The Best UPS Battery Backups of 2023

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The Best UPS Battery Backups of 2023

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When the power goes out, an uninterruptible power supply lets you keep working

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An uninterruptible power supply (UPS) is a big battery that kicks in when the power goes out. We will focus on testing smaller desktop models that give you enough power for a desktop PC and leave the whole-house models to other experts.

If you need a UPS, buy the APC Back-UPS Pro 1500VA. It has a big enough battery to save your work and safely shut down without panicking.

The APC Back-UPS Pro 1500 is a utilitarian device, but it has a little LCD screen showing vital information like input voltage, battery status, and the current load, which is a nice touch. While simulating a power outage by flipping a circuit breaker in the house, the UPS immediately kept our test computer running with plenty of time to save my work and shut it down.

This device can also deliver over 800 watts of power, so you can safely charge any device at the speed you typically experience by plugging the same charger directly into a wall outlet. It's a bit expensive but a great battery backup for medium applications.

While this APC model has ten outlets, only five are connected to the battery (the other five have surge protection, though). We feel five outlets should cover most setups adequately. This unit is vertically oriented, so while it doesn't have a large footprint, it will resemble a computer tower.

Outlets: 5 battery, 5 surge-protected | Battery backup power: 1500VA/865W | Sine Wave: Simulated

The Tripp Lite AVR750U is an affordable unit for very modest uses. Despite its smaller battery, the Tripp Lite will still give you enough time to save your work and shut down safely.

Keep in mind: If you decide to go this route, the Trip Lite lays on the floor horizontally, so it takes up more space than you might be used to.

Outlets: 6 battery, 6 surge-protected | Battery backup power: 750VA/450W | Sine Wave: Simulated in battery backup mode, pure in standard mode

This CyberPower EC850LCD is a UPS like the others on this list, but it has a trick up its sleeve. Three outlets (of the 12) shut down their output when the CyberPower unit detects the device that’s plugged in is in standby or vampire mode. That can end up saving you real money.

So, the EC850LCD is a pretty modest unit, but it will allow you to save your work and safely shut down.

Outlets: 6 battery, 3 surge-protected, 3 Eco | Battery backup power: 850VA/510W | Sine Wave: Simulated

When buying a UPS, the most important factor to consider is its compatibility with the power supply. Before hooking anything up, check what your devices require and make sure there’s a match.

Generally, you don’t need a UPS to last too long but it should be sufficient to start a standby power source or properly shut down the protected equipment. Some run for just a few minutes, while others will provide power all night long. Depending on your needs, make sure the on-battery runtime is ample.

How many devices will you need to connect to your UPS? Some can accommodate as many as 12 devices, while others top out at just two. Some also provide USB ports, but not all. 

Some UPS devices are made for home or business use, while others are built for travel and the outdoors. If you need to take your device with you, you’ll want something with a more portable design that can fit in a handbag easily. You might even want a solar charging port so that you aren’t entirely dependent on electricity. 

This answer depends on what devices your UPS will support and for how long. If you're hooking up a couple of desktop computers or a home entertainment system, you can get away with a 750 VA battery backup. It gives you ample time to save your work and shut down your devices properly without incident. However, you'll need something larger for commercial setups like server farms. Something closer to a 2200 VA backup can provide ample insurance to even the most power-hungry tech.

Not all UPS have replaceable or "hot-swappable" batteries. But unless you need to have your UPS remain on battery power for an extended period, having "hot-swappable" batteries isn't entirely necessary, and the lifespan for a typical battery can be anywhere from 3 to 5 years, meaning you shouldn't have to replace your battery very often.

Any appliance can benefit from being connected to a UPS, but items that one should tether to a UPS are sensitive electronics like TVs, home theater receivers, or computer desktops. While a UPS can effectively act as a power strip for any appliance, prioritizing anything that could get damaged by abruptly losing power will let you get the most out of your UPS. Some other use cases for a UPS include electronics that should not lose power for any reason, like fish tanks and home security systems.

Anything you plug into the wall with a plug runs on alternating current or AC. For a battery to power a device designed for alternating current, it must provide power in a sine wave. A pure sine wave, which has a much cleaner output, is suitable for sensitive electronics like newer TVs, servers, computers, audio equipment, and appliances that use an AC motor, like refrigerators or microwaves. Older TVs, water pumps, and motors with brushes can use modified sine wave output because they're not as sensitive. Devices will run hotter and less efficiently with modified or stepped sine wave output.

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The Best UPS Battery Backups of 2023

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