Question: A power strip saves me money by using less electricity for multiple devices right? I do not know if I am correct but I heard in the past that if I use a power strip instead of plugging one plug into each wall socket, it is cheaper. For instance, if I plug in one surge protector power strip with 4 outlets on it, then I plug in 4 of my electrical devices to the power strip, the power being used is the same as only one electrical device. This makes sense to me because you only have one electrical device plugged into the wall. Is this right or am I thinking wrong? Please explain why I am wrong if I am.
Answer: Your assumption is incorrect. It’s technically cheaper (and the same electricity usage) to plug a device directly into a wall outlet. Plugging in 4 different things into a power strip like a computer, a fan, a monitor, and a light, will use the same amount of electricity the exact same way as if you plugged them into wall outlets separately. When using a power strip, even though you only have one plug going into the wall outlet, all 4 devices will use the same power as normal. The power for the 4 devices (when plugged into a power strip) all flow through one outlet. The ONLY true difference in power usage would be if your power strip has a light that indicates “on”. The electricity consumed by whatever you have plugged in is exactly the same in either case. However it is safer to use a power strip when it comes to protecting your gear, see below.
You can save electricity by using power strips correctly:
Any device with a small transformer will pull a small electrical current when it is energized. Some call this standby power or vampire power. Some devices have internal transformers. Things like your television, computer, and monitor. Other small electrical devices have a box connected to the prongs that are inserted in the outlet. These boxes contain a transformer, so it will draw current when energized. The ON/OFF switch on the power strip turns off electric flow to ALL devices plugged into it, but the power strip itself (prongs, wires, etc.) is plugged into the wall, meaning that it makes an electrical connection and, therefore, pulls some “phantom load” electricity into itself. To save money using a power strip, turn the power strip off when you are not using any of the components plugged into it. This way there is no electrical trickle going to any of the plugged in transformers. By doing this, it will save you some money in electric bills.
Important information to consider about power strips:
The power strip is used for safety and also lack of power outlets. Computer and Home Entertainment owners should understand the benefits of a good quality power strip. A quality power strip will protect against lightning strikes and electrical surges.
Best rated power strip with surge protection
Tripp Lite ISOBAR8ULTRA Isobar Surge Protector
Metal – 8 Outlet – 12 feet Cord – 3840 Joules
Robust surge suppression with sine-wave tracking protects against the heaviest of
surge conditions and reducing 6,000V test surges to harmless levels less than 35 volts.
Network grade surge suppression rated at 3840 joules/97,000 amps.
Ultimate protection with 3840-joule surge suppression rating.
Surge protection features 8 outlets, 12 ft. cord, isolated filter banks, and much more
How many joules do I need in a surge protector?:
This rating system is in joules. Joules tells you how much energy the surge protector can absorb before it will fail. A higher number indicates better protection. Find a surge protector that is at least rated at 200 to 600 joules. This will guarantee your components like TV and computer will be safe if a surge happens.
Can a storm or lightning damage my computer or TV?:
It is a fact that lightning can travel underground for nearly 1.5 miles which can cause power surges and electrical spikes from the power poles to your home. A power strip can also be effective when there is a loss of power and then the power quickly turns back on. To protect your computers, TVs and other valuable devices, get a high quality power strip that will save your expensive electronics. Be sure it has a surge protector so if the power from the outlets surge, the power strip will turn off and protect your electronics.
Allen is the author and creator of this website. He has years of experience with appliance repair, commercial food machinery maintenance, electrical, HVAC, plumbing, vehicle maintenance, and critical aviation related systems.