Good or Best Surge Protector

Hi, I am moving to an area in rural Colorado where lightning strikes are prevalent and the power company not the most reliable.  I have a pretty nice system that I want to protect from lightning strikes or power surges from the power company.  My system is: Rockport Avior II speakers, Audio Research REF 160S amp, Audio Research REF 10 Preamp and Phono Stage, Aurender W20 SE, Ayre DAC, Galibier turntable with Kuzma 11 point arm and Van Den Hul cartridge and 2 REL G1 subs.  I don't know a lot about power so was wondering if anyone knew of a good power surge protector --for example, are the furman protectors any good or are they junk?  Thank you in advance for your help and advice. 

Ag insider logo xs@2xgasherbaum

That is a great system. I would definitely have surge / conditioning. Unfortunately, I am not an expert. I did have a direct line (now I have two) put in before I moved in. These would be very appropriate for your system. I have a high quality conditioner which helps even more.

Our power cables and infrastructure is buried and quite reliable up here in Washington. I’ll have some folks with experience recommend surge protection. 

I would consider a whole house surge protector you install in the breaker box. 

I recommend a bit of research into those.

+1, @thecarpathian

I also suggest auditioning atleast 2-4 high quality conditioners from Audience, Puritan, Shunyata or Synergistic. Your system is too good to settle for some pedestrian power conditioner like Furman.

I live just outside of Memphis and when storms come through we get a lot of lightning. I went with a whole house surge protector at the breaker, but also have Blue Circle power conditioners that also have surge protection. Just focusing on the protection side of things , whole house protectors are warranted in areas with a lot of lightning, but don’t get fooled into thinking that they won’t get taken out by lightning. You need to monitor them to make sure that they haven’t and if so get them replaced. I've had to have replacements installed twice. So if you get one installed you also need a conditioner that offers protection directly at your equipment. Look into some of those suggested by lalitk

I've also heard good things about the Audioquest Niagara series conditioners/protectors.

Crutchfield sells them with a generous 60 day return policy.

I have a Shunyata Hydra 6 and it has never failed to protect my audio system.

APC S10 or S15: rock solid dependable, works as advertised, and most importantly does not require one to take out a second mortgage. I live in South Florida, which is a veritable lightning magnet, and this thing has saved my system countless times. Get one and forget the rest.

Make sure to get a whole house surge protector.  Those will help a lot of things, including preventing fires in the wall wiring.

For your most precious gear I recommend Furman with Lift and SMP. 

Keep in mind a lot of boutique power conditioners are not actually tested or listed as surge suppressors.  Make sure any you buy are.



One thing I thought of is that you may want to keep an eye on your voltage for a while before deciding.  This will tell you if you need a conditioner with a built-in voltage regulator or not.  If the voltage is good and stable, then  you don't, but if you see it drop below say 115 or above 125 you probably want one.




No surge protector is going to protect from a direct strike. I looked into this deeply some time ago. My recollection is that the “Brickwalk” brand provides good protection with minimal drawbacks. That said, protecting at the panel is the best way to go. Check out Environmental Potentials. I’m using an EP-2050 (I believe) which reduces noise throughout your electrical service at all points and provides protection from surges and lightning. They have several models and provide great customer service. You will need an electrician to install. I’ve had mine for 15 years, moving three times in the process. It always came along for the journey. EP products are designed for industrial applications where surges, hash, and noise can result in costly production errors on high tolerance products that are precision machined. They aren’t playing around and you won’t be disappointed in the performance and peace of mind. Good luck!

+1 to Erik wrt whole home protector plus a Furman or equivalent. Watch out for brutally overpriced toys called power conditioners but are just parts in a box.


Tom Rothermel reps this product here. He lived in Belize where

power surges were a way of life. He swears by this.

Please let me know what you decide to buy.



Not professing expertise in this area.  Like and trust Mike Holmes who tells of losing $25,000 CA of home appliances from a strike, so afterwards installed a whole house surge protector.  His show always includes installation of a protector.  He endorses the EATON.  His face is on the box, so it must be good.  I have that one installed at the box.....professionally.  Plus a myriad of surge protectors.

I did give a decent 8 outlet Furman power conditioner/surge strip to a friend for his stereo and TV.  His house was struck and the only things that survived were, you guessed it, plugged into the strip.  All wiring and appliances blown.  It's kind of individual event dependent.

Something is probably better than nothing and there are no guarantees.



I have not used the latest crop of power conditioners but in the time period I was playing with them you could hear their effect; I don’t know if, given the state of dirty power in a particular locality, it is worth the trade-off.

I’m currently using whole house surge, and a surge board on the secondary side of the big (10kVa) isolation transformer. No other black boxes.

On less critical stuff, I have, in addition to the whole house, point of use. I probably have at least 3 units or more offline, including a 240 v. step down, a big power conditioner from Richard Gray that ran the video system (not sure it is sonically up for high end audio) and Furman, etc.

I think the value of these things is dependent both on the quality of incoming power as well as the system in which it is utilized.

In terms of protection, to me (thankfully have not experienced it) but a direct strike, all bets are off (unless unplugged). 

In the breaker box.

Best   protection

Does’t have any impact on the sound quality. A power conditionner with surge protection may have one.



Everyone, thank you very much for the great responses and ideas.  I love being able to ask questions on this forum and get such great, thoughtful responses.  I had not thought about the whole home surge protector, which is a great idea.  And 2 of you recommended Environmental Potentials, which I had not heard of.  I will be getting a whole home surge protector, and will look into the EP and others recommended here and then add some kind of surge protector/conditioner inside the house to hook my gear up to.  Don't take possession of the new house til January 28, but this gives me time to get the electrician out there for the whole home surge protector.  Again, to everyone who has responded, thank you so much for your time and your thoughtful responses.  

A whole house + point of use is really best. The whole house is good, but the let through voltage is still high for your delicate gear.

Surge protectors from Brickwall, Furman and TrippLite have much lower let through voltages, so the combination of in-panel and point of use is essential, and what’s recommended. :)

I live in SC now and we get real thunderstorms, and I use what I’m recommending: Whole house by the panel maker, Furman for my audio gear and TrippLites elsewhere. During a bad one my smart light switch had to be reset, but nothing on my Furman or TrippLites had any trouble at all.

I’m not a big believer in uber pricey sockets, but if you are moving into a new home, replacing existing one’s with commercial grade, tamper resistant outlets is probably worthwhile, especially if they’ve used backstab connections. The combination of aging socket + poor reliability of those connections is a real headache Go ahead and replace them for peace of mind. Should be ~ $30 for a pack of 10.

Well, I guess I would add...

I have not experienced, but read of lighting striking near a house and frying half the electronics within without touching the electrical.

Personally, I would contact your insurance provider and inform them of your most expensive piece and have the item(s) as an actual cost+ replacement plan added to your policy. I believe unless noted in the policy, maximum claim is about 3k per item.


I agree.. Whole house is good for appliances and such, but for delicate computer, stereo gear.. A Brickwall surge protected used with whole house breaker protection is your best bet. I use this setup here in NC

Well, I guess I would add...

I have not experienced, but read of lighting striking near a house and frying half the electronics within without touching the electrical.


It is extremely rare, but it does happen.  If you are playing the odds this is not the bet to take, anymore than not wearing a seat belt because you think getting thrown clear of your car is a good idea. 99.9% of damaging power surge issues won't be like this.

It's important to note that in-panel / in-meter surge protectors have been added to the NEC because of life-safety issues as much as anything else.  Whatever you do, this is the one thing you really should.

I do go 1 step further btw, I also air-gap my incoming Internet connection via fiber adapters. 





1.  The BUSS-Stop from pi audio group.

1.  The BUSS-Stop from pi audio group.

2.  SurgeX SEQ from ZenWave.





I recently had a Seimens FS140 whole house surge suppressor installed by my breaker box(as well as a 2nd grounding rod by my meter box).


I wanted to get surge suppression MOV’s etc away from my equipment. Now I have a PI Audio Uberbuss/Digi Buss power conditioner which has no surge suppression and does not limit current.

Worth noting the let-through voltage of RG's whole house surge suppressor is comparable to that of most others, around ~ 400 volts, while Zerosurge, Furman and others have significantly lower for their strips and conditioners.

The point is that having multiple layers of surge protection is essential.

Zerosurge, Brickwall , both basically the same, do NOT use MOV’s and they do not send the spikes to ground, which is also connected to all your other sensitive  equipment.  Cost more to produce than MOV based devices, but proven to work and not weaken with time.. 

No, don’t even bother with Furman junk.

Try this...Keep your things safe and thank me later for the sonic benefit as well (an added bonus).


I have a Shunyata Hydra 6, and it didn't do enough. A surge fried my amp and my speakers. It's an excellent power line conditioner, but not robust enough as a surge protector.


What was recommended to me, and I now use, is a Zero Surge surge protector. That's all the company does. They're used inside some high end power conditioners and generators, but you can use them in tandem with existing power line conditioners without loss of sound quality. I now plug the Hydra into the Zero Surgem