Xtra Socket is a plug adaptor they say gives you a third socket as well as protecting your computer and other sensitive devices from dangerous power surges. Every modern home needs at least one surge protector, but there is so little info about this device, we can’t help but think it’s junk.

First, it’s marketed and sold by Tristar Products and hocked by the same guy who tried to sell you Clear TV, get the picture? Tristar has had over one thousand complaints in the last 3 years about faulty products and they’re likely to get more.

The Xtra Socket Pitch

“Protect your home, appliances, and priceless data” is what they say. But we’re not sure how the Xtra Socket would protect your house (unless maybe an alarm is plugged into it). It scares you by adding “lightning storms could short out your devices.” While this is true, a power surge is more likely to come from faulty wiring or a utility company error than mother nature.

How Xtra Socket Works

They claim its secret is the X3 MOV thermal fuse they say puts a stop to the surge with a “road block.” In truth, the “X3” doesn’t mean anything and the MOV (metal oxide varistor) is a very common method of surge protection which diffuses the jolt and grounds it via a metal oxide strip. MOVs can sometimes burn out with one power surge, that’s why it’s important your device has an indicator light. Xtra Socket gets 1 point for having a green one.

What We Don’t Know About Xtra Socket

A lot! Basically all the important things you need to know when buying a surge protector. Namely, is it rated by Underwriters Laboratory (UL) as a transient voltage surge suppressor? (This is a watermark of any quality device.) Answer: We don’t know. Next, what is its clamping voltage, which is the surge needed to trip the device (good ones should be under 400 V)? Answer: We don’t know. What are its joules (the amount of energy it can absorb, with the higher number being better)? Answer: We don’t know! What is the response time (less than one nanosecond is optimum). Again, the answer is: We don’t know!

Xtra Socket Costs:

$21.94 ($14.95 plus $6.99 S&H). You can add a “bonus” Xtra Socket for another $6.99 in S&H. Xtra Socket has a 60-day return policy. But this policy does not offer any monetary compensation for damaged electronics, a feature some high-end brands tout. (You will also not get any shipping/handling fees returned and you have to pay to ship it back.)

Bottom Line: Is Xtra Socket a Scam?

This product is a complete mystery as to its level of protection. Surge protectors are essential for every home, but it’s important to do your homework (which we did for you). Basically, keep an eye out for a UL rating, clamping voltage (under 400 V), joules (over 600 is best), and reaction time (<1 nanosecond). Another important feature to think about are phone and cable inputs/outlets, where electricity can also travel through and damage equipment. Once again, we repeat, Xtra Socket gives you none of this. Shop around for a surge protector armed with this knowledge and be protected from scams.