How Many Joules of Surge Protection Do I Need?

How Many Joules of Surge Protection Do I Need
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There are a wide variety of surge protectors available on the market and you need investigate all the factors involved and take your requirements into account before you choose one.

While some can be directly mounted to the wall, there are others which come with a long cable anywhere between one and twelve feet.

When choosing a surge protector, you will obviously make sure that it has enough outlets for all your electronics, a space between the power bricks, and a long cable to ease mobility. However, another extremely important factor which should never be overlooked is how many joules of surge protection will you need in your office or household.

This is known as joule rating and it indicates the use of energy by the device to absorb excess voltage before it reaches your appliances and damages them. If you get a higher joule rating for the surge protector, it will provide better protection for your electrical devices. Before determining the degree of defense, you need to keep in mind the value and the type of the equipment which need to be safeguarded.

Higher Joule Rating is Better

A Higher Joule Rating is Better

The number of joules which are listed on the surge protector represents the rate of energy which it can absorb. You can compare it with a shield that blocks the excess voltage from damaging the appliances. A higher number of the surge protector definitely means that it can sustain bigger or more hits from single or multiple events.

Such a surge protector will not wear out easily and can withstand the highest jerks without causing any damage to any of your valuable devices. By getting a higher joule rating, you can even guarantee a longer life for the appliance. However, this is not true if you live in an area where storms and power outages are frequent; still, getting a higher joule rating comes with a lot of benefits.

Valuable Equipment Need Higher Joule Rating

A surge protector which is under a rating of 1000 joules can easily protect small devices like radios, lamps, battery chargers etc., but will not be suitable for your computer or gaming consoles. Such equipment is not expensive and does not even use a lot of electricity to run. They can easily survive without a surge protector because they don’t need a high level of protection.

On the other hand, if you are protecting a $500 PC or a $5000 home theater, getting a 1000 joule rated surge protector will never be sufficient. For such appliances, it is better to get a device which is rated over 2500 joules.

It will provide enough protection to the power tools and important office equipment such as copiers, printers, and routers. Anything from the important customer data to your photos and music, need a high level of protection.

Location is the Key Factor

Location is the Key Factor

If you live in an area where there are frequent lightning storms, there is no way that you can survive without a surge protector with higher joule rating. The unexpected weather changes have a direct effect on the electricity supply and the power outages can damage your expensive devices.

However, it is not only Mother Nature which can wreak havoc for your electronics. Problems at the utility company can also fluctuate and will tend to create power spikes. Living near industrial areas can also be a threat because heavy equipment can also result in damaging surges.

Even if you live in the most peaceful neighborhood, around 80 percent of the surges originate from offices or houses. When you turn on your air conditioner, or when the oven or the refrigerator kicks off, small surges of this sort can strike your appliances. It is not possible that a whole-house surge protection system will help in preventing such voltage spikes.

Other Important Factors

Apart from the joule rating, there are a few other considerations which will help in an enhanced performance by the surge protector. One of them is the response time which indicates how quickly a surge protector will react in order to divert the voltage.

The electronics do not start working instantly, they actually need some time to initiate their response. This time has a lot to do with clamping the voltage. A surge protector with a lower response time tends to act faster to redirect the excess voltage before it can cause considerable damage to your device.


Choosing a surge protector with a higher joule rating is going to land you on the safe side and help in protecting all your valuable appliances. Additionally, going with a device offering a lower response time is also a safe option and will ensure that there is no delay in redirecting the voltage spikes which can cause considerable damage to your electronics.

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