An uninterruptible power supply or UPS (that’s what we’ll call them from now on) is, at the simplest level, a large battery that starts up when the power goes out. They range from very small units to whole units. We’ll focus on testing the smaller desktop models that give you enough power for a desktop computer, leaving the full models to other experts.
With all that out of the way, and if you think you need a UPS, get the APC Back- UPS Pro 1500VA. It has a large enough battery that you can save your work and safely turn it off without panicking.
The Best Package: APC Back- UPS Pro 1500VA
Our reviewer Jeremy tested the APC Back- UPS Pro 1500 on his own devices (desktop and monitor) and found that it had more than enough power to complete what he was doing, save all his work and properly shut down his computer to close.
Although this APC model has 10 outlets, only five are connected to the battery (the other five do have surge protection). We think five sockets are enough and should cover most setups (more so, really). This device is vertical, so while it doesn’t have a large footprint, it resembles a computer tower.
You can buy it without reading the rest of our list and knowing that you have a solid and reliable device.
Ideal for home use: Tripp Lite AVR750U UPS backup battery
The Tripp Lite AVR750U is a budget device for very modest use. Despite the smaller battery, Tripp Lite gives you enough time to save your work and switch off safely.
Please note: if you decide to go this route, the Trip Lite will be horizontal on the ground and will therefore take up more space than you are used to.
Sockets: 6 batteries, 6 with surge protection | Battery reserve power: 750 VA / 450 W | Sine wave: simulated in battery backup mode, pure in standard mode
Best Budget: APC Back- UPS 425VA
The APC Backups 425VA UPS is our budget option of choice, and not just because of its clever name. Backups is designed to keep some low-power devices online in the event of a power outage. It won’t keep your desktop running, but it can keep you connected when you need it most.
It is small enough to place on your desk if you want. It doesn’t have an LCD screen, which we always like in a UPS, but if you only have a few smaller devices to power it, this UPS can get the job done.
Easier to use: Cyber Power EC850LCD
This Cyber Power EC850LCD is a UPS like the others on this list, but it has one trump card up its sleeve. Three outlets (out of 12) interrupt their output (which is the opposite of what a UPS should, mind you) when the Cyber Power unit detects that the connected device is in standby or vampire mode. This can actually save you money in the end.
For this reason, the EC850LCD is a rather modest device, but you can save your work and safely turn it off.
Best Features: Cyber Power CP1500PFCLCD
The Cyber power CP1500PFCLCD has a lot of what we want to see in a UPS. The vertical orientation ensures a small footprint. The LCD screen can be tilted up to 22 degrees to make it easier to read from the floor and shows a lot of information such as power and range remaining. Speaking of running time, at 100 watts you have 83 minutes.
The back of the tower has 12 spikes. Six of these are battery backup plugs and the other six have surge protection only. You will also find USB-A and USB-C connections for charging mobile devices. It’s a bit pricey, but we think it’s a solid mid-range computer microphone.
Ideal for Business: APC 2200VA Smart-UPS with Smart Connect
Huh, a new player has arrived. There’s very little chance that the average home computer user will need this large, rugged UPS, but if you have a small office or small server, stop here.
If that server is not in your office, you can take advantage of the software that allows you to remotely control the APC 2200VA UPS. Keep these two things in mind: it costs £100 and about $1,000. But it’s hard to believe that this standard device doesn’t meet your needs.
Ideal for networks and other devices: Cyber Power CP800AVR
While a UPS can help you keep your computer up and running, the internet is just as important to those of us who work with laptops. The Cyper power CP800AVR is designed to keep network equipment running.
It has four plugs with battery backup and another four plugs with surge protection. The sockets are conveniently placed so that you can connect devices with larger connectors (such as routers and modems). Automatic voltage regulation can correct small power fluctuations without fully discharging the battery. It is better for power consumption and overall battery health. You can install or disable the UPS according to what you prefer.
The best compact: UPS APC 600VA BE600M1 Battery charger
Whether you work from home, in a college dorm, or anywhere else where space is limited, a compact UPS is just what the doctor ordered. Our reviewer Jeremy noted that the UPS “switches to backup battery so quickly that I’ve never lost my connection to the Internet.” This is an important consideration, especially if you work from home.
This is designed to sit on a table so you can easily access the sockets. Some spines are quite close together, while others are spaced apart. With this device, you need to think about the placement of the plug. It also features a USB-A port for charging mobile devices. It’s a nice addition, but in 2021 we’d like to see a USB-C port here.
Best for Gamers: APC Gaming UPS
Nothing says “gamer” like a UPS with integrated RGB lighting and 900W of power. The APC Gaming UPS offers just that with 10 outlets. There are five sockets with backup battery charging and five with surge protection only.
Our reviewer, Erica, started with a mid-range gaming PC and LCD and only got 14% capacity, which lasted around 40 minutes, including 30 minutes of gameplay. That’s more than enough to quit, save, and quit the game.
APC’s software also allows for interesting tricks, such as automatically shutting down the computer in the event of a power failure. Our reviewer had a storm that cut his power and was happy to find that the computer shut down by itself when he woke up the next morning.
If you have a high-end gaming rig, the last thing you want is a loss of power that ruins things. This gives you the peace of mind that even when you are away, your computer is fine.
UPS just needs to give you plenty of time to save your work and shut down your computer safely so you don’t run into problems later when it’s time to restart. The APC Back- UPS Pro 1500VA UPS (see on Amazon) offers exactly what you need. If your needs are even more modest, your budget is limited, or a PC isn’t available, the Tripp Lite AVR750U (see on Amazon) is also a good choice.
How big a UPS do you need?
This response largely depends on the devices supported by the UPS and for how long. If you’re plugging in some desktop or home entertainment systems, you can usually get by with a 750VA backup battery, which gives you plenty of time to save your work and shut down devices properly and without incident. However, for commercial setups like a server farm, you will need something larger. Anything closer to a 2200VA backup can adequately satisfy even the most energy-hungry technology.
Can the UPS battery be replaced and how long does it last?
Not all UPS devices have replaceable or “hot-swappable” batteries. But unless you want to run your UPS on battery power for long periods of time, there is absolutely no need to use “hot-swap” batteries and typical battery life can range from 3 to 5 years, so you should. The battery does not need to be changed often. However, this is not standard for all UPSs.
What are the biggest advantages of UPS?
Virtually any device can benefit from connecting to a UPS, but the products that absolutely must be connected to a UPS are sensitive electronic components. These can be televisions, home theater receivers, or desktop computers. While a UPS can effectively act as a power cord for any device, you can prioritize anything that can be damaged by sudden power outages to get the most out of your UPS.