Power strips are an affordable multi-outlet product that can be used around the home when your number of devices begin to increase. Although they are a great way to organize and add more outlets to your home, they lack extra protection against power spikes. These power spikes will cause significant damage to your devices, and if severe enough, could start a fire in your home.
Surge protectors are able to prevent damage by redirecting the current from one outlet so that all devices receive consistent power. This level of protection is measured in Joules, so the higher the Joule count, the more ability your surge protector has to absorb energy before failing.
It is recommended to use surge protectors on newer devices that have smaller components that make them more sensitive to power spikes. Although surge protectors are safer than power strips, you still want to avoid plugging in air conditioners and space heaters. These appliances should always be directly plugged into an outlet on a wall.
*Information from this article was gathered from How-to-Geek