The Belkin Conserve Socket and the BlueLounge MiniDock

Electrical outlets might seem about as exciting as lint rollers and tax law, but after seeing a handful of space-saving, energy-efficient and just-plain-cool socket solutions, we're beginning to take a newfound interest in things that plug in. Here, our picks for the best of the bunch:

Environmentally friendly Ever worry that your appliances are still drawing energy once they're done charging? Fear not with the Conserve Socket ($10), which automatically shuts off after the time interval of your choice.

Clutter hiding Surge protectors are great for keeping your speakers from frying; too bad they're so damn ugly. Philips's new version ($15) lets you plug in and hide up to six cords behind a sleek, attractive facade.

USB-minded If you have more USB appliances than your computer has ports, we suggest the Flip-It ($20), which plugs into an AC outlet under an existing plug and charges your BlackBerry, Kindle, camera, etc.

Space-saving iPhone docks range from boring and functional to whimsical and strange, but rarely are they space efficient. BlueLounge's MiniDock ($20) plugs into your tiny Apple adapter, then directly into an outlet, allowing you to charge your device flush against the wall.

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