Put a Little Power Cube Under Your Couch

I am writing this from my couch. My laptop was at about 10 percent when I sat down, but I’m not worried. I have a secret weapon for charging my devices in the living room: a small block of outlets and USB ports. I love my power cube.

I can’t remember when I started using it, but it’s been years of pure charging bliss. Before I got hold of this power cube, I used long USB cables running across the couch or a portable battery pack to charge my phone while it was on the coffee table. These were unsightly and unreliable options, and they didn’t get any better once I started accumulating tablets, a switch…and all of my guests’ devices.

There are several good ways to charge devices on the couch. A side table with a drawer full of cords and a few outlets isn’t a bad idea. I still keep this charging station on a small shelf next to my couch, although that doesn’t solve the cable problem for people on the other side. Surge protectors are huge and bulky, and wireless charging pads can only go so far.

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Enter the cube

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Photo: Eric Ravenscraft

The first Power Cube I got was actually called the PowerCube. It featured five full-size branches. The original was designed to plug directly into a wall outlet, but later versions came with a cable so you could run those extra plugs further away.

This is the part that makes the whole thing work. In many places I’ve lived, there was an outlet right behind the couch. That’s a terribly awkward spot for an outlet, so you have to spend ages scraping one end of the couch away from the wall to find a plug. But the cable on the PowerCube was just long enough to go under the couch and let the cube sit smack in the middle. If you have a corner couch, it’s even more convenient. You can stick it right in the corner where it’s almost impossible to kick or trip over it.

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No matter where someone is sitting on the couch, it’s easy to connect any cable. Full-size charger for a laptop? No problem. USB cable for a phone? Easy. Eventually, other companies started making similar devices, leading to my current favorite, this cube from Anker. It has three regular power outlets, three USB ports, and — crucially — one side that’s just plain flat with nothing on it.

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This might sound like a waste of space, but it came in handy when I got a new couch that was just a tad too high. Some sofas are so low that the cube simply snags at the bottom of the sofa and stays there. But if it’s higher, the cube can slide too far under the couch and get lost or get stuck. I solved this problem by putting a bit of velcro on the bottom and the cube where I wanted it to stay. (People with carpets, this may not be so easy.)

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