April 29, 2009

APC SurgeArrest Power Saving Surge Protector - Review

apc.jpgAnyone who was reading this site back in December knows that we had a little power outage and anyone who has read the site since knows that we've made a career out of bitching about it (see here and here). Well why stop now? What follows is a review of a surge protector, which, admittedly is a bit outside of our area of expertise (and by 'a bit' we mean 'a lot'), but before you click back over to your favorite celebrity gossip site, you should know that we found that the item had an intriguing feature that translated very nicely into the workshop setting.

apc_outlets.jpgThe surge protector is called the SurgeArrest and it's made by a company called APC. In addition to handling all of the standard surge protection, it's specifically made for those of you with computers or serious AV equipment.

The main features here are the 'Master/Controlled' outlets. How they work is that you plug your computer into the master outlet and your peripherals (i.e. printer, fax, scanner) into the three controlled outlets. When your computer enters hibernate mode, the SurgeArrest kills the power to the controlled outlets. As soon as your computer wakes up, the outlets go live again. Unfortunately, this feature only works with desktop computers, but we don't see why it wouldn't work with a tv/dvd/audio setup.

apc_side.jpgWe were thinking about this concept and it occurred to us to take it into the workshop for an experiment. We plugged our table saw into the master outlet and our vacuum into one of the control outlets. Keeping the saw off, we turned on the vacuum. No power, which was good. Then we turned on the saw and there goes the vacuum. Sure enough, we had turned our old ShopVac into a high end Festool/Fein vacuum with the auto start function. It only runs when the saw is on.

As far as other features go, the SurgeArrest also has an indicator light that detects a lack of a ground circuit in your home system as well as a number of other wiring oddities that let you know something in your house likely needs to be looked at by an electrician. It also has in/out ports for a phone/fax line to provide protection to those items as well.

We like the whole 'Master/Controlled' thing and have always heard of the slow and steady power drain of things like printers and speakers. According to APC, this surge protector will save you about $25 a year, which doesn't sound like a whole lot. But once you figure in the cost of the item (a little over $30) and the added surge protection that you're getting, the SurgeArrest starts to look like a nice investment. And then there's the workshop application of the 'Master/Controlled' function which strikes us as a nice, inexpensive way to upgrade your vacuum.

At APC and Amazon.com

Read More in: All Reviews | Benches, Stands, and Storage | Safety

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Posted by Doug Mahoney at April 29, 2009 4:59 AM

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