With the ever-increasing reliance on technology on the go, the popularity of USB charging sockets continues to grow. We’ve seen a significant rise in demand here at ElectricalDirect for USB charging sockets, and we predict these will soon be expected as standard in most house and public building specifications. While they present a real opportunity for electrical contractors, there are some factors to be mindful of when specifying.
The main advantage of a USB socket is that it enables the user to charge a device while still keeping the main socket outlet free to use. But while this offers convenience and a more streamlined way to charge smartphones and tablets, the wrong specification can not only impact on the long-term performance of the socket but also pose a safety risk to the user.
The most important factor to consider when choosing a USB socket is the amperage. This is especially important when specifying for clients, as an iPad will require a higher amperage (usually 2.1A) than a smartphone (generally using 1A). While a tablet or device requiring a higher charge rate can be plugged into a 1A socket, it will charge significantly more slowly and could potentially damage the device after prolonged use. Sockets installed in public buildings such as airports or hotels would generally require a higher amperage as standard, to accommodate for the wide range of end users and their differing requirements.
Most USB sockets are available with two or three charging outlets, but bear in mind that the total rated amperage is usually shared between the outlets, so always look for a minimum of 2.1A to allow for maximum charging time.
As always in the electrical market, a higher rise for demand means an influx of low cost, unbranded imports that have not been tested to the relevant British Standards. While these may seem to be a good option cost wise, in the long term they may present the risk of electric shock and/or fire. Here at ElectricalDirect, all our USB sockets are from trusted brands such as MK and BG, and tested to British Standards so you can fit them safe in the knowledge that they are fit for purpose.