How to Choose Travel Surge Protector – 5 of the Best Reviewed for 2020

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I love to pack and carry as little things as possible when I travel. As much as I do not like to, I always bring along a portable travel surge protector. I ordered my very first one when my costly video recorder got fried during a stormy night in a hotel oversea.

Portable Surge ProtectionI was on a business trip. Buying a surge protection device to safeguard my electronics was the last thing on my mind.

Hoping for a miracle, I brought my dead video recorder to a repair shop the next morning. The technician told me my once-alive video recorder is gone for good – most likely victimized by a strong power spike.

I knew it, it must be the thunderstorm.

After doing a fair bit of research, I order one online that very day.

Since then, I have never had any of my electrical possessions fried (fingers crossed).

My travel essentials now include a few lightweight travel surge protection devices. They are now my trustworthy travel companion to help safeguard my increasingly numbers of electrical gadgets.

I follow a basic list of selection criteria whenever I shop for portable surge protector.

The list below may come in handy if you happen to be looking for one.

Getting the best travel surge protector need not have to come with a high price tag. All you need is time, patience and read lots of reviews to find the best one that fits your need.

My Selection Criteria on How to Choose a Travel Surge Protector

Selection Criteria

Joule Rating – this is the first thing I look for when I shop for surge protectors. Whether it is for clients, home, office or for travel. I always want my surge protectors to last as long as it possibly could. Every power surge or spike that they shield against depletes away part of their available lifespan (joule ratings). When the joule rating runs out, replacement is inevitable.

Maximum of 3 – 4 Outlets – 3 is the magic number I look for most of the time. Anything more than that will increase the weight of the surge protection unit. When I need to go out for meeting with clients, I want a lightweight surge protection device that will not weight me down. I use it for charging my phone, smart watch and laptop/usb portable hard-disk. That’s all I need when I go for offsite meeting.

Size and Weight – this is in sync with the 3 outlet criteria I have earlier. If you do not have many electrical devices in need of charging when you travel, go for lightweight ones.

USB ports – this is a subjective requirement. Not everyone will need USB ports like me who owns tons of electrical gadgets. If you have lot of USB devices, be sure to get one that comes with USB ports.

Power Cord or Direct Plug-in – I personally prefer direct plug-in ones since they are lighter and more compact without power cables. They fits nicely in my backpack whenever I go traveling for both business and personal vacation trips.

Durability – this is not really an important criteria, at least for me. Requirement for durability is subjective, mostly depends on the lifestyle of individuals. I am no adventurer and I do not have small kids with me when I travel. Hence I do not look out for one that fit this criteria. If you have children at home or expect lots of rough handling in between travel, you probably need one that is durable.

Price Tag – Price is my last criteria when I choose which brand and model to buy. Usually the best surge protection devices that really suit my travel needs are not expensive at all. Having the most expensive travel surge protector does not mean it will fit your travel needs. Always keep an open mind when searching for the one that truly suit your travel style and requirements.

My Review of Top 5 Travel Surge Protector for 2020

Below is a list of brands and models I currently use and my review for them. I pick them mainly for the fact that they are reasonable joule rating, lightweight and extremely portable. And most importantly, they are packed with features that fit my increasing need for surge protection.

Top Editorial Pick

Accell 3-Outlet Travel Surge Protector Review

Accell 3-Outlet Travel Surge Protector with 2X USB Charging Ports and Folding Plug - Black - 612 Joules, 2.1A USB Output, ETL Listed

This 3 outlet Accell surge protector left me a good impression when I know it has fold-able power plug. It fits the bill for my need for convenient storage and lightweight portability.

Besides having 2 USB ports, it has 612 joules of surge protection which is average for portable surge protectors. If you want a durable surge protection device, this one fits the bill. It comes with a rugged, impact resistant housing.

This is my top recommendation mainly because of its X3 MOV technology. It is able to quickly detect and sense power surges and channel those excessive power to ground.

The only downside is that both USB ports come with (2.1A, 5V, 10W shared power). This may not be good enough for people that requires fast charging.

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Budget Pick

Tripp Lite SK3-0 Review

Tripp Lite 3 Outlet Portable Surge Protector Power Strip, Direct Plug in, $5,000 Insurance (SK3-0)

This 3 outlet surge protector features clear diagnostic LEDs that display (GROUNDED & PROTECTED) status. This SK3-0 surge protector is definitely one of my favorite as it is really lightweight at 3.2 ounces.

Its direct plug-in space-saving design has pampered me with hassle-free usage. No power cord to meddle with at all.

You will be glad to know this 660 Joule-rating travel surge protector comes with durable and fire-resistant housing. It is also UL 1449 certified for safety standard. If you are budget conscious, this is good news for you as this surge protector will not cost you a bomb.

It would have been great if it comes with a pair of USB ports. Other than that, it is almost impossible to find fault with it.

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Compact Design Pick

BESTTEN 3-Outlet Portable Surge Protector Review

Travel Power Strip - BESTTEN 3-Outlet Portable Mini Surge Protector with 2 USB Ports, Low Profile Multi Plug Adapter with 18-inch Short Extension Cord, On-The-Go Charging, ETL Certified, Black

Being lightweight and extremely compact, this mini surge protector for traveling has been my trustworthy companion the last 6 months. What I like about this BESTTEN travel surge protector is the red indicator LED light. The red LED light will flash if there is an over-load or short-circuit event.

Despite its measly 300 joules surge rating and 110V voltage requirement, I am truly impressed with its compact-size. It’s slim housing fits perfectly in my backpack and I love that the power cord can be kept by coiling it around the housing.

While it is definitely not the cheapest in its category, it is one that I would use for a long time while on the move.

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Sleek Design Pick

360 Electrical 36053-2CA6ES-R2 Review

 360 Electrical 36053-2CA6ES-R2First off, I have to admit I was drawn to it’s twin rotating outlets embedded within its sleek curvy housing. This 306 Joules rating travel surge protector not only has a small compact body, it also features a fold-able direct plug-in design.

Besides that, it has 2 USB ports in addition to 2 LED notification lights.  Green LED color denotes Grounded status and Blue denotes Protected status.

Green grounded light lets you know if the outlet you’re using is grounded, blue light indicates that your device is properly protected. It weighs a mere 8 ounces and it definitely a perfect surge protection device for people on the go.

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High Joule Rating Pick

Belkin BZ103050-TVL Review

Belkin BZ103050-TVLThis Belkin portable surge protection device is not only lightweight, it also features a dual fast charging USB ports. These fast charging USB ports deliver 1 Amp of shared power which is definitely a big plus in my book.

Its rotating plug is yet another bonus feature for people struggling with AC power outlet located at small and tight space. Beyond its apparent smart and elegant looking design, this 918 joules rating travel surge suppressor has one of the highest surge protection ratings in its class.

My only complain is that it would have been better if it comes with a slimmer body size. It does not really fit nicely in my backpack. Yet its super affordable price and fast USB charging ports are more than enough to compensate for it. 🙂

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When it comes to choosing surge protector for any sort of traveling, there is really no one size fits all. It boils down to individual preference and lifestyle needs. Beyond that, what is really important is bringing along one with us. Especially when we are out and about traveling the world knowing our prized electrical gadgets are being protected whenever a dreadful power surge comes through.


Marc Edwards is the co-founder of GagtheSurge and is actively involved in writing review and information articles for the site. He loves traveling and has been to most of the countries across the four major continents. Besides working and traveling, he also enjoys jungle explorations and deep sea diving.