Picture of the Utilitech Surge Supressor 0090996 Side Back View

Utilitech Surge Tap Protector 0090996 Review




The Utilitech Surge Tap Protector, model 0090996 is a single-outlet device. that can absorb 900 joules of appliance-damaging surge power. It comes with a $100,000 connected equipment warranty. It’s a light-weight and rugged surge suppressor, and offers a sense of security in that when applied to equipment, you know that equipment is well-protected from power surges due to nearby lightning strikes and machinery switching on and off on the same circuit.  Even after at least two years, it continues riding the heights of popularity, and is still carried at Lowe’s home centers as of this writing.

Picture of the Utilitech Single Outlet Surge Protector, Front View, plugged In and operating.
Utilitech Single Outlet Surge Protector, Front View, Plugged In and Operating.

 

Benefits, Pros, Features, and Advantages

  • Priced reasonably at less than $8 per copy, this single-appliance surge protector is great for those pinch-situations, in which you need protection in a hurry, or where you wish to protect a single major appliance. We use these on my computer-controlled washing machine and microwave oven.
  • But this can be used in conjunction with non-surge power strips to protect computers, routers, modems, and external hard drives; all of which plug into the same power strip.  You’d just plug this surge guard device directly into the wall, and then plug the power strip into it.  It’s an economical way to add surge suppression to cheaper outlet strips that do not otherwise provide it.  Note however that when employed in this way, no inter-device interference protection occurs.  Noise-generating devices attached to the same power strip will still potentially interfere with each other.  To solve this problem, if you have it, use a device isolating sort of power strip.
  • The $100,000 connected equipment warranty enhances peace of mind. If something fails while plugged into the Utilitech surge protector, and if the defect was caused by a power surge, then they’ll replace it, with certain limitations of course.
  • This single outlet surge protector sports a red LED pilot lamp to show that the protective circuitry is functioning properly.  It’s bright enough that you can easily tell if you’ve added this protector to your appliance plugs.
  • The 0090996 also includes an audible alarm signal, should the protective circuitry stop guarding against voltage spikes.  Thus, it notifies you when it’s time to replace this unit. Plus, you can position the unit out of visual range, since the alarm will sound if a problem occurs.  You can put it behind appliances where the pilot lamp is not visible, and yet, rest assured that you’ll still be notified of problems by the beep sounds this protector emits when it is nearing the end of its service life.
  • With even the traditionally rugged appliances nowadays containing sensitive electronics, it’s a good idea to surge-protect everything you have, and the Utilitech surge protector makes this proposition quite affordable.
  • This unit includes a 40 DB EMI / RFI filter for frequencies between 100 Khz. to 30 Mhz. This is nice for ham radio operators, who transmit on frequency bands in this range, but who want to keep that signal out of some of their other nearby electronic equipment.
  • Diverts up to 900 joules of surge energy, preventing that much surge power from reaching the protected equipment.
  • The surges can come from lightning, internal arcing within other appliances powered from the same mains, static electricity, dirty switch contacts.  This suppressor diverts all of them.  It doesn’t care about their origins.
  • Has no power cord; looks like a wall-wart transformer, as it plugs into any standard household AC plug.
  • Requires no mounting to the wall or onto the host outlet.  You just plug it in.
  • Can supply up to 15-amps of AC.  We used these on televisions, dryers, refrigerators, and freezers, that draw anywhere from 0.5 to ten amps.  No problems.

 

Picture of the Utilitech Surge Supressor 0090996 Side Back View
Utilitech Surge Supressor 0090996 Side Back View

Disadvantages, Cons, Problems, and Limitations

  • This unit only absorbs 900 joules, when the surge guards considered “best” by leading industry experts, can absorb 3000 joules and up. But for as little as this Utilitech surge protector costs, this relatively-low energy-absorption amount is probably no big deal since, should this unit fail, another may be quickly and cheaply procured. I have yet to reach this capacity on any of the units I have here.
  • When plugged into a 2-outlet receptacle, this device can block the other outlet when the bulk end of it faces the center of the receptacle. So, to minimize strain on the plug prongs and on the wall outlets themselves, it’s better to plug this into the bottom outlet, so that the bulk part can hang below the outlet and does not interfere with the top outlet.
  • Does not include a circuit breaker.  But hey.  What do you expect for a sub-ten dollar spike suppressor?
  • Constructed in a hard plastic case; not metal.
  • Does not protect phone, audio, cable TV, or Ethernet lines; just for power line spike protection.
  • Some customers have reported that certain failures within this power protector can be rather violent and charring.  They report that the alarm may not sound during said failures and that the LED lamp, that’s supposed to signify that the plugged equipment is being protected, continues to glow, even when the unit shows highly visible signs of burnout, when the outlets themselves have been damaged.  If is situations like this, that we’d prefer to see these devices encased in thick metal rather than plastic.

 

Protector Rating

Given the high degree of practicality of this surge protector, We recommend it for all your delicate electronic devices. This device seems to live up to its specifications, is affordable, is small, and the implied equipment insurance policy is a cheap but reassuring presence in any Internet-connected workspace.  Though its a modestly-sized device, the 0090996, in addition to surge protection, also offers RFI filtering.  It’s a great value therefore, and so, we’d rate this surge protector at 95 out of 100 therefore.

 

Where To Buy The Utilitech 0090996 Surge Tap Surge Protector

Look for this cheap but effective home surge protector in bigger grocery and electronics stores. It comes in a plastic package with a white, blue, and red label. The Surge Tap Surge Protector itself is white, and sports the Utilitech logo in red letters just beneath its three-prong outlet.

 

References

Revision History

  • 2017-02-06: Revised tags list.  Changed post title to: Utilitech Surge Tap Protector 0090996 Review.
  • 2015-11-30: Added appropriate tags.
  • : Added featured image.
  • 2014-11-26: Added pictures and adjusted ad placement.
  • 2014-10-28: Added References and Revision History sections.
  • 2012-08-22: Originally published.



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