Power grommets revolutionized the way we think about our relationship with power outlets. Why allow your design to be held hostage by the location of your wall plates when you can install power and USB charging outlets directly into your furniture? Commercial and residential interior designers are always looking for ways to incorporate power into places that are easy to reach, giving people the convenience they need to connect their mobile devices.
The advantage of having a power grommet is that you can basically install it anywhere. The following are some tips to determine which power grommet is the right one for your application.
Where do you want to install the unit? The desired location of your power outlets determines which type of grommet you will need with consideration for electrical code compliance.
Countertops and islands: For use in potential wet areas, pop-up power grommets are recommended. These power grommets are designed with a protective ring that prevents spills from getting into the unit and should be UL listed and rated for kitchen use. Pop-up power outlets are a great solution for large countertops and kitchen islands; besides meeting tricky kitchen electrical code, they can blend in with the countertop and are sure to strike up a conversation when you have guests who are looking for a place to charge their phone.
Desktops and tables: There are many options for desktop power outlets: pop-up, recessed, and freestanding to name a few. The idea is to have access to power right in front of you without having to crawl under the table every time you need to connect your devices. Adding power outlets to your work desk makes your space more functional and helps to optimize efficiency.
Sofas and chairs: Power outlets can also be installed into soft surfaces, which is a great feature for lounge areas, hotel lobbies, and waiting areas. There is nothing better than being in a comfy chair or sofa and being able to charge your mobile device while you wait. Adding power outlets to these spaces will automatically add value to your commercial space and transform customers into happy customers.
Modules & mounting
Sometimes you might need a different type of connection for phone, data, audio, video, or USB. Power grommets are not limited to electrical outlets – you can get any type of jack for multi-media usage installed into your furniture.
USB or USB-C: Pretty much all mobile devices are powered by USB plugs. Having convenient access to a USB module is an expectation that we take for granted but is basically the new norm for just about anywhere. USB-C is also becoming very popular as newer devices are now coming with this charging connector that is capable of delivering fast-charging power capabilities as well as high-speed data transfer and will eventually ultimately replace all of our A/V connectors, all in one cable.
Video Connectors: Video connectors are usually used in conference rooms, media rooms, and auditoriums. They help speakers to connect their presentations from their laptops to bigger screens. Some popular video connectors are HDMI and MiniStereo, but any specific module can be fitted for most power grommets that live in the furniture such as a podium, lectern, or conference table.
Data: Data connectors are another common module option to add to your power grommet unit. Cat 5 cables connect devices to high-speed networks. While many establishments are on a wireless network, there are still many others who prefer a hardline connection for security purposes and continue to rely on LAN connections. There are different cables and connectors available, but the most common are Cat5 (or boosted Cat5e) and Cat6 which supports faster transfer speeds up to 10 Gbps at 250 MHz for short distances.
Now that you know what configuration you will need, here are some different mounting options for your power grommet:
Recessed desk outlets: Recessed power grommets are very practical and can be installed either in hard or soft surfaces. Recessed power grommets are typically mounted by cutting a hole in the furniture to size and dropping the unit into the opening where it either sits below the surface or sits nearly flush with the surface with a flat, open-faced configuration. These grommets are easy to operate since they remain open and accessible, usually mounted in plain sight right where power access is needed. These come in many different sizes, shapes, and finishes.
Pop-up desk outlets: Looking for a seamless power integration for your design? Pop-up outlets are the perfect addition to your furniture. The mounting application is similar to the recessed power grommets, usually by cutting a hole in the furniture and dropping in from the top and securing it in place from underneath. But the difference here is pop-up outlets typically “pop up” when activated by touch with a spring-loaded mechanism. These power grommets hide into the furniture when not in use and leave free space on the tabletop. The idea is simple: there when you need it, hidden when you don't.
Relocatable desk outlets: If you do not want to compromise your furniture, you can still enjoy the convenience of having power on your tabletop with a freestanding power grommet. This power grommet option is also great for fluid environments that require frequent relocation, i.e., adaptable workspaces and training desks with multiple user settings, or even your own home office. While you work from home, it’s natural to move your laptop from the desk to the kitchen to the living room just to mix up the scenery and allow your work to move with you throughout the house. On the couch? Plug in a portable power and USB charger so you can comfortably reach a wall outlet. Relocating to the kitchen? Plug in and power up at an island or peninsula countertop while you prepare a meal or a snack.
The beauty of a power grommet is that you are in control of your power outlet options. You can dictate where power outlets should go to best suit your working environment rather than having to build your setup around a floor core or duplex wall plate.
Source: Doug Mockett & Co. For information call 800-523-1269 or visit mockett.com
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