Power Conditioner vs Surge Protector Differences & Similarities

Power Conditioner vs Surge Protector

A power conditioner and surge protector have the role of protecting your electronics from the fluctuations that occur in the power supply. This can be anything from changes in voltage, unstable power from non-inverter generators and power interruptions caused by storms and other natural disasters.

It can be quite difficult choosing between the two of them as they more or less do the same task. However, power line conditioners offer more protection than surge protectors do. This is because power conditioners offer protection from power surges, changes in the voltage and other noises in the power. Surge protectors, on the other hand, only offer protection from surges.

In the sections below, we focus on the similarities and differences between the two devices and which ones you should pick for your needs. Both of them won’t cost much and they actually cost less than what it would take to fix or buy new electronics damaged by power interruptions.

Similarities and Differences

 Power Line ConditionerSurge Protector
Surge protectionYesYes
Power stabilizationYesYes
Eliminates noises in powerYesNo
Corrects waveform distortionsYesNo
Eliminates electromagnetic and frequency interferencesYesNo
Comparison Table

Power Conditioners

Power line conditioners remove any fluctuations and noises from power inlets apart from sine wave modifications. It works whenever there are brownouts and over-voltages where the power will be fluctuating and likely to damage sensitive electronics.

ACME Power Line Conditioner

Power conditioners are great when it comes to using power from open line generators as they do a great job at eliminating the noise in the power from the generator. Generators without inverters have a tendency to vary the power output with the speed of the generator. These fluctuations can easily damage the electronics especially the sensitive ones like mobile phones and TVs.


  • Eliminates power fluctuations.
  • Protects devices from damage by power fluctuations.
  • Protects devices from power surges and impulses.
  • Prevents heating up of wires due to high voltages.


  • Doesn’t protect the circuit from modified sine waves.
  • Are available in different types and sizes hence can be confusing.

As can be seen here, power line conditioners are great but aren’t the very best when it comes to protecting your electronics. They, however, do a better job at it than surge protectors.

Surge Protectors

Surge protectors, also called surge strips, are meant to protect your electronics from power impulses and surges. They work by diverting power impulses away from the electronics the moment the power reaches the clamping voltage level. The diverted voltage is sent to the safety ground of the building.

Surge protector
Surge Protectors

The downside to using surge protectors is that they only protect electronics from power surges and nothing more. The fact that electric current goes through many different interruptions means that you need more protection than from surges alone.


  • Prevent power surges.
  • Protect electronics from damage by power surges.
  • Prevent fires caused by power surges and impulses.


  • Don’t protect electronics from other power fluctuations.
  • Differ in size and type hence the need to find specifications for each type of power surge problem.

With surge protectors, you need to get the right type and size to work for your specific needs.

Which is better?

The factors that determine which one you should go for are the cost and the type of power you have. Of the two devices, surge protectors cost the least with most being less than $50. If your power isn’t too erratic, a surge protector will be enough and will save you money as well. Power line conditioners, on the other hand, can cost as much as $300 or even more. If you want one that already has a surge protector, you will have to pay more.

As far as the type of power is concerned, surge protectors will work when the power is mostly stable save for a few surges here and there. However, if your power line experiences lots of interruptions, you will need a power line conditioner packed with the best technology to keep your gadgets safe.

Further Reading