Everything you need to know about pop-up counter outlets
Pop up counter outlets are designed to make life in the kitchen more convenient and fitting for the twenty-first century. Features including USB ports for direct mobile charging and wireless charging top’s make pop up counter outlets a growing choice for modern homes.
Pop Up Countertop Outlets
What are pop up counter outlets?
Pop up counter outlets are a type of power outlet that operate using a retractable mechanism. They are designed to be hidden in a counter when not in use, and be easily raised or lowered as needed. They are typically installed into a kitchen countertop, worktop or desk and are activated by pressing a button or pulling a lever. When the outlets are not in use, the pop-up counter outlet is designed to be tucked away neatly - yet still easily conveniently accessible when required.
How do countertop outlets work?
Pop up counter outlets are a type of power outlet that work using a retractable (also known as lifting) mechanism. This enables them to be hidden flush within a countertop when not in use, but easily brought up when required.
There are 3 types of lifting mechanisms to bring them up:
- Motorized lift up - raising and lowering by the touch of a button - electronically operates with a motor.
- Manual lift up - requiring the raise and lower using your hand force.
- Gas strut lift up - raises automatically with a firm press, but requires manual retraction to close. This is similar to an office chair lifting mechanism.
Generally speaking, the manual lift up types are the lowest cost, and simplest units. The motorized lift up models are more premium and include added features such as wireless charging.
Motorized lift up
A motorized lifting mechanism is the most convenient and premium method of raising a pop up power socket.
It operates by the touch of the lid - a resistive touch button under a glass lid will sense a finger press and raise/lower the unit through the use of an internal motor. Generally while doing this, a ring of LED lights will flash to indicate the movement of the unit.
Motorised operated models also feature Qi wireless charging, so you can place your device on the lid to charge. Note, this is only the case at Modern Power Solutions.
Manual lift up
Models that require manual lift operate in two ways:
- Use your fingers to push down on a flap, and then grab on the center stem to raise it. Example: V1 Range.
- Push with your fingers on the top lid to make it 'pop-up' about 1/2 inch. Then grab this top lid to lift the unit up the rest of the way. Example: V7 Range. Once the units are raised, they will lock into position at the top.
Please note, manual lift models are not currently available in the US through Modern Power Solutions. They are only available in the UK and AU.
Gas strut lift up
Models that operate with a gas strut automatically raise from the press of the top lid, but need to be re-pressurised back down into their 'closed' position.
They function in a similar way to an office chair, where a gas strut is pressurized in the downward position, and is released when pushed.
The unit will then need to be re-pressurised via a firm press back down - retracting the unit.
Please note, gas-strut models are not currently available in the US through Modern Power Solutions. They are only available in the UK and AU.
Before you purchase and install a pop up socket for your space, it's important to consider a few things to ensure the best implementation. After-all, its likely you’ll be using it for many years, if not, decades. Below are the few points for consideration to prepare for a pop up outlet in your space.
Find a desirable location. Think about three things when considering the location for a pop up socket:
- Power accessibility. For many people, form is over function. But if practicality and functionality are your priorities - consider the best location where you will use and charge your electronic devices the most. In the kitchen - this is often the island bench-top - where power sockets may be scarce - and where most of the work happens.
- Reachability. Ensure your chosen location is within easy arms reach, so you can quickly connect and disconnect cables or devices when necessary. Hard to reach locations may cause you years of pain. Remember; our motto is “for a lifetime of convenience”.
- Design. Lastly, the installation location should fit within your space design and style. We’ve seen some people install power outlets upside down coming down from cabinets - for those that want a more discrete option. However, remember that only some models can operate on a sideways or upside down direction. Currently, this is the V3L and V14 models.
Once you’ve shortlisted your preferable locations, you’ll then need to see whether you can actually install a pop up electrical socket there. Here we’ll discuss the technical requirements and limitations when preparing for a pop up socket installation.
- Size. The amount of available space in, around and under your chosen location is key when considering a pop up socket. At Modern Power Solutions, multiple product sizes are available. For example, the V3L model has a tall but skinny form factor. This is ideal for tight spaces, but does require a lot of depth. Comparatively, the V14 has a much wider form factor (120mm diameter) with a shorter body. Therefore the V14 range is better suited for spaces where space under your bench-top is more limited, maybe you want to save more drawer space?
- Power accessibility. You pop up socket will need to have access to power. All models at Modern Power Solutions are plug-in (plug and play), so no electrical work is needed. You will need to ensure you have a power socket in the vicinity for connection. Note; power cables can easily be extended with an extension cord. For example, common installations in a island are usually easy for connection as a power socket is likely to already exist inside for a dishwasher or other appliance.
- Water considerations. Choose a location that is at least 1m away from a water-source, such as a sink or tap. The majority of the pop up socket models available at Modern Power Solutions are designed and suitable for kitchens. But it is worth double checking on the listing. Models that are suitable for kitchens can resist spills without an issue. Learn more about spills and safety below on the topic on “Spills”.
Installation / Assembly
The installation of a pop up power unit may vary slightly model-to-model. It is suggested to follow the product specific installation instructions according to the user manual, data sheet or product webpage.
Generally speaking, this is how to install a pop up power socket:
Step 1: Bench-top hole: drill a hole in your bench-top, with the diameter according to the product specifications.
Step 2: Unscrew the locking ring around the body of the unit, and remove it altogether.
Step 3: Place the unit inside the hole in your bench-top.
Step 4: Screw back the locking ring around the body of the unit – from the under-side of the bench-top, and tighten it securely.
Step 5: Connect the unit to power by plugging it into a power outlet under the bench-top.
Done! Your pop up power unit should be now ready to use!
Longevity / Quality
Its important to consider quality and functional longevity when choosing which pop up electrical socket to buy. For most spaces, a power socket is going to be in use for many decades. Cheap units or unknown, non reputable brands may not last as long - and then when faulty will be difficult and sometimes costly to replace or repair.
At Modern Power Solutions, the quality and useful life of our products are a priority.
- Firstly, our products are designed to outlast a space. We have a reputation to uphold, and our customer feedback is a testament to our values of durability and longevity.
- Secondly, we constantly capture feedback and data from customers, and we use this data to refine our products. We’ve been operating for over 10 years - so thats a lot of data, refining and improvements.
- Lastly, we guarantee our products with a strong and thorough warranty, so that if an issue does arise, we resolve it quickly and efficiently.
- Modern Power Solutions offers a comprehensive repair service to its customers. At MPS, we carry a large inventory of spare parts to help repair any issue that may arise.
- We consider this an important service on offer and strive to do best.
- We know mistakes happen and customers need help. As an example, in the instance a customer drops something on their pop up socket → we can provide a replacement lid if it gets damaged or scratched.
- In the circumstances where parts are unavailable, we offer a affordable replacement product service to get a new product at a heavy discount.
Countries and Regions
Modern Power Solutions currently manufactures pop up sockets for the following regions:
- United Kingdom
- Australia & New Zealand
- United States & Canada
- Africa & South Africa
- Middle East - United Arab Emirates, Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Bahrain
One of our most commonly asked questions by customers is "what happens if I spill water on it?"
At Modern Power Solutions, our models are designed for kitchens and can therefore resist spills safely. However, we do have cleaning and drying recommendations when liquid comes in contact.
Firstly, some models (such as the V3 range) have a lid that seals water when closed. The lid sits around the unit with a rubber ring, preventing water ingress. Note, this is only sealed when the unit is closed.
If water is spilled and the unit is in the open/up position, we recommend switching the power off from the source ASAP. Once power is disconnected, we recommend removing the unit and turning it upside down (and shake lightly around) to remove any water ingress completely. Then leave it to dry for up to 48 hours. When the unit is dry, it can then be re-installed and reconnected to power and be used as normal. Models without the water-sealed lid can follow the same procedure if water is spilled when in the closed or open position.
If you have any questions, we recommend contacting us for clarification.
What is the best lifting method?
The lifting method is the way the pop up socket is extracted from the bench-top.
There are 3 types of lifting mechanisms to bring them up:
- Manual lift up - requiring the raise and lower using your hand force.
- Gas strut lift up - raises automatically with a press, but requires manual retraction to close. This is similar to an office chair lifting mechanism.
- Motorised lift up - raising and lowers by the push of a button - electronically operates with a motor.
The best lifting method will vary depending on your requirements. If you require something affordable and simple - a manual lift mechanism is best. If you are looking for something more fancy and premium - the motorised lifting method does this best. Generally, the more premium models also have more features such as Qi charging and faster USB-C power.
Refer to the page how do pop up sockets work? for more information on lifting methods.
The use cases for pop up sockets are endless.
Its always interesting for us to see the new use cases customers discover that we would have never imagined!
In this post we'll discuss some of the most common use cases:
- Kitchens: kitchens are the most common use case for pop up electrical outlets. People love the idea of having a clean, elegant, flush power socket that can extract out of a bench-top quickly when needed. The added convenience, wow-factor, installation simplicity and feature set make pop-up sockets a common appliance for kitchens during construction.
- Offices: offices need accessible, flexible and bulk power for people to work most efficiently. This can be achieved using pop up or desktop mounted power solutions. Certain models at Modern Power Solutions feature Data (RJ45) - such as the V14 range and HDMI video connectivity. This is particularly useful for boardrooms or other locations needing video connectivity to a display or projector.
- Workshops: workshops for construction, maintenance, manufacturing or repairs value the added options for power connectivity. Having more readily accessible power options saves time for people when connecting tools, powering devices or recharging batteries. The small investment can make a huge difference. Add power access solutions for a lifetime of convenience.
- Boardrooms: connecting a laptop to a video display, or providing power to guests sitting around the table make pop up or desktop mounted power sockets are huge value-add. At Modern Power Solutions, its common for us to see customers purchase and use these products for boardroom installations. We also get great feedback from users on the added convenience and accessibility of power sockets in their space.
- Classrooms: Educational facilities such as schools, libraries etc... value from the use of retractable pop-up power outlets to help students connect their devices when power is needed. We've seen many classrooms use pop-up or fixed horizontal desktop power sockets to enable users to charge laptops, connect devices to a projector or screen and Qi wireless charge mobile phones.
- Caravans: Camper trailers and motorhomes are becoming more commonly fitted with pop up sockets. Easy and affordable to install, and with a minimal profile make them a nice fit for tighter spaces. Compact pop-up socket models can be used to come out of the bench-top where traditional wall sockets can be difficult or impossible to fit. We've received very positive feedback from users who have gauged all options, but chosen pop-up sockets because they met all requirements for their caravan!
Other Brands - United Kingdom
There are a lot of pop up power sockets to choose from in the market. We've gone through and listed some of the options available to customers in the UK below.
Screwfix is an International home improvement company part of Kingfisher plc, with our 1,400 stores, supported by a team of over 80,000 colleagues, in 10 countries in Europe and Turkey.
In the UK, Scrwefix stocks the KNIGHTSBRIDGE range of pop up sockets. Options with three-gang power and 4a USB are available for around ~130£
To see more of the Screwfix range of pop up power sockets, see here: https://www.screwfix.com/search?search=pop+up+socket
EVOline, founded in 1964 is a German based pop-up socket manufacturer. EVOline's range of products consist of the Port - a manual lifting pop up power socket, bench-top wireless chargers and other office-focused power solutions.
EVOline was one of the first providers of the pop-up power socket, and since then, popularity has grown substantially.
EVOline are designed and manufactured in house, at their premises in Germany, near Cologne - and then exported to countries around the world - but mostly in Europe.
EVOline® – Electricity and data for workplaces of the future
Sensio is a lighting product provider based in West Yorkshire. Despite a focus in lighting products, Sensio features a range of pop up power outlets called the SensioPod.
As of Jan 2023, the SensioPod comes in three options, one manually lifting model - The SensioPod E - with a stainless steel top and dual USB.
Other models include the Sensio Pod M - a motorised lifting unit available with three power ports and bluetooth (if option selected).
They are available to purchase via the Sensio UK website.
Amazon features a wide range of different pop up sockets. Because of the "open marketplace" model of Amazon, there are often unknown, less developed sellers offering products that can be a hit or a miss. Price gets the sales volume, so sellers are incentivised to undercut and lower costs where possible. The result can be poorer quality products, with shorter lifespans. There is generally no 'branding' or standards that are to be maintained amongst consumers compared with more developed manufacturers.
See switches is a London based supplier of switches and sockets. See switches feature a wide range of pop up sockets that are waterproof - great for kitchens (as of Jan 2023 - we recommend you confirm before purchase)
Apart from the waterproof lid functionality, the see switches model also feature direct USB charging and bluetooth speaker for audio playback.
Available in multiple colour options such as satin nickel, black nickel and polished chrome, and with an aluminium shell body and waterproof seal lid.
Learn more about the Seeswitches brand: www.seeswitches.co.uk
ElectricalDirect is an electrical distributor part of The Manutan Group.
ElectricalDirect feature a wide range of products, which include a small selection of pop up power outlets.
Models are available to purchase with delivery, starting around £30, all the way up to £280 + VAT
CEF, known as City Electrical Factors Ltd "your electrical experts", is a private company established in 1951 in the United Kingdom. They claim to have twice as many distribution outlets as they nearest competitor (24th Jan 2023 About Us)
CEF being a reputable and established brand, would appear to be a reliable place to purchase pop up electrical sockets.
The S-Box is a unique retractable box that can be customised with options to include power ports or even storage.
The S-Box's unique functionality is the ability for it to close seamlessly into a bench - with the bench-top material integrated into the unit.
The S-Box is a simple unit that does not require a motor, electrics or springs to raise - it has a unique 'self-lift' system that according to them - no other system in the world can achieve.
Watch a Youtube video to see it in action: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QAJNHhx1lns
The S-Box, based in West Yorkshire, United Kingdom, supplies the UK but also has models for the US and other regions.
Pricing varies as the product is highly customisable. Contact S-Box for more information.
Box15 is an interior appliance and office workplace products supplier in the UK.
Box15 has one of the largest ranges of pop up electrical sockets, varying in price from £37 all the way up to over £300
One of the most common brands available at Box15 is Milan. Available with different colour, socket and feature options.
BPF Components and Accessories
BPF is a privately owner company founded in 2000 offering a wide range of small accessories and components for offices.
Now offering Concealed Sockets and Power Modules for the office, BPF has a range of unique products that enable customers to connect to power from their office desk.
Brands such as Milan are featured options available to purchase by consumers.
Appliance House was established in 2008 on the Fylde Coast in Lancashire. Their goal was to offer quality sinks, taps and kitchen appliances to customers across the UK at very affordable prices.
Offering a selection of pop up sockets from EVOline, Appliance House has models that range from budget all the way up to premium.
A focus of Appliance House is to offer great pricing, but also great service.
Features of pop-up sockets
Different brands and models of pop up socket have different features, so it becomes a precise decision making process to select the right one for you.
Wireless charging is one of our favourite new features making it ultra-convenient to charge mobile device on your bench-top cable-free. Wireless charging uses the Qi standard, and works with pretty much all devices from iPhones, Samsung, Google, Androids etc...
Wireless charging is incredibly seamless and intuitive. It works simply by placing your device down on the top.
USB-C Fast Charging
Charging a device quickly saves time, but more importantly can help charge a device in more time-sensitive situations. For example, if you have an appointment coming up but forgot to charge your device - plug it into a fast charger to quickly charge it before you need to depart.
Fast charging ports are generally 15w or higher. This means more power is available for your device if it wants it (or can take it). Newer devices such as the iPhone 12 and up will automatically use up all the power available (15w) to charge as quickly as possible for its user.
All pop-up sockets at Modern Power Solutions feature fast-charging ports.
Motorised or Gas Lift
See above how do pop-up sockets work? for more information on motorised or gas lifting methods. These features are available on the more premium models at Modern Power Solutions.
Touch button to raise
Having an electronic touch button to raise a pop up electrical socket is a luxury. These models work on having an electric motor to lift up out of a bench-top. They are higher priced, more premium models - see the V3 range for more information.
There are some pop up sockets with speakers - these are available on the market with a bluetooth connection for wireless playback. Unfortunately, at the moment Modern Power Solutions does not have any models of pop up sockets with speakers. The reason for this has been due to sizing constraints.
For many of our pop up units, the small form factor makes it is difficult to fit a decently sized speaker that would produce quality sound.
We’ve seen and tested speaker modules, plus a range of units from other brands with this functionality, but the outcome has been the same - the quality has been far below our benchmark.
We think it’s more appropriate for customers to buy seperate hardware for quality sound - such as an Amazon Alexa or Sonos system.
Having data ports are a common requirement for office or enterprise installations. Some of the models available at Modern Power Solutions include this feature.
The data ports are RJ45 outlets on the face of the pop up socket, with a cable coming out the bottom for connectivity (patching). The cable is generally a 2.1m length of Cat6 with a male RJ45 plug on the end - coming out the bottom of the unit.