What Is The Difference Between Surge Protector And Power Strip?

difference between surge protector and power strip

This is a popular question that so many men try to answer. Everyone has to know the difference between a surge protector and a power strip to make the right choice. So let’s see how they are different!

If you’re wondering the difference between power strips and Ethernet surge protectors, this article will help you eliminate all your doubts.

Safety First

We have to remember when talking about electricity because it can be hazardous for us humans. So, suppose we want to feel safe while using electrical appliances such as computers or chargers. In that case, there should be some system protecting us from any malfunction or accident caused by an electric problem in our home. So, when choosing a protection system for our house against electric dangers, two primary devices come up: surge protectors and power strips.

The difference between a surge protector and a power strip?        

Let’s start with the basics. Both these pieces of electrical equipment are designed to prevent any damage caused by the voltage spikes that occur during a lightning storm or when there is a malfunction in the supply system for your home. In addition, both have a long cord so you can reach every inch of your house without having to buy several different ones.

The main difference between a surge protector and a power strip lies in protecting from electricity. While power strips take care of single appliances such as a TV, computer, or laptop, Ethernet surge protectors also cover network devices connected to the router.

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Power Strips Protect Single Appliances While Ethernet Surge Protectors Take Care of Network Devices and Printers as Well

Since power strips are designed to take care only of single appliances, they should not be placed near routers or printers since this would put them in danger too. But if there is no other way than placing a power strip somewhere close to your network devices, such as modems or printers, bear in mind that you should always turn off the power strip when it’s not needed instead of leaving it on and potentially causing damage.

How Do Power Strips Work?     

The one big difference between a surge protector and a power strip is that power strips can be used with different voltage systems, while surge protectors have to be used with a 110 or 120-volt system.

Power strips typically come in two types: the standard models and the long ones. Traditional models are short, about 3 feet long, while the longer earthed power strips go up to 6’6″. If you’re planning on buying an extension strip for your home, check out what length is best for you before placing an order since it may not fit all rooms of your house.

Main Features of All Power Strips     

There are three main features that every power strip should have: A switch – This is usually a button located on the front side that allows you to turn off the surge protector when there’s no need for it. An indicator light – This is to let you know that the surge protector is on. Finally, phone/DSL line protection protects your phone lines and DSL from outside electrical disturbances.

Switches, indicators lights, and telephone line protections are present in every power strip, but there may be other things as well. For example, most of us agree that it’s also suitable for a power strip to have an overload indicator. Otherwise, it would be challenging to tell whether or not the power strip has been overloaded. Therefore, if you notice anything unusual like crackling noises or sparks coming out of the holes where you plug electricity devices in, unplug them immediately at any time during your use of the device.

Businesses usually use Grounded-type strips because they are safer than regular ones. They have 3 slots, and each slot is earthed separately using an independent wire. So if there’s an electrical problem such as a short circuit in one of your devices, only that device will be damaged instead of all three of them at once.

The Difference Between Grounded Strips and Non-Grounded Strips

When shopping for a power strip, you may come across several products that are said to be “grounded.” This means that the strips are equipped with extra protection (an extra wire) to protect against any irregularities in voltage spikes or brownouts. Therefore, even though it seems logical to buy ‘better’ gear when making purchases for our home, most people don’t need to waste their money on grounded strips. The non-grounded models are sufficient and do not require extra protection.

A non-grounded strip can be used with a 2 pin or 3 pins plug, while a grounded model can only be plugged into a wall outlet with three slots. Also, the standard ones will offer you slightly better pricing since they’re more common than the grounded types. Therefore, if you have an overload indicator in your power strip, it’s best to stick to this one rather than switching over to a new type of device, even though it may be safer. The same goes for phone/DSL line protections as well – unless there’s something wrong with your current surge protector and you know it, it’s better to stick with what you’ve got.

Where Should I Place My Power Strip?     

The most common place for a power strip is behind your computer or television set so that the cord can be turned off easily whenever needed. You may also notice that surge protectors are placed inside a group of multiple devices. This is done to increase the overall protection capability and reduce interference between the different cords and electronics.

Also, if there’s room for more than one strip, don’t hesitate to buy an extra one because this will give you added peace of mind by providing both over-voltage and under-voltage protection. Finally, there are two types of power strips: standard and long. Traditional power strips have five feet, while long ones are seven feet. This may not seem like much, but when it comes to choosing the right power strip, this can make a world of difference.

Are Multi-Plug and Single Plug Adapters Safe?     

Yes, they’re very safe indeed. There is no significant difference between them because multi-plug adapters will also convert voltage to eliminate your device’s high or low voltages. Then all you’re left with is clean electricity which will be suitable for whatever you plug into it.

However, the only drawback with multi-plug adapters is that they don’t provide over-voltage protection, so if you’re going to use lots of different devices constantly, then over time, the voltage can build up and cause a problem. This usually doesn’t happen because the voltage spikes are often short-term, but all you have to do is give them a break now and then or buy a strip with over-voltage protection.


If there’s one thing that will take away your peace of mind when using power strips, it’s fear about how safe they are for the devices in your home. Therefore, if you’re plugging multiple devices into your power strip, ensure that every cord is appropriately secured so that no devices fall off. This holds especially true for any large plugs like those found on stereos, televisions, and so forth – they can easily slip out of the strip and become damaged or even start a fire.

Don’t forget to take a look at the cord as well – if it’s frayed, cracked, or worn out, then replace it before using the power strip because this can cause damage to your device. There are several different ways of securing plugs, but one of the most popular methods is twisting them around themselves to avoid slipping out.

You can also use twist-ties which will do an excellent job of holding cords in place but make sure not to wrap them too tightly, or the wires inside can break. You may also notice some strips with holes built into their design – all you have to do is push your plug through these slots and secure it with tape (scotch tape works great).


The most important thing to consider when plugging computers and televisions into a power strip is the length of the cord they are using. If you have an older computer or television, it’s a good idea to get rid of them because they tend not to provide overvoltage protection. Therefore, if you’re plugged into this type of device and it malfunctions – which is much more likely when power surges are present – then both your computer and television can be severely damaged.

Tip: Before purchasing a new surge protector, make sure that all components in your home are compatible with its design. Some brands may work better than others, depending on where you live.


In the past, surges were considered rare and not very dangerous, but this is no longer the case – in fact, over the past decade, they have become more frequent and far deadlier. Therefore, surge protection is an absolute must if you want to protect your investment (whether it’s a computer or television).

To be 100% certain of whether it’s worth getting or not, all you have to do is take a few moments to look at where you live. Do others in your area suffer from power problems? If so, how often do these problems occur? Once you’ve figured this out for yourself, then truthfully assess whether your devices are even necessary – would they cause you too much grief if they were damaged in a power surge?

If the answer is yes, it’s probably best to buy some form of protection. If you’re set on not getting this kind of device, then make sure that your devices are newer and have built-in over-voltage protection. Just remember – prevention may be better than a cure, and with electricity, being safe can save you lots of money.


Although surge protectors are one of the most effective ways to keep your electronics protected from power surges, there are other things that you can do as well, such as unplugging items before leaving home for an extended period or using intelligent strips. Smart strips work similarly to surge protectors because they cut power when a device malfunctions, but the main difference is that brilliant strips are not equipped with protection from power surges – therefore, you must use both together.

The only downside to using smart strips in your home is that they can be temperamental – if you have more than one of them hooked into your electrical system, then it’s likely that one will fail. However, since most people no longer rely on their televisions and computers for 24/7 entertainment, this shouldn’t cause too much grief. In addition to adding smart strips into your home, you should make sure that all of the devices plugged into them are relatively new. This includes everything from radios and stereos (yes, these still exist) to televisions and computers.

Suppose you’re unsure whether or not your devices are equipped with over-voltage protection. In that case, it’s a good idea to look at their instruction manuals – if they don’t mention anything about this kind of protection, then you should invest in surge protectors instead. Even though the main goal is to stop power surges from damaging any device plugged into them, surge protectors also provide extra outlets so that you can plug in all of those other electronic devices that need an electrical outlet (but might be too big for an intelligent strip).


Unfortunately, despite how many precautions we take, there will always be power surges since the sun’s unpredictability causes them. However, there are things that you can do on your part to minimize your chances of suffering from a power surge – one of the easiest ways is to switch off all electronic devices for a few minutes before hitting the sack for the night.

If there are any appliances in your home that use a lot of electricity, then it’s best to shut them down because this cuts down on how much juice is being used. In addition to switching everything off at night, you should also look into getting more efficient electrical equipment such as low-wattage light bulbs and energy-efficient televisions.

If you live in an area where storms tend to occur frequently (or even if it doesn’t, then the sun will produce more solar flares than usual), then it’s a smart idea to keep your electrical system straightforward. The fewer electrical outlets you have in your home, the less likely you will suffer from power surges. This doesn’t mean that surge protectors are not an option if you only have one or two plugs.

However, this may limit the number of electronics per outlet depending on how many ports they have. If you want to avoid having too many electrical items running at once, try unplugging all but one thing at a time. When using your television, switch off any speakers or headphones before switching everything off (if possible).


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