The following models scored the best results in our test
|What to buy|
|PowerTech Plus MS4024
Our testing proves that you can get decent surge protection at a reasonable price. Our top performer in the 2kV test, the Crest PRPBS6TC, cost only $43 and the top four ranked boards ranged in price between $39 and $65.
If you live in a city, there's generally less chance for a severe spike or surge making it to your home, but for peace of mind any of the top seven boards in our table will do a good job of protecting your equipment from mains power surges. While some are a lot more expensive than others, you may want to select one of them for other features built into the product.
If you live in an outerlying or country area, rather than go for the cheapest board available, recognise that you will generally need to spend a bit more to get a good board to be on the safe side – in the table you can see the units which didn’t handle the 4kV test, and wouldn’t be a good choice for country areas.
In selecting a board be wary of packaging claims of clamping voltage and joule ratings. We found little correlation between the figures on the packaging and our test results. There’s no hard and fast rule, but as a guide aim for a board that has as high a joule rating you can get for the money you’re willing to spend – and, as our tests showed, you don’t need to spend a lot. Theoretically, a higher joule rating should indicate better performance.
Two of the most important features, however, are a status light to show surge protection is active, and a failsafe to prevent the board continuing to work as a simple power board if the surge protection fails. Finally, don’t let connected equipment warranties influence your decision.