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Articles Generators Informational Topics

Can You Use Surge Protector With A Generator?

What is more destructive than a power outage, probably an electric storm, demolishing all your expensive electronics, from smartphones to washing machines?

A generator can be a perfect fit for handling power outages, but also have a greater risk of power spikes.

A beginner who doesn’t know about power surges and surge protection mostly hangs around with questions like what is surge protection, and whether can you use surge protection with generators.

Can you uee a surge protector with a generator

I got your back in case you are someone with the same question popping into your mind, as this is a brief guide on the benefits of portable generator surge protectors with a generator and how this small piece of electronic acts as a guard for your expensive stuff.

Using Surge Protector With Generator:

 In case of power failure, mostly, the consequences are not limited to a few tube lights or fans.

Many appliances are damaged permanently, and your precious business records from your computers may be wiped out completely.

Generators nowadays are the most common reason for power surges, as they suddenly transfer heavy voltage to appliances. An average generator has a standard outlet.

You can directly plug it into a surge protector for peace of mind and to avoid rushing toward different devices in case of a powerful storm.

Difference Between A Surge And A Spike:

When the high voltage level lasts for more than three nanoseconds, it’s a surge; when it is less than three nanoseconds, it’s a spike.

Waves are more dangerous, and this billionth of a second can demolish all your machinery and put you in debt.

The most common cause of power surges is heavy equipment.

When heavy equipment is turned on, a sudden Voltage drop is experienced, and more dangerous is when heavy appliances are switched off.

In such cases, excessive voltage transfers towards lower Voltage appliances.

Prevention is always better, and preventing electric hazards requires a surge protector. 

What Is A Surge Protector?

 Surge protectors are Often Confused with power strips but are completely different as a power strip adds extra outlet space for your machinery.

In juxtaposition to the power strip, the surge protector has two main functions: providing an additional outlet and protecting electronics from surges. 

Can You Use Surge Protector With A Generator?

A generator can safely use a surge protector to direct the excess voltage generated by generator outlets into the ground wire of the generator. Generators are not risk-free and there are many associated risk factors that need to be carefully monitored throughout the generator usage process.

If you blindly use the generator without following any recommendations or safety measures, the generator usage may do more harm than good. The most prominent threat a generator can pose is damage to life and property. Generators can cause damage to your electrical appliances and the protective measure to prevent this damage is by using surge protectors.

The surge protectors prevent the power surges that are most commonly associated with the generator supply. When you switch between the grid power supply line and the generator supply, you are supposed to see some minor fluctuations in the voltage and power output of the AC supply coming from your generator outlets. If these fluctuations are very minute, the damages may not be evident but a significant change in waveform or voltage can cause the connected devices to blow out.

In order to avoid that blow-up, a surge protector is used with the generator to regulate the grid power and generator power supply. Any extra voltage that is given out by the generator will be absorbed by the surge protector and t will be directed toward the ground wire.

In this way, there will be no difference between the flow of power coming from your generator or grid supply line. To use a surge protector with your generator, you would have to mind some recommendations of which overload protections are the most prominent. You should also consider using an outdoor extension wire to keep the generator in outdoor areas.

How Does A Surge Protector For Generator Work? 

Devices plugged into the surge protector’s power strip are receiving electric flow from the outlets.

In the case of a powerful storm or a surge, the additional voltage above the desired level is diverted into grounding wire outlets.

Grounding wires run parallel to neutral and hot wires and provide a safe pathway for current flow in case of a surge.

The Function Of Surge Protector:

The sole purpose of writing this article is to solve your queries about using surge protectors for generators.

The straight answer to the question: Do you use a surge protector with a generator? Is yes.

It would help if you used a surge protector with a generator.

It’s not a choice that you can skip; skipping this step puts you and your appliance at risk of hazards and may result in

  • Electric fire as a result of a power spike
  • Shortening the life of electric appliances or maybe destroying them
  • Loss of money and risk of serious electric hazards

In comparison, if you are using a surge protector, then you are getting benefits such as

  • Generator-specific surge protectors bear major voltage fluctuations and safely protect generators and other appliances
  • During a power failure, surge, or spike, your machine is under the protection of a surge protector, and you keep on powering your home safely
  • Expensive devices are safe, and there is no physical loss
  • The risk of electric hazards is reduced

How to Select a Surge Protector?

Surge protectors come in different varieties and with other features.

You can select one for your generator depending on the type and quality.

  • One is a power surge protector with an attached cord, providing you with the flexibility to put them close to your equipment with a capacity of 6 to 12 gears.
  • Others are wall-mounted ones with no cord and have 6 to 12 power outlets.


Knowing the specifications and different features of a surge protector will help you choose the best one.

  • The joule rating marked on the surge protector indicates the excessive electric energy the surge can absorb and transfer to the ground wire. The higher the rating, the lesser the risk of the wave and the longer the life of the device
  • The UL VPR (Underwriters Laboratories Voltage Protection Rating) acknowledges the clamping voltage. Clamping voltage is the highest energy level the surge protector allows to pass through before restricting additional flow. A lower rating indicates more stability of surge protectors (the lowest UL rating for a surge protector is 330 volts)
  • Response time measures the period in which the surge protector transfers extra voltage to an earth wire. The lower the response time, the better the protection. 
  • Power filtration is a feature of a surge protector which acts as a guard against electromagnetic interference (EMI) and radio frequency interference (RFI), also known as noise. This feature ensures better resolution and noise quality of entertainment devices such as TV and gaming systems. Protectors with high units provide better filtering.
  • Three-line surge protectors protect neutral, hot, and ground wires.
  • Some surge protectors have built an auto power-off feature that turns off heavy machinery in case of long power surges.
  • The latest generator surge protector also has an indicator light that signals to change the surge protector. It turns off when the life span or efficiency of the surge protector starts to deteriorate.
  • Also, there is an indicator light showing whether the surge protector is grounded properly or not.
  • They were widely spaced, rotated in outlet pivots, and universal serial bus ports to better accommodate different devices.
  • Type 1, 2, and 3 protectors are there with types 1 and 2 for handling lightning bolts, and type 3 is especially for generators, so here, in this case, the type 3 surge protector is the one you are going to buy.


1.   Will A Surge Protector Work With A Generator?

A surge protector can work with a generator to regulate voltage spikes and power surges. If a surge protector is not used with the generator, the unsteady and unstable power flow will cause the electronic appliances great damage. The only way to keep electric appliances connected to the generator safe is to use a surge protector.  The common household generators have 120V standard outlets, that can be used with standard surge protection to protect the household power supply.

2.   Can You Use Power Strips With Generators?

Yes, for sure, generators are suitable for the use of power strips just like surge protectors, the typical household power strips used with generators are chain power strips that shouldn’t be used regularly or daily. Using these chain power strips daily with your generator will most likely cause a fire and in some cases, it will lead to system overload.

3.   What Do Surge Protectors Do?

Surge protectors are designed to regulate the fluctuations in the voltage thereby preventing sensitive electronic appliances from the damages of unsteady power supply. The surge protector does so by absorbing the excess voltage and in this way, the appliances will have a steady supply of voltage coming from the generator outlets. The extra voltage absorbed by the surge protectors will be directed to the ground wire for safe disposal.

4.   Can Generators Cause Surges?

The average generators available typically in our homes do not cause power surges. This is because these generators have safety mechanisms like overload protections, voltage guards, etc. to prevent fluctuations in the regular AC supply from the generator outlets. Therefore, these generators do not need surge protectors. But conventional generators with an average 3600 or more RPM speed cause some minor fluctuations in voltage that are not detrimental for all appliances but can affect sensitive electronics negatively.


So this was all about surge protectors, their features, and their generator compatibility. Using a surge protector with the generator is completely optional, but not using it results in catastrophic results. Also, I talk about exclusive features and buying guides for newbies, so you may not accidentally buy a power strip. I hope so, this brief informational piece guides you thoroughly in your purchase.

See More:

What Is A Portable Generator
What Is An Inverter Generator

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About the author

Anthony Miller

Hello Guys! I am Anthony Miller, a high dynamo, communicative author, and editor of the Renewable Cop, always providing amazing, engaging, informative, unique, highly researched, and verified content based on all sorts of generators. Read more.

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