by Craig Lloyd on
If you’re ready to move on from subpar coffee in the morning and want to start making a worthwhile delicious cup of joe, here’s some coffee gear that will help get you started.
The “charging tower” is a fairly recent development, a more elegant evolution of the power strip or surge protector. It’s great for quickly sharing outlets. Here are the best ones you can buy.
Charging towers generally include both standard wall outlets (for laptops and other plug-in gadgets) and USB ports (for phones and tablets). Make a particular note of which ones include a surge protector in their vertical housing, and which ones don’t—if there’s no surge protector for a dozen or so connected power outlets, you’ll want to use one between it and the wall outlet. That being said, check out our selections for the best general, upgraded, premium, and retail charging towers below.
This brick of a gadget from reliable supplier Aukey features no less than twelve standard AC outlets for laptops and other high-power devices, plus six USB ports for mobile gadgets. Those ports output at 2.4 amps each, allowing for the maximum charge rate for devices that don’t feature any kind of accelerated charging tech. The outlets are spaced evenly on the axes of the tower itself, with enough vertical and horizontal space to accommodate oversized charging bricks, and a big, finger-friendly button on top cuts the master power if you’re closing up and want to save a bit of electricity.
The design is subtle enough that it won’t immediately stick out from most homes’ decor, which is more than you can say for most power accessories. The PowerHub XL comes with a two-year warranty, but do make a note that this design doesn’t integrate a surge protector—for that you’ll need to step up to one of the next two selections.
If you need to charge a truly massive amount of stuff, this imposing charging tower is ready to accomodate your charging needs. With no less than eighteen US outlets plus four USB ports, it can output an impressive 3000 watts of electricity at once—that’s enough that every single outlet could drive a 55-inch LED TV without breaking a sweat.
The design also integrates a small 780-joule surge protector to keep all those attached gadgets safe and sound in the case of a surge or spike. The central tower rotates for easy access, and each sub-section has its own power switch for the associated outlets, and even the primary power cord retracts into a spindle into the base. If you absolutely positively have to charge every laptop in your office or dorm, this thing will do it for you.
For those more interested in an all-in-one solution for a home or workshop, the Bestek USB Power Strip is the best choice. It has fewer total outlets at just eight, but keeps six USB ports (2.4 amps each) and ups the internal surge protector to a more reliable 1500 joules for even more protection. But there’s a hidden upgrade inside the central tower: a Qi wireless charging pad integrated into the top of the case.
Stick a late-model iPhone or Galaxy on there, and it will charge at five volts. That makes this design particularly handy if your guests or customers frequently arrive without any kind of charging cable.
This pick is more suited for retail or school use than for homes or offices. But if your small business sees a lot of traffic making use of your free Wi-Fi, it’s worth the investment to make it easy for your customers to recharge their electronic gear. The design offers two USB ports and two cleverly-designed international AC outlets, but more importantly, allows you to thread up to six different USB cables out to users for instant charging without any extra hardware.
The package comes with an assortment of Lightning, MicroUSB, and USB-C ports to start you off, but you can replace them with any other USB-compatible cables. They all plug into a locking cabinet at the rear of the station, so no one runs away with your cables, and you can even put a custom card notice in the included display slot. Stick one of these on either side of your bar, and your customers will never leave.
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