Kickstarter: SnapPower Charger: A USB charger in a coverplate

Apparently I’m on a Kickstarter kick because I’ve just backed my fourth project. The SnapPower Charger is already a big hit on the internet, you’ve probably seen it on other sites by now. But it solves a common problem, it gives users an easy way to upgrade a standard electrical outlet to add a USB charging port.

Adding USB charging to electrical ports is not a new thing. I’ve long been a fan of the NewerTech Power2U AC/USB Wall Outlets and reviewed them here last year. But like traditional USB wall outlets on the market, it requires electrical installation that some users may not be comfortable with. (I installed mine in about 10–15 minutes, but I have experience with this type of install.) 

the SnapPower seeks to solve bring USB charging to electrical outlets in an easier way, by allowing users to simply replace the faceplate of a standard electrical outlet. “Power Prongs” inside the cover draw power from screws on the side of the power outlet rather than requiring re-wiring a new outlet. This makes the SnapPower ideal for people who are uncomfortable with electrical work, may need to remove and replace the original outlet, or are just looking for faster installation. Although I already have a few of the NewerTech power outlets installed in my house, I ordered a SnapPower for installation on the power outlet next to my desk at the office, somewhere I’m not comfortable doing electrical work as I would be in my own home.

The SnapPower, in its current form, does have a few downsides. First, there’s only a single USB port for charging, most USB wall outlets provide at least two. Second, the USB charging port provides only 1 Amp of power which will charge most cell phones but it will only slow-charge an iPad. The comments on Kickstarter have overwhelmingly requested modifications to rectify these two shortcomings and given that SnapPower has blown past its initial funding goal, I think it’s likely we could see the product updated as the campaign goes on.