CyberPower CP800AVR in workshop
CyberPower

What to Look For in an Uninterruptible Power Supply

Many smart devices like phones and laptops have built-in battery packs, with phones such as the iPhone 13 Pro Max bordering on two-day battery life and modern laptops packing enough cells to last a whole day. But typical desktop computers, routers, and similar devices still need to be plugged into a power source all the time to work.

That’s where an uninterruptible power supply (UPS) comes in. Its main function is to act as a big battery that powers your devices when your electricity goes out. They range from small units that can sustain a few low-power devices to big house units for entire homes.

Battery capacity (usually denoted by the power rating in watts) should be the number one focus when getting a UPS. A sub-1000W UPS should be good enough for most appliances, but if you have really powerful systems like a gaming rig, you might want to look beyond the 1000W mark.

Once you’ve sorted the capacity, you need to evaluate the devices you’d be connecting to the UPS, specifically their sensitivity to signal fluctuations. Sensitive equipment like some newer LED TVs, CFL light bulbs, and audio equipment perform best on a pure sine wave. In this case, you’d need a UPS with a pure sine wave output. However, most other devices, including laptop computers, cell phone chargers, and any equipment that uses an AC/DC adapter, will usually work fine with a modified sine wave output.

You should also consider the UPS’s ability to protect your appliances. Most options come with built-in surge protection, so you can rest assured that sudden jolts of electricity won’t phase your connected devices.

But just as important is the presence of automatic voltage regulation (AVR) to keep your devices safe from minor power fluctuations throughout the day. The absence of AVR does not necessarily spell doom for your devices, but your UPS will have to kick in battery power more often, resulting in faster wear.

Size is another factor to consider when getting a UPS. More often than not, a higher capacity will translate to a bigger device. But factors like outlets and the presence of additional technologies play a role. That said, a larger device does not necessarily equal more ports.

With these factors in mind, here are our favorite UPSs for every price point and use case.

Best UPS Battery Backup Overall: APC BR1500G Backup Battery

APC surge protector on pink background
APC

Pros

  • Visible backlit LCD
  • Numerous (up to 10) outlets
  • Swappable batteries
  • Option to connect additional batteries
  • Smart vertical orientation minimizes space taken

Cons

  • Lacks USB ports
  • Large and heavy
  • Step approximated sine wave like cheaper options

Our pick for the best UPS overall goes to the APC BR1500G Backup Battery. And it’s no surprise considering it made our best surge protector picks. At 1500VA/865W, it can power most of your devices, including computers, external hard drives, and wireless routers, from a few minutes to several hours, depending on the total connected load. This should give you enough time to wrap up what you’re doing, save your work, and shut down your computer gracefully.

The device has an automatic voltage regulator (AVR) to protect the battery from power fluctuations. It also has a built-in surge protector to safeguard your connected devices from abnormal jolts of electricity.

In terms of size, the APC BR1500G Backup Battery is pretty large. It has five battery backup and surge-protected outlets and another set of five outlets with only surge protection making ten in total. However, there are no USB ports to plug in your phone directly.

There’s also a small backlit LCD that shows plenty of information at a glance. However, you can get even more details by installing the bundled Windows PC power-management software that comes with it.

The APC BR1500G Backup Battery is made even more special by its ability to hook up to an external battery backup to double the power. This could come in handy if you connect more devices or need to power existing appliances for longer. Plus, if the battery runs out, you can replace it easily.

Unfortunately, it makes do with a simulated sine wave rather than a pure sine wave, which will cause sensitive audio/video equipment and satellite systems not to perform optimally. Keep that in mind depending on what you’re looking

Best UPS Overall

APC BR1500G Backup Battery

The APC BR1500G is an excellent battery backup with AVR and surge protection. It allows for easy cell replacement and the ability to add external backups.

Best Budget UPS Battery Backup: APC UPS BE425M Battery Backup

A small UPS unit hooked up to a cable modem and Wi-Fi router.
APC

Pros

  • Small footprint
  • Inexpensive
  • Great for small equipment

Cons

  • No Automatic Voltage Regulation
  • No USB port

If you need a UPS and don’t want to spend a lot, the APC UPS BE425M Battery Backup is for you. Its 425VA/225W power won’t keep your desktop computer running for several minutes after a blackout, but it’s perfect if you have a few smaller devices you need to keep powered up.

The device is small enough to fit on a desk, which is great if you’re limited on space. It has six total surge-protected outlets (of which four are battery-backed). Unfortunately, however, there are no USB ports to directly plug USB-A or USB-C cables into.

Like the APC BR1500G, the BE425M lacks a pure sine wave output. But that shouldn’t be an issue for most devices you’d be plugging into it anyway. The other downside is that there’s also no automatic voltage regulation, so you’ll miss out on being protected from electricity fluctuations.

Best Budget UPS

APC UPS BE425M Battery Backup

An inexpensive UPS with a small footprint. It provides enough power to keep small devices running after a power failure.

Best UPS for Networking: CyberPower CP800AVR UPS System

CyberPower CP800AVR behind TV
CyberPower

Pros

  • Plenty of power for networking gear
  • Automatic Voltage Regulation
  • Widely spaced plugs
  • Can be oriented vertically to conserve space

Cons

  • No USB ports
  • Simulated sine wave

Most laptops have a long enough battery life to last anywhere from a few hours to an entire day. So, if you don’t have a larger, more power-hungry desktop, you only need a smaller UPS battery backup to power your routers and networking gear and keep your internet up in the event of a blackout. And the CyberPower CP800AVR UPS System, rated 800VA/450W, is perfect for just that.

The UPS has four outlets with battery backup and surge protection and an additional four with just surge protection. Four of the outlets are nicely spaced out, so you can easily connect devices with larger plugs. There are no USB ports on this UPS, unfortunately, so the eight A/C outlets if all you’ll get.

There’s automatic voltage regulation to fix minor power fluctuations throughout the day without involving the battery. However, the CP800AVR uses simulated and not a pure sine wave, so don’t plug up expensive A/V equipment to it if you want those to perform at their best.

Best UPS for Networking

CyberPower CP800AVR UPS System

450W provides enough juice to keep routers powered for a really long time. Plus, there's surge protection and AVR at a low cost.

Best Compact UPS Battery Backup: Amazon Basics Standby UPS

Amazon Basics UPS next to computer
Amazon

Pros

  • 12 well-spaced outlets
  • Small footprint
  • Powerful surge protection

Cons

  • No AVR
  • Simulated sine wave output

The Amazon Basics Standby UPS is great for those who want a UPS that’s compact enough to fit in a small space but packing decent enough power for your equipment. It measures 12.2x7x3.14 inches, or about the size and shape of a dictionary lying flat.

Despite its size, the Amazon Basics UPS has 12 outlets, two more than even the larger-sized APC BR1500G. All outlets are surge-protected, while six are connected to the battery. The outlets are decently spaced, with four of them far apart enough to accommodate extra-large plugs.

Rated at 800VA/450W, it has more than enough power output for simple equipment. It should even be enough to power a PC, albeit for a very short time. There’s no AVR protection from power fluctuations, but it uses standby power management to help regulate voltage.

The standby power management should be okay if you don’t have any sensitive equipment, but it will take a toll on the UPS’s battery in the long run. The device, however, does have a solid surge protector to protect your appliances from wild electrical waves.

Best Compact UPS

Amazon Basics Standby UPS

Amazon offers a basic compact UPS with unbeatable dimensions for the power. Plus, it has all the essentials and way more outlets than you know what to do with.

Best UPS for Gaming: CyberPower PR1500LCD UPS System

CyberPower PR1500LCD on pink background
CyberPower

Pros

  • Large capacity
  • AVR
  • Pure sine wave
  • Handy LCD control panel and software

Cons

  • High cost
  • Huge footprint

Gaming setups easily consume hundreds of watts of power, although a powerful rig could surpass the 1000-watt mark. If you’ve got a power-hungry setup, you need a UPS that can take all that brunt without dying as soon as the power shuts off. That’s where the CyberPower PR1500LCD UPS System comes in.

Rated 1500VA/1500W, this CyberPower UPS is perfect for high-power consuming equipment like gaming systems. It easily outlasts options with similar volt-amperes (VA) but less wattage, including those rated 1500VA/1000W or 900W.

Unlike our previous picks, it has eight total outlets, all battery-backed and surge-protected. But the CyberPower PR1500LCD is not just a beast in raw power. It provides a true sine wave output as you’d get from the power grid, making it great for sensitive gear. There’s also support for AVR, which protects your gear from minor fluctuations without having to call in the battery power.

The downside of this is how much all of this makes the unit costs. It’ll set you back more than $500, making it far more expensive than any other option on this list. But if you can look past that, you’ll quickly find it’s worth the cost.

As with most UPS battery backups, more power comes a larger footprint, and the CyberPower PR1500LCD is no exception. When stood up, it’s more than 1.5 times the width of our best overall recommendation, which is not small in and of itself.

But if it’s any consolation, the size has been put to good use, with a handy LCD control panel for monitoring its status. Plus, with the bundled Power Panel Business Edition software, you can easily monitor all the minutiae of the UPS from afar using only a web browser.

Best UPS for Gaming

CyberPower PR1500LCD UPS SystemCyberPower PR1500LCD UPS System

The large 1500W capacity makes it perfect for high-power draw equipment like gaming systems. In addition, it has AVR and surge protection and provides a pure sine wave output.

The Best Surge Protectors of 2022

Best Surge Protector Overall
Tripp Lite TLP1208TELTV Surge Protector
Best Wall Surge Protector (AKA Wall Wart)
LVETEK Surge Protector
Best Surge Protector for Gaming PCs
Furman Power Station 8 (PST-8)
Best Travel Surge Protector
Tripp Lite Portable Surge Protector
Best Battery Backup Surge Protector
APC UPS Battery Backup Surge Protector
Profile Photo for Haroun Adamu Haroun Adamu
Haroun Adamu has been following the tech industry since 2014. He has written hundreds of news stories for Android Police covering Android and ChromeOS. Before his foray into tech, he wrote several sales articles for copywriting agencies. He's also written for automotive sites like HotCars and Vehicle History.
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