If we could redo the wall outlet, we’d probably give it a few USB ports.
The next time you didn’t have enough room to charge a gadget, having a port right there would be a bit simpler than making room for a power strip — or worse, physically moving to another outlet.
Well dream no more, my lazy friend, because an easy way to add that port already exists today. It’s called the SnapPower Charger, and it’s a $20 coverplate that bolsters any outlet with a place to top off your phone. The concept of a USB-enabled wall outlet isn’t exactly new, and the SnapPower itself has been available for a few months now, but it’s clever all the same.
The key is that you don’t have to do any rewiring to get it to work — you’ll still want to kill your outlet’s power to be safe, but once you do, just unscrew your existing cover, snap on the new one, and let it do its thing. Two prongs on the back of the device draw power from screws on the outlet’s sides, and you can directly recharge whatever USB device you’ve got. It also comes in a couple of form factors, so it should be able to fit in regardless of your outlet’s shape.
There are a few caveats, though. One, $20 per coverplate isn’t exactly cheap if you want this all around your house. Two, this is only a 1 amp charger — that’s as strong as the one that comes with many phones, but it’s much slower than the 2.1a (or higher) chargers you can pick up for fairly cheap. It will take a bit to fully charge a tablet, for instance.
Still, it’s easy and useful. If you’re constantly charging something, it’s at least worth considering.