Even though we live in an age of “cord cutting”, and this website is all about ditching cable (TV), there’s one thing we still can’t escape: the actual cables. Once you start accumulating devices and set-top boxes near your telly (or your computer), it quickly becomes a jungle of cords and cables… which is where a good cable tidy box can help.
There are several cable management solutions out there (and I’ll go over some of them in this article) – but it all starts with the cable tidy box, which is a – yes – box where you’re meant to put your power strip, while better organising all the cables that come out of it.
In this review round-up, I’ll explain how to best use a cable tidy box, how it works with other cable management products, and things to consider when you’re looking for the best cable tidy box.
Best Cable Tidy Boxes For 2020
Table of Contents
Cable Management Solutions
The cables behind our TVs and computers these days are a big mess. Even if you have a nice TV cabinet, there’s still no way to make all those cables “disappear” – you might have an indoor aerial connected (with cables) to your telly and to a power strip. And then there’s the Freeview box, and maybe you have a gaming console, and don’t forget the soundbar, and… you get the picture. A messy, cable-ridden picture.
The good news – there are several simple solutions that, while won’t make the cables disappear, can at least hide them better and organise them in a neat way. And it all starts with…
A Cable Tidy Box
Despite the fancy name, a cable tidy box is – surprise – mainly a box with holes in it. Its main purpose: a place to put your power strip in (and possibly additional cables). The power cord that plugs into the wall goes into the box on one side, and all the power cables that come from your different devices go in from the other side.
That way, instead of cables running all over the place, and getting tangled, you get a relatively neat flow of cables in one place.
However, all those cables running out from one side of the box still look like a bit of a mess – so you can use…
A Cable Tube / Sleeve
If you want to keep things even tidier, you can use a cable tube, which does exactly what it says on the tin – it’s small flexible “tube” that you can push all your cables into (through a slit that opens and closes). That way, they’re all grouped together behind your cabinet/desk.
Of course, at some point your cables will have to split up between the different devices – but a tube keeps them grouped at least some of the way.
A Cable Clip / Tie
If you want something that’s even simpler than a cable tube, you can use a cable tie.
It’s a super-cheap solution, and while it won’t hide your cables, you can at least use it to tie them up and group them together, thus avoiding those annoying tangles.
They’re very easy to find, but here’s a good batch on Amazon.
Now let’s go to the centrepiece of the cable management process – the box.
Buying The Best Cable Tidy Box – Things To Consider
Yes, it’s basically a box with holes in it – but there are still a few things you need to look out for when you buy one, if you want it to serve its purpose well and help you tidy up all those cords.
Durable Materials / Heat Resistance
This is not just a question of the cable tidy box lasting you for a long time – it’s also an issue of safety.
You’re going to hide a big power strip inside the box, and power strips (and power plugs) often get pretty hot. If your box is made out of cheap materials, its walls might dent from the heat – or even worse, might actually catch on fire.
Therefore you need a box made out of durable materials – either enforced plastic, or – in some cases – wood. Ideally, you would also want it to be scratch-resistant.
This is another safety feature – since it’s going to get pretty hot inside that small box, with all those power plugs, you want a box that has enough ventilation holes, so the heat has a place to go (with fresh air going in).
In addition, it’s important not to cram too much into the box – leave some space inside for air and ventilation as well.
Size of The Box
The size you need depends on what you intend to put inside the cable tidy box.
First, of course, is the power strip. Consider how many devices, thus power plugs, you would need to use – and leave some room for the future (maybe you’re going to buy a new streamer on Black Friday?).
Once you have the correct power strip, measure it – then make sure the box you’re buying has enough space for the strip, as well as some leftover space in both sides for the cables to go through.
You might also want to slide other cables through the box – such as your aerial cord, your Ethernet cable, etc’ – so take all these into consideration, and make sure the box is big enough, but also keep in mind the available space under/behind your cabinet/desk.
Feet Under The Box
Some of the better cable tidy boxes have small rubber “feet” at the bottom, so the box doesn’t sit directly on the floor.
This serves two purposes: it prevents the box from slipping around, and it also offers some protection against water, in case you spill something on the floor.
The basic design of a cable tidy box has two main holes – one for the power strip’s cable, and another for all the other power cables.
However, some boxes offer additional access points (as in – holes). So you can use a front access point to connect a phone charger, for example (some even have room on top of the box to put your phone on).
Lastly, cable tidy boxes come in different shapes, sizes and designs. If you’re going to hide your box behind a TV cabinet, then the design won’t matter much. But if it’s going to stand in clear view, you might want to look for something that looks good.
The colours are up to you, and some even have wooden parts that make them look particularly pretty – just make sure they’re also fulfilling their main job (of tidying up your cables), before being pretty.
Best Cable Tidy Boxes For 2020: Our Picks
D-Line is a UK-based company that specialises in cable management solutions, so you can trust they’ve done their homework with this cable tidy box.
The box is made of a safety-tested material, with curved ends and a polished push-lock lid. It’s a bit thin, so can feel a bit flimsy – just make sure you don’t fill it too much.
The box comes in two sizes: small (325mm (L) x 125mm (W) 115mm (H)) for a 4-gang power strip, and large (415mm (L) x 165mm (W) 135mm (H)) for a 6-gang power strip. However, if your extension unit is particularly bulky, make sure you measure it first.
There are three access point for sliding cables in/out, so you have some flexibility there, and you can even choose whether you want a black box or a white one.
All in all, this is a cable tidy box that does exactly what it sets out to do, with a decent (if a bit bland) design and an excellent price point.
Let’s face it, one cable tidy box is usually not enough in most houses. You need at least one for your TV area, then one near your desktop computer, and perhaps one near the bed… so it can get expensive.
Therefore, this bundle gives you excellent value for money – as you get three cable tidy boxes, in addition to cable ties and mounting tapes (which you use to stick the tied cables under the desk).
The bundled boxes come in three separate sizes – Large (16″ x 6.2″ x 5.4″), Medium (13″ x 5.3″ x 5″) and Small (9.3″ x 4.5″ x 4.8″) – so make sure these are actually sizes that would fit your needs.
The boxes themselves are pretty thin and a bit flimsy, so they’re not as good as some of the others on this list – but if you need more than one, this price is hard to beat.
This is a very functional cable tidy box: At 36.8 x 14.7 x 12.6 cm, it has room for a power strip with 4 plugs (but as usual, measure first), and there are four access points for cables – two on top, and two on the bottom.
The base is raises, which offers some protection against water on the floor, and the ventilation is also done down under, with hole on the bottom panel.
The design is a bit boring (it looks like a shower step), and the plastic is thin and a bit flimsy – but it does its job well. We just wish the price was a bit lower.
The Bottom Line
Who said cable tidy boxes need to be boring? These boxes come with IML printed designs, with nine options to choose from – an aquarium, varnished wood, wild flowers, and more.
The box itself is pretty simple – it has plenty of access points for cables, room for a phone on top (when you’re charging it, for example), and should be big enough to hold up to a 6-gang power strip.
The plastic around the printing looks kine of cheap, so don’t expect this box to be too robust – but it’ll hide your cables well.
This box is… pretty. It’s still a box, don’t get me wrong – but the colours and the design are impressive – so much so, that it was awarded the Global Innovation Award in Chicago – for a box!
Everything you would expect from a high-quality box is here: 4 access points, silicone feet, and room on top to place a phone that you’re charging.
It’s a bit small – 30 cm (11 3/4″) x Depth: 18 cm (7 1/16″) x Height: 13.8 cm, so even though they say it would fit a 6-gang power strip, you should measure first.
Our main problem with this cable tidy box? It’s pretty expensive, when compared to the other ones in this roundup. But other than that – it’s a great choice.