Which type of electrical protector is better for the appliances? surge or over/under voltage protection


I decided to buy an electrical protector for the appliances in our kitchen. There are two options and I'm confused and cannot decide which one is better for me and which problems can harm devices more easily. As we are new in the neighborhood, I haven't had any electrical problems until now and this is just for prevention.

Our appliances are:

  • A 2100 W washing machine
  • A 810 W bread maker
  • A 650 W rice cooker
  • A 1000 W food processor

These are the options that I can buy:

  1. A multi-outlet solution with built-in surge protection. Most famous brands are of this type.
  2. A solution with voltage protection that disconnects the power when voltage becomes < 170 V or > 270 V.
  3. Buy both! and connect them in series and absolutely it's more expensive and I don't know if it's worth it.

Best Answer

You should indicate at least how many sockets do you have in kitchen, and on what amperage circuit breakers are they connected to the switchboard? Which earthing system you use would also be helpful if known. So I'll try to answer generically.

So few hints:

  • do not use power strips if at all possible (that means: distribute the load over all the sockets you have in kitchen). If you must, use them only for lower power-rated devices, and absolutely check that maximum power usage is in worst case always less than one indicated on the strip. So if the strip says 1800W, you might connect your rice cooker and bread maker to it, but not your food processor and bread maker. And absolutely never connect one power strip to another power strip.
  • do not connect to one socket more than it's circuit breaker on switchboard is rated for. So, if your socket is connected to 10A circuit breaker, it is rated for 220V*10A=max 2200W. Stay below that always.
  • as Harper said, cheap surge protectors (especially in form of power strips with surge protection) are mostly worthless. The good ones go in switchboards and cost a lot. Do note that they might need replacing after lightning damages them, and that it might be cheaper to risk your devices. I would skip that unless I was in area prone to such issues caused by lightning, or I trusted the optional insurance some of them offer for protected equipment (then again, you could just go ahead and buy insurance on it's own for such failures)
  • you might get a under/overvoltage consumer protection if you want; it might protect electronic in your devices. Do note that if your are in area suspect to often brownouts, your kitchen devices will not work at all. I would probably not bother with them either, and you mostly care about overvoltage and it is in vast majority of cases caused by induction by lightning during storms, and this puny devices will not really help there (you need quality surge protection). But if you want, go ahead. Just follow the rules above (always connect less than rated power).
  • do you have RCD / GFCI / FID device on your switchboard (it looks like larger circuit breaker with additional button "test")? Press that test button and see if it disconnects power in kitchen. If you do not have one (depending on the country and building age), this would be by far your best investment. You would need electrician to install it to your switchboard (although, depending on the country, occasionally one can buy sockets with GFCI integrated in them). It will protect not just devices from certain faults, but also your lives in such cases. You might also consider AFCI if needed.
  • if you want a peace of mind, get one of "RCD tester" thingies on ebay for under $10 - it will test correct neutral and grounding, and well as RCD and shock danger on your kitchen sockets. Improper electrical installations are a thing, especially if it were touched after the building were made (or the building was made a long time ago).
  • you might want to ask your neighbors who've been there longer if they had electrical problems and which.