Best Surge Protector: Tripp Lite vs APC vs Eaton vs Square D vs Leviton & More

To sustain this free service, we receive affiliate commissions via some of our links. This doesn’t affect rankings. Our review process.

Best for Whole House 
Best for Computers & TVs
1st
2nd
3rd

Power surges, spikes and lightning strikes, oh my! Don’t be the next victim to a house or office fire because you weren’t protected from unexpected electrical surges and sparks.

Article Overview

Why Get A Surge Protector?

Did you know that 80% of electrical power surges come from within your own home?

Or that cable, ethernet and phone wires are just as vulnerable to surge damage as electric wiring?

Now more than ever, your home’s electronic devices are susceptible to major power surge damage that can cost you thousands.

And it’s not just your computers and TVs that are at risk. With the advent of smart technology, more and more home appliances – even lighting and home security devices – are at risk of a power surge.

There’s a lot you can do with multiple layers of surge protectors to safeguard all of your home electronic valuables.

What Does A Surge Protector Do?

Surge protective devices (aka SPDs) function like a parental control feature, only letting in good electricity and blocking out the bad content. SPDs snuff out unwanted bursts of electricity, called surges or spikes, that can inflict some serious damage to any kind of electronic device, appliance or system in your home or business.

Most standard wiring in the U.S. accommodates 120 volts of electricity, but sometimes there’s excessive voltage (think of a garden hose that has too much water pressure). An SPD suppresses that extra electricity so it doesn’t travel to your devices. Even smaller surges, called spikes, can wear down the circuit boards in your electronics over time, reducing their lifespan.

How Does Whole House Surge Protection Work?

Check out this video by Eaton to see how whole house surge protection safeguards your home against power surges.

Best Whole House Surge Protector

In our best home surge protector reviews, we review SPDs that wire directly into your home’s breaker box to safeguard against external power surges, like lightning strikes, but they even guard against surges that come from within your home. When systems on a dedicated circuit, like your AC, experience a surge, the excess power flows back through your breaker panel. If you have an SPD in place, however, it stops the surge in its tracks.

You need an electrician to install whole house SPDs, unlike the surge strips you plug into your home outlets. Below are our top picks for whole house surge protectors. All are 120/240 V and UL certified (the gold standard for safe electronic products). See our terminology section to understand all the tech lingo and why the specs are important.

Eaton Whole House Surge Protection Review

Eaton Whole House Surge Protection#1

View on Amazon

Well known in the commercial electronics industry for its high quality, the Eaton CHSPT2ULTRA is our  winner for best home surge protector. With one of the highest surge current capacities we’ve seen at 108kA and a lower price than most whole house SPDs, the Eaton is tough to beat for its value.

While the basic model doesn’t have phone or cable protection, you can easily add one or both. It’s an additional cost, but we like the fact that you customize what you need without paying for things you won’t use.

Pros

Cons

  • Excellent value
  • Indoor and outdoor use
  • Universal connection with any breaker box
  • Excellent surge current capacity
  • LED status indicator
  • Easy-to-add cable and phone protection modules
  • Gets expensive with cable and phone add-on modules

Pricing & Tech Specs

  • $115.99
  • 108 kA Surge Current Capacity
  • 22 kA SCCR
  • MCOV: 150V L-N, 300V L-L
  • VPR: 600V L-N, 1000V L-L, 800V N-G, 600V L-G
  • Limited lifetime $75,000 warranty for connected equipment

Square D Surgelogic Surgebreaker Plus Whole House Surge Protector Review

Square D Surgelogic Surge Breaker Plus#2

View on Amazon

The Square D Surgelogic Surge Breaker Plus Whole House Surge Protector (Model SDSB80111) wins our second spot as best whole house surge protector. Square D is a top producer of electrical products and has an excellent reputation.

This product gives you complete house protection, including phone, cable and ethernet, all in a small, easy-to-install design.

Pros

Cons

  • Easy to install
  • Protects electrical, phone, cable and ethernet wiring
  • Compact design fits in smaller spaces
  • Indoor and outdoor use
  • Easily customizable to remove the phone and cable components
  • Expensive
  • Offers 80 kA maximum surge current capacity, 50 kA less than our #1 pick Eaton
  • Only a five year warranty

Pricing & Tech Specs

  • $185.87
  • 80 kA Surge Current Capacity
  • 25 kA SCCR
  • MCOV: 150V L-N; 150V L-G; 300V L-L
  • VPR: 600V L-N; 1,000V L-L; 1,000V N-G; 700V L-G VPR
  • 5-year warranty covers up to $75,000 of connected equipment

Leviton Panel Protector Review

Leviton 51120-1#3

View on Amazon

The Leviton 51120-1 Panel Protector comes in third in our best whole house surge protector category. While Leviton is a long-standing, reputable manufacturer of electronic products, this product falls short compared to its competitors.

The low performance of the Leviton Panel Protector doesn’t warrant its high price tag.

Pros

Cons

  • Real-time indicator shows power and suppression status
  • Compatible with Decora Home Controls
  • Well respected manufacturer
  • Expensive compared to performance capability
  • Doesn’t support Neutral to Ground or Line to Ground protection modes
  • Falls short on VPR
  • Maximum surge current capacity only 50 kA
  • Warranty only covers $25,000 of damages
  • Indoor use only

Pricing & Tech Specs

  • $189.99
  • 50 kA Surge Current Capacity
  • 10 kA SCCA
  • MCOV: 150V L-N; 300V L-L
  • VPR: 800V L-N; 1,200V L-L
  • 10-year limited warranty covers up to $25,000 of connected equipment

Best Surge Protector for Computers & TVs

Your whole house surge protector is your first line of defense. However, most experts agree it’s always a good idea to layer your protection by adding standard surge protectors to your home electronics. Here are our picks for best surge protectors for computers, televisions, home entertainment systems and more.

Belkin 12-Outlet Home/Office Surge Protector Review

Belkin 12-Outlet Home/Office Surge Protector#1

View on Amazon

The Belkin 12-Outlet Home/Office Surge Protector with Phone/Ethernet/Coaxial Protection (Model BE112234-10) takes our top spot as best standard surge protector. This surge protector rocks. It has excellent joule rating and protection for all your lines (a key factor for home office and home theater centers).

A compact design and extended cord length make the Belkin easy to use anywhere. It even has sliding safety covers on each of its 12 outlets. Top it off with Belkin’s lifetime $300,000 connected equipment warranty and you’ve got an excellent product.

Pros

Cons

  • Highest joule energy rating of our top three
  • $300,000 lifetime warranty
  • Easily accommodates six large power adapters
  • Power filtration gives you a cleaner picture and clearer sound
  • LED lights indicate protection and power status
  • Right-angle plug fits tight spaces
  • Detachable cord management clip helps you organize all your wires
  • On the pricey side
  • Not wall mountable

Pricing & Tech Specs

  • Out of stock
  • Lifetime warranty covers up to $300,000 in connected equipment
  • 10-foot cord
  • 120V Nominal Voltage Input
  • 3996 Joule Energy Rating
  • 6000V Maximum Spike Voltage
  • 330V Clamping Voltage
  • Data line protection: RJ-11 Telephone/Modem/Fax/DSL protection (1 in, 2 out); Coaxial/Cable protection; RJ-45 Ethernet pro
  • Noise Filter: 150KHz ~100MHz, up to 75dB

Tripp Lite Protect It! 10-Outlet Surge Protector

Tripp Lite Protect It!#2

View on Amazon

The Tripp Lite Protect It! 10-Outlet Surge protector (Model TLP 1008TELTV) comes in a close second as best standard surge protector. The Tripp Lite shares many of the same great features as our number one pick with a few exceptions: fewer outlets, a shorter cord and a smaller warranty.

What really tips the scale? The ultimate reason you’re looking at these products. The Tripp Lite just doesn’t match the level of surge protection that the Belkin offers.

Pros

Cons

  • High 3345  joule rating
  • Built-in audible alarm sounds if surge protection circuitry fails
  • Wall mountable
  • LED lights indicate power and protection status
  • Sliding safety covers on each outlet
  • Warranty covers half of equipment damage costs as our number one Belkin
  • Only room for four large power adapters compared to six with other top winners
  • EMI/RFI noise filtering not as good as other top winners

Pricing & Tech Specs

  • $24.53
  • Lifetime warranty covers up to $150,000 in connected equipment
  • Eight-foot cord
  • 120V Nominal Voltage Input
  • 3345 Joule Energy Rating
  • 150V Clamping Voltage
  • Data line protection: Built-in RJ11 jacks; built-in splitter protects two devices sharing a single line; 6-ft. telephone cord included. Built-in 2.2GHz gold coax jacks; 6-ft gold coax cable included
  • Noise Filter: up to 40dB

APC Surgearrest 3020J Review

APC 3020J 11-Outlet Performance SurgeArrest Surge Protector#3

View on Amazon

The APC 3020J 11-Outlet Performance SurgeArrest Surge Protector with Phone (Splitter), Coax and Ethernet Protection (Model P11VNT3) rounds out our top three best surge protectors.

Although the APC performs well compared to lesser quality SPDs, it just can’t compete with our top two winners. What keeps it out of our top two spots? Less overall surge protection, smallest warranty coverage and a number of consumer complaints about product quality.

Pros

Cons

  • Good joule rating compared to lesser quality products
  • LED lights indicate function of power and protection
  • Good noise and picture filter
  • Accommodates six large power adapters
  • Less surge protection than other top products
  • Consumer complaints about poor quality product
  • Warranty not as strong as our top two picks
  • No sliding safety covers on outlets

Pricing & Tech Specs

  • $88.39
  • Lifetime warranty covers up to $100,000 in connected equipment
  • 120V Nominal Voltage Input
  • 3020 Joule Rating
  • 400V Clamping Voltage
  • Data line protection: Analog phone line for phone/fax/modem/DSL (RJ-11 connector), Network line – 10/100 Base-T Ethernet (RJ-45 connector), Coaxial cable for CATV/SATV/modem/Audio-Video (coax connector)
  • Noise Filter: 100KHz ~10MHz, up to 70dB

Surge Protector Terminology

  • Joules: the units of energy a standard SPD is capable of suppressing. Many experts recommend a 1,300 joule rating minimum for computers.
  • Surge Current Capacity: the maximum amount of surge current that the SPD can safely divert in a one-time surge event. Measured in kA (thousands of amps), the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers recommends a minimum of 20 kA to 70 kA and for high lightening locations 40 kA to 120 kA.
  • Short Circuit Current Rating (SCCR): the amount of current the SPD can withstand under short-circuit conditions in the wiring of the building. Short circuits don’t produce the high voltage levels that surge events create, so the SCCR numbers are much lower.
  • Modes of Protection: The best whole house surge protectors should have protection for Line to Neutral (L-N), Neutral to Ground (N-G), and Line to Ground (L-G) for both incoming lines.
  • Maximum Continuous Operating Voltage (MCOV): a measure of how much voltage the SPD can handle through its individual modes of protection during a continuous surge. The higher the number the better. The general rule is: the MCOV should be at minimum 15% above the unit’s nominal voltage, so with a 120V/240V unit, the L-N MCOV should be a minimum of 138V and the L-L MCOV should be 276V at minimum.
  • Voltage Protection Rating (VPR): Also called clamping voltage, the VPR is a measure of how much voltage can run through the SPD after a surge event. Like the MCOV, the VPR levels are listed for each mode of protection. Unlike the MCOV, the lower the number the better.

Take Charge Of Your Electronics

The average home has $10,000 to $15,000 of electronic devices that are susceptible to major power surge damage. Given the thousands you could lose in damaged equipment, it makes sense to invest in the best surge protector devices for your home and office.

Especially your larger ticket items, both of which we review, like treadmill desks and 3D printers.

Have you had surge events in your home or office?

We are a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for us to earn fees by linking to Amazon.com and affiliated sites.
Sally has coupled her passion for writing with her (slight) obsession for the latest high tech gadgets. While she’s not daydreaming about the beach, she’s taking advantage of all the activities her hometown has to offer in the Blue Ridge foothills.

2
Leave a Reply

avatar
newest oldest most voted
Phillip A. Kuhn
I don’t know if you’re aware of this, but Belkin has a frighteningly bad reputation for not honoring their warranties. I’ve been looking for a good surge protector, with about 4k joules protection. Yes, the Belkin fills this requirement. But if you search Amazon for this product, you will see almost 200 customer reviews (at the time of this writing) describing how the warranty simply was not honored by the company. Worse, the product did not perform as it should have during lightning storms and other major surges. I don’t know about you guys, but I’m steering well clear of Belkin products. I want a protector that ACTUALLY WORKS, and whose company is honorable.
Rob
I need to get one of these for our home, I used in my office but have lots of valuable electronics plugged in that could get damaged in our living room and elsewhere