Smart power bars
Bye-bye phantom power
Most electronic devices draw power when they’re on standby or even turned off. This phantom power, or standby load, accounts for 5% to 10% of a household’s electricity bill. Smart power bars are designed to prevent this waste of energy, as they turn off peripheral devices when the main device is not being used.
How they work
You plug your various devices into the power bar in the usual way, but into specially marked sockets. One socket is for the main (master) device, such as your computer or TV, and the others are for peripherals (slaves). When the power bar detects that the main device is off or on standby, it cuts the power to all the peripherals, such as printers or loudspeakers. When you turn the computer or TV back on again, the peripherals are reconnected. Some power bars also have a surge suppressor.
It’s quick and easy to set up a smart power bar. Just be sure to select the right device as the master.
Most companies offer a 6- to 24-month warranty, although power bars generally last for years.
A few tips
Opt for a power bar with a built-in surge suppressor to protect your electronics. You can find models with extra sockets that are on all the time, no matter whether the main device is on or off.
- At least one independent socket that is always on, for devices you don’t want to turn off
- Completely cuts power to all peripherals (printer, scanner, monitor, speakers, etc.) when you turn off the main device
- Better control of devices you never want to turn off and those that you do
- Prevents power drain in standby mode
Consult our toolbox to find out how much electricity is used by devices when they are turned off