How to choose a USB charger for the office

USB charging ports are now essential items in most offices. The ubiquity of smartphones and tablets means charging such devices through a PC or laptop is no longer a convenient option.

The following page will help you to choose the right USB charger for your circumstances, as well as answer some questions around safety and compatibility.

Any power modules available from CMD act as ‘powered hubs’. This means they provide a much higher current than is available from USB ports found on PCs or laptops. The increased current greatly reduces charging times, especially for larger items such as tablets and cameras. 

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Number of USB charging ports

Power modules designed for individual office workstations feature two USB charging ports as standard. There are few instances when an individual office employee will require more than two extra charging USB ports at any one time.

Most offices install one power module per desk, reducing the number of charging wires present in any one area.

A standard design for many communal areas features several charging hubs spaced out at intervals, allowing workers to enjoy uncluttered charging with room to use their devices in an uncrowded environment.

More USB charging ports can be added to individual desks through the use of under desk modules.

USB charging port current

Unlike the current delivered via a PC or laptop USB port — which in most cases is no more than 0.5A — dedicated USB charging ports can supply up to 4A, significantly reducing charging times.

Tablets and other larger devices require a current of over 1A to charge at an optimal speed. Connecting these devices to USB ports supplying less than the recommended amount will result in prolonged charging times.

Generally, the larger the device, the more current it will require from a USB port in order to charge at a satisfactory speed.

Style and aesthetics

USB charging ports can be placed in one of three configurations:

  • On desk
  • In desk
  • Under desk

The following table outlines the benefits of each location:

Position Example Image Benefits

On desk

Inca Power, USB Charging & Data

These power modules are very convenient to install and use. They can be placed anywhere on the workstation and allow easy access to a charging port.

In desk

Porthole IV Power & 4A USB Charger

The most discreet type of power module. Can be installed into a desktop with no need for considerations of space. Perfect for staff who need an open desk on which to lay files and documents.

Under desk


Familiar to many, these power modules can be placed out of the way under a desk. However, you may require longer charging leads for your devices.


With USB charging moving from computer ports to dedicated charging power sources, such as wall chargers and power modules, questions of safety have arisen.

The following section will address questions around USB charging safety:

Check the rating

The first thing you are advised to do before purchasing a USB charger is to check whether it is certified. Check the device to see if it carries the ‘CE’ marking. This stands for the French Conformité Européene” and means “European Conformity”.

Read the manufacturer’s instructions

Do not assume that charging ports are designed for any device that has the appropriate connector. Check the instructions that come with your device for optimum charging. Using an incorrect supply risks damaging your device.

Consider the USB cable

Most cables are fine to use with any USB charger, USB plug socket or USB computer port. However, with particularly sensitive devices it is always best to check the manufacturer’s instructions or you may risk damaging the device’s battery or circuitry or causing the device to overheat and possibly even catch fire.

Choose the best time to charge your device with a USB charger

It is advisable not to charge devices overnight when you are asleep. You are also recommended to avoid leaving devices charging while you go out. This is to avoid the risk of the device overheating while unattended. However, this is not always practical. If you do leave a device charging while unattended, ensure that your smoke detectors are fully operational, just to be on the safe side.

Check voltage and amperage when travelling abroad

Take care when travelling abroad. Not all charging ports deliver the same amount of power, be it from a computer port, plug, wall socket or other power module. Research the country to which you are travelling to see if an adapter is necessary.

Beware cheap chargers!

Counterfeit, knock-off or uncertified chargers can be found on many market stalls, in shops and over the internet.

Avoid these at all costs; fake chargers have a far higher chance of overheating, catching fire and exploding. Using an uncertified charger may also void the guarantee that comes with your device.