DuPont's Corian Charging Surface countertops sound like the perfect marriage of kitchen design and contemporary technology. The concept conjures the idea of a whole countertop that acts like a wireless device charger. Sounds great.
You'll need to replace your counter wholesale to add the wireless chargers, so it's no small upgrade. Once you find a local fabricator that offers the charging tech, you can expect to pay between $150 to $200 per charger, plus $60 or more per square foot of DuPont's Corian or Zodiaq countertop material. Between the costs and the commitment for prospective buyers, DuPont's charging tech has to be perfect. Our experience with a charging Zodiaq Quartz counter in the CNET Smart Home was anything but.
The charging technology isn't responsive enough even with phones like the Samsung Galaxy S7 that support wireless charging natively (both the Qi and PMA standard that the DuPont chargers support). With the plug-in rings that grant wireless charging to iPhones and other devices without native support, you'll spend so much time searching for the exact, pin-point spot that makes the charging connection, you're better off just tracking down a cable.
As much as I like the idea of a carefree, countertop-charging existence, DuPont's Corian Charging Counter Surface will only bring frustration and regret. Stick with standalone charging mats.
What's with the price?
This was my first question when I heard how much it cost to install a DuPont Corian Charging Surface. The Corian countertops themselves aren't too expensive, comparatively. Sixty bucks per square foot is about midrange, and like any surface, it comes with pros and cons. From a design standpoint, the countertops look fine. It's an acrylic material, and surface-level scratches can be buffed out easily. But it's susceptible to heat damage, unlike higher-end stone counters.
We installed Zodiaq Quartz countertops at the Smart Home, which will set you back $75-$90 per square foot, but it looks sharper and boasts better durability. Deciding whether to purchase DuPont Corian or Zodiaq surfaces will just depend on your budget and particular kitchen needs.
The price that really stands out to me, though, is that of the chargers. Ostensibly, the high price of up to $200 per charger is earned by the convenience of wireless charging in a countertop. But that doesn't explain why the chargers cost so much more than the quality, standalone wireless chargers you can find online for $30-$60. Even chargers embedded in furniture from online stores like IKEA cost significantly less than DuPont's.
The DuPont chargers also offer almost nothing special, besides their incidental attachment to the countertop. Although DuPont says the charger is made to have greater range than most others (since it has to connect through a countertop), they end up taking more of your time than usual trying to find a charging connection. And it's not just finding the sweet spot above the charger; it's also finding the exact orientation necessary to maintain that connection.