In a crowded home where every family member has a cell phone and a tablet, electrical outlet space can be in high demand. And even if there’s plenty of outlet space to go around, the clunky chargers for these devices can clutter countertops and disrupt what could otherwise be streamlined workspaces.
If the glut of USB chargers has got you down, worry not -- you can simply upgrade a few of the outlets around your home to USB combo outlets and put away those chargers for good.
A New Kind of Outlet
USB combo outlets are a lot like the ones you already have around your home, but instead of just two electrical outlets, there are one or two USB outlets squeezed in between. By upgrading, you’ll be able to plug your phones, tablets and other devices directly into the wall with only a USB cable.
With the chargers out of the picture, there’s no worrying about whether a bulky charger will cover up both outlets. And as an added bonus, these outlets may charge devices faster than other USB connections, depending on the amperage in your home.
Take Your Pick
USB combo outlets were difficult to come by just a few years ago, but they’ve become ubiquitous enough that there are now numerous manufacturers, designs and features to choose from. Some models have no electrical outlets at all and four USB outlets instead. If you have a home office or another area of the house where you’re always charging multiple devices, this design will allow you to get lots of charging power in one small space.
The increasing popularity of combo outlets is bringing down the price, too. Most models are available for less than $25 per outlet, and some can be found for as little as $10.
Combo outlets are also winning favor with home builders, who are increasingly making them standard in strategically placed areas of the homes they build.
Make It Fit
Before you get too excited, there may be a catch, especially if you live in an older home. While it’s true that these outlets save space by removing the need for an adapter, combo outlets take up a bit more space behind the wall. Most models are more than twice as deep as a standard electrical outlet. As a result, the existing junction boxes for your outlets might not be big enough to accommodate the upgrade.
All is not lost if this is the case -- junction boxes can be replaced, but this may require some cutting and patching of the wall around the outlet. An electrician should be able to quickly determine whether this kind of work will be necessary to make USB combo outlets fit.
You may also need to factor your home’s amperage into your expectations of charging speeds. The electrical systems in most modern homes will charge devices quickly, but older systems may not quite have the juice to save you charging time. It’s also possible for combo outlets to charge devices more slowly if multiple USB ports are in use simultaneously.
If you’re thinking about upgrading the outlets in your home, reach out to your trusted local electricians today for a no-obligation consultation.