When is it worth it to buy a surge strip with ethernet protection? If so, which model is best?
Any useful recommendation will first say what it does. A protector adjacent to an appliance must either block or absorb a surge. The numbers.
A typically destructive surge (lightning is only one example) can be hundreds of thousands of joules. How many joules does that recommended protector absorb? Hundreds? Thousand? That is a near zero protector.
How does an internal protector part block what three miles of sky could not? It doesn't. Another damning number.
Facilities that cannot have damage do not use near zero protectors for a long list of reasons (including fire). Instead, a superior solution (proven by over 100 years of science and experience) means a surge is earthed BEFORE entering a building. Protection is always about an answer to this question. Where do hundreds of thousands of joules harmlessly dissipate?
A homeowner can install the proven 'whole house' solution for about $1 per protected appliance. Only then does a surge dissipate harmlessly outside a building using same principles demonstrated by Franklin in 1752. Protection is always about where energy dissipates.
Effectve protectors are provided by other companies with integrity including ABB, Siemens, Polyphaser (an industry benchmark), Syscom, General Electric, Keison, Intermatic, Ditek, and Leviton. A Cutler-Hammer solution is available in Lowes and Home Depot. In every case, the proven solution has one critically important characteristic not found in ineffective protectors: a dedicated wire for the low impedance (ie 'less than 10 foot') connection to single point earth ground.
Franklin demonstrated this. Lightning struck wooden church steeples to electrically connect to earth. Since wood is an electrical conductor (but not a very good one), then 20,000 amps created a high voltage. 20,000 amps times a high voltage is high energy. Church steeple damage.
Franklin simply connected lightning to earth on a more conductive (non-destructive) path. Then 20,000 amps created a near zero voltage. 20,000 amps times a near zero voltage is near zero energy. No damage.
In every case, protectors or lightning rods only connect to what actually does protection - earth ground. The above 'whole house' protector does for appliances what Franklin's lightning rods do for structures. Connect energy to what harmlessly absorbs it. Protection is never about a protector. Protection is always about the earth ground.
Protectors do not do protection. Effective protector connect to what does the protection - single point earth ground.
Those Belkin, et al protectors have no earth ground; will not even discuss it. A 'whole house' solution features a low impedance (ie 'less than 10 foot') connection to earth. That same solution for homes (at about $1 per protected appliance) is the only solution also found in facilities that cannot have damage. Then superior protection already inside every appliance is not overwhelmed. Protection is always about where energy harmlessly dissipates.
BTW, all ehternet ports already have robust protection typically rated at 2000 volts. Your concern is a rare and destructive transient that can overwhelm that existing protection. A surge not inside a building will not overwhelm that existing and robust protection.