Most modern households have multiple computers, printers, TVs, and any number of other electrically powered devices. It's only so long before that hard-to-reach wall outlet gets overwhelmed. If you've been searching for the best power strip or surge protector, then you've come to the right place. We literally took these models apart to analyze their design, tested them with multimeters, noncontact voltage testers, and standard outlet testers to see which one is the best. Besides multiplying the number of outlets, many of these devices also protect against electrical surges, which can be destructive to anything with a microprocessor, and help more sensitive and rechargeable devices to last significantly longer.If you're looking to juice up your devices, we've tested everything from the best USB wall chargers to charging stations and top-ranked lightning cables.
The 7 Best Surge Protectors and Power Strips of 2023
$18.99 at Amazon
$42.95 at Amazon
$32.99 at Amazon
$33.91 at Amazon
$31.99 at Amazon
|Pros||Good max voltage surge protection, spaced plugs, mounting holes, durable, high-powered USB ports||Pivoting plugs, well-spaced outlets, great surge protection, convenient handle, long cord, durable||Rugged build, long, heavy-duty cord, hanging loop, powerful||Protective sliding covers, good surge protection, long cord, spaced outlets||Lots of power, small footprint, retractable cord, can shut off power to different levels to maximize charging|
|Cons||Shorter power cord, lights hard to see||Lacks USB plugs, bulky for basic purposes, expensive||Not waterproof, all outlets shut off when it trips, close-together plugs||No USB ports, occasionally trips too easily, pricey||Less robust surge protection, tower must spin to retract cord|
|Bottom Line||Our favorite overall for its USB ports, nicely spaced outlets, and top-tier surge protection; it's powerful enough for home improvement but functional enough to use on your desk||With its best-in-class surge protection, massive warranty, and eight pivoting outlets to accommodate large adapters or bulky plugs, no model matches this one for its prowess as a technology hub||Great for a home shop or yard work, this option has a durable metal design, burly surge protection, and a beefy 15ft cord||A solid option featuring good surge protection, a long cord, and nicely spaced outlets complete with sliding safety covers to help protect children and pets||A great, fully-featured tower-style option for a home office or collaborative workspace|
|Rating Categories||Bototek 10 AC Outlets||Belkin 12-Outlet Pi...||CRST 10-Outlet Heav...||Tripp Lite 8-Outlet||JACKYLED Charging S...|
|Power Provided and Outlet Functionality (35%)|
|Electronics and Surge Protection (30%)|
|Size and Ease of Use (15%)|
|General Safety (10%)|
|Cord Length (10%)|
|Specs||Bototek 10 AC Outlets||Belkin 12-Outlet Pi...||CRST 10-Outlet Heav...||Tripp Lite 8-Outlet||JACKYLED Charging S...|
|Number of AC Outlets||10||12||10||8||10|
|Number of USB Outlets||4||0||0||0||2|
|Cord Length||6 feet||8 feet||15 feet||8 feet||6.5 feet|
|Surge Protection||2100 joules||4320 joules||2800 joules||1440 joules||900 joules|
|Circuit Breaker||15 amp||15 amp||15 amp||15 amp||13 amp|
Best Overall Power Strip
Bototek Surge Protector 10 AC Outlets
The Bototek Surge Protector is a great do-everything power strip that will satisfy the needs of most users. Its outlets are nicely spaced to accommodate bulky plugs and adapters, and its sleek-looking design and 4 USB outlets mean it could even live on your desk or in plain sight in a communal workspace. It provides good enough surge protection to protect more sensitive electronics like computers, printers, flat-screen TV's other items with more sensitive microprocessors. Its 2100 Joules of surge protection is more than average, and all our electrical engineers loved its double breaker design and fire-resistant plastic (flame retardance at 1382℉).
The only thing we didn't love is that its four USB ports only offer 3.4 amps of power split among them. While this is somewhat of a common design feature, not all power strips restrict power so much to 4 USB ports. The 3.4 amps of power means you could only charge one iPad and one iPhone at the maximum rate (or slightly less than three smartphones) before charging times slowed. This should hardly be a deal-breaker as you could just plug your phone into a normal wall plug adapter and stick it into one of this model's 10 outlets. Depending on placement, you might appreciate the low bulk of the 6ft cord, but we appreciate a longer cord for added versatility. While there were a few small strikes against the Bototek Surge Protector, it is hard to argue with its overall versatility, and if we could only choose one product to use for everything from protecting a home office to using outside for home improvement projects, this would be it.
Best Bang for the Buck
KMC 6-Outlet Surge Protector
The KMC 6-Outlet Surge Protector is a 2-pack and our choice for the best budget option. No other model can match the performance it provides for the same price. While it isn't fancy, it is unquestionably solid from a durability and functionality perspective and a step above many of the other twin pack or single power strips in the $10-$15 range. Compared to other more price-pointed models, it offers significantly better surge protection, maintains your wall outlet's 15 amps of power, offers a higher-quality, 4ft, 14-gauge cord that is tougher and longer in length than most other budget models.
While this model's classic design is exceptionally functional, it lacks the bells and whistles of others, like pivoting plugs, childproof covers, or USB outlets. However, for those hunting for a basic but well-designed product for a wide range of uses without spending a lot of money, the KMC 6-Outlet Surge Protector is our go-to option.
Best for Max Surge Protection
Belkin 12-Outlet Pivot-Plug
The Belkin 12-Outlet Pivot-Plug is perfectly designed for an office, home entertainment center, or anyone dealing with multiple pieces of sensitive electronics. It offers 12 nicely spaced outlets, eight of which pivot to accommodate the bulky plugs or adapters common on laptops, desktop computers, printers, or other similar devices. In fact, no other model could match this one for its ability to fit as many bulky plugs. This power strip is also unmatched when it comes to protecting your electronic devices from external or internal surges. Its 4320 Joules (6,000+ volts) of spike protection provides fantastic surge protection and is among the best in our review, reliably providing steady power to help your devices last longer than from the small daily internal surges that happen all the time.
This model is the best for what it's designed for, which is protecting sensitive electronics that need a place to be plugged in all the time. While it crushes for all office applications, it is a little spendier, bulkier, and less versatile compared to a number of other models and would be overkill for home improvement projects, presentations, or adding power sources to your home's office desk or kitchen.
Best Wall Style
POWRUI 6-Outlet USB Charger
For those looking to add more outlets to a more commonly used area of the house, look no further than the POWRUI 6-Outlet USB Charger. The POWRUI uses a low-profile design that packs in a ton of functionality without being an eyesore above your kitchen counter or in the living room. With 15 amps of power split between its 6 outlets and 2 USB plugs, this product maximizes your typical outlet's power into more plug options without sacrifice. For those wanting to make it a permanent addition to a specific location in their home, it is possible to more permanently and securely attach it with a center screw designed to go right into the screw hole in the outlet. All of our testers also loved the basic but convenient cell phone "shelf" along the top of the device. This model also provides above-average surge protection and is rated to 1680 joules. It makes a good travel option, too, as it is rated from 100-240 volts, which means it will work in Europe where they use 220V (although you'll still need a converter for the wall plug itself).
While this is hands down our favorite wall-mounted model, it isn't a classic "power strip" in the traditional sense. Though better for specific applications, it still isn't quite as versatile as most other products in our review. The only other thing we don't love is its 2 USB plugs have a maximum power of 2.4 amps, which is only enough to charge one iPad or smartphone at a time at maximum speed. It can charge two USB devices simultaneously, but neither will charge at its maximum rate. If multiple USB chargers are important to you, look for something with 3-4 amps of power supplied to USB ports.
Best Heavy Duty Model for Home Workshop or Job Site Use
CRST 10-Outlet Heavy Duty
If you need a good power strip to take to the job site or for home improvement projects, yard work, or your home workshop, check out the CRST 10-Outlet Heavy Duty. For outdoor projects, all of our testers loved its 15-foot-long heavy-duty power cord that often allowed us to bypass using an extension cord. We also loved its burly metal aluminum housing and 10 traditional AC outlets rated to a total of 15 amps (the same amount of power your average wall outlet provides). It has enough power for a more robust power tool like a miter saw or folding table saw, in addition to a few other things without tripping it. Folks seeking top-tier surge protection should take note of this model's 2800 joules of protection, which is among the best in our review and far better than average.
While we found the CRST 10-Outlet to be extremely rugged and perfect for outdoor uses that require a fair amount of power, it isn't waterproof and should not be left out in the rain. We also found its plugs a bit too close together for power tools, adapters, and chargers with larger plugs. Still, worst case, we could easily fit six oversized plugs, which kept plug spacing from ever being an issue. Lastly, its 15-amps are enough to run any single power tool, even one with a large draw. However, similar to your typical wall outlet, it likely isn't enough to run two powerful tools at the same time. It has the capacity to run one very powerful tool (like a miter saw) while still charging a few smaller power tools, powering a stereo, and charging up a few phones. In the end, we think this is the perfect option for smaller and medium-sized job sites, home improvement projects, or to help out while working in the yard where you need a fair bit of durability, power, and versatility. The benefits of the long cord will pay off the most, as they might save you from having to unwind a longer extension cord.
Best for Travel and Mobile Offices
Anker 321 Power Strip
The device we tested features 3 standard USB ports, but Anker now makes this cube-shaped unit with 2 USBs and a USB-C port. We're now linking to the updated version, which is pictured above.
The USB charging ports are in a default off mode until a button is pushed on the power strip. Once this button is pressed, it will be illuminated with a blue light, and your USB devices will begin to charge. The surge protection feature of this device is also somewhat confusing. This is the only device we tested that doesn't contain actual surge protection, but it does claim to have some Overload Protection. This is only for minor surges, so this device should not be used as a surge protector. While it likely won't replace a more typical power strip, its compact size and versatile nature make the Anker 321 perfect for travel, mobile offices, presentations, or any scenario where you need to charge a variety of products with potentially limited access to wall outlets.
Best Tower Style Power Strip
JACKYLED Surge Protector Charging Station
If you're in the market for a tower-style power strip for a personal office or a collaborative workspace, the JACKYLED Surge Protector Charging Station is our recommendation. This was a reviewer favorite for office meetings, providing a central place for everyone to stay powered when more traditional wall outlets might be limited. We also loved it for home offices or common workspaces where people commonly come and go and need to plug various things in. The Jackyled provides a sharp, professional-looking power strip that packs in a ton of power for its footprint with ten traditional AC wall outlets, 4 USB outlets, and a slick retractable 6.5 cord.
We only had a couple small gripes with this device. We didn't love that the tower itself must spin to unwind or retract the cord. This means nothing can be plugged into it when you're setting it up. While this is a bummer, we never actually found it to be an issue in real-world use as we generally set up the power strip before plugging in various devices. The other drawback is that it only provides 900 joules of surge protection. This is a modest amount and enough for most office-type uses, but if folks are looking for something to protect sensitive electronics, they might want something a little more robust.
Why You Should Trust Us
Our test process always begins with ample research into the market for the products we're testing. For this review, we assessed dozens of power strips before settling on the selection you see here. We purchased each product at full price to keep bias out of our reviews and then set to create a test plan. We tested each product with noncontact voltage testers, multimeters, and standard outlet testers, and even went so far as to disassemble them to check out their components.Our power strip testing is divided across five different metrics:
- Power Provided and Outlet Functionality (35% of overall score weighting)
- Electronics and Surge Protection (30% weighting)
- Size and Ease of Use (15% weighting)
- General Safety (10% weighting)
- Cord Length (10% weighting)
Lead Tester Ian Nicholson has been writing technical reviews for GearLab for nearly a decade now. He is a Technician level ham radio operator and long-time electronics guru. To help fill in gaps in our knowledge, we also pooled significant information and opinions from three veteran journeyman electricians and five electrical engineers who offered their expertise and advice to help you make the best purchase.
Analysis and Test Results
With so many options available, how do you know which power strip is best for you? After pooling several seasoned electricians and electrical engineers about the pros and pitfalls of various power strips, we purchased them and literally took several models apart to analyze their designs and components. We broke out the voltmeter to see how the electricity in your wall was being distributed among the outlets and USB ports and checked in with the local utility experts and a handful of electrical engineers about the dangers of power surges and what you should be looking for to guard against them.
We're all looking for a good value for our money. It's a bummer to purchase a budget product online only to find out it's a dud. We've done the testing so you can avoid that situation. As they say, when you buy cheap, you buy twice. Our favorite value buy from our test fleet was the 2-pack KMC 6-Outlet Surge Protector. Though these twin power strips aren't the absolute lowest cost, we think the value is significant. You're getting 6 AC outlets per unit with 15 amps of power and a tough 4-foot cord. For something a little more basic but even lower-priced, the 2-pack Amazon Basics 6-Outlet offers many of the same features for even less, although the cords are shorter and there is less surge protection offered. We also like the POWRUI 6-Outlet USB Charger as an affordable wall unit with USB outlets.
Power Provided and Outlet Functionality
In the United States and Canada, the most common wall outlet provides 120 volts/15 amps of power. None of the power strips in our review can boost the amount of electricity to provide more than what is in your wall's outlet. Very powerful appliances like dryers, refrigerators, and some drop-in freezers plug into 240V/30 amp outlets, but none of the power strips or surge protectors in our review are designed to work with these types of plugs.
While there are a handful of appliances that might require more than 120V/15 amps, this is really a lot of power for the vast majority of electrically powered items in your house. For perspective, your average laptop or desktop computer pulls around .8-2 amps of power, and your average smartphone or printer around .5 amps. A large flat-screen TV might pull 1.5-2 amps; however, most heating appliances (like a toaster or electric kettle) tend to pull a lot more (8-12 amps), with some power tools like a higher-end miter or table saw pulling the whole 15 amps.
Traditional Outlets and AC Power
AC (alternating current) power is a fancy way to describe the power that comes out of your wall outlet. The products we tested offered a range of 3 to 12 outlets, with a few models offering 2-4 additional USB ports. How many outlets you need depends on what you'll primarily be using them for. A wall outlet provides 15 amps of power, and you cannot draw more electricity than that.
You might think more outlets are better, but not everyone wants (or even needs) a huge 10-12 outlet behemoth tucked away in their laptop bag, on their office desk, or in a more visible place in their house. Furthermore, the majority of users will likely never need more than 5-6 outlets, and those that do need to have the correct type of equipment to be able to actually use 10-12 plugs at the same time. If you pull too much power, the device will be tripped. Just as important as the number of outlets is the spacing because, on some units, the outlets are too close to fit even medium-sized plugs, forcing you to use only every other outlet.
For those needing to plug in several monitors, printers, or other office-related machines, the Belkin 12-Outlet Pivot-Plug is the undisputed best. It has 12 nicely spaced outlets, eight of which pivot 90 degrees to help fit large plugs and adapters. While this model was the runaway winner, we found the Bototek Surge Protector, Tripp Lite 8-Outlet, and CRST 10-Outlet to be close seconds with plenty of functional connection points. The two most traditionally shaped models, the KMC and the Amazon Basics, struggled to fit anything but small and standard-sized plugs. We could generally only utilize three outlets at a time on these strips.
A single USB port can only provide a maximum of 2.4 amps of power, so even a powerful tablet like an iPad will only pull 2.4 amps at its maximum to achieve its fastest charging rate. An iPhone or similar smartphone will pull around 1-1.2 amps. Many products in our review have USB port maximum of 2.4 amps. A few more powerful models offer an available total of 3.4-3.6 amps across their USB ports, which will be able to charge more devices at their maximum speed simultaneously.
Most units we tested could not charge two iPads at the same time at maximum speed via USB ports (you can bypass this issue by plugging it in via a typical wall/AC adapter). With the 3.4 amp maximum, you can charge an iPad and a smartphone simultaneously at their maximum rates (or at least close to their maximum charging rates, depending on the exact model).
For those prioritizing USB ports, we'd recommend the Bototek Surge Protector and Anker 321 Power Strip, both of which offered 3.4-3.6 amps of maximum power shared among their USB ports.
Electronics and Surge Protection
While most people think a power strip's primary job is to provide additional outlet space, most options also have a built-in surge protector that helps safeguard sensitive electronics against power surges. Better yet, there is generally very little price difference between the models that have some type of surge protection compared to models without. The only model we tested without surge protection is the Anker 321 Power Strip.
Not every electrically powered device in your house needs surge protection, but it certainly isn't a bad idea for any more sensitive electronics — basically anything with a microprocessor, like computers, printers, televisions, stereos, or nearly any other type of entertainment center or office-type devices. Surge protectors protect sensitive electronics from getting overloaded and subsequently fried and also help extend the life of these types of devices.
There are dozens of micro surges that come through your house daily. These come in many forms and are more frequent than the "lightning strike" scenario that might come to mind for most people. The most common culprits are devices currently in your home that draw a lot of power and create micro surges as they turn on and off. Even trees pressing into powerlines or wind knocking down a powerline pole a few miles away can create power surges that will wear out or (though rare) completely destroy your electronics.
How much protection do you need? Is there such a thing as too much? Well, it is pretty tough to have too much, but most people will find between 1000-2000 joules of protection adequate for more sensitive electronics. However, for more sensitive, expensive, or important equipment, we might recommend going with something even higher than 2000 joules, like the Belkin 12-Outlet Pivot-Plug.
The Belkin 12-Outlet Pivot-Plug provided the most protection by far, with a rating of 4320 joules. This is an excellent option for anyone planning to leave computers or a home entertainment center plugged in for extended periods of time. The CRST 10-Outlet Heavy Duty (2800 joules of protection) and the Bototek Surge Protector (2100 joules) were runners-up for great surge protection.
Some manufacturers offer a warranty up to a certain monetary amount on the electronics connected to the device. Personal devices getting totally destroyed is fairly rare, and the primary advantage is to extend the life of your more sensitive electronics, but if you need to plug in some pretty expensive items, it might be worth it to spend a couple extra bucks to get the warranty, which can be some pretty cheap "insurance". The models with the best warranties are the Belkin 12-Outlet Pivot-Plug with a $300,000 connected equipment warranty and the Tripp Lite 8-Outlet, with $75,000.
Size and Ease of Use
Not everyone needs a gigantic power strip. For many applications, having a smaller one that still packs a fair amount of functionality is key, whether you need it for travel, presentations, or just to live on your desk, extending a far-away outlet. We compared each unit's physical size but also how they compared functionally regarding the number of outlets and their spacing.
For folks looking for a small corded option for travel, office, and presentation applications, the Anker 321 Power Strip is our top pick with 3 traditional AC outlets and 3 USB ports. The POWRUI 6-Outlet USB Charger is our favorite option for a wall-style model. It's good for travel and was also a favorite among our testers to leave plugged in in the kitchen or office for extra outlet space and USBs. Boasting a more traditional shape, our review team also loved the Bototek Surge Protector for its slimmer dimensions and didn't find it too bulky to live on an office desk. The 4 USBs it provided came in handy.
Besides pure electrical surge safety, there are other safety factors to consider. One of our staff's favorite safety features, particularly for those with small children or pets, is the sliding safety covers and similar features found on Tripp Lite 8-Outlet. The sliding covers completely block access to unused outlets, keeping curious toddlers and animals safe while still enabling you access to the power outlets you want to use.
We also appreciated models constructed from fire-retardant plastic that is good to at least 1000 degrees F. Fire-retardant plastic is a no-brainer and could easily prevent a fire if you use your unit in ways it shouldn't be, whether intentionally or by mistake. While 1000F is a good baseline, several models in our review, including the Bototek, the Tripp-Lite, and Belkin 12-Outlet Pivot-Plug, are constructed with plastic all rated to over 1300F.
Nearly all of the models we tested have an ON - OFF power switch, allowing you to switch the entire device off when not in use. However, if you have things plugged in that you want to leave on or items you want to be able to turn on that are plugged in all the time, this doesn't help you much. An exception is the tower-style JACKYLED Surge Protector Charging Station, which lets you turn different levels of outlets and USBs on or off. This feature helps to maximize charging, but it also provides some safety. Lastly, we liked models with recessed switches. This is a small feature, but it's nice when it is harder to turn your unit on or off accidentally.
Not every power strip needs a long cord (or a cord at all). However, the majority of users will find a model with a cord to be far more versatile than one without. Options with shorter cords (2-4 ft) are fine, but depending on your needs, you may wish you sprung for a model with a longer cord. For outdoor use, a model with an 8-15 ft cord will prove the most useful, as plugs outside your home or in your garage are generally fewer and farther apart.
If a long cord for yard work or home-shop use is a priority, check out the CRST 10-Outlet Heavy Duty with its 15ft power cord that somewhat doubles as a short extension cord. For folks looking for a more traditional option, check out the Belkin 12-Outlet Pivot-Plug or the Tripp Lite 8 Outlet, which both sport 8ft cords. If you do end up buying a model with a short cord, be sure to familiarize yourself with the dangers of plugging too many items into a power strip connected to an extension cord.
Here at GearLab, we are truly passionate about helping people find the best product for their needs and budget. We put in nearly a hundred hours of work on this review, providing direct comparisons with the honest hope that this article helps you find the best power strip for your needs, whether you are buying one for the office, a personal workspace, or working out in the yard.
— Ian Nicholson
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