There are many choices in life that should not be taken lightly, like buying a car or house, for example. Then there’s figuring out if you should accept that job offer that requires you to move across the country. Or take your relationship to the “next level.” And then, of course, there's choosing a desk outlet. Maybe selecting a desk outlet isn’t as monumental as who you’re going to spend the rest of your life with, but depending on the outlet you choose, it can have long-lasting — sometimes permanent — consequences for your desk. All we’re saying is it’s not something you want to do without an appropriate amount of forethought.
This leave you to ask the next question: how can you determine which desk outlet is right for you? It will first depend upon your specific needs. While everyone could likely benefit from limiting the number of cables they have to run across floors, not all desk outlets are created equally. It doesn't mean one is worse than another, but they fill different niches in the delicate desk ecosystem.
Before we get too deep, we’ll give a refresher on what a desk outlet does. It provides safe and convenient access to connections including AC Power, USB, and Ethernet. Instead of running several different cables across your floor — a messy trip hazard just waiting to happen — you can bring that connectivity directly to your desk. It minimizes cable clutter, which can tidy the appearance of an office and prevent trip hazards.
What are the types of desk outlets available, and which ones are best for you?
REMOVABLE DESK OUTLETS
What are they? Just what it says. A removable desk outlet is one that typically requires no cutouts or large holes for installation. In fact, they often don't require any alteration of your desk or tabletop whatsoever. How do they attach? There are a few options. Some can rest atop your desk or other flat surfaces like tabletops and countertops. Others have clamps that can mount securely on the edge of the desktop. A small portion of our removable offerings require small screws for installation, but nothing that would leave a sizable hole in your desk. Other types attach under your desk with screws or strong adhesives.
Who should use them? If you're working at a desk that doesn't belong to you — and is used by other people — you may not be able to make permanent alterations. A removable option is a good idea in this case. Also, if you don't have a fixed desk — and find yourself working at many different workstations — a removable outlet might be the solution you're looking for. You may also prefer this type of outlet if you cannot or do not want to make large, permanent holes in your desk. Maybe it's an antique, or maybe you just don't feel comfortable doing it. In these cases, you can save yourself the headache with a non-permanent option that can be easily removed without damage to your desk. A benefit of removable desk outlets is they are not fixed in a specific location. If you need to move it around for more convenient access, you can easily do so.
BUILT-IN DESK OUTLETS
What are they?A built-in desk outlet involves a little more effort to install than a removable one, but the results are often worth the effort. These outlets, as their name implies, are integrated into your desk or tabletop. This means you have to determine the placement of your outlet, measure the proper area it needs to fit within, and then remove a chunk of desktop with a saw or hole-cutter. They typically, but not always, have closing tops. Some of them have many customization options for the ports within.
Who should use them? The closing tops on many models ensure that, when not in use, they remain flush with the desktop. This creates a discreet, aesthetically pleasing, and professional look. This — and their permanent nature — makes built-in outlets a great choice for conference or meeting rooms, where there is always a need for convenient power and data access. There are also fully customizable outlets available from the built-in selection, so if you need a wide variety of outlet types in a single unit, a built-in option might be your best bet.
POP-UP DESK OUTLETS
What are they? Like built-in models, a pop-up outlet requires you to do a bit of hard labor, plus permanently alter the surface of your table or desktop. But rather than having a closing lid or no lid at all, these outlets are retractable: the outlets themselves either elevate vertically out of the desk or pivot open on a hinge.
Who should use them? A pop-up outlet offers some of the same benefits as a built-in one: they are discreet, aesthetically pleasing, and with a nice professional look. They also allow for a bit more convenient access than built-in options, because they elevate the outlets themselves above the surface of the desktop. There's a lot of variation in the retractable desk outlet spectrum, from options with just a couple of ports to fully customizable systems that meet just about every power and data need you can think of.
We hope now you have a better understanding of desk outlets; and can better determine which one is right for you.