Always use a quality surge protector with your valuable electronics.
Even when lightning is not occurring in your area, surges can spike in your powerline and cause damage or outright destruction to electrical equipment such as computers, printers, and other peripheral devices. A surge protector will prevent this from happening in most cases. But, it’s good to remember that surge protectors can wear out over time and you may need to replace them on occasion, especially if you know your house has been struck or you notice other electronic devices not plugged into a surge protector are not working any more.
Power conditioners are also important, especially for those with older homes that might not have the best electricity. Power conditioners basically take the incoming voltage and “normalise” it to the standard voltage that all of your devices are expecting. So, if your power isfluctuating between 122 and 118 volts, the power conditioner will take this fluctuating input and only output a steady 120 volts. For sensitive electronics (like computers), voltage fluctuations or spikes can slowly (or sometimes quickly) cause your components undue strain which will cause them to fail more quickly. For certain computer use, like music production, voltage fluctuations can cause sound interference and distortions. A clean and steady voltage ensures that your system is running optimally.
If you purchase a surge protector, make sure that the Watt rating exceeds your needs. For the typical user with a desktop computer and a printer, any surge protector rated at 1000W or above will be fine. If you have lots of devices or simply want a better estimate of you needs, you can add up all of the wattages of the devices you plan to plug into the surge protector. This information can usually be found on the back/bottom of devices or sometimes on a tag attached to the plug or on an AC adaptor (like those used by laptops).
One last note: Make sure to purchase quality surge protectors and power conditioners (ie name brand). You don’t want to risk your computer frying because you tried to save a few bucks by opting for a Chinese knockoff.