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theOUTlet Review

theoutlet beauty

theOUTlet | You get four receptacles in a one-gang box. But...

theOUTlet - Clever Device But...

I had a chance to study a new quadplex outlet called theOUTlet. Most electrical outlets in your home are duplex outlets meaning you can plug in two things at the same time. TheOUTlet comes in two varieties - one with and one without USB charging slots.

The inventors of theOUTLET decided they'd add two extra outlets that rotate into view as soon as you slide a small button. This is similar to how the creepy clown pops out of a jack-in-the-box.

I felt I was qualified to render an honest opinion about this new device because I've wired homes, I've installed thousands of outlets and switches, and I've made up all sorts of joints in standard electric boxes jamming those wires into the box before finally trying to get a standard outlet or switch to fit in front of these bent wires.

What Didn't You Like About theOUTlet?

As soon as I opened the box and saw how big the actual device was I shook my head. The housing that holds the pivoting four outlets is huge. It takes up a vast amount of space in a standard one-gang electric box.

The inventors claim you need a box that has a minimum of 18 cubic inches of space to make this work. I went and bought one and can't see how it's possible to do this if the box you intend to use theOUTlet contains 12-gauge wires and is one that's somewhere in the middle of a daisy-chained circuit. Even with a house wired with 14-gauge wire, it's going to take deft skills to install this device.

Daisy-chaining means one wire comes into a box and a different one leaves the box to extend the current to the next box in the circuit. Think of how a freight train is connected together. All the cars are daisy-chained between the locomotive and the caboose.

The wires need to be long enough to extend to the outside of the box to give you enough room to connect them to the device. Once that's done, you then need to figure out a way to bend the wires to compress into the void space behind theOUTlet.  I'm not saying this is impossible, but I'm here to tell you it's going to be extremely challenging. Look at the photos below.

It's important to realize many of the electric boxes in your own home don't have 18 cubic inches of space. Smaller capacity single-gang boxes are quite common. This means before you invest in theOUTlet, you better take apart the outlet you intend to switch out to see if it will even fit. Look at the photos below to help you out.

I also wasn't a fan of the snap-on cover plate. I had a very difficult time trying to remove it by hand with the device in my hand where I could grasp all sides of it. You'll never be able to do this when it's on the wall. When you do remove it, the slider control pops off and goes flying through the air.

You then have to consider what four things are you going to plug into this device. Will the combined wattage of the things pop the circuit breaker at your panel? Yes, this same thing could happen if you plugged in the four things at two separate outlets on the same circuit.

I just feel that the average person might think that a fancy device like this might provide unlimited electricity - as if you put it in a bathroom and then plugged in a hairdryer, a curling iron, a personal beauty mirror, and a coffee warming tray.

Finally, there's the price. If you get the one with the two USB charging slots, you'll part with $50. You can purchase a standard duplex replacement outlet right now with two USB slots for $11. CLICK or TAP HERE to see it.

Look at these photos and you'll get an idea of the challenges of installing theOUTlet.

theoutlet width

The width of the device takes up just about all the width of a single-gang electric box.

theoutlet depth

The blue thing under the device is a standard 18-cubic-inch single gang box. There is not much space to jam wires and wait until you see how much space is taken up where wires enter the box at the top and bottom.

theoutlet rear

This is the back of the device. You insert your wires into the holes. 12-gauge wire is stiff! Think about having to stuff the wires back into the box where you can't get your fingers to manipulate them.

theoutlet coverplate slot

This is the slot on the bottom of theOUTlet. You'd put a screwdriver in here carefully and then pull back to pop off the cover plate. Close your eyes as the slider will go flying.

theoutlet by regular switch

Here's a great comparison shot. You're looking at a normal single-pole switch that would fit in a box. The depth of the dark-brown plastic body is almost identical to that of a normal duplex outlet. See how much space in the electric box you lose because of the giant white box on theOUTlet?

theoutlet switch width

Here's the same normal single-pole switch. It's not as wide as a normal duplex outlet, but it's close. Once again, just realize that the only space you have to fold wires is behind theOUTlet and you can't get your fingers or a tool in there to help manipulate the wires.

DIY Wiring Gang box

See all those wires bundled together inside the box with wire nuts? You might encounter this in the wall box you want to install your new theOUTlet. I'm here to tell you that you'll NEVER get it to work in many electric boxes in your home. If I'm wrong, HOORAY for you!

 

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