UPS Reviews - Battery Backup for Computer and Electronics

Even the most developed economies and most advanced cities still suffer from power outages every now and then. While some smart home devices come with some form of battery backup there are just as many that become as dumb as a brick when the power goes out. This does not bode well for home automation that may be needed for critical functions such as internet connectivity or security.

Uninterruptible power supplies were developed primarily to keep servers up and running and to allow computer users to save their data before safely shutting down. The good news is that UPS devices can now also be used to keep power on for other devices. If these devices do not use all that much power it can keep them going for hours. For example, I keep my modem and router on a UPS, and when the power goes out the WiFi stays on for hours, hopefully until power is restored.

Here I have collected a list of some of the best selling UPS units. The ones I like the most go at the top. The rest are not ranked.

Best Overall: CyberPower CP1500AVRLCD Intelligent LCD UPS 1500VA Mini-Tower Backup

I was really impressed by the 1000VA unit from CyberPower and I think it is an excellent choice for most mainstream users, but as they say in the car world “there’s no replacement for displacement” or, in this case, battery capacity. This is essentially the same excellent product, but comes equipped with a beefy 1500VA battery that can power an energy-hungry desktop for a few minutes, but network and other low-power equipment for hours – usually enough to get you through the worst of it.

As with other tower units from CyberPower this has that lovely and very functional LCD display on the front that will let you know how much time is left and how much power is being used up at any given time. I can’t overstate how useful this is. Many cheaper units only have some very simplistic indicator lights on the front, giving you little idea of how much longer they will keep going.

Other than having oodles of power, this has all the nice features of its smaller brothers. This is a line-interactive model that will correct brownouts and voltage surges without dipping into the battery.

Like many of the higher-end units this comes with a three-year warranty and has eight outlets, four of which have backup power. Customers are super happy and I would part with my own money in this case without breaking a sweat.

Entry-Level Pick: APC BE550G Back-UPS 550VA 8-outlet Uninterruptible Power Supply

This UPS from APC certainly lacks the polished looks of the CyberPower units. It does have a low price, but at 550VA you won’t get much time out of heavy-draw devices. If you use this to power your router and other low-power network gear such as WiFi cameras, you’ll get a few hours out of it. And of course at this price there is nothing stopping you from more than one of these.

This UPS comes with a total of eight outlets, four of which have battery backup and all of which are surge-protected.

This is an Energy Star unit and also RoHS compliant, so you can let your environmental guilt subside. It even uses recycled material in its construction.

The UPS is covered by a three-year warranty that is quite long for any device that is mainly made of batteries.

Based on the feedback from people that have bought this UPS I think it looks like a great entry-level solution for anyone who only wants to have core UPS functionality.

CyberPower CP1000PFCLCD Sine Wave Battery UPS System

This very handsome mini-tower UPS from Cyberpower is designed to not only work with computers, but to keep network and AV equipment going in case of a blackout. In fact, it is designed to also protect this type of equipment from power surges.

This beefy 600W unit has an impressive 10 outlets. Five of these are connected to battery backup with surge protection and the other five have only surge protection. If you place this UPS with the core equipment that your home automation system runs on you can keep things going through power hiccups.

How much time you are given will of course depend on how power-hungry the equipment is. Handily, the LCD readout on the front of the unit provides you with the amount of time left.

This is a 1000VA unit, but of course if you need more you can go up all the way to 1500VA.This looks like a very solid choice with pure sine wave output, active PFC support, and a great information output – I like it very much. There are also ample software controlled options so that you can customize how the UPS acts and manage your backups.

All in all, I think this is a good choice, especially at its more than reasonable price.

APC BR1500G Pro for Computer Systems and Electronics

This is one of the bigger boys that I had a look at and the price reflects the higher specification in an almost linear way. In other words, this costs more by about the amount I expect given the price of smaller-capacity UPS devices. This unit from APC also has a tower design such as we see from CyberPower, but I think CyberPower definitely edges them out when it comes to the look of the thing. Despite not being particularly cheap, the APC manages to look like it.

This UPS has ten outlets, half with battery power and all with surge protection, so you can protect quite a few of your delicate home automation devices with it.

Like the CyberPower, this UPS power supply has active PFC support such as found in higher-end computer power supplies. It also has automatic voltage regulation, which seems like such a universal feature these days that I wonder if it is worth mentioning in the marketing material at all.

The APC comes with a three-year warranty, which is really excellent for a battery-based device and, most interestingly, you can buy an optional battery pack that will extend the amount of time you can get during an outage. Very useful if you live in a place where you know the power goes out often.

It’s also always welcome to have the LCD display on the front so that I have an idea of how much juice is being sucked up and how fast it is being used. I have also spotted the fact that the power-outage alarm can be silenced with the touch of a button. To me that is a big deal, since lots of UPS devices can only have their alarms silenced through software, and for our purposes we may never in fact connect them to a computer. In the past I have actually been forced to cut speakers out of a UPS, so this sensible feature is greatly appreciated.

There is one fairly big problem though. This is not a pure sine-wave generating unit. So it is incompatible with many newer computer power supplies. If you also want to run a computer off it then make sure your PSU will work with the UPS. Other than that you may definitely want to look into the battery expansion option for longer outages.

Overall this is a strong entry from APC.

Tripp Lite 1500VA Home UPS Battery Backup Review

This UPS is still sort of a tower-ish design, but fatter and more squatty. So if you were planning to squeeze it into a vertical space this may be too wide for that purpose. On the flipside, these may stack quite well.

According to the Tripp marketing material this UPS provides “network-grade voltage regulation”. I don’t know what that means exactly, but I guess Tripp is saying network equipment is safe hooked up to this UPS. Honestly, I have never had any issues with network equipment on any UPS, so I figure it doesn’t really matter.

There are 10 outlets, in line with other units of the same type and price. It also has a pretty nice LCD display, which I have now decided is non-negotiable in bigger a UPS. This unit produces PWM sine wave AC power, so make sure any computer power supplies you want to use will work with it. The Tripp also comes with an excellent 3-year warranty and I can’t see any reason to avoid it on paper. On the other hand, nothing differentiates it from anyone else, so it looks like a coin flip.

Back It Right Up

I haven’t bought a UPS in a while and I have to say I’m pretty impressed by how user-friendly they have become. The LCD screen, proper button controls, and lots of outlets means this is a great time to buy some backup power. The prices have also become quite reasonable for higher-capacity units.

The only thing you need to do is work out how much power your intended devices draw and then pick a capacity that will run them for long enough. Luckily a quick trip to Google will reveal a ton of online calculators that you can use to determine how long a given UPS will run the wattage load of your devices.

It’s also clear that one UPS is not going to be enough if you have devices distributed across your home. There may be cameras in a remote part of the house that need power, for example. It may therefore be better to have several smaller UPS units all over the place rather than a central supply with extension wires.

You also have to think about whether the place that you live has short blackouts where you only have to keep things going for a little while or if your interruptions are more extensive. Either way, it’s worth both protecting your home automation stuff against electrical damage and keeping it from being switched off without warning. It will make it all last longer and prevent irritating situations where things have to be set up again or manually booted up. So pick up a UPS today; you’ll be glad that you did.