Hi. Hope you are having a good time. A lab without a power supply is like a home without electricity. As without electricity you cannot power up any of your home devices, the same goes for your lab. Without a proper lab or bench power supply, you just cannot power up your designed circuits and cool projects safely.
However, getting your own best lab power supply can be tricky. You might want to know what parameters you should care, or what price you should pay. This post will hopefully help you in the selection of the power supply, if you are an electronics hobbyist, student, or beginner, that would be best for your electronics lab and is really portable.
- 1 The Best Lab Power Supply in 2018
- 2 Linear Vs Switching Power Supplies
- 3 Choosing Between These Models
- 4 There Are Other Great Options Available
- 5 My final words
The Best Lab Power Supply in 2018
Having a power supply is the very essential tool for an electronics person lab or workshop. Why? Your bench, lab, or workshop is a place where you test every circuit, every project. Every circuit and project has its own specific voltage and current ratings. To test and power Arduino board or its related projects you need 5V power source; to power the XBee modules, you need 3.3V; and the list goes on. It is so obvious that a decent lab power supply is your fundamental need if you are really serious about learning electronics.
The really important factor which I really want to emphasize is, almost every power supply designed for lab purposes has a lot of safety measures, such as current limitation, over voltage, and short circuit protection. These features prevent yours under test devices from any electrical damages.
For an electronic hobbyist or a beginner, the best lab power supply that I recommend in 2018 is either the Tekpower TP3005T, the Flexzion 302D, the Flexzion PS-1501S, the Dr.meter HY3005F-3, or the KEYSIGHT E3631A. These best lab power supplies are from famous brands, very affordable for any budget, and have one year warranty. These are best because they have safety measures, variable voltages, overvoltage, and short circuit protection, and the current limiting option to save your devices from burning.
In the rest of the article, I give more info on the best lab power supply models I recommend above.
1. The Best Lab Power Supply From Tekpower (TP3005T)
I like this model, because of its high current range. During my degree in electronics engineering, I was doing a project in which I was using Arduino and GSM 900a module. The GSM module has the peak current of 2A, if I remember it correctly, during data transmission. So, I really need a power supply to provide me with this value current. That was the only case for which I need a high current power supply. And the only reason I will go with Tekpower TP3005T, as who knows which project you may have in future.
In terms of good qualities, this model is from the popular brand, the Tekpower, you can trust. It is linear and has a current limiting feature, which makes it ideal for the lab environment. The current limiting feature prevents your devices from burning out by limiting the applied power. It has a single output, 110V input voltage, digital display, 0-30V variable output voltage, 0-5A current, which is too much.
In summary, the Tekpower TP3005T (Amazon link) is a beautiful electronic device with a metal body that is specially designed to power up your cool projects safely and efficiently, yet comes in a very low price tag of less than $80. But remember it cannot save your previous state. When you turn it off, it cannot remember the previous ON state settings. So, it is always wise to remove your devices before you turn it OFF.
2. The Best Lab Power Supply From Flexzion (302D)
Sometime, small sensors or small devices you deal may be of very low power and current ratings. They may need current in mili range. To power up such devices precisely you need a power supply that can provide mili currents.
In terms of good parameters, this model is linear and get a single output, 110/220V input voltage, digital display, 0-30V variable output voltage, 0-2A current.
In summary, besides giving you mili range current, the Flexzion 302D (Amazon link) is best when you are doing scientific research or developing any university project, or doing some mobile repairing. In term of quality features, it has current limiting, over temperature, voltage declining, and short circuit protection. The bad thing is it does not come along with probes. You have to buy the probes. But with the price tag of below $50 and yet such promising quality, the model worth a try.
3. The Best Lab Power Supply From Flexzion (PS-1501S)
As a student, I always wanted to have my personal lab supply with decent look, ratings and most important of low price to fit my budget. To be honest I am just a great fan of the killer looking analog meters the on power supply. And this student-focused power supply has all that I want.
In terms of good parameters, this model is linear and get a single output, 110V input voltage, digital and analog displays, 0-25V variable output voltage, 0-1A current.
In summary, besides a price tag of below $40, I recommend the Flexzion PS-1501S (Amazon link) for people just started with electronics or junior year students of engineering. It is a very nice tool to have in your lab. It has overload protection to protect you if you made silly mistakes. And usually, stater projects are not very high power, 1A current is too fine for all those projects.
4. The Best Lab Power Supply From Dr.meter (HY3005F-3)
A fun project using Arduino and Xbee wireless module can be done easily, as Arduino has 3.3V pin to power the Xbee (that has an input voltage of 3.3V). But if you decide to power Xbee and Arduino separately, a single output power supply in your electronics lab may seem to fail. In electronics, sometimes you need to power different devices together to see their mutual output. In such a situation you need a supply with many output ports, and the Dr. meter can be a good solution for it.
In terms of good parameters, this model is linear and get three outputs, 104-127V input voltage, digital display, 0-30V variable output voltage, 0-5A current.
The Dr.meter HY3005F-3 (Amazon link), besides price tag of below $200, has triple outputs so that many devices can be powered up with a single supply. There is no transient in ON/OFF to keep your all testing devices safe. If a power supply has any transient issue, just do not spend any amount on it, as it will bury your valuable devices as the Undertaker does with other cool wrestlers in the ring. Of course, it is heavy but the shape and design are killing. In terms of qualities, it has current limiting, short circuit protection, smooth, heat sinks, no fans (making it a quiet and nice princess).
5. The Best Lab Power Supply From Keysight (E3630A)
I want this post to be a list of lab power supplies that are really the best and affordable. For me, affordable is below $100 or max $200. But I think if you are electronics person you probably know about the Keysight Technologies. It is the best electronics company I love the most. I trust it so much that I cannot just ignore it in this list.
In terms of good parameters, this model is very professional, linear and get three outputs (both positive and negative), 110/220V input voltage, digital display, variable voltages, and adjustable currents.
In summer, The Keysight E3630A (Amazon link) is ideal for any professional lab or student or any person involved in electronics that comes with a three-year warranty. It has variable positive voltages as well as negative (not available in the above models), all the safety and protection measurements, and the killer shape that makes a lab look so beautiful. I personally cannot afford it now, it is sad but it is ok. I used Keysight supplies and other tools in my university lab and working hard to get them personally. I promise if you can afford it do not waste your time searching for other models, just buy it. And I promise it will last for a long time until you make a decision to submit it to a youtube channel, what’s inside (The Youtube channel famous for destroying thing to see what inside of it).
In rest of the article, I discuss the difference between linear and switching power supply.
Linear Vs Switching Power Supplies
A linear power supply is the conventional heavyweight power supply which uses a simple circuit to convert AC into DC. It uses a transformer to step up or down the applied AC voltage before being applied to the regulator circuitry. On the other hand switch mode power supply directly converts AC into DC without any transformer, and then converts this high DC to high-frequency AC voltage, which is then used by regulator circuitry to produced the desired DC voltage and current.
As it is clear now, linear is far more simple than switch mode. The switch mode is very light and small in size. Other than small size it cannot beat linear mode in properties like stability, and heavy duty with little noise, ripple, and EMI. And the best part is, the switch mode one is cheaper than the linear mode as there is no joint transformer inside it.
You know, it is always a trade-off between linear and switch mode for size, reliable and power. For a lab, or for a situation where you do not need to carry or shift your power supply here and there, I recommend the linear mode.
Choosing Between These Models
O boy! this is very hard for me to answer. The reason is how would I know what are your requirements? Selection of power supply depends on what are your requirements. All I could do is to prepare a list of best bench power supplies, which I personally want to have all in my lab.
But if you push me to select from the list. I would go for the KEYSIGHT E3630A and then for the Tekpower TP3005T. The first one is a little expensive but I know it will last forever so investing for a lifetime device is not a bad decision. The latter one is the best beginner supply, it can help me with my every project and the best thing is it’s not that expensive.
There Are Other Great Options Available
For me, if you are an electronics hobbyist or beginner, learning some basic electronics, I would recommend you to make your own lab power supply. It would be a very good decision. It will help you learn electronics as well as give you the best lab power supply. I call it the best one because you will make it yourself. And I cannot put it in words how much fun it is to play with electronics in a safe environment. It is like learning from doing.
I recommend Elenco power supply kit (Amazon Link) to start with. It is affordable, high quality, and well documented to guide you with each step. Trust me you will learn a lot. You will learn how to solder, assemble, and make an end product like you always see in different stores.
My final words
You usually do not need a high power supply. A model giving around adjustable 15V and 1A is fine for most of the cases. If you need some high power, buy a specific supply for that case, do not invest in these model or any model out there.
And that is all I want to share with you about the best lab power supply in 2018 that some of them you can buy right away on Amazon. Hopefully, it has helped you in some way. One last thing, all the given amazon links are affiliated one meaning if you buy these products from these links within 24 hrs I get a small commission, which would really help me and I would appreciate this kind act from the heart.
You can also check my other post as well:
- 3 Insanely Best Beginner Oscilloscopes In 2018 [That Really Work]
- Best Resistor Kits On Amazon 2018
- Basic Electronics For Beginners [Quick Course 2018]
Thank you and have a good life.