Without a suitable whole house surge protector, all your electronic devices are liable to power surges. They work by allowing the correct electricity through to the device whilst blocking excess voltage in order to increase your device lifespan.
The best whole house surge protector is the EATON CHSPT2ULTRA, which is a SPD Type 2 device with a max surge charge of 80 kA and rated as NEMA 4X.
Power surges can happen for a number of reasons from faulty wiring, lightning strikes, malfunctions and much more. A rated surge protector will protect your devices and prevent damage to their circuit boards and other internals.
Table of Contents
- The Best Whole House Surge Protector
- Whole House Surge Protector Buying Guide
- Types of Whole Home Surge Protectors
- NEMA Enclosure Type
- UL Certification
- Maximum Surge Current Capacity (MSCC)
- Maximum Continuous Operating Voltage (MCOV)
- Desirable Features and Functionality
- Price and Warranties
Whole House Surge Protector Comparison
|Whole House Surge Protector||MSCC||Type|
|EATON CHSPT2ULTRA||108 kA||SPD Type 2|
|Intermatic Smart Guard||50 kA||SPD Type 1 & 2|
|Leviton 51120-1||50 kA||SPD Type 1|
|Square D HEPD80||80 kA||SPD Type 1|
|Siemens FS140||20 kA||SPD Type 2|
Surge protectors have so many benefits and every household should have one. Not only for the protection of your electric devices but also to prevent against the worst case, which of course would be an electrical fire. Many insurance companies will also inflate the price of your premium if you do not have one too.
Factors such as the number of ports, certification (usually a UL standard) and response time should be high priority for your research.
The latest surge protectors offer a range of new functionality and top of the range features. Below is a list of the best whole house surge protectors that will ensure the safety of your electrical devices during power surges.
The Best Whole House Surge Protector
1. EATON CHSPT2ULTRA Ultimate Surge Protection
The Eaton CHSPT2ULTRA is one of the most popular whole house surge protectors and for good reason too. It is the third edition from Eaton with improvements to the performance, reliability and additional features.
Features of the Eaton CHSPT2ULTRA Surge Protector includes:
- SPD Type 2
- UL approved and has a NEMA 4 rating
- Dimensions are 2.38 x 5.25 x 7.5 inches
- Mounting panel included for easy installation
- LED status indication
The CHSPT2ULTRA model by Eaton can be used indoors and outdoors and has a maximum surge per phase of up to 108 kA. Overall, it is the best whole house surge protector for the money with all the features, safety and performance you will require for maximum protection against power surges.Check it Out
2. Intermatic Smart Guard Whole House Surge Protector
The Intermatic Smart Guard is a premium whole house surge protector, which uses thermally protected metal oxide varistor surge protection technology. It also has replaceable consumable modules that allow you to easily replace a module if it has been compromised during a power surge (indicated via a LED Light).
Features of the Intermatic Smart Guard Whole House Surge Protector include:
- Type 1 & Type 2
- Included flush mounting kit
- ANSI/UL 1449 3rd edition and UL Listed
- Approved for residential/light commercial services
- Surge Current Protection Per Phase is rated at 50 kA
- Includes a 10 year limited warranty
Overall, it is one of the best whole house surge protectors you can buy that can be used both indoors and outdoor. However, it does come at a cost but you do get the extra protection and features for the higher price tag.Check it Out
3. Leviton 51120-1 Panel Surge Protector
Leviton are a big electrical brand and the 51120-1 home surge protector is a highly rated device. It has a capacity of 120/240 volts, 50 kA surge protection per phase and is a Type 2 surge protector for usage indoors only. In terms of the dimensions, it is 14.4 x 8.4 x 6.9 inches with a weight of 7.4 LBS.
Other features of the Leviton 51120-1 Panel Protector include:
- Indoor usage only
- Standard J-Box metal enclosure
- Compatible with Decora Home Controls
- Certified with the 3rd edition of the UL 1449 standards
- Limited lifetime warranty
TheLeviton 51120-1 is a highly rated whole house surge protector with a 4 mode protection system and even comes with real time diagnostics in order to track the status. Although it’s expensive and can only be used indoors, it is still a worthwhile investment for homeowners looking for a reliable setup.Check it Out
4. Square D by Schneider Electric Surge Protector
The HEPD80 model that is developed by Schneider Electric’s is the cheapest whole house surge protector in this article, It is not just popular due to its low cost but also for the safety as its UL1449 and CSA 3rd Edition Type 1 SPD approved.
Other features of the Square D by Schneider Electric HEPD80 include:
- 80 kA surge protection per phase
- Feedback of status via LED indicators
- Ability to link with residential load centers
- 80,000 amp surge current rating
- NEMA 4X rated
- Suitable for indoor or outdoor installation
It is the best cheap whole house surge protector you can buy with similar priced alternatives not coming close with regards to the performance. Schneider Electric also provide a 5 year warranty and a 50,000 hour residential downline warranty.Check it Out
5. Siemens FS140 Whole House Surge Protector
Siemens are a reputable global brand and they are known for their quality devices. Their FS140 whole house surge protector is rated for 140,000 amps with a maximum surge current of 20 kA. In case you feel that visual alerts via LED lights are not enough to alert you of any issues, Siemens offer an audible alarm for notifications too.
Other features of the Siemens FS140 First Surge include:
- SPD Type 2
- UL 1449 approved
- 1 second response time
- Enclosure is rated for type 4 outdoor usage
- Compatible with any brand of load center or breakers
Overall, the Siemens FS140 is a highly rated device with a range of features that are unique to this house surge protector. It is fairly expensive when compared to the alternatives but there is a 10 year warranty for peace of mind.Check it Out
Whole House Surge Protector Buying Guide
The purpose of a surge protector is to keep the electrical equipment protected from spikes in voltage. Unlike extension leads, towers or plugs, these devices are designed to protect the whole house. They limit the voltage that is input into the electrical appliance by blocking the current or shorting it to a ground connection.
Surges in voltage can happen for a range of reasons and at any point in time. Therefore its important that you have the best whole house surge protector in order to avoid any expensive damage to your electrical equipment.
To help you make an informed buying decision, we have produced the below buying guide regarding whole house surge protectors.
Types of Whole Home Surge Protectors
You may notice that we refer to the surge protector devices by a specific type. These include type 1, 2 and 3 where each have their own functionality.
Type 1 SPD
A Type 1 SPD protects against lighting or other external factors that may be caused by the power company. They are your first line of defense with regards to power surges from the grid. Type 1 SPDs are installed on the “line side” of the entrance to your house. This will usually be between the utility pole and the power meter.
Type 2 SPD
The Type 2 SPD is installed at the break panel and branches the power from the service panel to the circuits in your house. They wire directly to a dual-pole breaker and protect all the circuits and even some of the other sub-panels. These are the most popular type of whole house surge protector devices.
Type 3 SPD
Finally the Type 3 SPDs are installed around the house and plug directly into the outlet. You can then plug your devices into the SPD, which will protect the device against power surges. Most people will use a Type 3 SPD to provide additional electrical security along with either a Type 1 or Type 2 SPD.
NEMA Enclosure Type
When browsing through the different types of whole house surge protector devices, you may notice various NEMA types. The abbreviation NEMA stands for the National Electrical Manufacturers Association. They provide set standards and regulations regarding electrical devices and each type definition can be found here.
Depending upon the installation location of the SPD, you will want to ensure the enclosure is suitable. The different types dictate to whether the enclosure provide protection against water, dust oil and other elements.
Before installing any whole house surge protector, you will want to ensure that it is UL certified. There are several UL regulations but the UL 1449 3rd Edition in particular is a set of safety standard for surge protective devices.
The UL certification will be clearly labelled on the SPD and if it’s not, we highly recommend talking directly with the manufacturer.
Maximum Surge Current Capacity (MSCC)
Another rating that is used often when referring to SPDs is the Maximum Surge Current Capacity. This rating represent the maximum surge current that the SPD is able to handle safely. Not all manufacturer will state the MSCC rating but instead state a nominal discharge current rating.
Maximum Continuous Operating Voltage (MCOV)
The MCOV rating is often mixed up with the MSCC rating mentioned above. MCOV stands for Maximum Continuous Operating Voltage and is a rating that refers to the maximum steady voltage each mode of the SPD can handle. If there was a malfunction and the voltage was too high for the SPD, there could be potential for an electrical fire.
Desirable Features and Functionality
There is a variety of different whole house surge protectors available but choosing the best option can be difficult. Many people have different requirements but below are some features and functionality that you may or may not find desirable.
Automatic power shut off
There are specific models on the market that automatically shuts off the power to all your outlets when the surge protection capacity is damaged or used up. Although this might not be a beneficial attribute as wireless or broadband routers that should remain on at all times. However, if you connect your expensive electronics, you will eventually appreciate the effectiveness that comes with this feature.
Inbuilt diagnostics capacities
Nowadays, it is easy to get surge protectors that provide inbuilt diagnostics LEDs. They can demonstrate correct grounding and wiring of connected gadgets, availability of power outlets and surge protection functions among others. Ensure you list down your surge protector’s requirements to help you counter-check before buying one.
Eliminating phantom load
Phantom load is also known as standby power typically sucks electric energy even when the connected devices are not in active use. By using power saving surge protectors, you can avoid such electricity leakages because the device can automatically stop power that are connected to your master outlet is switched off.
Inbuilt safety covers
Although some power surge protectors do not come with their safety covers, it is a useful feature particularly if you have children. Depending upon the location of the SPD, it may be possible for them to poke their small finger inside the sockets.
Selection of wattage
If you have several computing gadgets such as PCs, laptops and other peripherals connected at some point, you will appreciate the network switch feature. This will allow you to select the correct wattage that are required for your performance electrical devices.
Price and Warranties
Considering that they can potential stop an electrical fire and protect your expensive electrical device, it’s worthwhile spending a little extra. By purchasing a premium device, you will have more feature and functions for improved usability.
It is highly advised to check the different types of warranties that are offered with SPD’s and read the terms and conditions.
We mention this as some companies may only provide warranty if the whole house surge protector was fitted by a professional. If you are planning to fit the SPD yourself, this is something you must check.
To ensure that your family as well as home is completely protected from any power fluctuations, you should make sure you install a power surge protection device. This will ensure that all your electrical equipment is completely safe from voltage spikes.
All of our recommendations cover a range of budgets and different power requirement to suit your home. We strongly recommend that you double check your surge protection requirements before purchasing a low MSCC rated device.