Technology enthusiasts and experts know that the presence of an Uninterruptible Power Supply (UPS) can be vital to the longevity of their technology equipment, especially when they are powered by unstable and / or badly maintained power grids; however most people are unaware of the advantages that owning a UPS can have. But the real frustration starts when someone begins a research on which product to buy because most people cannot understand the differences between the several different UPS types available, especially when excessive marketing hype is involved. Thus, it is very common for most users, even technology adepts, to be confused over the different UPS systems or even be unaware of their existence at all.

The largest percentage of users who understand what a UPS does believe that there are only two type of UPS systems, the "on-line" and the "off-line" UPS, and / or believe that UPS products are designed only to protect computers; that is simply not true as there are at least seven different types of UPS systems and a few of them are able to power entire buildings or industrial facilities.

Technology enthusiasts and experts know that the presence of a UPS can be vital to the longevity of their technology equipment, especially when they are powered by unstable and/or badly maintained power grids; however most people are unaware of the advantages that owning a UPS can have. But the real frustration starts when someone begins a research on which product to buy because most people cannot understand the differences between the several different UPS types available, especially when excessive marketing hype is involved. Thus, it is very common for most users, even technology adepts, to be confused over the different UPS systems or even be unaware of their existence at all.

The largest percentage of users who understand what a UPS does believe that there are only two type of UPS systems, the "on-line" and the "off-line" UPS, and / or believe that UPS products are designed only to protect computers; that is simply not true as there are at least seven different types of UPS systems and a few of them are able to power entire buildings or industrial facilities.


 

What is a UPS?

 

UPS stands for "Uninterruptible Power Supply", which is an electrical system designed to monitor and, if necessary, regulate the main (grid) power source of a load and provide emergency power to the load whenever the main power source fails, without any interruption to the load's power feed and/or effect on the load's operation and/or performance. UPS systems are commonly used wherever power generators are ineffective. A power generator needs some time to start, ranging from some seconds to several minutes, depending on the generator's size; a UPS will provide power to the load almost instantaneously, allowing it to continue its normal operation without any interruption.

For business / industrial applications, UPS systems and generators are being used side by side because the runtime of UPS systems is very limited but nevertheless is more than sufficient to power the load until the generator (or any other auxiliary power source) to come online. Because of their instantaneous reaction, UPS systems are being used to power any critical load. Critical computers, data centers, medical and surgical equipment, emergency lighting and military equipment are but a few examples.

The technology and manufacturing advancements of the past 20 years made some of the battery-powered UPS types affordable by small businesses and most home users, therefore it is quite common to find a sub-$200 UPS protecting a small home or office PC. In this article we are going examine the five most affordable types of battery powered UPS systems, those which are affordable by home consumers and small businesses and suitable for power computer/electronics equipment.