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I live in an apartment building without overhead lighting. My bedroom is wired so that the light switch in the room controls power to an outlet behind my bed. Right now I have two power strip surge protectors, one for each side of the bed (e.g., for my phone charger and my girlfriend's, a reading lamp on each side, etc.). There are two outlets behind the bed, and each outlet has one surge protector.

I'd like to change things around so that a floor lamp is plugged into the top outlet (which the light switch controls), so that I can use the light switch to...well...turn on a light. This would involve splitting the bottom outlet and plugging both surge protectors into it. Is this a problem, or will it be the exact same as before?

  • What's plugged into them? – ThreePhaseEel Apr 19 '17 at 1:04
  • Surge protector 1: iPhone charger, Nintendo 3DS charger, desk lamp. Surge protector 2: iPhone charger, desk lamp, alarm clock, humidifier. I want to keep both power strips so that we have a charger and a lamp on each side of the bed. – Adam Apr 19 '17 at 1:10
  • One thing to remember about surge protectors is that they are sacrificial parts, so once they absorb a large enough surge they are gone. – SDsolar Apr 19 '17 at 4:33
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It's the amps (or watts, equivalently) that matter

A receptacle can be branched to feed as many devices as you please (within reasonable limits, at least) provided the amperage of the devices stays below the amperage limit of the receptacle/circuit. For standard North American circuits and receptacles, it's 15A, so if the amp draw of your devices adds up to below 15A (and it darn well should given what you state is plugged in), splitting the receptacle with a splitter tap to feed the two power strips is a nothingburger.

(Yes, there is a small amount of extra risk added by an extra splitter tap plugged in, but practically speaking, if one power strip no longer does the job, a tree structure like what you propose is the way to go vs. daisy-chaining strips.)

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Power strips with surge protectors can be plugged into each other and they will protect the devices that are plugged into them the same if they were on different outlets. Most people don't realize that these protectors will also help protect devices that are not plugged into them but the effectiveness varies based on the distance from the service and there wattage or ability to dump large spikes to ground.

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