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Power Conditioner vs UPS: How Exactly Do They Differ?

Power Conditioner vs UPS
Written by Jamie Masterson

Power conditioners and uninterruptible power supplies (UPS) have the same function: to stabilize the voltage. However, before choosing which one is right for you, you should be aware of some differences.

Is one better than the other? Here we will tell you how these two devices differ and why you should make a wise decision.

What’s a power conditioner?

Mainly designed to be used in laboratories, industrial, and research settings, a power conditioner buffers the connection between your system and the outlet.

It works to smooth out the fluctuations of voltage and electromagnetic interference that can wreak havoc on system performance.

Advantages and Disadvantages of a Power Conditioner

 Advantages

  • The noise floor has been greatly reduced
  • Avoid frying your gear (particularly tube amps)
  • There will be less wear and tear on the gear
  • An effective surge protector is a power conditioner with a high rating

Disadvantages

  • Power-sensitive devices cannot be used because they have a poor power factor
  • Make a distorted waveform
  • You cannot replace batteries
  • Power outages of a large scope are not protected
  • The premium ones are expensive

Power Conditioners Come In Different Types

AC power conditioner

AC power conditioner

An AC power conditioner cannot automatically regulate the voltage or correct the power factor of a line, but it can filter and protect against surges.

A power conditioner of this type is used for smaller power systems without or with some power factor correction requirements. For example, in an enterprise wiring closet, one rack of network equipment.

Power line conditioners

Power line conditioners

These use a high-power supply in three phases to give you automatic regulation of the voltage and line disturbance power filtering and correction.

The power conditioner of this type is best suited to large systems. For example, an enterprise facility with several equipment racks or a data center.

What’s a UPS?

Uninterruptible power supplies enable computers to continue running for a limited time after the power goes out. UPS systems also protect power surges.

UPS devices contain batteries that take over when the primary source of power is lost.

Advantages and Disadvantages of a UPS

Advantages and disadvantages of a UPS

Advantages

  • Enhances the power factor
  • Even when the load suddenly changes, the power remains stable
  • A sinusoidal waveform is created
  • The user can replace batteries
  • Provides a longer backup period
  • Works with remote-switching applications

Disadvantages

  • Their size and weight make them heavy
  • Costs are high

There are several types of UPS

Backup/standby/battery

Backup/standby/battery

In standby (or offline) UPS systems, batteries are connected to an inverter and some electrical distribution equipment. Inverters are usually found in confined spaces, such as equipment closets or utility rooms.

A UPS like this is used to protect computers, equipment monitor racks, communications equipment, and control systems.

Line-interactive

Line-interactive UPS

The battery pack, inverter, and voltage regulator are the components of a line-interactive UPS system.As long as certain operating parameters are met, the UPS will provide power, regardless of power quality.

Online double conversion

online double conversion ups

These units isolate your equipment from raw utility power, providing the highest level of protection. It works by turning AC power into DC, then back into AC.

This type has no battery transfer time, making it ideal for sensitive equipment. For this reason, it is the most suitable choice for facilities that have mission-critical equipment or places with insufficient electricity.

Power Conditioner vs. UPS: The Differences

Form factor

In both categories, you have the tower and rack-mounted.

Tower:

The unit is smaller, designed as a standalone product, and mainly intended for use in the home or office.

Rack Mounted

These are typically used for more complex operations in commercial settings. The standard shelf is larger and designed for standard racks.

Voltage rating and run-time

UPS

These are designed to provide regulation of the voltage and have a higher run time and voltage rating than power conditioners.

Power conditioners

These do not provide voltage regulation and have low run time.

Performance monitoring

Both types have certain performance monitoring models that give you information on run-time. Battery voltage and current can be monitored to ensure a good health status.

Run-time

UPS

UPS systems can operate without input for a long period of time, so they don’t have to be shut down.

Power conditioner

If you use power conditioners, you must turn them off when no signal is present. Therefore, you cannot use a power conditioner for remote switch jobs, whereas UPS systems can

Noise

UPS

In general, UPS systems are used when clean power is required, which means they produce no noise.

Power conditioners

Due to the fact power conditioners are less expensive to build, they tend to produce more noise.

Inverter technology

UPS

This type doesn’t have switched-made technology, so they are more expensive to make and not eco-friendly. The UPS is superior when it comes to inverter technology benefits.

Power conditioners

They use switched-mode-tech that makes them cheaper to maintain and build but they lack any technology benefits.

Power factor correction

UPS

A UPShas power factor corrections that allow it to create optimal power factors.

Power conditioner

A power conditioner lacks good power factors, so it cannot be used with power-sensitive devices.

Equipment protection policy

AC voltage regulation and voltage correction are both provided by power conditioning devices and UPS.

The UPS supplies sustained backup time while the power conditioner is for short-term equipment.

User-replaceable batteries

 UPS

They have replaceable batteries that the user can change themselves. This is when used in remote switch applications without any power, you don’t need to turn it off to replace the batteries.

Power conditioners

Unfortunately, these don’t have user-replaceable batteries meaning they will need to be maintained by a professional when dead.

Which One Should You Use?

UPS

If you have a business and wish to lower the amount of downtime a UPS is a good option. Your business can function and run as usual even when there is a power outage.

They are good for data rooms with the many configurations used for 3-phase and single applications.

Power conditioners

Power conditioners offer ongoing power regulations that makes them perfect for factory and hospital settings that need ongoing power.

With voltage regulators, they monitor the power, condition it, and ensure that it remains steady. But they are not suitable for video quality devices or decrease line noise.

About the author

Jamie Masterson

With decade-long experience as a generator technician, Jamie has worked with USA’s top generator manufacturers and suppliers as an independent contractor.

The long years of service to the industry has taught Jamie the ins and outs of troubleshooting, repairing, and maintaining all kinds of generators in home, industrial and outdoor settings.

Jamie thinks this platform is a great opportunity to share his tips and tricks with you so you can make the most of such power equipment for better living.

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