Blackout vs. Brownout: The Ultimate Guide to Prepare for Both

Written by: UGREEN



Time to read 9 min

It is undeniable how annoying power interruptions can be. It might result in anything from dim lighting to total darkness. However, there are two distinct forms of these power outages: brownout vs. blackout. Both leave everything in the dark, but they are produced by different things, with different results. 

In this article, we will examine the distinction between brownouts vs blackouts as well as their origins, consequences, and methods of prevention. So, what are you waiting for? Let’s dive in to begin exploring!

What is a Blackout?

what is a blackout

A temporary and widespread loss of electricity in a particular area or region is referred to as a blackout. The power supply is completely disrupted, which stops lights, appliances, and electronic equipment from working. They may result in significant disruptions that impact daily operations, commercial operations, and vital services that depend on electricity. 

What Causes a Blackout?

Typical causes include:

  • ●Equipment failures or damage, such as those to transformers, circuit breakers, or power lines, can result in an abrupt loss of electricity.
    ●Storms, hurricanes, snowstorms, and lightning can harm power infrastructure and cause outages.
    ●A blackout may occur when the electricity demand surpasses the capacity of the power grid.

What is a Brownout?

what is a brownout

A controlled and intentional reduction in the voltage of the electrical power that utility providers are supplying to a particular area or region is referred to as a brownout. This can result in dimmed lights, slower device operation, and decreased appliance performance. 

What Causes a Brownout?

Here are a few frequent reasons for brownouts:

  • ●The amount of electricity that is available for distribution may be constrained due to insufficient power generation capacity, fuel shortages, or interruptions in the supply chain, which can result in voltage drops.
    ●Defects in the power distribution network's technical components, such as transformers or transmission lines, can make it more difficult to transmit electricity effectively, leading to voltage dips.
    ●Voltage instability can result from sudden changes in power demand or unanticipated interruptions in the grid's operation, which cause voltage reductions.

What is a Rolling Blackout?

A rolling blackout, also referred to as rotational load shedding, is a brief, controlled interruption in the flow of electricity that successively impacts various geographic areas. Utility companies use it to prevent widespread and protracted blackouts during times of high demand and strain on the power grid. 

Blackout vs. Brownout: What Are the Differences?

The main differences between brownout vs blackout are the following:

  • ●An area or region experiences a blackout when all electricity is lost. On the other hand, a brownout is program loadshedding by authorities due to voltage shortage. 
    ●Power is completely lost during a blackout, rendering all lighting, appliances, and electronic equipment useless. Contrastingly, during a brownout, the voltage drops below the normal level, which causes the lights to dim and devices to operate more slowly and with less efficiency.
    ●Equipment malfunctions, extreme weather, grid imbalances, cyberattacks, and other events can all result in blackouts. On the other hand, a brownout occurs mainly to prevent severe blackouts. 

Brownout vs. Voltage Sag: What are the Differences?

After going through the main points of brownout vs blackout; lets now have a look at the main differences are the following:

  • ●As mentioned earlier, brownout is intentional power outage to strategically conserve energy, preventing potential blackouts. Whereas an abrupt and brief drop in the voltage level of the electrical supply is referred to as a voltage sag, voltage dip, or transient voltage.
    ●Where brownout involves lowering voltage supply, voltage Sage highlights voltage drops that are frequently caused by sudden increases in energy use or by the start of large electrical loads like motors or compressors.
    ●Sensitive electronic devices may experience brief disruptions due to voltage sags, including rebooting or momentary malfunctions. On the other hand, brownouts cause the device to operate slowly. In such a condition, quickly turn them OFF to prevent device failure due to short circuit. 

Brownout vs. Power Surge: What are the Differences?

The main differences are following:

  • ●Both of these terms are exact opposites. A brownout occurs when the voltage supply is reduced intentionally by the provider. Contrastingly, a voltage spike, also referred to as a power surge, is an abrupt and brief increase in the electrical supply's voltage.
    ●Lightning strikes, defective equipment, and the abrupt return of power after a power outage are all potential causes of power surges. Contrastingly, brownouts are caused when the voltage supply fails to mee the rising demand. 
    ●Utility companies typically implement brownouts to prevent overloads and blackouts during times of high electricity demand or grid stress. On the other hand, power surges have the potential to seriously harm or even destroy sensitive electronic devices because of the higher-than-normal voltage levels they expose them to.

What Should I do in the Event of an Electrical Brownout or Blackout?

Though it can be a little unsettling, dealing with an electrical brownout vs blackout. To start with, do not freak out during a brownout or blackout. To keep you, your family, and your home safe, it is crucial to understand "how to protect your appliances from brownouts or blackouts."

Here are a few quick tips to get ready for a brownout vs blackout:

●Remain Calm 

Take a deep breath and maintain your composure. Keep in mind that brownouts and blackouts are relatively common and typically last only a short time.

●Check the Extent

Take a look around to determine whether the problem only affects your house or a wider area. It is probably a larger power problem if your neighbors' lights are also out.

●Safety First

Turn OFF any electrical devices you were using when the power went out. When the power is restored, this will aid in avoiding damage or electrical surges.

●Unplug Sensitive Electronics

To safeguard them from potential power surges when the electricity is restored, unplug computers, TVs, game consoles, and other delicate electronics.

●Contact the Utility Company

Contact your neighborhood utility company if you notice the power is out and you have not heard about a planned outage. They could offer details on the root cause and an anticipated time frame for restoration.

●Keep Refrigerator and Freezer Closed

Minimize opening the refrigerator and freezer doors to prevent food from spoiling. If kept closed, a fully stocked freezer can maintain food's cold condition for roughly 24–48 hours.

Guarding Against Power Failures: Protecting Devices from Brownouts

We would be happy to assist you in determining which appliances are susceptible to power outages and how to shield them from brownouts. During brownouts or other sudden power outages, some electronic devices are more vulnerable to power fluctuations and are, therefore, more likely to sustain damage. These devices include:

  1. 1.Computers and Laptops
    3.Home Theater Systems
    6.Air Conditioners
    10. Ovens

Protecting Your Appliances from Brownouts

There are a few things you can do during a brownout to safeguard your appliances and keep them from being harmed. 

●Use Surge Protectors

Put surge protectors in front of delicate equipment like TVs, computers, and home theater systems. Your electronics will be protected by these devices, which can absorb power surges and spikes.

●Invest in Uninterruptible Power Supplies (UPS)

A UPS provides a battery backup during power interruptions, allowing you to save your work, shut down your computer properly, or keep essential devices running for a short while.

●Consider Voltage Stabilizers

By regulating the voltage supplied to your appliances, these devices provide protection against voltage fluctuations.

●Disconnect During Storms

To avoid potential damage from lightning strikes or power surges during thunderstorms or strong winds, unplug sensitive devices.

●Keep Regular Maintenance

Make sure your appliances are kept up to date. They may perform worse and be more susceptible to power fluctuations if they are covered in dust and dirt.

How to Prepare for the Next Brownout?

It is critical that you are adequately prepared in advance for a brownout so that you can keep your family secure and at ease while there is a brief loss of power. You should take these actions:

  • ●Be sure to keep plenty of non-perishable food, bottled water, and other necessities in your home, such as candles, flashlights, and batteries. It is best to invest in a durable portable power station, such as the Ugreen PowerRoam 1200 PowerHouse, if you live in a region where there are frequent brownouts.
    ●Together with your family, you should have a plan in place for what to do in case of a brownout. This entails distributing duties among the family members. The duties may include making sure that everyone is aware of where to find emergency supplies and keeping an eye on elderly or disabled family members.
    ●Ensure that all of your electronic devices, including laptops and cell phones, are charged completely.
    Best Home Power Back

Best Home Power Backup During Blackout & Brownout

We are all aware of how annoying it can be when there is an unexpected brownout vs blackout, and the lights go out. That's where the Ugreen PowerRoam 1200 Power Station steps in as a true lifesaver. With this portable power station, you can maintain the functionality of your critical appliances even when the grid is down, just like you had your own mini power plant at home. 

ugreen powerroam  1200 power station

Portable Power On-The-Go

The portability of the Ugreen PowerRoam 1200 is one of its best qualities. It is perfect for use both inside and outside because it is small, light, and portable. Whether you are preparing for a camping trip or are dealing with an unexpected power outage, this power plant has you covered.

portable power on-the-go

Reliable Backup Power

The last thing you want after the lights go out is to be in the dark. Your devices will have a dependable source of backup power with the PowerRoam 1200. Your laptops, tablets, smartphones, and even small appliances can all be kept charged and functional thanks to their impressive capacity.

ugreen power station - reliable backup power
ugreen power station - reliable backup power

Multiple Charging Options

PowerRoam 1200 can recharge a variety of gadgets. It features AC outlets, USB ports, and a DC input for solar panel charging. Their adaptability ensures that you can keep a variety of devices powered on, including your communication gadgets and essential medical equipment.

ugreen power station - multiple charging options

User-Friendly Design

The ultimate PowerRoam 1200 is simple to use. You can see how much power is left and which ports are being used on its clear LED display and with its simple interface. It is simple to use and does not require you to be an expert in technology.

ugreen power station - user friendly design


Understanding the distinction between a brownout vs blackout will help you be more prepared for any power emergencies. While both types of power outages cause inconvenience in our daily lives, they have distinct characteristics. You can lessen the effects of a brownout vs blackout and keep yourself and your loved ones safe by knowing what to do during one and how to prepare for it.

FAQs About Brownout Vs Blackout

This FAQ examines the variations, root causes, and effects of these two distinct yet significant occurrences, i.e., brownout vs blackout. 

1. What Devices are Vulnerable to Brownouts?

Electronics that are sensitive are susceptible to brownouts. Computers, servers, routers, modems, and networking hardware are some examples. Brownouts can impair their functionality, corrupt data, or cause unplanned shutdowns. Brownouts can cause motor-powered home appliances like air conditioners and refrigerators to operate less efficiently and wear out faster.

2. Who Should You Call when Brownouts Occur?

You should first get in touch with your neighborhood utility company or electricity provider during a brownout. They are in charge of overseeing the power supply and can inform you of the circumstances, its anticipated duration, and any necessary steps you need to take. To make sure your utility provider is aware of the problem and can take the necessary action to address it, you might want to report brownouts that are frequent or last for a long time. 

3. Why Is It Called Brownout Instead of Blackout?

A deliberate and controlled decrease in voltage that causes lights to dim and equipment to perform less well is referred to as a "brownout." It differs from a "blackout," in which all power is lost. The dimming effect, which can make lights appear browner or dimmer than usual, is where the term "brownout" originates. While "blackout" refers to a total loss of power. 

4. What Do you Unplug During a Brownout?

Unplugging any electrical devices that could be damaged by voltage changes is a smart move during a brownout. Computers, servers, routers, modems, gaming consoles, and networking hardware are all included in this. Due to the lower voltage, unplugging these devices can help avoid possible damage or data corruption. Refrigerators, air conditioners, and washing machines are examples of home appliances with motors that are suitable candidates for temporary unplugging to prevent damage during voltage reductions.

5. Do Brownouts Damage Electronics?

Yes, brownouts have the potential to harm electronic devices. This may result in a number of problems, including: 1.Brownouts can cause unexpected computer shutdowns that could result in data loss or corruption if files are not properly saved. 2.When electronic components operate outside of their ideal operating range, lower voltage levels can result in stress, overheating, and early component failure. 3.After a brownout, some devices may struggle to start up or reset correctly, which may affect their functionality.