There’s probably no such thing as enough outlets, right? That’s why having a power bar can be a lifesaver, particularly if you’re a tech junkie like I am. But more than a basic power bar, if you’re plugging in high end devices like TVs, gaming consoles and sensitive electronics, you want to make sure they aren’t going to get fried in a power surge. That’s where a power bar that’s also a surge protector come in. I recently had the chance to test out a pair from Monster. The Monster Power Center Vertex and the Monster Power Center Vertex XL. I’ll tell you what these do, about their special features, plus why a surge protector is important and if I recommend these for you.
What is a surge protector, and why do I need one?
Surge protectors are a simple and effective way to protect your electronic devices from experiencing a power surge that may damage them. Power surges happen when an excessive amount of voltage is sent through a power line, usually caused by lightning strikes, power overloads, or perhaps the resumption of normal power flow after a blackout. The amount of power coming through the line exceeds the normal amount, shorting out some electronic devices, rendering them completely fried or even starting a fire.
The surge protector works by monitoring the voltage coming through the wire. If an excessive amount (or spike) happens, the surge protector will safely route the excess voltage through the grounding wire rather than allowing it to travel through to your devices. While a surge protector won’t help keep devices on in a power outage (you’d need an un-interruptable power supply for that), it will keep your devices safe from surges and spikes.
Monster, a company that has made its name with surge protectors, cables, and plugs for home audio and video devices, has two power bar surge protector models, the Monster Power Center Vertex and the Monster Power Center Vertex XL. Each are a bit different than eachother and than the standard fare, and worth a closer look.
I’ll tell you up front I had not power spikes during my testing period so I can’t say for certain if this saved me from getting fried, but the design is nice and there’s certainly a lot of options for connecting. I plugged in two laptops, a monitor, and also charged headphones, a watch and another wearable.
What’s the difference between Monster Power Center Vertex and Monster Power Center Vertex XL?
The two surge protectors are quite similar, the most significant difference being that the Monster Power Center Vertex XL has ten AC outlets, while the Monster Power Center Vertex has only six. Both power bars have an on/off reset button and LED lights to indicate the power bar is on. They also contain an extendible USB hub with three additional outlets (more on this later).
What can I connect to Monster Vertex Surge Protectors?
As the surge protectors are essentially power bars with an added feature, you can plug in any standard AC plug, as well as two USB-A and one USB-C plug. You can plug in computers, monitors, stereo equipment, televisions, lights, and chargers.
Both models have kind of a split and levered design where each side is somewhat angled. This leaves room for a channel for the USB Hub’s cable to tuck neatly away, but the lifted angle also makes a bit more room if you’re using large plugs too.
The Monster Power Center Vertex I got has a 10-foot cord and Vertex XL has a six-foot (two metres) nylon-braided power cord, which is thick and feels really durable. The USB hub will extend a further four feet (1.2 metres) from the power bar itself. That should give you plenty of cable to set up the power bar wherever you might need it. I definitely had more than enough cable for my own needs.
What is the USB hub?
The USB hub is both weird and wonderful. A hexagon shaped dongle that’s connected by a 4-foot braided cable, the USB hub lets you plug in two USB and one USB-C cord. The genius idea here is that some smaller cords like the ones for smart watches and wearables are short, so digging around under a desk to plug them into the bar itself can be tedious. With the Monster Vertex line, you can unravel the Hub’s cord and place it on your desk; even mount it with magnet to keep it in place. Then you’ve always got handy access to USB power while the rest of the bar lives on the floor.
You could an also use the hub’s magnetic mount to hang the entire power bar somewhere if that’s what you want.
Your surge protector can expire?!
If you didn’t know, surge protectors wear out and will eventually expire and stop being as effective (Google it!). This means they should be replaced every 5-8 years, or when the manufacturers warranty expires, and this is usually printed on the box.
Most surge protectors have a Joule rating on their box – the higher, the better is the conventional thinking. ON the Vertex it’s 3000 Joules, while on the XL it’s 5000. Every time there is a surge, joules are used up – eventually the device is left without any, leaving your equipment unprotected. The average $2o surge protector has a year’s worth or less of Joules.
Overall thoughts on Monster Vertex and Vertex XL
More than just a good looking component for your home office, the Monster Vertex line is designed to be a helpful insurance policy for your computer, home theatre system, or a that new 4K or 8K big screen TV you bought.
You’re getting what you pay for with this device. With features like surge protection, space for 9 or 13 devices, it’s a versatile option; plus that extendable USB Hub is a pretty smart design feature.
Monster Vertex 9 outlet option sells for about $99.99USD, while the 13 outlet Vertex XL is $119USD. You can get them from Walmart.
I'm a journalist, tech blogger, writer, TV producer, silversmith& jewelry designer, foodie and world traveler. I blog, write for publications, and supply freelance writing services to Calgary, and the world.