by Harry Guinness on
If you’ve any interest in writing nicely then a $1 ballpoint won’t cut it, you need to look at a fountain pen.
How many of your devices can you charge with just a USB cable? And how many outlets in your house have USB ports? If the latter is “not enough,” fix that with these outlets that give you USB ports.
The best way to add a USB port to your wall is to replace your existing outlet box with one that has USB ports built in. However, you need to modify your wall for this and you might not be comfortable enough modifying your home (or allowed) to do that. If you’re in that boat, we have options for you, too. Either way, it’s high time your outlets caught up to the modern world.
If you just want to replace your existing outlets with something functionally identical, plus a couple USB outlets, then this model from TopGreener is the way to go. It features the normal duplex wall outlet with tamper-resistant shutters (to make extra sure you can’t stick the wrong kind of metal inside), plus two USB outlets that can output up to 4.8 amps together.
That last bit is important. While your phone can probably charge (if slowly) from just about any USB port, you’ll need something with a bit more power to charge a tablet or a small laptop. This outlet sends 2.4 amps to each outlet which is more than enough for most use cases. It’s also among the highest amp output of all the devices we’ve looked at, so if you’re going to modify your house’s wiring, this is probably the best one to go with.
More and more modern devices are using USB-C for both charging and data connections. While USB-C has its problems, it’s also likely to get more common in the future. You may even already have cables with a USB-C port on both ends. If that’s the case, you might want this outlet also from TopGreener. It features two normal power plugs, one typical USB-A plug (the kind you’ve known for years) and one rounder USB-C plug.
The USB-A plug can output up to 2.4 amps, so it’s powerful enough to charge most larger devices. The USB-C plug can output 3 amps, which will probably allow it to fast charge your device, depending on the cable and phone you’re using. Just be sure to buy a USB cable that won’t harm your devices.
It may be a mild concern, but sometimes you want your outlets plugs to match your decor. If aesthetic is more important to you than utility, then the TopGreener’s white plates might not be right for you. This outlet from Leviton, on the other hand, gives you more options. You can get plates in black, brown, gray, white, and more.
Appealing to your sense of vanity isn’t without its downsides, though. The two extra USB outlets (on top of the two regular power outlets) only support a combined total of 3.6 amps, or 1.8 amps each. That’s plenty to charge your phone, but it might be too little for some of your bigger gadgets. Plus, it might charge your devices a little slower. It’s not a deal breaker by any means, but it’s worth keeping in mind.
If you can’t (or don’t want to) install an outlet in your wall, this Belkin charging cradle gives you an alternative. It plugs directly into your existing outlet where it blocks both outlets. In exchange, you get three regular power outlets, plus two 2.4 amp USB outlets. The block even has a small ridge so you can set your phone on top of it while it charges.
If that’s not enough for you, an upgraded model gives you six full-size outlets, and two USB ports. Though the USB ports on that unit only output 2.1 amps, and there’s no convenient charging shelf to place your gadgets on. Either one will give you the option of USB charging without having to mess around with electrical cables inside your wall.
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