Are Home Theater Power Managers Worth It?

When it comes to managing your home theater system, many experts recommend that many owners install a power manager for their system. However, most of the buying public believes that they don’t need it for their home theater system. But the same majority doesn’t know the importance of having a power manager for their electronics and devices.

For those users who are experiencing ‘dirty’ power, lightning surges, and power outages, having one can help protect their electronics and devices from being damaged or even destroyed. Power managers for home theater systems act similarly to other similar items such as surge protectors, power regenerators, and UPS units.

Power Managers: What Exactly Are They?

Home Theater Power Manager
From Furman Power

For those unfamiliar with power managers, they are devices designed for regulating AC power distribution to the devices it is connected with. Commonly known as “home theater power managers,” they are called “home theater power conditioners” by others. Aside from regulating the power distribution to both of your electronics and devices, a power manager also offers surge protection and cleaning “dirty” power flow (by either reducing or eliminating AC noise).

For more advanced and expensive models, they can offer additional features such as sequential system power ON/OFF (controlled turning off and on of devices during low voltage) and over/under-voltage protection. There are also other features that will be incredibly beneficial for those owning many electronics and devices, such as a home theater system.

The Role of a Power Manager in a Home Theater System

When determining the role of power manager in your home theater system (and in other devices that are compatible with it), remember that it is basically divided into two parts: improving the performance of your home theater system by both enhancing the flow of electricity (noise filtration) and proper power distribution; the other part would be the protection it offers from power surges, where it extends the lifespan of your electronics and devices.

Role of Home Theater Power Mangers

A power manager’s other additional role, when paired with a home theater system, is that it provides a much cleaner and a well-looking, organized environment. Thanks to having a power manager, all of the power cables and wirings usually scattered around are now neatly tucked away in the back of the whole system.

Most power managers have their connection and power ports located in their back, as seen in the image example previously posted above. That eliminates the chances of you tripping over scattered and messy wires that would otherwise be unorganized when no power manager is present with your home theater system.

Is Having A Home Theater Power Manager Really a Necessity?

The simple answer for that question is basically no, but with some catches to it. For one, it will become a necessity if you want to properly protect your home theater system (and other devices connected to it) from power issues such as surges, power flow, etc. The other reason that it will become a necessity is due to the improvement it provides to your home theater’s performance.

Ideally, one must have a power manager for their home theater system if their location is frequently experiencing a high density of lightning strikes or if their location is known to have very frequent power surges.

Those kinds of incidents can severely damage the delicate circuitry inside, as many of today’s electronics and devices lack the protection needed for both of those incidents. Only a few high-end and very expensive models have that kind of protection by default.

If your location is also experiencing “dirty” power (various anomalies of the power’s quality), it is highly advised to get a power manager. However, most locations around the world today experience less dirty power, especially in very advanced countries. Still, there is a small possibility that dirty power may occur, where it shows the following: power surges and sudden frequency/voltage variations.

Dirty Power: How Does It Affect Your Home Theater?

As mentioned earlier, dirty power is the term for various kinds of anomalies that occur within the power’s quality. Do take note that dirty power can affect the overall performance output of your home theater system.

Additionally, it can even cause a malfunction in some instances, where it will be damaged beyond repair. Although not frequent, it could still happen to anyone not using a power manager. If there is a recorded case of high amounts of dirty power in your area, having a power manager/conditioner for your home theater system (and other electronics and devices) is a huge must.

Normal Noise Mode and Dirty Power: Their Connections

When it comes to dirty power, it can also come from the term called normal noise mode. That term means that a low-level AC signal from the audio source travels along with the original AC power signal. As a result of that hitchhiking, the noise produced from that action can be heard throughout your speaker’s output.

The issue also happens when connecting other components to your home theater system without a power manager. Such components may include an amplifier, receiver or set of speakers. You will eventually notice a popping noise or hum when using your home theater system. It can also be heard when opening the lights of your home or when using other plugged-in electronics or devices.

Having a power manager can help solve those issues for a better experience when using your system at home. It will automatically filter out the noise, giving your system a cleaner and better performance (i.e., cleaner sound) when used.

Do Hardcore Audiophiles Hate Power Managers?

You might be surprised to hear about this. Still, some hardcore audiophiles in the music community hate or advocates against the usage of home theater power managers and other similar devices to their audio peripherals. Even though they do agree on the protection provided by power managers, they question the performance boost it gives to the systems and devices connected to it during usage.

A common complaint of those people is that power managers remove some sounds that they shouldn’t remove, such as bass and treble. Due to that issue, they claim that the sound produced from those systems with power managers is dull and lifeless as a result. They even claim that the dynamics that can be heard from an audio source are lost during the process wherein the power manager removes/regulates dirty power.

Which Home Theater Power Managers Do I Recommend
From Old Time Music

Instead, they are promoting the usage of power regenerators instead of power managers. Power regenerators are simply power managers but better, powerful, and more capable than the former. The only huge downside for regenerators is that they are costly, costing more than a manager. However, not all people can afford a regenerator, and that is why managers are still commonly used by the public today.

The solution for overcoming the said problem (according to them anyway) is via the installation of a dedicated, audio equipment-only power outlet in one’s home. By dedicating a separate power outlet from the rest of the appliances in one’s home, they can completely eliminate the noise being produced by dirty power.

No need for a regenerator for this dedicated outlet, as simply connecting it to the system’s amplifier unit or AVR is sufficient enough. However, take note that installing such a line is pretty expensive itself, costing around $200 to $1000 (depending on the installation and the professionals hired for it). Furthermore, even though it is a dedicated line for audio equipment, it lacks the protection a power manager provides. Bandnext is a useful tool for finding and testing out similar music from your audiophile components.

Surge Protectors vs. Power Managers: What’s the Difference?

There is a device called surge protectors that is usually confused for power managers. Do take note that each device is different from the other, even though they have the same purpose. To put it simply, a surge protector is a simple, low-voltage capacity device that protects connected devices from power surges.

However, since it has only a low voltage capacity, it cannot handle sudden large power surges such as a lightning hit. Such an immediate power surge can potentially destroy a surge protector and the devices connected to it.

Meanwhile, most power managers/conditioners are designed to handle both low and high-voltage power surges. They use a technology called Extreme Voltage Shutdown (EVS), where it automatically disconnects any device connected to it in the event of a sudden high-voltage surge. That ensures that your connected devices won’t be damaged or destroyed when that kind of incident happens.

That makes power managers/conditioners a way more complex device than a typical surge protector. It has more features and functions that are engineered to protect devices better than other similar devices.

Some of The Best Power Managers In the Market Today

Now, if you are interested in buying a power manager/conditioner for your own home theater system at home (and other electronics and devices you have), we have compiled a small list of the best-known, four with many power managers/conditioners that you can get in the current market today.

Belkin 12-Outlet Power Strip with Surge Protector

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The first power manager on our compilation list, the Belkin 12-Outlet Power Strip is a perfect choice for home theater system owners who have lots of related components connected to their system. It features 12 power sockets, wherein 8 of the parallel sockets can rotate in their position.

The other 4 sockets are fixed sockets, which are placed on the center of the main body. You can plug in bulky plugs with thick cables to the rotating sockets, while smaller plugs with thinner cables can easily fit in the center sockets without issue.

Do take note that this particular power manager is quite big. Therefore we highly advise those with a smaller home theater system setup (especially with fewer components) to instead look for a smaller one. However, you are still free to get this one if you plan to upgrade your system by getting new additional components in the near future.

Surprisingly enough, for a budget power manager that only costs less than $50 (without shipping + taxes), it features a high-capacity voltage input of 125V. Additionally, it has a tough and long 8-foot main power cable, reducing interference from EMFs (Electric and Magnetic Fields). It also has a wall mount for easy installation on your home’s walls.

The only downside for this manager is that the devices connected to it aren’t individually protected. Another thing is that this power manager design doesn’t include any USB ports, making it behind other, newer power managers. You will still need to rely on your smartphone’s brick charger for charging purposes.

Panamax M8-AV-PRO Home Theater Power Management (Black)

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One of the higher-priced power managers on this list, it is fully loaded for a device under the $200 price range. Panamax is known for its dedicated and premium-designed power managers/conditioners. As mentioned, it comes with premium features and functions. Even though it only has eight power sockets, it instead provides other useful ports and sockets that other electronics and devices can plug into, such as your landline phone and your satellite cable dish receiver.

The eight power sockets it has can handle devices that use a 125V voltage input in its specifications. Aside from that, it also provides four coax/sat sockets for either your TV signal adapter or your cable TV satellite dish receiver. Lastly, it features two Telephone/LAN ports to protect both your landline phone and your modem receiver. This makes the Panamax M8-AV-PRO a jack of all trades when handling various types of devices for protection.

It also features EMF protection for all of its ports, meaning that you don’t need to worry about protecting each device connected to it. Thanks to that, expect your connected devices to receive less dirty power and more cleaner power instead.

The last great feature of this power manager that others usually don’t have is a dedicated warranty. The warranty covers damages from sudden power surges, and the cost of coverage amounts to up to $5 million, which is quite a huge margin of protection. You won’t get this kind of warranty anywhere else but only with Panamax.

APC 6-Outlet Smart Power Strip with Surge Protection

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If you need a power manager with surge protection with USB ports for a budget-friendly price, then the APC 6-Outlet Smart Power Strip is the one for you. This power manager is considered a “smart power manager,” wherein it has advanced features and functions over the regular and “dumb” power managers being sold in the market today.

Why is it called a smart power manager? Well, if you have either an iOS or Android device with Amazon Alexa on it, you can simply control the bottom three power outlets and 2 USB ports via voice commands on the Alexa app. The voice command is a simple activation of those ports, meaning that you can fully cut off the power connection on the devices plugged into those sockets and ports wherever and anytime you want. Just make sure that your Alexa device at home is working properly at home and has sufficient internet connection for it to work (and so does your device with Alexa on it installed).

Aside from the “smart” power sockets and USB ports, it also has a second set of those ports, making the total number of those to 6 power sockets and 4 USB ports. This is very useful if you have a mixture of USB-based and power socket-based devices in your home. It also features a 6-foot power cord wherein the main plug is at a right angle (L-shaped).

Unfortunately, it doesn’t offer EMF protection. However, it is balanced out via a warranty coverage of $150,000 for all kinds of devices that might be damaged while being connected to it if such an incident happens in the near future.

Conclusion

Having a power manager/conditioner for your home theater system (and the other components connected to it) is a must these days, as it brings a lot of benefits in the long run for the user.

Not only does it protect your precious and valuable system and its components from sudden power surges such as high/low-voltage power surge and lightning strikes, but it also cleanses the power being distributed to your devices. Such a feature helps make your connected devices perform better and last longer when it comes to usage.

Moreover, many dedicated power managers for home theater systems nowadays are relatively cheap, as seen on the small compilation list that we have created. And some even offer amazing warranty coverage packages. It won’t hurt your bank account to have long-term protection to your valuable devices that might even cost more than the power managers themselves. You will surely help yourself by saving a lot of money from repairs or even replacements, which can be very costly if you are going to replace the whole system setup.

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