Chargers/Batteries
SnapPower gives USB an outlet with no rewiring

The best place to charge a phone at home seems to be “anywhere” but in many households stuffed with electronics and appliances, it’s difficult to sacrifice a whole outlet for the fraction of power needed to charge a phone.

SnapPower addresses this issue with an outlet coverplate that includes a small “chin” to accommodate a USB port. While there have been other ways to add add such a smartphone charging convenience, they have included undesirable tradeoffs between aesthetics and installation. Some products that are basically chunky rectangular power strips simply plug into the existing outlets, adding a lot of bulk to the outlet Stealthier products require playing around with wires.

SnapPower, on the other hand, draws power from the screws used to connect the device. Simply remove the old coverplate, add the new one, and you’re done. The company, which previously created an LED-based nightlight using a similar technique, seeks $35,000 from Kickstarter backers by May 15. Bundles of SnapPower coverplates — which are available in traditional and decor varieties — start at about $15 per unit and go down from there as the bundles grow. They’re expected to ship in August.

SnapPower offers an affordable and easily installed charging convenience. it would be nice if it could support two phones by adding a USB port to either end, but one can just purchase a few more for other outlets around the home.

Ross Rubin is publisher and editor of Backerjack and principal analyst at Reticle Research.