Surge Protector vs Power Strip (How many Watts do they Handle?)

Lots of people get confused between a surge protector and a power surge so this article is going to explain to you the surge protector vs power strip and how many watts they can handle. 

Surge protector vs power strip:

The following are a few points that explain surge protector vs power strip. 

Power strip

Meaning of Power strip:

A power strip is a long strip having a bunch of outlets in it, having a cable at one end of the trip and nothing on the other end. The cable is able to plug into an outlet in the wall and the strip is able to give multiple outlets to you so that you can power the devices in it. The devices which we plug into the outlet on the strip will be powered by the outlet which is plugged into the balls. The power strip is basically used to give an extra outlet so that you are able to plug the devices into it. 

Surge Protector vs Power Strip
Surge Protector vs Power Strip

Overloading a power strip:

A power strip is able to handle a Limited amount of watts. A home with 120 volts of the circuit and a power strip is able to handle 1800 watts which is the same as the WALL outlet. If you want to know about the voltage of the power strip you can find it on the power strip box and also it is on the bottom side of the strip. Overloading a power strip will occur when you put in too many devices that require too many watts which will result in overheating electrical failure and even electrical fire. The device can be overloaded if you mistakenly plug into the wrong kind of device. For example, the floor heater should not be plugged into a power strip.

A power strip can be used for:

  • The main use of the power strip is that you will be able to get more sockets to plug more devices into it. As you compare the standard wall outlet has only two or one sockets so if a person wants to plug 3 devices into a socket it will not be possible, here you can use a power strip. 
  • You can use power strips in many places such as in offices, retail stores, on a construction site, and at home.
  • The power strip can easily be on and off by the switch which will kill the power to all the devices which are connected to the power strip. using the power strip will make it easy control to the electrical devices.

Protection level:

Power does not have additional protection if there is a search it is possible that A device that is too expensive can get fired and destroyed. A power strip is only used to provide an extra socket to plug into it.

Surge Protector vs Power Strip
Surge Protector vs Power Strip


The cost of the power strip is less than the surge protector and you can easily find it for less than $30.

Surge protector:


A surge protector is also considered a type of electrical socket as it will protect the devices from a surge. The surge protector is a specialized circuit that will redirect Spikes of electricity into the ground and will protect the electrical devices which are connected to the socket. In an easy way to understand you can consider the surge protector as a valve that will only detect higher electricity than normal and kick it back into the ground and protect the devices. It is the same as the power strip in a way they are the outlet to plug the devices and have an on and off switch to control it. But when we compare it with the power strip it is more costly as it provides protection to the devices.

When does a power surge occur:

It basically happens when a big device turns on (for example the air conditioner, refrigerator, etc) when lightning strikes, or when somebody hits the electrical transformer. In more simple words, the electricity which is coming from the electrical company is not always in a smooth stream of electricity. There are many cases when the electricity is disrupted and due to which there is a surge in the power. The power Surge is of different levels. A major surge is considered when it is a lightning Strike and at that time the devices can get fire, melt, or malfunction. if the device is not connected to the surge protector then there will be a possibility to call a professional emergency electrical contractor. 

Using a power surge will keep the devices safe against all levels of the surges whether it is small or major as the small surge can also be dangerous to the devices and are common to have at any time. 

Surge Protector vs Power Strip
Surge Protector vs Power Strip

Items at risk:

During a surge the devices like Dishwashers, TVs, computers, washing machines, etc it will destroy any of these items. You should buy a surge protector as all the appliances are so expensive and a few bucks spent on a surge protector can save thousands of money.

A surge protector can be used for:

  • If we compare the surge protector with the power strip a surge protector can be used in the same way a power strip is used but a surge protector will also protect the devices from any power surge in the electricity. 
  • You can also install the surge protector throughout the house by talking to the electrician before building a new house.
  • The surge protector can be used in the home office as in the office you are using many appliances such as computer printers, fax machines, and monitors and you need to protect them from surge power. 

Level of protection:

The level of protection makes a big difference between the power strip and the surge protector as the power strip is only used to provide an additional plug and the surge protector will provide both additional plugs and it will also protect the devices from a power surge.

Surge Protector vs Power Strip
Surge Protector vs Power Strip


The cost of the surge protector is more than the power strip as it provides a level of protection also but it is not a huge difference only 5 or 10 bucks are extra to buy a surge protector. 

How many watts can they handle? 

In the case of a surge protector, the amps range from 330 volts to 4000 volts so the lower that rating is better to provide protection from power surges. While the power strip, you should plug the device into it unless the total wattage is less than 1875 watts. The maximum power, they can handle is the multiple of amps and volts such as 15 amps × 125 volts = 1875 watts of wattage rating. 


In the end, we can conclude that a power surge protector is better to use in the case of having sensitive devices which need to be protected from power spikes. But in case of the low cost and you just want to add a device in a single outlet you can use a power strip

Rick Costa

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