The Best Whole House Surge Protectors

best whole house surge protector

Electricity is a significant part of our modern life. Without it, we will not be able to enjoy our current lifestyle. However, an unstable electrical supply also poses a danger to our homes and structures. Despite technological advances that improve our national grid, various factors could still affect the system.

For that reason, we need to have the best whole house surge protector installed. This device will prevent an uncontrolled increase in voltage or current, thereby protecting the entire circuit. This has the potential to mitigate damage from lightning strikes, internal surges, and other causes.

To help you find the best surge protector, I will list 13 items that I’ve previously installed in my client’s homes and offices. I’ll give my thoughts on each so you can make an informed decision when you install your own device.

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Best Whole House Surge Protector Reviews

1. Eaton CHSPT2ULTRA Ultimate Surge Protection

If you’re looking for an electrical panel surge protector to use with any breaker box brand, the Eaton CHSPT2ULTRA is a good option. It is designed to work with whatever breaker center you have, so you can use it without worrying about compatibility issues. It’s also protected by a NEMA Type 4 enclosure, making it more durable than other products.

This device can handle 108kA max power surge current, 300V maximum continuous operating voltage, and 800v max voltage capacity. This gives you confidence that your system will not be overwhelmed by most surge incidents. It also has four modes of protection, so no matter what type of circuit you are using, you will be guarded against incidents.

What I like best about this device is its limited lifetime warranty and connected equipment warranty. This gives me peace of mind because if the device fails due to factory defects, I can have it replaced. I also appreciate the connected equipment guarantee because if their surge protector does not protect my devices, they will pay the repair or replacement costs.

However, installation can be pretty tricky. This is because the included wires are too short and may not reach your load center ground/neutral bar. You might need to purchase a longer set of cables to make it work properly.
Pros
  • Universally compatible with any center box brand
  • Protected by a NEMA Type 4 Enclosure for increased durability
  • Capable of handling 108kA max surge current and 800v max voltage
  • Comes with four modes of protection to cover most residential applications
  • Limited lifetime warranty and connected equipment warranty
Cons
  • Included wires are too short and may not reach the ground/neutral bar
I highly recommend the Eaton Whole House Surge Protector, especially if you suffer from frequent surges in your area. Its warranty and guarantee will give you peace of mind.

2. Square D by Schneider Electric HEPD80 Protective Device

When you need a surge protector for panel use, the HEPD80 is a good option. It features a built-in LED light indicator, allowing you to check your system status at a glance. This helps you monitor your circuit’s health and see if there’s an issue.

The manufacturer built the device up to CSA and UL standards, ensuring that it will work and protect your system as described. Furthermore, its 80,000-amp surge current rating will also shield you against most electrical surges. These features will ensure that you avoid potentially dangerous situations and keep you safe.

As an electrician, I love that this surge protector is easy to install. It will take me no more than ten minutes to add it to a system, and maybe even less time if I’m familiar with your circuit. I also appreciate the 5-year product warranty and $50,000 residential equipment coverage. The warranty this company provides gives me confidence that it will protect my clients.

The only issue I encountered with this is that its LED indicators are a bit dim. If you install it inside a breaker panel, it is not going to be a problem. But if you place it externally, bright environmental lights will overpower its status lights. You would have to look closer or shut off the ambient lighting to see them clearly.
Pros
  • Built-in LED indicator light shows device status at a glance
  • CSA and UL ratings ensure compliance with industry standards
  • 80,000-Amp surge current rating is more than enough for most applications
  • Easy-to-install for most professionals
  • 5-year product warranty with $50,000 residential equipment coverage
Cons
  • LED indicators are too dim when viewed under bright lights
If you want to install a surge protector inside your breaker panel, then I recommend this device. It’s easy to use and monitor, just don’t expect to see the status clearly in bright light.

3. Siemens FS140 Whole House Surge Protector Device

Most other whole home surge protection devices only utilize LEDs to declare their status, but the Siemens FS140 Whole House Surge Protector has a three-stage notification system to show you its exact health. It features an audible alarm, a status LED, and a service LED. It also has a Type-4 outdoor enclosure rating, so you can install it wherever you desire.

This surge protector is designed to work with the standard 30-amp 2-pole circuit breaker, so you don’t need to purchase any unique accessories to make it work. It is meant to be compatible with most residential systems and protect split phase 120/240-v 60-Hz circuits.

The most significant advantage you get from this product is its massive 140kA capacity. This will protect you from huge currents and voltages brought about by lightning strikes and other environmental factors. This ensures that your smart home can withstand these unforeseen events and save you from replacing expensive equipment.

This Siemens Whole House Surge Protector is an excellent choice if you want to be constantly updated about your system’s health and status. Just be sure of your available space if you’re going to install this internally in your breaker panel.

You have to be aware, though, that its features mean it’s a bit bigger than other options. If you plan to install this inside your load center, you have to consider that because it might not fit inside. Measure out your available space versus this item’s dimensions before purchasing. Also, don’t forget to consider the additional requirement for wiring.
Pros
  • Three-stage notification ensures timely status updates on system health
  • Type 4-rated outdoor enclosure allows installation of device anywhere
  • Designed to work with standard 30-amp 2-pole circuit breakers
  • Protects typical residential split phase 120/240v, 60-Hz systems
  • Surge current capacity of 140kA prevents damage to your smart home
Cons
  • Large housing might not fit in some smaller breaker boxes
This Siemens Whole House Surge Protector is an excellent choice if you want to be constantly updated about your system’s health and status. Just be sure of your available space if you’re going to install this internally in your breaker panel.

4. Leviton 51120-1 120/240-V Panel Protector

If you’re looking for a panel protector that installs cleanly, the Leviton 51120-1 is a good option. It has a flush mount that allows you to see the protection status. It also uses a standard J-box metal enclosure, which enhances the protector’s durability and longevity.

Monitoring system status is as simple as checking the LED indicator lights. You can see the power and protection conditions with just a glance. It also works with Decora Home Controls, allowing you to use intelligent home control systems while protecting your sensitive electronics at the same time.

This machine is fully compliant with UL-1449 standard, which ensures that it will perform as required. Your safety and convenience are assured because of the protector’s conformity to industry specifications. You will have confidence that your gear and equipment are fully protected against incidents.

The manufacturer also offers a limited lifetime warranty, so you’ll have peace of mind regarding your purchase.

One downside to this system is that it cannot be installed outdoors. It doesn’t have the necessary ratings to withstand exposure to rain, snow, sleet, and other environmental factors. I recommend choosing a different protector if you have an external installation site.
Pros
  • Easy flush mounting makes it clean and straightforward to install
  • Uses standard J-box metal enclosure for enhanced durability and longevity
  • Real-time diagnostic LEDs indicate power and protection status
  • Works with Decora Home Controls
  • Fully compliant with UL-1449 standards to ensure quality and performance
  • Limited lifetime warranty
Cons
  • Can only be used indoors, not suitable for external installations
This is a good choice if you want to install an internal surge protector for home. It conforms to industry standards, and you can rely on it to protect your electrical system.

5. Intermatic IG1240RC3 Surge Protection Device

If you’re still using plug-in strips to protect your electronic devices, the IG1240RC3 is an excellent surge protector for house to upgrade your appliances’ safety. This surge protector will protect your electronics should it detect a massive current or voltage increase that could potentially damage your equipment.

The device itself is connected to your circuit via four 30” 12-gauge leads. These wires are more than enough to cover most applications. They’re also long enough so that you won’t have to splice additional cables for your installation. Furthermore, the protector’s compact size will let it fit in most breaker boxes, so you don’t need to install it externally.

Its outer casing is made with NEMA 3R plastic, which protects it against dust and debris. It also keeps the item lightweight and easy to install. It also features thermally-protected metal oxide varistor or TPMOV technology, ensuring that the system will not fail when you need it the most.

My only concern with this item is that the package’s instructions are a bit vague and confusing. I had to rely on my experience and research to determine if my installation was correct. I will not recommend installing this on your own unless you have prior knowledge of electronics or a licensed practitioner like me.
Pros
  • Provides better protection to the overall circuit versus plug-in strips
  • Equipped with four 30” 12-gauge leads, more than enough for most applications
  • Long wires for convenient installation
  • Compact size lets it fit in most breaker panels
  • Durable NEMA 3R plastic enclosure keeps device lightweight and easy to install
  • Thermally-protected metal oxide varistor (TPMOV) technology
Cons
  • Included instructions are a bit vague and confusing to follow
I highly recommend this protection device, especially if you’re looking for an affordable option. Its features and technologies give this product excellent value for its price.

6. Siemens QSA2020SPD Surge Protection Device

For users of Siemens-branded breaker panels and load centers, the SSA2020SPD is the perfect addition to your system. Although it will take up two slots in your panel box, it comes integrated with two 20-amp circuit breakers as well, so you don’t lose any space.

Given its design, the device is a true plug-and-play installation. You only need a screwdriver to remove the panel cover and to secure the product on your breaker center, then you’re good to go. Once in place, it will protect the entire breaker box and all attached subcircuits, not just the two breakers it comes with.

It’s also easy to check the status with its LED status lights. You can check the system with just one look at it. You can use this for most residential applications, with its rating of 120/240 V AC. It’s also tested to withstand temperatures up to 40 degrees C.

The only drawback that this model has is that it will only work with Siemens breaker panels. If you’re using a different brand, then I’m afraid that it’s not tested for that. The company clearly states that this product is specifically for Siemens load center models only.
Pros
  • Integrated with two 20-amp circuit breakers to save space in your center panel
  • Easy, plug-and-play installation; screwdriver is the only required tool
  • Will protect the entire load center panel and all attached subcircuits
  • Easily viewable LED status lights reveal protection status for the electrical system
  • Rated for 120/240 V AC, for up to 40 degrees C
Cons
  • Limited compatibility, only works with Siemens breaker panels and load centers
If you want simple and easy-to-install whole house surge protection, this is the brand that I’d recommend. However, if you’re not using a Siemens-branded load center, I’m afraid you can’t use it.

7. Square D by Schneider Electric HOM2175SB Surgebreaker

The HOM2175SB Homeline Surgebreaker is one of the more affordable protective devices on the market. This allows more people to have access to the best home surge protector. This small and compact device will also easily fit into two standard circuit breaker slots. As long as you have empty spaces, you can install this with no issues.

Furthermore, you can place it in either service entrance points, Homeline load panels, or even combination service entrance devices. This gives you flexibility when it comes to installation. It also complies with UL-1449 3rd revision standards, so you can be sure that it will work as designed. Your safety is not compromised.

One thing that I look for in items like these is a product warranty. This specific model has a 3-year warranty, so you’re confident that it will not break and leave you vulnerable. You can also keep track of its status with the built-in LED to be sure of your system’s protection anytime.

However, you must have space in your breaker panel to install this. If not, you will need to acquire a bigger box. If you no longer have space and can’t enlarge your box, your next best option is to add a new breaker panel next to your existing one just for this device.
Pros
  • One of the most affordable surge protection devices available on the market
  • Can be installed in service entrance points, CSE devices, and homeline load panels
  • Complies with UL-1449 3rd revision standards for safety and performance
  • Comes with a 3-year product warranty to guarantee protection for your equipment
  • Built-in LED to indicate status
Cons
  • Takes up two slots for standard breakers
This is one of the most affordable surge protection devices on the market. It’s perfect if you’re on a budget, but you must have an extra two slots in your load center to use this.

8. Eaton CHSPT2 SURGE Type 2 Surge Protector

The Eaton CHSPT2 SURGE is an excellent choice if you need a new whole house surge protector installation. This is because it’s compatible with any brand, therefore allowing you to use it with pre-existing systems. Furthermore, it can also be installed outside the panel, allowing you to have it even if your slots are full.

Its enclosure is also NEMA 4 rated, so you can place it outside of your house. This allows you to have it in your system even if your mainline panel is exposed to the elements. These features make it flexible enough to be installed in any electrical system, whether old or upgraded.

The quick and uncomplicated mounting procedure for this item will save you time and effort. Any professional will take less than half an hour to install this inside your current load center. If you need to install this outside your breaker box, it still won’t take more than a few hours to work on.

For maximum protection, this device can handle up to 36,000 amps. That’s enough to protect against electrical surges and even some lightning strikes. My only concern is that it can be pretty difficult for the included ground and neutral wires to reach their connection points. I recommend preparing a longer set of cables to make installation easier.
Pros
  • Compatible with any load center in the market
  • Can be installed outside of the breaker panel
  • NEMA 4 enclosure allows usage in both indoor and outdoor installations
  • Quick and uncomplicated mounting procedure saves time and effort
  • 36,000 amps capacity will protect against power surges and even lightning strikes
Cons
  • Difficult for the ground and neutral wires to reach their respective connecting points
If you want to upgrade your current electrical system, this is a good option. It’s an add-on device, and you wouldn’t need to make significant changes to what you have just to get this working.

9. Square D by Schneider Electric Plug-On Surge Protector

If you need a whole house surge protector lightning strike, but you only have one available slot in your load center, this is a good option. It features a small-scale design, allowing it to take a single breaker slot while protecting the entire system. Installation is also a breeze – all you have to do is plug it in your load center, and you’re good to go.

This device can handle up to 50,000 amps to protect against lightning strikes. Its high-capacity protection gives excellent value for money for this item. Your household and equipment are covered against current and voltage surges with this plug-and-play item.

It also features a built-in LED status indicator to help you monitor system health. You will know if you are being protected, if it needs service and maintenance, or if you need to replace it with just a single glance. If you’re having doubts about your system’s safety, one quick look will give you all the information you need.

The only issue that I encountered with this item is that it’s got limited compatibility. Your load center must have a plug-on neutral feature for it to work. Square D’s QO model breaker box, for example, does not support this device.
Pros
  • Small scale design takes up a single breaker slot only
  • Plug-in system allows for installation in a short time
  • Maximum surge capacity of 50,000 amps will fully protect your electrical system
  • High-capacity protection gives excellent value for money
  • Built-in LED status indicator shows surge protector health and status
Cons
  • Breakers must have the Plug-On Neutral feature for this item to work
If you want a compact, plug-and-play surge protector, this is the item for you. Just ensure that your load center has a plug-on neutral feature to use this model.

10. Siemens FS100 Surge Protective Device

For those who need a high-capacity surge protection device, the Siemens FS100 will surely fit the bill. It’s capable of handling up to 100,000-amps surge current – making it more than enough to protect your system even from lightning.

The device’s NEMA 4x rating allows it to be installed both indoors and outdoors. It’s protected against environmental factors, like weather and temperature, so you don’t need to build an external enclosure for it. It also has four protection modes to cover electrical surges from the neutral, ground, and even both phase lines.

This device has built-in audible and visual status indicators to give feedback on its health. The visual indicators let you know if it’s working correctly or needs to be serviced, while the aural warning means it needs to be replaced. And last but not least, its UL-1449 listing guarantees product quality and performance. Your safety is guaranteed.

What I don’t like about it is that the brand’s customer service is hard to reach. I once wanted to know if they had a higher capacity model available to upgrade a client’s system, but they did not respond to my calls. In the end, I had to rely on their website to get my queries answered.
Pros
  • 100,000-amp surge capacity to protect your system from lightning
  • Can be mounted both indoors and outdoors due to the NEMA4X enclosure rating
  • Four protection modes cover surges from both phases, neutral, and ground lines
  • Audible indicator and visual LED lights give accurate feedback on system health
  • UL-1449 listing guarantees performance and product quality for your safety
Cons
  • Difficult to reach customer service
If you need to install an external house surge protection device, I highly recommend the FS100. As long as you have no questions about it, I believe you won’t have any problems with this product.

11. Intermatic IG2240-IMSK Surge Protective Device

This is one of the most advanced devices on the market. It is modular and allows up to six modes of protection. That way, you can cover all circuit types and enjoy the necessary protection. With this installed in your system, you will have no issues dealing with electrical surges.

The Smart Guard comes with three IModule, each with separate LED power and protection status indicators. These modules provide protection for your system, and each can be quickly and easily replaced for service and maintenance. This modular build ensures that your system will have some protection, even if one of the three IModules fails.

Its safety doors are tamper-proof for added protection, meaning they will not open unless a IModule is inserted. This avoids any untoward incidents and helps you keep your staff and contractors safe. Finally, the enclosure for the unit itself is rated type-1, so you can install it indoors.

However, all these features come at a price. The Intermatic IG2240-IMSK is one of the most expensive options on the market. If money is no issue, I would definitely recommend this system. But if you work on a budget, there are several more affordable but effective systems as well.
Pros
  • Allows up to six modes of protection to cover all circuit types
  • Comes with three IModules, each with separate LED power and status indicators
  • Each IModule can be quickly and easily replaced for service and maintenance
  • Tamper-proof safety doors will not open unless IModule is being inserted
  • Type-1 enclosure allows for indoor installation
Cons
  • High purchase price might be an issue for some buyers
If money is no object, I definitely recommend this. It has one of the most advanced systems available, and it will protect your circuits from both low-level and high-level power spikes and even lightning strikes.

12. Square D by Schneider Electric Surge Protection

When you’re working on a budget, I would highly recommend the SDSA1175 Surge Protection Device. This is one of the most affordable options you can purchase, but still effective. It’s compact and weatherproof, allowing you to place it anywhere it’s necessary.

This device is uncomplicated and easy to operate. All you need is to check the single LED status indicator that shows whether it’s working or not. As soon as the light goes out, then you know it’s time to find a replacement. It also has two modes of basic protection, which prevents surges on both load-to-load and load-to-neutral circuits.

The best thing about this item is its wide compatibility. It works with both 120V and 240V systems, as well as 50 Hz and 60 Hz cycles. So no matter where you are or what system you’re working with, you can be sure that this device will be compatible.

You should be aware, though, that this device is designed for simple circuits. If you have a more complicated system, a more advanced surge protection device might be advisable. Consult a professional electrician if you’re not sure about your electrical circuit.
Pros
  • One of the best-priced surge suppressor devices on the market
  • Compact and weatherproof device can be installed almost anywhere
  • Simple and easy-to-understand LED indicator shows device health and status
  • Two modes for basic protection of both load-to-load and load-to-neutral circuits
  • Works with both 120V and 240V systems at both 50 and 60 Hz
Cons
  • Simple design makes it unsuitable for more complex circuits
This simple surge protector is just suitable for protecting small home circuits. If you don’t need a complex device or have an uncomplicated system, you should go for this option.

13. Square D by Schneider Electric SDSB80111 Surgebreaker Plus

If you’re working with a vast system with multiple subcircuits and various connections, I recommend the SDSB80111 Surgebreaker Plus. It features modular technology that protects both electrical and communication lines. It even includes the HEPD80 Home Electronics Protective Device for ultimate circuit protection.

The unit itself has snap-on modules for quick installation. You only need a few screws to secure the protector itself. This innovation allows you to customize your protection as necessary. It also allows for quick and easy service and maintenance of your device. This will save you both time and effort, thus saving your money.

I love the unit’s compact design, making it easy for me to retrofit it to existing systems. It doesn’t take up much space, allowing me to install it in small areas. Furthermore, it comes with a 5-year device warranty and generous downstream equipment protection coverage. I have peace of mind with this item, knowing that the company stands behind its product.

My only issue with this is that some of its modules are hard to find. You must know where to source them, and if you’re located in distant areas, shipping will definitely take time. You should prepare everything you need for your first install, so you don’t need to hunt for these parts later on.
Pros
  • Modular technology protects both electrical and communications lines
  • Includes the HEPD80 Home Electronics Protective Device for ultimate protection
  • Snap-on modules allow for quick installation; only a few screws are required
  • Compact design makes it easy to retrofit to existing systems
  • Comes with a 5-year device warranty and a generous equipment protection coverage
Cons
  • Modules can be challenging to find
This is one of the best surge protective devices I’ve used and worked with. I’m more than happy to recommend this to you, especially if you’re working with advanced electrical systems.

What to Look for When Buying Whole House Surge Protectors

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Whenever I purchase a surge protection device, the first thing I consider is its brand. Although I’m open to testing other models, I already prefer some specific brands, as long as I get positive feedback from my clients and colleagues.

However, for most people, these are the critical specifications to look out for: load capacity, surge capacity, breaker box compatibility, protection modes, and warranty.

  • Load capacity – the surge protector you choose must support the current your system is using. If you have a 50-amp system, you cannot use a surge protector rated only for 30-amps.
  • Surge capacity – different models have different capabilities. If you live in an area prone to lightning strikes, I recommend getting whole home surge protectors with the highest possible surge protection rating, but for other applications, you could settle for entry or mid-level models.
  • Breaker box compatibility – as mentioned above, some protectors only work with specific load center models. Be aware of this before making your purchase to ensure compatibility.
  • Protection mode – if you have a small system, the basic two modes of protection should suffice. However, if you have a larger or more complicated circuit, a more advanced surge protector might be required. It’s best if you consult a licensed electrician if you’re unsure.
  • Warranty – I prefer models with warranties and guarantees as they make me confident that the company stands behind its product.

What are the Different Types of Whole House Surge Protectors

There are three primary types of power surge protectors: type 1, type 2, and type 3. These types refer to their placement in your system.

  • Type 1: Service Entrance Home Surge Protectors – these are generally the most formidable surge protectors you can buy. They are the primary defense line for your home against electrical surges. They are installed between the utility pole or meter and the main breaker of your system.
  • Type 2: Whole House Surge Protector Devices – these types of protectors are typically installed inside your main breaker. These typically protect the entire home circuit, hence the term “whole house”.
  • Type 3: Receptacle Surge Protector – this is the smallest and most affordable surge protector. It’s most commonly found in power strips, which allow you to protect your devices while allowing them to share a single receptacle.

Although these power strips are effective against low-level surges, they will simply be overwhelmed by a significant jump in current or voltage. Nevertheless, I still recommend a surge strip for sensitive electronics.

Who Makes the Best Whole House Surge Protector

Any of the brands I’ve listed in the reviews should provide sufficient surge protection to your home. Another manufacturer worth checking out is Tripp Lite. Its 12-outlet model excels in protecting your gadgets and comes with an automatic power-off feature.

Do Whole House Surge Protectors Really Work

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Yes, they do work! I have seen several instances where I was referred to work on my client’s neighbor’s electrical circuit after they lost several pieces of equipment due to a power surge. On the other hand, my clients just had to replace their surge protective device to maintain the circuit’s security.

These are the pros and cons of whole house surge protector. One positive about it is that it will prevent surge damage to your electrical equipment and help you save thousands of dollars. It can probably even reduce your insurance premium, as it protects all your plugged devices. Even if you don’t suffer from an extreme surge charge, low-level voltage spikes can damage sensitive circuit boards.

One negative I could think about is that it will cost you some money. It’s not much, but it’s still an expense. However, I prefer to think of it as an investment. After all, what is the cost of this device compared to the rest of my electrical equipment?

How Often Should a Whole Home Surge Protector be Replaced

In a perfect world, if you don’t suffer from electrical surges and power fluctuations, the best whole house surge protector devices will never need to be replaced. However, that is not the case. As most professionals agree, it’s best to replace this equipment every two years. Similarly, consumer reports indicate the same average effective life span for these items.

You should also occasionally check the status LEDs of your devices so you can visually inspect them. One rule of thumb we go by is that if you cannot remember when you purchased your protector, it’s high time you considered replacing it.

Conclusion

A surge protector is an investment. It will be the device that will take all the damage should your electrical circuit suffer from a massive power surge. Although it might be a bit expensive at the start, just think about what it will cost you if all your electrical devices, like your appliances, computers, smartphones, and everything else plugged in an outlet, get damaged or destroyed.

The bottom line is you should invest in the best whole house surge protector. This can potentially save you hundreds, if not thousands of dollars. It could also keep your electrical system and house from getting damaged. If you’re unsure whether you should get one or not, the best thing you could do is consult a professional.