Pop Up Outlet or Drawer Plug? Everything You Need to Know

Trying to decide between a pop-up outlet or hidden in-drawer outlet? Here's everything you need to choose the best power solutions for your project.
Organized Kitchen with Hidden Outlets

Whether you’re planning a new kitchen design, remodeling your existing kitchen, or simply looking to enhance your current space, electrical needs should always be an early stage consideration. Both countertop pop-up outlets and in-drawer outlets are common solutions for adding convenient power sources to your kitchen, but which one is right for you? While pop-up outlets can be a good solution for instances when in-drawer power is not possible, there are some important factors to consider before specifying these types of outlets into your project.

Space Requirements

Pop Up Outlet


First and foremost, pop-up outlets are quite sizable. The more plugs offered in any one pop-up tower, the bigger it will be. A pop-up outlet is typically installed towards the back of your countertop, impacting the drawers below. Drawers almost always need to be shortened to make room for the pop-up outlet. The exception to this would be in scenarios where there is open space under a countertop like you might find in deep kitchen islands or above a round lazy susan. For pop-up outlets of the taller variety, you will almost always find that you have to shorten 2 drawers, reducing storage space for utensils, spice drawers and other kitchen necessities. This is why installing a pop-up outlet requires more advance planning and attention to detail to ensure everything goes smoothly and according to plan.

Additionally, you will lose the functionality of the counter space surrounding your pop up outlet. If you have a lot of countertop space to work with, this may not be a deal breaker. But since you’re losing surface area that could otherwise have been home to your Kitchenaid mixer, toaster, Kureg or other kitchen appliance, it’s certainly something to consider, especially when dealing with limited countertop space.

Alternatively, an in drawer outlet can be installed without having to modify the drawer box, as they fit within the open space that exists behind the drawer box. In layman’s terms, our outlets can be installed into any standard cabinet layout that’s 15” or wider without reducing storage or countertop space.

Safety & Durability

Our in-drawer outlets are ETL listed, meaning they’ve met the minimum requirements of prescribed product safety standards. Safety is, and always has been, our top priority - and we go above and beyond the minimum requirements to ensure we’re providing you with the highest possible levels of safety and durability. While a standard cycle test is 25,000, we cycle test our products 500,000 times - the equivalent of opening and closing every 15 minutes for 30 years! We won’t bore you with too many technical details, but we encourage you to read up on the market-leading quality and durability of our in-drawer electrical solutions.

If you decide to go with a pop-up outlet, be sure to pay attention to the product’s spill rating and requirements. Pop-up outlets must meet sealant standards to keep fluids from entering the electrical circuits, which is why a pop-up outlet should seal (you may notice a click and lock) when lowered into the countertop.

Also keep in mind that due to the nature of how a pop-up outlet is constructed and used, it’s almost a guarantee that you’ll end up with scratches in the aluminum. Which for some, can become something of an eyesore.


kitchen power outlets

“The doubling of computer processing speed every 18 months, known as Moore's Law, is just one manifestation of the greater trend that all technological change occurs at an exponential rate.” 

While computer processing speeds don’t necessarily affect your electrical needs directly, you will see electrical innovations over time that accommodate rapidly changing technology. For example, you’ve probably heard of USB-C with power delivery by now, which is the latest of these major electrical advances.

Most pop up outlet towers are molded or use sockets, eliminating the ability to update them to newer standards. So if you go with a pop up outlet, you may find yourself with an outdated pop up power source in the near future.

Unique to Docking Drawer’s in drawer outlets, you do have the ability to adapt - as you can simply swap out the plug with new technology without having to replace the entire unit. A Docking Drawer plug with USB-C technology can charge devices up to 70% faster, making that outdated pop up outlet a thing of the past.

We are coming across pop up outlets that do, however, support wireless charging capabilities.


Generally speaking, pop-up power towers don’t come in a variety of high-quality finishes. These outlets are designed to blend in with your countertop when not expanded and in use. But what about when the outlet is popped up and in use? Without a variety of finishes to choose from, it’s possible that the outlet itself will contrast with your style. If your pop-up outlet features a wireless charging top, you’ll find that the material is typically a cheap plastic.

Meanwhile, we offer three high-quality metal cover plates with all of our in-drawer outlet solutions, including white, black and stainless steel. After all, beauty is in the details, and we believe your drawer charging or styling stations should add to the beautiful aesthetic of your space whenever visible (and even when it’s not).


Pop up outlet vs in drawer outlet

There are a number of reasons you may be planning to add a convenient power source like pop-up or in-drawer outlets to your kitchen. While both can function well in applications meant to power small appliances, the in-drawer outlet is the clear winner if you’re looking for an extra outlet to plug in tech devices. The whole idea behind the in-drawer outlet design is to banish countertop cord and device clutter, essentially creating a dedicated, organized hidden charging station where devices might have otherwise been plugged into wall or pop-up outlets. This is in direct contrast with a pop-up outlet, which will result in more unsightly tech and cord clutter taking over valuable countertop space.


Depending on the layout of your kitchen, you may find instances where a pop up outlet provides more convenience for powering certain types of small kitchen appliances. In such instances, the pop up outlet is typically installed into your kitchen island or countertop wherever those small appliances are most often used. This being the case, it’s safe to assume the outlet is going to get dirty. Batter splashes from your mixers, crumbs and other countertop culprits are likely to end up on your pop up tower while it’s in use. If your kitchen design allows for it, powered pullouts may be an alternative solution. Another alternative would be to install one of our in drawer powering outlets into a drawer that’s similarly located in an area where you most commonly power small kitchen appliances.

In summary, there will be instances where a pop-up outlet makes more sense to certain kitchen designs and needs. That being said, our in-drawer outlets are almost always simpler to install, they offer the ability to adapt with changing technology, come in a broader range of finishes and configurations and don’t result in the loss of drawer or countertop space. Still not sure which solution is right for you? Learn more about our in-drawer charging and powering outlets, and don’t hesitate to contact us with your questions. Our core product is, and always has been, in-drawer outlets, but we are dedicated to providing you with industry-leading solutions to best suit your project. So if you find that in-drawer power is not possible, we also offer a top-notch line of pop-up outlets as both an alternative and supplement for an in-drawer solution.

Sign up to Receive a Special Offer

Subscribe to Docking Drawer's Newsletter to stay up to date with the latest bits, tips, trends and savings.