Three Different UPS Technologies

If you run a business, you know how much productivity and, ultimately, money even a relatively short power outage can cause. This is, of course, why many organizations with business-critical IT infrastructure have Uninterruptible Power Supplies, or UPS, to keep their infrastructure running through short power interruptions.

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With three main types of UPS, though, it can be unclear what you actually need. Here is a quick breakdown of some of the pros and cons of each type to help you make a decision for your business.

Standby UPS

Also known as an offline UPS, a standby UPS operates strictly as a back-up, being on the circuit ‘alongside’ your infrastructure rather than between a power source and your systems. When a loss of power is detected, the standby UPS switches from charging to outputting power, which is why it’s on ‘standby’.

Standby UPS are the cheapest type of UPS by a reasonable margin, but because they do not interact with normal power flow, there is no power conditioning component, meaning power surges or a variable current can cause outages or damage to systems.

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Line Interactive UPS

Line Interactive UPS are like standby UPS but offer some degree of power conditioning, keeping business-critical systems safer. Line Interactive Eaton UPS systems like those from are always charging from the mains and always discharging into the circuit, so there is never a break in power and most variations in current can be mitigated by the UPS.

Online/Double Conversion UPS

Online UPS are, as the name implies, on the same line as the systems they protect. Instead of being ‘alongside’ and picking up slack, power flows through the online UPS system, so all power being used by your systems is conditioned by the UPS, and there is never any change in power flow.

Which to Pick?

First, if you run a UPS alongside a generator system, the only choice is an online UPS. Generators provide variable-frequency power, so the power conditioning of an online UPS makes it the only choice.

In most cases, your choice will be dictated by price and required capacity. If you want to keep a POS system or similar running, the cheapest standby UPS will be perfect. For more capacity at more cost, line interactive UPS are perfect. Online UPS are the largest and most expensive but offer the most protection.

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