It would be premature to review a surge protector product after only using it for a few days, which is precisely why I am writing this one year after purchasing the Tripp-Lite UltraBlok428 (Roughly $25).
Does it deliver the goods?
As a resident of Florida, otherwise known as “the lightning capitol of the US”, I was curious to find out.
Living in Tampa Bay, it is not uncommon for residents to experience brown-outs, especially during the summertime when AC units add to the already overloaded power grid. On rare occasion, our neighborhood has even experienced blackouts. (As of this writing, our neighborhood has experienced two power outages in two weeks – with the power being off for several hours both times. It happened this evening, in fact.)
Last year in June, our fridge died a spectacular death as a direct result of an electrical power surge due to a thunderstorm. Caught in a bind, I had to purchase a new fridge almost immediately. With my purchase, I ordered the Tripp-Lite UltraBlok482 surge protector.
The UltraBlok482 unit is sheathed within a black, all-metal housing. Physically, the UltraBlok has some heft to it. The unit’s construction is both solid and sturdy. It should be noted that the back of the UltraBlok (which plugs into your existing power outlet) only has one plug. In lieu of the second plug is a rubber “bump”. The mounting plate is necessary to keep the UltraBlok from drooping when plugged into the outlet. On the unit itself are three diagnostic LEDs (Line OK (green), Fault (Red), Protection Present (green).
In the packaging, you’ll also get a warranty pamphlet, a few screws and a mounting plate. There are no directions supplied, but it’s pretty straightforward to install. First, remove the screw for the existing faceplate. Next, plug the unit directly into a grounded two port outlet. Finally, attach the mounting plate under the base of the unit, and screw it in to the faceplate.
Some of the specs for this particular unit are:
In the year that I have owned our Tripp-Lite UltraBlok, our house has experienced between 15 – 20 brownouts and 4 – 7 blackouts. Throughout it all, our fridge has held up like a champ, thanks to the UltraBlok. If a surge hits, it’s my understanding that the Tripp-Lite will sacrifice itself in order to protect the equipment it is connected to. Thankfully, I have not had a chance to test this aspect of the device, and honestly – I hope I never do. If the inevitable happens, and my Tripp-Lite happens to die in its line of duty – I’ll be sure to update this review.
It should be noted that you should NEVER plug a Uninterruptible Power Supply into the UltraBlok. Doing so could potentially damage your UPS. It can also void your Tripp-Lite warranty. (In other words, don’t plug a power strip into the UltraBlok.)
NOTE: Nothing will protect equipment from a direct lightning strike, which is why I always unplug my electronics when a really “hot” lightning storm passes through.
So…Would I recommend the Tripp-Lite UltraBlok428? I’ll put it this way: I was so impressed with the first Tripp-Lite unit I purchased that I ordered the same model for my office studio to protect my Macbook Pro.
The Tripp-Lite earns 5 out of 5 Bob Weiners.
Update: Less than two weeks after writing this review, our microwave’s circuitry was zapped by a combination of rolling brownouts and a lightning storm. Sadly, there was no surge protector on the device. I have since ordered another Tripp-Lite to protect the replacement microwave we had to purchase.