Best Surge Protector for Air Conditioners: Top 7 of 2021 Reviewed

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There is little more devastating than having your air conditioner unit fried in the middle of a hot summer.

You can safeguard your precious HVAC unit by using a high-quality surge protector for air conditioners.

The best surge protectors for air conditioners have a high Joule rating, several protection modes, and are UL certified.

While a bad surge protector isn’t worth the box it came in (and will probably result in a blown-up air conditioner).

So to help you separate the good from the junk—we have reviewed the Best Surge Protector for an Air Conditioner in 2021. We checked 220V surge protectors as well as devices from other voltage ranges.

Let’s see what our findings are.

best overall rating
Eaton Surge Protector
  • NEMA rating for indoor and outdoor usage
  • Over 115% MCOV for most applications
  • UL 1449 3rd generation
premium choice rating
Leviton Surge Protector
  • Offers all three modes of protection
  • Protects from both internal and external surges
  • Conforms to UL 1449
great value rating
Nippon Surge Protector
  • Excellent price
  • Easy to install
  • Over-voltage disconnection feature

Top 7 Best Surge Protectors for Air Conditioners

Eaton Surge Protector – Best Overall

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EATON CHSPT2ULTRA Ultimate Surge Protection 3rd Edition, 2.38" Length,...
  • Universally connects to any manufacturer’s load center (breaker box)
  • Easy to use
  • High quality product

Our number one surge protector for the air conditioner is the CHSPT2ULTRA model from Eaton. This type 2 surge protector offers L-G, L-L, and L-N protection. The MCOV for each line is at least 150V, while the L-L boasts an impressive MCOV of 300V.

Featuring NEMA enclosure type 4, the Eaton surge protector can resist dirt, water, and other stuff off the enclosure. It means this device is fit for both indoors and outdoor installation.

Keep in mind that this surge protector requires professional installation. Its two LED indicator lights will let you know if your HVAC unit is properly protected. Rated at 108,000 amps (SCCR), the Eaton device will resist any power surge and lightning.

Leaving aside the numerous positive reviews for this product, we checked the technical specs. And this is how we concluded that maybe we are looking at the best surge protector for air conditioners available on the market.

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What We Like
  • NEMA rating for indoor and outdoor usage
  • Over 115% MCOV for most applications
  • UL 1449 3rd generation
  • Easily connects to any 50-amp breaker
  • SCCR 108kA/Phase protects against any electrical surge
What We Don’t Like
  • Requires professional installation
  • Misleading warranty

Leviton Surge Protector – Premium Choice

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Leviton 51120-1 120/240 Volt Panel Protector, 4-Mode Protection, Light...
  • 120/240 Volt Panel Protector 4-Mode Protection
  • Real time diagnostic visual indicator shows power and suppression status for each protected phase
  • Standard J-Box metal enclosures

Leviton 51120-1 is maybe one of the most expensive surge protectors for the air conditioner we have checked. Nevertheless, it comes with a plethora of features that make it worthwhile.

This type 2 surge protector safeguards two lines as its bright LED status indicator will show when protection is enabled.

NEMA 1 enclosure rating brings a J-Box metal enclosure fit for indoor use only. Keep in mind that installing this surge protector outside will only allow moisture to break it, and any warranty claim will be void.

What else can we say about the Leviton surge protector? Maybe it has some of the highest specs on the market and offers excellent protection against any undesired electrical event. Yes, this one is a must-have.

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What We Like
  • Offers all three modes of protection
  • Protects from both internal and external surges
  • Conforms to UL 1449
  • Perfect for 2-line installs
  • Limited lifetime warranty
What We Don’t Like
  • Indoors usage only
  • Requires professional installation

Nippon Surge Protector – Great Value

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NIPPON Surge Protector 220V 3600W for Air Conditioners & Freezers,...
  • Nippon PROTECTAC220 Surge Protector 220v 3600W For Air Conditioners & Freezers
  • For Air Conditioner
  • Freezer

Being on a tight budget does not mean sacrificing the air conditioner unit’s surge protection. Nippon PROTECTAC220 surge protector is the perfect solution for you. This device comes with an excellent price tag and a bunch of awesome features.

Nippon surge protector will safeguard any 220V air conditioning unit from power surges. Its over-voltage disconnection feature automatically shuts down your HVAC unit, thus protecting the sensitive electrical components.

This single-use surge protector is easy to install (you just need to plug it in a wall outlet), and due to its low price, you can buy several items to protect most of your appliances.

To conclude, you will not find a better alternative within this price range, so make sure you get your Nippon surge protector as soon as possible. Maybe before the first lightning storm…

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What We Like
  • Excellent price
  • Easy to install
  • Over-voltage disconnection feature
  • Great backup surge protector
  • LED status indicator
What We Don’t Like
  • Single-use surge protector
  • No warranty

Tripp Lite Surge Protector

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Tripp Lite IBAR2-6D Isobar 2 Outlet Surge Protector Power Strip, 6ft...
  • Protect any electronic device from power surges & spikes: Surge protector with two outlets protects your personal computer, laptop, printer, scanner, router, phone, fax,...
  • Premium surge protection with metal housing: This surge suppressor provides eight widely spaced nema 5 15r outlets which are arranged in 4 exclusive isolated filter banks to...
  • Safety first high joule rating conforms to UL 1449 safety standards: An Integrated 12 Ampere circuit breaker protects all outlets and shuts down connected equipment in the...

The next product we reviewed is the Tripp Lite IBAR2-6D surge protector, a device perfect for window air conditioning units. Due to its metal housing, this model can be used in any environment.

Tripp Lite surge protector comes with 1040 Joules surge suppression and an integrated 12-amp circuit breaker. Moreover, this surge protector conforms with UL 1449 3rd edition safety standards.

Thanks to its two outlets, the Tripp Lite device can protect the air conditioner unit and another expensive appliance. The lifetime warranty is another assurance that this surge protector is what you need. Check it out as you won’t be disappointed.

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What We Like
  • Two available outlets
  • Made from heavy-duty materials
  • Filters the power used by the AC unit
  • 1040 Joules surge suppression
  • Lifetime warranty
What We Don’t Like
  • Bulky
  • Buzzing noise

Pipeman’s Installation Solution

Next on our list of recommendations is the Pipeman’s Installation Solution surge protector. This type 3 surge protector works perfectly for low-wattage systems that run on 220V. It means that although it doesn’t protect dryers or heaters, it properly safeguards your air conditioning unit.

Easy to install (just plug it in), the Pipeman’s Installation Solution surge protector will automatically shut down your AC unit in case of power surges. Basically, this fuse-style unit will blow when a surge happens, thus preventing the overload from hitting your AC unit.

Fairly priced, this surge protector is exactly what the doctor ordered: a reliable device that gives up its life to protect your air conditioner unit. This surely cannot be overseen, right?

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What We Like
  • Perfect for protecting 15-amps devices
  • Easy installation
  • Cheap surge protector
  • Automatically shuts down the AC unit in case of electrical surges
  • Great as a backup surge protector
What We Don’t Like
  • Single-use surge protector
  • Not UL certified

Exceline Surge Protector

Electronic Surge Protector for Mini Split Air Conditioners 120V
  • Protection against Over voltage and Under voltage.
  • Protection against blackouts and short cycling (short power interruptions).
  • Intelligent timer adjustable by the user, specially designed to hide wiring.

The Exceline surge protector is designed to work against voltage failures, but it can also absorb damage caused by blackouts and short power interruptions.

This surge protector works perfectly for mini-split air conditioning units (120V). Its intelligent timer helps to avoid unnecessary waiting times, thus ensuring the safe connection of the AC unit.

The light indicator included indicates high voltage, low voltage, standby cycle, and the normal voltage. Installation is a breeze, so you won’t have to bother too much.

Overall, the Exceline surge protector does a great job of protecting the mini-split air conditioning units. The price is also appealing so you should definitely consider it a “maybe”.

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What We Like
  • Protection against blackouts and short cycling
  • Intelligent timer designed to hide wiring
  • Light indicator for high voltage, low voltage, standby cycle, and normal voltage
  • Easy installation
  • Protection against over-voltage and under-voltage
What We Don’t Like
  • Short warranty
  • Labeled in Spanish

Intermatic Surge Protector

Intermatic AG3000 120/240 VAC Universal HVAC Surge Protective Device,...
  • Three modes of protection: L-G, L-L, L-N
  • TPMOV surge protection technology, Green LED indicator provides status of protection
  • Type 4X watertight and UV resistant plastic enclosure

Intermatic AG3000 surge protector is one of those must-have devices when speaking of surge protection for your air conditioner unit. This model functions as both type 1 and type 2 surge protectors and can be installed in less than 30 minutes.

AG3000 meets all UL 1449 and NEC standards and features all three protection modes. The TPMOV technology provides individual component thermal protection and monitoring.

The type 4X enclosure is weatherproof and UV resistant, so that you can install the AG3000 surge protector in any environment. A green LED indicator light will tell you whether the surge protector works or not.

Many people choose the Intermatic surge protector to safeguard their AC units. And this is not a surprise since the product comes with a 3-year warranty and $75,000 insurance for the connected equipment. Would you try it too?

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What We Like
  • Both type 1 and type 2 SPD
  • 300V Line to Line MCOVs
  • Weather protected enclosure
  • Conforms with UL 1449 4th generation
  • 3-year warranty and $75,000 insurance for connected equipment
What We Don’t Like
  • May require professional installation
  • Short warranty

What to Try to find in an Air Conditioner Surge Protector

There are many factors to consider before buying a surge protector for your air conditioner unit. We summarized some of the most important aspects you need to check when deciding which device better fits your requirements.

Number of Joules Provided

The Joule rating refers to just how much energy your air conditioner surge protector can take in. A higher Joule rating equals much better protection. Also, a higher Joule rating means a longer lifespan for your air conditioner surge protector.

In case you are in doubts, here are some rough Joule rating guidelines:

  • A unit with up to 1000 Joules of surge protection suffices for small electronic devices.
  • A surge protector with a 1000 to 2000 Joules energy rating will safeguard office equipment and power tools.
  • The greatest Joule rating (2000+) fits expensive gaming consoles, home theater systems, and any high-tech computer system.

So for your air conditioner surge protector, try to find surge protection in between 1000 to 2000 Joules.

Type of Air Conditioner Surge Protector

Surge protection devices, or SPDs, are classified according to their standard. These are known as Types – from Type 1 to Type 3 Air Conditioner Surge Protectors:

  • Type 1 Air Conditioner Surge Protector – SPD (Surge Protection Device) can discharge partial lightning current with a typical waveform 10/350 μs.
  • Type 2 Air Conditioner Surge Protector – SPD can prevent the spread of overvoltages in the electrical installations and protect equipment connected to it. It usually employs MOV (metal oxide varistor) technology and is characterized by an 8/20 μs current wave.
  • Type 3 Air Conditioner Surge Protector – These SPDs have a low discharge capacity. Therefore, they must only be installed as a supplement to Type 2 SPD and in the vicinity of sensitive loads. Type 3 SPDs are characterized by a combination of voltage waves and current waves.

NEMA Enclosure Type

NEMA enclosure type refers to the location rating where the surge protector can be installed. Depending on clamping voltage, weatherproofing, and several other criteria, a surge protector for an air conditioner can be installed indoors or outdoor. However, keep in mind that a whole home surge suppression is the responsibility of the power company.

Nevertheless, knowing the rating and NEMA enclosure types is important when buying a surge protector for your air conditioner unit.

Status Indication Lights

It would be best if you had a way to see when a surge spike is happening and validate that your 220V air conditioner surge protector is working. Most top-notch surge protectors include diagnostic LEDs.

Search for an air conditioner surge protector that includes diagnostic LED lights that verify power, safety, and line fault status at a glance.

UL Rating

Various businesses and organizations have many different safety requirements, so it is not unusual to wonder which applies to air conditioner surge protectors?.

When speaking of electric equipment, you wish to look at UL– previously Underwriters Laboratories.

UL is among several organizations approved to perform security screening by the U.S. national firm Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA). OSHA has a list of approved testing laboratories, which are recognized as Nationally Recognized Testing Laboratories.

Even within UL, though, there are a lot of security requirements that might use. For proper air conditioner surge protection, you primarily want to be looking at the UL 1449 security standard.

UL 1449 is the Underwriters Laboratories Safety Standard for Surge Protective Devices (SPD), so it means this is what you need to see on the product package.

So check whether your 220V air conditioner surge protector confirms UL 1449.

Protection Modes

Protection modes are good indicators of an air conditioner surge protector’s quality. There are three protection modes, N-G, L-G, and L-N.

N-G, or Neutral to Ground, transfers any spikes or surges from the neutral line to the ground wire. L-G (Line to Ground) pulls the overdraw from the line that feeds the surge protector to the grounding. L-N (Line to Neutral) bypasses the ground line.

The best air conditioner surge protectors feature all three protection modes.

Clamping Voltage

Clamping voltage describes the maximum quantity of voltage that can pass a surge protector before it restricts further voltage from passing to the device it attempts to secure.

If the clamping voltage is too high, then the surge protector will allow too much voltage to pass to your air conditioner (which will break it).

Always verify the optimum rated voltage of your air conditioner before purchasing a surge protector. The clamping voltage of your air conditioner surge protection device is lower than the maximum operating voltage of your air conditioner.

In general, though, the clamping voltage needs to be LESS than 400V for an air conditioner surge protector.

Price and Warranty

Price and warranty are equally important when purchasing a surge protector for the air conditioner unit. You may want to buy a whole-home system, in which case the price goes higher. One thing to note: prices increase based on demand, not necessarily on quality. Make sure you check the technical specs of the device before committing to a specific model.

You already know that an extended warranty is better. However, make sure you carefully read the notes – some manufacturers might ask to fulfill some requirements before making a claim, and they might ask for retention, registration, or professional installation.

About Blake Sutton

Blake has worked as an electrician for over 10 years, receiving his Journeyman Electrician license in 1998. Looking to take his professional electrical career further, in 2008 he received his Bachelor of Science in Electrical Engineering (BSEE) from the University of Texas in Austin. Blake now works full time as an electrical engineer, specializing in power systems.