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The Best Power Strips and Surge Protectors to Keep You Going

Protect your cherished devices and multiply your outlets with these options.

anker cube
Lakota Gambill

The 1980s brought us the computer age and also ushered in the power strip. Most people had a desktop computer, a monitor, and maybe a printer—but add to those external drives, scanners, wireless routers, and other peripheral devices, and those two standard outlets most of us had were simply overwhelmed. Now we have laptops, tablets, smartphones, and wireless Bluetooth devices, all connected to a power strip.

Today, power strips often incorporate USB ports and surge protection. We tested a broad range to determine which are the best. But first, some buying advice.

The Best Power Strips

      What You Need to Know About Surge Protection

      The proliferation of wireless handheld devices that charge at lower voltages makes surge protection more important than ever. What most people don’t realize about surge protectors is that they wear out over time. With every voltage fluctuation they absorb, their lifespan is shortened. So, to be sure you’re getting the most protection you can, it’s a good idea to replace them every two to three years.

      Power surges can occur due to a number of reasons. People tend to worry most about lightning strikes, which can find their way to electrical wires and cause power spikes in the millions of volts. Most surge protectors can’t handle anything this large, so don’t rely on them during lightning storms—the best way to protect from this type of surge is to unplug your sensitive electronic equipment.

      More commonly, power surges are caused during storms when power lines are downed. When the power company’s transformers and complex switching systems try to reroute power or address changing demands, it can create inconsistent power flow with dips and bursts. The other common cause for surges occurs within your own home. Air conditioners, compressors, and electric ranges require a large amount of power, particularly when they start up. However, their need drops off quickly once they’re running, which can cause surges elsewhere in the house’s wiring.

      The amount of protection surge protectors provide is measured in joules. A joule is a unit of energy required to do a certain amount of work. One joule is about the amount of electricity used to light a one-watt LED for one second. To adequately protect an average home entertainment system or computers and related equipment, look for surge protectors rated in thousands of joules. Always check with the manufacturer, they usually provide examples on the packaging of what a certain model can protect.

      How We Tested These Power Strips

      The power strips on this list have been thoroughly vetted and evaluated by our test editors. We research the market, survey user reviews, speak with product managers and engineers, and use our own experience with them to determine the best options. We plugged these power strips in and tested them in kitchens, family rooms, workshops, and offices. We evaluated them based on ease of use, their features, and how they performed in various situations. We used a Sperry Instruments outlet tester to confirm circuit grounding when power strips had wiring fault indicators. If you need power strip or surge protector, chances are you’ll find one on this list to suit your needs.


      Other Great Options

      Due to a mix of high demand and supply-chain problems, we've found that some of our favorite power strips come and go out of stock frequently. In the event that you find a few surge protectors are out of stock, there are other options that we can recommend. While we haven't tested these power strips, they're in stock and are from brands that we trust and have performed well in past tests. More details about these alternatives can be found at the bottom of our list.

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        Best Overall
        Surge Protector with Telephone, DSL and Coaxial Protection
        APC
        Now 21% off

        Key Specs

        • Outlets: 11
        • USB Ports: 0
        • Power Switch: Yes
        • Surge Protection: 3,020 joules
        • Circuit Breaker: 15-amp
        • Ground Fault Detection: Yes
        • Cord Length: 8 feet
        • Plug: 180 degrees

          APC has a lot of confidence in this 11-outlet SurgeArrest, so much so that it offers a $100,000 equipment protection policy. Short of using it in a research lab to protect scientific instruments, we had a hard time coming up with a list of equipment to match that total. Multiple layers of protection will guard against power surges coming through your coaxial TV cable, telephone/DSL lines, and home’s electrical outlets. There are LEDs to indicate protection status and building wiring faults.

          The six outlets are spaced nicely to accommodate large power adaptors, and all of them have sliding covers to keep out dust and debris when not in use. The heavy cord swivels 180 degrees so that it can lay flat and out of the way, no matter which way it’s oriented behind furniture.

          Because of the SurgeArrest’s size and features, we found it most useful for elaborate entertainment or computer equipment.

          Most Complete Protection
          Power Strip Surge Protector
          Courtesy
          Belkin

          Key Specs

          • Outlets: 12
          • USB Ports: 0
          • Power Switch: Yes
          • Surge Protection: 3,940 joules
          • Circuit Breaker: 15-amp
          • Ground Fault Detection: Yes
          • Cord Length: 8 feet
          • Plug: 90 degrees

          Belkin has everything covered with this 12-outlet surge protector. Connect phone/fax/DSL lines, coaxial cables for TV/cable modems, and ethernet and power cords for all your equipment to protect from surges and spikes wherever they come from.

          The low-profile power strip has six widely spaced outlets for large power adaptors and a clip-on cable organizer to keep cords all heading in the same direction. The slim design helps it fit under desks and behind furniture, so you can set it up and forget it—although the protection and ground wiring status lights won’t be visible in this case.

          Sliding covers protect unused outlets from dust and debris. Just remember they’re there, or it will be frustrating reaching behind furniture to plug something in. Finally, Belkin provides a $100,000 connected equipment warranty with this surge protector.

          Best Under a Desk
          8-Outlet 6-Foot Extension Cord Power Strip
          Courtesy
          Bestek

          Key Specs

          • Outlets: 8
          • USB Ports: 4
          • Power Switch: Yes
          • Surge Protection: 600 joules
          • Circuit Breaker: 15-amp
          • Ground Fault Detection: Yes
          • Cord Length: 6 feet
          • Plug: 90 degrees

          Bestek’s 8-Outlet power strip is ideal as an accessible, under-desk power solution. We found that eight outlets were more than enough for a fully outfitted, single work-station desk. Two of these are set apart from the others to accommodate devices with large plugs. The other six are spaced more tightly, and we were able to use all of them with a range of standard plugs.

          Four smart USB charging ports ensure each device is charged at the voltage and rate best suited for it. The unit 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 without issue.

          Best for Work Travel
          Flat Plug Extension Cord
          Courtesy
          Tessan
          Now 15% off

          Key Specs

          • Outlets: 4
          • USB Ports: 3
          • Power Switch: Yes
          • Surge Protection: 3,940 joules
          • Circuit Breaker: 10-amp
          • Ground Fault Detection: No
          • Cord Length: 5 feet
          • Plug: 90 degrees

          Tessan’s Flat Plug Extension Cord is a compact option for when you only need a couple of extra outlets. Its size and shape make it easy to pack when traveling—we carried it in our laptop bag when working off-site. Four standard outlets, spaced far apart, means it was easy for us to accommodate devices with large plugs without overlapping. Three standard USB ports were enough to satisfy our charging needs and helped make this useful as a tabletop charging station.

          You can also hang this Tessan flat on a wall or above a desk or nightstand if space is limited. We were surprised and impressed with the 3,940 joules of surge protection—that’s a lot for a power strip this inexpensive.

          Best for Travel
          PowerPort Cube
          Courtesy
          Anker

          Key Specs

          • Outlets: 3
          • USB Ports: 3
          • Power Switch: No
          • Surge Protection: No
          • Circuit Breaker: 15-amp
          • Ground Fault Detection: No
          • Cord Length: 5 feet
          • Plug: Standard

          The compact cube-shaped PowerPort from Anker is more of an extension cord with USB ports than it is a power strip. Its tiny size means it doesn’t take up space on a desk and will always be close for easy plugging and unplugging. The PowerPort comes with an adhesive pad to keep it from moving around, wherever you decide to put it—it’s super sticky, so you can even tack it on a wall. We were able to do away with multiple AC adapters thanks to this Anker.

          Its size also makes it ideal for travel, easily fitting in a briefcase or bag. With three outlets and three USB ports, it will power all the personal electronic devices you need for work or play.

          Best One-Size-Fits-All
          Surge Protector with USB Charging Ports
          Courtesy
          APC

          Key Specs

          • Outlets: 6
          • USB Ports: 2
          • Power Switch: Yes
          • Surge Protection: 1,080 joules
          • Circuit Breaker: 15-amp
          • Ground Fault Detection: Yes
          • Cord Length: 6 feet
          • Plug: 90 degrees

          APC’s six-outlet SurgeArrest is ideal for use near a desk or entertainment system. It has wall mounts on the back to hang horizontally or vertically, but make sure it’s accessible, or access to the USB ports all the way at the end will be limited. The main feature of this power strip is how the six outlets swivel 180 degrees to provide ample room for large power adaptors or oversize plugs—this helps keep the unit’s footprint small.

          The power switch doubles as a circuit breaker reset, and when turned on, two LEDs indicate protection status and if the circuit is grounded properly. Finally, APC provides a $50,000 equipment protection policy.

          Best for the Desktop
          PowerExtend USB-C Desktop Charging Station
          Courtesy
          Anker

          Key Specs

          • 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 feet
          • Plug: 90 degrees

          The PowerExtend is more of a power outlet, complete with USB ports, than it is a power strip. It’s ideal for a desk or work surface, where you may need to charge mobile devices or plug in a laptop regularly.

          The unit is weighted and has nonslip pads on the bottom, so it didn’t move around when we were plugging and unplugging USB or power cords. When we pushed the power switch, three LED lights indicated that power was on and that both ground protection and surge protection were functioning.

          It has three widely space standard power outlets on the back, which allowed us to plug in various sizes and combinations of AC power adapters. One of our favorite features was the 45-watt USB-C port, which allows rapid for charging of compatible phones and laptops.

          Most Versatile
          8-Outlet Rotating Surge Strip
          Courtesy
          Monoprice

          Key Specs

          • Outlets: 8
          • USB Ports: 0
          • Power Switch: Yes
          • Surge Protection: 2,160 joules
          • Circuit Breaker: 15-amp
          • Ground Fault Detection: Yes
          • Cord Length: 6 feet
          • Plug: Standard

          The Rotating Outlet Surge Strip packs a lot of outlets in its compact footprint, with two fixed and six that rotate 180 degrees to accommodate plugs and power adapters of different sizes.

          Mount the unit horizontally using the slotted holes on the back, and keep the cords in order with two fold-out guides on the end. The illuminated power switch doubles as a circuit breaker reset, and there are two LED indicators to show surge protection status and that the circuit is properly grounded.

          We found the Surge Strip to be a good all-around option, with ample surge protection for sensitive electronics and flexibility for any size power adapter.

          Best for Collaborative Workspaces
          Power Strip Tower
          Courtesy
          Jacklyed

          Key Specs

          • Outlets: 10
          • USB Ports: 4
          • Power Switch: Yes
          • Surge Protection: 900 joules
          • Circuit Breaker: 13-amp
          • Ground Fault Detection: No
          • Cord Length: 6.5 feet
          • Plug: Standard

          This Jackyled is a convenient table-top power strip, useful in collaborative environments or meetings placed in the center of a conference table. It has outlets on every side, with two USB ports each on two of the sides. There’s a power switch for each layer of the tower, so you can be selective about which equipment you power off and which you leave on. The power cord for this unit retracts and winds into the base, so there’s no extra cable looped around to deal with.

          We especially liked the Power Strip Tower on our project table where tools and equipment frequently come and go and we have several things going on at once. A modest amount of surge protection guards sensitive electronics, although we wouldn’t suggest using this as a permanent power supply for these devices.

          Best Warranty
          3-Outlet Portable Surge Protector Power Strip
          Tripp Lite

          Key Specs

          • Outlets: 3
          • USB Ports: 2
          • Power Switch: No
          • Surge Protection: 1,050 joules
          • Circuit Breaker: 15-amp
          • Ground Fault Detection: No
          • Cord Length: 1.5 feet
          • Plug: 90 degrees

          Tripp Lite backs its portable surge protector with a 1,050-joule surge protection rating that keeps up with full-size surge protectors. This level of protection in addition to a cord for more placement versatility puts this model leagues ahead of the travel-centric competition. When you need to pack up the surge protector the cord wraps around the device with the plug neatly tucking away as to not scratch your electronics.

          Since the plug is both flat and right angle you can easily plug it in behind a bed, hotel nightstand, and even an entertainment center. It also comes with a lifetime warranty and $25,000 in Ultimate Lifetime Insurance for devices you hook up to the surge protector.

          Best with Smart Features
          Plug Power Strip HS300
          Kasa Smart
          Now 41% off

          Key Specs

          • Outlets: 6
          • USB Ports: 3
          • Power Switch: Yes
          • Surge Protection: 1,710 joules
          • Circuit Breaker: 15-amp
          • Ground Fault Detection: No
          • Cord Length: 6.5 feet
          • Plug: Standard

          For advanced control over your outlets, the Kasa Smart Power Strip blends features with protection. Not only can you control each connected device individually from anywhere, but you can integrate the strip into your smart home for voice control. The built-in energy monitoring breaks down how much power each connected electronic consumes. You can use this data to set schedules to optimize your daily usage and save money on your electric bill.

          Great Surge Protection
          8-Outlet Power Strip Surge Protector, 4,500 Joule
          Amazon Basics

          Key Specs

          • Outlets: 8
          • USB Ports: 0
          • Power Switch: Yes
          • Surge Protection: 4,500 joules
          • Circuit Breaker: 15-amp
          • Ground Fault Detection: Yes
          • Cord Length: 6 feet
          • Plug: Standard

          The Amazon Basics Surge Protector isn't super compact, but it's a customer favorite, with a 4.8-star average rating from more than 16,000 buyers. Not only do both sides of the strip provide a high level of joule protection against surges, but also power connected devices after an outage. This gives you time to save your work and properly shut down all of your equipment. It also comes with a green LED light that lets you know the surge protection is working and the wiring is grounded.

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