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How Do I Choose the Best Laptop Surge Protector?

Standard surge protectors have built-in grounding wire.
Lightning is one potential cause of power surges.
A laptop.
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  • Written By: N. Madison
  • Edited By: Jenn Walker
  • Last Modified Date: 24 August 2014
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Any computer can suffer a power spike that proves damaging, and laptops are no exception. A laptop surge protector may help to protect against such damage. Choosing the best laptop surge protector often means selecting a real surge protector rather than a basic power strip and picking a smaller model that is designed specifically for laptops. Clamping voltage is also important, as it indicates the voltage threshold at which electricity is diverted to a grounding wire. Likewise, you may do well to select a model with a good rating for energy absorption and dissipation as well as a fast response time.

One of the most important things to consider when you are trying to choose the best laptop surge protector is whether you are getting a real surge protector or a just a power strip. Some power strips look like surge protectors but don’t really block electrical spikes. Instead, they are used to allow multiple electronic devices to plug into and draw energy from a single outlet. They cannot protect laptops from damage.

Often, the best laptop surge protectors are not the bulky models that are designed for use with desktop computers. To avoid having a surge protector that seems to be in the way, you may do well to choose one of the smaller models that are particularly designed for laptop use. Some of these surge protectors also come with handy features you may enjoy, such as universal serial bus (USB) connections, phone jacks, and universal plugs.

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The power ratings and response time on the laptop surge protector you choose are important as well. You may do well to choose a surge protector that has a higher rating for energy absorption and dissipation, which is expressed in joules and indicates the energy level at which the surge protector may fail. At least 200 joules may be enough, but the higher this number is, the better your laptop's protection. Additionally, you'll likely need a surge protector that has 330 to 400 volts listed as its clamping voltage, which indicates the voltage threshold that is met before excess electricity is sent to a grounding wire.

When you're trying to choose the best laptop surge protector, you may also consider response time. A surge protector's response time is an indication of how long it may take for it to send a surge to the outlet's grounding wire. Generally, faster is better when it comes to response time. In most cases, you’ll do well to avoid laptop surge protectors with response times over a nanosecond.

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