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March 2014 UPS Comparison

(Last updated: 2014-07-03)


The purpose of this article is to compare and contrast the available UPSs that meet certain criteria. The criteria are designed to be applicable to a large percentage of my clients' needs.

Model Requirements

UPS Topologies (Standby vs. Line Interactive vs. Double Conversion)

Wikipedia explains this in greater detail, but to summarize, there are three main topologies for a UPS:

An standby UPS normally lets the incoming AC power pass through to the protected equipment. Once the incoming voltage goes outside a predetermined range, a switch is flipped and the protected equipment is connected to an inverter powered by the UPS's batteries. Standby UPSs offer high efficiency at the lowest cost, but no voltage conditioning.

A line interactive UPS constantly monitors the incoming AC power. Small corrections are automatically made by a transformer to keep the output voltage stable. Just like with the standby UPS, once the incoming voltage goes outside a predetermined range, the output is switched to the battery-powered inverter. Line interactive technology offers high reliability, high efficiency, and good voltage conditioning which has led to it becoming the most popular type of UPS.

A double conversion UPS always provides output power from the inverter. Incoming AC power is converted to DC and then converted back to AC, which is where the name "double conversion" comes from. While double conversion provides excellent voltage conditioning, it suffers from low efficiency and higher prices.

There are other topologies in existence, but every model in the data table falls into one of the three mentioned. To learn more about the other topologies, see the Schneider Electric article linked in the further reading section below.

Surge Suppression

In addition to providing power to your connected equipment when the AC power goes out, you want to protect it from power surges. At minimum, a UPS or surge protector should have ANSI/UL 1449 certification. Beyond that, there are a few important factors relevant to surge suppression.

There are several measurements related to surge suppression:

Joules is the only thing that matters, right? Wrong. There is no standardized method of obtaining the Joules rating of a device. Different manufacturers use different testing parameters, typically favoring those that make their product look best. In theory, comparing the Joules of one product to another from the same manufacturer should be a valid comparison. Among products from the same manufacturer, a higher rating should indicate a longer expected lifetime. Comparing one manufacturer's Joules claim to another's is not a fair comparison.

Response time matters, but almost all surge suppressors use the same Metal Oxide Varistor (MOV) technology and will have an instantaneous response time.

The only value that really matters and can be fairly compared between manufactures is clamping voltage. Currently, the best rating in the standardized test is 330V. Nothing higher should be accepted.

One last thing worth noting is that there are two ways to respond to a surge that exceeds the capacity of a device. 1: Continue to operate with no surge suppression, and 2: Fail to operate, leaving your equipment protected. You should at least be aware of what will happen. This information is not clearly stated in most product manuals.

I originally included the Joules rating from each manufacturer in the comparison chart. I noticed that one manufacturer had ratings that were approximately triple the others, prompting me to do some more research. After a lot of reading, I decided to remove that column from the chart since each manufacturer measured it in a different manner. I would have liked to put in the clamping values for each UPS, but this is not provided by the manufacturers. So, if you want to compare the surge suppression ability of each UPS, good luck!

Model Selection

I looked at products from the following vendors: APC, Belkin, CyberPower, Eaton, Liebert (Emerson), Minuteman, POWERVAR (ONEAC) and Tripp Lite. I visited each vendor's website and searched for all models that met the established criteria.


If you've only heard of one brand of UPS, it is probably APC. APC's website is fairly well designed and it is easy to see how the different product lines relate to each other.

The individual pages for each UPS provide all of the specs I was looking for and they are very clear. Graphs are provided to show runtime and efficiency instead of just a couple values. I would like to see higher resolution photos of the products, however.

The APC SMT1500RMUS is being excluded from the comparison because it seems to be exactly the same as the SMT1500RM2U and is not widely available.


As far as I can tell, Belkin no longer offers a UPS that meets the criteria of this comparison.


CyberPower has several product lines (AVR, Ecologic, Intelligent LCD, Standby, PFC Sinewave, Smart App LCD, Smart App Sinewave, Smart App Online). The AVR, Ecologic, Intelligent LCD, and Standby products do not have any models that are rack mountable.

The information on the product pages is about as easy to find as the APC site. There are no graphs for runtime and efficiency. High resolution photos of some, but not all, of the products are available.

The CPS1500AVR seems out of place in the Smart App LCD series since it doesn't have an LCD. I'm guessing that it is an older model that needed to be shoehorned into one of the product lines.


Eaton has a ridiculous number of product lines, but doesn't use fancy model names for the most part (3S, 5P, 5PX, 5S, 5SC, 5110, 9130, 9PX, 9155, 9170+, 9355, BladeUPS, Emergency Lighting, 93E, 93PM, 9390, 9390IT, Power Xpert 9395, 9315, FERRUPS, 9130 Marine, EX Marine, 9155 Marine, 9355 Marine, 9390 Marine, Power Xpert 9395 Marine). Only the 5P, 5PX, 9130, EX and FERRUPS product lines include models that meet all criteria.

The website is decent and provides most specs on a single page per product. Most products have a graph for runtime, but not efficiency. A feature to interact with most products via a Flash applet is provided.

While the RC000BB2A0A0A0A meets all criteria, it is not going to be included in the comparison due to the $6,549 MSRP. It uses a ferro-resonant topology, which has flaws of its own.

Liebert (Emerson)

The Liebert (Emerson) website is designed well enough that I can immediately tell that the PSI, PSI-XR, and GXT3 product lines meet the criteria of this comparison. Unfortunately, that's where the positives end. I couldn't even find a list of models offered. I had to guess based on one I saw mentioned in the user manual.

Since I am unable to find detailed specs on any of the Liebert models, they will not be included in the comparison chart.


At first glance, the Minuteman UPS page is well laid out and clearly shows form factor and capacity ranges for each product line. The product specs pages are on another separate site, presumably owned by Minuteman, but it just feels strange. There are no graphs showing runtime or efficiency. There are no high resolution photos.


This is the worst website out of all of the manufacturers involved in this comparison. The specs are spread out over up to 4 different PDF files per model. If you actually want to buy a UPS from POWERVAR, good luck! I couldn't find any pricing or vendors.

Tripp Lite

Tripp Lite has many product lines (SmartOnline, SmartPro, OmniSmart, Omni LCD, OmniVS, Smart LCD, Smart USB, TE, Internet Office, Eco, AVR, POS, BC Pro, BC Personal).

The Tripp Lite site is very well designed and all information is easily accessible. Runtime graphs are available, but not efficiency graphs. Several photos are provided for each product in a medium resolution.

Manufacturer Notes

Some manufacturers offer models that are "TAA-Compliant" or "NAFTA-Compliant." I did not include these models because they are essentially the same as another model that is already included.

Comparison Table

Model Size VA Watts Runtime1
Expandable Protected
Topology Weight3
MSRP5 Online
  1. Runtimes are provided by the manufacturer. "Full" and "Half" refer to the load in Watts.
  2. Some models have a DB9 connector on the UPS, while others use a passive adapter cable for the serial port.
    O (Optional) items require an additional card that is not included.
    A (Adapter) items include a USB adapter which uses a serial port.
  3. Some manufacturers provide "shipping weight" which includes accessories and packaging. Shipping weights are marked with an asterisk.
  4. Some manufacturers require product registration for full warranty activation.
  5. Tripp Lite doesn't seem to have MSRPs.
  6. Online prices were collected on July 3, 2014. Prices include shipping.
APC SMT1500RM1U 1U 1440 1000 4.8/16.6 N 4 × 5-15R Y/Y/O/N Line Interactive 53 3/2 $889.00 $770.98
APC SMT1500RM2U 2U 1440 1000 7.2/25.8 N 6 × 5-15R Y/Y/O/N Line Interactive 63 3/2 $749.00 $588.99
APC SMC1500-2U 2U 1440 900 6.8/18.7 N 6 × 5-15R Y/Y/N/N Line Interactive 61.2 2/2 $569.00 $479.99
APC SMX1500RM2U 2U 1440 1200 5.8/17.2 Y 8 × 5-15R Y/Y/O/Y Line Interactive 54.6 3/2 $829.00 $654.99
APC SMX1500RM2UNC 2U 1440 1200 5.8/17.2 Y 8 × 5-15R Y/Y/Y/Y Line Interactive 54.6 3/2 $1,175.00 $979.99
APC SUM1500RMXL2U 2U 1440 1425 11.9/28.4 Y 8 × 5-15R Y/Y/Y/O Line Interactive 103 2/2 $1,275.00 $1,128.25
APC SURTA1500XL 2U 1500 1050 11.7/28.1 Y 6 × 5-15R Y/Y/O/Y Double Conversion 60.5 2/2 $1,025.00 $752.46
CyberPower OR1500LCDRM1U 1U 1500 900 2/11 N 6 × 5-15R
1 × RJ45
Y/Y/O/N Line Interactive 45.6 3/3 $459.95 $363.99
CyberPower OR1500LCDRT2U 2U 1500 900 6/18 N 8 × 5-15R
1 × RG6, RJ45
2/Y/O/N Line Interactive 48.4 3/3 $439.95 $307.99
CyberPower OR1500LCDRTXL2U 2U 1500 1125 7/18 Y 8 × 5-15R
1 × RG6, RJ45
2/Y/O/Y Line Interactive 59.5 3/3 $539.95 $395.99
CyberPower CPS1500AVR 2U 1500 950 6/18 N 6 × 5-15R
1 × RJ45
2/A/O/N Line Interactive 58 3/3 $379.95 $288.99
CyberPower OR1500PFCRT2U 2U 1500 900 7/21 N 8 × 5-15R
1 × RG6, RJ45
Y/Y/N/Y Line Interactive 55.5 3/3 $485.95 $394.49
CyberPower PR1500LCDRT2U 2U 1500 1000 6/18 N 8 × 5-15R
1 × RG6, RJ45
2/Y/O/Y Line Interactive 56 3/3 $629.95 $461.99
CyberPower PR1500LCDRTXL2U 2U 1500 1125 9/24 Y 8 × 5-15R
1 × RG6, RJ45
2/Y/O/Y Line Interactive 70 3/3 $735.95 $550.84
CyberPower OL1500RTXL2U 2U 1500 1350 3/9 Y 8 × 5-15R
1 × RJ45
Y/Y/O/Y Double Conversion 39.6 3/3 $799.95 $528.09
Eaton 5P1500R 1U 1440 1100 4/14 N 5 × 5-15R Y/Y/O/Y Line Interactive 44.1 3/3 $1,065 $609.29
Eaton 5P1500RT 2U 1440 1440 3/11 N 8 × 5-15R Y/Y/O/Y Line Interactive 65 3/3 $1,134.00 $659.99
Eaton 5PX1500RT 2U 1440 1440 3/11 Y 8 × 5-15R Y/Y/O/Y Line Interactive 65 3/3 $1,269 $623.09
Eaton 5PX1500RTN 2U 1440 1440 3/11 Y 8 × 5-15R Y/Y/Y/Y Line Interactive 65 3/3 $1,622 $779.98
Eaton PW9130L1500R-XL2U 2U 1500 1350 ?/? Y 6 × 5-15R Y/Y/O/Y Double Conversion 43 2/2 $1,832 $1,051.95
Eaton PW9130L1500R-XL2UN 2U 1500 1350 ?/? Y 6 × 5-15R Y/Y/Y/Y Double Conversion 43 2/2 $2,180 $1,240.26
Eaton PULSL1500R-XL2U 2U 1500 1350 3/10 Y 6 × 5-15R Y/Y/O/Y Double Conversion 45 2/2 $1,489 ~$1,227.99
Minuteman PRO1500RT 2U 1500 1050 7.4/16.8 N 8 × 5-15R
1 × RJ45
Y/Y/O/N Line Interactive 43 3/3 $379.00 $292.93
Minuteman E1500RM2U 2U 1500 1200 5.6/13.4 Y 6 × 5-15R
1 × RJ45
Y/Y/O/Y Line Interactive 45.32 3/3 $719.00 $594.44
Minuteman E1500RT2U 2U 1500 1200 5.0/10.6 N 8 × 5-15R
1 × RJ45
Y/Y/O/Y Line Interactive 44.10 3/3 $689.00 $538.05
Minuteman E1500RTXL2U 2U 1500 1200 5.0/10.6 Y 8 × 5-15R
1 × RJ45
Y/Y/O/Y Line Interactive 44.10 3/3 $769.00 $574.12
Minuteman ED1500RM2U 2U 1500 1200 5.0/12.7 Y 6 × 5-15R
1 × RJ45
Y/Y/O/Y Double Conversion 43.12 3/3 $819.00 $684.98
POWERVAR ABCE1440-11R 2U 1440 1008 4-6/20 N 10 × 5-15R Y/Y/N/N Line Interactive 94* 5/2 ? ?
POWERVAR ABCE1440-11IECR 2U 1440 1008 6/20 N 10 × 5-15R Y/Y/N/N Line Interacive 94* 5/2 ? ?
POWERVAR ACDEF1500-11 2U 1500 1350 3.5/8.6 Y 6 × 5-15R Y/Y/O/Y Double Conversion 51* 2/2 ? ?
POWERVAR ON1500XAU-SN 2U 1440 1000 5/13 Y 8 × 5-20R Y/N/O/N Line Interactive 61 5/2 ? ?
Tripp Lite SMART1500LCD 2U 1500 900 3.5/13 N 8 × 5-15R
1 × RJ45
Y/Y/N/N Line Interactive 29.4 3/3 N/A $186.37
Tripp Lite SMART1500LCDXL 2U 1500 900 4/12 Y 8 × 5-15R
1 × RJ45
Y/Y/N/N Line Interactive 29.4 3/3 N/A $245.84
Tripp Lite SU1500RTXL2UA 2U 1500 1200 5/14 Y 6 × 5-15R
1 × RJ45
Y/Y/O/Y Double Conversion 44.1 2/2 N/A $683.99
Tripp Lite SU1500RTXL2UN 2U 1500 1200 5/14 Y 6 × 5-15R
1 × RJ45
Y/Y/Y/Y Double Conversion 44.1 2/2 N/A $832.87
Tripp Lite SU1500RTXLCD2U 2U 1500 1350 4.2/14 Y 6 × 5-15R
1 × RJ45
Y/Y/O/Y Double Conversion 45.2 2/2 N/A $780.99
Tripp Lite SMART1500RMXL2UA 2U 1500 1350 4.9/14 Y 8 × 5-15R
1 × RJ45
Y/Y/O/Y Line Interactive 46.5 3/3 N/A $565.21
Tripp Lite SMART1500RMXLN 2U 1500 1350 4.9/14 Y 8 × 5-15R
1 × RJ45
Y/Y/Y/Y Line Interactive 46.5 3/3 N/A $788.99
Tripp Lite SMART1500RM2U 2U 1500 1350 4.5/13 N 8 × 5-15R Y/Y/O/Y Line Interactive 46.5 3/3 N/A $478.98
Tripp Lite SMART1500RM2UN 2U 1500 1350 4.5/13 N 8 × 5-15R Y/Y/Y/Y Line Interactive 46.5 3/3 N/A $691.99
Tripp Lite SMART1500CRMXL 2U 1500 1440 6/14 Y 8 × 5-15R Y/Y/O/Y Line Interactive 60 3/3 N/A $734.64


With all of the major online stores offering the ability to leave reviews, it is easy to get a collective opinion on products. So, how does each manufacturer stack up?

Based on the average reviews (of products that actually had reviews on March 13, 2014), it looks like APC has the most satisfied customers with CyberPower slightly behind. Tripp Lite lags further behind. Regardless of the averages, there are often products that fall outside the average for each manufacturer. Research a specific model before making any purchase.


Except for three models, every UPS that met the specifications is 2U.

The expandable units have poor runtime compared to the non-expandable units. However, adding just one expansion unit drastically increases the runtime (e.g. 11 vs. 54 minutes of runtime at half load with the Eaton 5PX1500RT or 13 vs. 77 minutes of runtime at half load with the POWERVAR ON1500XAU).

If you want the network management card for a UPS that offers such functionality, compare the price of a model that bundles it to the cost of the base model and a separate card. The base models often sell at a higher volume which allows for lower prices.

CyberPower is the only manufacturer to offer integrated RG6 protection, but there are standalone RG6 surge suppressors available. CyberPower, Minuteman, and Tripp Lite and the only manufacturers to offer RJ45/RJ11 protection. If you desire surge protection for more than just the AC power, keep this in mind.

I can't say any one model is the clear winner. What you select depends on several factors, with the main ones being budget, capacity, and desired runtime. Hopefully the information on this page will make your decision easier.

Further Reading


If you have any questions or comments about this article, please don't hesitate to contact me.

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