So What Exactly Does It Do?
Surge protectors are sold as a shield from power bumps, surges and other electrical impulses that can cause damage to the sensitive hardware of computers, like memory, motherboards, power supplies and the hard drive.
Power surges can come from outside the home through lightning strikes and power outages. They can also come from other electronics and appliances inside your home. A good rule of thumb is to have any major appliance, televisions, and other electronic items plugged into a surge protector. You may have a whole house surge protection system in place, but that really only protects surges that come from the outside of the house.
For most computer hardware and other small electronic devices, a surge protector with a Joules rating of at least 4,000 should do the trick.
Some Surge Protectors are kind of Pricey
The prices for surge protectors can range from a couple of bucks, to well over a hundred dollars. Although a cheaper model will probably work ok, the parts inside of it may wear faster. You may experience power surges inside your house all of the time, without even knowing it. A mid to high range surge protector will probably last longer than a less expensive model. Eventually, any surge protector will stop being effective as time moves on.
Is a Surge Protector the same as a UPS?
A UPS (Uninterruptable Power Supply) is similar to a surge protector with one big difference. It also has a battery inside that will keep your electronics running even if the power goes out. Although a surge protector can prevent power surges from frying the circuits inside a computer, a power outage can cause other problems for electronic components.
Most home UPS systems will only power your devices for minutes, but this can be enough time to properly shut down your computer, and save any important documents you were working on at the time.
The bottom line is to always plug your expensive electronics into a surge protector. Serious over here!