What is the Difference Between UPS and Battery Backup?

2 min read
6/17/22 10:57 AM

It's common to assume that uninterruptible power supply (UPS) and battery backup are the same things, but they are very different. UPS refers to an advanced version of battery backup, another way of saying it is, that all the uninterruptible power supplies are battery backups but with higher protection rates. We will dive into some differences below. 

Battery Backup

Battery backup is applied to plugged-in devices like computers to minimize the harmful effects of power-related issues. When a surge occurs, or an outage occurs the battery backup will kick in instantaneously to power the machine for a short amount of time. If using a computer, the battery backup will be used to store files properly and ensure the computer is shut down correctly.

Battery backups are a solution to protect your investments in computers and other devices. Battery size will determine how long your devices can stay on.

Uninterruptible Power Supply

UPS has more advanced technology than the traditional battery backup. It can sometimes be difficult to tell a “true” UPS because some manufacturers will label a battery backup system as a UPS even if it doesn't have a switching system.

An uninterruptible power supply powers devices plugged in the UPS directly at the battery. The power charges the battery in standby situations and when necessary the battery feeds power to the electronics. Instead of waiting around and supplying power when it is needed, a true UPS always delivers power from a reservoir of clean power.

Possessing more functions, the UPS can protect against power surges, drops in voltage, brownouts, blackouts, and other power supply issues. Like previous battery backups, uninterruptible power supplies will keep your devices running depending on the size of the battery and how much power the device is requiring.

Difference Between UPS and Battery Backups

Both UPS and battery backups offer protection to devices with power problems like surges and power sags. Both options will protect against

  • Harming the internal parts
  • Corrupting the operating system
  • Corrupting unsaved data

However, there is a big difference between UPS and battery backups.

  • The process of filtering power
    • Brownouts, flickering power, and power surges don't always trigger a battery backup. But with a UPS, that power will be filtered and ensure a consistent power supply to important devices that need to continue running and processing.
  • UPS runs power AC whereas batteries store and charge at DC
    • The UPS converts AC to DC for charging, but batteries discharge as DC too whereas you need AC for appliances. Even if power fails the UPS will still convert DC to AC.
  • There are far more categories for battery backups with far more options each giving different features and advantages than others. Whereas UPS is typically classified into offline UPS, line-active UPS, and online UPS.

How to Make a Choice on UPS and Battery Backup

Battery backups are typically recommended for PCs and other computers with low investments. So, residential homes and small-sized offices. This is because battery backups are usually less expensive. It doesn't make sense to spend the same amount on a computer as you would a UPS if your computer is only used for leisure activities.

A UPS is recommended for more critical devices. Such as a corporate server. A UPS system can be vital for a business or data center. While a UPS system is more expensive than a battery backup, investing in a high-quality UPS system will provide far more protection.

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