No. of Recommendations: 1

Warning: Eye glazing stuff for some:

You are correct as to the tradeoffs in using the double conversion systems (what traditionally was known as a UPS). As in most engineering, compromises generally abound. They are most useful where there is a likelihood (or the the risk is too great) of crumby power quality. Of course there are all sorts of other power purification and backup toys that can be brought to bear as well, but that's probably way off topic for a home system :-)

Actually the "line interactive" systems (as the APC SmartUPS and similar are technically called) are basically battery backup systems combined with modest transient/surge suppressors and there is nothing bad about them (in fact they are perfectly adequate for many - even most - applications, including keeping my personal equipment rack from floating if it finds itself tossed into the water).

There are dramatic similarities between line interactive battery backup systems and double conversion UPS's. Both contain the same batteries, have the same power connections and look cosmetically the same. For home systems in most parts of the US where the power quality is generally pretty good, one's as good as the other (and, within a given manufacturer, line interactive will be cheaper). On the other hand, in those situations where power is frequently flaky (or if problems caused by occasional flaky power can be catastrophic if it impacts IT equipment), then understanding the difference between these two classes of equipment can be extremely important.

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