We’ve become so utterly dependent on fast, secure, and stable Wi-Fi connections that if our routers go dead on us, it’s as if the world stops turning.
I’m sure the outdoorsy types would tell us to get a grip and go for a nice long walk or something, but they underestimate the impact of having worldwide interconnectivity and access to infinite information ripped away in an instant — It’s not a nice feeling.
Besides, many of us need a stable internet connection to do our jobs, especially since more of us are working from home than ever before, so an absentee network isn’t as easily shrugged off as some may think.
If we don’t have a connection, we can’t work, and if we can’t work, we don’t get paid.
This is why it’s essential to invest in some form of battery backup for your Wi-Fi router, and luckily for you, I spent the last couple of weeks researching them, so I know exactly what you should be looking for.
Just What The Heck Is A Battery Backup, And What Does It Have To Do With My Wi-Fi Router?
Whether the latest elegantly-named storm has set a course to rattle through your town, there are localized power maintenance issues in your area, or there is something awry with your home’s electronics, we all have to deal with a blackout once in a while.
But instead of sitting around playing a wholesome game of Gin Rummy by candlelight with the family, a battery backup can bring your Wi-Fi router back from the dead, enabling us to once again ignore each other and submit to our screen addiction — sorry fam.
Also known as UPS (uninterrupted power supplies), battery backups are exactly what they sound like. They provide an alternative power source when the mains give up the ghost.
You can think of them as tiny indoor generators, but instead of keeping the overhead lights on, they keep those little LED indicators on our router blinking away — hooray!
UPS devices are typically paired with computers to prevent sudden drops or surges from damaging sensitive electronics, but they can provide the same service to our Wi-Fi routers as well.
With one of these nifty plan Bs in place, when the neighborhood goes dark, your home will remain a beacon of interconnectivity, allowing you to keep on working, shopping, binging Netflix shows… whatever you use your internet for.
Sounds Good, But How Do I Integrate A Battery Backup Into My System?
The idea is that the battery backup sits between your wall outlet and your router/modem in the current chain. When the mains are fully functioning, the current simply passes through the backup and onto your router/modem as usual.
When catastrophe strikes and the mains go caput, the battery backup instantly kicks into action and shoulders the burden of power dropped by the grid. It does this in the blink of an eye, too, preventing the sudden drop in current from befuddling your sensitive (not to mention expensive) electronics.
So, in summation, the signal chain should be as follows: AC wall outlet / battery backup / Wi-Fi router/modem.
Best Battery Backups To Keep Your Wi-Fi Connection Alive And Kicking
OUR TOP PICK
I’m placing this APC masterpiece in my top spot because I feel its middling size and power give it the widest appeal of anything that’s to follow on this list.
It’s a bulky, robust power strip, built to handle the rigors of life both on the desk (if you can spare the room) and under it, so don’t worry if you give it the odd accidental kick from time to time — it knows how to take a hit!
However, if you can’t spare the space on your desk and don’t like the idea of kicking your emergency power supply, it’s also wall-mountable, so it can be kept well out of your way, waiting patiently to help you out in your time of need.
It boasts 7 powerful 120V AC outlets, of which 5 are supported by super reliable, long charge batteries to keep your tech “teching” in a power outage.
It also features a spare 1.5A USB port for charging small electronics such as a smartphone or Bluetooth headphones.
Capable of powering a high-end modem with integrated Wi-Fi networking for a full 5 hours, or a discrete router and modem chain for 4 hours, this backup will get you through the better part of a workday, proving that power grid problems don’t have to punish productivity.
In terms of overall APC battery service life, you’re looking at roughly 7–8 years, which is nothing to scoff at, and it’s completely replaceable too, so you’ll never be left in the lurch when the lights go out.
This monolithic CyberPower UPS encased in tough textured plastic is the ultimate in plan B protection in the event of a blackout! Yes, it’s quite large, but only in terms of its height.
Widthway, it measures a minuscule 3.9 inches, so you should have no trouble shuffling things around to find it a spot at or beneath your desk, windowsill, shelf… wherever you keep your router.
An absolute beast of a battery backup, it will afford any router/modem combo 15 hours of life during a power cut, giving you plenty of time to sort out any pressing online matters in your schedule.
It can also power some heftier electronics, such as a desktop and its corresponding monitor, but it’s not an all-out bruiser that only caters to beefy tech.
Featuring 12, count ‘em… 12 120V ports along the rear of the enclosure, it’s a versatile and nuanced backup, capable of keeping all your more modest screens lit in the darkness.
Yep, it’s a powerful device alright, but I’m yet to get to the best bit: the LCD! This nifty appointment relays all essential information about the battery backup in a clear and concise manner.
It also has a handy integrated alarm system that informs you the exact moment the power supply shifts from AC to battery, and as soon as power reserves reach 10%.
So, although you may be literally surrounded by darkness, figuratively speaking, you’re never in the dark when using this UPS system.
Here we have another premium option, the APC BX1500M, a tower battery backup with some serious clout! Much like the CyberPower offering above, it features a lovely little LCD that relays key information, such as reserve power, drain rate, and voltage output.
It also looks fairly similar to the CP1500, but they are far from identical devices. Take the battery size, for instance.
This monster backup supply will feed your Wi-Fi and modem all the juice they need for up to 24 hours, making it a suitable safety net for long-scale grid blackouts.
What’s more, it features an awesome ventilation system that regulates that big battery’s temperature and enables both vertical and horizontal orientation, helping you find a home for it on your desk.
It has 10 outputs in total, 5 battery powered with surge protection, and 5 with just the surge protection, so there’s plenty of power to go around your smaller electronics too.
One final feather in the BX1500M’s cap I’d like to draw your attention to is the Master Power Output Control, a feature that allows one single primary device to control all the other outlets.
For example, let’s say your laptop is your primary device, but you also have your router, modem, and speakers plugged in as well, if you turn your laptop off, all the other devices will shut down, and if you turn it on, the others will follow suit.
This function saves energy and extends battery life, ensuring your backup supply will last the entire duration of a lengthy power outage.
Power Banks: A Small Footprint Alternative
You know those little, slim-line brick chargers you can buy for keeping your phone topped up on the go? Well, if you wanted to, you can use them as a backup supply for your Wi-Fi too, but you’ll need a certain type.
In order to take the reins when your mains take a break, a power bank must have pass-through charging, and be linked into your system with a 5–12V booster cable. Let’s take a look at your best options.
This diminutive dynamo may be quite pricey, but it packs one hell of a punch.
It has an 18-watt USB Power Delivery/QC 3.0 port for hyper-fast device charging, and a 40,000mAh output overall, which is all the power you’d need to charge the most demanding smartphones in existence multiple times over.
It’s also capable of charging a laptop, which means it should have no problem whatsoever supporting your router/modem for some off-grid internet connectivity.
Of course, this power bank won’t grant you as much time with your network as the monster backups we discussed earlier, but the LED reserve display keeps you in the know, so you can manage your time accordingly and get all the essentials done and dusted.
I’m sure you’ll have already heard murmurings of Goal Zero. They’re one of the industry leaders in portable green energy. Mostly known for their amazing Yeti Power Stations, they also excel at making smaller on-the-go energy solutions, such as the Sherpa 100.
This 60-watt powerhouse is capable of supporting two greedy electronics simultaneously, so no worries if you have a discrete router and modem; it will take care of them both. And thanks to the USB PD technology, power relay is incredibly efficient.
It features a neat OLED display that tells you all sorts of handy info, such as power in, power out, and port reports.
You can even set custom port parameters! Plus, with a Qi-certified charging pad, you can charge your phone wirelessly, even if both ports are occupied by your network devices — it’s a pretty sweet setup.
The 65-watt max output of the ZMI PowerPack 20K is more than enough to charge demanding devices such as laptops and, of course, Wi-Fi routers.
It has the all-important pass-through charging functionality as well, so it can also be used as a general USB hub for your desktop or laptop.
It’s also worth noting that it’s one of the best bang for buck power banks on the market, so if you’re looking for big power on a small budget, the 20K Pro is a no-brainer!