There are so many different things to consider when buying or building a new PC. After you've chosen all your components and compared benchmarks, it's easy to forget that what you actually plug your fancy new computer into can be nearly as important as what's inside of it. It's unlikely that very many people still plug computers directly into the wall anymore, but many of you may still use that same old power strip that you found in the garage. And the results could be disastrous in the event of a power surge.
Let's start with some clarification: a power strip is different from a surge protector, even though they usually look very similar to one another. A power strip is just a way to add more plugs to an outlet; it provides no additional protection. However, a surge protector protects in the event of a power surge and should have an indicator light showing that its protection circuit—often a metal oxide varistor—is intact. Surge protectors are rated in Joules, and they protect your precious components by managing any additional electric energy.
As a note: be sure to regularly check the surge protection indicator on your surge protector to ensure that it's still functioning. They don't last forever, especially after protecting from a surge. So, take a look below to see our picks for protecting your new gaming PC!
Amazon might not be pumping out the highest-end accessories with their Amazon Basics line. Still, they do maintain a decent level of baseline quality at a very affordable price compared to competitors. And the best part: they're rarely out of stock. This eight outlet surge protector comes with a very respectable 4500 Joule protection rating, an option of a six or 12-foot cord, and sliding covers for unused outlets. One of its easy-to-miss features is an out-of-the-way power switch, which is a nice feature for those of you who have power strips under your desk. There's nothing quite as annoying as accidentally hitting the power switch on your surge protector with your foot while getting up.
APC has long been a well-known brand name in the uninterruptible power supply market, and that quality translates to their surge protectors. Their PE76 might be a bit on the basic side with seven outlets and a 1440 Joule rating, but it's also pretty easy on the wallet. They also offer a slightly more premium-priced alternative version, the PE6U2, replacing the seventh outlet with two USB charging ports and a slightly higher 1800 Joule rating. It's not the most elaborate surge protector on the market, but like the Amazon Basics we mentioned previously, it will get the job done well and under budget.
Alright, enough with the sensible, affordable options. If you're the kind of person to pile your desk with electronics, then you're going to need something heavy-duty, and APC has you covered there too. Their P12U2 surge protector is a 12 outlet model with a 4320 Joule rating, a side-mounted switch, sliding outlet protectors, dual USB ports (rated at 2.4A), and a six-foot cable. The wide spacing on the outermost outlets makes them ideal for larger AC adapters and plugs. The wide, opposing outlet layout means that you'll be able to easily load it to capacity without it toppling over or becoming unruly.
Not to be outdone, Belkin has a similar offering to APC and their P12U2 with their own BP11223008. It's a 12 outlet surge protector with a 4320 Joule rating and an eight-foot cable. It also offers RJ11 and coaxial protection, although these days, users likely won't make much use of that. The most enticing feature of this model is the eight rotating outlets, which is a great option for those plugs that just don't quite sit flush next to each other. It also works wonders for more efficiently cable-managing the underside of your desk. To top things off, Belkin offers a $300,000 Connected Equipment warranty so you can rest easy knowing that they're willing to put their money where their mouth is.
Alright, if we're being honest, this design is a bit strange. But we don't pretend to know what your desk situation looks like, and having eight in-line rotating outlets might be exactly what you need to manage the cable mess you have going on under your desk. Having a good surge protector is great, but it still needs to conveniently fit in the space you're putting it, and this offering from Monoprice can offer that flexibility. It also offers 2160 Joules of protection and has 48dB of EMI/RFI protection if you need to protect, for example, some additional audio equipment from interference.
You have how many plugs? Look, we get it, between working from home and gaming at your PC you have a lot of different things that you need to plug in. And you want all of those things protected! BESTEK has you covered with their 16 outlet surge protector, featuring an 1875 Joule rating and a convenient flat-style wall plug. The dual row design also means that you'll be able to load it up without all of your plugs bunching up together. The mounting holes on the back are convenient for mounting either on the underside of a desk or the wall; just make sure you're using appropriate mounting hardware because once fully laden with plugs, this thing will be heavy.
Ask any electrician and they'll probably tell you: you can never have too much surge protection. It can be a lifesaver for older homes with older electrical systems, especially if you live somewhere with frequent lightning storms. Some homes are installed with whole-house surge protectors, but even then, they don't always catch 100% of surges, so it always pays to protect your most precious equipment.
For more hardware guides check out Fully Modular vs. Semi-Modular PSUs: What’s the Difference? and 2021’s 5 Best RGB LED Strips | Best RGB Lighting Kits on Pro Game Guides.
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