Line Conditioners vs. Surge Protectors

white surge protector

Protecting your equipment from high power surges can be done using either line conditioners or surge protectors. These two electrical gadgets help to prevent voltage in your devices from shooting up and damaging computers, games consoles, or other machines that use a power cable rather than batteries. If you have the money to invest in a line conditioner or a surge protector, then you may be unsure which is the ideal device for you to use. Considering the uses of each device can help you to decide which most meets your own needs.

Line Conditioners

Line conditioners prevent voltage from surging or reducing in power, meaning that you can have consistent supply of 120 volts per second. Conditioners also protect against storms, lightning strikes, or disruption to the power.

In everyday use, the line conditioner can prevent changes in voltage, making lights dim or brighten, stop TV or satellites from shutting off during use, and also preserve radio frequency. What they cannot do is improve the quality of pictures on HD-ready TVs, no matter what kind of HDTV you have. The power control features in the TVs themselves are not affected by line conditioners, so if you are intending to use one to improve your TV resolution, then you will be disappointed. However, a large enough conditioner will help to protect your television against power surges caused by lightning or electronic discharge.

If you wish to use line conditioners to protect something important, whether at home or in a small business, then they will certainly manage to do this. They are often used in hospital wards to defend vital equipment against electrical shocks, and so anything being used by a home or small business will probably be defended adequately.

Surge Protectors

computer plugged into a surge protector outlet

Rather than the line conditioner, many people opt for the smaller, and cheaper, surge protector. These prevent high-voltage from being transmitted to your device, so excessive power doesn't cause your machine to suffer a catastrophe. One thing to keep in mind is that surge protectors typically need to be replaced every few years, and this can make them more expensive in the long run than a more durable line conditioner.

The usefulness of surge protectors depends very much upon the amount of security you need with your TV. An LCD or plasma screen will require a large surge protector and you will probably still need some other defense. For more expensive projectors or lamp-powered devices, you will need an uninterruptible power supply protector. Some digital TVs will also need this kind of defense.

Choosing Between the Two

The most common decider between these two devices is cost. Surge protectors can be extremely cheap, often less than $20, and if you have fairly good electricity, this is the best type to have. Line conditioners should be used where power is poorer. Some line conditioners have a surge protector built-in, which will serve both of the functions. However, it is rare to find a combination conditioner and surge protector for less than $300. Surge protectors can be bought for much less. For example, a surge and power-loss protection device can be bought using an uninterruptible power supply device for less than $100.