Owing a power manager is a great way of protecting all your expensive home theater equipment. There is a significant investment sitting in that part of the room, especially if you have a large TV, a quality surround sound system, and a games console.
You won’t need to worry about power surges, lightning strikes, or dirty power with one of these devices. Many even offer a guarantee to protect your devices if one of these instances occurs, creating peace of mind.
All this sounds great, but Are Home Theater Power Managers Worth It? I’ve put together this in-depth guide to help you decide.
What is a Home Theater Power Manager?
A great place to start would be to answer, “What is a home theater power manager?” You might also see them called another name, that being a “home theater power conditioner.”
Essentially they are a special type of power board with multiple sockets to plug all your sensitive home theater equipment into. So, how does a theater power manager work? By regulating the AC power distribution, they can offer both surge protection and power filtration.
Staying safe and clean…
Overall features, including the level of protection and quality of filtration, will vary with the price. At the very minimum, you will receive improved electricity quality and correct power distribution along with protection for an extended lifespan of your equipment.
For an idea of what type of features are on offer, check out an entry-level power manager. Followed by a premium device. Both will provide safer and cleaner power, with some variances.
Pyle PCO800 8-Outlet Rack Mount Power Conditioner – Best Affordable Power Manager
Pyle’s 8-outlet power manager improves electricity supply using transient impulse protection and noise protection. The built-in circuit breaker provides an added layer of safety to your equipment. Keep your wiring neat and organized at the same time by having it all routed to a central location.
APC H15BLK 12-Outlet H-Type Rack-Mountable Power Conditioner – Best Premium Power Manager
APC’s product increases the power outlets to 12 in total. Also, there are connections for cable internet/satellite TV, your coaxial antenna, plus your DSL connection. This truly is a hub to keep all your electronic devices protected from blackouts, voltage variances, noise interference, and power transients.
Why Would I Need a Home Theater Power Manager?
Given the sizable investment you will have made towards all your home theater components, it makes sense to protect them. Even with freshly wired homes, power supplies can always be unpredictable, and protection isn’t the only benefit offered either.
The performance of your equipment can be improved when provided with a cleaner power supply. Even though advancements in technology have heavily improved the quality of power supplied, that can always be increased further.
What creates dirty power?
Dirty power is the result of anomalies in the power supply. Some examples of dirty power are voltage variations, power surges, and mode noise. While voltage variations and power surges pose a risk of damaging your equipment, mode noise can affect performance quality.
Mode noise is a low-level signal, which, if not filtered out, can often be heard through your speakers as pops or hums. So, what causes mode noise? It can often be detected when other devices are used, such as turning lights on and off or switching on the microwave.
Music to your ears…
Adding a home theater power manager to your system will provide cleaner power and also filter out any mode noise. This can have a massive effect on your audio. Things you may not have even noticed before. The benefit of a home theater power manager is a crisper and cleaner sound.
So, by adding an additional layer of protection to your expensive and sensitive equipment, it will perform better too. If you live in an area prone to thunderstorms, owning a home theater power manager is an absolute must.
What are the Negatives of a Home Theater Power Manager?
As with anything, even though there are many benefits to using a home theater power manager, there have to be some negative consequences. Some audiophiles prefer not to use one of these products, and here’s why.
While home theater power managers reduce mode noise, they can also remove some frequencies they’re not supposed to. Many audiophiles believe that sounds become less dynamic and can feel almost artificial.
What other options are there?
Many highly dedicated audiophiles will have a professional electrician install a dedicated line for their home theater equipment. Similar to what you would find in the switchboard for a refrigerator or air conditioning unit.
This solution might sound like something you might be interested in, but there are other considerations. While it will eliminate noise and increase efficiency, it won’t offer any protection against any power surges. You will still need a surge protector at the very least if this is an option you would prefer.
What’s the Difference Between a Power Manager and a Surge Protector?
A surge protector is still better than not using anything at all on your home theater equipment. It will still offer some protection against surges. However, they operate a little differently from a power manager.
Instead of disconnecting your equipment from the circuit in an emergency, excess energy is diverted to the grounding wires. This will cover most events. But in the case of extremely high voltage, like lightning strikes, it could prove insufficient.
If you prefer to take the dedicated line option, and use a surge protector instead, here are some products I would recommend.
This surge protector offers eight well-spaced power outlets, along with RJ11 input and output for use with your data cable. Built using a rugged metal case, it also includes keyhole mounting tabs for easy installation.
The Panamax P360 surge protector also offers eight power outlets and RJ11 data line protection. Also, it protects your coaxial antenna and has four USB ports that can be used to charge your electronic devices.
Plugable’s surge protector features two rows of four power outlets. Along with an additional four corner outlets designed to accommodate large power adapters. There are also two USB ports for safely charging items like smartphones, tablets, and cameras.
Is There Anything I Should Know About Setting Up and Using a Home Theater Power Manager?
Most home theater power managers are sold with a warranty of three to five years. They should last well beyond that time, but I recommend updating it at least every ten years or so, just to be on the safe side.
Using a power manager won’t cause any increases in your electricity usage, and it won’t decrease it either. You shouldn’t notice any changes to your bills after introducing one of these devices to your setup.
Are there enough outlets?
While it is possible to add daisy chain power managers or plug in a surge protector to increase the number of outlets, this isn’t advised. You need to remember that all of these devices are being run off a single wall outlet, and it could become overloaded.
If you do require additional outlets, I would advise you to plug your other power manager or surge protector into a separate wall outlet. For even better results, try to plug them into outlets that are on two separate breakers.
Can power managers be used for other appliances?
You can certainly use a power manager for appliances and devices other than home theater equipment. They can be especially handy for use around an office desk. Protect your computer, printer, modem, router, and any other computer accessories.
They aren’t limited to electronic equipment either. You can plug anything into a power manager that is usually plugged into a wall outlet. Use one in the kitchen to protect your refrigerator, microwave, and other kitchen appliances.
Will a UPS do the same thing?
A power manager and a UPS (Uninterrupted Power Supply) are completely different. The UPS has a battery backup which will give you enough time to shut down your devices correctly during an emergency.
A power manager will cut power immediately during an emergency, which is still much better than risking major damage to your equipment. You can, of course, combine both of these products for the ultimate in safety and protection.
Which Home Theater Power Managers Do I Recommend?
Hopefully, now you can answer the question, “Are Home Theater Power Managers Worth It?” And you probably would like to purchase one. I have put together a few of the products I highly recommend.
Furman M-8X2 Merit Series 8 Outlet Power Conditioner and Surge Protector – Best Slimline Home Theater Power Manager
This simple and slimline power manager from Furman will provide clean power and offers surge protection. There are eight power outlets in the rear, along with a single outlet in the front. The AC filtering does a superb job of removing RFI and EMI interference.
Monster Home Theatre Reference HTS 3600 MKII PowerCenter – Most Versatile Home Theater Power Manager
The Monster has a total of ten power outlets, along with connections for up to three coaxial devices and an RJ11 port for a modem or phone line. Keep all of your equipment protected in a single, convenient location, complete with color coding and included cable tags.
Panamax MR4300 9-Outlet Home Theater Power Management – Most Reliable Home Theater Power Manager
With level 3 noise filtration, the Panamax MR4300 offers some of the cleanest power possible. There are eight power outlets at the rear, with a single outlet located in the front. Additionally, there’s a single USB port for safely charging your electronic devices.
Looking to Upgrade Your Home Theater System?
You might need more than a power manager to improve your home theater. So, check out our in-depth reviews of the Best High End Home Theater Speakers, the Best 7.1 Home Theater System, the Best Wireless TV Speakers, the Best Powered Speakers, or the Best Sonos Speakers on the market in 2021.
Also, don’t miss our comprehensive reviews of the Best In-Ceiling Speakers, the Best In-Wall Speakers, the Best Floor Standing Speakers, the Best Ceiling Speakers For Dolby Atmos, and the Best Bookshelf Speakers currently available.
Are Home Theater Power Managers Worth It? – Final Thoughts
Hopefully, by now, you can see the importance of having a home theater power manager. It is a relatively small price to pay for protecting all of your expensive and beloved home theater equipment.
Not only will you feel happier knowing your equipment is protected, but you can also enjoy the benefits of improved audio. This is a no-brainer. Even for dedicated audiophiles, there is a solution for you too. There is no excuse for not including a power manager in your home theater setup.
Happy and safe listening!