So you’re thinking about renting or purchasing a cell phone charging station. Here’s a basic guide explaining the different types of charging stations that are available, how they operate, their approximate costs and the features that they come with.
More and more we’re starting to see various types of phone charging stations popping up in cities across the country which is great! For most of us, our lives are attached to our phones and just the thought of seeing our phone under 20% makes us panic a little. Have you ever wondered just how tied to their phones people really are?
Smartphone Usage Statistics
Here are a few facts about smartphone phone usage in the USA.
- 77% of adults in the USA own a smartphone.
- 92% of 18-29 year olds in the USA own a smart phone.
- 51% of adults in the USA have used their smartphone to make a purchase.
- 59% of adults in the USA have used their smartphone while in a store to ask a friend for advice about a purchase.
- 28% of adults in the USA have used their smartphone to look for a job.
- 10% of adults in the USA have used their smartphone to access a dating app.If you’d like to read a little more about how smartphones are changing our lives, you can check out this article by Pew Research.
As fantastic as smartphones are at simplifying our lives, a dead battery can seriously ruin someone’s day and that’s where charging stations come in. We’ve all been there; you don’t have your charger and you’re phone is dead. You have no way to call home, check your email, send a text or even get an Uber. Your hands are tied and it’s an awful feeling.
But fear not! More and more places like coffee shops restaurants, hospitals, churches, youth centres, concert venues, college and university campuses and many other businesses are starting to purchase free to use phone charging stations for their guests.
Remember when Wifi used to cost money and then retailers realized that providing free wifi was a way to attract people to their businesses? That’s what’s starting to happen with cell phone charging stations. All businesses have a common goal in making sure that their customer’s experience is as good as it can be. Offering a free charge to someone that really needs one goes a long way, believe me.
The purpose of this article is to give the reader some insight into what’s available in the market place and what the approximate costs are. Charging stations come in all shapes and sizes and have been around for approximately 10 years. The first ones were basically just a power strip in a box with a bunch of cords hanging out but today you have a wide range of different styles and they all have various features.
The Basics of Phone Charging Stations
Here are a few of the basic things you’ll want to know about charging stations before you set out on your quest for power.
- 99% of the charging stations on the market today need just a regular 110v power outlet to operate.
- Some charging stations come with cords built in and some don’t.
- Some charging stations have lockers and some don’t.
- Most charging stations with lockers use a resettable 4 digit PIN to lock and unlock the doors.
- With locker units, there is always some sort of key, fob or code that can open any locker in the event that someone forgets their PIN.
- Newer charging stations charge at 2.1 amps and older ones charge at 1 amp. This is a huge difference.
- Some manufacturers have incorporated charging station into furniture.
- Charging stations have really taken off in the last 2 years as the demand for phone power has greatly increased.
- Overall prices for a charging station range from $400 USD to $14,000 USD depending on what you’re after.
Below are the price ranges and basic styles you will come across in your hunt for power.
Simple Wall Mount Charging Station (Stand Optional)
The stand/wall mount units are the simplest and least expensive of the charging stations on the market today. They are great for places where people have the ability to stand next to the charging station or in a more controlled area like a dentist’s office, doctor’s waiting room or hospital.
They usually range in price from $400 to $900 USD and can charge up to 10 devices at a time. They often come with a bracket so they can be mounted to a wall and most companies also offer an option to purchase a stand. Here is a picture of one that Growcharge Inc is offering called the Hub.
Compact Locker Charging Station
The Compact Locker units are great for allowing the person with the dead phone to lock their phone up so they don’t have to stand next to the charging station while their phone charges. Great for places like, Gyms, Hospitals, Churches, Bars, Nightclubs, Libraries, etc.
Each locker usually comes with an Apple Lighting Cord, an Android Cord and a USB-C cord. Some older charging stations still come with an iPhone 4 cable instead of the USB-C and I’d stay away from those stations because they are most likely charging at a very slow 1 amp.
There are many choices in this category and they come with different features like rapid charging, windowed doors, backlit displays, lit up compartments with various colour options and some offer the ability to attach a monitor so ads or messages can be displayed.
Prices can vary greatly depending on which style of lock you choose for your doors. There are generally 3 types of locks that charging stations come with and some of the choices greatly affect the price. The price range of this style of charging station is between $1,500 to $3,500 USD and they can either be mounted to a wall or a stand can usually be purchased if needed.
As mentioned above, there are three different types of locks that are found on commercial cell phone charging stations.
1. Solenoid Locks
These are the most expensive locks available and these really push up the cost of a charging station. They require a more intelligent charging station that uses a CPU to operate the doors and either a touch screen or keypad to enter your PIN code.
Charging stations with solenoid locks usually start around the $4,000 mark and can go as high as $14,000 depending on how many locker bays they have and also the features they offer. If someone forgets their pin with these locks, there is a master code that owner of the machine can use to unlock any of the locker doors and in some cases this can happen remotely.
2. Electronic Locks
These are not cheap either as the locks alone cost around $1200 USD for a 10 locker unit. These locks use a 4 digit resettable PIN and are simple to use but there is some maintenance involved.
These locks usually run on two 9V batteries and when the batteries die, if there is a phone still in the locker, the only way to get it out is to break the door with a crowbar which can get expensive when you have to replace locks and doors. Everyone once in a while I recommend that you unscrew the plate in the back that covers the batteries and take them out and test them every once on a while to avoid having to possibly damage your charging station while trying to retrieve a customers’s phone. If someone forgets their code with this lock, there is a fob that can be touched to a port on the lock to open it.
3. Digital Locks
These locks are great for keeping costs down on a charging station. They work just like a bike lock only the 4 digit PIN you use resets every time someone new, uses the locker. There is no electricity or batteries required to operate these locks and if someone forgets their PIN, there is a master key that can open the locked door.
Growcharge offers the most attractive and cost effective solution for this type of charging and it’s called the Boxster. The Boxster has a backlit display for branding, 8 phone lockers, 2 tablet lockers and an optional tv for displaying images or video. You can find it and all of Growcharge’s products here.
There are various types of charging furniture to choose from. There are couches, chairs, cubes and tables to name a few and they range in price from $1,900 to $5000 USD. All of these options charge a variety of phones but not all of them come with cords. Some of these just come with a USB port which means that someone either has to supply the cords or you have to count on your patrons to bring their own. I wouldn’t suggest supplying the cords because they would be unsecured and unsecured cords have a way of mysteriously walking away and at $15-$20 per cord, that can get expensive.
We believe our Infinity Charging Table is the best option in this category. It comes with a total of 12 charging cables, 8 USB ports and 4 – 110 v outlets for laptop or camera charging.
By placing four stools around the charging table, you’re creating a great hub for networking, sales pitches or just catching up on the latest gossip while your phone is getting some juice. The charging tables use a relatively small footprint and have the option of being wrapped in a 3M vinyl wrap to show off your brand. Here is a picture of the Cruiser table by Growcharge that I mentioned above.
StandAlone or Upright Charging Units
The stand alone charging stations are generally the most expensive charging stations to pick from and range in price from $4500 to $11,000 USD. They can come with just a few features or a whole bunch of features including rapid charging, solenoid locks, lite up lockers, built in HD screens backlit panels for branding and more.
Aesthetically, these are probably the most impressive looking charging stations and they offer a great opportunity for you to showcase you brand in style. There are still some older models like this out there that use the electronic keypad locks and a TV that attaches to the top but I wouldn’t suggest purchasing one of those.
With todays newer cell phones and operating systems, I wouldn’t suggest taking a chance using old charging technology with your customer’s phones. The Rockstar from Growcharge is your best option for functionality, aesthetics and price.
Growcharge Gives Back to the Planet
This doesn’t have anything to do with commercial cell phone charging stations but we want to let our customers know that we are serious about giving and serious about protecting our planet. The word Grow isn’t in our name for nothing.
Every time someone rents or purchases a charging station from Growcharge, we will plant 50 trees to offset the effects of the electricity used by that charging station. We started this as a “one off” campaign last year and it was such a huge success that they were able to plant 11,000 trees in Alberta last year after just 8 months of the campaign.
For 2018, as Growcharge expands to the USA, we will be planting our trees in California which is in desperate need of reforestation after the wildfires they experienced over the last couple of years and especially in 2017. Our goal is to plant 50,000 trees on 50 acres of land in an effort to keep our plant green. Here is a link to a little more info about Growcharge and our mission.
When it comes to choosing the right phone charging station for you, there aren’t as many options as you might think. Hopefully after reading this article you have a better understanding of what’s out there and what’s going to be the right fit for you. I’d suggest looking for companies offering the best technology for the best price and I’d stay away from older charging stations.
Whether you’re renting a charging station for conference or trade show or purchasing one for your business or venue, I can promise you that you will greatly increase your patron’s overall experience and they won’t forget it.
You can read more about Growcharge’s mission and all of the mobile charging station products that they offer, and all we are asking is that after you have done your research to give us a try. I can promise excellent customer service, quality charging stations, competitive pricing and of course the guarantee that by working with us, you’ll be helping the planet.
Thank you for taking the time to read this blog and I hope it was informative!