Purchasing a Battery Backup System

The Workbench Life: Baby Blogs

By Perry Miller for The Workbench Life

If you’ve ever worked on the computer when the power suddenly went out, you’re probably familiar with that sinking feeling in your stomach when you realize you haven’t saved your work. With a dark screen and no electricity, there’s nothing you can do but wait until power is restored so you can survey the damage. Unless you have a computer battery backup.

A battery backup, or a UPS battery backup (uninterruptible power source) is a device you plug your computer, monitor, printer and other equipment into. It supplies battery-based power for anywhere from several minutes to a few hours.

A computer battery backup offers a number of advantages. It provides immediate protection in the event of a power outage or surge, keeping your computer on so you can continue working or at least save your work and properly power down. It also helps maintain a consistent flow of electricity into your devices so they aren’t affected by electrical drops or surges, which can cause serious damage to your hard drive and other equipment.

There are three types of battery backups on the market: standby, line-interactive and online. Standby units feature a charged battery that springs into action when it detects an outage or surge. Line-interactives are similar, but also come with a transformer that is better equipped to deal with brownouts and power dips. Online units completely separate your devices from outside power sources, running continuously to filter electricity from the wall unit through the battery. Other differences are in the number of outlets/ports, displays, cable filters, and whether the batteries are user-replaceable or not.

There is a fairly wide range of prices among the different models of battery backups. For a basic 350 VA (volt-amp) unit, you might spend around $30, while a high-quality 1140 VA system can cost upwards of $450. Of course, there are many different models with prices that fall in the middle. For example, you can find a 700 VA computer battery backup for around $100, or a 425 VA for about $50.

When shopping for a battery backup, you need to select one that has enough power to run your equipment. To determine this, look at the wattage and VA of your computer and other devices, so you can choose a backup with higher specs that can provide sufficient power. Another factor is time, and whether you want a backup that will give you just enough to save your work, or whether you want more time to continue working.

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Perry Miller has been a successful freelance writer since graduating from Missouri
State University with a degree in journalism, has worked on dozens of home
renovation projects and is frequent contributor to The Workbench Life.