Review: Convert Your Conventional Outlets to USB

When you have a house full of iPads and iPhones, the power outlets poorly accommodate the oversized charging bricks sticking out from the walls. Of course, that is assuming that the chargers can be located. Top Greener has addressed the growing population of gadgets dependent on USB plugs to recharge. This review looks at two USB products that Top Greener has to offer.

Related: Review: VogDuo 30W Travel Wall Charger

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If you have only one or two iPhones or iPads, Top Greener's TU2154A outlet with two USB charging ports ($19.99) provide two 2.4 amp, 5 volt USB ports to connect your USB to lightning (or USB-C or older microUSB) cables to easily recharge your devices.  If you are like my family and have a variety of Android, iOS, headsets, wearables and other devices, the company's TU21558A3 power outlet with three USB charging ports ($26.99) may be a more efficient use of space, as the outlet is identical in size to the two USB model. The three USB ports fit nicely in the middle of the power outlet without crowding any of the USB cables plugged into them.

2 USB Power Outlet

Installing either the two or three USB port model is as easy as replacing any standard power outlet with one caveat. The rear housing of Top Greener's outlets are bulkier than the typical power outlet as it contains the additional electronics needed to properly condition and convert power for USB plug use. So after disconnecting electrical current to the wiring that will attach to the outlet, remove the existing traditional power outlet from the wall. Then be extra cautious when reinserting the new USB power outlet into the wall so as not to bump any exposed metal on the back.  Otherwise, you might see a blue spark accompanied by a cringe-inducing pop when you flip the circuit breaker for the power back on and end up with a defunct USB power outlet.

3 USB Power Outlet

Once electrified, the outlet works like any other power outlet with the added benefit of connecting any standard USB charging cable into the available power outlet's USB ports. Note that since the USB outlets only deliver 2.4 amps, they don't support any rapid battery recharge technologies. Consequently, iPads and iPhones will charge at a slower rate compared to using Apple's much more expensive power adapters. But if your typical recharging practice is to plug your devices in and leave them charging overnight, Top Greener's USB charging ports safely do the job.

Pros

  • Conveniently adds up to three USB ports within a standard wall power outlet footprint
  • Relatively easy installation
  • Works with all standard USB charging cables

Cons

  • Bulkier housing than traditional power outlets
  • Not HomeKit-enabled


Final Verdict

Eventually the USB-C cable will be the default charging cable. But not until Apple migrates their iPhones away from lightning to USB-C connectors, just like they did with the new iPad Pros. When that day arrives, Top Greener has USB-C power outlets in its catalog for cutting-edge households. For the rest of us, the old USB Type A power outlets will do just fine.

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Mike Riley's picture

Mike Riley is a frequent contributor to several technical publications and specializes in emerging technologies and new development trends. Mike was previously employed by RR Donnelley as the company’s Chief Scientist, responsible for determining innovative technical approaches to improve the company’s internal and external content services. Mike also co-hosted Computer Connection, a technology enthusiast show broadcast on Tribune Media's CLTV.