UPS System Buying Guide

Reliable battery backup and surge protection.

What is an Uninterruptible Power Supply (UPS)?

An uninterruptible power supply, also called a UPS system, combines a power cord, outlets, power protection, and a built-in battery. The UPS system plugs into your wall outlet, and your devices - such as computers and audio/video components - plug into the UPS system's outlets. Although a UPS system is sometimes called "a battery in a box," it's actually much more. UPS systems can protect and support equipment ranging from a small desktop computer to an entire data center filled with advanced servers and network equipment.

What does a UPS System do?

As long as the electricity stays on, the UPS system passes utility power to the devices connected to its outlets and keeps its internal battery charged. It also protects your devices from power problems it detects, such as power surges and abnormal voltages.

If the power goes out, the UPS system provides connected devices with backup power from its internal battery. This allows your equipment to stay on during a power outage, which is especially useful for devices like computers and DVRs that can lose data when they turn off unexpectedly.

Why do you need power protection?

It would be nice if utility power was always reliable, but it isn't. Between the aging electrical distribution grid, rising power demand, bad weather, and hazards lurking inside your own walls, your equipment is under constant attack from power problems.

Even a brief loss of power or a momentary surge can ruin your valuable equipment and destroy irreplaceable data.

Why is a UPS System a good investment?

For a fraction of the value of the equipment, data, and productivity it protects, a UPS system can prevent damage, downtime, and data loss. It conditions incoming AC power, protects against power problems, provides enough battery backup to outlast most outages, and may even be able to communicate with your computer so it automatically saves open files and shuts down gracefully during an extended outage.

SURGE AND NOISE PROTECTION: Surge protection and line noise filtering components shield your equipment from damage or disruption caused by lightning, surges, and electromagnetic (EMI/RFI) line noise.

VOLTAGE REGULATION: Voltage regulation ensures your equipment will receive voltages that won't cause damage or malfunctions. How the UPS system accomplishes this depends on the type of UPS system, with some types offering more protection than others.

BATTERY BACKUP: The internal battery keeps your connected equipment operating without interruption during a power outage. It also helps the UPS system protect your equipment from other hazards, such as extreme voltage problems.

How much power will your connected equipment require?

Make sure that the UPS can handle the total electrical load of the equipment that you want to connect to it. You can use our Load Calculator to determine your total load, and then choose a UPS with an Output Watt Capacity 20-25% higher than that total.

How much backup runtime do you need?

Runtime is the number of minutes that the UPS will be able to provide power from the battery when utility power fails. Runtime is important because it tells you how long your equipment will continue to run during a power outage before there's no more backup battery power.

Please note that adding more equipment to the UPS will result in a shorter runtime, while adding batteries will increase runtime.

What is the voltage of the equipment you're supporting?

In North America, the voltage used to power servers and networking equipment is typically 120V or 208/240V.

Europe and Asia typically provide 230V power.

Be sure that the UPS input plug matches the receptacles of your input power source.

LCD screen

Do you need an LCD screen?

An LCD screen may allow you to access the advanced features of the UPS system without using a computer. It can also display helpful information, such as input voltage or battery capacity. (Some UPS systems with multiple LEDs can also show this information, though less precisely.) The LCD screen typically has a backlight. If you plan to use the UPS system in a darkened home theater setting, make sure you can dim the backlight to minimize distractions.

Where do you plan to install the UPS System?

UPS Systems come in a variety of sizes and formats. The most common form factors are tower and rack-mount.

tower installation UPS system example

Tower models stand upright on the ground or on a desk/shelf, and are typically used in network workstations or desktop computer applications.

rackmount installation UPS system example

Rack-mount models can be mounted in standard 19" rack enclosures and can require anywhere from 1U to 12U (U=rack space). They are typically used in server and networking applications

What type of UPS System do you need?

UPS Systems have varying levels of protection, from basic battery backup and surge protection to on-line operation and zero transfer time to battery. View the chart below to select the type that meets your needs.

Feature & Benefit

Line-Interactive
On-Line
Ideal for: Small server racks, office networks Mission-critical equipment in
data centers and server rooms

Battery Backup
Emergency backup power for utility power outages

Surge Protection
Protection against power surges or spikes

Brownout Protection
Maintains safe voltage levels without using battery power

Overvoltage Protection
Keeps overvoltages from damaging connected equipment without using battery power

Pure Sine Wave Output
Perfect power for sensitive electronics

Fully Online Operation
Zero transfer time to battery

All Models in this Product Family have this feature
Some Models in this Product Family have this feature

How many receptacles should the UPS System have?

Make sure you have more outlets than the number you need to ensure room for future growth. Most rack-mount UPS applications will require a Power Distribution Unit (PDU) to accommodate extra equipment plugs.

rackmount UPS system receptacles

Do you need pure sine wave output?

When operating from battery power, a UPS system generates the waveform of its AC output. Many UPS systems generate an approximation of the pure sine wave power you receive from your electrical utility instead of a pure sine wave. Although this approximation is compatible with most equipment, pure sine wave power is required by some devices - such as computers with active PFC power supplies - and prevents others from overheating, malfunctioning, or failing prematurely. On-Line UPS Systems that provide pure sine wave power from battery may offer superior compatibility with sensitive equipment, such as networking hardware and high-end audio/video components.

Do you need any special features?

Extended Runtime

Select UPS Systems accept external battery packs that extend runtime during a blackout.

Hot-Swap Repair/Replacement

Do you need uptime even during maintenance? Hot-Swap UPS Systems have a detachable PDU with a manual bypass switch that enables live UPS repair or replacement.

Remote Power Management

The SNMPWEBCARD network management accessory turns any expansion slot-equipped UPS into a managed device on the network. Remotely monitor energy usage and reboot unresponsive equipment from anywhere.

Energy-Saving

The Eco-friendly UPS models reduce energy consumption and associated costs.

Communication Ports

Select UPS Systems have built-in USB, DB9, and/or contact closure communication ports that enable power management and automatic unattended shutdown via PowerAlert software.

Rackmount UPS Systems for Server Rooms & Data Centers

Tripp Lite SMART2200RMXL2U SmartPro line-interactive UPS system

SmartPro® Line-Interactive UPS Systems

Complete protection against all types of power problems, including brownouts, blackouts, surges and line noise.

Tripp Lite SU3000RTXL3U SmartOnline Single-Phase On-Line UPS system

SmartOnline™ Single-Phase On-Line UPS Systems

The highest level of protection for mission-critical equipment with pure sine wave output and zero transfer time to battery.

Tripp Lite SU40K SmartOnline 3-Phase On-Line UPS system

SmartOnline™ 3-Phase On-Line UPS Systems

Intelligent, network-grade protection for large 3-phase data centers with options for modular, scalable and flexible battery backup in a wide variety of networking applications.

What type of UPS System do you need?

UPS Systems have varying levels of protection, from basic battery backup and surge protection to Automatic Voltage Regulation (AVR) and pure sine wave output. View the chart below to select the type that meets your needs.

Feature & Benefit

Standby
Line-Interactive
Ideal for: Desktop computers, home networks Audio/video equipment, office networks, small server racks

Battery Backup
Emergency backup power for utility power outages

Surge Protection
Protection against power surges or spikes

Brownout Protection
Maintains safe voltage levels without using battery power

Overvoltage Protection
Keeps overvoltages from damaging connected equipment without using battery power

Pure Sine Wave Output
Perfect power for sensitive electronics

All Models in this Product Family have this feature
Some Models in this Product Family have this feature

How many receptacles should the UPS System have?

Make sure you have more outlets than the number you need to ensure room for future growth. Most rack-mount UPS applications will require a Power Distribution Unit (PDU) to accommodate extra equipment plugs.

tower UPS system receptacles
Some UPS Systems have surge-only outlets that do not supply battery backup, so make sure the UPS has enough battery-protected outlets for your equipment.

Do you need any special features?

Power Management

Select UPS Systems have built-in USB, DB9, and/or contact closure communication ports that enable power management and automatic unattended shutdown via PowerAlert software.

HID-enabled USB ports work with built-in power management and auto-shutdown features of Windows and Mac OS X.

Energy-Saving

The Eco-friendly UPS models reduce energy consumption and associated costs.

Data Line Surge Protection

Select UPS Systems offer surge protection for telephone/modem lines, Ethernet connections and/or cable/coaxial lines.

Surge-Only Outlets

Select UPS Systems have surge-only outlets that don't offer battery backup, but instead protect printers and peripherals from surges and line noise without draining the battery.

Desktop UPS Systems for Homes & Small Offices

Tripp Lite AVR750U UPS system

Internet Office®, ECO & AVR Series UPS Systems

Ultra-compact battery backup and surge protection for desktop PCs, workstations, audio/video equipment, gaming and other electronics.

Tripp Lite BCPRO600 UPS system

BC Pro® & BC Personal® UPS Systems

Protect connected electronics against power problems with extended support during longer blackouts.

Tripp Lite SMART1200LCD UPS system

OmniSmart™, VS Series, SmartPro® USB & LCD UPS Systems

Complete protection against all types of power problems, including brownouts, blackouts, surges and line noise.

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