The best bench power supply that I have discovered for my hobby use is the Lavolta Variable Linear DC Bench Power Supply 0 - 30V 0 - 5A. The first consideration that had to be met was one of cost, it couldn’t be too expensive. What’s too expensive is obviously going to vary from one person to another. You want it to be cheap but on the other hand if it’s really cheap you can’t really expect that it’s going to be very good or useful. After all they are going to have to cut corners somewhere. For me the Lavolta Bench Power Supply gets this balance just about right.
I like that this power supply isn’t too heavy. Don’t get me wrong, it’s not feather light, the specifications say its 6kg, but I have had to lug massive and heavy bench power supplies around a university in my days as a laboratory technician and believe me 6kg isn’t heavy by comparison.
The main reason I like this power supply though is the current regulation. It’s a feature I didn’t realise how useful it was until I had used it and then had to revert to power supplies without it. You set it to limit the current that the power supply will provide. It may not seem like such a good idea until you’ve made a mistake on your prototype and a couple of expensive IC’s go up in smoke. The current limiting functions have saved me a fair few components over the years. It’s also something not easily included on DIY circuits.
You also get a generous zero to thirty volts at zero to five amps with fine and course controls for both and digital displays of both. It has short circuit and overload protection and a rather noisy cooling fan.
If you require a ready built unit this is the best bench power supply that I have found.
Bench power supply kit.
There is however another option if you are an electronics hobbyist. You might not need something quite as high specification as a professional might need. You may not also have the budget to go with it. As a hobbyist though you will be used to building things yourself so why not build your own bench power supply? If you are interested in doing this I have written an article detailing the construction using a power supply kit that I found on line at Amazon. You can read the full article here.