Comparison Shopping: Finding the Best Power Strip

Comparison Shopping: Finding the Best Power Strip

Gregory Han
Jun 28, 2013

I have a bit of a first world problem: I've run out of outlets to plug into in the living room. Our 1930's apartment just wasn't designed to play host to a parade of electronic devices all at once: the HDTV, satellite receiver, audio receiver, Xbox 360, turntable, subwoofer, and other miscellaneous devices all looking to plug-in and power up...

This multiple power strip setup may look as familiar to you as I.

I currently have one 8 outlet surge protector power strip behind the TV console and another 6 outlet strip hidden inside a wall mounted cabinet for our router, modem, home security base station, and other home automation/monitoring devices. With the recent addition of a new lamp, I've filled up every available outlet in the corner of the living room occupied by the home entertainment center, which means I'm now in the market for a new power strip. 

I have a checklist of features I'm looking for in a surge protector power strip for the home theater system, and have narrowed it down to three finalists:

  1. 12 outlets
  2. EMI/RFI (Electromagnetic Interference/Radio Frequency Interference) protection 
  3. 6-10 ft power cord
  4. Under $75.00
  5. 3,000+ Joule energy rating
  6. Flexible outlet spacing
  7. Equipment warranty

The 8 outlet model I currently use is a Belkin power strip and it's served me well (unlike another "monstrous" brand, whose outlets slowly died one by one over the span of two years). The Belkin Pivot-Plug Surge Protector has a flexible 8 rotating and 4 stationary surge-protected designed rated for a high 4,320 Joule energy rating, covered by a $300,000 connected equipment warranty, and sports a sufficiently long 8ft power cord. The $26.96 price is quite palatable, but there's no mention of EMI/RFI protection, so it's one checkmark away from hitting all my requirements.

There's a lot to like about the Tripp Lite's TLP1210SATG Eco-Surge Suppressor  EMI/RFI filtering, 3,600 Joules protection, a user-adjustable wattage control switch, $250,000 protection, wide spacing between 4 of the outlets, and a 10' cord. An "eco" feature helps snuff out phantom energy loads (the energy used while devices are not being used or in standby mode) by completely turning off electrical current 9 of the 12 outlets; 3 outlets are for "always on" devices, like for a DVR which requires constant low power. The $61.62 price seemed a little steep at first, but I also noted Amazon is selling this model for 53% off. A definite contender.

I was just about ready to place an order for the Tripp Lite model when I remembered a friend mentioning purchasing a surge protector from home electronics discount site, Monoprice. Lo and behold, they offer a 12 Outlet Power Surge Protector  with 2 built-in USB charging ports, 4,230 Joules protection, EMI/RFI filtering, 6' power cord, 2-in-1 power/circuit breaker switch, and sufficient spacing for larger plugs at each corner (great placement design).

Additionally, this model indicates when protection circuitry has been fully consumed by power/spikes and needs to be replaced, alongside sports a light up indicator when properly grounded. At $23.86, I could purchase two of these for less than the price of one of the Tripp Lite units I was ready to purchase, but would be giveing up the sizable property damage protection warranty.

I ended up placing an order for the Monoprice model after reading the 21 user 94% positive satisfaction reviews on their site. Since the unit will be hidden behind the television console, I won't have to worry about one of the few criticisms of this unit: an always on LED that cannot be turned off. At the $24 price, it's affordable enough to take a chance upon, solving my outlet famine issue with 4 additional outlets to use, with almost every one of my seven requirements met or exceeded.

(Images: Theresa GonzalezBarnaby Chambers)

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