top of page

What Are Surge Protector Joules and What Joule Rating Do You Need?

No matter where you live, your home experiences power surges.


Without the right protection, these surges can fry your electronic devices and make you lose important, irreplaceable data. This protection can be as simple as buying a surge protector... as long as you get the right one.


You need something with a high rating of surge protector joules. 

What does that mean?

We take a closer look at power surges, surge protectors, and joule ratings below, so make sure you stay tuned.


What Is a Power Surge?

A power surge is a spike in your home's electrical current. The spike doesn't last more than a thousandth of a second, but without the right protection, it can seriously damage your electronics and home appliances.


What Causes a Power Surge?

There are two main things that create power surges: lightning and high-power electrical devices.


A lightning bolt doesn't have to strike near your home to damage your appliances. If it strikes anywhere near a power line, it can cause an electrical current spike inside the power line. This can travel to your home and burn out your computer or TV. 

There isn't a surge protector out there strong enough to protect you from lightning. If lightning is a common problem in your area, you should consider full-building protection. This might include a lightning arrestor to divert the bolts into the ground. In most large cities in the US the need for additional protection for your home is imperative. Many electricians also recommend quality roofing companies like Castle Roofing or Chad Dodson Roofing. Make sure you have a great roofer and electrician ready in your area. 

High-power electrical devices can also cause power surges. 

These high-power devices are appliances you already have in your home, like a refrigerator or an air conditioner. When you turn these appliances on, they create a spike of power that's strong enough to fry other devices. 

Poor electrical wiring (like old or faulty wiring) makes the problem worse.


Understanding Surge Protectors 

So how does a surge protector help?

Your surge protectors can absorb the spike of power created during a power surge. But without the right clamping voltage or joule rating, your surge protector will do next to nothing for you. 

That's why it's important to understand how surge protectors work. If you buy the wrong one, all you're doing is wasting your money.


Clamping Voltage 

Clamping voltage is the amount of voltage it takes to gets the surge protection to kick in. The lower the voltage, the better the protection. 

It doesn't matter how many joules your surge protector has. If it has a high clamping voltage, even a small power surge can still damage your devices.

Many average surge protectors have a clamping voltage of 330 volts. You shouldn't buy anything with a higher voltage than this.  


The joule rating of your surge protector tells you how much energy dissipation your surge protection has.

But what does this mean?

The joule rating refers to how much energy your surge protector can absorb. In this case, a higher rating equals better protection. 

A surge protector with a rating or 1,000 joules will last longer than a surge protector with a rating of 500 joules. 

How Many Surge Protector Joules Do I Need?

The amount of surge protector joules you need will vary depending on what type of devices you're trying to protect. Small devices don't need a lot of protection, but you'll want more joules if you just bought a $1,500 laptop.


Here's a basic joule rating guide that'll help you figure out what type of protection you need.  

500 to 1,000 Joules

Unless you're protecting small devices that don't store any important data, you'll want to avoid joule ratings under 1,000. However, a lower rating is sufficient if you're protecting things like blenders or table lamps. 

These surge protectors are small, so you can tuck them behind furniture or other items without much hassle. Because of their size, they're also flexible to use just about anywhere, from a home office to the kitchen counter. 

A surge protector with a small joule rating will also be the most affordable option out there. If you're on a tight budget and only have small devices, this surge protector might be a good choice for you. 

1,000 to 2,000 Joules 

A surge protector with this rating will be able to handle small electronics and other office equipment. 

If you're trying to protect things like cell phones, basic laptops, printers, routers, and copiers, you'll want a surge protector with a rating between 1,000 and 2,000 joules. 

This rating is also large enough for your power tools and other building appliances. 


2,000 to 3,000 Joules 

If you have expensive devices or devices that hold sensitive information, you should get a surge protector with over 2,000 joules. 

This includes things like gaming consoles, home theater equipment, and computers. Businesses that have customer information or financial documents on their computers will need one of these surge protectors. 

When to Buy a New Surge Protector 

No surge protector lasts forever. 

Inexpensive surge protectors with a low joule rating might give out after a single power surge. While surge protectors with a higher joule rating last longer, they will wear out over time too. 

So you can't expect to buy one surge protector and be done shopping for good. 

Most surge protectors have an LED light that stays on when the protection is still present. Although it won't show you how many joules you have left, it will turn off when the surge protector stops working. 

If you keep your surge protectors out of the way or behind furniture, make sure you check them regularly. It's a good idea to check your surge protectors or buy new ones after you've had a spike in your home's electrical current. 

Buying the Right Surge Protectors 

If you have a lot of expensive devices or want to protect important data, you should invest in a surge protector with a high rating of surge protector joules. This is even more important for businesses. 

Losing sensitive information can set your business back and end up costing you money in the long run. 

Are you ready to make surge protection a priority in your home or business office? 

Don't hesitate to reach out to us and request our surge protection service.


bottom of page