Insights > 6 things you shouldn’t plug into a power strip

6 things you shouldn’t plug into a power strip


Power strips come in handy when you don't have enough outlets to plug in everything you need. But you should be careful what you plug into them. A typical power strip can handle up to 1,800W of power. Anything more than that can overload it, potentially causing it to overheat and create a fire hazard.

So, power strips are great for computers, TVs, lamps, phone chargers and other low-wattage devices. However, they are not designed for large appliances such as refrigerators, dishwashers, clothes dryers and clothes washers. To stay safe, here are six other devices you should never plug into a power strip.

  1. Microwave oven. Microwaves demand more power than a power strip can provide, so they typically require their own dedicated outlet.
  2. Toasters. Creating all that heat requires a current draw that can cause a power strip to overheat, potentially toasting more than just your bagel.
  3. Hair dryers. Any hair care device that operates with heat should be plugged directly into a wall outlet.
  4. Slow cooker. They may be slow, but slow cookers may require more power over time than a power strip can safely deliver. Plug your slow cooker into a safe outlet before you set it and forget it.
  5. Space heater. Space heaters cycle on and off frequently. When they switch on, they may require more power than a power strip safely provide.
  6. Coffee maker. Your morning coffee provides a necessary jolt, but your coffee maker requires a jolt of power that's more than a power strip can handle. Plug your coffee maker directly into an outlet.

Using power strips safely

To keep your home and family safe, follow these power strip safety tips:

  • Make sure any power strip you use is UL-certified for safe operation.
  • Never plug a power strip into another power strip. Doing so violates most safety codes and can quickly overload a circuit.
  • Avoid using power strips in areas where they could potentially get wet, such as in kitchens, bathrooms and basements.
  • Power strips are for indoor use only, unless specifically designed for outdoor use.

Follow all manufacturer's instructions when using power strips. To save energy, consider using smart power strips. They eliminate energy-wasting standby power by automatically cutting power to unused devices. Click here to read more energy efficiency tips on our newsroom. 

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