INLET Gives Outlets A Much-Needed 21st Century Makeover

Did you know that the electrical outlet you use to charge your smartphone is virtually identical to the one Frank Sinatra’s parents used to power their living room lamp? Despite being ugly, unsafe, and inefficient the ubiquitous duplex electrical outlet has endured for the better part of a century. That’s something a San Francisco start-up called LivingPlug aims to change.

The company recently debuted its first product, appropriately called the “Inlet” on Kickstarter. This updated plug and play solution works seamlessly with your current outlet, while eliminating phantom loads and the danger of electrical shock.

LivingPlug outlets

Image via LivingPlug

Instead of the standard three pronged power outlet, the Inlet provides a high capacity 2.1v USB charger and three tamper resistant outlets. Situated on the side of the device, instead of facing forward, the outlets improve child safety by creating a lock that prevents electrical connectivity if a metal object penetrates only one of the receptacles: Insert a paperclip–nothing. Insert your laptop power cord–energy.

In addition to being safer, the outlet is vastly more pleasant to look at. The quarter inch reveal along the base of the INLET allows the unit to run flush with a wall, covering the duplex outlet completely. All you see is a small box covered by a customized faceplate that blends into the background without a second thought.

inlet living plug

Image via LivingPlug

“Customers will be able to select from a catalog of prints that complement the placement of the INLET (children’s room, kitchen etc.) or be able to upload their own photos, all available at an online faceplate shop,” explain the creators. “In time we plan to partner with a selection of designers, decorators and artists to offer an online made to order faceplate shop to complement the Inlet.

If you’re one of the first 250 people to donate to the Kickstarter campaign, you can get your own Inlet for just $20

Beth Buczynski is a freelancer writer and editor currently living in the Rocky Mountain West. Her articles appear on Care2, Ecosalon and Inhabitat, just to name a few. So far, Beth has lived in or near three major U.S. mountain ranges, and is passionate about protecting the important ecosystems they represent. Follow Beth on Twitter as @ecosphericblog


  • Reply May 21, 2013


    whatever. still only is for the US. can’t plug in anything else can we.

  • Reply May 22, 2013

    Keith Lamb

    The outlet in the first pic marked 2013 is upside down. Maybe pet peave of mine, but if your outlet looks like a face it’s installed wrong. The ground should always be on top so that if something conductive falls into the gap between a loose plug and the outlet it is more likely to ground itself and prevent a fire.

  • Reply June 4, 2013


    This article is slightly misinformed about current outlets, new ones (for residential use) have the same tamper-resistant mechanism that won’t allow you to stick an object into only one slot…I just had several installed in my basement.
    “Ugly” is just an opinion, “unsafe” has been addressed, and “inefficient” doesn’t really make any sense.

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