AmazonBasics 450-watt Standby UPS: Amazon's affordable standby backup power delivers too little
Macworld|March 2021
Once a competitive option, Amazon’s 450-watt UPS doesn’t match up head to head.
GLENN FLEISHMAN

The AmazonBasics 12-outlet uninterruptible power supply (UPS) supports up to a rated 450 watts of attached equipment, which it can provide with enough battery power to run a tower computer system, monitor, and peripherals for about 3 to 10 minutes. This delay is sufficient to let a computer shut down automatically using built-in features in the operating system or in software provided for macOS and Windows if the electrical power doesn’t get restored quickly enough.

For a midrange computer system that consumes about 200 watts, the estimated 10 minutes of runtime at that load is more than enough. For a more power-intensive system with a pull of 400 watts, the roughly three minutes of battery runtime might not provide enough time to complete a full shutdown. Above 400 watts, you will need to find a high-capability UPS that can handle the electrical load under normal operation. (Look up the specs on the devices or at manufacturers’ sites for all the equipment you want to connect to the battery-backed outlets, and add their wattage together to calculate a maximum load factor.)

Amazon offers a wide array of products in its AmazonBasics lineup that ostensibly trade a non-Amazon brand-name manufacturer label on the box for a lower price on something of high quality. In this case, however, the promise falls short. While the unit works as expected, it isn’t price competitive with brand names that offer more: more features, more power, and a longer warranty. At its introduction, the UPS was nearly $30 cheaper and competitors in the same class were $10 to $20 more.

It also has one flaw that may be a nonstarter for some buyers: If the battery runs out entirely during an outage, the UPS won’t restart itself once AC power begins to flow again. This isn’t exclusive to Amazon’s UPS, but it’s another determining factor in making a purchase.

PROVIDES THE BASICS FOR BLIPS AND OUTAGES

This is a standby UPS, which kicks in battery power as it’s needed, including when line voltage slumps (a brownout) and to provide juice during an outage (a blackout). It also includes protection against short leaps in voltage in the same manner as a stand-alone surge protector.

This kind of UPS is cheaper than a line-interactive model, which conditions power continuously, including removing surges, without leaning on the battery. A standby unit should have the advantage of lower cost and works just fine in most normal conditions, even though it takes longer to kick in power than a line-interactive UPS. If you have frequent power issues and short outages, a line-interactive model is a must and worth the additional cost. (In some online certification filings, Amazon describes this model as line-interactive, but all of its marketing and the included manual indicate it’s a standby unit.)

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