When it comes to receptacles there is little (or no) appreciation for their aesthetic properties. But until all of our appliances are designed with Bluetooth (and you can bet they will!), we are prisoners of cords and outlets where we least like them. Over the years creative solutions have been designed to hide or camouflage outlets in the kitchen and bath area. This includes outlet strips on the bottom of wall cabinets, disguised in tile backsplashes designs, covered with wallpaper or mirror, or just with a hope and a prayer. Choose covers/devices that are the same color as their surroundings.
How about islands? The most common choice for this application is choosing a device that matches the paint or stain of the cabinetry. While this is a good solution, often times the outlet must be installed lower to fit inside of a paneled end or miss a drawer system at the top. When you consider some appliances have very short cords, this could be detrimental to the function of your work zone.
The commercial-style outlet strips have also made their way into designs when a larger overhang is allowable with the countertop design – it simply tucks under. This application is typically out of sight unless you have seating nearby and your eye level is at the worst level to see it.
So unless you are having custom cabinets built, or have a great carpenter to build a hidden compartment, what are your options?
Mockett offers the first grommet-style receptacle that eliminates the worry if you accidentally spill. To use the PCS34A-90 Kitchen Power Grommet you simply pull up on the ring located on the top of the grommet. When open/upright, there is a small red button to push at the bottom to lower it back to the surface.
Simple Tech Talk:
- 4-1/16″ diameter x 12-19/32″ tall
- 9′ electrical cord
- For kitchen or other wet areas, requires GFI.
- Does not currently meet the NEC Article 406.11
- Also available is a 3 outlet design #PCS34-90
Sillites delivers a self-contained receptacle that may very well be classified as the smallest available. This outlet can be used not only in cabinets but also in window sills, floors, and fireplace mantels. This device would not fare well in a horizontal countertop application.
Tech Talk (or click here for full specifications)
- 1-3/4″ diameter x 2-1/4″ deep cavity needed
- Tamper-resistant to meet section 406.11 of the 2008 NEC.
- Self-contained ~ no junction box is needed
- Accepts 1 or 2 sections of 12/2 or 14/2 Romex
This line addresses the aesthetics from the outside in. It was invented with an anodized aluminum profile with 2 or 3 angled sockets. The best part is the flush cover that tilts to pull open. Nearly seamless, this retractable housing may also be used on the underside of wall cabinets or in a pantry or wall with a horizontal installation. Cover plate options include antique brass, burnt sienna, black, silver chrome, gold chrome, and aluminum. Additionally, they offer several models with different body colors and night lights!
- 4″ diameter
- CSA Approvals, see Certificate 15 Amp 125 Vac
- Produced with electrical configurations for many different countries, developed for hotels, office buildings, and cruise lines catering to worldwide clients
- Made of self-extinguishing material, with silver-coated electrical contacts for less resistance, more output, and less heat.
I believe these manufacturers are making great strides, but style is still a great sacrifice if you are looking to mount the receptacles in a flat service and be protected from spills. I’d like to see better options for the covers and shapes. If we can have push buttons for garbage disposals, what is stopping the possibility here?
Having a choice, what would be your best solution for an island application?