When Should You Replace Your Store and Charge Carts? The Answer Is Never.
If you’re looking at your school’s computer store and charge carts and thinking it may be time to replace them, you probably purchased your carts from the wrong manufacturer. A well-constructed cart should last a lifetime, so if yours isn’t even lasting through lunchtime, you should definitely learn what to look for so you don’t make the same mistake the second time around.
Here are some features you can use to evaluate the performance of your existing cart or to compare the quality of other store and charge products you may be considering.
Wheels. Carts are meant to be mobile and often travel down crowded hallways or in and out of tight elevators. Wobbly wheels send carts out of control, so make sure your cart’s wheels are sturdy and stable. Locking and directional locking options are also helpful to control the cart during transport and keep it in place in the classroom.
Lock mechanism. One of the primary jobs of a computer cart is to keep your devices secure when they are not in use. If the lock mechanism is loose, device security is compromised. Look for a cart that has a three-point locking system that secures the doors (front and rear) at the top, middle, and bottom to deter unwanted access and protect your devices.
Hinges. Students sometimes lean on cart doors, which can cause them to bend and create gaps between the door and the frame on a poorly constructed cart. These gaps can lead to doors that don’t close properly and may invite unwanted entry when the cart is unsupervised. Pinned hinges can also be tampered with and pins popped out to gain easy entry. To avoid breakdown and potential theft, find a cart with a fully-hinged door. This will provide complete support of the door to keep it from bending and reduce the opportunity for break in.
Power strips. Computer carts were meant to charge a large number of devices, so they have power strips with a large number of outlets. Check that individual plugs still fit snuggly and that laptops or other devices are charging. Even the best electrical components tend to wear out over time, so make sure that component of your cart is replaceable. That way you won’t have to replace your entire cart just because the power strip stops functioning.
Shelves. If you’re looking at a fully loaded, open cart and you can see the shelves starting to sag, that’s a sure sign you need a replacement and a new manufacturer. Many carts are designed to hold a variety of devices that vary in size and weight. A well-manufactured cart should be made of heavy-duty steel and maintain its shape even when supporting a full complement of large devices.
Dividers. Plastic dividers are a common method of organizing devices and charging cords within a cart, and they experience a high amount of impact during daily loading and unloading of devices. Find a manufacturer that offers flexible device dividers that can stand up to a bit of bending and won’t easily break when removed and reinserted.
Lifetime warranty. One final feature to look for in a store and charge cart is a lifetime warranty. A lifetime warranty is a good indication that the product will last and that your investment will be protected.
Schools are always looking for products that can satisfy a need without breaking the budget, but sometimes the money saved buying a cheaper product costs a lot more in the end. Checking that these features are up to the task will help ensure you get the best cart for budget.