Jeremy Laukkonen is automotive and tech writer for numerous major trade publications as well as the creator of a popular blog and video game startup. A fan of EVs since the early 2000s, he stays up-to-date on the myriad complex systems that power battery electric vehicles.
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Lifewire / Jeremy Laukkonen
Good battery capacity
No way to control the alarm without the software
Only four battery-backed outlets
Software can be inaccurate
The Cyberpower CP685AVRG is great for light usage, but don’t let its size and heft fool you into thinking it will run power-hungry equipment like a high end computer.
The Cyberpower CP685AVRG is an uninterruptible power supply (UPS) that’s designed for fairly light use. It features eight power outlets, including four that are battery backed, and it packs a 7AH battery that’s capable of supplying 390 watts, so it has a lot of potential uses around the home or office.
The closest UPS I have in my own office is an old APC Back-UPS BGE90M, which I use to keep my networking equipment up and running. Since the CP685AVRG has a slightly better battery and easily outclasses my old APC in terms of wattage, I slotted the Cyberpower unit into my system to see how it works in real-world conditions. Over the course of about a week I tested how well it works in normal operation, how well it switches over during simulated brownouts, and how well it’s able to handle an extended load during a simulated power outage.
The Cyberpower CP685AVRG is big, and blocky, and not much to look at, but it isn’t really designed with aesthetics in mind. It’s essentially a squat slab of black plastic that conveniently features all the outlets, controls, and indicator lights on the top of the unit. The limited controls and indicators are in the middle, with the battery-backed outlets running down the left side and the other four on the right. All eight outlets are surge protected, which means this unit essentially acts as an eight outlet surge protector combined with a four outlet UPS.
While all of the outlets, controls, and indicators are located on the top of the device, the side with the power cord also features two interface options, in the form of a serial connector and a USB Type B connector, and a single red LED. In the event that an internal wiring failure causes the unit to malfunction, this LED will light up.
While you can technically stand this unit up on one end like a tower, it isn’t really designed for that, and doing so with anything plugged in would likely cause it to fall over. It does include mounting slots on the back though, meaning that you can mount the unit on a wall to get its cumbersome bulk up out of the way.
Basic setup is incredibly simple with this UPS, as it’s pretty much ready to go out of the box. The battery is already connected, so all you have to do is plug it in and allow it to fully charge. After that, you can plug in your devices and start using it.
If you want access to additional functionality, like the ability to disable the alarm or view the remaining battery charge, then you have to connect the unit to a Windows PC and install Cyberpower’s UPS monitoring software. This step isn’t absolutely necessary, but it is recommended.
Basic setup is incredibly simple with this UPS, as it’s pretty much ready to go out of the box.
The Cyberpower CP685AVRG doesn’t include a display. Instead, it has a power light, a fault light, and a wiring fault light. These LEDs are capable of conveying basic troubleshooting information in the event of a hardware failure, but you have to install Cyberpower’s UPS monitoring software if you want to be able to see how much power is left in the battery, disable the alarm, or do anything else with this UPS other than turn it on and off.
This unit looks like it has a bunch of outlets at first glance, but first impressions can be deceiving. Only four of the eight outlets are backed up by the battery, and that’s further limited by the amount of power that this UPS is capable of putting out at once. With a maximum rated output of 390 watts, you’re unlikely to need all eight outlets at once unless you’re plugging in fairly low power equipment.
The power outlets are the beginning and end in terms of sockets and ports that are capable of delivering power. The Cyberpower CP685AVRG doesn’t have any USB charging outlets or any other power outputs. It does have a serial connector and and a USB B port, but they’re both for data transfer in the event that you decide to connect to a Windows PC for additional device management options.
The Cyberpower CP685AVRG comes with a 12V/7AH sealed lead acid battery, and it’s capable of providing 390 watts of power. That’s pretty much in line with other devices in this general price range, although it may be deceptively low if you aren’t familiar with UPS battery backups.
For most of the time I spent with the CP685AVRG, I had my Netgear CM1000 gigabit modem, Eero Pro Mesh Wi-Fi router, and a full-sized Echo plugged in. Together, those devices draw about 40 watts, which is well within the capabilities of this UPS. Over the week I spent testing this unit, it kept my network up and running flawlessly.
Over the week I spent testing this unit, it kept my network up and running flawlessly.
In order to step things up a bit, I simulated short brownouts by flipping the appropriate circuit breaker, and longer power outages by leaving the circuit off for extended periods of time. The CP685AVRG was able to switch to battery power fast enough that I never dropped my connection, and it was able to keep everything running for well over an hour with the power turned off.
While it’s clear that this UPS is great at handling fairly small loads, I also put it to a harder test by plugging in a barebones workstation I have around for testing purposes. There’s no way this UPS could handle my main rig, but it was able to keep a 300-watt workstation running for a couple minutes, which is all you should need to panic save any work in progress and shut down.
The only issue I ran into when using it with the computer was that the monitoring software said it would be able to last a lot longer than it actually did. There was probably some kind of unwanted interaction between the power supply and the UPS, so keep in mind that the reported time to shut down might be shorter than reported in some cases.
The CP685AVRG was able to switch to battery power fast enough that I never dropped my connection, and it was able to keep everything running for well over an hour with the power turned off.
This unit doesn’t have any USB charging ports or any other sort of built-in chargers. You can plug any charger you want into the power outlets and expect your devices to charge just as quickly as they would when plugged into the wall, but the limited amount of juice in the battery means this UPS isn’t really suited for use as a charger in the event of a power outage.
With an MSRP of $80, and typically selling for between $68 and $80, the CP685AVRG is priced a little on the high end in comparison to similar hardware. It isn’t completely out of line, but there is enough of a disconnect between the price and features to make it worth checking out the competition before you pull the trigger.
Typically retailing in the $40 to $60 range, the APC Back-UPS BE600M1 is a slightly weaker UPS than the CP685AVRG, but it makes up for that with extra functionality. The BE600M1 has slightly less battery capacity, and a slightly lower wattage output, and it also only has seven total outlets. Five of those outlets are battery backed, though, and it also includes a built-in USB charging port. It also has a more convenient form factor, making it easier to use in a wider variety of circumstances.
The CP685AVRG is the right choice if you need that little bit of extra juice, or if you want to hang your UPS on the wall. If you don’t, then the APC Back-UPS BE600M1 is definitely worth a look.
A basic UPS that gets the job done.
The Cyberpower CP685AVRG is a fairly basic UPS that doesn’t pack in any extra features, and it’s a little expensive based on the features you do get. It does get the job done though, which makes it a fine choice if you’re in need of a UPS that provides this specific power output and don’t mind that it’s only capable of running at full power for a couple minutes.
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