A bench power supply is a very useful tool if you work with circuits. Hobbyists and professionals alike often have multiple projects or components they are working on at any given time. If you want to test each project or piece, you need multiple power supplies. However, this is not so with the use of a bench power supply. These products provide users with a reliable source of varied voltages that can allow them to test different circuits.
There are several key features you would consider before investing in a new bench power supply. First, you need to know what the maximum voltage is and the current the power supply will provide it at. You know your projects and requirements more than anyone else does. Select a bench power supply that can handle the majority, if not all, of your projects. (When comparing products, check out the DC power envelop to make this determination.) Most bench power supplies come in one of two designs: switch-mode or linear. Switch-mode power supplies are typically lighter and more compact than their linear counterparts are. This makes them more portable. However, because they have lower electrical noise, liner designs are generally better for powering analog circuity, which can be extremely sensitive. Bench power supplies also come with single or multiple output channels. For many, a single output is more than capable of doing the job. They are typically more affordably priced as well. If you need to use different supplies at the same time, however, you should consider a multiple output device. Beginners may want to consider a unit that comes with a current limiting control function. This optional feature allows you to set a specific current, which can protect your components. Budget will likely be a factor for many users so make sure you understand the pros and cons of each product to ensure you do not let a price tag force you into a unit that will not work for your needs.
Now that you know more about what to look for in a bench power supply, below are our top favorites. Remember, while specifications and reviews are great, keep your personal requirements in mind.
Eventek KPS305D Adjustable Power Supply
The Eventek KPS305D is a switch-mode bench power supply. This compact unit weighs in at a little over three pounds, making it convenient to take with you if needed. It provides DC voltages between zero and 30V, within 0.1V accuracy at a current ranging from zero to 5A. As a single output bench power supply, the KPS305D has four rotary dials. Two of these dials are for coarse adjustments. The other two are for fine adjustments. The KPS305D comes with several built in protections: an intelligent cooling fan, high current limiting, and voltage overload prevention. It also includes short circuit prevention.
The 30V output should be more than enough for most projects. Given the accuracy of the KPS305D, most users agree that this bench power supply provides ample power consistently. In fact, many were impressed to get this kind of power out of a compact unit. The included safety and protection features make this unit worth the investment. One user even claimed you would actually have to intentionally try to damage this power supply to override each of the protective features.
The digital readings are rounded to the nearest tenth. The user manual is also not well built. Someone new to using a bench power supply may need to find additional references for operating instructions, which better explain how to use this device. A seasoned bench power supply user, however, will find it easy and straightforward to operate. Shut down also takes longer than expected, which is an inconvenience for some.
Yescom 4330213628 Power Supply
The Yescom bench power supply is a switch-mode device, weighing in at roughly nine pounds. Users can opt for constant voltage, constant current, or a combination of both. As with the Eventek, this bench power supply comes with intelligent fan cooling. The Yescom power supply has a continuous adjustable DC output between zero and 30V and current from zero to 10A. This unit comes with several protection features as well. Yescom’s over voltage (OVP), open circuit (OCP) and over temperature (OTP) will help keep your power supply in working condition.
The steel case, intelligent fan, OVP, OCP, and OTP features help to make the Yescom power supply durable. Depending on the workload, this device should be able to power most of your projects adequately without failing.
Users have noted that this bench power supply is not ideal for sensitive projects. The current limiting and voltage limiting features create a noisy output that can fluctuate a volt or two. In addition, the included test leads are not quality. You will likely need to replace these with ones that are more reliable.
Korad KD3005D Digital Control Power Supply
The Korad KD3005D is a linear power supply. As with many other units, the KD3005D voltage output ranges between zero and 30V (≤ 0.5% + 20mV) at a current between zero and 5A (≤ 0.5% + 10mA). Heavier than some of the other units, the KD3005D weighs in at eleven pounds. This power supply is a single-output device. With the low ripple and noise and the highly reliable and accurate voltage and current outputs, the KD3005D lives up to the Korad name.
The KD3005D gives users complete digital control over their power supply. The encoder-controlled fine and course adjustments make continuous changes easy. In addition, the LED screen makes readouts quick and simple. Additionally, Korad placed the cooling fan at the back of the power supply, which helps to cool internal components much more efficiently. A grounding connection is also included with this power supply, which is not typical in bench power supplies.
While most users agree that this product is accurate for anything above 1V, the margin of error increase rather significantly for outputs from zero to 700mV.
Tekpower TP3005T Variable Linear DC Power Supply
Tekpower produces several popular bench power supplies. The TP3005T is considered their “compact” linear model. At twelve pounds, however, it is larger than some of the smaller switch-mode models. The TP3005T has a maximum DC output voltage of 30V. The output DC current ranges from 0A to 5A. This bench power supply comes with twenty-eight inch test leads with alligator clips. The backlit LED display provides large, readable measurements. The TP3005T has two operational modes: constant voltage and constant current. A built in temperature sensor automatically activate the cooling fan to help preserve the life of your power supply. Two dials allow you to easily adjust the current or voltage to your desired levels.
The Tekpower TP3005T provides ample power with very little noise. From hobbyists to lab technicians, users have found this power supply to be highly accurate and reliable.
Some users have recommended you check, and perhaps even replace, the banana plugs. The contact between the plugs and springs may prove to be intermittent, but are easy and relatively inexpensive to replace. While the fan is extremely quiet under 1A, anything over it causes the fan to jump into “high mode”. When working on high, the fan does become very loud and may lead to issues with sensitive circuits.
Meter HY3005B DC Power Supply
The HY3005B power supply from Dr.Meter is another switch-mode device. It is also one of the only multi-output power supplies on the list. The HY3005B allows you to switch between three operations: independent, series or parallel. For this, you can use the HY3005B to provide two independent outputs up to 50V at a current up to 5A. You can also select to have a single output up to 100V at a 5A current. There is also the option of a single output of 50V at a current up to 10A. The large, bright LED display provides users with high resolution, easy to read measurements, accurate to within a 2% deviation. Protective design features include overload protection circuits and state-of-the-art heat sinks.
The heat sinks seem to be a huge draw for this power supply. They help to eliminate also all noise and ripple. The clear, digital display is color-coded for easy reading too. The construction, overall, is extremely solid and built to last.
The continuous current and continuous voltage appears to be set only when running the actual circuit. Other units allow for fine adjustments, whereas the HY3005B does not.
Pyramid PS15K Bench Power Supply
The Pyramid PS15K is a linear power supply. It is also the only bench power supply that allows for a 12V car outlet connector. The PS15K has a 13.8V DC output. When operating at a constant, it has a current up to 10A. Surge current is at 12A. This bench power supply has built in electronic overload and short circuit protection. The included cooling fan and heat sink also prevent the PS15K from overheating
For those who operate ham radios or similar electronics, the Pyramid PS15K is very popular. In fact, the majority of all raving reviews come from ham radio users. Users also love how rugged this bench power supply is.
The Pyramid PS15K does not have a digital display. Instead, it relies on two LED indicator lights to alert users to normal and protection modes. Some users have noted that this device will only work at 100% for fifteen minutes. They also have pointed out that the PS15K seems to be intended for continuous currents at 70% of the advertised load rating.
Tripp Lite PR12 Power Supply
The Tripp Lite PR12 is another linear model. As with the Pyramid PS15K, the PR12 has a 13.8V DC output. The 12A capacity, coupled with the solid-state, integrated circuit, the PR12 is able to maintain regulated voltages, with little to no disruptions. The heavy-duty cabinet construction includes vents and heat sinks to help prevent overheating. Further protections in the way of current limiting electronic fold back, a timer-controlled overcurrent protection, and a crowbar circuit. To help prevent damage caused by AC noise disruptions, the PR12 filters the AC power before converting it into a DC output. This makes the Tipp Lite PR12 very quiet.
The large transformer contained inside the rugged and durable heavy gauge steel chassis is one of the best features of the PR12. In fact, most users raved about the durability and reliability of this product. Even after two years of use, one users pointed out this is still their go-to power supply.
Unlike some of the other power supplies, the PR12 does not allow you to individually control the output voltages and currents. This may limit your applicability for some projects.
Bench power supplies make your life easier and allows you to test your ideas much faster than individual power supplies would. Remembering what your typical requirements may be will help you to find the bench power supply that will best fit your needs. Bench power supplies can help you test your electronic projects at almost any phase of development and may even be a cheaper option overall when compared to the cost of multiple, individual power supplies. Whether you are a hobbyist who just enjoys occasionally dabbling with electronics, or a professional technician working in a lab, there is a bench power supply out there that will make your life much easier.
Make sure you do your homework. Reviews of products can provide you with valuable insight that only a user may be able to convey. As pointed out by several users, even ham radio enthusiasts can benefit from the use of a bench power supply that provides continuous outputs with little to no disruptions, such as the Pyramid PS15K or Tripp Lite PR12. If you work on highly sensitive projects, for example, a linear unit with a heat sink may be a better choice. If you are a mobile technician, however, a lightweight, compact switch-mode power supply can be your on-the-go lifesaver.