Purchase IT: Tips and Mistakes to Avoid when Buying a UPS

Purchase IT: Tips and Mistakes to Avoid when Buying a UPS

Posted by Rackmount Solutions on Jun 12th 2019

UPS. Uninterruptible Power Supply. Get powered up because that is the topic of this blog today. A UPS acts as a middle man between your wall outlet and your equipment to help provide clean and quality power. This device protects your equipment from surges and dips in power and even takes over in a power failure. The effects of an outage can be detrimental to your equipment and your business. So, avoid this issue by purchasing a UPS system.

Five tips for buying your first UPS

Your server rack equipment is fragile especially when it comes to power outages, spikes, and surges. The best protection against these powerful problems is a quality Uninterruptible Power Supply or “UPS”. While most customers understand how to purchase a server rack and accessories, power protection can sometimes be confusing and virtually an afterthought. To help you select your first UPS or simply upgrade your current UPS you can follow these quick tips to both speed up the process and find the right fit for your server rack equipment.

UPS and Power Basics

By doing your research you can cut down on the confusion. For starters you will need to know the type of server rack equipment you are using, how many individual pieces of equipment, the size (kW) of the equipment, and what your uptime requirements will be. By understanding the total load in kW and your uptime expectations you can quickly remove UPS systems that would be too small and might risk failure, as well as remove systems that are too big and inefficient.

Feature Rich UPS

Determine what features are important for your data center. Establish if you need a UPS system for dirty power which can handle surges and spikes or if your power is clean and this is unnecessary. Do you need redundancy, do you need a tower model or rackmount model, do you need N+1 meaning that if the load can be supplied by N modules, it will contain N+1 so if one module fails the entire system does not cease. One of the most important features discussed today is energy efficiency. We always recommend an Energy Star UPS simply because over time it can mean major savings.

Warranty, Support and Protection

Absolutely determine the warranty of the UPS, batteries, and the support included. Are there local reps for assistance when needed? Is there a call service that provides support within hours of submitting a ticket? The support and warranty can be worth their weight in gold as opposed to going with the cheapest option that neglects much protection. Read reviews and find out the experience other customers have had with the warranty and maintenance before committing.

Future Use of this UPS

Every year new equipment seems to be added and swapped out and power requirements change. With that in mind, consider a modular UPS design where you can adapt to the situation as needed. A modular system could provide additional flexibility such as installing and integrating units without disrupting current systems.

Talk To An Expert

Once you’ve determined the basics of your UPS, what features you would like to consider, what type of warranty would be important, and if you do need a modular type of UPS, talk to an expert. Rackmount Solutions has been in the business of selling UPS systems for well over a decade. Have a unique situation? We can handle it. Need a custom design? Not a problem. Still feeling confused and need help? We’re standing by ready to walk you through the process. Talk to an expert at Rackmount Solutions by calling 1-800-352-6631

7 Questions When Selecting A UPS System

DC Power, batteries ,UPS Systems, PDU, even power strips are considered some of the most confusing products for IT and Networking professionals. It’s not unusual for customers to need help understanding the difference between a 15AMP plug and a 20AMP plug, or help determining load levels, watt requirements, or runtime. To assist with the process of selecting a UPS we’ve gathered 7 basic questions to get you on the right path to selecting the right gear.

Do you need a Desktop UPS System or a Network / Server UPS System? 

Desktop UPS systems are typically found in smaller environments such as work stations, small file servers, AV equipment, or in your typical home / office space. Network / Server UPS systems are built to support critical systems in data centers.

Capacity – How much wattage is necessary for your UPS? 

This is easily determined. Simply look at the equipment documentation to determine the watts of each of the equipment planned to be connected to this UPS. Should you not be able to find the watts for all of the equipment a rough estimate can be taken by multiplying the AMPS x AC Voltage. Your UPS system should only take on an 80% load capacity to protect against fluctuations and overload.

Connections – Which input and output connections does your UPS need? 

Start by confirming the plug of the UPS can connect with your existing structure. Even if you need to implement 3-Phase power, this can be handled relatively easily by an electrician. The output connections need to match that of your equipment. Compare the plug types to make sure everything is compatible.                       

How can you determine the proper amount of backup run-time?

 Consider load shedding which allows you to turn off nonessential equipment during a longer outage. By saving these valuable watts, run-time can increase from a few minutes to nearly half an hour. Another option is purchasing additional external battery packs to extend the run-time on this UPS. DC Power battery backup or a standby generator are also options, depending on the maintenance you wish to handle.

How much space do you have available for your UPS System?

From width and depth, to the available U Space in your rack, it’s not uncommon to focus on all of the power requirements and forget to make sure the UPS will actually fit where you need it to. Also consider the cable management and routing necessary for the connections.

How can I save more energy with an updated UPS? 

The easiest way to pick a more energy efficient UPS is by looking for an Energy Star Certification. These units will reduce power consumption, which in turn helps with your cooling and infrastructure requirements, lowering expenses and save money on operation costs. An alternative to Energy Star Rated equipment would be UPS Systems that feature an Economy mode.

How long will my batteries last and when should I replace them? 

Standard UPS system batteries last between three and five years with normal use. UPS systems commonly have a battery testing feature. Testing routinely is always encouraged. If the test fails, switching the batteries is essential. Many UPS systems also feature hot-swap replacement preventing any maintenance downtime. While the UPS can last much longer with new batteries, a new UPS with higher efficiency can save a great amount of money in the long run.

Power Up: 5 Fast Facts to Buying a UPS

The most important question is how do I choose a UPS? And we have the answer for that! We have broken it down into 5 important aspects to consider when purchasing a UPS device for your equipment.

1. Line-Interactive or On-Line?

The first element to decide is if you want a UPS that is Line-interactive or On-line. Line-interactive is typically used in small racks or in smaller office networks. On-line is typically used for critical equipment as well as in data centers and server rooms. The true difference between the two is that On-Line is more expensive and is always running on its battery and recharging, so if there is an outage there will be no fluctuation in the power supply. Whereas Line-Interactive switches between utility power and battery, so there could be a small fluctuation in power if there is an outage. So, which application will you need?

2. Small or large?

The next thing to decide is what capacity you will need. At Rackmount Solutions, we sell solutions for smaller loads (1-3kVA), as well as larger ones (5kVA and up). We also have scalable options that start on the smaller side but can grow with your company. In order to determine what capacity you will need, you can scroll to the bottom of this page to use our formula. So, what is your load?

3. Minutes or hours?

The third thing to consider is how much backup runtime you want. This will be the amount of time the UPS can continue powering your equipment in the event of an outage. Talk about coming in clutch! A small UPS can typically run for 8-10 minutes, but you can purchase an extended runtime battery if you feel it is needed. So, how many minutes or hours will you need? If you’re still unsure about how much runtime you will need, contact one of our experts here.

4. Monitored or not monitored?

The fourth piece of information that you should consider is if you want to be able to monitor your UPS online. With a network card plugged into your UPS you can easily monitor it and make sure that everything is working properly. Additionally, you can get notifications sent to you about its performance. So, does that sound like something you’re interested in?

5. 120 Volts or 240 Volts?

The fifth and final element to determine is the voltage of the equipment you will be supporting with the UPS. In the U.S. the voltage is typically 120V or 240V, and at Rackmount Solutions we sell both options. So, what’s your voltage?

These fast five decisions will make it even easier to decide which UPS you should purchase. That’s all it takes to get powered up! So, we have one final question… are you ready to do this thing?! go online to shop around!                     

Common Mistakes made when Purchasing UPSes 

What are the most common mistakes made when purchasing UPSes?

The most common mistake that is made when selecting a UPS is improper sizing. Choosing the appropriate sized UPS can be daunting. Selecting a system that is too large will be a money pit, and selecting one that is too small has the obvious result of not sufficiently supporting your equipment in the event of a failure. After determining the size kilowatt load that you need to support, it is recommended that you calculate what 125% of that number would be, and select the next-size-up UPS that would support it.


What are the most important elements data center managers need to look for when purchasing new data center UPSes?

Scalability is a very important feature for a data center UPS to have. Being prepared for growth doesn’t necessarily have to be a tremendous upfront cost, though. Many enterprise UPSes on the market today allow you to build upon them as your data center grows, allowing you to use only what you need now, and easily incorporate additional capacity whenever it becomes appropriate.

The type of UPS you select is also critical to maintaining an effective back-up system. There are three types of UPSes available – standby, line-interactive and online. While line-interactive UPSes are commonly used in SME’s, data center managers will want to lean towards online versions; these systems provide the “cleanest” power, as well as the most reliable continual power since there is no actual switch-over involved in the event of a power failure.

You’ll want to select a UPS system that has a robust set of monitoring and management tools. Due to the critical nature of data center equipment, you do not want to rely on a system that will require you to visit the site to manage should something go awry; seek out systems that can be accessed and managed remotely, and can alert multiple parties should an emergency event occur.

Lastly, ensure that your UPS system has either a bypass option, or hot-swappable capabilities. Should the UPS fail or require maintenance, you’ll want a system that will allow your equipment to maintain power if the UPS needs to be removed/replaced.

What new or upcoming trends buyers should pay particular attention to?

We should expect to see more and more UPS manufacturers striving to improve their energy efficiency. As data center managers feel the pressure to reduce costs wherever possible, and the inclination towards “greener” centers grows, it’s an ongoing race to see who can produce the most efficient system. When purchasing a new UPS system, check for an ENERGY STAR rating to ensure savings down the road.

If you need server racks,rackmount accessories,rackmount or vertical power and UPSs, for your existing or new data center, contact Rackmount Solutions, Inc. at toll free 1-866-207-6631 or email