Buying furniture with a pre-installed Qi wireless charging pad helps minimise loose cables floating around, but it also means you don’t get to pick where you plop your devices down to charge. With IKEA’s new self-installed Sjömärke charger, you can add wireless charging to almost any table, and position it exactly where you need it.
Aside from digital clocks and other basic devices, IKEA has been pushing itself more and more into affordable home electronics over the past decade. It started with a collection of surprisingly excellent IKEA-branded rechargeable batteries (which many believe to be relabelled Panasonic Eneloop batteries), but the Swedish furniture maker has also released smart home accessories like light bulbs and wireless switches, a partnership with Sonos for IKEA speakers, paintings that fill your home with music, air purifiers disguised as side tables, and lots of ways to wirelessly charge Qi-compatible devices.
Back in 2015, IKEA released its first wireless charging upgrade kit, the $US30 ($41) Jyssen charger, which could be used to add a charging pad to tables, counters, and desks, but it assumed you had sufficient skills to use an included hole saw to bore a fairly sizeable hole through whatever piece of furniture you were upgrading. The upgrade was also effectively non-reversible, as most drilled holes are.
IKEA’s new Sjömärke charger looks like a much better option. It trades drilling holes for easy-to-apply adhesive stickers and some installation limitations. We’ve been promised wireless charging that works across a room, but that’s not here yet, and the Qi standard has a much shorter range. As a result, while the Sjömärke charger can be easily stuck to the underside of a flat piece of furniture like a desk or a table, the surface can’t be made of metal (the mortal enemy of wireless charging) and IKEA recommends the material should be between 3/8 and 7/8 of an inch thick.
The limitations actually mean the $US40 ($55) Sjömärke charger isn’t compatible with a lot of IKEA’s own furniture, including its popular Lagkapten office furniture system. And while it means you don’t have to connect a wire charger to your smartphone, tablet, or wireless headphones, you’ll still need to route and camouflage a wire coming from the charging pad itself to a power outlet. We’re not technically wireless yet, we’ve just moved them slightly out of sight.