A surge protector is designed to sacrifice itself in order to protect your expensive electronics. When a power surge and spike in voltage comes down the line, the best surge protectors will sense it immediately.
They stop the voltage spike from damaging power supplies or completely frying your electronic item’s circuit board beyond repair. The best surge protectors will also include some sort of insurance, so that in the rare case that they fail, there is replacement money to help you get back up and running (although it’s likely a long and difficult process).
Surge protectors are one of those things that you don’t realize you need, until it’s too late. Like a bike helmet, put it on before you crash to save you the hassle and cost of buying new equipment, and the possibility of irreplaceable loss of data.
How can we help you choose the best surge protector?
Why should you trust us? As we discover time and time again, the internet is full of review sites looking to get your attention and earn a small commission for their efforts. Yet some of these sites are not just full of filler content, they are actually misleading.
In our research for the best surge protectors in Canada, we came across multiple sites that touted the fancy-modern-looking smart surge protectors as the top choices.
Yet when we looked at the actual surge protection ratings on those devices, they were dangerously bad – meaning that if you actually had a surge, you had hardly any protection at all. And, if you encountered a major surge or lightning strike, chances are high that your surge protector would do nothing to save your expensive and delicate electronics.
We based our rating purely on the surge protector’s clamping voltage and energy absorption rating (joules). Frankly, we didn’t care if the device looked ugly (sorry Belkin!) so long as it would protect our devices.
Comparing the Best Surge Protectors:
Hey Canada! This section helps you compare the features of these products to help you choose the best option for you! Click on the product name to jump down to that specific review.
Joule Energy Rating
Power Cord Length
Best Surge Protector - APC 12 Outlet with USB
APC provides all the protection you'll need, and backs it up with a $300,000 connected equipment warranty making this our choice for the best surge protector.
Get the best price APC Surge Protector with USB in Canada from:
Best Surge Protector - APC 12 Outlet with USB review details:
APC Surge Protector with USB Reviews
TechHive ranked it as the #3 on their list claiming it was the 'Best at Powering-off' in their product review. [June 2020]
APC’s SurgeArrest Performance P12U2 is our new favorite surge protector that automatically cuts power when protection ends.
Wirecutter ranked it as the #2 on their list claiming it was the 'Runner-Up' in their product review. [June 2020]
Auto-shutoff only works on complete protection failure, but it features prominent LEDs indicating a wiring problem
Upgrade Pick - Tripp-Lite ISOBAR
With an indestructible metal housing, this Tripp Lite Isobar is the best surge protector option for professional protection. It's used in 13 million offices around the world!
It's our upgrade pick because it costs about 50% more than our top pick, but if you want a small, compact, metal housing, then this is the only choice. Plus, it comes with Tripp-Lite's amazing 150 V clamping voltage rating - the best out of all of the units we compared!
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Upgrade Pick - Tripp-Lite ISOBAR review details:
Belkin PivotPlug - Second Best Surge Protector
With 12 outlets and an 8 foot power chord this surge protector is ready to handle everything you need protected.
This PivotPlug Belkin surge protector is one of the best surge protectors by providing clamping voltage spikes at 330 V, and giving over 4000 joules of power absorption.
And they know that's great protection, because Belkin even gives you a lifetime warranty on the device, and $300,000 worth of connected equipment warranty coverage!
All of this from a reliable company with a good history of customer satisfaction, and for a reasonable price.
This surge protector design is a little dated, however, because it has phone line and cable protection, but doesn't provide and USB power outlets.
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Belkin PivotPlug - Second Best Surge Protector review details:
Belkin PivotPlug Surge Protector Reviews
TechHive ranked it as the #2 on their list claiming it was the 'Best All-Purpose Surge Protector' in their product review. [June 2020]
Very flexible and adaptable surge protector
Tom's Guide ranked it as the #3 on their list claiming it was the 'Another good surge protector' in their product review. [July 2019]
Most Protection - Tripp Lite Surge Protector
Oldie but goodie - a tried and tested option with great protection for your phone and cable outlets too.
This surge protector has been around since 2011, so you know that it's got a solid and reliable design.
With real surge protection and backed by a
This surge protector also has outlets for phone lines and cable lines, if you still use those.
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Most Protection - Tripp Lite Surge Protector review details:
Tripp Lite Surge Protector Reviews
Wirecutter ranked it as the #1 on their list claiming it was the 'Our Pick - Best Surge Protector' in their product review. [June 2020]
It has a critical auto-shutoff featureand more than enough outlets to keep all your gadgets powered
Budget Surge Protector - AmazonBasics
Cheapest surge protector that still provides decent protection. However, it is lacking warranty and there is no mention of clamping voltage.
Although the price is great, the AmazonBasics surge protector didn't make it into our top picks because it doesn't shut the power off if the protection feature is no longer working.
It does have a decent joule rating and has great reviews so we did add it here as a budget pick. If you need surge protection for mid-range devices (something like a gaming console that doesn't have sensitive data), then this would provide it.
However, I wouldn't trust this on high-end home audio/video equipment, or office computers with important or sensitive data.
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Budget Surge Protector - AmazonBasics review details:
Not Recommended for Surge Protection - Kasa Smart Plug
A great budget pick for smart plugs, but doesn't provide the top-of-the-line surge protection you might want for expensive electronics.
For the price, if you want individually controlled smart plugs, this device is for you. With the APP, or if you have an Alexa or Google Assistant, you can control each of the 3 outlets individually.
Each outlet also keeps track of power usage, and there's 2 USB ports on this surge protector rated power bar.
However, there is no joules rating provided, and the clamping voltage is so high this is really a smart power bar with minimal surge protection value.
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Not Recommended for Surge Protection - Kasa Smart Plug review details:
Kasa Smart Plug Surge Protector Reviews
Tech Hive ranked it as the #1 on their list claiming it was the 'Ultimate Smart Surge Protector' in their product review. [June 2020]
They like the smart features of this surge protector, but don't talk about the quality of surge protection it provides.
What’s the best surge protector joule rating?
The Joule rating of a surge protector is the ability for the device to absorb and dissipate the energy surge. A higher number number indicates greater protection of your devices, while a lower rating means that a large surge could still damage your electronics.
A unit with a 1000 joule rating is considered average, while a rating over 1000 joules is good surge protection for devices like office equipment or power tools or any of the best laptops in Canada. Consider going even higher than a 2000 joule rating for expensive gaming equipment or computers that store important data like financial records, work data, or irreplaceable photos.
Still want more information on choosing the best surge protector? Check out this Wikipedia article
What is clamping voltage?
This term refers to the voltage level that the surge protector starts ‘clamping down’ on the voltage and limiting (or attenuating) the surge. The cheapest surge protectors may have clamping voltage ratings as high as 2000 volts, while the best surge protectors will have a clamping voltage less than 400 volts.
Is a whole-house surge protector better?
If you compare the price of a surge protector to a whole-house system, the whole house surge protector will be cheaper than buying a separate protection device for each of your electronic items.
However, a whole-house surge protector does not provide you protection from surges that originate within your house. Typically, these smaller surges are not a concern or a hazard, but even a large power tool or oven starting up causes a surge.
If one of your in-home devices shorts out or has a fault, it can cause a damaging surge in your house – which a whole-house surge protector doesn’t provide and safety from.
If you are just protecting a TV and some other small devices, a whole-house surge protector may be the cheapest option for you, but if you have expensive computers with sensitive data, then we recommend a surge protector for each of those devices.
Here’s a video from Eaton Electric that discusses surge protection devices for houses and industrial facilities.