Best AC Surge Protectors – 2021 Guide

Power surges are inevitable; they are caused by tripped breakers, loss of power, blackouts, or brownouts. All of these power loss issues can wreak havoc on your home’s AC unit.

When the power returns, or when your home’s power flickers, the sensitive components of the electrical systems in your home can short circuit, burn up, or become overcharged.

The best solution to preventing damage to your electrical system, especially for your AC unit, is to invest in the best AC surge protectors.

Comparison of the Best AC Surge Protectors

  • Best Surge Protector for Air Conditioner
  • Maximum surge current protection of 108Ka
  • Very easy to install in your system
View Latest Price ?
  • Can be used for 120 and 240v systems
  • Standard enclosure of metal for easy installation
  • Comes with a lifetime warranty included
View Latest Price ?
  • Best for the Money
  • Comes with 3 protection modes and led indicator for each
  • Ground pin is detachable for improved safety
View Latest Price ?
  • Best 220V Surge Protector for Air Conditioner
  • Easy to install and operate
  • Up to more than 3000w capacity
View Latest Price ?
  • Best Window Air Conditioner Surge Protector
  • Lightweight and compact design for easy installation
  • Protection for all outlets with integrated 12 Amp circuit breaker
View Latest Price ?

What to Look for in a Surge Protector

Most of the AC surge protector manufacturers should give you enough information about their product so you can make an easy decision of whether the surge protector will work for you or not. With all of this information, you should have the tools to gauge whether the surge protector is enough for your power needs.

Number of Joules Provided

You can figure out the durability of a surge protector by looking at the number of joules advertised on the surge protector. Joules measure how much energy the surge protector gives off; the more joules a surge protector has, the more energy it gives off.

Generally, you want a surge protector for your AC unit with a joule rating somewhere between 1000 to 2000 joules.

NEMA Enclosure Type

The NEMA enclosure type is a location rating of where the installation of the surge protector can be. There are several different suitable locations based on weatherproofing, voltage ratings, and more.

Short Circuit Current Rating (SCCR)

Short circuits can cause power surges on separate lines than regular power surges. This is why there’s a separate rating for the SCCR. The SCCR measures the amount of energy the surge protector can withstand and dissipate from a surge caused by a short circuit.

Review of the Best AC Surge Protectors

Let’s get into looking at the best AC surge protectors. Below you’ll find some of the best surge protectors for your AC unit based on several factors. The goal of these reviews is to help you figure out which AC surge protector is best for your needs.

Best Surge Protector for Air Conditioner:

EATON CHSPT2ULTRA Ultimate Surge Protection 3rd Edition, 2.38' Length, 5.25' Width 7.5' Height


  • NEMA rating for indoor and outdoor usage
  • Universal since it connects to any 50-amp breaker
  • Easy to install if you have previous experience with installing electrical components
  • Two green LED lights make it easy to check to see if the protector needs to be replaced
  • Rated at 108,000 amps, which makes the surge protector have a degree of lightning protection


  • Has a misleading warranty
  • One of the wires on this AC surge protector is a little too short to work with during installation

What Recent Buyers Report

Most recent buyers of the Eaton CHSPT2ULTRA say that the installation is easy to do. However, if you aren’t experienced with installing electrical components, you should hire a professional to install the protector for you.

One of the things that stands out most to recent buyers is that this AC surge protector has top-rated specs, making it one of the best AC surge protectors on the market. The one downside is that you might find that one of the wires is too short during the installation.

Why it Stands Out to Us

The reason that the Eaton CHSPT2ULTRA is on our list is that it offers incredible specs and ratings. It has a NEMA enclosure type four rating, one of the best standard ratings for an electrical enclosure. This NEMA rating means that the enclosure can keep water, dirt, and more out of the enclosure, making it a great candidate for indoor and outdoor installation.

Another reason is that this is a type two surge protector device, which means that you can use it to protect more than one device in your home.

Bottom Line

This AC surge protector is an excellent purchase if you’re looking for something to protect your AC unit. It can be installed indoors or outdoors and is easy to install if you’re a professional electrician or have previous experience installing electrical devices.

Leviton 51120-1

Leviton 51120-1 120/240 Volt Panel Protector, 4-Mode Protection, Light Commercial/Residential Grade, In NEMA 1 Enclosure


  • Easy to install
  • Has a great warranty
  • Whole house protection
  • Some of the highest spec ratings
  • Can protect against surges and spikes in electricity and lightening


  • Has a NEMA enclosure rating for indoor usage only
  • Surge protector doesn’t come with the necessary wires for installation

What Recent Buyers Report

Recent buyers report that this AC surge protector is easy to install, especially if you have experienced installing electrical components or hiring someone to do it for you. The Leviton company honors their warranty if something happens to this AC surge protector and your electrical devices are damaged.

One thing that was noted by recent buyers is that the Leviton 51120-1 doesn’t come with the four wires that are needed to connect the device to the main electrical panel.

Why it Stands Out to Us

This product stands out because it can protect against electricity spikes and surges and even some lightning. It works to save more than just your AC unit because the surge protector is a whole house surge protector (type two SPD).

It has a real-time visual indicator that shows you the suppression and power status using LED lights that are easy to read. A professional can install the surge protector in under an hour.  

Bottom Line

The Leviton 51120-1 provides whole-house protection, not just for your AC unit. It also protects against both electrical spikes and surges along with lightning. However, the Leviton 51120-1 doesn’t come with the four wires needed for installation. This means that you’ll have to purchase wires to install the surge protector.

Best for the Money:
Pipeman’s Installation Solution

Pipeman's Installation Solution AC 220v Surge Brownout Voltage Protector 3600 Watts Air Conditioner (New Model)…


  • Very clear instructions
  • Easy to install; just plug it in
  • Will automatically shut down your AC if there’s a power surge
  • You can install this product even if you’re not a professional electrician
  • Great for low amperage (15 amps) appliances, such as an air conditioner


  • Surge protector is a single-use product
  • Won’t work for high voltage electronics, such as dryers

What Recent Buyers Report

This surge protector is incredible for the price point and works as you would hope. It works great for low amp air conditioners and automatically turns off the device if it senses a power surge.

Once the power stabilizes, the Pipeman’s Installation Solution will turn your AC back on. Most recent buyers report that it’s easy to install without having to hire a professional. The one downside to this product is that it’s a single-use surge protector.

Why it Stands Out to Us

The Pipeman’s Installation Solution stands out to us because it’s one of the best AC surge protectors for the price. It works wonders in protecting your AC unit and will keep it safe in even the worst storms.

It has a four-minute safety cycle, meaning that it will turn off your AC for four minutes when there’s a power surge until the power stabilizes again. This surge protector works best for 220-volt outlets and appliances, so it will only work for one device, but that’s enough to protect your air conditioner.

Bottom Line

The Pipeman’s Installation Solution AC surge protector is great for single-use protection of your air conditioner. It works excellent for 15-amp appliances but only works for one device. It is a single-use AC surge protector, so it’s great for using as a backup to protect another surge protector.

Best 220V Surge Protector for Air Conditioner:
Nippon Surge Protector

NIPPON Surge Protector 220V 3600W for Air Conditioners & Freezers, White, PROTECT-AC220


  • Great price
  • Just plug it in to use it
  • Features indicator lights
  • Great backup surge protector
  • Switches current off if it becomes too high


  • Single-use
  • No warranty or customer service

What Recent Buyers Report

Recent buyers are amazed at how well this product works at protecting your AC units. It’s a single-use surge protector, but it’s a nice thing to have to protect your whole house surge protector. There is a four-minute power delay, which means that it takes about four minutes before the surge protector turns on.

Why it Stands Out to Us

For being a single-use surge protector, the Nippon Surge Protector will keep any air conditioning unit that uses 220V safe from power surges. It can save you thousands of dollars by protecting your expensive appliances.

For the price, you can order several Nippon Surge Protectors to protect most devices in your home. It automatically shuts down your AC unit if there’s a power surge, protecting the sensitive electrical components from burning out.

Bottom Line

The single usability of the Nippon Surge Protector makes it an excellent option for protecting your whole house surge protector and air conditioner. It’s effortless to install because you only have to plug it into an outlet.

However, you need to be aware that there’s no warranty on this surge protector, and there’s no customer service if something goes wrong with it.

Best Window Air Conditioner Surge Protector:
Tripp Lite IBAR2-6D

Tripp Lite IBAR2-6D Isobar 2 Outlet Surge Protector Power Strip, 6ft Cord, Right-Angle Plug, Metal, Lifetime Limited Warranty & Dollar 25,000 Insurance



  • Very bulky
  • Doesn’t come with a template to show you how to mount this protector

What Recent Buyers Report

This Tripp Lite IBAR2-6D is great for protecting your window air conditioner, but it won’t work for AC units with a high voltage (greater than 120V). This surge protector is durable and long-lasting, thanks to the high-quality metal materials used to make this surge protector.

Why it Stands Out to Us

What stands out to us is that it provides you with two outlets so you can use it for more than one appliance. It’s great for window AC units because of the lower voltage they run at. It’s also made with heavy-duty materials, which means that it should last you for a long time.

The Tripp Lite IBAR2-6D does a great job at protecting appliances from power surges and ensuring that your devices don’t cause a short circuit. We also like that it has a power switch so you can easily turn it off and on without having to unplug the device.

Bottom Line

This product is exceptionally durable, and you can use it with any window AC unit. It can be used for more than one appliance, thanks to the two outlets. It also works to protect your home from short circuits caused by window AC units.

What is a Surge Protector? What Does a Surge Protector Do?

Every device you plug in draws power, and there’s a minimum current required to supply power to a specific device, for example, your AC unit. This power draw is rated, and the plugged-in device demands that amount of power to run or turn on. By plugging your device into a surge protector, you’re preventing that power draw from becoming overloaded.

What is a surge protector? A surge protector is a device that sends the draw current to the plugged-in device from the supply (i.e., the outlet). If there happens to be a surge or power outage, the surge protector will send the overdraw of power to a grounding component, not to the device where damage can happen.

Surge Protector vs Power Strip – Comparison Overview

The main difference between a surge protector and a power strip is that surge protectors protect your devices against any potential voltage spikes that can damage your electrical appliances. In contrast, a power strip simply adds extra outlet space.

To tell how a power strip and surge protector are different can be challenging because they can look very similar. This is because several surge protectors offer multiple outlets and look like a power strip.

While they look similar, you can tell if a power strip is also a surge protector by looking at the joules rating and the maximum voltage the surge protector can handle from a power spike. Only a surge protector will have these ratings, so this is the best way to know if you’re grabbing a power strip that’s also a surge protector or just a power strip. 

Types of Surge Protectors – What Kind of Surge Protector Do I Need?

There are three different types of surge protector devices (SPDs), and they range from type one to type three. Type one and two might have enough power to protect your whole home from power surges and not just the AC unit.

Service Entrance Surge Protectors

Type one surge protectors need to be installed near the main disconnect, where electricity enters your home. This ensures that the power is regulated before it’s sent off to different parts of your home. These surge protectors are most commonly installed outside your home and help protect against things such as power line shorts, lightning, and power grid switching.

Whole House Surge Protectors

Type two SPDs are permanent fixtures. They protect your home from surges caused by power drains (i.e., your AC turning on), residual lighting, and other sources of surges that come from within your home.

Receptacle Surge Protectors

Finally, there are typically three SPDs. You need to be careful when purchasing one of these surge protectors because they’re often only designed for low-power devices, such as a sound system, fan, or TV. These types of surge protectors usually look like a power strip and can have several outlets that you can use to connect your devices.

Pros and Cons of Whole House Surge Protectors

There are several benefits as to why you should install a whole house surge protector.

Protection for Your Whole House

As the name suggests, a whole house surge protector is going to provide you with more power surge coverage than a wall socket surge protector. This is because a whole house surge protector is installed into your electrical panel, whereas wall socket surge protectors are only designed to work off an outlet in one area of your home.

Protection for Your Devices

Computers and television sets are extremely vulnerable to power surges. Having a power outage and not saving a document for work sounds terrible, but what about having to replace your computer because of a power surge?

With a whole house surge protector, you’re protecting your expensive electronic devices from being damaged by a power surge.

Power Surges Happen Frequently

Storms happen all the time and can cause serious problems if you don’t prepare for them – including unplugging all electrical devices.

A lightning strike can cause serious problems to your electrical system and cause damage to your appliances. Whole house surge protectors help protect against these power surges, so your appliances are safer.

As with almost everything, surge protectors also come with their own set of cons that you need to consider. 

Monetary Expense

The biggest con that most homeowners mention when turning down a whole house surge protection is the cost of purchasing a surge protector.

Some of the best surge protectors can cost you anywhere between $300 to around $600. This can be too much money for some people. In that case, think about getting an outlet or strip surge protector.

While these won’t protect your whole house from a power surge, they will protect the electrical devices plugged into the surge protector.

Installation Cost

The installation of a whole house surge protector will also cost you money. The installation of one of these surge protectors needs to be done by a professional because it consists of connecting the whole house surge protector to the electrical panel.

How to Install AC Surge Protector

This section will talk you through the installation process for the Leviton 51120-1, so you have a better understanding of the process. Remember that most manufacturers recommend that you have a professional install your AC surge protector.

1.    Locate the surge protector device as close as you can to the branch circuit breaker panel.

2.    Turn off power to the location of the SPD.

Pro tip: mark the connections in your breaker box to know which breaker to turn off during the installation process.

3.    If your surge protector is a surface-mount circuit breaker panel, the device can be connected using a rigid conduit to any conduit knockout hole.

4.    For non-surface mount installations secure the surge protector to the support stud of the wall.

5.    Remove the SPD’s cover and connect a 3/4-inch rigid or flexible conduit between the breaker box and the SPD.

6.    Place the surge protector in the mounting hole and secure it to the exposed studs.

7.    Connect the wire leads to the terminal block: black to phases, white to neutral, and green to ground.

Pro tip: Keep the lead lengths as short as possible.

8.    Thread the SPD’s wire leads through the conduit to the circuit breaker interior.

9.    Secure the SPD cover with the previously removed screws.

10. Replace the circuit breaker panel cover.

11. Restore the power to the circuit breaker panel. The green lights on the SPD should turn on.

To get a complete overview of what was just described, refer to the video below.


AC surge protectors will protect your AC unit from being damaged if there’s a power surge in your home. There are three types of surge protectors that you can purchase: type one, type two, and type three. The type that you go with depends on your protection needs.

Finding the best surge protector for your home is as easy as looking at the reviews of the best AC surge protectors on the market. Hopefully, this guide has provided you with enough information to get you started on your hunt for the best AC surge protector for your home.

People Also Ask

Still, have questions related to the best AC surge protectors? Then read on below for answers to some of the more commonly asked questions.

Do I Need a Surge Protector for My AC?

Power surges can cause damage to the wiring inside your AC unit, and power surges can happen all the time. Having a surge protector for your AC unit means that your air conditioner will be safe from these power surges, protecting the delicate wiring and electrical components inside your AC.

How Much Does an AC Surge Protector Cost?

Surge protectors can range in price from $20 - $300 based on the type of surge protector you get. A type three surge protector will cost around $20, whereas a type one or two can cost more than $150.

Can a Power Surge Damage Air Conditioners?

A power surge can damage air conditions and other appliances that are plugged into an electrical outlet.

Can a Portable AC Be Plugged into a Surge Protector?

You could technically run a portable AC on a surge protector under the right circumstances, but you may not have to do so. Portable AC’s come with several safety nets in place to prevent damage caused by power surges.

How Often Should I Replace My Surge Protector?

Depending on where you live, you may need to replace your AC surge protector every two years.

Does a Surge Protector Work When Turned Off?

Turning off a surge protector is the equivalent of unplugging it, meaning that it won’t work when it’s turned off.

How Long Do Surge Protectors Last?

Surge protectors don’t last forever. The average lifespan is three to five years.

How to Tell if a Surge Protector is Bad

Most surge protectors come with indicators that show the status of the surge protector. Because of this, this should be an easy way to determine if your device is working or not. This will most likely happen if the status indicator lights aren’t on.