PDU vs. Power Strip. What's the Difference and Why You Should Know.

March 15, 2019

Almost every Information and Communications Technologies (ICT) equipment rack used to support and protect storage, compute or network equipment requires a rack-mount power distribution unit (PDU) or power strip to distribute power to equipment. If you're evaluating this type of technology for your data center, an important first step before selection is understanding the difference between a PDU and a power strip. 

What is the Difference Between a PDU and a Power Strip?

At the rack level, the terms PDU and power strip may be used interchangeably. Each manufacturer has a specific product category name: PDU, power strip, Rack Distribution Unit (RDU), Cabinet Distribution Unit (CDU), etc. Within the CPI product line, power strips are lower voltage, with minimal features. 

CPI power strips include optional surge protection against voltage spikes, which is advised when connecting directly to utility power, a typical requirement in premise equipment rooms. CPI PDUs are higher voltage, with more features. 

CPI eConnect® PDUs have robust remote monitoring and control capabilities, which are advised when connecting to conditioned power, and typical in purpose-built data centers and computer rooms.

Regardless of slight differences in categorization and product branding, the basics of selecting a PDU or power strip are universal. PDUs and power strips have a power delivery function, decided by input plug, breakers and outlets; and a monitoring function decided by the metering or remote monitoring capabilities. 

Why Select a CPI PDU or Power Strip?

CPI has more than 300 standard PDU and power strip models encompassing all functionality levels, form factors and electrical configurations. CPI also provides custom configurations in case standard configurations do not meet all your needs. You can order a cabinet with PDUs and all accessories preinstalled or kitted to match your site requirements. 

To learn more about considerations when selecting a PDU or power strip, read a selection guide or watch the video below. 


Chatsworth Products eConnect® PDU: Simplifying Data Center White Space Management
Chatsworth Products' (CPI) eConnect® Power Distribution Units (PDUs) provide the ultimate solution for combining cabinet-level power management, environmental monitoring and electronic access control in multi-tenant and enterprise data centers.

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