Computers / Buying Guide

Cable Management: Clean up That Spaghetti Knot of Cables

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For most of us, cables and cords are a necessary component of everyday life: they supply power to our electronic devices, transmit data and signals, and facilitate communication. Yet, despite all the good they do, cables often prove to be somewhat of a nuisance, either as an eyesore or—in setups like mine—a hazard. The floor between the Internet router and my bedroom is essentially an intricate network of tripwires guaranteed to send you sprawling. So, in honor of the annual “Spring Cleaning,” we’ve put together a list of products and suggestions to help curtail cable clutter and keep cords from crisscrossing carelessly over carpets and counters. (We’ll deal with untangling unnecessary alliteration in a future installment.)

Consolidate Your Power

Outlet setups vary from home to home. Some of us are blessed with an abundance of ports, while others (me) rely on one or two hubs for all our power needs. If you are running short on outlets, or if you just want to consolidate your cables into one place, consider picking up a power strip. B&H offers plenty of options to choose from, with features to accommodate every kind of setup and situation. When selecting a power strip, be sure to consider how many outlets you’ll need, the space available, and what would look best with your existing décor. Also, be sure to look for overcharging and surge protection, so your gear will be safeguarded against electrical damage. Some power strips, like the Belkin PivotPlug Surge Protector, even come with an equipment guarantee that will insure your equipment against damage up to a certain value.

Belkin PivotPlug 12-Outlet Surge Protector

Tie ’Em Up

Now that all your cables are in one place, it’s time to corral them into something more tidy than that rat’s nest you currently have stuffed behind your desk. For that task, we suggest any of the cable management accessories from Rip-Ties. These handy organizers will help keep your cables and cords neat, organized, and out of the way. CableWraps, for example, use a “hook-and-loop” fastener to group all your cables into a single manageable unit, which immediately bolsters the look and performance of any installation. Better still, CableWraps come in multiple color configurations, so you can match your existing setup or add a little personal flair of your own. We also recommend the Cable Identification Labels, which, admittedly, don’t offer much in terms of de-cluttering value, but are incredibly useful for keeping track of which wire goes where and does what—a constant headache for those more involved TV and computer setups.

Rip-Tie Cable Wrap

Even if that tumbleweed of wires gently blowing across your bedroom floor doesn’t bother you from an aesthetic standpoint, it’s bound to cause some problems down the line. From decreased performance to the risk of fire and electrical short, bunched wires are nothing to ignore or take lightly. Do yourself (and your devices) a favor, and unspool that cable knot sooner than later.

Channel Your Inner Houdini

Binding or wrapping cables together is a great solution for cleaning up connections, but if you really want those cords to disappear, consider investing in a cable channel, tunnel, or duct. These handy management systems are great for installations where cables can’t be concealed behind furniture or run through walls. Channels not only allow you to route cable wherever it needs to go, they also help keep those same wires out of view. The OmniMount Cable Management System, for example, lets you direct cables throughout your home while making them completely invisible. The included channels can be cut and configured to match your needs and, once painted, they blend seamlessly into your home decor.

OmniMount CMK Mini Paintable Cable Management System

There are plenty of other channel and duct options out there, as well. Everything from single- and multi-channel dropovers to basic cord concealers to extension columns can help direct cables and keep them out of view. Find the one that best suits your installation needs and clean up the cord clutter for good.

Belkin Cord Concealer

Or, You Know, Just Get Rid of ’Em

Sometimes the best solution to a problem is just to get rid of the problem. If none of the above methods satisfies your need to excise the cables from your life, maybe a different tact is in order. How about just cutting the cord altogether? Several of the devices we use on a day-to-day basis have wireless options available. From streaming media players to mobile speakers to wireless networking, options for eliminating the cables from our lives have never been more prevalent or easier to install. If you’re looking for a solution that doesn’t require concealment or a cleverly conceived cloistering, maybe it’s time to switch over from wired to wireless.

Bose SoundLink Color II Bluetooth Speaker

So, there you have it—plenty of solutions for curing your cable and cord conundrums and taming that tenacious tangle of tripwires. Not every solution is right for everyone, so be sure to browse through B&H’s online catalogue to find the perfect cable management accessory for you.

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