The 6 Best Whole Home Surge Protectors of 2024

Top 6 Whole Home Surge Protectors of 2024 | Are whole house surge protectors worth it?

What to consider

Whole-home surge protectors range in cost from about $60 to $300, and their lifespan is approximately five to 10 years. Despite the additional fees, it is best to contact a licensed electrician for safe installation.

Types of surge protectors

There are three types of surge protective devices, or SPDs.

Type 1 provides the highest level of whole-home protection from external surges and internal power surges. It is installed between the utility cable and the main breaker panel. Type 2 provides whole-house surge protection for one or multiple circuits. It is installed in the main breaker panel or subpanel. Type 3 refers to receptacle surge protectors, also known as power strip surge protectors, which prevent surges from reaching individual devices (while Type 1 and Type 2 absorb excess power).

Bottom line? The best approach is two-layer protection: install a Type 1 or Type 2 whole-house surge protector and use Type 3 specifically for sensitive electronic equipment.

Certificates and evaluations

The National Electrical Manufacturer’s Association, or NEMA, encapsulation standards indicate where whole-home surge protectors can be installed. Minimum rating is NEMA 1, for indoor installation only. The highest level of surge protection is NEMA 4, which includes insulation against dust and water, and NEMA4X, which adds corrosion protection. Both of these Level 4 tiles are suitable for indoor and outdoor installation.

The amount of electrical current that a surge protector can absorb is measured in kiloamperes. In general, the higher the number, the more protection you will get. Look for whole-house surge protectors rated at 30kA and above to ensure all your appliances are protected.

The standard US certification for all SPDs is UL 1449. You’ll also likely see a CSA on the packaging, which is the equivalent Canadian standard certification for electrical and mechanical products.

Compatibility

Keep in mind that a surge protector needs to work with your breaker box manufacturer (not all do) and must be compatible with your electrical system’s amperage. Also, if you are installing a whole-home surge protector inside the breaker box, make sure there is enough space inside to accommodate it.

a guarantee

Most whole-home surge protectors come with a 10-year or lifetime limited warranty, plus residential damage coverage if the device fails.

How we chose

The Type 1 and Type 2 whole house surge protectors we recommend come from reputable companies in the industry, including Eaton, Siemens, Square D, Leviton, and Intermatic. We aim to provide options across a range of price points and offer whole-home surge protectors that meet different coverage needs, especially for areas hard hit by storms and frequent power outages. We also compared different models’ warranties, certifications, ratings, and compatibility with crusher box manufacturers.

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1

Better overall

Eaton CHSPT2ULTRA whole house surge protector

This whole home surge protector comes out on top because it offers an excellent range of features, including great coverage and wide compatibility at a fair price.

The Type 2 SPD provides 108kA protection, is NEMA Type 4 rated for indoor and outdoor use, plus is universally compatible with any manufacturer’s breaker box. It also comes with a limited lifetime warranty on the device, and if it fails, includes coverage for connected residential equipment.

Key specifications

SPD Type, Type 2, Surge Capacity, 108 kA, Enclosure Rating, NEMA 4 (Indoor/Outdoor) Warranty, Limited Lifetime and Coverage for Connected Equipment

2

Best for frequent mutations

Siemens FS140 whole house surge protection

FS140 Whole House Surge Protection
consSlightly larger than similar styles

The premium Siemens FS140 surge protector is the best choice if you live in an area that experiences frequent power outages, such as the Southeast or parts of Texas.

This Type 2 SPD can handle surges up to 140 kA and has a NEMA Type 4X rating for indoor or outdoor installation. It also features commercial-grade diagnostics with a three-stage status notification system that includes an audible alarm and a red LED indicator if coverage is compromised.

Another advantage is that you can install it without purchasing additional materials, because it is compatible with any standard 30 amp two-pole circuit breaker.

The Siemens FS140 comes with a 10-year limited warranty and connected equipment coverage. It’s a little larger than some similar options, so double check the dimensions before purchasing.

Key specifications

SPD Type, Type 2, Surge Capacity, 140 kA, Enclosure Rating, NEMA 4X (Indoor/Outdoor), 10-Year Limited Warranty and Coverage for Connected Equipment

3

The most advanced

Intermatic Smart Guard IG2240-IMSK Whole home surge protector

Smart Guard IG2240-IMSK Whole home surge protector
PositivesSix protection modes for each circuit typeThe unit’s innovative design ensures consistent coverageUnits can be easily replaced
consIndoor installation only

Even if you don’t know much about whole-home surge protectors, you can tell by looking at the Intermatic Smart Guard that this is serious business. It is actually one of the most advanced models on the market. The caveat is that with a NEMA 1 rating, it is rated for indoor installation only.

Although Smart Guard is capable of 10kA surges, it offers robust coverage with up to six protection modes for each circuit type, while most whole-home surge protectors offer up to four.

It is designed with three independently operating protection modules. This means that if one unit fails, your home will not be left unprotected. This also means that you won’t have to install a whole new SPD after a surge because the individual modules are easy to replace.

Key specifications

SPD Type, Type 1, Type 2, 10kA surge capacity, NEMA 1 housing rating, 10-year warranty and up to $50,000 for connected equipment

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4

Best value

Square D HEPD80 Whole House Surge Protector

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HEPD80 whole house surge protector

With a surge current rating of 80kA, a NEMA 4X rating, and an LED status indicator on the front, this versatile Type 1 all-in-one surge protector far exceeds its price point. The installation process is incredibly straightforward, and thanks to its compact design, the HEPD80 doesn’t take up a lot of space next to the breaker panel.

Another big benefit is the six modes for each circuit type, with most models offering up to four modes. This whole home surge protector comes with a 5-year product warranty, which is less than the competition, although you’ll get up to $50,000 in coverage on connected residential equipment.

Key specifications

SPD Type, Type 1, Surge Capacity, 80 kA, Enclosure Rating, 5-Year NEMA 4X (Indoor/Outdoor) Warranty with $50,000 Residential Equipment Coverage.

5

Best flush mount

Leviton 51120-1 Whole House Surge Protection Panel

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51120-1 Whole House Surge Protection Panel

The Type 2 surge protection panel is designed to be installed adjacent to the main breaker for direct installation. It offers 50kA of surge protection and the front and center LED status indicators are easy to see. It also comes with a limited lifetime warranty.

The standard junction box adds to its durability over time and works well for light commercial use, although with a NEMA 1 rating, the whole house surge protector cannot be installed outdoors.

Key specifications

SPD Type, Type 2, Surge Capacity, 50 kA, Enclosure Rating, NEMA 1 (indoor installation) Warranty, Limited Lifetime

6

Best promotion

Eaton CHSPT2SURGE whole house surge protector

CHSPT2SURGE Whole House Surge Protector
PositivesLow cost for a great upgradeIndoor/outdoor installationLimited lifetime warranty
consLow current

If you want to easily upgrade your existing electrical system, a low-cost whole house surge protector is your best bet. The Type 2 protector is designed to act as an add-on, providing 36kA protection. And, as with our top picks from Eaton, it’s universally compatible with electrical panels from every manufacturer. It is also NEMA 4 rated for indoor and outdoor installation.

The surge protector also comes with a limited lifetime warranty, as well as coverage for connected equipment. For the low price of around $60 at the time of this writing, this is a small investment with a big return.

Key specifications

SPD Type, Type 2, Surge Power, 36 kA, Enclosure Rating, NEMA 4 (Indoor/Outdoor) Warranty, Limited Lifetime and Coverage for Connected Equipment

Photo by Rachel Klein

Rachel Klein is senior business editor at Popular Mechanics, where she writes about everything from garden hose reels and patio furniture to mesh wifi systems and robot vacuums. She began her career as a daily newspaper reporter and was a travel editor for more than a decade before she began testing and reviewing luggage, noise-cancelling headphones, and other travel-related products. Fast forward another five years, and her area of ‚Äč‚Äčexpertise includes home decor, appliances, technology, and outdoor adventure gear. In her free time, you’ll find her planning her next trip, reading historical fiction, and seeing as much art as she can in a weekend.

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