By now, most people understand the need for power strips and surge suppressors. With electronics becoming so necessary to everyday life -- and with those same electronics being rather pricey -- you want to protect those electronic items as much as you can while also being able to plug them in wherever they're needed.
As a result, power strips are starting to encompass more and more features, and along with those features, an increase in price. You can still get basic surge suppressors and power strips for an affordable price. However, if you start to look at power strips with more features, you want to be sure your money is well-spent.
Separate Receptacle Switches and One Switch to Rule Them All
The basic power strip has a row of receptacles and a switch to turn the power to the strip on or off without having to unplug it from the wall outlet. Many newer and more expensive models now have separate switches for each receptacle. This is actually a great feature, especially for people with kids. If you can cut the power to those receptacles not in use, you reduce the chances of a kid trying to play around with one of those receptacles. Yes, you should keep an eye on your kid and childproof rooms. But as any parent will tell you, kids can get away from you -- and many of them can open outlet covers and pry off outlet plugs. Getting separate switches for each receptacle is helpful.
Those power switches on the strips tend to light up, and many power strips take the light a step further: They include LED lights, either along the side of the strip or on either end. These lights function both as task lighting and general illumination, so you can find the receptacles if the strip is placed somewhere dark, like on the floor behind a desk. These lights have a separate control, so you do not have to have the lights on to use the receptacles. This lighting is perfect for work stations where you need outlets nearby; the LEDs are bright and provide clean light. If you purchase one of these strips, be sure the light switch is easy to access. It makes no sense to buy a strip that lights up only to have trouble finding the switch for those lights in a dark area.
USB Ports and Landline Jacks
Many strips now come with landline jacks, ethernet jacks, and USB ports. The landline jacks are actually a good idea for people who live in areas where lightning is frequent; it can affect phone lines. USB ports are helpful only if the strip will be easy to access; a power strip with lighting and USB ports is best placed on your desk or at some type of work station. If the power strip will be placed behind furniture or on the floor, however, a USB port would likely be a waste of money.
Separate receptacle switches and task lighting are two power strip innovations that are worth spending money on no matter where you plan to place the strip. The lighting makes the strip almost indispensable because that can be used in the kitchen, by your desk, for reading, and for any other task where you need a spotlight.
For more information, reach out to companies that offer products such as lighted power strips.