Best surge protector: Reviews and buying advice

Far better than ordinary power strips, these products will protect your expensive electronics from dangerous power spikes. We'll help you pick the right one for your home or small office.
Surge Suppressors - Some protect better than others

You only know for sure that you needed a surge protector after your equipment fries. Then it’s too late. For a very reasonable amount of money, you could put an almost literal firewall between your expensive (and cheap) electronics and the juice coming in from a wall socket. A surge protector throws itself into the line of fire, sacrificing its components again and again so that your devices stay functional.

These reviews are of surge protectors designed for a home office or cubicle, or a home-entertainment system. Such power mediators have a single function: keeping voltage from exceeding a certain rated level, beyond which equipment can blow a fuse, burn out its power supply, or completely fry its circuitry beyond repair. The surge protector takes a hit instead of your hardware or A/V system, and it could potentially save you hundreds to many thousands of dollars, depending on what you have connected.

You want to make the modest investment in a surge protector for the same reason you want to have a backup of your data: because there’s no going back after an adverse event. Getting ahead of a problem that may be unlikely but not improbable saves you from the enormous consequences if it occurs. (You do have multiple backups of your data, right?)

Updated October 29 to add our in-depth review of the TP-Link Kasa Smart Wi-Fi Power Strip, which we consider to be the ultimate product in its class. It's a bit expensive at $79, but it's awesomely programmable, and it can be tied together with other Kasa smart lighting products. We like it a lot.

The ultimate smart surge protector

TP-Link Surge Suppressor $79.99 on Amazon

Yeah, not everyone will want to drop 79 bucks on a surge protector, but TP-Link really has produced the ultimate surge protector. All six of its outlets can be controlled and scheduled individually--and with a polished mobile app, no less--and you can also control any of them with voice commands. There are three USB charging ports here, too. Yes, it's worth $79.

Best all-purpose surge protector
Belkin Pivot Plug Surge Suppressor

Belkin's 12-Outlet PivotPlug Surge Protector (BP112230-08) won