Power Conditioner Vs UPS: What Are The Differences?

The ultimate comparison between power conditioner vs ups.

The power conditioner and the uninterruptible power supply (UPS) both have the same function: stabilizing voltage. But there are some differences that you should know about before deciding which one is best for your needs.

Unfortunately, power outages are a part of life. They can happen for many reasons, and they can last anywhere from seconds to hours. So what should you do when the lights go out? 

You need to have an uninterruptible power supply (UPS) or a surge protector with battery backup in your home!

The question is which one is better? Below, I will discuss the difference between these two devices and why it’s important that you choose wisely.

Power Conditioner Vs UPS: Overview

In this part, I am going to share things about the overview of the UPS and power conditioners.

Uninterruptible power supply (UPS):

An uninterruptible power supply (UPS) provides emergency power to devices when the utility power fails. If either power source fails, the bridge acts as a regulator, maintaining the flow of electricity.

A UPS is typically used in computers and other devices that do critical work. There are many types of UPS systems, but they share the same purpose: ensuring that a device continues its work in a stable and consistent manner.

Types of UPS:

One of the most common types of UPS systems are:

Standby offline ups

1) Standby (offline): A standby (or offline) UPS system consists of a battery pack, an inverter, and some electrical distribution equipment. The inverter is typically located in a confined area, such as a utility room or equipment closet. 

This type of UPS is used to protect PCs, monitor equipment racks, telecommunication equipment, and control equipment.

Line-interactive ups

2) Line-interactive: A line-interactive UPS system consists of a battery pack, an inverter, and a voltage regulator. 

The line-interactive UPS system is designed to provide power as long as it is within certain operating specifications, even if the power quality is poor.

Online UPS

3) Online: An online UPS system consists of a battery pack, an inverter, and some electrical distribution equipment. The inverter is typically located in a confined area, such as a utility room or equipment closet. 

This type of UPS is used to protect PCs, monitor equipment racks, telecommunication equipment, and control equipment.

Power Conditioner:

A power conditioner is a device that provides proper power to an electrical load. The power it supplies may or may not be within the required voltage range.

It usually provides surge protection, filtering, and regulation methods such as line disturbance power factor correction methods, harmonic waveform distortion correction methods, and so on.

As well as protecting the equipment from surges, the power conditioner prolongs its lifespan by filtering radio frequency interference (RFI) and electromagnetic interference (EMI), both of which can harm the equipment.

Examples of equipment that need power conditioning are Voltage-sensitive equipment.

Voltage-sensitive equipment includes advanced life support medical devices, home offices, labs, networking gear, industrial control equipment, semiconductor fabrication equipment, servers, and storage equipment.

Also, there are many power management process, you can do using a power conditioner. So it’s better to use a power condition where it is appropriate.

Types Of Power Conditioners:

There are two main types of power conditioners:

1) AC power conditioner: An AC power conditioner doesn’t provide automatic voltage regulation or line disturbance power factor correction, but does provide surge protection and filtering.

AC power conditioner
Image source: Raymond Soo

This type of power conditioner is used in small-scale systems that have no or little power factor correction requirements. For example, a single rack of network gear in an enterprise wiring closet.

2) Power line conditioners: These use a three-phase high-power switching power supply to provide automatic voltage regulation, line disturbance power factor correction, and filtering.

Power line conditioner
Image source: CRUTCHFIELD

This type of power conditioner is best suited for large-scale systems. For example, data centers and other enterprise facilities have many racks of equipment.

Power Conditioner Vs UPS: Features Comparison

There are many differences between a power conditioner and a UPS. Below are the top common features comparison between a power conditioner and UPS.

Voltage Rating and Run-Time:

UPS (Uninterruptible Power Supply) provides voltage regulation, while power conditioners do not. Uninterruptible Power Supply has a higher Voltage rating and run-time compared to power conditioners.

Also, the power conditioner output voltage can vary a lot if it is overloaded, which is not the case with a UPS.

Inverter technology:

Unlike UPS inverters, Power Conditioners use switched-mode technology, which is cheaper to build and maintain. When you consider the inverter technology benefits, then the UPS is superior.

Power factor correction:

Power factor correction is only available with UPS systems. That’s why UPSs can produce an improved power factor, while power conditioners always have a poor power factor which is not suitable for power-sensitive devices. 

Noise:

UPS systems are typically used when you need to provide clean power, so there is no noise in the output of a UPS. Power Conditioners are cheaper to build, so they have a lot of noise in the output.

Run-Time:

UPS systems can run for a long time without any input signals, so they don’t need to be turned off. But if you use power conditioners, they will need to be turned off when there is no signal. That means, you can’t use power conditioners for remote-switch applications, while UPS systems can be used.

Performance monitoring:

Some UPS systems have performance monitoring features that provide run-time information. Also, you can monitor the battery voltage and current for providing the health status of the UPS system. 

Whereas, power Conditioners don’t have such features, but you can monitor a power conditioner by using a power quality monitor or a power meter.

Form factor:

UPSs are always larger and heavier than power conditioners, while some models of power conditioners can be very large. In this case, UPSs are more suitable for small-space installations.

User-replaceable batteries:

Most power conditioners don’t have user-replaceable batteries, while UPSs always have user-replaceable batteries. Why user-replaceable batteries? Because UPSs are used in remote-switch applications where you can’t get access when the power is off. So, when the battery is dead, you can replace the batteries without turning off the UPS.

Equipment protection policy:

UPS provides more protection for your equipment than power conditioners against short-term power failures or voltage transients. When you have expensive equipment, UPSs will be more appropriate.

Power conditioning devices and uninterruptible power supply (UPS) both provide output AC voltage regulation and voltage correction facilities. 

A UPS will provide a sustained backup time, whereas a power conditioner is used for short-term systems like data centers, automation systems, etc. 

Besides, UPS is suitable for remote-switching applications where power should be cut off without any interference. While power conditioners are suitable for short-duration systems.

Power Conditioner Vs UPS: Pros & Cons

Both devices are useful in different situations, but both have some pros and cons. So if you are new to these devices or want to know more information about them then you must read their pros and cons.

Uninterruptible Power Supply (UPS) PROS

  • Produce an improved power factor.
  • Power remains stable even when there is a sudden change in the load.
  • Produce a sinusoidal waveform.
  • Have user-replaceable batteries.
  • Provide longer backup time.
  • Can work on remote-switch applications. 

CONS:

  • They are large and heavy.
  • They are expensive.
  • Power Conditioners PROS:
  • Are cheaper than UPSs.
  • Lighter and smaller in size.
  • Not suitable for remote-switch applications.

Power Conditioners PROS:

  • Huge reduction of noise floor (no more loud hazy whirr)
  • Prevent your gear from getting fried (especially tube amps)
  • Your equipment will last longer (less stress on gear, therefore less failure)
  • High rated power conditioners work as a surge protector.

CONS:

  • Have a poor power factor that can’t be used for power-sensitive devices.
  • Produce a distorted waveform.
  • Have no user-replaceable batteries.
  • Do not protect against large power outages.
  • Some best power conditioners are much more expensive.

Power Conditioner Vs UPS: Popular Brand

Now you have a general idea about UPS vs Power Conditioners. But you should know some popular brands in this market to make a smart purchase decision.

Top 3 UPS & Conditioner Brands

  • APC: APC is a popular brand for power conditioners, UPSs, and also some other accessories. They always provide good products at a reasonable price.
  • CyberPower: CyberPower is very good for all types of power conditioners especially. You can get cheap and the best power conditioners from this brand.
  • Tripp-Lite: The Tripp-Lite is a little bit expensive as compared to others, but they produce some high-quality products. Their UPSs and power conditioners are durable and more efficient.

Best Power Conditioners

Best UPS (Uninterruptible Power Supply)

FAQs of Power Conditioners & UPS

What should you do to use a power conditioner before or after?

Ans: Before using a power conditioner, you must check the voltage and frequency of the output. If they are stable and within the range then it is good for use.

Whereas, UPS doesn’t need this checking, because UPS always provides stable voltage and frequency.

What is the difference between a power conditioner vs voltage regulator?

Ans: A power conditioner provides voltage regulation and filtering. It operates on the source, while a voltage regulator works only with the load.

What is the difference between a power conditioner vs surge protector?

Ans: Read this guide for power conditioners, but a surge protector only provides protection against the voltage that is above or below the normal range. You can read more about power conditioners vs surge protectors.

Summary

To sum up, power conditioners vs ups are widely available in the market. But if you want to get a high-quality product then you must choose the best one.

Check out the features and reviews of power conditioners and ups in the market if you’re uncertain which brand is best for your needs.

Now, I would like to end my discussion on power conditioners vs ups. If you find it helpful then do share it with your friends and family. Comment below if you want to ask anything about power conditioners vs ups. 

I will try to answer all your questions as soon as possible. Thank you for visiting my blog and stay tuned with me for more informative articles.

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