Should you be using coaxial surge protectors?

It’s a simple part that goes along your coaxial line and stops power surges. It sounds like a slam dunk, especially since consumer-grade ones are pretty cheap. But is it really something you need to add to your antenna or satellite line?

In general, I tell people that coaxial surge protectors aren’t necessary, and that proper grounding is the way to go in protecting your home from power surges. The lawyers want me to tell you that The Solid Signal Blog or its parent company are in no way responsible for damage to your home regardless of what you do. So there’s that.

Recently, Wilson Electronics (parent of weBoost and WilsonPRO) started recommending that surge protectors be used in their cellular installations. They even include a surge protector on their higher-end products. It’s worth considering, although proper grounding is still a big part of the whole install.

The real issue here

The issue with inline surge protectors is the potential loss they create just by being there. You’re putting in two additional connectors and also the surge protection mechanism itself. This can cause a weak signal to get even weaker, and that’s the last thing you want when you’re dealing with satellite signals. Add to that, most coaxial surge protectors aren’t designed to work with satellite frequencies.

In general I tend to tell people that coaxial surge protectors won’t hurt you for antenna or cell booster lines. In those cases you’re dealing with mostly lower frequencies (although some cellular communication is up at 2150MHz) and you’re also dealing with relatively strong signals. But I don’t recommend them at all for satellite signals because they are not generally tested for the full sweep up to 3.0GHz that satellite TV requires. Without that testing, it’s impossible to know what impact they will have on your signal.

Something else to consider

You may have noticed that there is a really wide swing in prices for coaxial surge protectors. This is due to the amount of surge protection they provide, and also the kind of cable they are intended for. In the case of a properly grounded home setup, it would not normally be necessary to go for the more expensive model.

As I said, I do strongly recommend that you ground any antennas or anything metal that is up on your roof, and do so at least to the minimum standards of your local building codes. This is simple work that can save your home and your life. However, adding a surge protector might just hurt your day-to-day reception. Grounding is a much better solution in most cases.

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About the Author

Stuart Sweet
Stuart Sweet is the editor-in-chief of The Solid Signal Blog and a "master plumber" at Signal Group, LLC. He is the author of over 8,000 articles and longform tutorials including many posted here. Reach him by clicking on "Contact the Editor" at the bottom of this page.