Pros: This is a simple way to protect your electrical equipment when traveling.
Cons: It can not be used for overseas travel.
BELKIN TRAVEL SURGE PROTECTOR WITH HIDDEN SWIVEL PLUG F9H220-TVL
I was introduced to the Belkin Travel Surge Protector at a Christmas party. Each person who was invited was asked to bring a wrapped gift that cost up to $10 Dollars, and the gifts were placed into a grab bag. When it came to my turn to grab a wrapped gift, I blindly choose one that had a Belkin Travel Surge Protector. I had never seen or used one these little Belkin Travel Surge Protectors before, and I just put it away in a drawer. However a few months later, one of my children was going on a trip to England, and I offered him the use of this surge protector for travel purposes. Prior to giving it to him, I decided that I would take a bit of time to become familiar with its uses, as well as its strengths and weaknesses. I am very glad that I did this, and you will find out why if you continue to read this review. Read on and see if you feel the Belkin Travel Surge Protector might be something that you might consider taking on a trip with you when you leave the comfort of your home.
Since price is always an important consideration in making any decision to purchase a product, I think that is a good place to start. The list price of the Belkin Travel Surge Protector is $12.39, but I was easily able to find it for as little as $7.00 on the Internet. However, before you place any order for an item such as this, make sure you know what the shipping and handling fees are. I found one dealer who was asking $7.00 is shipping and handling on this device. Thus any savings you might have had by ordering from this firm would have been consumed by shipping and handling fees.
A question that you might ask yourself is, do I really need a surge protector in the 21stCentury? In my opinion the answer is absolutely yes. I live in a rural community. To those of you who do not live in a rural area, I should inform you that unfortunately power surges and outages are a part of life, especially in stormy weather. Between falling trees knocking down power lines, and then having power surges when the electricity is again turned back on, power outages and surges are all too common. This past year I lost power four times for several hours, and during a recent hurricane, I lost it for 8 days. Thank the Lord for gas grills. In my own home I always have my most prized electrical devices plugged into the best surge protectors or suppressors that I can afford. Having lost some of my prized electron gear about 20 years ago to power surges, due to my not knowing their protective value, I learned my lesson the hard way.
Before I get into the pros and cons of the Belkin Travel Surge Protector, I should start off saying right away that this is a surge protector, and not a simple power strip with a couple of extra electrical plugs or sockets. A power strip may look like a surge protector, but all it does is add extra outlets for you to plug your equipment into. A power strip is basically a glorified extension cord. A surge protector is a whole different thing altogether. Allow me to elaborate. Basically, a surge protector, or surge suppressor as it is sometimes called, is an electrical device that one plugs their electrical equipment into. The surge protector is then plugged into a power line or outlet, and it protects the equipment that is plugged into it from being damaged by sudden fluctuations in current or voltage spikes. A surge protector regulates the voltage, and attempts to keep it at a constant level. It is very important to protect electrical equipment from electrical surges or spikes, because over time, even small ones can have a cumulative negative effect on your electrical equipment, and gradually damage the internal circuitry. I am not just talking about the surges or spikes that come from lightning strikes. Every time the compressor in your refrigerator, air conditioner, dehumidifier, etc., turns on or off, there can be a surge or spike in voltage, and over time these small changes can damage the electrical circuitry that runs your prized electrical equipment.
You will recall that early on in this review, I mentioned that one of my children was going to Europe, and that I was going to give them this surge protector to use on their trip. Thank goodness I can read. I was told by the person who brought this device to the Christmas party, that this was a travel surge protector, and that I could use it overseas where the voltage is 220/240. The voltage here in the U.S. is 110/120. The model number of the Belkin Travel Surge Protector is F9H220, and that led the person who bought it to believe that it would work for 220/240 voltage overseas. WRONG. The model number may have the number 220 in it, but this surge protector is designed to work with 110/120 voltage, and it will not function overseas at the higher voltages that are found in the rest of the world. The model number is very misleading. Yes you can use this surge protector for travel, but you better be traveling from one place in the U.S. to another where the voltage is 110/120, and not overseas. This is an essential piece of information to know. You cannot use the Belkin Travel Surge Protector overseas. It is for domestic use only.
The Belkin Travel Surge Protector is compact in size and simple to operate. The plug on this little surge protector is able to swivel out of a little indentation when it is ready for use, and it can swivel back into place when it is being stored. This is a nice feature because one does not have to worry about the prongs of the plug getting caught on anything or scratching the surface of anything that you may be transporting it with, such as a laptop. There are two surge protected outlets on either side of the surge protector, and this allows access to the other outlets in the wall for your use. A bonus feature is that it also offers data line protection through the telephone RJII, and Ethernet protection via a RJ45 jack. However, the jack on this surge protector is a combo jack, and thus one cannot utilize surge protection for the Ethernet and telephone at the same time.
The Belkin Travel Surge Protector is rated at 540 Joules and offers 3-line protection (line, neutral, and ground), and the manufacturer guarantees to repair or replace up to $75,000 of the equipment that is properly connected to this surge protector. O.K., I realize that 540 Joules is not all that high, but it is certainly better than no protection, and keep in mind that the Belkin Travel Surge Protector was designed with the traveler in mind, and was not meant to be a surge protector that you are going to be plugging in all of your best home electronics gear into. The response time on the Belkin Travel Surge Protector is less than 1 nanosecond. Surge protectors do not kick in instantly, and there is always a slight delay in response time to a power surge. A response time of 1 nanosecond means that your equipment will be exposed to a power surge for less than 1 nanosecond, and I can live with that. Another nice feature is that the Belkin Travel Surge Protector has a LED that indicates that the power source that it is plugged into is properly grounded. This is an important feature, as without proper grounding, a surge protector offers only as much protection against power surges as an extension cord, which means none.
O.K., everything sounds fairly good so far, but are there any problems with the Belkin Travel Surge Protector? I am afraid there are, at least in my view. For one, although the Belkin Travel Surge Protector is designed for the traveler to carry along with them, it is not all that compact, and its dimensions are 5.2 inches in height, 3.6 inches in length, and 2.5 inches wide. That is a lot of space for a device that adds only two surge protected additional electrical outlets. Another problem in my opinion has to do with the clamping voltage that the Belkin Travel Surge Protector is listed as having. Clamping voltage is a measure of what voltage will cause the surge suppressor to conduct electricity to the ground line, and the lower the clamping voltage the better the protection. I always prefer a surge protector with a clamping voltage of below 400 V, and this surge protector has a clamping voltage of 800 V. Once again I prefer 400 V or less, but without this surge protector, I would have had no protection. Perhaps the biggest complaint that I had with the Belkin Travel Surge Protector is the first one that I listed in this review. Namely the since the model number is F9H220 and since it is listed as being a “travel” surge protector, a consumer can very easily be misled into thinking that they were buying a surge protector that was suitable for use when traveling overseas where the voltage would be 220/240, and that could lead to big trouble.
As regards my most common use for the Belkin Travel Surge Protector, I keep it permanently attached to the power cord that I plug my laptop into. Thus, when I “travel” with my laptop from one room in my home to another, I can be assured that I am getting at least a bit of surge protection during the short time that I may have my laptop plugged into a power outlet. If I am going on a weekend trip to a bed and breakfast or the like, I would feel comfortable bringing this surge protector with me for use with my laptop. However, I would not ever plug my valuable electronic equipment into the Belkin Travel Surge Protector and leave it plugged into an outlet for any prolonged period of time, and that includes my home. As I stated earlier, this surge protector offers some protection, but it does not offer the high degree of protection that I feel is necessary to protect my expensive electronic gear. However, for simple protection at home when plugging in a portable device, and for protection against power surges when traveling in the United States, the protection that this surge protector affords is certainly better than no protection at all. The bottom line is that the Belkin Travel Surge Protector does offer some useful features for the traveler which I noted earlier in the review. This surge protector has its flaws, as noted above, but if you can find it selling at a discounted price of under $10 Dollars, I think that its pros outweigh its cons.
Well I would like to thank you for taking the time to read my review, but now if you will excuse me, I must get back to practicing my guitar.