Skip to Content

16 Things to Know Before Buying a Surge Protector Tower (I have 2 of these)

Photo collage of different types of Surge Protector Tower.

1. I can’t believe I didn’t buy my first surge protector tower until 6 months ago

I’ve had bar surge protectors for years but I got sick and tired of larger plugs (for smartwatches and devices) taking up two or more of the plugs.  I needed something with a better design. I could tell right away that the tower design could work…

I was right for the most part.

Related: Types of ElectronicsLamps with USB Ports

2. Without a doubt, they are the most efficient way to get a lot of outlets in a small space

With plugs on four sides, you get a lot of outlets taking up a very small footprint.  Mine has 3 outlets per side totaling 12 outlets… plus five USB ports.  It’s like to large bar surge protectors in less space than one. 

I like how it stands up too.

3. I liked my first one so much I bought a second

Once I set up my first tower near my desk I was so enamored with it that I bought another for under the TV.  Desks and TVs are two cord-heavy areas.  These two towers in my office provide all the outlets and USB ports I need to keep all my tech powered up. 

Surge protectors are definitely important office equipment these days.

4. I love how larger block plugs take up two plugs less often than bar surge protectors because of how it’s designed

2 large plugs in tower surge protector next to one another

Notice how I have two large plugs side-by-side and they don’t take up two plugs each. This is thanks to the tower design.

This is huge.  Today’s devices come with large block plugs that can take up two outlets on a bar or wall outlet.  Often they don’t on the tower because the outlets are spaced out and because they are on all 4 sides, the plug doesn’t block any plugs above or below.  It’s a very simple design concept to a very annoying problem.

5. They aren’t always the best solution though… sometimes a surge protector bar is better

In some places, a bar is better such as under a sofa or coffee table where there isn’t very much clearance.  It’s a tower after all so it needs some room.  Learn more about power strips and surge protectors here.

6. Cords can get ridiculously messy

If you run 10 cords off of one tower plus a few USB cords, that can become one big cord mess extending off one surge protector.  It can get confusing what’s connected to what.  It doesn’t look pretty either… but it does the job and in today’s tech-heavy world, that counts for a lot. 

Tower bars can help keep cords better organized but don’t necessarily hide cables entirely.

7. You should definitely get one with USB ports as well

USB ports on a tower surge protector

Any time you buy something that’s plugged into the wall, you should see if there’s an option with additional USB ports.  More and more of our gear requires charging via USB port.  Fortunately, many tower surge protectors do come with USB ports as well. 

The one I bought has 5 USB ports.

9. Don’t forget to make sure the plugs you’re using are turned on

On / Off switch on surge protector tower

You’ll notice that each side has an on/off button.  If turned off, the outlets for that side don’t work. It’s super easy to forget to turn a side on which could be a real nuisance if counting on charging something.

  If merely plugging in something that will turn on right away, it’s easy to realize the switch must be turned on but if charging, you won’t realize it until hours or days later.

10. A long retractable cord is definitely worth it

Long cord for tower surge protector

While I have a long cord it’s not retractable which would be a nice additional feature.

Some tower surge protectors come with a base where a cord retracts into. Mine doesn’t do this but it’s a nice feature to look into.  My cord is long; longer than I need so it would be nice to shorten it by having it retract into the base of the unit.

11. Is it made with fireproof material?  How safe is it?

I don’t know all the electrical controls, wiring, safety materials etc. when it comes to these things but you definitely want to read the sales page of whatever model you’re buying to ensure it has safety measures in place including a quality surge protection.  8 to 12 plugs plus USB can be a lot of electricity so you definitely want to invest in a model that’s safe.  I wouldn’t buy the cheapest option available. 

Which is why the next point is really important.

12. Definitely read customer reviews for any problems with specific models

If you buy from Amazon or any online store, take some time to read the customer reviews.  Some of these surge protector towers are junk by the sounds of it.  I’m very happy with mine.

Everything works and has worked for months but some don’t work at all. I’ve read some or so badly made that the cords won’t plug into the outlet holes.  Filter the customer comments for negative reviews. 

It’s one thing to buy a junky garlic press or spatula but another thing altogether to end up with an unsafe surge protector.

13. It’s not as easy to plug cords into a tower than a flat-on-the-ground bar surge protector

You need both hands to plug in a cord into a tower surge protector.  If you don’t, it just tips over.  With a bar design that’s flat on the floor, usually you can put in a cord with a single hand. 

Is this a dealbreaker? Absolutely not but it’s worth mentioning in case you care.

14. Check the type of plug it uses in case you need a flat plug

3-pronged non-flat cord to plug tower surge protector into wall outlet

The one I have is not a flat plug but that’s okay for me.  If you need a flat wall plug, look for one of those.

15. A non-slip base is a nice touch so it doesn’t slide around

Non-slip pads on bottom of tower surge protector to prevent it from sliding around

I didn’t look for this specifically but fortunately, the model I ended up buying had some non-slip pads on the bottom so that it doesn’t slide around on a smooth surface.

16. I ended up buying 2 SMALLRT Surge Protectors and I’m happy with them

There are no shortage of options on Amazon and elsewhere.  I found a mid-priced model with good customer reviews and bought the first one.  It worked and seemed good so I bought a second.