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Best UPS Battery Backups of 2022


More frequent storms and overloaded utility grids are challenging the reliability of our power, which makes uninterruptible power supply (UPS) battery backups a good idea — especially for anyone who works from home or wants the ability to keep gaming through power blips. The number of units to choose from is vast, so we found the best units for whatever situation you find yourself in. Through a combo of hands-on testing and deep-dive research, we rounded up the best UPS battery backups on the market today. 

Best Overall: CyberPower CP1500PFCLCD
Best Budget: APC BE600M1
Best for Home Networks: CyberPower CP1500AVRLCD
Best for Gaming: APC BGM1500 Gaming UPS
Best Small: CyberPowerSX650U

How We Selected the Best UPS Battery Backups

The best UPS backup batteries are the ones you don’t notice. Ideally, they should fade into the background — until the power fails. We read through pro and user reviews, watched explainer videos, and hopped into forums to get a gauge of which units satisfy the most people. While there are a number of companies that make UPS backups, we found that two tend to have the highest satisfaction rate when it comes to consumer units: CyberPower and APC. Both have been in the UPS business for over 25 years

We acquired the two larger CyberPower units to test, our top pick, the CP1500PFCLCD, and our home network pick, the CP1500AVRLCD. For both, I recreated a typical use-case scenario with a PS4, smart TV, and modem/router for the CP1500PFCLCD and a PC, monitor, speaker, PS5, and router for the CP1500AVRLCD. 

Looking at battery capacity, topology, price, and user-reported satisfaction, our research led us to a UPS pick for gaming and our budget pick (the APC BGM1500, and APC BE600M1, respectively) plus a reliable small-sized unit for those who just need a little UPS mojo. 

Best Overall: CyberPower CP1500PFCLCD

Most Powerful. CyberPower

Why It Made the Cut: Packing an impressive amount of battery power into an easy-to-use unit, the CyberPower CP1500PFCLCD delivers pure sine wave power that’s ideal for computers and gaming equipment. 

Specs:
Waveform Type: Sine wave
Number/Type of Ports: One USB-C, one USB-A, 12 NEMA 5-15R (standard residential 3-prong), in/out Ethernet surge protection ports
Maximum Load, Maximum Runtime: 1000W (watts), 2.5 minutes
Minimum Load, Maximum Runtime: 50W, 100 minutes
Capacity: 1500VA / 1000W
Operation: Line-interactive
Battery Type: Replaceable lead acid 

Pros:
— Emits sine wave power for sensitive computers and equipment
— Includes USB ports for powering smaller devices
— Bypass power design for more energy-efficient operation when power is stable
— Impressive battery life 

Cons:
Heavy and large tower format  

Power protection is CyberPower’s stock-in-trade. The company supplies data centers, corporate IT departments, and even government facilities with uninterruptible power supply equipment, and the units they offer to the general public for home use are fully-featured and known for their reliability. We tried out the CP1500PFCLCD and it easily made our pick for best overall UPS backup. 

CP1500PFCLCD is a bit of a mouthful, but breaking it down reveals a lot about what the unit offers. CP is just CyberPower, no surprises there. 1500 stands for the VA (volt-ampere) rating of the unit, with 1500 being the most powerful in this series, aka the longest battery life in the event of a power outage. PFC stands for “power factor correction” and indicates that the unit’s pure sine wave power output is optimized to work with more sensitive equipment that incorporate active PFC in their design — like high-end computers and gaming consoles. LCD simply means it has an easy-to-read LCD screen to tell you important things like how much power you have left. 

And it’s a good amount of power. With its big, 9 amp-hour battery, when the power goes out you can get anywhere from 100 minutes to 2.5 minutes of backup power, depending on what you’re running. 

I plugged a PS4, a 42-inch Samsung smart TV, and a cable modem (approximately 275 watts total) into the battery-supported ports and started up an online multiplayer game. In the middle of a high-action mission (ie, a larger power-draw situation), I cut the power… and nothing happened. Which is exactly the point. The unit gave off a double beep to indicate it had switched to battery power and the game, TV, and modem all continued to operate exactly as if it were on grid power. The estimated run time readout indicated I had 35 minutes left. It was more than enough time to clear out enemies, collect the loot, complete the quest, and then properly log off and shut everything down. With the PS4 off, I got an estimated 75 minutes of run time just watching the TV alone. Enough to finish up that “Stranger Things” episode before you start lighting candles. 

Keep in mind that the unit takes up to eight hours to fully recharge the batteries, so you may not want to drain it too much, since you never know when you’ll get power back. Keeping a little reserve will let you charge/use your phone and tablet (via the USB-C and USB-A plugs up front) and potentially keep your wifi running (provided your provider doesn’t go dark). 

In addition to those two front-facing USBs, the CP1500PFCLCD has 12 total 3-prong outlet plugs available. Six protect your equipment from power surges only. The remaining six provide surge protection and battery backup. The plugs are nicely spaced with two given extra space to accommodate bulky transformer plugs.

The unit is rather big, crazy heavy (25 pounds), and has to stand upright, so make some space for it. But once in place, it will passively stand by while waiting for the worst (power-wise) to happen. And when it does, you’ll have protected equipment and enough power to shut things down (and maybe take out a mutant or two before you do).

Best Budget: APC BE600M1

In a Pinch. APC

Why It Made the Cut: For less than $100, APC’s BE600M1 will protect a basic home office or simple entertainment setup, offering enough battery power for shutdowns.   

Specs:
Waveform Type: Simulated sine wave
Number/Type of Ports: One USB-A, seven NEMA 5-15R (3-prong)
Maximum Load, Maximum Runtime: 330W, 3 minutes
Minimum Load, Maximum Runtime: 33W, 82 minutes
Capacity: 600VA / 330W
Operation: Standby
Battery Type: Replaceable lead acid 

Pros:
— Affordable backup battery protection
— USB port for phones and tablets
— Three outlets positioned with extra space for larger plugs
— Sleek upright form
— Great runtimes for the price and size

Cons:
Not big enough for heavyweight or gaming computers

If you’ve simply got a home office setup and need the option to keep working through a blackout, the APC BE600M1 will power your router/modem, provide juice for your phone, and keep your laptop from running out of battery — all for under 100 bucks. Like CyberPower, APC is a familiar brand to corporate IT departments, supplying backup power and other pro data center products. As far as consumer UPS units go, they made their first one back in 1988 (when maybe one in ten US homes even had a computer) so they’ve got some experience. 

The desk-friendly BE600M1 model has been around for over 10 years, racking up devoted users and thousands of five-star reviews, impressing the majority of devotees with its out-of-the-box seamlessness. Plug it in and it just works, turning iffy utility power into a steady, reliable WFH experience. It has a run time of three minutes at the max load (330 watts), which is enough to shut things down properly, but if you’re only running a modem and router plus a laptop (or even a lightweight/all-in-one desktop), you’re probably only drawing 100 watts, which will give you a good 20 minutes, enough to wrap up that email or keep working through periodic outages. 

Of the seven outlets, a generous five are protected by both battery backup and surge, with an additional two protected by surge only. There’s a single USB-A port up top and the outlets are spaced to allow for a couple of bulky transformer plugs. Mounting holes on the back let you attach it to a wall, where it can inconspicuously sit by and wait for the storm. 

Best for Home Networks: CyberPower CP1500AVRLCD 

Great Value. CyberPower

Why It Made the Cut: Delivering a great battery runtime even with a lot of equipment plugged in, the CP1500AVRLCD gives you plenty of port options to reliably cover your home network.  

Specs:
Waveform Type: Simulated sine wave
Number/Type of Ports: Twelve NEMA 5-15R (3-prong), in/out coax surge protector, in/out Ethernet surge protector
Maximum Load, Maximum Runtime: 900W, 2 minutes
Minimum Load, Maximum Runtime: 50W, 175 minutes
Capacity: 1500VA / 1000W
Operation: Line-interactive
Battery Type: Replaceable lead acid 

Pros:
— Generous battery runtime for a full home network
— Ample outlets and ports
— Comparably affordable price tag
— Efficient and reliable plug-and-play operation

Cons:
— No USB outlets  

Testing CyberPower’s CP1500AVRLCD answered a couple common UPS-related questions: One, would a simulated sine wave output successfully power a higher-end PC? (Yes.) And two, would the simulated sine wave cause the speakers to emit noise, buzz, or interference? (No.) 

To test, I plugged in everything on and around my desk, using the six battery- and surge-supported outlets for a monitor, ASUS PC, speakers, PS5, modem/router, and a lamp. With everything powered on and running hard, the load registered just over 750 watts. That’s about the max you’d want to run. Though the unit is rated to 900 watts, you generally want to stay around or below 80 percent of that. I don’t generally plan to run both a console and PC at the same time, so the load was typically much less (175 watts for PS5, monitor, speakers, and modem; 500 watts for PC, monitor, speakers, and modem).  

Each time the power was cut, the unit seamlessly switched to battery power and everything continued running without a hitch. Though my speakers aren’t terribly high-end (Bose desktops) there was no noticeable buzz. 

The estimated runtime readouts fairly matched the estimates on CyberPower’s website, with about eight minutes at full load, 12 minutes running the PC etc., and 30 minutes on the console setup. It was enough time to finish up whatever I was doing and shut things down. 

The CP1500AVRLCD has 12 outlets total, with six devoted to surge protection plus battery backup and six providing surge protection only. A USB plug or two up front would be nice for charging smaller devices like a phone without needing to use one of the outlets, but it’s a minor lack. Especially for a price tag that hits comfortably below the $200 mark.

Best for Gaming: APC BGM1500 Gaming UPS

Steady Power. APC

Why It Made the Cut: Delivering pure sine wave power, plenty of ports, and a durable battery, APC’s GM1500 gives clean power to gaming systems while delivering a comparatively lengthy runtime when utility power fails. 

Specs:
Waveform Type: Sine wave
Number/Type of Ports: Ten NEMA 5-15R (3-prong), in/out coax surge protector, in/out Ethernet surge protector
Maximum Load, Maximum Runtime: 900W, 4 minutes
Minimum Load, Maximum Runtime: 90W, 84 minutes
Capacity: 1500VA / 900W
Operation: Line-interactive
Battery Type: Replaceable lead-acid 

Pros:
— Delivers sine wave power to delicate systems
— Attractive design in black or white with custom LEDs
— Large battery capacity for generous runtime
— Ample ports and plugs

Cons:
— Expensive

A company can slap a “gaming” label on any product they want. Doesn’t necessarily make it the best thing for gamers. But the BGM1500 from APC is popular with serious gamers because of its combo of great design and steady reliability. What impresses first is the look. Available in either black or white — sorry, Midnight or Arctic — the unit has built-in RGB LED lights, so you can match your gaming station theme. 

The max 900-watt capacity should handle a fairly deluxe gaming setup. Plug in your PC tower, monitor, router, and modem, and you’ll probably be around the 780 mark (that’s assuming a power-hungry PC using 600 watts, 150 watts for your monitor, another 20 watts for the router, and 10 watts for your modem). At that rate, you’ll get a little over six minutes of battery runtime after a power outage. If you’re gaming on a console, that time jumps up to about 18 minutes (assuming a typical 200-watt usage for an Xbox Series X or a PS5). 

When you’re not dealing with a power outage, the pure sine waveform and line interactive system deliver clean stable power to your rigs, smoothing out power delivery which can potentially extend the life of your equipment. 

The BGM1500 offers a total of ten three-pronged outlets, and six of them are surge plus battery protection. The four surge-only outlets will work great for your monitor light bars, lamps, and speakers (just go dark and use headphones during an outage to extend runtime). Up front you get three USB plugs (two USB-A and one USB-C) for your phone, tablet, and other peripherals.

A small but genius feature is the LED light in the back of the unit. Illuminating those outlets is such a great idea, since many gamer caves are pretty dark — especially during a blackout.

Best Small: CyberPower SX650U

Clutch Player. CyberPower

Why It Made the Cut: If you just need a little extra backup from something that doesn’t take up a lot of space, CyberPower’s SX650U is a tiny workhorse that will serve you well. 

Specs:
Waveform Type: Simulated sine wave
Number/Type of Ports: Eight NEMA 5-15R (3-prong), two USB-A
Maximum Load, Maximum Runtime: 300W, 3 minutes
Minimum Load, Maximum Runtime: 5W, 364 minutes
Capacity: 650VA / 360W
Operation: Standby
Battery Type: Technician-replaceable lead acid 

Pros:
— Extra affordable backup UPS
— Compact size
— Ample plugs and outlets 

Cons:
— Battery not user replaceable
— Low wattage capacity    

Just want to keep your laptop and modem going when the power fails? CyberPower’s SX650U doesn’t take up much more space than a large surge protector/power strip, but will give you 20 minutes of runtime at 100 watts. That’s about what a laptop and modem/router will draw. Consider that the new iMac or an Acer C24 All-In-One will only draw a few more watts, and this gives you a great WFH backup for many lightweight setups. 

There are eight total outlets, four for surge only and four protecting your equipment with surge and battery support. You also get two USB-A plugs for phones and tablets. Like the budget pick above, the SX650U uses the less-expensive simulated sine wave output and standby UPS topology. Both of which are generally fine for standard home office situations. 

Obviously this isn’t going to work for giant setups. The only other drawback is that the battery, while replaceable, requires a professional to install. Given that most UPS batteries have about a four-year lifespan, that might factor into your buying decision. But given a price tag that hovers just above the $50 mark, you probably won’t have to deliberate too long. 

Things to Consider Before Buying a UPS Battery Backup 

UPS battery backup is a bit of a redundant term — uninterruptible power supply implies a battery — but it helps distinguish these from the shipping company. Here are a few other terms to know when you’re deciding which UPS unit will best get you through less-than-ideal power supply situations.  

True Sine Wave or Simulated Sine Wave: Bottom line, one is more expensive. Energy from utility companies arrives at your home in an alternating current (AC), meaning the current fluctuates in polarity. If you mapped out that current, it would look like smooth (sine) waves. Batteries, like UPS batteries, supply direct current (DC) with no waves. 

To supply a current that home electronics like to run on, a DC battery can either simulate the AC waves by producing peaks and valleys in the current, or by running the DC current through an inverter that converts the power to an AC current. While debates rage on across the internet as to whether simulated sine waves are dirt terrible or perfectly fine, a good rule of thumb is to opt for the pricier sine wave tech for your high-end computers and equipment. In our tests, a PS5 and an ASUS gaming PC were perfectly happy running on the simulated sine wave from the CyberPower CP1500AVRLCD. Your mileage may vary.   

UPS Topology Standby, Line-Interactive, and Double Conversion: Topology simply refers to the way a UPS unit operates. Again, the biggest difference you’ll notice is price. Standby (also called off-line) UPS units are the least expensive, double conversion (also called online) topology is typically reserved for specialized professional-grade tech, and line-interactive sits in the middle.  

With standby UPS units, your equipment is fed power directly from your utility company until there’s a power loss, at which point the unit switches to battery. There’s sometimes a tiny lag. Double conversion or online takes every drop of incoming power and converts it to deliver optimal voltage to the equipment, typically only necessary for mission-critical operations and aren’t often used in home situations. Line-interactive is a good middle ground, layering on automatic voltage regulation (AVR) with the standard surge protection and battery backup of a UPS unit. 

Shutdown Software: All the UPS units we covered offer some form of software that will perform a proper, or “graceful,” shutdown of your computer if the power happens to go out when you’re gone and your computer is on. Check the manufacturers’ websites to download the corresponding software for your unit. 

FAQs

Q: How big of a UPS do you need?

You need a UPS that will handle the equipment you want to power during a blackout or power failure. Look at the typical wattage use of each piece of equipment. Laptops generally use around 55 watts. Newer all-in-one computers use around 80 watts and custom gaming PCs can use 600 to 1,000 watts or more. Routers and modems typically consume between 10 and 20 watts. And gaming consoles generally gobble between 150 and 200 watts during game play. 

Add up the watt usage of the equipment you want to support with the battery and compare it to the capacity of the UPS. Ideally, your total watts should be about 80 percent of the unit’s capacity. For example, a UPS unit rated to 900 watts should only carry a load of around 720 watts. 

Q: What will benefit the most from a UPS?

What will benefit the most from a UPS are home offices, entertainment setups, and gaming stations. In the event of a power failure or momentary blackouts, the UPS battery backup will switch on and continue to power your equipment such as computers, modems, routers, TVs, and consoles. The extra battery power can last anywhere from two minutes to over an hour, depending on the load.  

Q: How long will a UPS battery backup last?

A UPS battery backup can last many years, as long as you replace the battery at least every five years. Three to five years is the standard lifespan of a UPS battery, but most are user-replaceable. Of our five picks, four are user-replaceable and one (the small unit pick) requires professional replacement. 

Q: How does UPS battery backup work?

A UPS battery backup works by providing battery power to any item you have plugged into the “battery-supported” outlets on the UPS unit (typically half the outlets on a unit are battery-supported). A UPS battery backup also provides surge protection in the event of power fluctuation. Some units, with an online or line-interactive operation also smooth out the power coming from the utility grid during daily operation. 

Final Thoughts

CyberPower is a major player in the UPS backup battery arena, and they prove their worth with the CP1500PFCLCD. Our tests saw plenty of power to ride you through blips in the grid, or at least let you finish up your current task at hand, while protecting everything from surges and keeping quiet the whole time. 

Futurism may receive a portion of sales on products linked within this post.



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