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The Differences Between UPS, Generators & Inverters

The Differences Between UPS, Generators & Inverters

No matter what industry you’re in, whether it’s healthcare, telecommunications or manufacturing, it’s vital that you protect your computer and data. We’re not talking about hackers and cyber criminals (although that’s important, too!) But the problem of power issues.

When a blackout occurs, whether it’s caused by extreme weather, system failure or a large-scale accident, this puts your data at risk of being lost, not to mention damage being caused to your computers and equipment.

The best way to safeguard yourself from this threat is by investing in a backup power supply. There are two routes you can take: UPS (not to be confused with the package delivery company!) and generators.

Both have their similarities and differences, as well as their pros and cons. But what are UPS and generators? Where do inverters come into the equation? And what are the differences between all three? In this blog post, we’ll answer these burning questions.

What is UPS?

UPS, which stands for uninterruptible power supply, is an apparatus that provides short-term backup power when your regular power source fails or voltage drops to an unacceptable level. Also known as a battery backup, it ensures that devices experience no interruption in the event of a blackout.

UPS is mainly used in IT but in used across all sectors, providing computers and other electronic equipment with a sufficient amount of power to save the data and safely shut down when a sudden power outage occurs.

UPS is strictly a short-term backup power solution as its maximum power supply is generally between 10 and 15 minutes though longer autonomy options are available.

UPS systems fall into three categories:

The most basic UPS topology, an off-line (or standby) UPS system resorts to battery backup power in the event of a power issue such as a blackout, voltage sag or voltage surge. If the incoming utility power drops below or surges above safe voltage levels, the UPS switches to DC battery power and then inverts it to AC power to run connected equipment.

A line interactive UPS operates similar to a standby UPS, but with the addition of a multi-tap variable-voltage autotransformer. This allows it to correct minor power fluctuations, such as a voltage sag or voltage surge, without needing to switch to a battery. It maintains the inverter in line and redirects the battery’s DC current path from the normal charging mode to supplying current when power is lost.

In an on-line (or double-conversion) UPS system, the batteries are always connected to the inverter so that no power transfer switches are necessary. When a power outage occurs, the rectifier simply drops out of the circuit and the batteries keep the power steady and unchanged. This provides a seamless, consistent and near-perfect supply of power regardless of the condition of incoming power. Double-conversion UPS systems are designed to protect mission-critical IT equipment, data centre installations, high-end servers, large telecom installations and storage applications, as well as advanced network equipment from damage caused by power or voltage issues.

At Dale Power, our range of UPS systems include:

6kVA Single/Three Phase rack/slim Tower UPS; On-line Double Conversion; Sine Wave with LCD display; Rack Mount 1:1; 3:1; Wide input voltage range.

10kVA Three Phase Tower UPS; On-line Double Conversion; Sine Wave with LCD display; Tower 3:1; Wide input voltage range.

200kVA Three Phase modular UPS; On-line Double Conversion; Sine Wave with LCD display; Modular 3:3; Wide input voltage range.

Single & Three Phase: Ratings available from 5 to 500kVA; Output frequency available from 16.7Hz to 800Hz; Output frequency in either fixed or adjustable format; Output voltage available from 10 to 750VAC; Output voltage in either fixed or adjustable format.

Single/Three Phase: Available with Industrial Environment Protection options up to IP55; Advanced battery management; Output ratings available from 10kVA to 160kVA; High frequency, double conversion online UPS technology; 10 year life battery.

When space is limited, this is a fantastic solution to your critical power demands. A containerised UPS system includes batteries (housed in an air conditioned compartment to maximise their performance and lifespan), bypass switch and connections in one robust, compact ISO standard shipping container.

What are Generators?

A generator is a device that converts motive power (mechanical energy) into electrical power for use in an external circuit. The electricity generated is used for main AC (alternating current) power supplies in power stations, industrial applications and more.

The source of power for generators include wind turbines and water turbines, but at Dale Power Solutions, we also specialise in diesel generators. A diesel generator is a specific type of engine-generator and consists of a diesel engine plus an electric generator (usually an alternator), which work in tandem to generate electrical energy.

Diesel engines are compression-ignition engines and can operate on a variety of different fuels, depending on configuration and location. Usually, they run on diesel, but some types are adapted for other liquid fuels or natural gas.

Diesel generators can be operated without being connected to a power grid and are therefore often used as an emergency power supply if the grid fails. They can also have secondary functions such as feeding power to utility grids either during peak periods or periods when there is a shortage of large power generators.

The combination of a diesel engine, a generator and various ancillary devices (such as base, canopy, sound attenuation, control systems, circuit breakers, jacket water heaters and starting system) is called a “diesel generator set” or “genset” for short.

At Dale Power, we offer several different types of generators, including:

These are generators specifically designed for marine and offshore use. This includes floating production, storage and offloading vessels, both fixed and mobile offshore platforms and commercial vessels, plus naval vessels, low magnetic signature applications and base-frame and enclosure designs. Our offshore and renewable generators feature the highest power density modular generator solution, reduced engine emissions and fuel consumption and maintainable solutions with transferable spares.

These are generators that are used as a source of backup power in case of a power outage or when electrical maintenance is being conducted. Backup power is a vital thing to have in many industries and organisations, such as financial institutions and especially hospitals, where a loss of power could result in a loss of life.

As their name suggests, silent range generators are specifically designed to operate at a reduced volume. Thanks to a more optimised design of the air intakes and outputs, they have low levels of sound emissions, with a guaranteed noise level of around 60dB(A)@7m. Silent range generators are popular in the events industry, especially for events being held in urban areas.

Our industrial range generators guarantee the highest performance in any application. Offering between 1,500 and 3000 RPM, these generators can be used to supply energy continuously for peak shavings or as an emergency power source within industrial, commercial and residential sectors.

Durable and dependable, our medium voltage generators are perfect for organisations and institutions that need a power solution they can trust, such as hospitals, refineries, petrochemical plants and the steel industry. Our medium voltage generators are far more robust and reliable compared to other power equipment that has been adapted.

Combining traditional generator sets with your electric source, our hybrid generators are a fuel-efficient, noise-reduced and eco-friendly source of power supply for your business.

What are Inverters?

An inverter is an electronic device that transforms a direct current (DC) into an alternating current (AC) at a given voltage and frequency. An inverter works by taking the AC power supply from AC mains and converting into DC using a rectifier.

Inverters are invaluable within both industrial and household settings as these systems both work on AC power and are used to get the power supply after a power outage or blackout. No external power is needed to operate an inverter.

What’s the Difference Between UPS, Generators & Inverters?

As you can see, UPS, generators and inverters all serve the same purpose: to provide backup power supply to electronic devices. They can also help to safeguard from damage to electronics, data loss, hard drive loss and premature breakdown of more delicate electronic equipment and accessories.

However, there are a few major differences between UPS, generators and inverters, which we’ll take a look at below.


  • Near-instant backup power source.
  • Short supply of backup power, lasting between 10 and 15 minutes (longer options are available).
  • Primary function is to prevent the sudden interruption of power.
  • Automatically turns on when an interruption is detected in the main power supply.
  • Power supply comes from AC mains.
  • Noise-free.
  • Produces no carbon emissions and is more environmentally friendly.
  • Portable.
  • Requires no maintenance.
  • Cheaper alternative to generators.


  • Provide a much longer supply of backup power.
  • Slower start-up time, usually 10 seconds or longer.
  • Can power up to 10 to 12 homes.
  • Mainly used to supply electricity to power lines.
  • Primary function is to convert mechanical energy into electricity.
  • Needs to be manually turned on via a chord.
  • Run on diesel, other liquid fuels or natural gas (diesel generators).
  • Creates a lot of noise.
  • Produces some carbon emissions.
  • Can either be portable or standby.
  • Requires some sort of maintenance.


  • Primary function is to convert DC into AC.
  • Can supply backup power to 3 to 4 appliances for up to 6 hours.
  • Power supply comes from AC mains.
  • Turned on via a switch and sensor after the main power supply is off (but not immediately).
  • Noise-free.

Why Choose Dale Power?

Dale Power Solutions offers a fantastic range of high-quality UPS systems and generators designed to meet your every requirement and keep your business running at optimal levels. From our Dale E100 UPS Series through to the Himoinsa generator range, all of the products deliver on quality, durability and reliability.

Whether you’re in the healthcare, telecommunications, marine or manufacturing sector, we’ve supplied a whole host of clients with effective power solutions. Our expertise and personalised approach means we can help you find the backup power system that’s right for you.

Our UPS and generator services include installation and commissioning, monitoring and maintenance, as well as the provision of spare parts.

With over 80 years’ of industry experience, an excellent reputation and a team of over 100 technical engineers across the UK who are always on hand to help, you’re in good hands with Dale Power Solutions. Therefore, if you’re looking for a UPS or generator and are located in areas including Manchester, London, Glasgow or Kent, please don’t hesitate to get in touch with us today on 0330 999 3000.

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