Too much electric current can destroy any electronic if it hits it. Computers, routers, printers, and other similar items are especially vulnerable to this due to the electronic boards inside them. During lightning season, this is especially important. This is the main reason to use surge protectors for all of these types of electronics. The purpose of the surge protector is to stop that surge from reaching your components.
Surge protectors have a fuse inside that will break the connection to the connected devices if it is too powerful. That means you only have to replace the surge protector and not all of the devices connected to it. This is great since most surge protectors are less than $100 and most devices connected to them are many times more expensive.
There is also another benefit to surge protectors. Some come with a certain amount of insurance for the items connected to the surge if it fails to protect them. To find one with this insurance you can look on the packaging or google “surge protector with insurance” I found an APC model on Amazon that has 11 outlets on it and offers $250,000 in insurance for connected devices and it only cost $42.99. Make sure you read all of the fine print, but this is just another reason to always make sure you use a surge protector. Yes, your homeowner’s or renter’s policy would probably cover this as well, but these policies also have a deductible that you must pay.
Most people do have a surge protector on their desktop computers since they never move them, and they are always plugged in. But people often forget to plug their laptops into a surge protector since they normally take it with them. Many people just connect it to the nearest outlet. If you carry your laptop around and you are in the habit of just plugging it straight into the wall, consider getting a small surge protector and keeping it in your bag with your laptop. It could save you a very big expensive headache.
Another great idea is to unplug all devices if there is a nearby electrical storm. Even though the surge should protect your components, why should you take that chance if there is a high potential for a surge in the area. If you are going on vacation and will be away for a week or longer why not unplug all components also. It only takes a minute and might save you from the hassle of replacing things when you get back.