Best hobbyist benchtop power supply

Best hobbyist benchtop power supply

I hope that the products recommended here will help you build great projects. Just so you know, if you buy through the links on this page on Amazon or Banggood (among others), RobotsBench may get a small share of the sale (as an Amazon affilate, I earn from qualifying purchases). This helps to keep the site alive and allow me to write more articles. Thank you!

TLDR; The KORAD KA3005D Variable DC Linear Power Supply is my favorite power supply for its ease of use and multiple features. For projects that require up to 60V/10A (or multiple outputs when you don’t need that much power), the Dr.meter 30V/5A Triple Linear Variable DC Power Supply is also a good choice.

A benchtop power supply is useful for all kinds of prototyping work. You’ll always need to power your circuits and experiments, and a good DC power supply will allow you to get that power without having to cobble something together before getting started. A good power supply is also precise, so it will allow you to test your projects in a variety of conditions. I use mine all the time to test if a power source will be adequate to power my project before going ahead and purchasing it.

As an alternative, there are many people recommending building a small power supply as a beginner project. It’s a good idea since you’ll learn a lot and you never have enough power supplies, but a professional tool is easier to use and can be carried around or have a permanent place on the hobbyist workbench. For the price, it’s a no brainer to get one if you’re serious about electronics. In my opinion, it’s one of the first big tools you should purchase after getting a good multimeter.

In this article, we’ll review the following hobbyist benchtop power supplies:

The most important feature to know about when shopping for a power supply is the different between linear vs switching power supplies:

  • Switching power supplies use a pulse width modulation to regulate the voltage. They are very efficient and small, but produce some high-frequency noise that can cause problems for electronics projects, especially for ham radio. They are more used for high power applications
  • Linear power supplies use a transformer to take the AC voltage and convert it to DC. They are bigger and less efficient than switching power supplies at converting the power, but the quality of the signal makes them ideal for the electronics hobbyist and other low power needs.

The power supplies listed here are linear power supplies since they’re the best for small hobbyist projects, but most manufacturers also offer switching power supplies.

Benchtop Power Supplies Reviews

Tekpower TP3005T Variable Linear DC Power Supply

  • High precision DC regulated power supply with 0-30 volts and 0-5 amp outputs
  • Two operational modes: constant voltage and constant current
  • Cooling fan automatic activation by built-in thermo-sensor
  • Back-lit LED Display with a 0.1V and 0.01A resolution
  • 1-year manufacturer's warranty

A standard power supply with one output that can go up to 30V and 5A. The controls are pretty awkward: you must push knobs in various combinations to do things such as locking the current value.

It has no output power button to cut the power while leaving the power supply open, so you need to reconnect the circuit every time you start up if you want to be safe. Also, the power supply does not remember the last settings after rebooting, which can lead to errors since you’ll need to frequently restart and setup everything again.

KORAD KA3005D Variable DC Linear Power Supply

  • ◆ HIGH PRECISION INSTRUMENT WITH MANY UNIQUE FEATURES - Very Easy setup with a rapid adjustment knob. There are buttons to switch to course or fine adjustment and a button to switch to voltage or current selection. The input voltage is switchable between 110/220 Volts for use in all countries. It has 4 Memory Recall buttons so you can save time setting up the supply to your required conditions.
  • ◆ 4 DIGITS READINGS WITH BACK-LIT LED DISPLAY - With a 0.001V and 0.001A resolution, 4 digits provide more accurate and clearer visible readout for the voltage and current values with only 1 knob, extremely durable and easily visible even in low-light usage, meeting the needs of most people, ideal for business, small labs or the hobbyist at home.
  • ◆ HIGH-QUALITY WITH ESSENTIAL SAFETY - Grounding wire, thermal protection, voltage and current overload and short-circuit protection ensure the safety. The built-in quiet variable fan reduces the operational noise and prolongs the life of product. There is a load on and off button so you can safely connect your load to the supply. There is also a lock button to prevent accidental changes.
  • ◆ CONSTANT VOLTAGE & CURRENT OPERATION MODE - Easy to dial in the desired voltage with the encoded-controlled adjustment knob and then you choose the mode with one of the constant buttons.
  • ◆ WHAT YOU GET - 1 x Korad KA3005D Power supply , 1 x power cord , 1x Set of 5 Amp test leads, 1 x User manual

It’s the model I have on my own bench and I’m satisfied with it, it does the job without a fuss. It’s very easy to use since everything has separate buttons. You can lock it to a value or cut the power to the circuit while you’re doing the setup with a simple button press. It also has memory slots to remember various setups if you need to test under various conditions.

Like the other one output power supplies reviewed here, it that can go up to 30V and 5A.

Dr.meter 30V/5A DC Bench Power Supply Single-Output

  • ★【DC regulated power supply】-30 Volts and 0-5 Amp outpouts with alligator clip leads, 3 LED digital display.
  • ★【Auto Conversion】Current can be converted from ''A'' to ''mA'' though The Movement of Decimal Point. It can be operated as constant current or constant voltage source.
  • ★【Multiple Protections】Upgrade Elastic Handle, easy to carry, Automatic cooling fan, exhaust fan protection, overload and short circuit protection to prolong service life of product.
  • ★【High Stability】Voltage stability: <0.01%+3mV, Current stability: < 0.2%+3mA, Ripple & noise :< 3mArms
  • ★【Wide Application】Suitable for the laboratory, electronic, communication equipments maintenance, products line, scientific research and teaching units

Another supply with one output that can go up to 30V and 5A with pretty standard controls: you turn the analog knobs to adjust the power finely or coarsely. A power output button allows you to cut the power so you can setup your circuit and turn it back up without fearing the power will spike.

Beside this, there are no other features you can setup: it output constant current and voltage that you set and that’s it.

Dr.meter 30V/5A Triple Linear Variable DC Power Supply

  • [3-Way Output] No need to buy a splitter--- this 3-way DC power supply boasts 3 separate connections for each current. One is fixed at 5V and 3A, but the other two can be adjusted up to 30V and 5V each. Use the circuits independently or in series to achieve a maximum output of 60V or 10A.
  • [Automatic Tracking] The Dr.meter DC Power Supply includes both main and branch circuits. With the main circuit, you'll be able to track the branch circuits'output voltage or current automatically.
  • [Easy Current and Voltage Adjustment] Need to switch things up? Both the current and the voltage can be adjusted quickly (between 0-5A and 0- 30V) and seamlessly.
  • [Built-in Protection Mechanisms] At Dr.meter, safety is our top priority. That's why we've designed this 3-way DC power supply with automatic mechanisms to protect you from short circuiting, over-voltage, overheating, and so on.
  • [Schools, Laboratories, and More] Physics lessons? Laboratory experiments? Science projects? The Dr.meter 3-Way Power Supply can do it all. This versatile machine is perfect for both institutional and home use.

This power supply is a bit different from the other ones reviewed, since it has with three available outputs. Two of the output can be adjusted up to 30V DC 5A, but the other one is not adjustable, it’s fixed at 5V and 3A. What’s interesting with this one is that you can set it up so one of the output goes up to 60V or 10A, which is more than all the other units reviewed here. It’s not needed for most small electronics projects, if you need to go that high this power supply can do it all.

Unfortunately, it has no switch to cut the output power to the circuits or to lock the current value, and reviewers report that it’s a bit hard to fine tune the power with the knobs. On the other hands, the knobs are analog, so you don’t lose all your setup if you need to reboot it.

Yescom 30V/10A DC Power Supply

  • [Easy Operation]: 10 5/8" x 4 15/16" x 6 1/8" DC power supply features constant voltage(CV) and constant current(CC) operation mode to converse CC & CV status automatically; Rotatable knobs for adjusting voltage and current; Ideal for offering voltage up to 30V and current up to 10A for electronic repair and lab experiment
  • [Precise Digital Display]: 3-digit LED digital display for showing voltage and current with precise accuracy, you can easily observe the specific change of voltage and current while using the power supply
  • [Multiple Protection]: Over voltage (OVP), open circuit (OCP) and over temperature (OTP) protection for preventing power supply from short-circuit and damage; with fuse in the power inlet port for adding extra safety; Intelligent temperature control fan adjusts the speed for reducing noise and dissipating heat for longtime use
  • [Durable & Portable]: Sturdy steel construction for providing long service life and rust resistance; compact size power supply with elastic handle for easy carrying to use for different repairing works
  • [Quality Assurance & Wide Application]: CE & FCC certificated for ensuring quality and safety; widely used for laboratory experiment, school experimental lesson, factory and home to test and repair electronic or communication equipment

Another barebone power supply that can go up to 30V and 5A. The analog knobs allow you to setup the voltage and current with a coarse or fine resolution.

It has no switch to cut the output power, but since the knobs are analog it will start up with the same values. I’m still not sure I’d trust a power supply starting up while being plugged to a sensitive circuit, there are always chances that it will slightly spike up while starting, but it’s annoying having to disconnect and reconnect the circuit each time.

Wrapping up the review

In conclusion, I still believe that the KORAD KA3005D Variable DC Linear Power Supply is the best hobbyist power supply. It has features that are usually available with more advanced power supplies such as the memory slots.

If you need more power (up to 60V/10A) or many power output at once, the Dr.meter 30V/5A Triple Linear Variable DC Power Supply is also a very good choice, but it’s slightly harder to use.