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However, there can be problems detecting standby power in appliances that use more power in standby mode such as plasma televisions as they will always appear to the power strip to be switched on.
When using a master—slave power strip, one way to avoid such problems is to plug an appliance with a lower standby wattage such as a DVD player into the master socket, using it as the master control instead.
A different power strip design intended to save energy uses a passive infrared PIR or ultrasonic sound detector to determine if a person is nearby.
These so-called "smart power strips" are intended to be installed in offices, to shut down equipment when the office is unoccupied.
It is recommended that appliances that need a controlled shutdown sequence such as many ink-jet printers not be plugged into a slave socket on such a strip as it can damage them if they are switched off incorrectly for example the inkjet printer may not have capped the print head in time, and consequently the ink will dry and clog the print head.
In some countries where multiple socket types are in use, a single power strip can have two or more kinds of socket. Socket arrangement varies considerably, but for physical access reasons there are rarely more than two rows.
In Europe, power strips without surge suppression are normally single row, but models with surge suppression are supplied both in single and double row configurations.
If sockets on a power strip are grouped closely together, a cable with a large " wall wart " transformer at its end may cover up multiple sockets.
Various designs address this problem, some by simply increasing the spacing between outlets. Other designs include receptacles which rotate in their housing, or multiple short receptacle cords feeding from a central hub.
A simple DIY method for adapting problematic power strips arrangements to large "wall warts" is to use a three-way socket adapter to extend the socket above its neighbors, providing the required clearance.
Some also provide surge suppression for phone lines, TV cable coax, or network cable. Unprotected power strips are often mistakenly called "surge suppressors" or "surge protectors" even though they may have no ability to suppress surges.
Surge suppression is usually provided by one or more metal-oxide varistors MOVs , which are inexpensive two-terminal semiconductors.
These act as very high speed switches, momentarily limiting the peak voltage across their terminals.
By design, MOV surge limiters are selected to trigger at a voltage somewhat above the local mains supply voltage, so that they do not clip normal voltage peaks, but clip abnormal higher voltages.
It should be borne in mind that this voltage specification is RMS , not peak, and also that it is only a nominal approximate value.
Mains electrical power circuits are generally grounded earthed , so there will be a live hot wire, a neutral wire, and a ground wire. Low-cost power strips often come with only one MOV mounted between the live and neutral wires.
More complete and desirable power strips will have three MOVs, connected between each possible pair of wires. Since MOVs degrade somewhat each time they are triggered, power strips using them have a limited, and unpredictable, protective life.
Some power strips have "protection status" lights which are designed to turn off if protective MOVs connected to the live wire have failed, but such simple circuits cannot detect all failure modes such as failure of a MOV connected between neutral and ground.
The surge-induced triggering of MOVs can cause damage to an upstream device, such as an uninterruptible power supply UPS , which typically sees an overload condition while the surge is being suppressed.
Therefore, it is recommended not to connect a surge-protected power strip to a UPS,  but instead to rely solely on surge protection provided by the UPS itself.
More-elaborate power strips may use inductor-capacitor networks to achieve a similar effect of protecting equipment from high voltage spikes on the mains circuit.
These more-expensive arrangements are much less prone to silent degradation than MOVs, and often have monitoring lights that indicate whether the protective circuitry is still connected.
The standard covers both the performance of the surge suppression circuit and their safety. Likewise, power strips with telecoms surge suppression circuits can demonstrate compliance with the LVD by complying with the requirements of EN Connecting MOV-protected power strips in a "daisy chain" in a series, with each power strip plugged into a previous one in the chain does not necessarily increase the protection they provide.
However, due to manufacturing variations between the MOVs, the surge energy will not be spread evenly, and will typically go through the one that triggers first.
Daisy chaining of power strips known in building and electric codes as multi-plug adapters or relocatable power taps , whether surge protected or not, is specifically against most codes.
Where the current rating of the socket outlet, plug and lead of the power strip is equal to the rating of the circuit breaker supplying the circuit concerned, additional overload protection for the power strip is unnecessary, since the existing circuit breaker will provide the required protection.
However, where the rating of a socket outlet and, hence, the plug and lead of the power strip is less than the rating of the circuit breaker supplying the circuit concerned, overload protection for the power strip and its supply cable is necessary.
In the UK, standard BS plugs and sockets are rated at 13 A but are provided on circuits protected by circuit breakers of up to 32 A.
Hence, in the UK and in other countries using BS plugs , this fused plug provides overload protection for any power strip.
The fuse must be replaced if the power strip is overloaded, causing the fuse to operate. In Australia and New Zealand the rating for a standard socket outlet is 10 Amperes but these outlets are provided on circuits protected by circuit breakers of up to 20 A.
These power strips have a reset button for the circuit breaker, which is used to return the strip to service after an overload has caused it to trip.
Electrical overloading can be a problem with any sort of power distribution adapter. This is especially likely if multiple high-power appliances are used, such as those with heating elements, like room heaters or electric frying pans.
Power strips may have a circuit breaker integrated to prevent overload. In the UK, power strips are required to be protected by the fuse in the BS plug.
Some also feature a 13A BS fuse in the socket end. Please update this article to reflect recent events or newly available information.
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