Are cheap surge protectors OK?

A very common question many readers of Wyhaier want to know is: Are cheap surge protectors OK? Yes, indeed, if a cheap surge protector works OK, why buy the expensive ones? You’re probably wondering why anyone would want to pay more for a surge protector than they have to. After all, surge protectors are not exactly the most glamorous of devices. Few people spend money on them as an indulgence and most people use the cheap surge protectors they find at the store. However, expensive surge protectors can offer more protection than you might think.

Would you rather spend a few dollars on a cheap surge protector or will you invest in an expensive surge protector? Is it really just a matter of which features are important to you or will you invest in an expensive surge protector?

There are many benefits offered by an expensive surge protector. Indeed, an excellent surge protector can help you to get damage from lightning or power fluctuations. On the other hand, a cheap surge protector can’t bring you any of these benefits and it should be avoided at any cost.

As with most things in life, you get what you pay for: cheap surge protectors don’t work well, if at all, and could actually do more harm than good. To be fair, there is no such thing as a bad surge protector — they all have the same basic function, which is to absorb excess voltage so your electronics don’t get fried.

However, when it comes to surge protectors, you tend to get what you paid for, and buying a cheap surge protector is not the best idea if you are protecting expensive equipment on your home offices like computers or laptops.

Are cheap surge protectors OK?

Sadly, cheap surge protectors still work (sometimes) but they are not ok to save your more expensive devices, such as PCs or any other electric devices. I couldn’t tell you exactly what cheap surge protectors offer since every product are different, so I am not really sure what they are promising. If ever they do offer any suppression ability, it will not be strong enough to make it through the rest of it’s lifespan. Once the suppressor piece of the surge protector has worn out, the whole device will become ineffective.

Read this article: Should I plug my PC into a surge protector or the wall? to know why you need good surge protectors.

An effective surge strip has a built-in short circuit protection mechanism that stops functioning once the surge protection mechanism has burned out. Likewise, be sure to choose a surge strip with fail-safe mode.

I would say that if you wanted more protection you’d want to make sure to get an automatic voltage regulator. Additionally, you’ll want to look into getting a line conditioner. 

The number one and best option of UPS is an offline UPS with voltage regulation and surge suppression. Going up to an online UPS is necessary to prevent interruption of AC flow.

Why cheap surge protector are bad?

The truth is that cheap surge protectors don’t perform as well as their more expensive counterparts. They are less efficient at absorbing surges, they have a higher failure rate, and they will wear out much faster. But exactly why is this the case? 

There are a few reasons why cheap surge protectors perform so poorly.

  • Cheap surge protectors are designed to be as small and light as possible. To achieve this goal, manufacturers cut corners. All small devices do is change voltage and current levels at the same rate they normally would, but they don’t perform well as a whole.
  • Some of the cheap surge protectors don’t have a MOV (Metal Oxide Varistor) inside of them. The MOV is what protects your devices from surges. The MOV absorbs the surge, and turns it into heat instead of allowing the voltage to travel through the rest of your devices.
  • The cheapest surge protectors are made with thin, cheap, and poorly insulated wire which is used for the cables and grounding wire. The cheap cable is more likely to fail when exposed to surges just as thin wires are more likely to break when exposed to large amounts of energy.
  • Cheap surge protectors have jacks that are not made properly. The jacks are often loose and don’t fit the plugs well. Because of this, the plug is more likely to fall out of the jack when touched by accident. Also, when plugs wobble around inside of a jack, they tend to wear out very quickly.
  • Cheap surge protectors are made with a thin plastic that doesn’t hold its shape very well when plugged in. The result is that plugging and unplugging devices repeatedly causes stress on the plastic that it isn’t designed to withstand and it breaks down prematurely.

Are all surge protectors the same?

No, surge protectors are not all the same. Surge protectors are a great way to protect your expensive electronics from destructive power surges. However, many people don’t realize that not all surge protectors are created equal.  Some are not a good value for the money, while others will provide additional protection that you won’t find on a cheap, no-name brand. 

Here’s a look at the main benefits of buying an expensive surge protectors:


Expensive surge protectors offer a number of benefits to consumers over regular ones. Expensive surge protectors typically have more than one year warranty, allowing a consumer to return it if anything goes wrong. 

A traditional surge protector only has a 90-day warranty. Expensive surge protectors are made of higher quality material, meaning it will last longer. While a regular surge protector will typically stop working after six to twelve months, an expensive surge protector can last for years.

Peace Of Mind

As was previously mentioned, power surges can damage your home office equipment. They can be rendered useless if a large one occurs, and the worst cases of them are when they can cause a house fire. 

Because your house and belongings are at risk in case of a power surge, an expensive surge protector will be an important investment.

The likelihood of a power surge isn’t a common occurrence, but you can’t tell when they’re going to happen. With adequate protection in place, you’ve peace of mind knowing your expensive electronic devices are protected no matter what.

Better Protection

Power spikes and surges aren’t protected by standard outlets in each home. There are over 300 potentially dangerous electrical surges a year.

The heat generated during an arc to you can do long term damage to your electronics and electrical outlets. If the voltage is above the norm for at least three seconds, the damage can be devastating to them and your electrical outlets. 

Surge protectors protect electronic devices from unexpected power spikes that might undermine their function.

If you cannot find a surge protector that suits your needs, you’re overkilling yourself. You need one that is a good fit for your needs. To determine the appropriate level of protection to use, it is necessary to first determine the type and value of the equipment being protected.

Joule ratings refer to how much energy damage can be contained and the protection it offers. For best protection, get a surge protector that’s rated at least 600 joules.

Does it matter what surge protector you get?

As a general rule, you should always buy the most expensive surge protector you can afford. That’s because they usually last longer, and they have better performance ratings from independent testing labs. That said, there are some situations where you might want to opt for more economical surge protectors. 

It is true that cheap surge protectors may not offer the same level of protection as more expensive ones. They may not have the same level of energy absorption, meaning they may not protect your equipment as well when power surges occur.  

But you should also know that not all cheap surge protectors are created equal. Some are poorly designed and use inferior materials, which compromises their performance. But they can still work as intended as long as they are UL certified and also check the clamp voltage and joule rating. Joule Rating with 1000 upwards and clamp voltage less than 400 is considered good.


In conclusion, both the expensive and cheap surge protectors can bring you certain benefits. However, for the sake of safety, it is highly recommended to purchase an expensive surge protector since it can help you to get damage from lightning or power fluctuations.