Difference Between Inverter And Converter Explained

In this article, you’ll learn the difference between UPS and inverter. I’ll state what the UPS stands for, its function, what the inverter does, and a side-by-side comparison of both devices.

Let’s dive right in!

What is a UPS?

UPS is an abbreviation for Uninterrupted Power Supply. Literally, it’s a device that’s there to ensure that you have a SEAMLESS POWER SUPPLY regardless of power outages!

Now, this doesn’t mean it has the capacity to power all your devices all day, every day. INSTEAD, it’s there to ensure you have a backup when your main power source.

Here is how it works.

The UPS’ built-in battery stores power from your main power sources like your solar panels or batteries. It then comes to your rescue immediately to power your devices when your main power source is down, keeping your devices running on the saved power.

Your devices can run on this power for about only 10-15minutes. This allows you ample time to complete your work or properly shut down your system till your solar panels are charged up again. This system is best for computers.
Imagine you have an extra 10-15 minutes whenever there is a power outage, or your system no longer goes off whenever your shaky power pack disconnects from the wall socket. Now, how efficient is that?

In TECHNICAL TERMS, the UPS uses a rectifier that converts AC to DC and charges the battery in the UPS. This battery connects to the inverter, which converts the direct current (DC) to alternating current (AC). It has controlling devices that control all these system operations.

What is an Inverter?

An inverter converts DC power to AC for home appliances and other similar devices that can only run on AC power. Oftentimes, inverters are used in alternative sources of power, like solar or wind turbine systems.

Inverters function by either using toroidal transformers and electronic circuits or diodes and thyristors to convert DC electricity to AC electricity.
These mentioned devices are present in the inverter to help vary the direction of the DC electricity coming in from the batteries.

Think about it this way, DC electricity stands for direct current, and it means there’s a flow of current in ONLY ONE DIRECTION.

The inverter’s circuitry then uses components like toroidal transformers, diodes, and thyristors to alter the flow of that current at very high frequencies of about 50-60 Hz.
This alteration causes the flow of the current in MULTIPLE DIRECTIONS, thus, producing alternating current.

Inverters are classified into two types based on how smoothly the flow of current can be altered. We’ll talk about those in a later discussion.

During Power Outage

During a power outage, the inverter receives power from the battery and supplies power to the electrical equipment. You can make use of these systems to power your home WITHOUT power from the main grid.

For instance, once you have solar panels to trap solar energy and batteries to store DC power in, you can use inverters to power your home appliances that run on AC power.

Get this, INVERTERS ARE NOT POWER SOURCES! They are devices that convert Direct Current from batteries to usable alternating current for household appliances.

Side by Side Comparison of UPS and Inverter

Basis For ComparisonUPSInverter
DefinitionUPS means Uninterruptible Power Supply.An inverter is a device that converts DC electricity to AC
FunctionIt is an electric device that provides instant backup power to a device. The gadgets continue to function normally, and there is no damage to them.
Inverters convert DC electricity stored in batteries to AC electricity to be used by home appliances.
PrinciplesIt first converts AC to DC power to charge the battery, before converting DC power to AC power (inverter) and supplying this AC power to the load. The UPS monitors the input voltage level and processes it in accordance with voltage regulations.
UPS= Battery charger + InverterThe inverter converts direct current (DC) power (stored in its battery) to alternating current (AC) power, which is then supplied to the devices.
Back up TimePower backup for a short duration.Power Backup for a long duration.
ConnectionDirectly connected to the appliances.It is connected to the battery and appliances
Switch over TimeImmediate.Takes time.
Voltage FluctuationsUPS monitors and regulates voltage outputs to home appliances.
The inverter does not protect against voltage fluctuations.
PriceMore expensiveLess expensive
ApplicationYou can use UPS’ with electronic applications such as computers, servers, network switches, workstations, and medical equipment that perform critical tasks and cannot tolerate power outages.You can use them in General Electric applications, where the operation is unaffected by extended power supply delays.
BatteryUsed sealed maintenance free (SMF) batteryUsed flat plate or tubular battery
Battery MaintenanceDo not require any maintenance.Continuous maintenance is required, as the distilled water toppings must be filled at regular intervals.
Energy ConsumptionMore, due to constant battery charging.Less.

Key Takeaways

Here are a few points to note when next you think about inverters and UPS Systems.

  • The UPS is an electric device that supplies backup power to the system, whereas
  • The inverter converts DC to AC to allow your devices to run on battery power
  • The UPS’s primary function is to store the power supply, and during power outages, the UPS switches from the main supply to the battery immediately
  • The inverter has a time delay
  • The UPS is directly connected to the home appliances, whereas
  • The inverter is a bridge between the battery and household appliances