Power Strip

What Does Power Strip Mean?

A power strip is an electrical device that is used to expand the capacity of a wall outlet in terms of the number of devices it can accommodate. It features an extension cord ranging from one foot (.3 meters) to some being longer than 30 feet (10 meters), with the number of sockets ranging from as few as two to a dozen or more.


Techopedia Explains Power Strip

A power strip is a block of electrical sockets that provides additional cord length and mobility to otherwise immovable wall sockets that are oftentimes placed in obscure and hard-to-reach places. Power strips are often used in areas of the house with a large concentration of appliances, such as the living room because there are so few wall sockets.

Power strips often include a master switch that cuts off power to the entire strip, conveniently allowing one to cut the power to all of the attached appliances at once. However, other models include individual switches for each socket, making it more flexible in terms of selectively cutting off power supply since some appliances must not simply be unplugged, such as computers and printers, because this may damage them. Power strips often include indicator lights on the switches to allow for easy indication as to which sockets are on or off, and more advanced models may have one or more fuses to prevent power surges from affecting devices plugged in to the power strip.

On a higher level, smart power strips contain electronic components that can smartly control individual outlets. For example, some models have a master outlet that controls other outlets around it; when the master outlet detects that the device attached to it has been turned on by way of detecting power draw, it also turns on the slave sockets. This is useful for controlling the power for multiple devices at once such as in a living room with a home theater; in this case, the TV could be plugged into the master outlet so that when it is turned on, devices such as the DVD/Blu-ray player and speakers attached to the slave outlets also receive power.


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Margaret Rouse

Margaret is an award-winning technical writer and teacher known for her ability to explain complex technical subjects to a non-technical business audience. Over the past twenty years, her IT definitions have been published by Que in an encyclopedia of technology terms and cited in articles by the New York Times, Time Magazine, USA Today, ZDNet, PC Magazine, and Discovery Magazine. She joined Techopedia in 2011. Margaret's idea of a fun day is helping IT and business professionals learn to speak each other’s highly specialized languages.