How to Choose the Best Power Strip?
How much do we really know about power strips? Do we choose a power strip that will just do its job by plugging in our numerous devices without really knowing the damage and safety that it may cause to ones device let alone oneself?
As an owner of many electronics and appliances, one of our biggest mistakes is choosing the wrong power strip. Whether it's for our living spaces to plug in our flat screen TV's, phones, and iPads to kitchen appliances, or even hair essentials such as a blow dryer and a curling iron, we at times forget about the quality a power strip may contain. Using a correct power strip, one can have the opportunity and a peace of mind to plug in many devices all at once without having to worry about power overload or an electric leakage and power surges. But yet focus on the practicality and capability the power strip contains. For instance, a power strip like TP-3+3 surge protect which contains 3 USB port chargers that are high efficiency with a 3.1A output that can charge 3 smart phones or 1 smart phone and 1 tablet at full speed can be very useful. Especially with many members in a household can share the power strip all at once to plug in ones devices. Most importantly, you can travel with the power strip and use it for a hotel stay or even the airport. For whatever you may need additional outlets, one should always feel comfortable and at home wherever they may go.
Causing damage to ones device let alone causing a house fire may not be something that one may want.
So how do we avoid this?
Getting a power strip that is UL certified. UL certification is a must for any electric related device. One must make sure that the UL certification is for the whole product not only for one or two parts of it, because there are many power strips on the market who only have their cords UL listed. Furthermore, if there is any additional function, such as surge protection, it needs to be UL certified as well.
One of the most important aspect of a power strip is the material that is used.
So what’s the best plastic material for a power strip?
That depends as there are more than one component. So for the front or for the cover, an insulated material is your best bet. Not just any kind of plastic would do, as normal plastic could be susceptible to heat or fire and could melt as a result. The best thing would be on the lookout for plastics that are flame retardant, insulated and impact resistant. If your power strip of choice has these three components, then you’re on the right path to picking the correct one.
Metal is one of the important aspect in a power strip. Its component is to ensure the safety of one's well being.
The metal parts of the plug blades as well as the components they contract with should have a very high conductive rate. This kind of conductivity is being rated according to material’s temperature rise test. For the metal parts, the temperature rise should not exceed 113 F. Besides, when the plug inserts in the socket, the blades and the contracted metal components must be secure and able to withstand a direct pull of 20 Pounds-force for 2 minutes. On the other hand, one should insert in and pull out the plug smoothly, if he/she plug them with a force exceeds 20 pounds.
The first important function of a power strip is overload protection. Overload protection is a protection against a running overcurrent that would cause overheating of the protected electrical circuit. There are three types of overload protection: Magnetic circuit breaker, fuses and overload relays. An example is TP’s 3-Outlets Power Strip Surge Protector which has an overload protection which basically automatically switches the Power strip off if the current has reached its limit.
The surge protection is also a very important add on function of a power strip.
For better understanding, let’s learn about the electrical surges first. Electrical surges or power surges, are fast, temporary spikes in voltage within an electrical circuit. These surges, which are unavoidable, occur when something boosts the electrical charge at some point in the circuit. These electrical surges are typically caused by
· Lightning strikes
· Power outages
· Tripped circuit breakers
· Short circuits
· Power transitions in other large equipment on the same power line
· Malfunctions caused by the power company
· Electromagnetic pulses (EMP) with electromagnetic energy distributed typically up to the 100 kHz and 1 MHz frequency range.
· Inductive spikes
As a result, the damage may vary from slight influence to normal use of devices to totally destroy them or even cause an explosion.
So what a surge protector in a power strip can do to protect our devices connected to it?
A surge protector attempts to limit the voltage supplied to an electric device by either blocking or shorting to ground any unwanted voltages above a safe threshold. According to different levels of protection, there are 5 types of surge protector, from Type 1 to Type 5. For power strips with surge protector we are using at home or in our office, we are basically talking about the Type 3 surge protector.
How to determine if the surge protection function of a power strip provides enough protection?
A very important parameter is its Voltage Protecting Rating (VPR). The voltage protecting rating is the maximum voltage a surge protector will let through to connected devices. For example, if a surge protector’s VPR is 500V, then it will limit the incoming voltage to 500V. Therefore, when one is choosing a surge protector, he/she should pay attention to if its VPR matches his/her devices voltage. Otherwise, this surge protector may not be a suitable one.
Another very useful function of a power strip is EMI/RFI. An Electromagnetic Interference or radio frequency interference (EMI/RFI) protected Power strip is a must for you. The EMI is actually any frequency of electrical noise, whereas RFI is a specific subset of electrical noise on the EMI spectrum. RFI is a disturbance that affects an electrical circuit due to either electromagnetic conduction or electromagnetic radiation emitted from an external source. So sometimes that whirring sound you hear from some Power Strips is caused by this. The EMI/RFI therefore reduces the noise of devices plugged into the power strip and limits the range of the circuit’s frequency. If one is disturbed by the annoying noise from his/her devices, he/she may consider a power strip with this function. However, if one is a HIFI lover, he/she should definitely reconsider a power strip with the EMI/RFI.
What else makes a power strip even more beneficial? The answer is USB charging ports.
A power strip that contains USB charging ports has its many benefits. For one, a power strip that contains USB port chargers is high efficiency that can charge smart phones and or tablets at full speed at the same time. For instance, TP 3+3 power strip with 3 NEMA 5-15R AC outlets and 3 USB ports can be used for all members in a household, one can share the power strip at the same time without having to wait for everyone's device to charge. Secondly, one can keep organized without having so many wires running from all directions of the power strip with its USB charging ports and the choice of 3 or 5 outlets. Most importantly, it is convenient to which one can travel with the power strip and use it for a hotel stay or even the airport to feel at home away from home with no worries of one device being charged one at time.
One may believe that a power strip is just an ordinary power strip. But in fact, a power strip contains many modern elements one being texture and material. The texture of the power strip consists of a glossy finish that defines a modern look. In addition to that, the material of a power strip is the key importance of its design. It contains high quality tin phosphor bronze material which can protect the power strip with any accidental fires and short circuits.
A secondary key factor is the precision of the mold that a power strip has. The smooth yet rough surface design gives out more modern feels rather than the old fashioned look. Thirdly, a modern look can be of any color whether it is bright or dark. With its texture and design it can bring light into the room without the feel of an old power strip with its orange light.
Lastly, the design of the power strip is so practical that it contains multiple USB ports. With USB ports, there are no concerns about whether the distance between each socket is enough for large plugs.
All in all, a power strip with its modern design is not only an electrical device but can also provide us a better and easier life style.