With the popularity of home automation devices, smart appliances, and other electronic equipment in today’s home, the requirement for whole house surge protection has become a necessity.
Power surges or spikes can actually destroy electrical devices we use in our homes such as high definition TVs, microwave ovens, air conditioning units, computers, refrigerators, home audio systems, and more. Damage can range from complete failure to a reduction in the useful life.
This can happen from a single large power surge or smaller repeated power surges. Or it only takes a lightning storm near your home to create a high-energy electrical surge that can enter your house and destroy your appliances, TVs, stereo equipment and almost all other modern electrical products.
So, how do you protect your home from these damaging power surges? The answer is investing in a whole-house surge protector.
By installing a whole-house surge protector you can safeguard all of the valuable appliances in your home from power surges, lightning strikes, and storm damage. With all of today’s electronics, your whole house surge protector can easily pay for itself in the event of a single power surge.
What’s the best whole house surge protector for your home?
If you’re going to invest in surge protection for the whole house, below is our hand-picked list of the best whole house surge protectors available. These models are consistently the top whole house surge protectors on the market when it comes to quality and customer satisfaction.
Best Whole House Surge Protectors
1. EATON CHSPT2ULTRA Ultimate Surge Protection
- Rated maximum surge current: 108kA
The EATON CHSPT2ULTRA Ultimate Surge Protection is our pick as the best whole house surge protector for most homes. This surge protective device will protect all your home electronics from damaging surges for an affordable cost and an industry-leading limited lifetime product warranty.
The CHSPT2ULTRA is the latest and best model in Eaton’s Type 2 surge products, which is designed to provide protection at the point of the service entrance to the home – that is at the beginning of the branch circuit after the main breaker (load center or electrical panel). Protection at this location can reduce surges entering the home to an acceptable level for your home electronics and appliances.
This whole house surge protector is suitable for 120/240V indoor/outdoor applications. It provides surge protection for sensitive electronics from voltage spikes or disturbances on your AC power line. But NOT for lightning strikes.
In fact, the EATON CHSPT2ULTRA is a great affordable whole house surge protector to protect your home electronics against a utility mistake or utility equipment failure. But it is not designed to protect against direct lightning strikes against your house.
So if you get damage from a lightning strike, this product will not cover. However, one thing you should know is that “ Direct lightning strike isn’t the Biggest Danger” if you don’t live in the states with a high density of lightning strikes, such as Florida or Texas.
- High quality whole house surge protector for an affordable price
- Suitable for 120/240V indoor/outdoor applications
- Easy to install
- Compatible with any manufacturer’s load center and breaker box.
- Clear, visible LED indicator displays status.
- Limited lifetime warranty + 75,000$ warranty for connected devices
- Does not protect against direct lightning strikes
2. Siemens FirstSurge Whole House Surge Protector
- Rated maximum surge current: 60/100/140kA
This is the best whole house surge protector to buy if there’s extra room in your budget. The Siemens FirstSurge outperforms all of the whole house surge protectors we’ve reviewed and would easily come in the first place.
FirstSurge is more than a good whole house surge protector. This is a Smart surge protective device that is equipped with 3-stage commercial diagnostics to alert a homeowner when a surge protector needs to be replaced.
When FirstSurge wears out, its 3-stage diagnostics immediately alerts you that it needs replacing. An audible alarm beeps, the green LED lights extinguish, and a red service light flashes, the combination of which takes the guesswork out of knowing when a replacement is necessary.
This type of notification results in a far shorter Mean Time Before Surge Protection Restoration (MTBSPR) compared to standard whole house surge protectors equipped only with LED diagnostics. Knowing when a whole house surge protector needs to be replaced gives you peace of mind that your smart appliances and electronics will always be surge protected.
In addition, this Siemens whole house surge protector is also equipped with ground reference monitoring notifying you a rare safety hazard exists due to a compromised electrical system neutral to ground bond. In this case, an audible alarm will beep, the green LED lights on the device will remain lit, and the red service light will flash.
There are many whole house surge protectors available on the market. But when it comes to quality and advanced features to protect your home appliances and electronics from the damaging effects of power surges, lightning strikes, or thunderstorms, Siemens FirstSurge is by far the most advanced surge protective device. It’s no doubt the best whole house surge protector available.
Unlike most standard whole house surge protectors on the market, FirstSurge even provides balanced protection for all of the primary paired conductors in an electrical system. The L-N, L-G, and N-G combinations see the same amount of surge overvoltage, which prevents unnecessary wear on electronics and appliances.
You can’t go wrong with the Siemens FirstSurge whole house surge protector. If you live in southwest Florida where is the lightning capital of the USA, having a reliable whole house surge protector like this SPD is a must.
- Protect the whole house against power surges and lightning strikes
- Available in three different sizes to fit your needs: FS060 (First Surge Power) = 60,000 Amps; FS100 (First Surge Plus) = 100,000 Amps; FS140 (First Surge Pro) = 140,000 Amps
- When there is a problem, Siemens FirstSurge takes the guesswork out of knowing when it is time to be replaced
- FirstSurge’s balanced 600-Volt Protection Ratings means every primary paired conductor (line to neutral, line to ground, and neutral to ground) will knock down surge overvoltages to safe levels
- Equipped with Ground Reference Monitoring notifying you a rare safety hazard exists due to a compromised electrical system neutral to ground bond
- Suitable for 120/240V indoor/outdoor applications
- FirstSurge can be used to surge protect any load center brand when connected to a 30A or less, 2 pole circuit breaker
- Type 4 rated outdoor enclosure
- 10-year product and connected equipment warranty
- It is pricey
3. Square D HEPD80 Home Electronics Protective Device
- Rated maximum surge current: 80kA
The Square D HEPD80 Home Electronics Protective Device by Schneider Electric is one of the best whole house surge protectors that provides surge suppression for important appliances that are not compatible with plug strips such as washers & dryers, refrigerators, bathroom exhaust fans, ceiling fans, air conditioning equipment, heating, and lighting.
This compact and affordable whole house surge protector is designed to control very fast high voltage transients or surges that are common in our electrical systems. It’s designed for installation in any residential load center.
Keep in mind that the Square D HEPD80 is a very useful surge protective device that will protect your equipment from most voltage spikes that may occur electrical appliance spikes. However, it should not protect your home against a large voltage surge such as a direct lightning strike.
The voltage surge from a lightning strike could have entered your home by the telephone line or through your cable TV, Internet or satellite.
The Square D HEPD80 works together with surge protection plug strips to create multiple layers of surge protection. Meaning in addition to the whole home surge protector installed at your breaker panel, you would have surge protection plug strips protecting each piece of equipment. Square D helps to reduce surges that might otherwise overwhelm plug strips and damage connected household equipment.
- Compact and Affordable whole house surge protector protects everything on all circuits connected to your breaker panel, including those devices you typically could not use a surge protection plug strip with(washers, dryers, refrigerators, stoves, lighting, etc).
- 80,000 Amp/phase maximum surge current
- Easily connected to any brand of residential load center
- LED status indicators
- 120/240V, NEMA Type 4X enclosure rating suitable for installing indoors, outdoors, or in other harsh environments.
- 5-year, $75,000 limited warranty
- Not for direct lightning strikes
4. Intermatic Smart Guard IG2240-IMSK
- Rated maximum surge current: 50kA
We pick the Intermatic Smart Guard IG2240-IMSK as one of the best whole house surge protectors for several reasons.
First, the Intermatic Smart Guard replaceable consumable models are built with an advanced thermally protected MOV technology (TPMOV) that disconnects the MOV from the circuit if the surge causes an overvoltage breakdown. That’s an important safety feature.
Second, this whole house surge protector includes three IModules with LED power and protection status lights. These modules have two LEDs to let you know they’re on and working, and when they require replacement.
Plus, the cabinet has its own power shutoff – Module Power Switch. To replace a module, people simply flip the switch, yank the module and slide in a replacement. The replacement process was incredibly easy and fast as changing a printer cartridge; simply remove the old one and snap in the new!
This will also eliminate the need to install a new whole house surge protector unit. You can replace the individual modules yourself at a fraction of the cost of a new whole house surge protector, without opening the main panel or shutting off power to the entire house.
Finally, the Intermatic Smart Guard whole house surge protector has excellent surge protection specifications and six modes of protection. So it’s definitely a high-quality unit. And, it carries a strong 10-year warranty and a $25,000 connected equipment coverage warranty for all connected electronics and appliances.
The Intermatic Smart Guard IG2240-IMSK costs a bit more than other whole house surge protector units. But you’ll never have to hire an electrician when a module wears out. You’ll have peace of mind that you’ve got the best whole house surge protector available.
Video: How to replace Intermatic Whole House Surge Modules
- Six Modes of protection, TPMOV surge protection technology
- Module Power Switch enables convenient disconnection of power at the SPD
- Includes three IModules with LED power and protection status lights
- IModules replace quickly and easily, eliminating the need to install a new SPD unit
- Type 1 & 2 Surge Protection
- 120/220V indoor AC
- 10-year product warranty
- $50,000 connected equipment warranty for 10 years on appliances and electronics
- Not suitable for outdoor application
- Costs a bit more than other units
- Quite heavy and big and requires space for installation
5. Leviton 51120-1 Panel Protector
- Rated maximum surge current: 50kA
The Leviton 51120-1 Panel Protector is one of the top quality whole house surge protectors that comes with a limited lifetime warranty and is compatible with Leviton Decora Lighting & Appliance Controls.
This whole house surge protection diverts voltage transients, or surges, away from electronic equipment. It is designed for single-phase applications in homes and apartment buildings at the service entrance or other branch panel locations. It is also perfect for use in light commercial buildings where protection from high-energy, high-voltage transients is desired.
Leviton 51120-1 features a real-time diagnostic visual indicator showing power and suppression status for the protected phase. The item is well made of solid metal and has two green lights on the front to tell you if it’s working. If these lights ever go out, it has taken a surge and will need to be completely replaced.
Leviton is one of the largest privately-held manufacturers of electrical wiring equipment in North America. Leviton stands behind its whole house surge protection products, providing a great warranty on appliances/equipment connected to the panel protector.
Leviton Model 51120-1 is one of the best whole house surge protectors for residential and business. You can’t go wrong with Leviton’s lifetime warranty.
- 120/240-Volt panel protector 4-mode protection
- Real-time diagnostic visual indicator shows power and suppression status for each protected phase
- Compatible with decora home controls
- Can be used for even light commercial buildings
- Well made of solid metal
- Backed by a limited lifetime warranty
- For indoor use only
Pro Tip: If you have equipment that runs on a 3 phase power, such as cabinet table saws, air compressors, 3-phase swimming pool pumps, then you need a 3-phase whole house surge protective devices (Leviton model 51120-3 3-Phase Panel Protector).
The Overall Verdict
A whole house surge protector is the best defense against power surge damage
If you are like most people, chances are you have more than a few electronic gadgets and electrical equipment installed in your home.
Today’s appliances contain circuit boards which need to be protected from surges to ensure they operate correctly. LED lightbulbs also contain a microcircuit board, surprisingly enough, and are extremely sensitive to electrical surges. Both of these can become easily compromised without protection.
Computers, Bluetooth speakers, WiFi Routers, smart TVs, and other smart devices are the most vulnerable and need to be protected. Having one of the best whole house surge protectors installed will give you more peace of mind that these expensive devices have adequate protection.
A proper installed whole home surge protection can save you thousands over its initial investment cost. If you haven’t installed any whole house surge protector in your home yet, now it’s time to get one.
Choosing the right size whole house surge protector
There are several whole-house surge protectors available for various voltage needs. Typical homes in the U.S. with 120V service can use a 80kA-rated whole house surge protector as surges over 50kA are unusual. A typical home should never receive a surge of more than 10kA.
A home with subpanels should seek protection of around half the kA rating of the main unit. However, if you live in an area that endures several electrical storms a year, a whole house surge protector unit with a rating over 80kA would be a smart investment.
Which ever whole house surge protector unit you’re going to choose, keep in mind that selecting a whole house surge protector from a trusted brand that delivers the proper level of protection, and knowing when a whole house surge protector needs to be replaced, are the keys to ensuring your home remains protected.
How To Install A Whole House Surge Protector
Manufacturers recommend hiring a professional electrician to install your whole house surge protector. But if you would like to install yourself, here is a useful video for you to understand the process of how to install a whole house surge protector.