by Michael Crider on
If you want high-speed network access throughout your home and Wi-Fi isn’t cutting it, you’ve probably considered running Ethernet cables. But why not take advantage of the power lines you already have going everywhere?
We’ve got more gadgets than ever and now even our kids are getting in on the gadget game. All those gadgets need charging and these charging stations make it simple to park a whole pile of them in one place to charge.
Why use a charging station? While everybody could charge their gadgets with individual chargers in their rooms, if you’ve got kids of your own you know all too well why that might not be the best plan. Not only do kids lose chargers with surprising regularity but for many families a lights-out gadgets-off policy is much easier to enforce if all the family gadgets are charging down in the kitchen. To that end a charging station where you can park all the gadgets is a great solution.
We’ve focused on USB charging stations that offer 10 USB charging ports. USB charging stations with 4 or 5 slots are great for one user—such as on your office desk—but for a family, that number really isn’t going to cut it. Just the smartphones in a family of four takes up nearly half of those slots and that’s before you take into account smartwatches, fitness bands, tablets, Kindles, and all the other gadgets that form part of your family’s life.
Not all the USB charging stations here provide cables but in most cases, you should have plenty of those spare yourself. The vast majority will also go some way to keeping your charging area looking neat and tidy too. Here are the best of the bunch.
The Levin 10 Port USB Charging Station Dock is a pretty great all rounder, thanks to its neat design. The station offers 4 charging ports on one side with built-in retractable cables, and the other side provides 6 smart USB charging ports that adjust to the current your device requires.
Designed as an actual docking station, you can easily slot your devices into each of the receptacles, quickly unplugging it for when you’re ready to go. The slots are the right size for plugging in tablets, smartphones, Kindles, and even devices with cases attached to them, although they may be a little small for certain leather/bulky cases. This way, you have a convenient solution, both in terms of charging options and in terms of keeping your devices safe while they charge. It’s great for eliminating clutter.
A 10-port based device, the SIIG 90W Smart 10-Port USB Charging Station appreciates that not all your devices are the same size. That means that 8 of its ports are contained within slot shaped areas—ideal for placing your phone or tablet—while the remaining 2 USB ports are perfect for other, smaller devices such as your smartwatch or Bluetooth earphones.
A non-slip padded deck keeps those extra couple of devices secure on the surface. There’s also a LED ambient light that illuminates the way for those times when you’re charging up at night. (The ambient light is visible in the photo above as the blue square beneath the iPod Shuffle and not, sadly, as the novelty Batman USB light plugged into the device but not included with purchase).
Just be aware that the charging station’s AC power adapter is on the chunky side, so you want to keep this part of the station hidden away.
The iSelector 10-Port Charging Station isn’t going to win prizes for looks but in terms of sheer value for money, it’s a success. The device offers slots for up to 10 USB powered devices, but there’s an extra trick up its sleeve. The charging station also has 2 AC outlets, giving you a further couple of options for what you may wish to charge from it.
Fortunately, there’s also a cooling fan to ensure that nothing overheats. The fan itself is a little on the loud side, so it’s no good as a bedside cabinet, for instance. However, if you just need to use it as a dock to utilize in the hall then walk away from, it does the job perfectly.
The Unitek 10-Port USB Charger looks like a lot of other divider style charging stations. It has a cool trick up its sleeve though—you can adjust the sizes yourself. Each divider is detachable, allowing you to adjust the width exactly to your needs. This means that you can charge 8 iPads simultaneously, all thanks to the different sizes available.
Such flexibility is a key reason for buying the Unitek charging station, but it’s pretty good elsewhere. With up to 2.4A of power per port your devices charge quickly. Just make sure you slot those dividers in securely, otherwise the Unitek’s plasticky build quality and modular design might fail to fully secure your gadgets.
The Anker 60W 10-Port USB Wall Charger isn’t like the others listed here. It doesn’t offer numerous slots for you to place your smartphone or tablet in—it’s simply a hefty charger that will also attach to many different surfaces. That’s great for the family that has multiple types of devices. If you’re dealing with a few different smartwatches, Bluetooth earphones, as well as smartphones, you want the flexibility that the Anker charger brings. The inclusion of an on/off button is a useful safety feature too.
Thanks to a focus on charging rather than somewhere to store your devices, the Anker 10-Port USB Wall Charger is smaller than the others here, and more stylish for it too. You can easily throw it in your bag if you’re traveling as a family, and need additional charging options. Anker promises to use some smart technology to ensure you get the speediest charge out of all the ports, and Anker’s reliable reputation and experience in the field goes a long way towards ensuring you’ll get a quality experience. Sadly it doesn’t support Qualcomm Quick Charge but, other than that, this charger is a great all rounder for both the home and vacationing with a gadget-loving family.
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