Chromebooks, laptops, and tablets are common educational tools in today’s K-12 environment, and like any other school asset, they require care, maintenance, and a safe “home.”
While many schools opt to keep Chromebooks in locking storage cabinets, there are downsides to this method, including poor visibility over devices; difficulty to set up safe charging ports without using an abundance of extension cords; and the inability to move from one room to another.
The solution? Well, this article title probably gave it away: storage carts. Most Chromebook or laptop storage carts can charge multiple devices simultaneously, with locking doors, rolling wheels, and ventilation to keep devices from overheating.
To this end, we’ve curated a list of the six very best Chromebook carts for K-12 use, compiled directly from the feedback of K-12 asset managers like yourself.
Why Use Chromebook Carts?
Chromebook carts are essential for managing the many Chromebooks that exist in a typical K-12 environment. With average class sizes of around 30 students, these carts allow teachers to organize the storage of each individual device. Chromebook storage carts usually have dividers that can be labeled with tracking numbers or other identifying information, allowing faculty members to quickly identify missing devices. A charging cabinet also makes it easier to make sure devices are charged each night after a full day of use—ensuring they’ll be ready for the next day of learning—which is otherwise challenging due to the limited number of electrical outlets in a classroom. In addition, this charging solution also helps minimize the overuse of electrical cords, a common problem in K-12 schools.
Features to Look for in a Chromebook Charging Cart
There are several features to consider when selecting the right charging cart for your classroom. For example, carts need heavy-duty casters to ensure they can move easily between locations. The number of dividers the cart has is also an important factor, since they determine the number of Chromebooks the cart can store. The cable management functionality of these mobile storage solutions is another feature you should look at, especially if the classes have a large number of students. Additional considerations include the cart’s lifespan and warranty.
Device Size Accommodations
The device sizes that a Chromebook charging cart can accommodate vary considerably, from mobile devices to iPads to laptops. This is an important factor because you need to ensure that it can store the devices you have, as some models are designed to store devices up to a certain screen size. When searching for your ideal solution, beware of the difference in terms “laptop charging cart” versus “tablet charging cart” or “tablet charging station,” as these terms directly call out compatible device types and will help narrow your search.
Device Charging Features
The biggest thing to look for when considering device charging features of a Chromebook cart is the accessibility of the charging mechanism. This determines how easy it will be for you to charge devices. Some charging solutions have power outlets deep in the back of the cart, requiring you to reach back of the cart with one hand, search blindly for the power cord, and try to plug it into the USB-C charging port—a rather inconvenient experience.
Some other storage cart models may also keep outlets in the back of the cart, but with the added feature of having a rear door to access those outlets easily.
Anticipated Life Span & Warranty
A comparison of storage cart features should also include consideration of their durability and warranty. The life span of a storage cart primarily depends on the material used to construct it, which is typically steel, aluminum, or wood.
Steel carts are the most expensive, but they’re also heavy-duty and will last the longest. In addition, a storage cart with steel construction will also be the most difficult to break into. Aluminum isn’t as sturdy as steel, although these carts are lighter, which may be important if you need to move them often. Wood carts aren’t nearly as sturdy as those made of metal, and tend to be one of the easiest types to break into, but they can be cost-effective. In any case, you must weigh the pros and cons of each cart type with its price and length of warranty to find the best fit for your school.
Cable Management Options
Carts that can hold 30+ devices also need to accommodate that many electrical cords, which can make cord management a very important consideration when selecting the best model for your needs. The best solutions are carts that open in the back, making it easier to access the cables. Some models also have a false back to hide the cords and adapters. Wall-mount options like a cleat system also help manage cables by keeping them out of the way.
Top-Rated Chromebook Carts for K-12 Environments
The following charging carts are some of the most common choices for school administrators and are not listed in any particular order. Each section includes a general description, pros, cons, and price range. The section on the Dell Compact Charging Cart also includes a subsection on the docking kit for that model.
LocknCharge Joey Charging Cart
The LocknCharge Joey Charging Cart stores, charges, and transports 30 or 40 mobile devices, depending on the model. One of the most distinctive features of this model is its top-loading cart design, which allows the lid to fold all the way down to the sides. This design gives unrestricted access to the devices in the cart from all four sides, making it easier to insert and remove many devices at once. In addition, you don’t need to bend down when removing devices from the bottom shelf.
This charging cart also has a “toolbox” design that stores power supplies in removable trays, eliminating the need to reach into the cart. It also keeps cords organized via side channels that keep them secure. An option to get a LocknCharge Joey Charging Cart pre-wired with USB-C cables is also available.
- Large rack sizes can hold larger notebooks than other carts.
- The larger model weighs over 100 pounds when empty, due to the steel construction. Some users may experience difficulty maneuvering it in tight spaces.
The suggested retail price from LocknCharge for the 30-device model is about $1,100 and $1,400 for the 40-device model. Sale prices from retailers can be considerably lower, although they’re often out of stock.
Line Leader Compact Mobile Charging Cart
The Line Leader Compact Mobile Charging Cart is a charging station for 30 Chromebooks, tablets, or laptops, up to .9” thick and up to 15” wide. It weighs 115 pounds and measures 21″D x 24.25″W x 38″H. This model can charge all 30 devices at the same time with a pair of 15-outlet Underwriter Laboratory (UL)-certified charging strips. Protection features include rubber-coated dividers that prevent devices from touching each other and ventilated walls to keep devices from overheating while charging. This model also has locking front and rear cabinets to keep devices secure.
The solid alloy steel frame should provide reliable service for years, as it has been tested to meet American National Standards Institute (ANSI) and Business and Institutional Furniture Manufacturer’s Association (BIFMA) standards. The four non-skid, full-swivel wheels roll silently without scratching hard surfaces, and two of the wheels have locking brakes to prevent the cart from moving. This also offers internal clips to keep the contents organized, in addition to a side cord to keep power cables out of the way.
- Minimal effort needed to move the cart, even when fully loaded.
- Ergonomic handle provides easy maneuvering through tight spaces.
- The interior is about 1” too short to accommodate 15″ laptops.
- Slot sizes don’t allow iPads with heavily-padded covers to fit, which are often needed for district devices.
Before any sales or discounts, 2022 prices range from single-unit cost of $699, or bulk pricing of 3 units for $1,994.
Fujitsu Charging Cart
The Fujitsu Charging Cart is a great solution for charging, storing, and managing Chromebooks, laptops, and tablets. It has 42 bays that measure 32.5 mm x 350 mm x 260 mm, and the external dimensions of the cabinet are 887 mm x 620 mm x 1034 mm. The construction materials are a combination of steel and plastic, resulting in a compact, lightweight design. The 5” wheels with brakes make this charging cart easy to move and secure.
This only requires one standard power outlet and has a built-in microcontroller that sets the charging cycle and output current based on the electrical load. This smart charging system ensures that all devices charge evenly by delivering power to the next device when it senses a high loading condition. This cart also has three additional power sockets on the side for charging peripheral devices like printers and scanners.
- Large 42-bay capacity is more than any other standard model.
- Bays accommodate laptops with a diagonal measurement of up to 15.6”, greater than many other models.
- The lock for this charging cart is comparatively small and simple, given the size and cost of this model.
The sale price of this model is typically between $1,100 and $1,200 per unit.
Dell Compact Charging Cart
The Dell Compact Charging Cart stores 36 devices with a display size of up to 14 inches, including Chromebooks, Ultrabooks, laptops, and tablets. It can hold devices of different sizes by adjusting the dividers and shelves as needed. This cart uses Ergotron PowerShuttle 2.0 technology to optimize charging time by efficiently managing power distribution to devices. Slots in the dividers allow you to route power cables while keeping the cart tidy. You can also install a docking kit for this cart that eliminates the need to route cables to each device.
This cart provides a workspace on top that can support a projector or other device weighing up to 25 pounds. It also has directional locks on the rear wheels, allowing you to easily steer the cart. A two-point locking mechanism and optional padlock let you guard your devices.
- Sections are just wide enough to hold an iPad Air 2 with a keyboard case, whereas many other cabinets are too narrow.
- Offers true USB connectivity, useful for synchronizing and charging devices.
- Some users report difficulty with assembling this model and using the lock.
This model is about $2,100 if you buy it directly from Dell, but there are rewards incentives that can knock the price down.
Bonus: Dell Compact Cart Slide-In Docking Kit
The Dell Compact Cart Slide-In Docking Kit isn’t a cart in itself, but it does make docking and charging Latitude/Chromebook 3180s easier. It has six bays and measures 18.5″ D x 6.3″W x 10.5″H. This model comes with a limited warranty of three years for mechanical components, and one year for cables and electrical components.
This docking kit is significantly more expensive than other models in its capacity range, but it also offers benefits that may justify the additional cost. For example, you can automatically connect devices by sliding them into the bays, eliminating the need for power cables. This feature also prevents students from pulling plugs out and devices from getting caught on doors.
- Can be used with a standard rolling cart before upgrading to a proper charging cart.
- The primary disadvantage is the cost, which is more than many charging carts.
This docking kit costs about $945 if you buy it directly from Dell.
Core X Cart
The CORE X Carts from Bretford have a large capacity with adjustable device slots that allow them to hold a variety of devices. This series includes the TCOREX24, TCOREX36, and TCOREX45, with the main difference being storage capacity. The TCOREX24 holds 24 devices with two shelves, the TCOREX36 holds 36 devices with three shelves, while the TCOREX45 holds 45 devices with three shelves.
Each unit is fully welded, providing exceptional durability. They come fully assembled and are ready for wiring. Core X Carts have a unique cord management system that enables fast, convenient wiring, while still keeping the cords securely organized.
- Offers a high degree of customization for customers with unique needs.
- The biggest con with these models is the high price, especially if they aren’t on sale.
Prices on Core X Carts can vary greatly depending on the specific model and customization. For example, a competitive sale price on a standard TCOREX45 is as low as $1,500.
Datamation Systems Gather’Round Cart
The Datamation Systems’ Gather’Round is a compact affordable security cart that can charge 32 Chromebooks at once. It has two removable trays with 16 slots per tray. Each tray has its own handle, and the trays can be accessed from both sides. The fire-rated plastic dividers are individually removable.
These carts have several features to facilitate cord management, such as a molded cord rewinder bracket. A 32-outlet UL-listed panel is also pre-installed at the bottom of the cart, which also helps keep cords out of the way. These models also have two gliding doors with integrated push button locks. Features that provide ease of movement include the four swiveling 4” wheels, two of which are locking. It also has a padded handle for additional maneuverability.
- Owners can personalize their cart with a unique ID card, a feature that other carts lack.
- The compact design means that larger notebooks may not fit in the slots.
The sale price for this charging cart starts at around $1,600, depending on the retailer.
A Chromebook charging cart is an essential piece of equipment for storing and managing Chromebooks in today’s K-12 classrooms. However, the wide range of prices and storage capacities can make it challenging to select the right charging station for your needs. In addition, features like labels for device ID numbers and QR codes can help you with the inventory of devices like Chromebooks and iPad models throughout the school year.
Once your device storage needs are under control, turn to Incident IQ for assistance in the rest of your asset management tasks. Our award-winning workflow management tools streamlines deployment and collection, auditing and inventory management, and school asset reporting.
Interested in learning more? Schedule a demo today.