Can UPS Be Used As Inverters?

By Matthew Joseph Nandirio •  Updated: 09/27/21 •  5 min read

The UPS or the Uninterruptible Power Supply and inverter are both used to provide backup supply to the electrical system. Both the power supply devices possess their own features and drawbacks. 

One significant difference between the inverter and the UPS is that switching UPS from the main supply to the battery is quite quick. In contrast, in an inverter the switching from the main supply to the battery requires time. People are always looking to get back the power as soon as possible. With an inverter taking more connection time than a UPS, people often look at a UPS and often question that can UPS be used as inverters? 

Are you also the one who is seeking an answer to this? If yes, then you’ve landed on the right page. This article touches down everything about using a UPS as an inverter. So, let’s jump into this.

Can UPS Be Used As Inverters? 

As mentioned earlier, both UPS and inverters can produce AC powers from DC sources and thus are often confused with each other. A UPS is a more advanced device that has a wide range of functions. 

One of its functions is that UPS uses an inverter as its internal component. The UPS can detect the lack of electricity and inverts the battery voltage; thus, you can use a UPS as an inverter.

Can Inverter Work As UPS?

 Inverter and UPS are similar, but you can’t use an inverter like UPS, and there’s a reason for this. Inverters are not much more sophisticated than the UPS. It uses the battery as a circuit, and its backup is electronic power. 

But there’s a solution you can consider using. Use any 12V battery on an inverter, and it performs like a UPS. 

How to Convert UPS to Solar Inverter? 

A solar inverter converts the direct current electricity generated by the solar panels to alternating current electricity, which the electricity grid uses. 

Here are the steps for converting a UPS to a solar inverter: 

1. Gather all the necessary tools and materials required. 

2. Remove the battery. 

3. Remove the covers 

4. Make electrical modifications as required. 

5. Test the modifications, make adjustments and enjoy.

 If you’re still unclear about the steps, relax. Follow this link and oversee the video several times. Hopefully, it will clear all your confusion and make the process easy for you to understand.

How to Combine UPS Units With Inverters? 

The UPS units are costly, so it isn’t worth sizing them for several hours of operations with no power supply. To avoid such a situation, you should think smartly and practice an approach with a short-term UPS capacity that provides time for a larger inverter + battery system to bear all the load. 

There are two ways by which you can combine the UPS units with the inverter. Check out this: 

  • The inverter with energy storage can be a direct power source for less critical loads like lighting and ventilation.
  • The UPS load can remain connected during extended blackouts. You can recharge the UPS batteries with the inverter output.

With energy efficiency measures, you know how long the backup power will operate. If you replace fluorescent lights with some LED products, it will acquire 50% less energy. This can last twice as long with the backup power.

To successfully combine the units, you also need the best configuration. It is essential because then it decides which type of device should be used. For example, in an office environment with plenty of computers, a large UPS would fit best. But, if you need a UPS for a storage area or similar areas with some sort of ventilation and lighting, a conventional inverter.

How Do UPS and Inverters Differ From Each Other?

 An inverter is electronic equipment that is used to provide power supply by converting DC into AC. During a power outage, the inverter receives supply from the battery and passes it to the electrical appliances or equipment. There are primarily two types of inverters, i.e., stand-alone inverter and grid-tie inverter. 

On the other hand, a UPS is an energy-storing device that provides immediate backup when there’s a power failure. Moreover, it also protects the connected devices or appliances from power surges. There are three different types of UPS, namely, line-interactive, offline, and online conversion UPS.

 The main difference between the two is the rectifier. The UPS has a rectifier to provide the backup power. It takes the utility power and passes it via a rectifier that converts the AC power to the DC. In contrast, an inverter converts AC power to DC. It creates the AC waveform and distributes it to the loads.

To give the readers a more transparent and precise image of the differences between an inverter and UPS check out the following table:

Main FunctionDC to AC power conversionBackup power
BackupElectric powerElectricity
Power SupplyDepends on its capacity Up to 30 minutes
ProtectionPower failureVoltage, over voltage, spikes voltage, and power failure
CostLess expensive or affordableExpensive
Switch overTakes timeImmediate

Which Is Better Inverter or UPS? 

Inverter and the UPS share common ground because of their functionality. Like, both of them provide backup power supplies during the main power shutdown, but their functions and circuity vary. When compared, a UPS is more efficient than an inverter. It offers electric backups to the connected devices or appliances without causing any fluctuations. 

The inverter acts as a medium between the battery and the power supply. The battery helps to store the energy during the power outbreak and convert AC into DC to provide power to the inverter. Like a UPS, an inverter can also be used as a backup power supply when combined with other energy storage systems. 

Thus, to conclude which is the best among the two, consider the factors surrounding both devices and your needs and then decide which you should use for personal use and one for office use. 

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Matthew Joseph Nandirio

Matthew Joseph Nandirio is the Founder of walkingsolar. After graduating from the University of Houston in 2002, matt started working as an electrical and electronic engineer for several multi-national solar energy companies. He has a wide range of experiences including solar system requirement analysis, planning, maintaining, debugging and even solar device development through research. He now shares his 20 years of expertise through his articles on the walkingsolar website. Further, he is also the author of two books on Solar Technology, “Solar Power for Villages” and “DIY Solar System for Dummies”.