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What Can a UPS Battery Backup Power?

Panel of an uninterrupted power supply unit with cords plugged into it.

A power outage can be a tech nightmare. It may cause you to lose important work and unsaved game progress and leave you unable to use the Wi-Fi for what might seem like ages—a UPS can easily mitigate this. But what devices can you actually plug into a UPS?

What Is a UPS?

An Uninterruptible Power Supply (UPS) is a device that primarily provides battery backup to connected devices when the electrical power fails or drops to an unacceptable voltage. It does this using its internal battery which can keep your devices working anywhere from a few minutes to several hours depending on the power rating and the number and power draw of connected appliances. But most UPSs do more than just provide battery backup and could serve as a means of protecting your devices from spotty electricity.

Whatever your reason for getting a UPS, here are the devices you should be plugging into it to prolong the lifespan of both your equipment and UPS.

What Can You Plug Into a UPS?

A UPS can be used in homes, offices, and other settings to power a range of electronic devices in the event of a power failure. But they can also serve as a means of protecting essential communication, security, and entertainment devices from damage due to unexpected blackouts, voltage fluctuations, or power disruptions.

A good option is the APC BR1500G Backup Battery rated 1500VA/865W. While it’s enough to power many pieces of equipment during a blackout, you can hook it up to an external battery backup to double the power.

Best Budget UPS

APC UPS BE425M Battery Backup

An inexpensive UPS with a small footprint. It provides enough power to keep small devices running for more than an hour (at 100 watts) after a power failure.

However, if you don’t need a battery backup whatsoever and just want to safeguard your devices from power surges, you might want to consider a surge protector instead.

That said, here are some common devices a UPS can be used to power and protect.


For most people, a desktop PC is the ideal work device for maximum productivity. But they typically do not have built-in batteries to draw power from. This means that in the event of a power failure, the device stops abruptly and may cost you any unsaved work. However, a UPS can prevent that, giving you enough time to save your progress and gracefully switch off your computer. If you get a powerful UPS, you could even work for a decent amount of time before needing to power off. Even if you’re a laptop person, a UPS can come in handy when your battery power runs out.

Wireless Networking Equipment

In the event of a power outage, internet service providers in the US usually continue providing a connection to the web. But you won’t be able to access it if your networking devices, like your router and modem, are without power. So, a UPS comes in handy for keeping them running when there’s a power outage.

RELATED: Do I Need a Battery Backup for My Router?

Gaming Consoles

Like computers, a UPS is a perfect way to keep your console running long enough to save your progress in the event of a power outage. You could even complete a quest or two on a UPS with decent enough power.

Cell Phones

This might not seem like an obvious device to plug into a UPS since phones typically come with sufficient batteries to last a whole day or more. But if a power outage lasts long enough, it doesn’t hurt to power your smartphone with a UPS. Although a power bank is probably a more logical alternative.


If you stay indoors a lot, the television is probably one of your favorite gadgets. Fortunately, it’s perfectly suitable for use with a UPS which can keep the TV going for anywhere from a few minutes to hours. It’s also a smart way to protect your expensive TV from potentially damaging electricity fluctuations.

We’ve highlighted some popular devices that can be powered by a UPS. But there’s a whole lot more. Notable examples include security systems, radios, and AA and AAA rechargeable battery chargers.

What Types of Equipment Should Not Be Plugged Into a UPS?

Many devices can be plugged into a UPS, but some shouldn’t ever be, either because they could damage the UPS or void its warranty. Any device that exceeds a UPS’s watt rating falls into the latter category and should not be plugged into the UPS. For example, if you have a small UPS rated at 500W, you shouldn’t plug a 550W appliance into it.

Similarly, high drain devices, medical equipment, and aquatic equipment should not be used with a UPS. Specific examples of such devices include vacuums, laser printers, copiers, space heaters, paper shredders, and curling irons. If you need to power a large appliance like that, look into buying a generator.

While we’re on the topic of things that shouldn’t be plugged into a UPS, we might as well mention that plugging another UPS into your UPS is not a good idea. It won’t increase the runtime of your equipment, and you’ll likely void your warranty.

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