A surge protector will help safeguard your electronic devices against sudden and often unexpected increases in voltage. The increases in voltage can be caused by lightning, stormy weather, power outages and overloaded outlets. The surge protector will detect the excess voltage and and diverts the extra electricity into the grounding wire therefore saving your devices from damage.
A powerboard is essentially an extension cord that you a plug multiple devices in to but it does not offer any protection. Many surge protectors come in the same shape as a powerboard but will help to prevent power surges from damaging connected devices.
Ideally all high end electronic equipment needs a surge protector.
Computer/Home office - Your computer has many voltage sensitive parts that are easily damaged by a power surge. As computers are now part of our day to day lives and often hold lots of data and photos it important to protect them. If you have a home office with multiple devices then buy a 4 way or 8 way surge protector so you can plug in all your devices.
TV/Speakers/Home theatre/Laptop/PC/Washing Machine/Mobile Phone - a surge protector will protect your devices from unwanted electrical surges which could damage your precious device.
Buy the right number of ports for the room and number of devices that will be permanently plugged in.
Consider what you will be plugging in. A home office or TV & home theatre set-up may require a more robust surge protector than a single item. You can also protect devices charged via USB from electrical surge, using a surge protector with USB ports.
Check the surge protectors absorption rating which is measured in joules. The rule of thumb is the higher the better.
Check the warranty as this varies between brands.