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Choosing the Best Surge Protector for PCs

best surge protector for pc

Published: December 23, 2022

What is a Surge Protector?

A surge protector, also known as a surge suppressor or surge arrester, is a device that is used to protect electronic equipment from voltage spikes and surges. These sudden increases in voltage can damage or destroy sensitive electronic components, and can also cause data loss or corruption. Surge protectors work by diverting excess voltage away from the protected equipment, either by directing it to the ground or by limiting the voltage to a safe level. They are typically used to protect computers, TVs, audio equipment, and other electronic devices that are sensitive to voltage fluctuations.

Surge protectors come in a variety of forms, such as power strips, wall outlets, and standalone units. They may also be built into power cords or other types of electronic equipment. Some surge protectors have additional features, such as voltage regulation, filtering, or grounding, which can provide additional protection against voltage spikes and other types of electrical interference. It is important to note that surge protectors are not the same as power strips, which simply provide additional outlets for plugging in electronic devices. Surge protectors contain special components that are designed to protect against voltage surges, while power strips do not.

Do You Need a Surge Protector for a PC?

You technically don't need a surge protector for your PC, but it's generally a good idea to use a surge protector for your PC to help protect it from power surges and voltage spikes. Especially if your particular area is prone to power outages, and also especially if you spent a lot of money on a powerful new system for gaming or work. Power surges can damage or destroy your computer's hardware and cause data loss, and a surge protector can help absorb the excess voltage and protect your computer from damage.

Thought not required, in addition to using a surge protector you may want to also consider using a battery backup (also known as an uninterruptible power supply or UPS) to help protect your computer from power outages and brownouts. A UPS can provide temporary power to your computer during a power outage, allowing you to save your work and shut down your computer properly.

What to Look for in a Good Surge Protector

When shopping for the best surge protector for your gaming PC and other valuable electronic devices, here are the important features to be aware of:

  • Joule Rating: The joule rating, also known as the surge rating, indicates the amount of energy that a surge protector can absorb before it fails. A higher joule rating is generally better, as it means the surge protector can absorb more energy before it needs to be replaced. To protect a desktop computer and other electronic devices such as printers, routers, look for a surge protector with a surge rating of at least 600-1000 joules, with higher amounts being ideal. This will provide a higher level of protection against voltage spikes.
  • Clamping voltage: This is the voltage at which the surge protector begins to divert excess voltage away from your equipment. A lower clamping voltage is generally better, as it means the surge protector will begin to protect your equipment at a lower voltage. Put another way, the clamping voltage of a surge protector is what determines the amount of overvoltage that is let through to the components connected to the surge protector. The best surge protectors have a low clamping voltage of 330V or lower, while average surge protectors will have a 400V or 500V clamping voltage. If at all possible, it's worth spending the extra money on a quality surge protector that has a 330V clamping voltage.
  • Response Time: This is the amount of time it takes for the surge protector to begin diverting excess voltage away from your equipment. A faster response time is generally better, as it means the surge protector will begin protecting your equipment more quickly. A surge protector with a response time of less than 2 nanoseconds is ideal.
  • Number of Outlets: Make sure the surge protector has enough outlets to accommodate all of your computer's peripherals, such as a monitor, printer, and speakers.
  • Warranty: Look for a surge protector with a good warranty, as this will protect you if the surge protector fails or doesn't work as expected. A lifetime warranty would be ideal.
  • Brand Reputation: Look for a surge protector from a reputable brand with a good track record of quality and reliability such as Tripp Lite, APC, and CyberPower which are the best, highest-quality surge protector brands used by professionals.

The Best Surge Protector for PC (2022)

Tripp Lite Isobar

After a lot of research, the best surge protector I found in terms of quality, reliability and value for money that would be suitable to protect a gaming PC and a bunch of accessories is the Tripp Lite Isobar. It's built sturdy, got a very high joule rating of 3840, and perhaps most importantly, has a very low clamping voltage of 140v.

It costs a little more than other surge protectors, but is of higher quality and higher reliability since most other surge protectors (and literally any cheap one) will have a higher clamping voltage of 400V or 500V. It's also got a lifetime warranty which is the icing on the cake. Note that it comes in different variations with varying amounts of outlets depending on how many peripherals and accessories you want to connect to it.

If you do your own research on the best surge protectors, as I suggest that you do (never just take one person's opinion as definitive), you'll find that the Tripp Lite Isobar is quite universally recommended by those seeking a professional grade unit they can rely on. Overall, I don't think you can go wrong with this one.

Related: The Best Gaming Routers

Trusted VPNs

VPN software is quite important in this day and age and will improve the security and privacy of your PC when online. There are also benefits to using VPNs for gaming.

There's lots of VPNs out there but the ones I recommend most to gamers is ExpressVPN (special link that gets you 3 months off. they also offer a free trial here) and NordVPN which are both highly rated gaming VPNs because they're the fastest and most secure.

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About the Author

Indie game dev currently working on my first public release after years of hobby projects, a story-driven VR FPS built with Unreal Engine (to be announced soon here for anyone into VR FPS's). Also likes writing about tech, which also helps fund development of the game.

My favs of all time are OOT, Perfect Dark, MGS1, MGS2, GE007, DKC2, THPS3, HL1, and HL2, with the most recent addition to my list of immortals being the VR masterpiece Alyx. If you want help with a new build feel free to ask on the main PC builds guide. If you found the site extra helpful and wish to support the work I do here, sharing an article with a friend helps a lot and is much appreciated. - Julz