The 9 Best Uninterruptible Power Supplies (UPS) of 2021

If the lights go out, you can keep going

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The best uninterruptible power supplies (UPS) keep you going when the power goes out. Whether you want to keep your computer running, or just want to keep your accessories powered on, an uninterruptible power supply will automatically kick in when it loses power, often without your devices noticing. The most common use-case for a UPS is to keep a computer powered on. Computers can be tricky devices. They often do not like being powered off without properly shut down. Also, if you're working on your computer when the power goes out, a UPS gives you a few precious moments to save and shut down so you don't lose any work.

Some UPS will give you a few minutes worth of juice, while others can run for hours. The cost and size both generally go up the more power you want. A larger UPS can keep you working for quite some time, while a smaller version will keep your router up so you don't lose the internet. It's all about your priorities.

Some other things to look for in a UPS include surge protection, an LCD display, and even software for managing your UPS from your computer. There are a ton of UPS out there, and finding the right one for you can be a chore. Our experts have looked at lots of UPS and we've rounded up our favorites below. Read on to see our picks.

The Rundown
Our reviewer tested it on his gaming rig and let it power his computer and dual monitor setup without breaking a sweat.
The Tripp Lite AVR750U is a great choice if you're looking for a little bit of flexibility.
If you have just a few smaller devices to power, this UPS can get the job done.
There's an easily readable LCD and single button that cycles you through power modes.
You can place it on the floor, on your desk, or even tucked away behind your monitor.
If you have servers to run or a remote support team, this is the UPS for you.
Best for Networking and Other Devices:
CyberPower CP800AVR at Amazon
While a UPS can be useful for keeping a computer alive and working, for those of us working on laptops, keeping the internet up is just as important.
Best Compact:
APC BE600M1 at Amazon
If you're working at home, in a dorm, or some place where space is at a premium, a compact UPS is just what the doctor ordered.
Best for Gamers:
APC Gaming UPS at Amazon
If you're a gamer who values your gear, this is a good option for you with the RGB ring the icing on the cake.

Best Overall: APC Back-UPS Pro 1500VA

What We Like
  • LCD display

  • Numerous outlets

  • Small footprint

  • Hot swappable batteries

What We Don't Like
  • Stepped sine wave

  • No USB Port

  • Large and in charge

The APC Back-UPS Pro 1500VA is an easy top pick for us.  Our reviewer Jeremy tested this UPS on his gaming rig and it allowed him to power off his computer and dual monitor setup without breaking a sweat. The UPS provides 865W/1500VA when full. They should give you one hour and 13 minutes of runtime when drawing 100W. Most setups use half of that, so this UPS should last for some time.

This UPS has 10 total outlets. Five of those have backup and surge protection, while the other five have just surge protection. The LCD display panel on the front shows you where you are in terms of the total charge, power in, and power out. When the power gets low, you can even hot-swap the battery if you need to. Though the UPS resembles a fairly large computer tower, it takes up a small footprint. Our reviewer kept it on his desk.

The one main downside is this UPS doesn't have any USB ports. Plus, this UPS uses a stepped sine-wave which is typical in UPSs that are less expensive. We'd like to see a pure sine wave for the price. But those are our only complaints here. This is a UPS that our reviewer calls "a great battery backup for medium-duty applications."

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

"This UPS is capable of putting out over 800 watts of power, so you can safely charge any device at the same speed you would normally experience by plugging the same charger directly into a wall outlet."Jeremy Laukkonen, Product Tester

APC Back-UPS Pro 1500

Lifewire / Jeremy Laukkonen

Best for Home Use: Tripp Lite AVR750U UPS Battery Backup

What We Like
  • Lots of outlets

  • Inexpensive

What We Don't Like
  • Documentation is sparse

The Tripp Lite AVR750U is a great choice if you're looking for a little bit of flexibility. It has a large footprint since it has a horizontal orientation. Be sure you have space on the floor for it. There are twelve plugs, six of which are backed up by battery and all of which have surge protection. The plugs are evenly spaced on either side and the last plug in each row has more space around it for larger power bricks. 

All of this comes at a good price. The battery backup can maintain a load of 60W for 42 minutes. That should be plenty of time to safely shut everything down. This UPS is as simple to use as a normal power strip; just plug in what you need to back up and you're set. That's a good thing because the documentation that comes with the UPS is rather sparse. 

One feature we really like is the muted battery alarm. When the power goes out, the UPS doesn't sound an alarm right away. It waits until the battery gets low before sounding the alarm. This prevents an annoying alarm from sounding when it doesn't need to. This UPS is definitely more for home use than for larger business applications.

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

Best Budget: APC Back-UPS 425VA

APC UPS, 600VA UPS Battery Backup & Surge Protector
What We Like
  • Easy to use

  • Small footprint

  • Inexpensive

What We Don't Like
  • Low power output

  • No LCD screen

The APC Back-UPS 425VA UPS is our favorite budget option, and only because of the clever name. The Back-UPS is designed to keep some low-power devices online when the power goes out. You can keep a router going to stay connected to the internet, or a few plugs to keep your mobile devices topped off. It won't keep a gaming rig going, but it can keep you connected when you need it the most. 

The alarm that sounds when you lose power can be configured as you want it. It can sound right when you lose power, or it can delay until the battery power gets low. It's small enough to keep on your desk if you want. There's no LCD screen, which is something we always like to see on a UPS, but overall if you have just a few smaller devices to power, this UPS can get the job done.

Outlets: 4 battery, 2 surge-protected | Battery backup power: 425VA/225W | Sine Wave: Simulated

Easiest to Use: CyberPower EC850LCD

CyberPower EC850LCD
What We Like
  • LCD panel

  • Eco mode

  • Twelve outlets

What We Don't Like
  • Short-term power

One of the easiest to use UPS in this list is the CyberPower EC850LCD. It's a good unit if you don't have a huge power requirement. There are twelve total plugs. Six are battery backup plugs, three are surge protected, and the other three are "eco-smart" outlets that turn themselves off when needed. A lot of electrical devices will go into an ultra low power mode when powered off, but they still continue to draw a little bit of power.  This UPS stops that by shutting down the outlets where those "power vampires" are plugged in.

The CyberPower 850LCD can provide up to 510 W of power, though that will only get you around 2.3 minutes of battery backup. That's more than enough time to save and power down a computer if need be. Depending on your usages, you'll see closer to ten minutes of power with a single computer and monitor, so you can shoot off a few emails to your boss to let them know you just lost power. There's an easily readable LCD and a single button that cycles you through power modes. It's very easy.

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

Best Features: CyberPower CP1500PFCLCD

What We Like
  • Tiltable LCD panel

  • USB ports

What We Don't Like
  • Pricey

The Cyberpower CP1500PFCLCD has a lot of what we like to see in a UPS. It has a vertical orientation so it has a smaller footprint. The LCD screen tilts up to 22 degrees so it's more easily readable from the floor. The LCD displays a lot of information like wattage and remaining runtime. Speaking of runtime, at 100W, you'll get 83 minutes. 

There are twelve plugs on the back of the tower. Six of those are battery backup plugs and the other six have only surge protection. You'll also find a USB-A and USB-C plug for charging your mobile devices. We especially like the vertical orientation; it makes the UPS more versatile in where you can keep it. You can place it on the floor, on your desk, or even tucked away behind your monitor. It's a little on the expensive side, but we like this as a solid pickup for mid-sized computer systems.

Outlets: 6 battery, 6 surge-protected | Battery backup power: 1500VA/1000W | Sine Wave: Pure

Best for Businesses: APC UPS 2200VA Smart-UPS with SmartConnect

APC 2200VA
What We Like
  • Remote monitoring

  • Power to spare

  • Green mode

What We Don't Like
  • Very expensive

  • Very heavy

Businesses have a different set of priorities when it comes to battery backup. Not only does a UPS need to provide enormous amounts of power, but it also needs to be able to be remotely monitored. The APC UPS 2200VA Smart-UPS with Smart connect allows you to monitor the UPS remotely, see power levels, see when the UPS has kicked in, and more through a secure remote portal. 

That battery in this unit is huge. It clocks in at 1980W and provides 51 minutes of runtime under a 500W load. That's enormous for individuals but rather small as a business application. That's why this unit clocks in at over $1000 and weighs over 100 pounds. All eight outlets on the back provide battery backup. Basically, this is the biggest, beefiest, most powerful UPS on the list, and it comes at a price. If you have servers to run or a remote support team, this is the UPS for you.

Outlets: 8 battery and surge protected, 2 surge-protected | Battery backup power: 2200VA/1980W | Sine Wave: Pure

Best for Networking and Other Devices: CyberPower CP800AVR

CP800AVR
What We Like
  • Widely spaced plugs

  • Vertical orientation

What We Don't Like
  • Short runtime

When you primarily want to stay online, but you can count on your laptop to power itself, we have the Cyperpower CP800AVR. While a UPS can be useful for keeping a computer alive and working, for those of us working on laptops, keeping the internet up is just as important. This UPS is designed more for keeping your networking gear up and running. The 7Ah is good for a runtime of 27 minutes at 100W. But if you're just running networking gear, you can stretch that out. If you're drawing 50W of power, you'll get over 90 minutes of power.

There are four plugs with battery backup and an additional four plugs with surge protection. The outlets are nicely spaced out so you can plug devices in with larger plugs (such as those that come with routers and modems). Automatic voltage regulation can fix minor power fluctuations without fully kicking in the battery power. That's better for your power consumption and overall battery health. You can stand the UPS up or lay it down depending on what's best for you.

Outlets: 4 battery and surge protected, 4 surge-protected | Battery backup power: 800VA/450W | Sine Wave: Simulated

Best Compact: APC 600VA UPS BE600M1 Battery Backup

APC UPS, 600VA UPS Battery Backup & Surge Protector, BE600M1
What We Like
  • Low price

  • Small size

  • Seven outlets

What We Don't Like
  • Some plugs not spaced out

If you're working at home, in a dorm, or someplace where space is at a premium, a compact UPS is just what the doctor ordered. The APC BE600M1 gives you 23 minutes of runtime at 100W. Of course, a full-blown desktop will drain the battery in minutes, but according to our reviewer Jeremy, you'll have enough time to save your work and power off. He also noted that the UPS "switches to battery backup so fast that I never lost my internet connection." That's an important consideration, especially if you're working from home. 

This is designed to sit on a table, which gives you easy access to your plugs. Some of the plugs are pretty close together, while others are spaced apart. You'll need to put some thought into plug placement with this unit. There's also a  USB-A port for charging your mobile devices at 1.5A. That's a nice addition, but in 2021, we'd like to see a USB-C port here.

Outlets: 5 battery and surge protected, 2 surge-protected | Battery backup power: 600VA/330W | Sine Wave: Simulated

“This UPS fits easily under a desk, awesome for small offices in an apartment, like mine. The inclusion of a USB port is also helpful for phones and cameras.”Katie Dundas, Tech Writer

APC Back-UPS BE600M1

Lifewire / Jeremy Laukkonen

Best for Gamers: APC Gaming UPS

APC Gaming UPS
What We Like
  • RGB lighting

  • Lots of ports

  • Large battery

What We Don't Like
  • Expensive

Nothing says "gamers" like a UPS with built-in RGB lighting and 900W of power. The APC Gaming UPS brings exactly that with ten total outlets. There are five outlets with battery backup and five with just surge protection. Under a full load, you'll get three minutes of backup. A half load increases that to twelve minutes. Our reviewer Erica fired up a mid-range gaming PC and LCD monitor and pulled only 14 percent of the capacity which lasted around 40 minutes, including 30 minutes of gaming. That's more than enough to finish up your game, save, and shut down.

The software for the APC also allows some neat tricks like automatic power shut down of your computer in the event of a power loss. Our reviewer had a storm knock out her power, and she was pleased to find the computer had shut itself down when she awoke the next morning. If you have a high-end gaming rig, the last thing you want is for a power loss to mess things up. This gives you peace of mind that even if you're away, your PC will be just fine. If you're gaming who values your gear, this is a good option for you with the RGB ring the icing on the cake.

Outlets: 6 battery backup, 4 surge-protected | Battery backup power: 1500VA/900W | Sine Wave: Pure

"The customizable RGB lighting on the reactor circle can match any RGB lighting you have on your rig or peripherals, and there’s an additional RGB light on the back of the UPS that provides a glow." Erika Rawes, Product Tester

APC Gaming UPS

Lifewire / Erika Rawes

Final Verdict

When it comes to the best overall UPS, we recommend the APC Back-UPS Pro 1500VA UPS (view at Amazon). It impressed us with reliability, plenty of power outlets for your home or office needs, and an easy-to-read screen. We also love the Tripp Lite AVR750U (view at Amazon), featuring 12 outlets and a USB port, a small, compact size, and reasonable pricing.

About Our Trusted Experts 

Katie Dundas is a freelance journalist and tech writer who has written for Lifewire since 2019. She has thoroughly researched all products reviewed here.

Jeremy Laukkonen is a tech writer and the creator of a popular blog and video game startup. He specializes in consumer technology, including uninterrupted power supplies.

Erika Rawes is a tech reviewer who's been writing for Lifewire since 2019. She is a consumer tech expert and tested the APC Gaming UPS on this list.

Adam Doud has been writing in the technology space for almost a decade. When he's not hosting the Benefit of the Doud podcast, he's playing with the latest phones, tablets, and laptops. When not working, he's a cyclist, geocacher, and spends as much time outside as he can.

FAQs

How big of a UPS do you need?

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

Can you replace the battery on your UPS and how long will it last?

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. However, this isn't standard for every UPS.

What will benefit the most from a UPS?

Just about any appliance can benefit from being connected to a UPS, but items that should absolutely be tethered to a UPS are any sensitive electronics. These can be TVs, home theater receivers, or computer desktops. While a UPS can effectively act as a power strip for any appliance, prioritizing anything that might be 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, home security systems, cordless phones tied to a landline.

What's the difference between pure sine wave or stepped sine wave battery?


There are two kinds of battery backups that you can buy. Those are pure sine wave and stepped (or modified) sine wave battery backups. A battery stores direct current (DC) which is great for powering things like your car, or your mobile devices. Anything you plug into the wall with a plug runs on alternating current or AC. In order for a battery to power a device designed for alternating current, it needs to provide power in a sine wave. 

A pure sine wave has a much cleaner output and 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. 

With modified or stepped sine wave output, motors will run hotter, and devices like computers will run less efficiently. However, Pure wine wave batteries tend to cost at least double what a modified sine wave backup will cost. In the case of a UPS, which is typically used for computer equipment, we recommend using a battery backup that produces a pure sine wave whenever possible. 

However, in the case of a UPS, the type of sine wave output specified only matters in the event of a power loss. Even if you have a UPS with a modified sine wave, when your UPS is running on external power, it will output the pure sine wave of the power grid. If you lose power very infrequently, and you're on a budget, you can probably get away with a modified sine wave, but we recommend shutting down your computer as quickly as possible in the event of a power loss.

APC 600VA UPS BE600M1

Lifewire / Jeremy Laukkonen

What to Look For in an Uninterrupted Power Supply 

Compatibility

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.

On-Battery Runtime

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.

Device Support

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. 

APC Back-UPS Pro 1500VA

Lifewire / Jeremy Laukkonen

Portability

Some UPS devices are crafted for home or business use, while others are built for travel and the outdoors. If you’ll 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. 

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