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What is the best way to protect a computer desktop from a power surge/dirty power? Would a power strip be adequate? (I don't have much space in my desk.)

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Get a UPS with voltage regulation. The market is sort of segmented into three parts:

  1. Offline / Standby
    Offers only the most basic features, providing surge protection and battery backup. Switches over to battery only when it detects power loss.

  2. Line-interactive
    Similar to above, but with more dynamic detection of problems with incoming power -- not just outages, but other issues like sags, brownouts, surges, etc.

  3. Double-conversion
    The PC is never directly connected to the power grid, only to the battery. Most complex and expensive, but "perfect" power all the time.

At the low end you have what are really just battery backups, they will kick in if utility power goes, but don't do any power conditioning. At the high end you have 'true' UPS models where the output is always coming from the inverter. The mid range is where I tend to buy, they monitor the utility power, will cut over to the battery if there is a surge or sag. Look for 'voltage regulation' in the features. Some models are fairly compact.

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+ 1 Pointing out differences in UPSs. – Dave M Mar 28 '11 at 14:32

add a small, tiny UPS to the chain of power. It should help enormously.

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best protection can be provided by a good ups which have built in surge protection. But if you have already a ups without this protection then a power strip with surge protector circuitry will be ok.

if you have crt monitor do not connect it to ups.

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