Difference(s) between a surge protector vs. power conditioner..?

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  • Difference(s) between a surge protector vs. power conditioner..?


Answer #1 | 05/01 2014 12:13
Get a battery backup/power conditioner. That is the best way to ensure that your electronics receive a constant, steady stream of power no matter what is going on. I have one on my Computer/External Hard Drives and on my Living Room TV/Media Player that has External Hard Drives connected to it. Replace it every 3 years or so. If you have ANY electronics that you want to ensure don't blow, spend the $35 or so and get a battery backup/power conditioner for them. I got an APC Backup on clearance at Walmart and I've never had a problem, despite my town's tendency to have power outages, brown outs, etc.
Answer #2 | 05/01 2014 13:04
Both previous answers are good. I would go 1 step further, and plug the UPS/line conditioner into a surge protector. Never hurts to have more than 1 level of protection. Surge protectors are one trick ponies... they protect (to some extent) devices from surges in the power lines. Surge protectors are rated for X number of joules protection. If you have a 350 joule protector, and get a 600 joule spike, everything is probably toast. UPS systems are commonly sold as giving X minutes of battery power for Y draw... example for a low end unit would be 15 minutes at 250 watts. The come in many sizes, but you need to find out what you actually need in terms of both time and power. Some will give you enough time to shut down a computer properly, others will run an average PC with monitor for 4 hours or more off the battery. The cost is proportional to the power capacity. Make sure the UPS does have line conditioning, not all do. Units that do feed a constant sine wave voltage, and can handle short brownout or surge conditions without a problem.
Answer #3 | 05/01 2014 13:09
Good surge protection should be enough to avoid most devices from breaking. But you need to remember that high voltage power surge caused from lighting or sometimes electric motor stopping can travel any path to your sensitive electronics. So you need surge protection on internet and phone, cable tv etc connections.
Answer #4 | 05/01 2014 13:27
If it is in your budget, i would get both. A power conditioner regulates power for a steady stream of the correct power voltage. A surge protecter takes care of the surge so as not to damage the electronics. Replace at least every five years.
Answer #5 | 06/01 2014 15:44
A power conditioner is something like a surge protector on steroids. A surge protector deals only with transient voltages ("spikes") that are impressed on the power line. A power conditioner also corrects (within a certain range) voltage that is either too high or too low. Most or all models also have noise suppression. This can be especially beneficial for home theater systems, amateur radio stations, and other installations of sensitive equipment that receives radio signals. Most manufacturers that offer coverage for damaged equipment do pay off, but, of course, you have to keep your end of the bargain. Make certain you have all the necessary evidence that the damaged equipment was connected to the surge protector or power conditioner at the time of the lethal event. N.B. : There is no protector that can prevent "any and all" destructive electrical forces from damaging your stuff, but a power conditioner can help a lot. Good brands include: Tripp-Lite ( Brick Wall ( Zero Surge ( For more info on the subject, consult Wikipedia.
Answer #6 | 05/01 2014 15:29
surge protectors provide excellent protection until you have had so many surge events that they fail. it is impossible to predict how long an element is good for, in an area with "clean" power, they would easily last the life of the equipment. if you are at the end of the line near where there is a lot lightning activity, it might not last a week. i maintained a number of remote transmitters on mountain tops and we had huge surge suppression elements on the incoming lines, and we would have to replace them once a season. if you have a lot of power issues on your lines, you may need to change the protection element periodically as a preventive measure. a power conditioner won't provide surge protection per se, but most manufacturers include a surge element to protect the conditioner.

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