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Surge Arrester Types

Surge Arrester Types

Surge Arrester Types

The terminologies surge arrester and lightning arrester often confuse even the experts. While both surge and lightning arresters protect your electrical appliances from accidents, there is little difference between them. 

This article discusses surge arresters, their types, and how they differ from lightning arresters. 

What is Surge Arrester?

What is Surge Arrester

Surge arresters prevent damage to electrical devices due to high-voltage transients produced by internal or external activities. A surge arrester’s primary function is to protect from high voltages by discharging surge currents.

What are the different types of surge arresters?

On the basis of rating of voltage levels, protecting ability, and stability in pressure support, the surge arresters are classified into the following types:  

1.) Distribution arresters

Distribution arresters have less energy-discharging ability and provide minimal surge protection. Therefore, this arrester is primarily employed in medium voltage network types.

2.) Station arresters

These arresters provide better protection showing minimal discharging voltage levels, more energy absorption and high-pressure relief. 

The important applications of station arresters include strong surges and huge substations.

3.) Intermediate arresters 

As the name suggests, Intermediate arresters possess medium-level protecting capabilities and medium energy discharging capacity. 

What is the working principle of a surge arrester?

When the voltage received by the electrical devices is higher than the fixed voltage, they may blow up or get damaged. That is why a surge arrester protects these devices from damage, ensuring that high voltages do not travel through the electrical system. 

The surge arrester diverts the extra voltage into the earth wire, inhibiting the flow through electronic devices and simultaneously allowing the normal voltage to continue along its path.  

Surge arrester and Lightning arrester

difference between surge arrester and lighting arrester

Lightning arresters are devices installed to shield power lines and homes from dangerous power surges. They protect various electrical equipment and systems from high voltage surges caused by lightning strikes and their effects.

The table below distinguishes surge and lightning arresters. 

Surge Arresters 

Lightning arresters 

Protect various electrical appliances within the home 

Protects the electrical appliances outside the home 

Installed in the main panel board  

Installed in the outside panel board 

Interrupt the surges & divert the surplus energy to the ground 

Redirect the flow of electricity directly to the ground 

Its various types include low-voltage, distribution, neutral protection, fiber tube, network, signal, direct current, stations, etc.

The various types include metal oxide, electrolyte, multi-gap, horn, sphere, and rod.

Can be used only as a surge arrester 

Can also be used as a surge arrester 


Surge arresters and lightning arresters play a crucial role in protecting your electrical appliances. The difference lies in how they function. 

Visit us at Laxmi Associates if you wish to learn more about surge arresters and electrical appliance protection.

You can gain a better understanding of it by reading about the “Surge Arrester Working Principle” as well.