Smartwatches are a tricky business. Stick too much battery in them, and they become uncomfortable and bulky. But if you go too small, it won’t hold a charge long enough, and it becomes a frustrating thing to own. Garmin’s answer to the problem seems so obvious you might wonder why it wasn’t the first solution—solar power.
12 outlets with 6 linked to battery backup as well as surge protection
AVR buffering with Power Panel Management Software
Multi-function color LCD screen with up to 17-degrees of tilt for easy reading
The CyberPower CP1500 has a 1,000-Watt load capacity as well as 12 outlets. Of those outlets, 6 are reserved for battery backup with surge protection and the remaining 6 are surge protection only. This gives you the ability to make sure essential devices are powered in an outage, without having to worry about losing runtime to powering non-essential devices.
The CyberPower CP1500 a multi-function color LCD panel with the ability to tile it up to 17-degrees. This makes it easier to read if you want to keep the tower down low or in a hard to reach area. This UPS also comes with CyberPower’s Power Panel Management software which you can connect to a PC to help manage the system at a glance.
Amazon’s concerted push to make its presence known in the consumer electronics market includes a wide range of devices designed to cater to various needs. The Amazon Basics Standby has a 450-Watt load capacity which caters more to homes and single office workstations.
Yet it still does have an impressive 12 outlets with six directly connected to the battery backup and the remaining 6 are connected to just an internal surge protector. Technically it doesn’t have a traditional AVR, but the battery backup outlets do help buffer connected devices against abnormalities in the current coming from the grid. If you like, there is a free downloadable power management software available, and you can connect to the UPS via a USB port.
The bXterra 3000VA UPS SP3000LCDRT2U Smart Sine Wave UPS was designed to support small to medium size server rooms or larger office settings. It has a 27,000-Watt load capacity and 6 NEMA 5-20R as well as 1 NEMA 5-30R outlet, it has robust specs to support small to medium-size server rooms.
This UPS has pure sine wave line interactive topology as well as AVR (Automatic Voltage Regulation) to help protect connected devices from abnormalities that can occur during a brownout or surge. It’s also Energy Star certified. The batteries are hot-swappable. So if you purchase additional replacement batteries you can interchange them for added runtime in the event of a power outage that occurs when you are in the middle of a complicated process.
The bXterra 3000VA UPS SP3000LCDRT2U also comes with special “Power Frame” software which includes remote access features. This means you can still access the system if a power outage occurs when you or your IT staff are away from the facility.
How We Picked
These days making sure that your essential appliances and electronic devices receive consistent power is more important than ever. While a complete power outage is certainly a cause for concern, even a brownout or a momentary power surge can still damage electronics and lead to a loss of critical data.
Connecting your computer and other essential electronics to an uninterrupted power supply with built-in surge protection is a relatively inexpensive way to preserve high-value electronics. More commonly referred to as a UPS, these sophisticated devices pay for themselves with peace of mind.
Of course, there are a few things that go into finding the best-uninterrupted power supply for your home or office. Throughout the review process, we tried to keep our eyes out for key features and thoughtful engineering.
Most of the best UPS systems use Watts as the unit of measure. To determine the capacity you need, you will have to check the wattage rating of each device you want to connect. You can find this in the owner’s manual or stamped into the back or bottom.
For our review process, we tried to target UPS systems that had at least an 800 Watt load capacity. This should be enough to let you safely power down a typical home or small office during a power outage. Though we did make sure to include a few lower wattage budget models that you might want to place in a child’s bedroom. Some units are designed to handle more than just a single office, with the wattage requirements and sophisticated software to support a server room or similar IT environment.
Automatic Voltage Regulation is increasingly popular for protecting today’s sophisticated, yet often sensitive electronic devices. A brownout or a power surge that manages to make it from the external power grid to a plugged-in laptop, or server could cause severe damage as well as potential data loss.
AVR essentially acts as a buffer against these problems. We tried to look for it, or something similar in the UPS systems we reviewed.
Connectivity And Management Software
A lot of the best UPS systems on the market today have some type of management software. This lets you check the status of your system at a glance, or make any necessary alterations. Remote access via a cloud-enabled system was also something we tried to keep an eye out for when it comes to units with a higher price tag.
PowerChute software with energy management features
Auto shutdown software
The APC BR1500 G was designed to handle up to 865 watts and was engineered with AVR. It has a total of 10 outlets, but only five of them are directly connected to the battery backup and surge protector. The other 5 are only surge protector outlets. This lets you connect your essential electronics without worrying about non-essential devices draining the power. It also has data line surge protection ports on the back.
The batteries are “User Replaceable” meaning that you can replace them yourself without worrying about voiding the 3-year warranty that comes included in the purchase.
They are also hot-swappable, which means you can exchange spent batteries with replacements without interrupting the power flow to your essential electronics.
There’s an LCD that lets you monitor the system status. The APC BR1500 G comes with automatic shutdown software as well as “PowerChute” energy management features that can be linked to a laptop.
What We Liked
The fact that you can replace the hot-swappable batteries yourself without voiding the 3-year 150,000 warranty coverage is a definite feather in the APC BR1500 G’s cap. Though you will have to purchase the replacement batteries separately.
This is a great UPS for a professional or home office, though it could also play an important role in protecting a home theatre system.
Tripp Lite SMART1500LCDT 1500VA 900W UPS Battery Back-Up
10 outlets (5 with battery backup and surge protection)
3-year warranty with $250,000 insurance
LCD status display screen
USB ports to connect to a PC
Sine wave output
The Tripp Lite SMART1500LCDT was designed to support a professional or home office, with up to 10 outlets. Five of which are connected to the 900-Watt internal battery backup with surge protection, while the other five are connected just to the surge protector. Tripp Lite notes that this system can power an average PC with a runtime of up to 90-minutes.
With the TEL/DSL/Ethernet protection, it allows you to connect essential devices like a router, computer tower, desktop monitor and printer during a power outage. It also comes with AVR to help buffer the system against surges, and brownouts.
The Tripp Lite SMART1500LCDT also has management software built-in. You can control it with the LCD status display screen or if you prefer there are USB ports that allow you advanced control by connecting to a PC.
What We Liked
The three-year warranty itself is on par with industry standards, however, the $250,000 insurance coverage is above par. You also shouldn’t overlook the sine wave output which reduces the risk of damage for certain AC motor appliances like a refrigerator or a microwave.
The 900-Watt capacity, AVR, and warranty coverage tick all the necessary boxes to make the Tripp Lite SMART1500LCDT one of the best UPS systems on the market. If there’s an area where it might be lacking, it’s that the batteries aren’t hot-swappable. Meaning you only really have the charge that’s in them to save data or run your entertainment equipment.
CyberPower CP1500PFCLCD Mini Tower
12 outlets with 6 being surge only
Multi-function color LCD with tilt
Power panel management software
3-year warranty with $500,000 insurance coverage
Power panel management software with dual USB ports
The CyberPower CP1500 was thoughtfully designed to be easy to use. With a 1,000 Watt capacity and 12 outlets, with 6 reserved for surge protection only, it gives you the ability to power multiple essential devices.
It also has AVR or automatic voltage regulation, which helps protect devices from brownouts and unforeseen power surges.
There is a multi-function color LCD panel that tilts up to 17-degrees. It also has CyberPower’s Power Panel Management software which you can control via the display screen, or you can connect a PC via one of the two USB ports.
The CyberPower CP1500 comes with a standard three-year warranty as well as an impressive $500,000 of insurance for connected devices.
What We Liked
On paper, the 17-degree tilt on the color LCD might not seem all that impressive. Still, when you consider that most people place their UPS down on the floor or some other out-of-the-way place, it spares you having to stoop over at awkward angles just to see what’s going on.
The 12 outlets with 6 having battery backup and surge protection are also 2 to 4 more than a lot of the direct competitors with similar characteristics and prices.
The CyberPower CP1500 is a great UPS for the money. It has the nuts and bolts functions you want like AVR and power management software. The easy-to-read color LCD with a tilted face is something you might come to appreciate more than you think.
In recent years Amazon has been making a conscious push to expand into the world of consumer electronics. With a 450 Watt load capacity, the UPS – 800 VA was designed to cater to homes and offices with a slightly lower wattage need.
Though it still does have 12 outlets. Six of which are directly connected to the battery backup as well as a surge protector and another 6 are connected to just an internal surge protector. It’s worth noting that in this configuration there isn’t any sort of traditional AVR. However, the six outlets that are connected to the battery backup will still be regulated against abnormalities in the incoming AC.
It’s also worth noting that the Amazon Basics UPS – 800 VA produces a simulated sine wave in the current provided by the battery backup. This means it’s not a good option for certain electronics that have an AC motor. Essentially, you can hook up your TV or desktop monitor without concern, but it’s not a good idea for a minifridge with an AC compressor.
There’s also free downloadable power management software. You can then connect a PC to the UPS via a USB port.
What We Liked
You can’t argue with the price of this bargain UPS system. The number of outlets on such a relatively small UPS device is also impressive.
There aren’t a lot of sophisticated features with this budget UPS system. Still, it has what you need to keep a computer or the basic electronics in a child’s bedroom operating long enough to safely power down in an outage.
bXterra 3000VA UPS SP3000LCDRT2U Smart Sine Wave UPS
6 NEMA 5-20R outlets
1 NEMA 5-30R outlet
Pure sine wave with line interactive topology
Power Frame software with remote access feature
Energy Star certified UPS
Rotating LCD screen
3-year warranty with $350,000 insurance coverage
The bXterra 3000VA UPS SP3000LCDRT2U Smart Sine Wave UPS is a full step up from the smaller UPS systems on the market. With it’s 27,000-Watt load capacity and 6 NEMA 5-20R as well as 1 NEMA 5-30R outlet, it has the robust specs to support small to medium-size server rooms.
It has pure sine wave line interactive topology with automatic voltage regulation. This gives it the ability buffer to protect your sensitive electronics from surge and brownout events that affect the power grid or your building’s internal wiring.
The bXterra 3000VA UPS SP3000LCDRT2U Smart Sine Wave UPS is Energy Star certified and has hot-swappable batteries. This means if you have charged replacement batteries on hand that you can extend the overall runtime of the system for times when you might need to complete an important task or you need more time shutting the system down safely.
This system also has power frame software with remote access features. Even if you are not at the building during a power outage you can manage the system via a laptop or other wireless device.
What We Liked
The pure sine wave line interactive topology with 2,700-Watt load capacity and AVR is what you want to see for supporting a NAS box or other small data station.
You also have to like the Power Frame Software with remote access for managing a power outage when you might happen to be away from the facility.
This a great UPS system for a small server room or a NAS box with other attached network devices. The Energy Star certification is also a nice touch. You can even invest in replacement batteries for a hot-swap to make sure the system can still operate if a power outage occurs while you are doing something like installing software updates.
APC Smart Ups Pure Sinewave UPS Battery Backup
Power Chute Software
Cloud-enabled with secure web portal
6 primary outlets
On the face of it, the Smart-UPS SMT3000C has a lot of the physical engineering you want to see in a UPS that’s designed to support a small to medium size server environment.
It’s also cloud-enabled for remote access through a secure encrypted web portal. To use it, you simply connect the UPS to your router via an ethernet connection, then you register it and the Power Chute software helps guide you through the process.
It has six primary outlets and AVR to help regulate AC power and prevent damage from surges or brownout events. It has an automatic green mode that monitors and manages the system for peak performance.
What We Liked
The Cloud enabled connectivity with secure remote access is very nice for times when there might be a power outage or another system fault that needs your attention, but you are away from the building. The intuitive interface and superior technical support offered by APC also makes it easy to maintain your network, even if you don’t have a dedicated on-site IT staff.
The APC Smart Ups Pure Sinewave UPS Battery Backup has all the nuts and bolts you want to see in a UPS system to support your IT environment. The software is easy to use and offers you secure, remote access.
If there’s a complaint here, it’s that the price tag is a little bit on the high side. This is likely due to APC assuming that companies without an IT staff will be recruiting support from APC’s tech support. If you already have a reliable IT staff on-site, you could save money by looking at a lower-priced competitor.
The OPTI DS1500B is a double conversion UPS that can convert the current from AC to DC and then back from DC to AC. This has the net effect of making it more energy-efficient, as well as versatile. Though it does require the internal cooling fan to run frequently.
The double conversion engineering is designed to isolate the outside environment by efficiently converting power from AC to DC. This same current can then be converted back to AC. This works to buffer surges and brownouts that can influence the grid, to keep them from damaging your sensitive electronics. The three robust internal batteries provide uninterrupted power.
There is a suite of software that you can install which will provide you with secure remote access. It can also be set up to shut down a Windows server unattended. OPTI also offers a 2-year warranty with this the DS1500B.
What We Liked
The double conversion topology is a nice way to replicate AVR, without compromising energy efficiency. The suite of software that can also be set up to shut down a Windows server unattended is also a nice touch.
The OPTI-UPS DS1500B is arguably set up to support a server environment of a small office NAS box, rather than say a home theater system. Taken in that light, it has pretty much all the hardware and software features you need, at a price that outstrips the competition.
Unfortunately, the double conversion topology also means the internal fan will run nearly continuously. So, it’s best to give it its environment where you don’t have to deal with the soft, white noise all day long.
12 outlets 6 battery backup, and 6 surge protector
3 Eco mode outlets
USB communication port
The CyberPower EC850LCD was designed to support the backup power needs of a single desktop computer, a work station or a modest-sized home theater.
It’s rated for 510 Watts and includes 12 total outlets. Of them, 6 are connected to the battery backup and the internal surge protector. Of the 6 remaining outlets, all of them are surge protector only, with three being on the Eco outlets, which shut down power when a device goes to sleep or is turned off.
There is a small LCD panel that lets you monitor the UPS at a glance. Though there’s also a USB communication port, which lets you connect to a laptop, which could be handy if you want to tuck the CyberPower EC850LCD out of sight.
There’s also a 3-year warranty with $100,000 insurance. This is pretty impressive for such a small and inexpensive UPS.
What We Liked
The CyberPower EC850LCD’s low price tag combined with a variety of outlets let you connect a lot of low wattage devices. The three Eco ports are also a nice touch for devices that turn off automatically or go to sleep like a digital picture frame.
You’re not going to keep a whole office powered up for more than a few minutes with this 510-Watt UPS. Still, it has the load capacity to let you power down a single computer station or home theater in the event of a sudden power outage. At such a low price point, you’re probably also going to buy the CyberPower EC850LCD as much for being a surge protector as a battery backup system.
Right off the bat, the temptation is to assume that an uninterrupted power supply system is only necessary for power outages. Sure, they are an absolute life-saver for a short-to-mid-term blackout. However, that’s not the only time you might consider yourself blessed to have a UPS in your home or office.
On the face of it, an uninterrupted power supply is a sophisticated battery backup system that is designed to power your essential electronics during a power outage. They play a critical role in preventing data loss or the potential hardware stress that can sometimes occur during a hard shutdown.
At the same time, a quality UPS also acts as a surge protector. This can be especially handy if a local power surge affects your area, which can cause short-term damage or reduce an electronic device’s long-term lifespan.
Beyond surges and total blackouts, there are a few other scenarios where a UPS can come in handy. Especially, if for powering essential office electronics to maintain the normal flow of operations. This includes things like:
A Brownout is where there is a prolonged drop in voltage. Some brownouts are related to weather, though with our aging electrical infrastructure it could be a failure in part of the electrical grid. Sometimes a brownout is an early warning sign of a blackout. Being able to keep essential electronics powered up can help you prepare for total power loss. Especially if you need to do things like backup crucial data.
A Voltage Sag is like a miniature brownout. The problem here is that they sometimes occur in a short series, which can potentially damage certain types of electrical equipment.
An Over Voltage Event is like a mini-surge that lasts longer than normal and can damage sensitive electronics. A UPS with a sophisticated surge protection feature helps buffer the voltage to keep electronic devices safe.
Line Noise can disrupt or potentially degrade the performance of a circuit.
Frequency Variation can be a problem if you are running off a generator and the power frequency fluctuates. Here again, the UPS acts as a buffer to maintain a consistent frequency level.
Different Topologies Of UPS System
At first glance, UPS systems pretty much all do the same thing. They act as a battery backup as well as a buffer against surges and other electrical events that might otherwise travel from the grid to your sensitive electronic devices.
However, different “Topologies” or types of UPS are engineered with features that cater better to specific needs.
A Standby UPS – Sometimes referred to as an Offline UPS, it essentially draws current from a standard electrical outlet and switches over to the power from the internal battery backup the instant it detects a power failure. This is arguably the most common type of UPS system and one you might often find in an individual office setting to provide backup power for a computer, printer or other electronic devices. is the most common type of UPS found in a computer or office supply store. It draws current from the AC outlet and switches to the battery within a few milliseconds after detecting a power failure.
A Line-Interactive UPS – This type of system uses AVR or Automatic Voltage Regulation to effectively correct abnormalities in voltage without having to immediately resort to the reserve battery power. It does this through a special type of transformer that either lowers or boosts the voltage as needed. A
Line-Interactive UPS is essentially a buffer to protect your sensitive electronics from events that affect the power grid or the internal wiring of a building. They are particularly handy for protecting Network-Attached Storage devices and modest-size data storage servers.
A Double Conversion On-Line UPS – It shares a lot of features and functionality with a Standby UPS. One of the key differences is that it inverts the AC power to reduce heat output and improve efficiency.
Wattage Load Capacity
For a UPS system to run properly it must have the capacity to meet the power demands of every electronic device that’s connected to it. This is typically expressed in a wattage rating, that you can then correspond to the total overall load of the devices you plug into it.
To accurately calculate your load needs, you will have to add up the wattage of every single device you want to connect to the UPS. You can usually find this information in the owner’s manual. Though a lot of appliances and electronic devices will have some sort of plate stamped or printed on them with wattage and other key specs.
Once you have your load calculated you start filtering through the UPS systems that are closest to your needs. Though you shouldn’t push it right up to the limit. It’s a good idea to target a UPS system that is rated at least 10% higher than you need. Especially if you’re thinking of upgrading or updating your devices a year or two down the road.
To make your UPS run properly, your UPS has to be large enough to support all of the equipment plugged into it. You will need to find the UPS capacity. Capacity is how much power a UPS system can provide (measured in Watts). The higher the capacity, the more electronic equipment, and devices it can support. To find the UPS capacity, you will need to calculate the load. The Load is the combined amount of power each of the devices uses.
To identify the load, make an equipment list, including the total watts each piece of equipment requires to run properly. Include all of the devices the UPS will need to support. If a piece of equipment has a redundant power supply, only count the wattage of ONE power supply.
If you are unsure how many watts your equipment requires, consult the manufacturer or power supply specifications in the user manual.
The Number Of Outlets
A quality UPS system is not the sort of thing you want to daisy chain like Christmas lights. You really should have 1 outlet per power cord. Plugging in a power strip or a splitter is a bad idea and could impact performance when you need it most. If you plan to plug three devices in the UPS system, you need to find one that has at least three outlets.
Determining Runtime Needs
Since the UPS is essentially a sophisticated battery backup system, it has a finite capacity. As time goes on, the current stored inside the battery will gradually start to dwindle. The “Runtime” is essentially the number of minutes of consistent power the UPS system can support from a full charge.
It helps to take a moment to do a little thought experiment on how long you’ll want the power to your essential electronics. If you need time to save essential data on your laptop or print another copy of a business proposal during a short-term blackout, you might be fine with a shorter runtime. If you want to keep working for hours after a power outage, or you simply want enough power to finish watching a movie on a stormy day, while you wait for the power company to restore the lines, then you might prioritize a longer runtime.
It’s important to remember that the runtime will be influenced by the wattage of each device. The lower the wattage demand, the more minutes of runtime you will get from the batteries.
Frequently Asked Questions
Q: Do I Need A UPS With A Sine Wave Or Simulated Sine Wave Output?
A: The power grid delivers AC power in a sinewave. When everything is operating normally, you UPS is simply passing this sine wave on to all the connected electronic devices. In the event of a power outage or brownout, the UPS will produce a sine wave or simulate a sine wave to your electronics.
With a simulated sine wave, there is sometimes a minor power gap during each cycle. Some appliances like refrigerators, microwaves, and air compressors with motors that run on AC electricity can be damaged by a simulated sine wave.
Q: What Is A Hot-Swappable Battery?
A: A UPS with hot-swappable batteries allows you to exchange additional backup batteries without having to shut the unit down. They are especially nice for times when your area suffers a prolonged power outage, and you want to continue working or using some essential electronics.
Q: What Is The Difference Between A Rack-Mounted UPS and a Tower?
A: With most UPS manufacturers a rack-mounted or tower UPS tends to have the same basic specifications and features. The rack-mounted version tends to be more popular for a UPS device that’s meant to support a server or a Network-Attached Storage device. If you are just looking to back up a single office computer, a work station or a home theater, then a tower is probably easier to work with.
Q: Why Do Some UPS Devices Only Have Half The Outlets Connected To The Battery Backup?
A: UPS manufacturers recognize that part of the value of the system is acting as a surge protector. At the same time, when there’s a power outage have a ton of devices plugged into the battery backup outlets. The last thing you want is the lamp in the corner or a digital picture frame on the wall draining current and reducing the overall runtime available to safely shut down your workstation computer.
Q: Should I Max Out The Load Capacity?
A: While each UPS is rated for specific maximum load capacity, it’s also best not to push it to the max. The general rule of thumb is to only ask it to deliver 80% of the maximum load capacity at any one time. So, if you have a UPS that’s rated for 1,000-Watt maximum load capacity, you should try to keep the wattage demand of the devices on the battery backup side to around 800 Watts.
Investing in a UPS system makes a lot of sense beyond just buying you some extra time to save your work or finish watching a movie when the power goes out. A quality UPS system also helps protect your investment in the electronic devices and data it supports. In a worst-case scenario, a single surge or brownout event could cause thousands if not tens of thousands of dollars in damage. Taken in this light even a high-priced UPS system pays for itself in short order.
Finding the best UPS system for you still will require a little filtering and some basic mathematics. Right off the bat, you will want to double-check the wattage rating for each device you want to connect. This will give you a target range for load capacity to help weed out the field.
If you aren’t going to support a server or NAS box, then you can just stick to a “Standby UPS” If you do need to support some type of server environment, then you might want to prioritize a Line-Interactive or a Double conversion topology. In the case of a server support UPS, you might want to also look for a rack-mounted UPS rather than a tower.
At that point, you can start to dial in special features like management software and price. You should also keep an eye out for warranty coverage, as well as taking a look at how much insurance coverage the manufacturer offers for connected devices.
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