Most modern electronics draw power even when in “standby” mode — turned off but still plugged in. The Smart Strip helps you reclaim those expensive wasted watts by automatically killing power to accessories when you turn off the “main” device. For example, when you turn off your computer, it powers down your speakers, printer, etc.
Here’s how it works: first, you plug your control device — such as your PC or TV — into the blue outlet. Then when you turn the power off to this device the ‘Strip automatically cuts power to all of the gear plugged into the switched white outlets. So, for example, I could turn off my TV and have the VCR, DVD and cable box all power off automatically. If you don’t want something to lose all power — like your router and cable modem, which might piss off other computer users in the house — simply plug those things into the red outlets which are always hot as long as the strip is powered on. When you power the control device back on, the ‘Strip reinstates power to the devices connected to the switched circuits.
As surge protectors, these offer 1,225 to 2,875 joules of protection (depending on the model), EMI/RFI filtering and line noise reduction, plus coax and/or RJ-11 protection on some models.
The Smart Strip costs a little more than a standard surge protector — street prices start at $25 for a small, single-row Smart Strip — but the price isn’t unreasonable. And if you tend to leave lots of electronics fully powered even when they’re not in use, the savings could add up quickly.
Most of us are making at least some efforts to be more conscientious about our energy usage, and while I don’t plan to run out and replace all of my current surge protectors, considering the positive reviews I’ve read from a number of different sources these Smart Strips seem worth the investment.
Of course, you might want to keep the VCR plugged into a hot outlet lest you join the flashing 12:00 crowd.