Best Power Strips

Updated October 2019
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BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We only make money if you purchase a product through our links, and we never accept free products from manufacturers. Read more  
BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We buy all products with our own funds, and we never accept free products from manufacturers.Read more 
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Why trust BestReviews?
BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We only make money if you purchase a product through our links, and we never accept free products from manufacturers. Read more  
BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We only make money if you purchase a product through our links, and we never accept free products from manufacturers. Read more  
BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We buy all products with our own funds, and we never accept free products from manufacturers.Read more 
How we decided

We purchase every product we review with our own funds — we never accept anything from product manufacturers.

38 Models Considered
7 Hours Researched
1 Experts Interviewed
212 Consumers Consulted
Zero products received from manufacturers.

We purchase every product we review with our own funds — we never accept anything from product manufacturers.

Buying guide for best power strips

Last Updated October 2019

In today’s high-tech world, outlet shortage is an all too common experience. Fortunately, there’s a simple solution to this problem: the power strip. A power strip consists of several electrical outlets that can be plugged into the wall, allowing you to power several devices at once with only one wall outlet. The concept is quite simple, but in practice, there are several factors to consider before buying a power strip. Read on to learn more.

Don’t plug large, energy-sucking items like space heaters, air conditioners, or computers into power strips.

Key considerations

The two most important decisions you need to make are the size of the power strip and whether you want a surge protector.

Size

Power strips have anywhere from four to 12 outlets; the majority have six outlets. Ask yourself how many items you will need to plug into the power strip and choose one that can accommodate this. Keep in mind that the more outlets a power strip has, the larger and bulkier it will be. This could be problematic if you plan to store the power strip in a tight space.

Surge protector

Many people use the terms “power strip” and “surge protector” interchangeably. However, this is not accurate. A power strip is a collection of outlets that you can plug into a wall outlet. A surge protector is a device with technology designed to protect electrical devices from power surges. If you’re concerned about your devices being damaged by a power surge, it’s crucial that you purchase a surge protector instead of an ordinary power strip. Many power strips these days have built-in surge protectors, though, so finding one shouldn’t be difficult.

Top-shelf protection

The Tripp Lite 4-Outlet Medical-Grade Surge Protector Power Strip is the ideal choice if you have sensitive electronics that you need to protect against power surge damage. It has been certified for use in hospitals, which have stringent requirements to help avoid unexpected technology failure. The four outlets have individual covers, so you can prevent debris from falling into unused outlets.

Features

Once you’ve determined the basic type of power strip you need, it’s time to drill down into the details.

Cord length

Your power strip should have a long enough cord to reach from your outlet to wherever you want to put it. If the cord is too short, the power strip may not reach far enough to be useful. You can figure out how long the cord is by checking the product page online or reaching out to the manufacturer.

Configuration

The most common power strip configuration is for all the outlets to be in a single line. However, there are power strips with two rows of outlets, and there are circular power strips that give you equal access to outlets in any direction (without the need to bend cords).

If you need to plug in a cord that’s particularly bulky, it may be difficult or impossible to use the outlets on either side in a standard power strip. In that case, you may want to think about purchasing a power strip with outlets spaced farther apart. Another option is to choose a power strip with swiveling outlets. These outlets can face straight up like a traditional power strip, or they can be rotated 90 degrees to either side.

On/off switch

Most power strips have an on/off switch that can cut power to the entire power strip without forcing you to unplug the strip itself. This is useful if you’re trying to conserve electricity. You can shut the power strip off at night, for example, and turn it on again in the morning when you want to use it.

USB ports

Most electronic devices that have a USB charger can be plugged into an adapter and used in a regular outlet. If you don’t have an adapter on hand, it’s nice to have the option to plug your device directly into a USB port. Some newer power strips have this option. It’s not essential, but it’s great for charging smartphones and similar devices without reaching for the nearest computer or hunting for your adapter.

Smart technology

The most advanced power strips on the market today employ smart technology that connects them to WiFi. In addition to using the on/off switch, you can control smart power strips through an app on your phone. This gives you the freedom to turn the power strip on and off or to set a schedule for when you want it to be on and off. You can even control each outlet individually from the app.

A smart power strip is a wise investment for those who are trying to cut down on energy usage. By shutting off select outlets or the entire power strip when you’re not using it, you can reduce your electricity bill.

 

EXPERT TIP

Check your power strip’s cord periodically. If it is frayed, replace the power strip.


Staff  | BestReviews

Power strip prices

Power strips range in price from $10 to over $125. Cost depends on several factors, including the number of outlets included, whether the power strip has a surge protector, and what other features it offers.

If you just need a standard power strip and don’t have any special configuration requirements, you can find a suitable one for under $25. For a smart power strip, expect to spend anywhere from $25 to $75. Medical-grade power strips — those certified for use in hospitals — can cost $100 or more, but unless you’re purchasing a power strip for an institution like this, you probably don’t need to spend this much.

CAUTION

If your power strip feels hot, unplug it immediately.

Tips

  • Never plug one power strip into another.
  • Double-check that the items you plan to plug in can be plugged into a power strip safely. Some larger electronic devices must be plugged directly into a wall outlet.
  • Don’t plug in too many large items that use a lot of energy, or you may overload your power strip.
  • If you have small children, be sure to childproof any outlets on your power strip that you’re not using to prevent your child from electrocution.
  • Keep your power strips away from water.
DID YOU KNOW?

Power surges may be caused by external events, like a lightning storm, or internal events, like an air conditioner starting up or shutting down.

A simple product at a great value

The GE Power Strip Surge Protector is a great basic power strip with six outlets. It’s available with cords of varying lengths (from two to ten feet), so you can choose the model that suits you best. You also have your choice of a black or white power strip. The blue indicator light on the top lets you know that your devices are protected or if there has been a power surge.

Other products we considered

If you need to plug a large number of items into a single power strip, we recommend the Belkin 12-Outlet Power Strip Surge Protector. It contains 12 outlets arranged in three rows. The center row is ideal for smaller outlets, while the two outside rows have outlets spaced farther apart to accommodate larger plugs. It’s backed by an impressive lifetime warranty and a $300,000 connected equipment warranty.

Those interested in something a little more compact will appreciate the TESSAN 3-Outlet, 3-USB Power Strip. This power strip is shaped like a cube and is meant to sit unobtrusively on a desktop. It’s available in black and white and contains three traditional outlets and three USB ports. There’s also an on/off switch within easy reach.

Keep your power strip cord straight while in use. Knotted cords may be prone to fraying or breaking.

FAQ

Q. How do I reset my power strip after there has been a power surge?
A.
Consult your owner’s manual for specific information about your model. Generally, you would unplug all items from the power strip and turn it off and back on again. There may be an indicator light that lets you know when the power strip is working again. Then, you just plug all your devices back in.

Q. Can I plug an extension cord into a power strip?
A.
You may be able to, but you need to be careful to not overload the power strip, especially if it has multiple devices plugged into it. It’s best to consult your owner’s manual before plugging an extension cord into a power strip.

The team that worked on this review
  • Eliza
    Eliza
    Production Manager
  • Karen
    Karen
    Writer
  • Melinda
    Melinda
    Web Producer

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