Gary Fisher tries out the new range of 3.1A USB Charging Sockets from Contactum.
I’ve seen a lot of USB charging sockets pop up recently and have already installed a few myself. As we now tend to use and depend on gadgets far more than we ever did in the past, having the capability to plug our chargers straight into the power outlet is a great idea and one that I can see catching on with homeowners very quickly. As their popularity increases this is an ideal opportunity to start offering these solutions to clients when on a job.
In my latest testing assignment from PE I was asked to look at Contactum’s range of sockets.
What ﬁrst stood out for me was that the collection seems geared towards the needs of the installer. The range of products I was given to test included metallic and white accessories, in a number of shapes and styles. All of which would suit the vast majority of domestic a light commercial settings you could come across.
Another feature I liked the idea of was the intelligent device recognition. This allows the socket to provide optimal charging depending on the attached device and (more importantly) helps protect from overload or short circuit.
“What ﬁrst stood out for me was that the collection seems geared towards the needs of the installer. The range of products I was given to test included metallic and white accessories, in a number of shapes and styles.”
Great for gadgets
As I mentioned before, these outlets are great for charging gadgets, so you are better off installing them where devices like laptops, phones and games consoles are often left (on kitchen surfaces, bedside tables, desks etc). As it happens, the kitchen is the mobile phone charging hotspot in my home so this is where I ﬁt my ﬁrst Contactum socket.
Installing the USB socket is no different to a standard model in terms of how it is wired. The replacement was easy. I just isolated the power, removed the old outlet and screwed the new one on. Simple.
I only had a bit of trouble when I was installing the single gang metallic socket in my hallway.
I already had a standard 25mm back box in the wall and had not noticed before but the back of these USB power outlets are just a bit deeper than on the standard models.
The conclusion here is that if you have a deep enough back box it’s not as easy to just retro-ﬁt one for one. This is a point that you would need to run by your client as a deeper box with some making good may be required.
● Wide range of finishes available
● Easy to install
● Looks great
● British made
● Retro-fit not always easy
● Can require deeper back box or plastic spacer
Overall I think USB sockets are a great idea and one that gets better and better when you see clients using more and more gadgets. Products like these from Contactum provide a great chance to upsell. Both the metallic and white models look modern in design with sleek proﬁles and why install a standard power outlet when for a fraction more money you can get one with a USB port?