The best power strips have two important functions: they provide power and they protect it. When you need to plug in that new gadget, a power strip provides additional sockets. If you get a model with a circuit breaker and surge protection, it helps prevent the circuit from overheating and it also protects your sensitive electronic devices from power spikes. If you want the top-of-the-line experience, try Tripp Lite's Six-Outlet Medical-Grade Surge Protector Power Strip. This impressive power strip is able to protect even delicate medical equipment from power surges. To learn more about this model as well as what to look for in other power strips, read our buying guide. Considerations when choosing power strips Capacity Determine how many sockets you need. Smaller models may only offer three sockets, while others may have as many as 12. The important thing to remember is that power strips are designed for temporary use of very light load items such as lamps and laptops. Just because you have a power strip with 12 sockets doesn't mean you can safely plug 12 items into that strip. Protection Like the water in your garden hose, electricity flows with volume (amps) and force (Joules). You need a power strip that has both a circuit breaker, which helps protect the overheating that can occur from too many amps, and a surge protector, which can help protect your equipment when there is a temporary spike in power. Purchasing a power strip with only one or the other does not fully protect you and your sensitive electronic equipment. Features Cord options Since the rule of thumb is that you should never plug an extension cord into a power strip, the cord on your power strip must be long enough to safely reach the item you need to plug in. Additionally, a flat, space-saving plug is great when the wall outlet is located behind furniture where you might not have much space. Technology options Bells and whistles for power strips include USB ports for charging devices, smart technology so you can remotely control the receptacles in your power strip, and indicator lights so you know when the power strip is on and/or experiencing a power surge. Price You can find a basic power strip without any type of overload or surge protection for under $10. In the $10 to $25 price range, you can usually find a power strip that is sufficient for home use needs. Most of these units offer both overload and surge protection. As you move to $25 to $50 and above, power strips include a wider variety of features such as smart technology, USB ports, and more. FAQ Q. When I run out of open sockets, is it okay to keep adding more power strips? A. No. You should never plug a power strip into another power strip. The power that is supplied to a wall outlet does not change. When you place a greater demand on that outlet by plugging in additional devices, you run the risk of overheating the circuit and starting a fire. Q. I just purchased a power strip with a surge protector. Will it work forever? A. Most people do not realize that the harder a surge protector works, the quicker it wears out. Even if you experience no power surges, most units should be replaced at least every two years. Power strips we recommend Best of the best: Tripp Lite's Six-Outlet Medical-Grade Surge Protector Power Strip Our take: A high-end power strip suitable for even your most delicate electronics. What we like: This high-quality power strip has a built-in 15-amp circuit breaker that is resettable along with 1,050 joules of surge suppression protection. Additionally, the on/off switch has a safety cover to ensure there are no unintentional shut-offs. What we dislike: This power strip is expensive enough to place it out of a comfortable budget for many. Best bang for your buck: GE's Six-Outlet Surge Protector Our take: An affordable power strip with a number of desirable features. What we like: With its space-saving, flat plug, twist-to-close safety outlets and a satisfactory 800 Joules of surge protection, this is a go-to model that covers all your basic power strip needs. What we dislike: The tight spacing of the sockets doesn't allow you to use all six if you have any items that feature a larger transformer plug. Choice 3: TECKIN 's Smart Power Strip WiFi Our take: A smart power strip compatible with your smartphone as well as a number of voice assistants. What we like: This power strip has four power sockets as well as four USB ports that you can use to charge devices. The sockets can be independently controlled by an app on your smartphone or through a virtual assistant such as Alexa. What we dislike: For the most part this device operates smoothly, but it's not without a few operational bugs. Sometimes it loses the WiFi signal and must be reset. Allen Foster is a writer for BestReviews. BestReviews is a product review company with a singular mission: to help simplify your purchasing decisions and save you time and money. BestReviews never accepts free products from manufacturers and purchases every product it reviews with its own funds. BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. BestReviews and its newspaper partners may earn a commission if you purchase a product through one of our links. Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.
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