Apologies in advance if this is the wrong SE to post this in, but Electrical Enginnering Stack Exchange didn't look like the proper place, based on what was 'on topic' over there.

Anyway, I have a power bar in my room, similar to the one pictured below, that has some sensitive electronics plugged into it. During thunder storms and the like, I turn the bar off using the little switch, and leave it plugged in, as accessing the plug is a little bit of a chore.

Standard big-box style power bar that you can find from just about any store.

My question is, will turning the bar off at the switch prevent anything plugged into it from receiving a killing blow from a surge, should the power lines to the house get struck with lightning?

  • I don't think just turning it off will save anything unless it's rated for surge suppression. A surge caused by lightning could effectively jump the gap in the open switch (it's probably not much of a gap). You should really get a plug strip rated for Surge protection.
    – Tyson
    Jun 28, 2016 at 22:40

1 Answer 1


A power strip will not be able to fully protect your equipment just turned off with a direct lighting strike. The switch contacts are only a few 1/10's of an inch apart. How many miles did the lightning travel prior to the strike? Turning the switch off will keep the equipment safe from most transient spikes caused from lighting and switch gear transfers. There are small surge suppressors that can be added to the outlet prior to your sensitive equipment that will help reduce the spikes but a direct strike will fry them in hopes of saving other equipment. like this many of the power strips have less than 150 joule capacity, the model above is 600 joules but the cost is higher.

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