‘Hey, Google, save me electricity’

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Merkury Innovations’ Geeni Surge surge protector is touted as being the first smart surge-protecting power strip that’s compatible with Google Assistant, so you can turn on and off each device that’s plugged into the outlets of the power strip. That seems notable to us.

“The main advantage here in my book would be the remote- control function, although I’ve seen other surge protectors with remote controls,” says Bill Kelly, who specializes in writing about energy and the environment and is a regular contributor to Consumers Digest. “A surge protector with smart switches would make it easier for consumers to turn off power to devices than crawling under furniture to do so.”

This is an important feature, given the increasing number of household devices that draw electricity in a standby mode while they’re turned off. These so-called energy vampires include TVs, video-game consoles, DVRs and cellphone chargers.

Kelly has this general caveat regarding the value of smart surge-protecting power strips: “Equipping a house with these would seemingly cost a fair amount, and savings on power would take a long time to pay back,” depending on the devices that you plug into the power strip.

The Geeni Surge is $40.

“I also understand that surge protectors must be periodically replaced to provide ongoing protection,” Kelly adds. “Even the centralized surge protectors for whole-house application need periodic service.”