Can You Charge your Tech from the Bedside Lamp?

by Barrett

It may seem like an obvious pairing, but most bedside lamps aren’t designed to supply power to your gear with a built-in USB port. Here’s one man’s fraught journey to a solution.

Can you transform your old bedside lamp into a rocket ship? As it turns out, you can. That’s exactly what I accomplished a few weeks back before I went to sleep.

I popped into bed, slipped down under the covers and gave the edge of the blanket an extra little flip to better align it with my neck as I repositioned my body.

Lights Out!
As it turns out, my blanket flip wasn’t so little. The blanket whacked my lamp with the perfect ‘snap’ (like a wet towel). Lift off!

Thankfully, the airborne lamp cleared my defenseless eyeglasses resting on my night table and then crashed to the floor. Somehow the lamp’s heavy glass shade didn’t shatter. But it cracked in a couple places. And the metal spine broke.

My wife turned and looked at me.

Sleeping in the Jungle
I’m clumsy, but usually I don’t accidentally send objects flying into the air.

I said I’d get it fixed, but I knew rebuilding the lamp would be a project that would remain forever low on my list of to-do’s.

So, I figured it was time to buy a new lamp.

But as soon as I started to think about what I wanted, I recalled a separate issue that I also needed to fix on my night table.

For years, I had been enduring the mess of charging cables for my iPhone and Apple Watch. They constantly squiggled about and regularly slipped to the floor. Every night, when I tried to charge my tech, it was like herding little white snakes.

It was a jungle.

In Search Of…
What I needed was a compact charging station on top of my night table to minimize my cable clutter. Better yet…

What about a new lamp with built-in USB ports for convenient charging and less clutter?

How’s that for an innovation?!

Hotel Lamps for Home Use
Of course, this is not a new idea. If you’ve stayed at a hotel lately, you’ve likely come across this type of multipurpose lamp.

But as I started doing my research, it turns out there aren’t that many lamps that can perform the USB charging trick.

Why not?!

Are hotels the only place you would think to charge your tech next to your bed? Aren’t we also doing the same thing at home? Well, I certainly am.
(Should I admit to that?)

Okay… If everyone’s doing it, why don’t more lamps have built-in tech chargers?

Macally Light Cube
So, in fact, there are a few ‘hotel’ lamps for sale on Amazon. But they don’t sufficiently address a variety of design needs. Many, in fact, appear marketed to students for dorm rooms. (I hope I’ve graduated from that designation by now.)

So, I flipped my search around and looked for charging stations that also come with a built-in light. That didn’t offer up much either.

I did come across one viable option called the LAMPCHARGESQ offered by a company named Macally:

This small LED cube comes with four 2.4 amp charging ports. Perfect.

The only downside is the LED’s tap-to-turn-on/off functionality. That’s because the LED has three brightness settings, and you’ve got to tap the cube four times to cycle it to turn off.
(Talk about a usability annoyance!)

And it’s not really a lamp.

My Lamp Quest Continues
So I set the Macally option aside and kept looking.

Ideally, I wanted a ‘real’ lamp with a pull chain or a simple switch that would allow me to work the lamp with only one gesture (yes, the joyous simplicities of analog tech).

Of course, I needed that USB port (2.4A please).

And I was searching for a choice that wasn’t so inexpensive (sub $20) that I feared it would short out and engulf me in flames or so costly, because it was wrapped in a brand luxury surcharge.

I went round and around… and around.

And then I came to my Kobayashi Maru…

The Power of Two
My wife read my last blog post, where I referred to my lamp quest, and she then suggested that I should look for a matching set of lamps… not just the one.


That’s two lamps.
(Not one.)

Why didn’t I see this coming? I should know better.

Now, this had become an official bedroom design project, not just me playing with my little tech laboratory on my night table.

I showed my wife a couple choices that I had been considering.

(Redacted sentence here.)

What was I thinking?

My Quick Fix
So, I reconsidered my situation:

  • The purchase of two bedroom lamps would now move to our house ‘project list.’
    (You have one of those. Right?)
  • But I still needed a short-term solution for a light source next to my side of the bed.
  • And I really wanted a better charging design for my tech in the bedroom.
  • Plus my non-lamp choice could be repurposed elsewhere once a permanent lamp set was identified.

Suddenly, that Macally LAMPCHARGESQ nightstand LED with 4 USB ports looked pretty good.
I’m sure I’ll get used to tapping it four times to turn it on or off. (I’ve also learned that a long tap will directly turn it off and save the light setting. Yay!)

To Be Continued…
Of course, I need a holistic lighting solution for our bedroom, and my better half has reminded me the of wisdom of a well-thought-out plan.

For now, I’ve got a little glowing cube next to the bed that can also charge my tech.

Maybe that’s progress?

Or did I just fail the Kobayashi Maru again?

“What do you think of my solution?”