In-drawer outlets are becoming increasingly popular throughout homes for applications like nightstand charging stations and kitchen junk drawers. However, ad hoc DIY solutions, like using an extension cord or power strip within a drawer, can be riddled with safety hazards like an increased likelihood of cord damage, overheating, and even electrical fires.
Extension cords and power strips are not designed to be permanent solutions in your home.
According to OSHA regulations and the National Electric Code, extension cords should only be used as temporary wiring for no more than 90 days, even for appliances.1 Luckily, Docking Drawer offers simple, smart, and (most of all) safe in-drawer outlet solutions for your home, which are designed to be used long-term for powering and charging devices of every type, right inside your drawer.
Using Extension Cords & Power Strips in Drawers is a Fire Hazard
One of the biggest concerns of using power strips or extension cords in drawers is the risk of a fire. Below are some key issues to consider before creating your own in-drawer power solution.
Power Strips & Extension Cords Are Not Meant for Enclosed Spaces
The key purpose of extension cords and power strips is to provide additional length when power is needed at a distance farther from the socket. Power strips are designed to handle a certain amount of electricity, so if too much is used, the risk of overheating increases. Similarly, extension cords are intended to be used in open areas so that heat can dissipate efficiently. When used in a confined space such as a drawer, the heat generated by the cable cannot escape, leading to overheating, and potentially igniting a fire.
Drawers Can Damage Extension Cords & Power Strips
When attempting to create a DIY drawer power strip with extension cords, expect your cords to get tangled, twisted, and even bent over time as the back of the drawer puts pressure on the cord when shut. This can cause structural damage to the cord over time, and any breaks or frays can lead to electrical sparks and unintended fires. Also, placing an extension cord inside a drawer with heavy objects on it can cause undue pressure on the wire strands and cause them to break.
DIY Drawer Power Strips Can Cause Accessibility Issues
Placing a power strip or extension cord in a drawer can be inconvenient when it comes to accessibility. As the drawer opens and closes, the extension cord is destined to pull back behind the drawer box, so anytime you need to plug in or unplug a device, you’ll have to open the drawer and reach behind it to reclaim your plugs. With either a power strip or an extension cord in your drawer, you will ultimately lose drawer functionality thanks to the loose cord moving behind the drawer box. You may not even be able to close your drawer properly—or if you attempt to do so, you risk damaging the cord and creating a potential fire hazard. Additionally, if you need to move the drawer or if the power strip is not secured in place, you run the risk of your devices falling out of the drawer and getting damaged.
A Viral Lesson from One of Our Customers
Our now-Docking-Drawer customer, Valerie, received backlash after showcasing her homemade drawer outlet solution on TikTok. Her DIY solution featured two extension cords plugged behind a drawer in order to power hair styling tools, and she received comments pointing out the setup was “unsafe”, “uncertified”, “dangerous” and even “illegal”. This feedback, although not pleasant, was justified—extension cords and power strips are not designed to generate the level of amperage needed to heat hair styling tools.
Ultimately, we reached out to Valerie to share our Docking Drawer solution, and she can now have peace of mind that her hot tool styling drawer outlet is certified and safe.
Docking Drawer is The Ultimate DIY Drawer Power Strip Solution
If you have considered using a power strip or extension cord to create a makeshift in-drawer outlet, you may simply not know that an affordable solution already exists on the market. Not only do Docking Drawer outlets meet electrical code, but they’re built to last, updateable over time and simple to install.
Our In-Drawer Outlets are ETL Listed
When looking for an in-drawer outlet, make sure you choose a solution that meets code. Docking Drawer outlets are ETL listed to the UL 962a standard by an independent Testing Laboratory that’s recognized by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA). This means that your outlet has been tested and meets rigorous safety standards, and moreover, as a “listed" (vs “recognized”) product, the responsibility is on us as the manufacturer instead of you as the installer. View our ETL certification here.
In-Drawer Outlets Designed with Integrated Safety Features
Unlike extension cords and power strips, our in-drawer outlets come standard with a built-in safety feature that de-energizes the outlet when the surrounding temperature exceeds 120°F, making them a safe solution for powering devices of every kind.
As mentioned, one of the core fire hazards associated with DIY drawer power strips is that the cords can become bent or damaged over time by the movement of the drawer. Docking Drawer outlets, conversely, are intentionally designed for use inside the drawer, featuring cable management arms that keep the power cord protected as the drawer opens and closes to ensure no breaks in the cord and no loss of drawer functionality.
Docking Drawer In-Drawer Outlets are Easy to Install
From bathroom vanity drawers to kitchen charging stations and beyond, Docking Drawer outlets can be easily retrofitted into any new OR existing drawer, requiring only a few basic tools for installation. Simply identify your drawer type, gather the tools needed, prepare the cutout templates that come in your package, make your drawer cutout, insert the outlet into the cut-out and attach the cable management arm, then complete the installation process by screwing on the cover plate and plugging in the outlet. Follow the step-by-step installation instructions in the video below:
Get Started on Your DIY Docking Drawer Outlet Installation
Are you ready to begin powering devices from your drawer, the right way? Take our 2-minute quiz to find the best outlet for your project, get inspired by other customer projects, or contact our team today to get started!
1 Short, P. (n.d.). Extension cords. Extension Cords. Retrieved from https://www.umt.edu/risk-management/safety-compliance/safety-fact-sheets/extension-cords.php
2 Huntington, S. (2023, January 12). 9 things you should never do with power strips. Family Handyman. Retrieved from https://www.familyhandyman.com/article/things-you-should-never-do-with-power-strips/