It's storm season here in the Philippines. Growing up, I got used to having intermittent power. Not to mention the noise, and lack of proper grounding. Because of this, I want to share with people the importance of a UPS, or Uninterrupted Power Supply.
Most companies invest in them to protect valuable data. They give you the extra minutes needed to save your work and shut down your computer properly. Most home users don't feel the need to have them, but I beg to disagree.
Power outages can seriously damage modern electronic devices such as mobile phones, mp3 players, and laptops while they are plugged in to be charged. For desktops, they can (and usually will) fry your system, specially if there's a lightning storm.
The fluctuations in the electricity may not be noticeable, nor will they affect larger electrical appliances, but electronics are far more sensitive. Not to mention, those annoying power adapters that charge your devices are not meant to be subjected to short power outages. Most power adapters will be destroyed if a power outage is shorter than 5 seconds.
With that, I'd like to give my personal recommendation of APC products. I've tried some of the generic ones but for the little price difference, they're really not worth it. APC has a product for almost everyone. Their basic system is what most home users would need. A basic 500VA UPS, it provides about 10 minutes of back-up power for your home computer. Enough time to save your files and shut down your system.
Built-in surge and lightning protection round up the benefits.
The more advanced systems offer telephone and LAN filters as well (LAN power spikes can damage your routers and DSL modems) as well as extended power, and automatic shut down.
I have a couple of these at home. One to power my desktop and laptop, and the other to provide last minute charging for my mobile phone and other electronics (for small devices, a 500VA UPS can fully charge your mobile phone and iPod... it will give you about 1/3 charge for an iPad)