A review of some of best portable power strips and surge protectors with USB charging


After researching dozens of models and extensively testing the eight best-specified and -designed, we think the best power strip for travel in North America is sold under two different brands, as either the Accell Home or Away Surge Protector or Tripp Lite Protect It 3-Outlet Surge Protector—they’re functionally identical, so just pick the one that’s cheaper when it’s time to order. Both sell for about $20, have three outlets and two USB-charging ports, and are smaller and lighter than any other travel model we tested, but still fit bulky power adapters without blocking other outlets.

This model has been our pick every year since 2015. Although other companies use the same design, we found that the Accell Home or Away Surge Protector and the Tripp Lite Protect It 3-Outlet Surge Protector offer the best capabilities at a price that’s usually lower than the competition’s. Owners give both versions high ratings, and Wirecutter staffers have used the Accell model since 2015 without issue.

If you want surge protection on the go, or prefer a power strip with a cord, the Protect It 3-Outlet Travel-Size Surge Protector is the best choice. It’s the only portable model we tested whose ability to clamp down surges is on a par with that of full-size surge protectors—other portable models we tested let more than twice as much surge voltage through, potentially damaging anything plugged into them. The third AC outlet on the back of the unit helps to keep power bricks out of the way, and the right-angle plug easily fits in tight spots, like behind hotel furniture.