Best affordable surge protector

J

Jeff5347

Audioholic
I've been looking to get a good surge protector as the one currently in use is a El cheapo home door type. I know one built into the fuse box is best but we rent and I know our landlord won't splurge on adding one on the fuse panel. I've been looking to see what the best ( but affordable) block is without degrading any audio or video signals. I know most will say something in the 4-500 range if not higher but due to budget and wife asking WTf lol is there something reliable in the 160 - 70 range. Reviews on surge protectors are few and far between

Thanks
 
Montucky

Montucky

Full Audioholic
Truth is, there is very little difference in the actual surge protecting components between el cheap-o ones and the expensive ones. Now I WILL make sure to at least get ones from a reputable brand, but it doesn't have to cost much at all. Like $10-30 honestly. I do shoot for models with higher joule ratings at least.

Now where I WILL pony up for a fancy shmancy surge protector is when I want more features like IP functions, sequenced power up/down, UPS, so on and so forth. I've really liked some high end Panamax and Watt Box units I've had, BUT as far as quality of surge protection, I doubt they were any better than the cheap Trip Lite stuff that has also served me dutifully over the years.

Whatever you get, just keep an eye on the little light that indicates it's protecting. After getting nailed so many times, that light will go out and yet it will still continue to pass power, simply functioning as a power strip, but the protection is no longer there. True of cheap or expensive ones. I paid for that dearly once. Fried a computer. Doh!
 
J

Jeff5347

Audioholic
I'm curious. I've read and watched some videos on some of the bigger priced units from Furman and panamax. A particular video from ps audio stated that the AC going to the units fluctuates ( which I agree) and the power conditioners clean this up and actually have an audible difference as well as a visual difference in video 1. I'm curious if this is correct or snake oil?
2. Since I'm not spending hundreds on a PC or surge protector..the units you have advised would they degrade the audio or visual reproduction? I'm assuming not but curious
 
D

Drunkpenguin

Audioholic Chief
Want affordable? Daisy chain 3 cheap ones together. I did this one time to make a make shift extension cord for a bedroom TV. Lighting hit our electrical pole and killed electricity in the house. The first 2 surge supressors died but the 3rd one lived and they saved the tv lol.
 
Bones3DFC

Bones3DFC

Enthusiast
May I add to the curiousities of this thread - not trying to hijack it, apologies - and ask: I looked at the first-mentioned isobar and then went a little deeper. If I were to have a HTPC, might this battery backup (UPS is also mentioned) surge protection be beneficial?
Tripp Lite 1500VA UPS Battery Back Up AVR LCD Display 10 Outlets 120V 810W Tel & Coax Protection USB (OMNI1500LCDT) https://www.amazon.com/dp/B00AX9Z7R4/ref=cm_sw_r_cp_api_lfsOBbQX4X833

Maybe that’s just “overboard” and I should reel it back down to something about 1/3 the price?
 
D

Drunkpenguin

Audioholic Chief
I've always favored a UPS to a power strip. I currently have 2 in the house. One for HT gear and another for internet gear. Brownouts can be as big of a problem too so I think it helps. We also use alot of UPS's at work and I can tell you that more often than not the UPS will die but save the equipment thats plugged into it.
 
S

Speedskater

Senior Audioholic
For the best surge suppression, a whole home unit installed near the main breaker box is the way to go.
But if you feel that you must have a reasonable cost point of use unit, then go with mainline companies like Tripplite, Belkin or APC.
In any case it needs to be a metal unit with a 'UL' seal.
 
S

Speedskater

Senior Audioholic
Another thought:
If you have more the one surge suppression unit connected to your system or to any connected to your system.
Then all the units should be identical (with the same date stamp). You want all the units to start protection at the same surge voltage.
 
Montucky

Montucky

Full Audioholic
I'm curious. I've read and watched some videos on some of the bigger priced units from Furman and panamax. A particular video from ps audio stated that the AC going to the units fluctuates ( which I agree) and the power conditioners clean this up and actually have an audible difference as well as a visual difference in video 1. I'm curious if this is correct or snake oil?
2. Since I'm not spending hundreds on a PC or surge protector..the units you have advised would they degrade the audio or visual reproduction? I'm assuming not but curious
While I've always liked the idea of power conditioning, I think it's mostly snake oil since your equipment has it's own power supply that regulates the power anyway. I think it's the MASSIVE swings and brownout's I've experienced that I felt were detrimental to a projector (ie bulb life) or to keep my equipment humming along without a total hiccup, thus why I like UPS's for critical components.

That said, I currently have about a $20,000+ 2-channel set up on about a $30 Trip-Lite surge protector. Haha. I can guarantee that at least to MY ears, there is zero audible difference. As long as it's being properly protected, then I am happy.

I do keep my stuff with hard drives on UPS's though, such as my Kaleidescape movie server, my Apple Time Capsule, etc., as well as my modem and router. I just don't like the thought of an instant shut-off while a hard drive is in the middle of doing its job. As far as the network equipment, I don't think it would really harm them to reset, but it takes so long to reboot it all, I really like to ensure it keeps humming along during a brief flicker in the power. Honestly though, I don't think even that UPS with the $10,000 worth of gear hooked up to it could have cost me more than $100. Again, so long as it's from a reputable brand with a good protection rating, then you should honestly be just fine. If going the UPS route though, I did at least look for one that had supposed sine wave output versus the typical step up/down wave that many do. It might not make much of a practical difference, but it makes me feel better. Haha. I have seen it up for debate though, so I am not the authority on that. Just anecdotal.
 
BoredSysAdmin

BoredSysAdmin

Audioholic Overlord
I'm curious. I've read and watched some videos on some of the bigger priced units from Furman and panamax. A particular video from ps audio stated that the AC going to the units fluctuates ( which I agree) and the power conditioners clean this up and actually have an audible difference as well as a visual difference in video 1. I'm curious if this is correct or snake oil?
2. Since I'm not spending hundreds on a PC or surge protector..the units you have advised would they degrade the audio or visual reproduction? I'm assuming not but curious
1. snake oil and or bad example. possible ground loop issues
2. they would not.
triplite is your answer. don't overthink it
 
Montucky

Montucky

Full Audioholic
I don't mind my stuff shutting down. Only stuff that will connected will be tv, Blu Ray, avr, echo dot, sub, fire TV and DirecTV. Since you guys recommend Tripp lite how's this one
https://www.amazon.com/Tripp-Lite-Protector-Network-HT10DBS/dp/B0002QPC28
If not any recommendation for 8-10 outlets in case I add on
That one actually looks super nice. Would definitely be more than enough to do you well. A lot fancier than what I'm currently using. Haha. Just remember that in order to get their guaranteed protection, you'll need to register the unit. I've heard mixed results in people's efforts to collect, but some have said it was pretty painless since they registered and Tripp-Lite covered the full retail for all their gear. Some have said it's a pain but who knows. Either way, I think you'll be in good hands with that model.
 
J

Jeff5347

Audioholic
That one actually looks super nice. Would definitely be more than enough to do you well. A lot fancier than what I'm currently using. Haha. Just remember that in order to get their guaranteed protection, you'll need to register the unit. I've heard mixed results in people's efforts to collect, but some have said it was pretty painless since they registered and Tripp-Lite covered the full retail for all their gear. Some have said it's a pain but who knows. Either way, I think you'll be in good hands with that model.

Montucky, if you don't mind which one are you using? I'm flopping on this one as all I need is the AC outlets. I don't need the phone, coax or anything other than the AC's. If I can just get 10 outlets that's as good as that I'm in
 
Montucky

Montucky

Full Audioholic
Montucky, if you don't mind which one are you using? I'm flopping on this one as all I need is the AC outlets. I don't need the phone, coax or anything other than the AC's. If I can just get 10 outlets that's as good as that I'm in
I'm not sure what model it is. Just some affordable one I picked up from one of my local electronics suppliers. Cheap enough but had a good joule rating, and was from a brand I trusted.

Don't over think it. Just get one from a reputable brand and you'll be fine. You seriously don't need to spend a lot unless you want the extra features. Since you say you don't need the coax, phone, etc. protection, then yeah. It won't cost much at all for a good one.

The main things I look for feature wise are:
(A) Cord length
(B) Right angle plug so I can shove a cabinet or entertainment center further back. A normal plug's better if doing a strip on each recepticle of the outlet, though.
(C) Enough room for bulky AC adapters if using any
(D) Plug orientation (I've REALLY enjoyed Power Squid for when I have too many adapters. Takes care of that problem!)
(E) Joule Rating
(F) A brand I at least recognize (ie Panamax, Tripp-Lite, GE, Belkin, etc.)

That's about it. Nothing you can't figure out by browsing at your local supplier of choice and seeing what fits your needs the best. All of these features above are usually within about the same (cheap) price range. It's just a matter of selecting what you like the most.
 
Montucky

Montucky

Full Audioholic
Was rummaging through my closet to look for banana plugs and then I stumbled across a new WattBox. Opposite of cheap at $290 MRSP for just 3 plugs, but this little guy is awesome.
https://www.snapav.com/shop/en/snapav/surge-conditioning/wattbox-reg;-ip-3-controlled-outlet-compact-power-conditioner-with-auto-reboot-wb-300-ip-3
Can't believe I had that just lying around. What the heck is wrong with me? Haha. Time to get this thing in action! That said, as much as fancy IP surge protector can be, I still think you'll be fine with something in the $10-30 range. Lol
 
J

Jeff5347

Audioholic
Thanks montucky. I've been looking. Seems anything I look to buy I overthink lol.
Well I'm adding to my post that i meant to write hours ago. I was down stairs tending to my aquarium and my wife's office is downstairs as well. As im cleaning the tank what to my wandering eye do I see, eight tiny...wait no, a 6 plug Tripp lite isobar, lol. So I was like ok this is what I was thinking about getting also. https://www.tripplite.com/isobar-6-outlet-surge-protector-6-ft-cord-3300-joules-diagnostic-leds~ISOBAR6ULTRA So I took my cheap ac strip I was using for all my AV gear and swapped it for the Tripp lite.
Now my question I have sounds newbish, although my sensible side knows better, but can a cheap AC strip ( not a surge protector) degrade audio or picture quality? Reason I ask is I swear the tv seems just a bit clearer and I noticed the judder I thought was just part of the tv seems to be gone. Placebo effect probably but a sliver of me says it got better..thoughts. Oh and the Tripp light states it helps with emi and rfi. Maybe some truth to that ?
 
Joe B

Joe B

Audioholic Chief
Have you ever watched any of the video demonstrations of Panamax equipment? RF & IF noise cancelling, voltage protection, etc.:
Before I purchased my first Panamax device I called and spoke with one of their tec's and asked if they had ever had to warranty equipment that was damaged from one of their devices failing (they have a 5 million dollar max warranty for damaged equipment). He told me they had never had to pay a warranty claim. He said they had received back Panamax units that were completely fried, but the equipment plugged into them was fine.
I'm sold on the over/under voltage protection circuitry, something which does happen in my area on occassion. I've lost a NAS device to this once before. Now my home theater is protected with one and I have another for my desk top audio set up, computer and NAS. A few hundred bucks a piece for peace of mind......worth it for me!
There are other devices out there that are great, but if you compare the specs, Panamax delivers more for less.
 

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