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This kind of battery-based power-backup system, called an uninterruptible power supply, is basically a surge protector, a battery, and a power inverter (which turns the battery’s stored energy into usable power) wrapped into one unit.

That may not get you through a long blackout, but it is enough time for you to finish an email, save your game progress, or check in with coworkers before being banished from the connected world.(If you’re the only one in the area with a working router during a blackout, you’ll earn some major karma points for creating an unsecured guest network and naming it “Free Wi-Fi during power outage.”) A UPS makes sense in a lot of scenarios, but not in all of them.If all you’re looking for is surge protection, you have no need to spend money on a bulky UPS when better and less expensive surge-protection options are available.After researching more than two dozen models, interviewing experts, and having an electrical engineer test our top candidates, we found that the Cyber Power CP685AVR is the best uninterruptible power supply (UPS) for people who want to keep a home network running during a blackout of an hour or less.It’s easy to set up, it has some of the most positive user reviews in its class, and it’s the most affordable unit we found.We also like the APC BE650G1 Back-UPS, if it’s available for less.

But if you need to power more than a modem and a Wi-Fi router—say, to keep a desktop computer running long enough for you to shut it down safely—or if you need to stay online longer, the APC BR1000G Back-UPS Pro is a better choice, with more than twice the power for less than twice the price.

The Cyber Power CP685AVR will cover the basics for most people during common, short blackouts.

In our tests it provided enough power to keep the average cable or DSL modem and Wi-Fi router running for an hour, which means you can stay online to while away the time while the lights are off—or, in a real emergency, keep your digital phone service powered so you can reach the outside world.

Neither is a UPS the right choice to keep an extensive home theater powered up, or to run most any household appliance—the UPS units we’re covering here don’t provide enough power.

If your needs are on that scale, you might want to consider a home generator, or a battery system designed for off-grid power.

Most UPS models have their maximum output, rated in volt-amps (VA) or watts (W), right in the name.