GeekDad Review: SnapPower Easy Upgrades For Old-School Electrical Covers

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SnapPower no wiring required
SnapPower Guidelight, showing the prongs that make it possible to eliminate full outlet replacement (Image copyright SnapPower)

LED night lighting and USB chargers are two things any home can use. Around here, they tend to compete for space in the available electrical outlets. I’ve seen electrical outlets with built-in USB ports — very handy — but they tend to require replacing the entire outlet, which means wiring. SnapPower sent me a very cool new option: replacement electrical outlet covers, one with built LED night lighting and the other with a built-in USB charger. The best part is there is no wiring involved, just replace the standard outlet cover plate with the SnapPower version.

The key to the SnapPower covers is a pair of power prongs that extend from the back. When installed, they make contact with the electrical outlet’s side screw terminals to deliver power to either LED bulbs and a light sensor, or a USB charger. Both products are UL and CUL certified, in case you had safety concerns.

Installation was a snap (no pun intended). After cutting power to the outlets, it was a matter of removing the single screw holding the cover in place and replacing it with the SnapPower version. One was literally a 15 second job (the prongs are flexible and slide into place easily); the other took me a minute or so because there was a chunk of drywall extending onto one side that blocked a prong. SnapPower provides detailed instructions on how to deal with outlet obstructions should you run into a similar situation.

The SnapPower covers are slightly larger than standard cover plates, but they are available in common form factors and colors: Decor or Duplex and white, light almond or ivory.

Here’s what the Guidelight looks like. It has three downward-facing LEDs and a light sensor. When it gets dark enough, it automatically lights up. SnapPower says the Guidelight LEDs should last 25+ years before dimming.

SnapPower Guidelight
SnapPower Guidelight (Photo by Brad Moon)

And here’s the SnapPower USB charger. It’s a single port, 1 amp charger (with surge protection), so you won’t get the speed of a 2.1 amp fast charger. However, my iPhone 6 charges in about 2 hours and it’s a heck of a lot more convenient than remember to haul a plug-in charger around. The charger unit itself is side-facing and sticks out about 0.6-inches from the wall — it’s a noticeable bump that will prevent you from plugging in some brick-style power adapters in the lower outlet, but it’s still slim enough that it shouldn’t get in the way of appliances or furniture. SnapPower says this one should be good for 10 years of use.

SnapPower USB charger
SnapPower USB charger (Photo by Brad Moon)

You can pick from the full selection of outlet cover styles and colors as well as order multi-packs at reduced rates directly through SnapPower. Or you can pick up single units on Amazon from $16.99 if you want to try them out.

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