Review: Plugable 12 Outlet Surge Protector

Written and Produced by Young Jeohn

The 12 Outlet Plugable Power Surge Protector allows for four large power adapters in addition to eight regular plugs and two USB charging ports. It's a good looking design with a long (25 foot), heavy duty power cord for all your charging needs - and as you'll see later, a really good friend to videographers and photographers.


STYLING / DESIGN

It's a good looking piece of kit, almost minimalistic. The color is black all around, with outlets grouped together in two batches of 5, and four separate ones at each corner that are given more space. There are two USB charging ports right in the middle so you don't waste a regular plug for a charger.

Looking around the unit, you'll notice the lack of a circuit breaker button or switch. To make it as easy to use as possible, Plugable has designed the on/off switch to double as the circuit breaker too.

 2-in-1 Switch/Circuit Breaker

2-in-1 Switch/Circuit Breaker

Once you plug it in, you'll see two green streams of light above and below the surge protector; the top lighting up as "PROTECTED" and the bottom lighting up as "GROUNDED" (which won't light up if there actually is no ground.) Definitely try plugging into other outlets if ground doesn't light up since you really do want grounding protection.

You can lay this unit flat on the ground or hang it on a wall via the four mounting holes on the back. As for size of the unit, the dimensions are:

Length: 12 and 1/4"
Width: 5 and 3/4"
Depth: 1 and 1/4"

 Rear Wall-mount Holes

Rear Wall-mount Holes

The material is mostly plastic, and to be honest, feels a bit cheap and hollow. It looks nice though, with the bottom having a slightly textured matte feel and the top being reflective and clear enough to see your face. You'll also notice it's a fingerprint magnet, though in reality it shouldn't matter because you won't be using it as a mirror.

 LED Indicators

LED Indicators

One thing worth noting is that the lights are not dimmable. They're not that bright to begin with and can actually serve as a nice night light. But if you're sensitive to it, you have to either switch the whole thing off or block it using something like electrical tape.


USABILITY / FUNCTION

Over the course of using the Plugable Surge Protector, I've discovered a real advantage of the design that seems to have been made for photographers and videographers like myself. Instead of having to buy several extension cords because the camera's battery chargers are blocking most of the outlets, using the Plugable is an elegant solution when using these space hogging "wall wart" adapters or chargers (as you can see in the photo.)

 12 outlets (4 with extra space) 

12 outlets (4 with extra space) 

Even after plugging in four huge chargers, every other outlet (all eight plus USB ports) is still available for use. This saves you from an unsightly mess of cords with the added benefit of having your gear protected in the process!

 2 USB Charge ports

2 USB Charge ports

The two USB ports share power for a total 2.1 amps. Most phones use 1 amp, so you can plug in two phones, no problem. Larger devices like tablets draw more power, so you might want to plug in only the tablet for faster recharge, though you can still plug in two devices if charge time isn't a concern. If you're wondering about Quickcharge, you'll need to plug in a separate charger for that since it's proprietary technology.

 25 foot cable (14 AWG)

25 foot cable (14 AWG)

The cable is really long at 25' and is a heavy duty 14 AWG thickness that can handle a lot of juice up to 15 amps. To put this into perspective, it's the kind of extension cable you need for construction projects using power tools like miter saws, orbital sanders and routers. The electrical rating is 120 V and 60 Hz, so it's made for use in the United States and Canada. It's also got a UL safety certification, which is a key measure of safety since it is checked by a third party.

 Sliding Covers

Sliding Covers

Each individual outlet on the Plugable surge protector has plug that you can manually slide closed for safety. If you're not using it, slide it shut so your visiting friend's 5 year old doesn't stick a scissor in there and get zapped. Imaginative (and bored) children have done wilder things than that, believe me - it's a useful precaution to have built in.


INTERFERENCE CONTROL

With the ever increasing numbers of electronic devices that are sprouting around the world, there's also increased electromagnetic and radio interference that needs to be addressed. Plugable takes notice of this fact and builds in an EMI/RFI filter. For the technically minded:

EMI/RFI Filter Attenuation: 58dB
EMI/RFI Filter Range: 150KHz to about 100MHz

WHAT IT'S NOT

Just because you can doesn't mean you should. Think of this unit as a police officer - it serves and protects your electronics at the first sign of trouble. It'll get to your problem quickly with a response time of 1 nano-second via the built-in circuit breaker switch and 4320 joules of protection. That's quite a bit of muscle! 

 Plugable Surge Protector: Back

Plugable Surge Protector: Back

But there's only so much one guy can handle effectively. To handle things smoothly, you want that upper limit to be a 15 amp load with 1800 watts max. Any more and things start to go wrong, meaning you probably shouldn't invite heavy chronic drinkers like tower heaters or refrigerators. Give those guys their own space to wallow in their own issues.


ODDS AND ENDS

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There's only one thing that had me raising my right eyebrow. There's a bulge at the bottom of the Plugable surge protector; right in the middle and on opposite sides of the USB ports. As a result, the unit won't sit flat and can rock back and forth slightly - not a big deal since it doesn't affect performance, but worth noting if you plan to have it sitting on a table.


CONCLUSION

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The Plugable 12 Outlet Power Surge Protector has a lot going for it - good design, more space for "wall wart" adapters that need it, an EMI/RFI filter that removes ground loop noise (at least for video equipment we tested), and built in safety features to protect your equipment. It's not to say it's perfect - we did come across a bulge that prevented the unit from sitting flat on the ground. But beyond that, it does a stellar job of powering things up without a hitch. Add to that Plugable's proactive support team based right here in the United States, and there's no reason not to pick this baby up (and if you don't need a 25' cord, they have a version with a shorter cord at a lower cost.)

More Info: https://plugable.com
(Test unit provided by Plugable for this review.)

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Comment

Young Jeohn

Adding creative flair to Otakus & Geeks with his videos, photos and written musings. Having lived abroad with extensive travel experience from Scandinavian ice castles to the fashionable Harajuku district in Tokyo, he carries knowledge from old-skool anime days and enjoys eating with chopsticks (with expert precision), talking shop with companies large and small and other questionable activities he can't talk about in public. His website lives at http://www.YoungFromNewYork.com