Uninterruptible Power Supply vs. Surge Protector vs. Generator

  • By: techsmart
  • Date: April 2, 2021
  • Time to read: 4 min.

Power backup and protection devices are very important for homes and offices. They help in situations of a power outage and keep gadgets safe too. Three of such devices are UPS, Surge Protectors, and Generators.

Most people are always confused about which of these three is the best option for power loss and protection. This article explains how each of these devices operates and which is the best option for power loss and backup.

Uninterrupted Power Supply

Uninterrupted power supplies operate just as the name implies. When there is a power outage, they immediately kick in to ensure that your devices do not go off. UPS usually has an incorporated battery that will continue charging when there is a power supply. It is the battery that will then supply you with power in case of an outage.

UPSs are very important for office purposes and people working from home. They will ensure that your devices do not experience a hard shut down and no critical data is lost. They come in different types, some more suited for home uses than office uses.

However, UPSs do not produce continuous power. They have a limited run time. Some factors determine how long a UPS will run. The first one is their size; this is common for medical UPS used for lifesaver machines that must be on at all times.

Another factor is the capacity of the battery. Since their batteries are responsible for the power supply, the capacity will determine how long a UPS can run. In the same vein, the battery’s power when you charge is also important for how long it will run. So you should make sure that the UPS is always plugged.

The last factor is the amount of power that a device connected to the UPS will draw. TVs can last about 2 hours, while routers and other smaller devices will for longer hours.

Another unique feature of a UPS is the incorporated surge protector to keep your devices safe.

Surge Protector

There are usually confusions between surge protectors and power strips. The confusions are understandable because they look alike, but it is important to distinguish between them.

Power strips are pluggable extensions made for power outlets to take more than one gadget at a time. They do not offer any form of protection.

On the other hand, while surge protectors have multiple outlets for various devices, they protect all connected electronics. They are equipped with a shorting device whose primary function is to cut off the electronics’ superfluous power.

Surge protectors are of various types. They could be essential with a single outlet, or complex with more than ten outlets, with additional ports for cables like USB, Ethernet, etc. However, the most important factor to consider in a surge protector is its joule rating.

The higher the joule rating of a surge protector, the better and more efficient it is. Cheap surge protectors will have a rating of fewer than 1000 joules, while the higher models will have ratings of more than 3000 joules.

Surge protectors usually come with led lights to indicate and let you know if the power intake is safe for your devices. Usually, a red light indicator means the voltage is too high or low, and the surge protector will cut off the power.


Generators are designed for a continuous supply of power. They are of various types, and the voltage of power they produce usually depends on their size. Generators need natural gas, propane, or gasoline to operate.

Using generators comes with some disadvantages, and one of them is the noise they produce. For people who live in areas where the houses are built compactly, generators will cause extreme noise pollution. Running them at night when the whole neighborhood is asleep might also lead to conflicts.

Another disadvantage is how long generators take to kick in. A lot of generators need to be manually started before they run. So when there is a power outage, TVs and desktops will go off until you power on the generator. Even though some generator models are designed to automatically kick in when the power goes off, the few seconds they take to come on are not enough to prevent devices’ hard shutdownthe hard shutdown of devices. The hard shutdown can lead to loss of data and even cause damage to electronic gadgets.

The cost of using a generator is also on the high side. Aside from how expensive buying one is, you have to purchase electrical materials for their installation. Then there is the engineer’s labor cost and the buying fuel every time you run it.

Should I Choose A UPS, Surge Protector, or Generator?

All three devices have unique benefits. Although UPSs come with a surge protector, they might not offer you as many outlets as a Surge protector device would. You cannot plug all your home gadgets into one UPS; only a surge protector will help you with this.

Generators are also important. They are the only ones among these options that will guarantee you a continuous power supply in an outage.

However, if your power is usually constant and an outage will only last for a few minutes, then a generator might be a needless option. UPSs are not an expensive option, and they will prevent hard shut down and still provide surge protection.

Because generators are usually expensive, it is not economical to just have one lying around at home when you do not need it. Although thunderstorms and hurricanes could lead to power outages for long periods in summer seasons, generators are the best alternative.

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