you look for in a Surge Protector
When you buy a
surge protector, try to find something better than the $5 or $10 power
strip things. Although they are slightly better than nothing, they are
notoriously unreliable and most won't tell you when they are no longer
protecting your equipment. One good surge and your protection is
gone—but they continue to function as a power strip. Very tricky - so be
sure to look for one that tells you when it's dead!
Also, when looking for a
surge protector, look for one that features a phone line "pass through".
Telephone wires can deliver a potent surge into your computer. I've
repaired (and seen) more than a few computers that were damaged due to
telephone line power surges.
In fact, phone line
surges are more likely to cause damage than power line surges. Why? Your
computer's power supply acts as a built in surge protector (not a great
one, mind you). Even if a surge sneaks through your regular surge
protector, the power supply may prevent it from doing any damage.
That said, just because
your power supply does some remedial surge protection, it's no
substitute for the real thing. Computers get damaged on a daily basis
due to lack of surge protection. But I digress...
Back to surge protectors.
A good quality surge
suppressor will cost anywhere from $20.00 to $100.00 and be "UL" listed.
It should also feature an indicator light that tells you when the surge
protection circuit is no longer functioning.
Now, when you start
talking surge protection, you sometimes run across folks babbling about
clamping voltages, response nanoseconds, and joule levels. Although that
is a valid way to compare various surge protectors (and make the speaker
look knowledgeable), not every protector gives you that info—and who's
to say it's even accurate? Let's look at the "down and dirty" method of
finding a good surge protector.
The easiest way to
tell if you're getting a quality surge protector is to look at the
"connected equipment" warranty. Nowadays, we like the ones that cover
connected equipment for up to $50,000 or more. We figure if they are
willing to risk 50K +, they're probably selling a good piece of
equipment. If it doesn't have a connected equipment warranty, set it
back on the shelf and keep a-walkin'
Below is a link to a
supplier where you can get a Fellowes Surge Protector with a
$100,000 'connected equipment' warranty. If they are
willing to bet $100,000, we are willing to bet it keeps our equipment