Best Benchtop Power Supply for Hobbyists
Benchtop power supplies are tools that provide direct current (DC) voltage to other devices being tested. Although typically used by electrical engineers for testing and measuring circuit systems, they are commercially available for anyone to purchase—no licenses or certificates required.
On that note, plenty of casual engineers and hobbyists use benchtop power supplies for amateur, informal projects—think ham radios, DIY electronics repair, and the like.
If you’re one of these hobbyists or you’re thinking of getting a power supply for a hobbyist that you know, we highly recommend the following seven units from Circuit Specialists. They’re all casual commercial models that are cost-efficient and reasonably priced.
Rather than go for the large professional-grade units that have features and capabilities completely unnecessary for amateur home projects, why not check out some of the best benchtop power supplies for hobbyists that we’ve listed below?
I. CSI25SW-D Benchtop Switching Power Supply
This powerful benchtop unit is a compact but fully regulated switching power supply with adjustable voltage. Capable of providing up to 25 amps output, this high current model can run either a fixed 13.8 volts or between 3 and 15 volts (user-selectable). Its two DC voltage operating modes also make it quite flexible.
Internally shielded and solidly built, this benchtop power supply was designed for durability and reliability. It comes with internal protection for constant current, over-temperature thermal, and output overvoltage. The variable voltage output can be controlled via the front panel. The unit itself has an excellent line and load regulation.
Overall, the CSI25SW-D is a powerful yet lightweight piece of tech, highly recommended for use with radio equipment, mobile electronics, and high-powered car stereos.
- Input: 110V, 60Hz
- Output Voltage: 13.8VDC
- Output Current: 25 amps max/23 amps continuous
- Display: Digital; shows voltage and current
- Additional Features: Comes with a rear panel-mounted fuse and extensive internal protection
II. 18 Volt CSI1802X Linear Bench Power Supply
Thanks to its adjustable current limiting and stable DC power supply, the CSI1802X is one of the best benchtop power supplies on the market available for under a hundred bucks. Fully regulated and capable of up producing up to 2 amps and 18 volts, this unit packs a pretty decent punch for its price. It’s incredibly intuitive and user-friendly too. Front-mounted control knobs allow the user to fine-tune voltage and current input using the full, easy-to-read LCD screen on the front panel as a guide.
Furthermore, the CSI1802X is especially stable thanks to the high-quality SMT PC boards—for overload protection—and reinforced metal chassis. The front-mounted terminals also accept banana plugs for DC power.
With all these features—plus the model’s specifications—taken into account, the CSI1802X is a truly practical and economical choice for hobbyists who prefer a more casual approach to their electronic tinkering.
- Input: 110-127V, 60Hz
- Output Voltage: 0-18 VCD
- Output Current: 0-2.0 amps
- Display: LCD; shows voltage and current
- Additional Features: Comes with fuse protection and 5” power cord
III. CSI3003SM Fully Regulated DC Power Supply
This flexible, accurate, and highly efficient switching power supply is perfect for entry-level hobbies and casual experiments. Capable of delivering up to 3 amps of current and 30 VDC of voltage, this tiny powerhouse is great for short but frequent experiments that need a burst of energy. Input can easily be set and fine-tuned via the coarse and fine range knobs. The model comes with a banana plug terminated leads that can be adjusted from the front of the small footprint chassis.
Safety features include constant current protection, over-temperature thermal protection, and output overvoltage.
This unit may be small and non-programmable, but its built-in protection system, power supply capabilities, and portable-yet-sturdy frame definitely make it worthy of a spot on this list. We highly recommend the CSI3003SM for hobbyists in general chemistry, entry-level electrical engineering, and standard lab testing and research.
- Input: 110V, 60Hz
- Output Voltage: 0-30 VDC
- Output Current: 0-3 amps
- Display: 3-digit LCD meter; shows voltage and current
- Additional Features: Features a built-in mode indicator, current limiting protection, and internal cooling system
IV. CSI305DB Programmable Benchtop Power Supply
The CSI305DB is a programmable linear DC power supply capable of currents between 0-30 volts and 0-50 amps. It has three terminals—positive, negative, and ground—and a 4-digit LCD screen for accurate input and fine-tuning. Built with Surface Mount Technology (SMT) and featuring intuitive, user-friendly current protection adjustment knobs, this is one of the best programmable power supplies within this output range.
Multiple tests and reviews have proven the CSI305DB benchtop power supply to be powerful, reliable, and packing a dozen or so features for its price. What’s more, its high accuracy, high reliability, and improved overload protection circuit makes it ideal for industrial use.
What further sets the CSI305DB apart is its ability to store up to 60 current and voltage values. This allows users to conveniently set and select different value combinations at the drop of a hat, making this particular power supply perfect for more intensive, involved applications like computer repair, product development, electronic production, and academic research.
- Input: 110V, 60Hz
- Output Voltage: 0-30V
- Output Current: 0-5 amps
- Display: 4-digit LCD; shows voltage and current
- Additional Features: Adjustable current protection knobs and SMT (Surface Mount Technology)
V. CSI5003XE Linear Bench Power Supply
Despite being capable of regulating up to 50V of linear power, the CSI5003XE is surprisingly compact and incredibly affordable. For much less than a hundred, you get a fully regulated benchtop power supply capable of delivering substantial voltage. What’s more, it comes with some pretty notable features that make it one of the best benchtop power supplies around.
On top of its adjustable current limiting and dual front banana jacks, this unit also allows the user to preset the current output via a front panel adjustment screw and the output voltage via a front panel multi-turn knob. This makes for incredible precision and highly controlled testing. The power levels themselves are displayed clearly on the front, three-digit LED display for maximum accuracy.
Overall, the combination of the CSI5003XE’s output voltage, current, and precision capabilities makes this benchtop power supply suitable for many hobbyist projects.
- Input: 110-127V switchable
- Output Voltage: 0-50VDC
- Output Current: 0-3 amps
- Display: 3-digit LCD; shows voltage and current
- Additional Features: Current output can be preset by user via the front panel, and a covered terminal strip allows for remote voltmeter sensing
VI. CSI6010X Linear Benchtop Power Supply
Although a little pricier than the other models on this list, the CSI6010X is still an incredibly affordable power supply if you consider all the features it has. A powerful benchtop unit capable of generating up to 60 volts and 10 amps, this is one of Circuit Specialists’ harder, more intense commercial models—perfectly suitable for extensive electrical engineering work and home projects that need a little more juice.
This model comes with a large LED display on the front panel that dictates current and voltage values. Meanwhile, the screwdriver adjustment screw and multi-turn knob just below it enable the user to preset the current output and voltage output. This precision, combined with the raw power it delivers, is what makes the CSI6010X one of the best benchtop power supplies around.
Other notable features of this unit include a covered terminal strip for remote voltmeter sensing at the load and a pair of front panel banana jacks. All standard features combined to create an optimal piece of equipment that’s best suited for demanding hobbyist projects. You’re paying a little over 200 bucks for it but, rest assured, the CSI6010X is definitely worth it.
- Input: 110V, 60Hz
- Output Voltage: 0-60VDC
- Output Current: 0-10 amps
- Display: Digital Display; shows voltage and current
- Additional Features: Utilizes SMD technology and has a built-in cooling fan
VII. The CSI12001X Benchtop Power Supply
As a staggeringly powerful 120V, 1A DC power supply priced at just a little over a hundred bucks, the CSI12001X is a great pick for hobbyist projects on a slightly larger scale. This stable, high-reliability model features adjustable current limiting alongside circuit protection and an onboard cooling fan to keep the unit safe from internal temperature damage.
The digital LCD displays both voltage and current levels, which can be adjusted via front panel switches and a multi-turn knob for extra precision. It also features a dual terminal system for constant voltage and current output modes.
At 120V, the CSI12001X is definitely one of the more powerful benchtop power supplies on this list (in terms of voltage capabilities). It’s great for testing larger electronics and running constant, slightly demanding hobbyist projects. Other important elements in this unit include front panel banana jacks, a covered terminal strip for remote voltmeter sensing, and multiloop high precision voltage regulation all packed neatly in a robust reinforced metal frame.
- Input: 110V, 60Hz
- Output Voltage: 0-120VDC
- Output Current: 0-1 amp
- Display: LCD Display; shows voltage and current
- Additional Features: Comes with a banana to alligator cable and a spade to open-end cable
To recap here is the list we covered:
- CSI25SW-D Benchtop Switching Power Supply
- 18 Volt CSI1802X Linear Bench Power Supply
- CSI3003SM Fully Regulated DC Power Supply
- CSI305DB Programmable Benchtop Power Supply
- CSI5003XE Linear Bench Power Supply
- CSI6010X Linear Benchtop Power Supply
- The CSI12001X Benchtop Power Supply
Overall, these best benchtop power supplies are great for hobbyists with a wide range of situational needs and specifications. They have their own unique features that make them suitable for different projects and environments. All the models listed here require simple, straightforward operation and minimal maintenance to produce optimal results.
Want to find the best programmable power supplies—not just for hobbyists, but for general use? You can find more great options at Circuit Specialists.