In this guide, we’ve taken a look at UPS (uninterruptible power supply) systems — more commonly referred to as battery backups.
Unexpected power outages are one of the most annoying things. We’ve all lost documents and data at some point — and that’s on the lucky end of the experiential spectrum. We needn’t recall Texas’s deadly and enduring power grid failure last February to know that losing a doc to the ether is small-time. But orders of “check yo’self” magnitude aside, Unexpected power outages can cause serious damage to electrical equipment in the field as well as the wiring and personal electronics within your home. But, in most scenarios, it’s nothing that a little common sense (like using surge protectors to power sensitive equipment), light research, and a tiny amount of coin can’t mitigate. It’s not the most exciting product on earth, but it’s so worth it to avoid losing work.
Despite their numerous applications, implementing and maintaining a battery backup is stupid simple. Plug the backup unit into a grounded, three-pronged wall outlet, then plug computers and other computational or smart devices into the battery backup system. Then, when the power goes out, it triggers the integrated battery within the unit to go full, sparky send. This reaction is meant to buy time for those affected by unexpected outages. Very few backups can last more than a few minutes, but in most domestic situations, a few minutes is time enough to save the fruits of one’s digital labors and power those ‘puters down safely, not abruptly.
We’ve been searching for the best battery backup, and we’ve narrowed it down to a select, lauded few. Within our selection of battery backups, we aimed to run the specs gamut: applications, capacities, sizes, ancillary features, and, of course, pricing.
- Highest Performance Overall: CyberPower CP1500AVRLCD Intelligent LCD Battery Backup
- Best Smart Home Bargain: APC BE600M1 UPS Battery Backup & Surge Protector
- Best Data Line Protection: Tripp Lite 1300VA UPS Battery Backup
- Longest Battery Runtime: APC UPS BX1500M Battery Backup & Surge Protector
- Best Light-Duty Bargain: AmazonBasics Standby 800VA 450W UPS Battery Backup
- Budget Pick: Forza- NT751 – UPS 750VA- 375W Battery Backup
- Best Energy Management: CyberPower EC850LCD Ecologic Battery Backup
The Best Battery Backups
The CyberPower CP1500AVRLCD is widely regarded as one of the best UPS systems in its class. It’s towards the more expensive end of UPS power supply products, but that buys you added protection, useful features, an attractive design, and more. There’s loads to talk about with this product, but we’ll start with the stats. It has a 1500AV/900W battery, which means it’s amongst the most powerful batteries on this list. That means it’s perfect for use with modern, high-performance computer systems that require a lot of power to run. If you’re running a PC gaming set up or a high-spec mac, you should splash out on a more powerful UPS system like this one. CyberPower doesn’t state exactly how long it will power your computer setup after the power turns off, but you can expect around 30-40 minutes of runtime. That gives you ample time to save your documents and safely turn everything off, whilst you wait for the power to turn back on.
In terms of power outlets, this backup power supply is pretty stacked. It has a total of 12 sockets – 6 are surge protected and connected to the battery backup, the other 6 are just surge protected. So, you’ve got 6 sockets for computer systems and 6 for other connected devices that won’t be affected by a sudden power outage. But they’re not the only outlets. It’s also got USB and serial ports, phone/network connectors, and coax inputs. That means this product is the one-stop battery backup for your whole office set up. You can plug everything in!
12 sockets (6 battery backup sockets)
USB, coax, phone/network, and serial ports
Automatic voltage regulation (AVR)
- Weight25 pounds
Plenty of power for high-spec systems
Useful LCD screen
Lots of ports and sockets
Ethernet ports are a bit flimsy
The APC BE600M1 UPS backup power supply is a much simpler product than the first. It’s also around half the price, which immediately puts it into a different category. It will still protect your electrical equipment from power outages, but it doesn’t have anywhere near as many added features. This product, which was released in 2016, replaced a well-loved UPS system that was widely thought of as one of the best products in the price bracket. And, this one has started to gain a reputation as a worthy successor. It has 5 battery backup sockets, which is pretty impressive for the price. That gives you plenty of space to power a whole computer set up, without much problem. Plus, it has 2 additional sockets that are surge protected and a USB input. A total of 7 sockets gives you plenty of scope and should be ample space for a home set up or a simple office set up. It also has space to plug your wireless router in, so you can maintain an internet connection when the power goes out.
The battery inside is 600VA or 330W. That means you will have to save your work and turn off your devices pretty quickly after the power goes out. At 100W, the battery will run out in 23 minutes. However, if you’re running a relatively small load of 40W, it will stay on for 67 minutes. So, this product is much better for smaller setups. APC says that the battery has a lifespan of around 3-5 years. That’s impressive enough for a product that costs around $50. But, there are reports that the older model lasted 10 years before the battery started to die. If this model can live up to that, it will be one of the best in its class.
7 (5 battery backup sockets)
USB & Ethernet ports
- Weight7.5 pounds
Simple and well-designed
Easy to mount on the wall
Enough sockets and ports
No LCD screen
Difficult to claim on the warranty
The Tripp Lite 1300VA UPS Battery Backup is one of the best UPS systems on this list. But, if you’re wondering why we haven’t selected it as our Best Choice product, it’s simply because it’s more expensive than the CyberPower CP1500AVRLCD. It’s quite easy to tell them apart, but they fall into the same category – they both have large batteries, they both have plenty of sockets, and they both have an LCD screen.
The LCD screen is one of the big selling points of this battery backup. It’s larger than most of the LCD screens found on similar models and it tells you every bit of information you need to know, at a glance. You can find out the input and output voltage, battery voltage, the input/output frequency, the load and charge levels, the power status, the battery status, and an estimated battery backup runtime. But that’s not everything – it’s the most detailed UPS system, so if you’re a tech-head and you want to know everything about your battery, this is the product for you. It has a similar AVR (automatic voltage regulation) system to the CyberPower CP1500AVRLCD, which is also displayed on the screen.
8 sockets (4 battery backup sockets)
USB, coax, and phone/network ports
Automatic voltage regulation (AVR)
- BrandTripp Lite
- Weight22.6 pounds
Battery stays on for long enough
The LCD screen is best in class
Batteries are replaceable
Software to automatically shut down devices
Design is a bit chunky
Not as many ports and sockets as cheaper options
The APC BX1500M was another strong contender to be our Best Choice product. It’s just as stacked with features as the CyberPower and Tripp-Lite UPS systems we’ve looked at and, in our opinion, it’s one of the best looking. First, though, we should mention this company’s credentials. APC (American Power Conversion Corporation) have been making electronic peripherals, products for data centers, and UPS systems for years and they’re one of the biggest names in the business.
In terms of aesthetic, this battery backup & surge protector is one of the best backup batteries around. It’s a small matte black tower, with an LCD screen and an attractive APC logo carved into the side. It has cooling vents around the body, which keep it from overheating and add to the sleek look of the product. Like the Cyberpower CP1500AVRLCD, it will look right at home next to your modern computer setup. But, you’re probably not buying a UPS system for the way it looks, so let’s get into the features.
10 sockets (5 battery backup sockets)
USB, coax, phone/network, and ethernet ports
Automatic voltage regulation (AVR)
- Weight24.2 pounds
Sleek, attractive design
Lots of information on the LCD screen
The batteries are replaceable
Powerful enough for large computer setups
Annoying alarm sound
So far on this list, we’ve looked at a lot of complicated, high-end UPS backup battery products. They come with LCD screens, numerous ports, and all sorts of additional features to keep your devices protected. But, what if you just need something simple. What if you just want to plug your devices into a UPS that will keep them turned on for a bit when the power goes on. Well, simplicity is what AmazonBasics does best. Amazon now makes thousands of own-brand products in almost every sector you can imagine. They are taking the market by storm because they can undercut the competition and provide amazing value for their customers.
The AmazonBasics Standby UPS is by no means the best UPS on the market. It doesn’t come with an LCD screen and there aren’t many additional features. However, we reckon it’s ideal for people with simple home computer setups. It has a total of 12 sockets – 6 surge-protected sockets and 6 battery backup sockets. That means you could plug your computer, hard drive and anything else that could be at risk in a power failure. Then, you’ve got spare sockets for other devices like laser printers and external monitors. Of course, because there’s no LCD screen, there is no way of knowing how long your connected equipment will stay on, so it’s important to save your files and shut down immediately.
12 sockets (6 battery backup sockets)
5-foot power cord
- ModelAmazon Basics UPS – 800 VA
- Weight9.14 pounds
Simple and easy to set up
Backed by Amazon warranty
It doesn’t automatically turn back on
No automatic voltage regulation
Not very powerful
This UPS system from Forza is another great budget option. It’s only slightly more expensive than the AmazonBasics UPS we looked at last, and it has a few additional features. When you’re looking at a budget UPS system like this, it’s important to consider your requirements before you purchase. For example, how many sockets do you need that are backed up by the battery? Do you need it to automatically turn back on when the power resumes after a power cut? Do you need phone ports or a USB port? Answering these questions will put you in a position to find the best cheap battery backup product for you.
The Forza NT-751 has a slightly bigger battery than the AmazonBasics UPS – it’s 750VA or 375W. That means it will keep your appliances on for longer if the power cuts out. It also means that this UPS system can handle more powerful electronic equipment. If you read the reviews on Amazon, you’ll see that customers have used this UPS to power reclining chairs, Direct TV receivers, cable modems, and more. It’s one of the most capable budget UPS battery backup products on here.
6 sockets (5 battery backup sockets)
2 ethernet ports
- BrandForza Power Technologies
- Weight0.16 ounces
An impressive amount of battery backup sockets
Ethernet ports included
Can’t turn off alarm sound
No indication of battery life
CyberPower is one of the biggest brands in the battery backup business. And the EC850LCD is one of their most powerful (and most expensive) products. It’s aimed at both residential and commercial settings, with an impressive six battery backup and surge-protected outlets. That means you can plug a whole host of computers, WiFi routers, and other important devices in and ensure they are protected. If the power goes down, this UPS will give you around 2.3 minutes if it’s fully-loaded and about 7.9 minutes at half capacity. That’s plenty of time to save your work and shut down your computer safely.
In addition to the six battery backup protected outlets, there are a further three surge-protected outlets with ECO mode, and three surge-protected outlets without. The ECO mode basically turns the power off when it detects that devices have been turned off or are in sleep mode, which lowers costs and reduces power usage. It also has a multifunction LCD screen that provides detailed information about the battery power, time left, and health of the battery.
6 battery-backup surge-protected outlets
3 surge-protected outlets
2.3 minutes life fully-loaded
$100,000 Connection Equipment Guarantee
- Weight7.7 pounds
Ideal for residential or commercial use
Impressive warranty and connected equipment guarantee
ECO mode saves money
Not much in the way of product support
Battery Backup Buying Guide
Features To Look For In Battery Backup
Ports - Some modern battery backup systems have extra products, such as USB ports. These can be very useful if you want to charge your smartphone or other devices, next to your computer. Some UPS battery backups also have ethernet ports, network and serial ports, and coaxial ports, which allow you to keep your phone and internet-connected.
Plugs - One of the biggest selling points of a battery backup is how many plugs (also known as sockets) it has. If you need to plug in your laptop, PC, extra monitor, and more, you’ll need extra plugs. Before you start searching for the perfect battery backup, see how many plugs you need. Most UPS separate their plug sockets into battery backup sockets and surge-protected sockets. The battery backup sockets are the only ones that will continue to work in the event of a power outage.
Battery size - Battery size is measured in volt-ampere (VA). This measurement indicates the potential current the batteries are rated for. The bigger the number, the longer the battery will last. If you are running a high-spec computer system, you should look for a UPS that is 1000VA or more.
Run time - When the power shuts off, you need to know how much time you’ve got until the battery turns off. This gives you time to save important files, close down programs, and shut down your computer safely.
Surge protection - A surge in power can cause permanent damage to electrical products. As well as the battery backup feature, it’s useful to have a product that protects your electrical items from a surge.
Battery Backup FAQ
Q: What is a UPS battery backup system?
A: UPS stands for Uninterruptible Power Supply. They are used to protect electrical items from turning off if there is a power outage by providing emergency power. Normally, they are used to power computers to stop users from losing data if the power turns off. They come in different sizes, which determines how much power they can provide and how long they will stay on. You can also buy UPS systems that small screens that tell you how much power you have left.
Q: How does a UPS battery backup work?
A: UPS battery backups are plugged into the primary power source (the wall socket) and then the computer and connected devices are plugged into the UPS. The UPS has a battery inside that automatically kicks in when the primary power source is lost or the voltage drops below a predetermined level. Depending on the size of the battery and the design of the UPS, it will power the computer and connected devices for a short time to give the user time to shut off them safely.
Q: How do you test a UPS battery?
A: Most modern UPS batteries have built-in test systems. You will press a button that says test and it will give you an indication of the battery's health. However, you can still test a battery if it doesn’t have this function. Use a voltmeter to see if the battery is giving off the stated power. The battery needs to be fully charged for this to work.