethernet and telephone lines.

Additional information on surge suppression specifications when purchasing surge protectors and surge suppression devices.