SnapPower review: Add extra utility to your electrical outlets

Hardware Reviews / Reviews

If you’d like to add some quick and easy functionality to your existing electrical outlets, the SnapPower solutions offer just that.

TA-ratings-92Electrical outlets already perform an important service around our houses. The outlet cover is also important, but what if you could add some more functionality to what is effectively a decorative (though still protective) part of the outlet? SnapPower offers several options to get the most out of your outlet covers. In this full review, I’ll be talking about the SnapPower Guidelight and SnapPower Charger outlet covers. Keep reading to find out what they add to your electrical outlet experience.

Specifications

  • Efficient: LED lights cost less than 10 cents per year and last 25+ years
  • Convenient: Practical design leaves all electrical outlets free for use
  • Easy: Install in seconds, ­requires no wires or batteries
  • Attractive: Products are built to fit any décor

What’s in the Box

  • SnapPower Guidelight or SnapPower Charger

Design

The SnapPower Guidelight and Charger both feature many similar design elements, with a few important differences. I’ll talk about the similarities first, and then break down any applicable differences for each after that. Both products at the most basic look like a typical electrical outlet cover. Both are available in either a duplex (standard two separated outlets) or decor (flat outlets with no separation) style, allowing you to cover nearly any type of outlet with side screw terminals. You can check out the manuals for both products online to ensure that your outlets will be compatible. Both products also feature power prongs on the back that snap into place over your existing electrical outlet. The prongs are bent in such a way that they easily slip around the outlet itself but then remain in contact with the outlet in order to draw power. Both covers are available in multiple colors, with the Guidelight available in white, light almond, ivory, and black, while the Charger is available in white, light almond, and ivory.

The power prongs draw power from the outlet, no wires necessary.

As far as differences go, they all happen near the bottom of the cover plate. On the Guidelight, the bottom of the plate is flush with the rest of the cover. Along the bottom edge, there are three LED lights spread fairly evenly along the edge. Just above the bottom edge, there is a small circular ambient light sensor.

The Charger has a bit of an extra bump at the bottom starting just below the second outlet hole. This bump slopes downward from the outlet hole very slightly and sticks out approximately ½” from the rest of the cover. It also extends the length of the cover just very slightly over the standard length. On the right side of this bump is the USB port where you’ll be able to plug in any charging cable you might own.

Installation

Getting your SnapPower cover plates installed is really quite easy, though there are a few safety steps you’ll want to take prior to installation. First, you’ll want to cut the power to the outlet or outlets that you are replacing. You’ll need to do this from your electrical box. If your fuses aren’t labeled clearly, or if you just aren’t sure whether or not an outlet is attached to a specific fuse there is a really easy way to keep yourself safe. Before you just start flipping a bunch of switches in your fuse box, plug in a radio, or some other variety of noisemaker that isn’t battery operated into the outlet you want to turn off. Turn it on, and be sure the volume is loud enough that you can hear it near your fuse box. Flip the switch you believe covers that outlet and wait to see if the music stops. If it does, you’re ready to go.

After you’ve cut the power, simply remove any screws holding your existing outlet cover on. The SnapPower covers fit your outlet just like a regular outlet cover, though you’ll need to be sure that the prongs on the back of the cover slip along the sides of the outlet itself. The prongs need to be in contact with the screws inside the outlet in order to draw power. The cover should slip right on and will line up perfectly with the outlet. Then you’ll just need to secure the cover with the included screw, and you’re all set. Once you’re done, flip the power back on via the fuse box.

Ease of Use

The SnapPower Guidelight is completely fool-proof to use. It turns itself on and off using its internal light sensor. There’s really nothing else to it other than that. The LEDs are bright but very energy efficient. SnapPower estimates these lights will only cost you an extra 10¢ per year.

The Guidelight provides a good amount of light from its 3 LEDs

The SnapPower Charger isn’t too much more complicated. Here you’ll just need to plug any USB cable (not included) into the USB port on the right side on the bottom of the charger. Plug the other end into the device you’d like to charge, and you’re off.

Performance

The SnapPower Guidelight works exactly as expected. The LED lights turn on when the ambient light around it gets too low, and stay lit until it gets brighter. The three LEDs do provide quite a bit of light, and this is a great option for hallways or even kitchen counter outlets. You’ll get enough light to get your bearings and see what you’re dealing with without being too bright or distracting.

SnapPower Guidelight LED detail.

The SnapPower Charger also works as expected. The USB port is almost flush with the wall, so you may need to go at the port a bit differently than you would with some other chargers, but it is still easy to get your USB cable plugged in. The only other real complaint about the Charger is with the bump at the bottom. If you happen to need to plug in an electrical cord with a larger than normal transformer plug, you’ll need to use the top outlet as it won’t fit on the bottom. In some instances this will also cover up the bottom outlet, leaving you with one less outlet. Chances are very good that you can avoid this issue entirely, but it’s something you’ll want to keep in mind if you’ve got some larger transformer plugs. If you think you can avoid the issue by installing the Charger upside down so that the bump is on top, you’re going to want to think again. The Charger (and Guidelight) will only work if the USB port or LEDs are pointed in the same direction as the ground on the outlet. If the ground terminal is facing up, you can install the Charger or Guidelight facing up, however you’d still likely run into this issue with larger transformer plugs. Otherwise, you’ll be able to charge anything you’d normally charge via USB. I wasn’t able to get the illusive “Charging Rapidly” notification on my Nexus 6P, but it did charge at an otherwise reasonable rate.

Even a smaller transformer plug will end up blocking both outlets with the Charger installed.

Price/Value

The SnapPower Guidelight starts at $15 for a single cover, though you’ll be able to save money by purchasing multiple lights. The discounts improve the more you buy, with a 20% discount applied if you purchase 10. Even for the individual price of $15, this is a pretty great deal for a permanent night light. The LED lights are efficient and will last a long time. Just be sure to install these in places where you won’t mind them being on all night since there is no other on/off switch here.

The SnapPower Charger starts at $20, and has a similar discount structure. This is also a great price for the added functionality that the Charger provides. If you want to easily add USB charging to your outlet without having to re-wire anything, this is a great way to go.

SnapPower Charger

Wrap Up

If you’d like to add some quick and easy functionality to your existing electrical outlets, the SnapPower solutions offer just that. Great price, easy installation, and really good performance are what you’re getting with both the Guidelight and Charger.

*We were sent a review sample of the SnapPower Guidelight and Charger for the purposes of this review.

SnapPower

$15+ USD
SnapPower
9.2

Design

9/10

    Installation

    9/10

      Ease of Use

      10/10

        Performance

        9/10

          Price/Value

          9/10

            Nailed it

            • Easy to install
            • No wiring or batteries necessary
            • Fits in with most any decor
            • Guidelight LEDs are sufficiently bright
            • Charger charges at a reasonable pace

            Needs work

            • An on/off option for the Guidelight would be nice
            • The Charger bump can cause some issues with large transformer plugs
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