In this age and time when technology is going nuclear and science is bridging the gap between man and the universe at breakneck speed, it wouldn’t be a wonder if we are able to draw electricity right out of thin air to charge up our devices. But until then, we’d still have to rely on good old AC and power outlets to get the charging job done. Granted, you may have a solar powered mobile charger
but they’re mostly limited to charging at most a couple of devices at once and they also come with the option of recharging via an electrical outlet.
Let’s face it, more often than not we need an electrical power outlet to juice up our devices.
Now that we’ve established that fact, how best do you manage charging your devices? A person can have up to 4 active devices that will need constant charging so you can stay connected to the world and your work. Now, taking that to the home front, an average family can have up to 10 fully functional devices at one time and each comes with a power cable. These power cables and adapters can become an unsightly clutter on the table and may pose a veritable source of frustration when you’re racing against time trying to sort out the right cable for your device to get it plugged up before it powers down.
What to do? Get a power dock. Simple.
A power dock makes charging up your devices a lot simpler and organized, you wouldn’t have to go through the stress of trying to sort through tangled cords just to get your smart phone, smartwatch
or tablet plugged in and charging. A typical power dock comes with multiple USB charging ports and a couple or more of AC sockets for easy and convenient connection of devices. Some of them are even totally wireless. Imagine the joy of wirelessly docking your compatible device on a power dock without the hassles of cords and cables. And if you’re so much after the organization of your table surface, an organizer-style power dock will not only efficiently charge your device, but will also safely hold them in place so you can have more room on the table.
You may wonder if a normal power strip
cannot perform the same function as the power dock, seeing as both will allow you plug in and charge your device. Well, a power strip can be used to plug in lots of other household appliances apart from mobile and communication devices and as such, will present even a more confusing and annoying tangle of cables to sort through. Besides, a power dock looks sleeker and in most cases, are quite portable so you can take them anywhere with you.
Before you make your choice of a power dock though, there are some factors that you should carefully consider and take note of. Things like the UL certification, number of ports and form factor are vital factors that you should carefully check out. Others include the port amperage and the price of the desired power dock. We’ll be looking at these features shortly so just stay with us.
As with all electrical gadgets, how secure, or safe the gadget is should be of paramount importance when shopping for the right one. In the case of a power dock, its UL certification indicates whether the power dock is safe or not and you’d just as soon pay more for a safe product than risking it with some of the cheap power docks with no UL certification that may end up destroying your device or your home.
Most power docks fall within the price range of $25 to $60 and some high-end ones are known to cost as much as $660. Our featured products are chosen to give you and your devices the best performance at prices that are affordable. Chosen from reliable brands, we ensured that you can get a quality power dock no matter your budget so you don’t end up with a mediocre item. So, just sit back and read on, while we unveil what we have for you.
There are several factors that should be on your checklist once you’re out shopping for a power dock and once you’ve had these factors checked out and ticked, you’re sure to be on your way to picking out the perfect power dock for your devices.
These factors include:
- Form factor of the power dock
- Number of ports
- UL certification
- Port amperage
- Additional features
Construction and Design
As earlier stated, the safety feature or safe usage of any electrical gadget or appliance is a paramount consideration when shopping for such items. You wouldn’t want to risk a fire outbreak due to a faulty or substandard electrical product and when such electrical gadget is to be used with some of your really high-end and expensive devices, you’d want to be extremely careful when checking out its safety.
In the case of a power dock, the UL (Underwriters Laboratory) certification is the standard of safety. Any power dock without UL certification is not worth the time or trouble of looking it over. For a power dock to be certified, it must have met with the required manufacturing standard, safety checks and measures put into place by the appropriate bodies to safeguard consumers. It also ensures the power dock is energy-efficient both in consumption and output.
The form factor refers to the type in which the power dock manufacturers present or design their power docks. There are basically 3 design forms of a power dock – corded hubs, wall chargers and organizers.
Corded hubs are the most preferred form because of its flexibility in terms of placement. A corded hub has an extension cable that tethers the power dock to the power outlet thus making it possible to place the dock itself on a table or any other preferred surface within easy reach.
A wall charger on the other hand, is like a big transformer that plugs straight into a wall socket and then lets you plug in your devices on the available ports. It has no extension cable which means less flexibility and even less number of cords to deal with. The organizer-style chargers are often bulkier, with spaces or racks where your devices can rest while they charge. This type can accommodate devices of different sizes and types and can also be used as a file holder.
The next factor to consider, which perhaps is the most obvious of all, is the number of ports that is available on the power dock. Here also, you should consider the number of, if any, AC sockets that are available. Power docks are known to have multiple ports but the number varies depending on the manufacturer. Whatever be the case, it’s always advisable to go for the power dock with a few more ports than your current need. This is to make provisions for future additions to your device collection so you don’t end up having to look for a supplementary power dock down the line.
Performance and Ease of Use
Just like many products in its category, the power dock has a plug-and-play design that does not require any setting up or pre-charging before using. Once you plug in the power dock into a power outlet, you can then start connecting your devices. Using the power dock is quite easy, some of them even have light indicators to show when a device is properly connected and charging and also to indicate if there’s a malfunction somewhere.
Different ports on a power dock have varying amperage (power) outputs that determine how quick your device gets charged. Standard port amperages range from 1A to 2.1A and up to 2.4A and although most smart devices can comfortably charge on a low amperage port, devices with high battery requirements like new tablets will take long to charge fully on a low amperage port. This means that you’ll have to check the amperage on the power dock ports to ensure you have a mix of both high and low amperages so you can efficiently charge your tablets and smartphones.
Some power docks are designed to charge some specific devices like having a micro USB port for micro USB chargers of high-end apple products while a good number of power docks on the other hand, feature the universal USB ports that is compatible with most devices.
You should be careful in choosing your power dock so you get one with ports that are compatible with the devices that you have, otherwise you may end up with a product that you cannot use.
Some power docks may feature ports with special fast charge circuits designed to leverage on several fast charge technologies currently available to enable you charge up your device in no time. Others have a wireless docking feature in addition to the ports and adapter sockets to let you connect your wireless-charge enabled device on it.
So, you’ve read through our buying guide and we’re quite sure that you’ve been adequately armed with relevant information that will guide you towards making the right choice of a power dock. We have lined up for you some of the top-ranking power docks in our product review section. Do take your time to look through them and we assure you that you’ll find one that will suit your needs perfectly.
Now that you’ve come to the end of this review, we hope you’ll take the final step and place an order for the best power dock that will be most suitable for you. Thanks for reading.