I remember when I bought my first expensive TV and the salesman pushed an expensive $150 Monster surge protector on me. Do you really need a surge protector? If so, can you buy the $9 version or do you need the expensive models that run over $100 to protect your TV and entertainment equipment?
First, lets start by explaining what a surge protector is and what it protects you against. The power being delivered to your electronic equipment is specified at 120V AC (alternating current) in the United States. All TVs, DVD players, satellite receivers, and game consoles convert this 120V AC signal into a much lower DC (direct current) voltage. Most electronic equipment have tolerances around the 120VAC input signal. For example, if 200VAC was passed into your TV most equipment would be fine and you wouldn’t notice a thing. The question is what happens when you have a sudden spike in power and all of the sudden a large amount of current was suddenly passed through your wall socket and into your TV? This is the purpose of a surge protector. It allows a specific voltage and current range to pass and once exceeded it breaks the connection between your equipment and power source.
Do I need an expensive surge protector? My opinion is no. You will be fine with a $10 – $20 surge protector. Some of the more expensive surge protector manufactures say they will “clean up” the power being delivered to your device. This is suppose to make your TV picture look better and Audio system sound better. I personally don’t buy it. I have tried the expensive surge protectors and the cheaper ones and didn’t notice any difference between them when it comes to picture, sound, etc. I do recommend buying a surge protector with an LED “protected” indicator. This lets you know that the protection circuits are working correctly. Meaning, once you have a power surge, you should replace your surge protector.
One detail that may be important. Surge protectors suddenly stop power from being delivered to your TV or electronic device. Some older LCD and projectors have a cool down stage to allow the light bulb to cool down before powering off. If you have this type of device you may want to consider buying a Power Backup System or UPS (Unalterable Power Supply). These devices offer surge protection and backup power for your TV or computer system for a few minutes when the power surges or shuts off. This can give your TV time to cool down the light bulb or you time to save your computer file if the lights all of the sudden go out!
In summary, I do recommend buying a surge protector for your electronic equipment to prevent it from current spikes. I wouldn’t spend more than $20 on a surge protector. If you need a power backup system for your computer or TV then buy a UPS backup device which is still usually under a $100. Oh, by the way, the expensive surge protector I bought is the storage room. After a few years it started to have a high pitch humming sound that really annoyed me. So I went out an bought a $10 surge protector to replace it.