iPad charging units offer a secure way to store, and recharge, all of your iPads at once. There are two core types - trolleys fitted with castors that can easily be moved throughout your building, or fixed cabinets which provide a single charging point within your department or office.
While we’re looking mostly at their application within an education setting, these trolleys and cabinets are used in offices, hospitals, libraries, hotels and more. The two brands we stock are Labcabby and LocknCharge, both leading manufacturers in high tech and secure device storage.
There are a few key features to pay attention to that vary between units:
Capacity - How many devices do the unit hold?
Size - How big is the unit? Some charging units offer narrower, compact profiles if you’re tight on space
Interior cable routing - Does the unit have internal cable management to keep things tidy?
Sync and Charge - Some cabinets allow you to sync updates and content between all devices at once.
Charging management - some devices come fitted with scheduling management software, allowing overnight or pre-programmed cycles.
The more affordable end of the units will be simpler cabinets without any charging management, mobility or cable management. We always suggest investing slightly more to have mobile trolleys that come with management software, Sync abilities and improved cable design as they tend to be much more futureproof than entry models.
Let’s briefly look at each of these features in turn.
Capacity & Size
Our cabinets are available in a range of sizes. The smallest carry up to 10 iPads and can sit comfortably on a worktop or desk, while our largest is a free-standing unit with a capacity to charge 32 devices at once.
Other styles include more mobile, travel orientated solutions such as the GoCabby. Designed for portable USB storage, it is equipped with additional padding, a telescopic handle, wheels and multi-sync functionality which allows you to sync and update all devices at once while on the move.
Shelving dimensions and angles will vary between units too, so be sure to measure your device with any protective cases before purchase. While most units are designed to have a bit of wiggle room, third party cases can vary in size quite significantly!
Internal Cabling & Compatibility
Many of these units are fitted with universal inbuilt chargers, offering a “brick” of 3 pin plugs (similar to an extension lead) hidden away with cable access provided by a porthole. This allows each charger to be different and charge any device. For example, the left side (blue) could all be iPad chargers, and the right (green) all Andriod USB-C.
This flexibility allows you to charge pretty much any device from iPads, Phones, thin laptops (depending on unit size) and Andriod devices such as the Kindle Fire.
On our larger units, onboard computers can regulate charging times, giving you the option to create up to 21 different schedules - 3 per day. This is ideal for scheduling in times to charge devices in the mornings, and then a top-up boost over lunch without all the units being powered 24/7.
iPad Sync and Charge Trolleys
Some of our mobile trolleys, such as the TabCabby 32H, offer a Sync and Charge functionality. When connected, devices of the same kind can all be synchronised with apps and content at once while charging. If you’re regularly updating apps or installing new content such as lessons or interactive media, this can save you hours of time. Rather than updating each individual device, you can sync up to 32 devices and deploy them all at once.
iPad Charging Trolleys
Our range of iPad charging trolleys are able to charge between 16 and 32 devices at once and start around £800.
All are fitted with rounded corners for damage-free movement when moving between classrooms and down corridors. Doors are locked from a top-down key mechanism, positioned to prevent any damage to the keys themselves during movement. Bumpers absorb any shocks and all castors are reinforced to take the weight when fully loaded. Levers are hidden discreetly away so that access to the plug sockets are protected from being knocked or interfered with, and small cable management portholes allow easy access to to the devices for charging. Shelves are angled to keep iPads in place while being moved.
iPad Charging Cabinets
iPad charging cabinets allow for the bulk charging of devices but in a fixed position. For this reason, they are often more affordable, starting at around £300 for a smaller 10 charge unit. These can easily be positioned in offices, classrooms, hospitals, museums or other areas where regular, but fixed access is required.
There are a range of features available, from simple cabinets which charge devices off of fixed 3 pin plugs to more sophisticated units with compartments for individual access, Sync and Charge capabilities or adjustable 3 PIN Plug rails.
One thing to consider is whether you require USB only or 3 Pin connectivity. Smaller profile units will offer USB only charging (some with Fast Charge), while larger footprint cabinets may provide full 3 PIN chargers and allow for secure charging of small laptops as well.
Bulk iPad or Tablet Charging
If you’re looking for a free-standing device to charge multiple devices, we suggest something like the LapCabby Charge & Sync. This portable charger can take up to 16 USB devices at once. All power delivery is managed to ensure power is split intelligently across all devices. While these do not provide any security, they are ideal for IT departments who require a simple device to simultaneously update many devices without the need to plug in each iPad.
Cabinet vs Trolley
Whether you require a Cabinet or Trolley is going to depend on your circumstances and to an extent, budget.
Due to being moved around more, Trolleys are a larger investment. Extra safety features such as bumpers, locking systems and more specialist design for safe transport or expensive devices adds to the price. Cabinets, due to their fixed nature, can be more cost-effective and simpler in design.
For Schools, we tend to suggest a Trolley, as the extra security and mobility is useful in futureproofing the purchase, and can easily be moved between departments if requirements change. This means they often work out cheaper in the long term compared to fixed units which may become inconvenient.
Considerations Before Purchase
The main other consideration would be whether you may require laptop charging in the future, as some larger storage units support this.
If you’re unsure, please contact us and we’re happy to discuss what will suit your needs more.
If funding is a concern, why not read our guide to securing technology funding for Schools? Or read about the benefits of iPads in the classroom.
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