Best Surge Protector Comparison Test Results

Best Surge Protector Comparison Results: Plug-in SPDs (3): In-the-Field aka Real World Application.

These pictures show two of three routers damaged during the Real World Surge Protector Comparison. Two routers damaged were the same model (Router 1). A computer monitor was also damaged.

APS LLC | Cable Router Surge Protector

Router 1

APS LLC | Cable Router Surge Protector

Router 2

Below are pictures and results of plug-in Surge Protective Devices (SPDs) placed in service. These units were protecting the power side of a home office network that included:

  • 3 printers
  • 2 computers
  • 2 monitors
  • 1 modem
  • 1 router

Each surge protector was in-the-field at some point during the 5 year span of our review. The three separate SPD units are displayed below with results. Two of the surge protectors were replaced within an eighteen month period.

During the 18 month period: one monitor and 3 separate cable routers were damaged and had to be replaced. When the 3rd surge protector device was installed the problems ceased.

During the 18 month period: no power outages, lightning strikes or other large electrical anomalies of note were experienced.

Without the presence of large external surge events, it's reasonable to conclude the equipment was damaged by internal transient voltage. It's also reasonable to conclude most of the transients were RingWave surges. The first two protectors didn't provide RingWave protection designs.

However, one of the two devices did provide EMI/RFI filtration. EMI/RFI filtration is not designed to stop RingWave Surges. SPDs that provide Sinewave Tracking or Frequency Responsive CircuitryTM are much more effective.

Only the third SPD claimed and provided RingWave Suppression Technology.

Electronic Equipment Damaged

The electronic equipment lost do to damage over the 18 month period:

  • Compaq Presario Monitor
  • U.S. Robotics Broadband Router
  • U.S. Robotics Broadband Router
  • Linksys Broadband Router

In The Field Plug-In Surge Protective Devices

6 Outlet Surge Protector

First power surge protector used to protect equipment. Using this SPD, one monitor and one cable router had to be replaced over a 6 month period.

6 Outlet Surge Protector

Second power surge protector used to protect equipment. Using this SPD, two cable routers had to be replaced over a 12 month period.

APS LLC | Outlet Surge Protector

Third power surge protector used to protect equipment. This SPD has been in service for 3.5 years. Update: SPD has been in service for 10+ years.

No equipment has been replace do to surge related damaged. Additional plug-in devices and a Portable/Travel SPD have been purchased as a result.

Comparison Test Results: SPDs Are Not Created Equal

Although not an exhaustive test, results from the Real World Application comparison lead to an obvious conclusion.

Surge protectors are not created equal. SPDs may not always perform as advertised... in the field... regardless of what marketing materials might state. Remember, all three units were marketed to protect electronics. One succeeded.

It's important to realize there are different types of surge activity. As noted, there are Impulse type and RingWave type surges. In environments that produce both surge types, SPDs that protect against both Impulse and RingWave transients provide the best surge protection results. The Real World comparison certainly make this case.

Carefully review SPD technology types, design characteristics, quality and dependability claims prior to purchase.

Helpful SPD Review Tips: Identify Quality Surge Protectors.

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