In all likelihood, the humble power strip rarely crosses your mind. But it can be the difference between a smoothly functioning slate of gadgets and a nonfunctional laptop/phone/toothbrush/Alexa. Chances are, the power strips you're now using around the house are a couple years old, and they can wear out over time, no longer offering the same surge protection they once did. So if you're starting from scratch or are just looking to upgrade or supplement, here are some surefire new ones to consider.
If you don't need to get too far from the wall outlet, this simple GoGreen strip will get you six more slots for just about $5. The indicator light, showing when all's well, is green instead of the typical red. It provides 540 joules of protection—90J for each if they're all being used simultaneously.
This portable surge protector sports two USB ports and one socket, perfect for when you're on the road and want to ensure extra protection for your electronics. The surge protector itself won't obstruct your bottom wall outlet when it's plugged in.
The last thing you want to do with a power strip is daisy-chain one with an extension cord. If you need to plug in a couple of devices far from a wall outlet, you’ll need a surge protector that has a long cord of its own, like this 15-foot one from Kensington. It’s no-frills otherwise, but it will provide 540 joules of protection and has an LED light to indicate that your gear is actually protected.
Well suited to the edge of a desk or the corner of a room, the JACKYLED power strip tower has ten outlets, four USB slots, and a six-foot cord, so that you can plug in devices from multiple angles. It has 780J protection and a small handle on top so you can lift/move it easily.
An APC uninterruptible power supply (or UPS) is a great investment if you’re looking to protect your gear and get a bit of battery power during an outage, but the company’s surge protectors are also a solid choice if you just need some basic protection. This one in the Home/Office series has plenty of well-spaced outlets, along with two USB cords to keep all your devices powered and charged. You’ll also get some added peace of mind from APC’s lifetime warranty and equipment-protection policy.
If you don't need a ton of outlets and want a power strip that's also travel-friendly, consider something like Belkin's compact SurgePlus power strip. You'll get two USB ports along with the three AC outlets, though they only offer a combined 2.1 amps, so they'll charge your devices a bit slower if you use both at the same time. The plug on the strip itself also swivels so you can make the most of a cramped space.
The outlets on this power strip rotate so that you can easily plug in your gadgets from multiple different angles—the EchoGear surge protector is in the typical long, thin power strip form though, which could be useful depending on the space you need it for. It has an eight-foot cord and can withstand a maximum current spike of 144,000A.
Many surge protectors with built-in USB ports still use lower amperage ports that can take longer to charge mobile devices, but this one from Holsem has a pair of 3.1A Quick Charge ports that should charge them as fast as any other charger. You’ll also get one extra standard USB port besides those, and an ample 12 AC outlets, six of which are spaced to accommodate larger power adapters.
Another highly versatile option, this Stanley Mini Squid adapter will give you three flexible outlets that'll accommodate large grounded plugs as well as a pair of USB ports to charge your portable devices, which makes it a great addition to a workshop or office. If you don't need the USB outlets, you can get with five AC outlets instead for about the same price.
If you need to plug in a bunch of devices with adapters or various shapes and sizes, you won't do much better than Belkin's 12-outlet PivotPlug, which is a . Eight of those outlets swivel so you don't have to worry about one plug obstructing another, and all of them provide surge protection with an impressive 4320 joule energy rating. A detachable clip also helps to keep all of those cables in one place.
If you don't think you'll need the swiveling plugs of Belkin's PivotPlug, you can save a bit of money by getting the company's standard 12-outlet surge protector instead. It's a among LifeHacker readers and gets consistently good ratings among Amazon customers where it's maintained a four-and-half-star rating out of five after more than 7,600 reviews. All 12 outlets have sliding safety covers, and like the PivotPlug, it includes a clip for keeping all those cables nice and tidy.
If you're looking for a truly fail-safe surge protector (short of a full-fledged uninterruptible power supply), recommends Tripp Lite's TLP1008TEL surge protector for its ability to shut off power to your devices when its surge protection abilities wear out (as opposed to simply warning you). Beyond that feature, you'll get an ample ten outlets, four of which are spread out a bit to accommodate larger AC adapters.