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Best Power Strip

In the 1980s, we saw the advent of the computer age as well as the power strip. We all had a desktop computer and monitor, and maybe a printer-but add to that external hard drives, scanners, wireless routers, and other peripheral devices, and those two standard outlets were simply too small. We now have laptops, tablets, smart phones, and wireless Bluetooth devices all connected to a power strip.

In today’s power strips, USB ports and surge protection are often built-in. We tested a range of power strips to determine which are the best. Here is some advice on buying power strips.

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This Bestek power strip has eight outlets and is ideal for use under a desk. A fully equipped, single workstation desk had more than enough outlets. Two of them are set apart to accommodate devices with large plugs.

Six of the other six are close together, and we were able to use all of them with standard plugs. With four smart USB charging ports, each device is charged at the voltage and rate that is right for it.

It has a 15-amp circuit breaker, so you can even power some appliances with it-we plugged in an 8,000-BTU window air conditioner with no problem.

  • Outlets: 8
  • USB ports: 4
  • Power switch: Yes
  • Surge protection: 600 joules
  • Circuit breaker: 15-amp
  • Ground fault detection: Yes
  • Cord length: 6 ft
  • Plug: 90°

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With two fixed outlets and six that rotate 180 degrees, the Rotating Outlet Surge Strip provides a lot of outlets in a small footprint. It can accommodate plugs and power adapters of different sizes.

Keep the cords in order with two fold-out guides on the end of the unit so you can mount it horizontally using the slotted holes on the back. The illuminated power switch also serves as a circuit breaker reset, and two LED indicators show surge protection status and that the circuit is grounded properly.

We found the Surge Strip to be an excellent all-around option with adequate surge protection for sensitive electronics and the flexibility to accommodate any power adapter.

  • Outlets: 8
  • USB ports: 0
  • Power switch: Yes
  • Surge protection: 2,160 joules
  • Circuit breaker: 15-amp
  • Ground fault detection: Yes
  • Cord length: 6 ft
  • Plug: Standard

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On this power strip from Powsaf, there isn’t a single surface that isn’t covered with outlets. It wouldn’t be recommended to use all 18 at once, but the availability of so many outlets allowed us to connect multiple cords with large AC power adapters without blocking needed outlets.

The size of this power strip prevented us from using it on a table or desk top, so while the three USB-A ports were nice to have, they were not easily accessible. With a surge protection rating of 4,100 joules, this Powsaf is among the best we’ve tested.

This is good since this is the type of power strip we’d use to power all our fancy AV equipment. There are tabs on either side to allow vertical or horizontal mounting.

  • Outlets: 18
  • USB ports: 3
  • Power switch: Yes
  • Surge protection: 4,100 joules
  • Circuit breaker: 15-amp
  • Ground fault detection: Yes
  • Cord length: 6 ft
  • Plug: 90°

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Anker’s cube-shaped PowerPort is more of an extension cord with USB ports than a power strip. Its small size means it won’t take up space on a desk and will always be close for quick plugging and unplugging.

There’s an adhesive pad on the PowerPort to keep it from moving around. It’s so sticky that you can even tack it on a wall. Anker enabled us to eliminate the need for multiple AC adapters.

In addition to its size, it is also ideal for travel, as it can easily fit in a briefcase or bag. All the personal electronic devices you need for work or play will be able to be powered by three outlets and three USB ports.

  • Outlets: 3
  • USB ports: 3
  • Power switch: No
  • Surge protection: No
  • Circuit breaker: 15-amp
  • Ground fault detection: No
  • Cord length: 5 ft
  • Plug: Standard

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Jackyled is a convenient tabletop power strip that can be placed in the center of a conference table for collaborative environments or meetings. All four sides of the device have outlets and two of them have USB ports.

There is a power switch on each layer of the tower, so you can choose which equipment to power off and which you leave on. Since the power cord retracts and winds into the base, there is no extra cable to deal with.

We especially liked the Power Strip Tower on our project table, where tools and equipment are constantly coming and going, and we have several projects going at once. The surge protector safeguards sensitive electronics, but we wouldn’t recommend using it as a permanent power supply.

  • Outlets: 10
  • USB ports: 4
  • Power switch: Yes
  • Surge protection: 900 joules
  • Circuit breaker: 13-amp
  • Ground fault detection: No
  • Cord length: 6.5 ft
  • Plug: Standard

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There is a lot of confidence in SurgeArrest’s 11 outlets, so much so that APC offers a $100,000 equipment protection policy. We had a difficult time matching that list of equipment with items that could be used in a research lab to protect scientific instruments.

Multiple layers of protection will prevent power surges coming from coaxial tv cable, telephone/DSL lines, and your home’s electrical outlets. The LEDs indicate whether the system is protecting you or if there is a problem with building wiring.

All six outlets have sliding covers that keep dust and debris out when not in use. They are ideally sized to accommodate large power adaptors.

No matter which way it is oriented behind furniture, the cord swivels 180 degrees so that it can lay flat and out of the way. We found SurgeArrest to be most useful for elaborate entertainment and computer equipment due to its size and features.

  • Outlets: 11
  • USB ports: 0
  • Power switch: Yes
  • Surge protection: 3,020 joules
  • Circuit breaker: 15-amp
  • Ground fault detection: Yes
  • Cord length: 8 ft.
  • Plug: 180º

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For when you only need a few additional outlets, Tessan’s Flat Plug Extension Cord is the ideal solution. Its size and shape make it easy to pack when traveling-we carried it in our laptop bag while working off-site.

The four standard outlets are far apart, making it easy for us to accommodate devices with large plugs without overlapping. There were three standard USB ports, which were sufficient to satisfy our charging needs and make this a useful tabletop charging station.

This Tessan flat can also be hung on a wall or above a desk or nightstand if you have limited space. The best surge protection of 3,940 joules is impressive for a power strip of this price range.

  • Outlets: 4
  • USB ports: 3
  • Power switch: Yes
  • Surge protection: 3,940 joules
  • Circuit breaker: 10-amp
  • Ground fault detection: No
  • Cord length: 5 ft.
  • Plug: 90º

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The 12-outlet surge protector from Belkin has everything covered. In order to protect against surges and spikes, connect phone/fax/DSL lines, coaxial cables for TV/cable modems, as well as ethernet and power cords for all your equipment.

The low-profile power strip has six outlets that are spaced far apart for large power adapters, as well as a cord organizer that clips onto the strip to keep cords organized.

The slim design allows it to fit under desks and behind furniture, so it can be set up and forgotten – although the status lights for grounding and protection won’t be visible. Dust- and debris-resistant sliding covers protect outlets when not in use.

Unless you remember they’re there, reaching behind furniture to plug something in will be frustrating. Furthermore, this surge protector comes with a warranty of $100,000 on connected equipment.

  • Outlets: 12
  • USB ports: 0
  • Power switch: Yes
  • Surge protection: 3,940 joules
  • Circuit breaker: 15-amp
  • Ground fault detection: Yes
  • Cord length: 8 ft
  • Plug: 90°

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Rather than being a power strip, PowerExtend is more like a power outlet with USB ports. The charging station is ideal for a desk or work surface where you may need to charge mobile devices or plug in a laptop regularly.

We didn’t have any problems plugging and unplugging USB or power cords because the unit is weighted and has non-slip pads on the bottom. When we pushed the power switch, three LED lights came on, indicating that both the ground protection and surge protection were functioning.

We were able to plug in various sizes and combinations of AC power adapters thanks to its three standard power outlets on the back. The 45-watt USB-C port, which allows rapid charging for compatible phones and laptops, was our favorite feature.

  • Outlets: 3
  • USB ports: 2 USB A, 1 USB C
  • Power switch: Yes
  • Surge protection: 300 joules
  • Circuit breaker: 15-amp
  • Ground fault detection: Yes
  • Cord length: 6 ft
  • Plug: 90°

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The six-outlet SurgeArrest from APC is ideal for use near a desk or entertainment system. There are wall mounts on the back for hanging horizontally or vertically, but make sure it’s accessible, or the USB ports all the way at the end won’t be accessible.

Among the main features of this power strip is how the six outlets are swivelable 180 degrees, which offers plenty of space for large power adapters or oversize plugs while keeping its footprint small.

The power switch doubles as a circuit breaker reset, and two LEDs illuminate when it is turned on to indicate the circuit is grounded properly and if protection is in effect. Additionally, APC provides equipment protection policies up to $50,000.

  • Outlets: 6
  • USB ports: 2
  • Power switch: Yes
  • Surge protection: 1,080 joules
  • Circuit breaker: 15-amp
  • Ground fault detection: Yes
  • Cord length: 6 ft
  • Plug: 90°

 

With the proliferation of wireless handheld devices that charge at lower voltages, surge protection is more important than ever before. Most people are unaware that surge protectors wear out over time. The longer they absorb voltage fluctuations, the shorter their lifespan becomes. To make sure you’re getting the best protection possible, you should replace your windows every two to three years.

A number of factors can cause power surges. Many people fear lightning strikes, which can cause power spikes in the millions of volts when they hit electrical wires. Surge protectors can’t handle surges this large, so don’t rely on them during lightning storms – the best way to protect your equipment from this kind of surge is to unplug it.

The most common reason for power surges is when power lines are downed during storms. Inconsistent power flow with dips and bursts is possible when transformers and complex switching systems try to reroute power or address changing demands. Inconsistency in power flow at home can also cause surges. In particular, air conditioners, compressors, and electric ranges consume a lot of power when they are first turned on. The problem is, their need drops off quickly once they are running, which can cause surges in other parts of the house’s wiring.

Surge protectors provide protection measured in joules. In physics, a joule is the amount of energy required to perform a certain amount of work. A joule is about the amount of energy needed to power a one-watt LED for one second. In order to adequately protect an average home entertainment system or computers and related equipment, look for surge protectors rated in thousands of joules. Usually, the manufacturer will provide examples on the packaging of what a certain model can protect.

Our test editors thoroughly reviewed and tested each power strip on this list. To determine the best options, we research the market, survey user reviews, speak with product managers and engineers, and use our experience with them.

Our tests included plugging these power strips into kitchens, family rooms, workshops and offices. Based on ease of use, their features, and how they performed in different situations, we evaluated them.

When power strips had wiring fault indicators, we used a Sperry Instruments outlet tester to confirm circuit grounding. There is probably one on this list that would meet your needs if you need a power strip or surge protector.

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