Last updated: August 16, 2021

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The safety of your devices and devices is paramount to ensure a long life, so it is important to prevent voltage fluctuations that may exist through voltage regulators. Today we welcome you to ReviewBox.com.mx and dedicate ourselves to talk about these important devices for our day to day life.

Voltage regulators work to protect from the smallest products, such as laptops or phones, to larger products such as refrigerators, ovens, air conditioners and the like. That is why their use extends from the home to the office and large industries. In these lines we will talk about the specifications that you can find in voltage regulators, their types, their range and the best models that the current market has to offer. Don't leave your appliances in the hands of luck and guarantee them a long life!




Summary

  • Voltage regulators are devices designed to protect electronic devices from unstable voltage spikes they may receive when connected directly to an outlet. They come in different models, sizes and capacities.
  • There are 3 ways to protect your equipment from unstable voltage: through a surge protector, a voltage regulator or a UPS. Each of them provides safety in a different way and with processes that are adapted to each context and equipment.
  • Before purchasing your voltage regulator, it is important that you take into account aspects such as the number of contacts it has, its voltage support capacity, whether or not its weight is suitable for the use you wish to make of it and whether it has USB ports.

The best Voltage Regulators: Our Picks

Buying guide: What you need to know about voltage regulators

Voltage regulators are excellent options for protecting all the equipment in your home from sudden variations in electrical voltage. But all this terminology can be a bit confusing, so we'll briefly explain what they are all about.

Voltage regulators include lights and/or sounds that indicate when there is an irregularity and work to balance the load. (Photo: Weerapat Wattanapichayakul / 123rf)

What is a voltage regulator and what are its advantages?

A voltage regulator is a device designed to maintain stability in the voltage it receives from a point of current to transmit to an appliance or device connected to it, in order to ensure its lifespan. It has one or more plugs to connect your equipment. This is achieved through its protection system that allows that, if there is not a sufficiently stable load (regardless of whether it is very high or very low), it does not reach the connected device to prevent damage. This and other advantages are summarised below.

Advantages
  • Protects your equipment
  • Has several connections
  • Some include a USB port
  • Various capacities for different equipment
  • Lightweight and practical models are available
Disadvantages
  • If the voltage cannot be regulated, it will shut down your equipment suddenly
  • They are often expensive

Voltage regulators, surge protectors or UPS - what should you look out for?

It is common to confuse voltage regulators with voltage protectors and UPS, especially because their mission is to protect your equipment, however, the process and result are different. Here we explain a little more about it.

  • Protector. Surge protectors are devices to which your equipment is connected to ensure that, in the event of a power surge, it shuts down along with your equipment. This is to prevent the instability from reaching the electronics and damaging them. This is the simplest type of protection, as it does not regulate the voltage or allow the equipment to remain on with its own load, but cuts off the power as soon as it detects a fault or fluctuation. For this reason they are the most economical.
  • Regulator. Voltage regulators are the ideal choice for most electrical or digital appliances, since, in the event of voltage peaks, it will maintain a regular flow that does not affect your equipment. If the flow exceeds certain limits or there is a power failure, it will automatically shut down. There are inexpensive and more expensive models, depending on their capacity and model. These do not have a battery included, so your equipment will shut down together with it in case of very strong power destabilisations.
  • UPS. This option tends to be the most expensive, because its main magic is a built-in battery that allows you to shut down your equipment in an organised way in the event of a power failure and avoid losing any files in progress. This is why it is often used consistently in computers. In addition, it has a voltage regulator that stabilises the power in case of very high or very low peaks, to prevent any irregularity from reaching your devices and causing damage to them.
Protector Regulator UPS
In case of voltage peaks Turns off Regulates the voltage Regulates the voltage
Battery included No No Yes
In case of power failures The equipment turns off The equipment turns off The equipment stays on for a while
Price Economic Depends on the capacity Expensive

How much does a voltage regulator cost?

The prices of voltage regulators tend to vary widely, as buying a regulator for a television is not the same as buying a regulator for a clothes dryer. So you will find the cheapest options starting at 250 MXN. However, those models with higher voltage capacity and suitable for more demanding appliances can be found between 300 MXN and 800 MXN. Some of them will even exceed the MXN 1,000 barrier.

Buying criteria

We know that it can be difficult to choose between one voltage regulator and another, so here are a few practical points to help you identify your needs and context for selecting the best option.

Number of contacts

The number of contacts or sockets is the factor that will allow us to know how many devices we can keep connected at the same time to our regulator. This number usually ranges from 8 to 12. Here we tell you more about this.

  • 1 contact. When a voltage regulator includes only 1 contact, it means that the capacity it contains must be dedicated exclusively to one device to guarantee its safety, which is usually a high demand device such as a refrigerator, a tumble dryer or a washing machine.
  • 2 to 6 contacts. When your regulator includes 2 to 6 contacts, it means that it will be able to support other equipment at the same time, for example, a television along with some game consoles. It is important to know the capacity of the regulator so as not to overload its limit.
  • More than 6 contacts. Regulators with more than 6 contacts are often intended for several low-power devices, e.g. standard fans, laptops and mobile devices. In these cases, it may also include USB ports for charging electronic items such as phones and tablets.

Capacity

The capacity of your voltage regulator is measured in watts (W), and this will determine what kind of equipment it can support. Here's a list so you can find out what capacity you need for your devices.

  • 600 watts. You can use a 600 watt regulator for appliances that do not require a large power consumption, such as telephones, laptops, basic sound equipment, home printers, coffee makers and similar. If your computer is powerful, it is better to go for an option with a longer range.
  • 1200 watts. In this case, you can add more demanding devices, such as desktop computers and their accessories, plasma TVs and game consoles. If you are going to add equipment with resistance (such as microwaves or hair dryers), try not to have other equipment connected.
  • 2000 watts or more. The higher the wattage, the more protection your large equipment will have. These options are usually used for only 1 appliance exclusively, and can protect refrigerators, washing machines, dryers, air conditioners, irons and the like.

Weight

The weight of your voltage regulator will allow or prevent you from constantly moving it from one place to another, depending on what you need at the time. We are going to divide these options between medium weight and heavy weight, to tell you when to use each one.

  • Less than 3 kilograms. You can find models weighing up to 1 kilogram, which will be very convenient for small capacity regulators that you need to use sporadically, such as laptops, kitchen appliances, televisions and consoles. Opt for this option when you don't want to leave it in one place.
  • More than 3 kilograms. They can reach up to more than 5 kilograms, depending on their internal structure and capacity. These options tend to be uncomfortable to handle, but since it is a high voltage capacity regulator, you can use it when you are going to leave it in the same place, as in the case of a refrigerator or air conditioner.

Voltage regulators with USB ports are available to allow safe charging of mobile devices. (Photo: Volodymyr Vorona / 123rf)

USB ports

Some dimmer models not only have regular contacts for your equipment, but will also allow you to charge your mobile devices via USB connectors. Select this option when your dimmer is destined for a studio or office. You can also select it when you want to keep the controller in your bedroom, living room or kitchen, as these are busy places where you can leave your phone or tablet charging without having to go too far away from it.

(Featured image source: Alexlmx/ 123rf.com)

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