There’s no one size fits all answer. We’ll help you figure out what’s right for you.
There are a lot of factors to consider when shopping for home EV charging equipment for your electric vehicle. You certainly want to make sure you’re buying a unit from a reputable company, that the unit is safety certified, has a good warranty, and is built to last many years.
However, one of the most important considerations is: How powerful of a charging station do you need? Most battery-electric vehicles (BEVs) available today can accept between 40 to 48-amps while charging from a level 2, 240-volt source. However, there are charging stations available today that can deliver more power, and some that can deliver far less, so deciding how many amps you need for your EV charger might seem a little confusing.
There are four main questions you should consider before purchasing your home EV charging equipment.
How much power can your EV accept?
Electric vehicles are limited to accepting a certain amount of electricity which will be listed in either amperage (amps) or kilowatt (kW). All EVs have onboard chargers, which convert the electricity they receive in the form of alternating current (AC) to direct current (DC) which is how it is stored in the vehicle’s battery.
The power of the onboard charger dictates how much AC power the vehicle can accept. Some EVs have more powerful onboard chargers than others, and they range in power from 16-amps (3.7 kW) up to 80-amps (19.2kW). Therefore, the first thing you need to consider is how much power can your EV accept.
How many miles do you usually drive?
Most Americans drive about 40 miles per day. With home EV charging, you only need to replenish the miles you drove that day because you can plug in every night when you arrive home. Therefore, it’s a good idea to know what your daily and weekly driving needs are, because you can probably get by just fine with a home charger that delivers much less power than your EV is capable of accepting.
If you do use a lower-powered home charger and occasionally need more range for a long trip, you can access public DC fast chargers to rapidly charge up for the long drive.
How much power is available at your home?
Your home has a limited supply of electricity, and you may not have enough available power to install a high-powered dedicated circuit for the EV charger without an expensive service upgrade.
You should always have an electrician perform a load calculation of your service before purchasing your EV, so you know if you can install a home charger, and if so, what is the maximum amperage it can deliver.
What is your EV charger budget?
Besides the cost of any possible electric service upgrades, you may need to install the dedicated EV charging circuit, you also need to consider the cost of the charger. Electric vehicle charging equipment can cost as little as 200, and it can also cost up to 2,000, depending on how powerful the unit is and what features it offers.
You should decide what you can and are willing to pay for the charger and installation before searching for a charger. Talk to your electrician about the difference in cost to install the charger based on how many amps it will deliver.
Lower-powered chargers should cost less to install because the thinner wire as well as the less-powerful circuit breaker will cost less than what is required for higher-powered chargers.
EV charging circuits and miles added
Eye on the future
While you may be just getting your first electric vehicle, it surely won’t be your last. The entire industry is in the early years of transitioning to EVs while internal combustion is being phased out. Therefore, it makes sense to consider down the road when you may have two EVs in the garage.
If you have the budget to install a high-powered circuit for charging now, it’s probably the right decision, even if your current EV cannot accept all the power the circuit can deliver. In a few years, you may need to charge two EVs at once, and the single high-powered circuit can power two EV chargers, and ultimately save you the expense of installing a second, lower-powered circuit.
So check out the video and let us know if you have any questions about your home EV charging needs. Leave your Комментарии и мнения владельцев and questions in the comment section below and we’ll try to answer them.
Get up to speed with EV charging.
Boost your all-electric knowledge with videos that simplify electricity and charging concepts.
Find out what you need to know about the charging process—whether in the convenience of home or on the go.
Set up your at-home charging station.
Prius Prime LE shown in Blue Magnetism
How to install a Level 2 charger.
You just need a licensed electrician to install it. Here are some equipment and installation options:
ChargePoint Home Flex can charge your EV in the comfort of your own garage.
Need help finding an electrician? Qmerit can connect you with a licensed electrician near you.
Charging has gone public.
Juice up on the go by tapping into a network of public charging stations.
bZ4X Limited shown in Heavy Metal with Black roof
Finding a station has never been easier.
With currently over 30,000 public stations supporting Level 2 and DC Fast Charging, charging on the go is more convenient than ever. Just pull up, plug in, and charge up. And Toyota is working with ChargePoint and EVgo to help make tapping into their networks even easier.
Customers who purchase or lease a new 2023 Toyota bZ4X will get one year of unlimited complimentary charging at all EVgo-owned and operated public charging stations nationwide.
Charging Stations In Your Area
- Level 2 Charger Supports: bZ4X, RAV4 Prime, Prius Prime
- Level 3 Charger Supports: bZ4X
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Toyota does not own or operate the stations and is not responsible for their availability or performance. Click on station name for address.
% of charging energy matched with renewable energy.
Clean Assist allows eligible All-Electric Vehicle owners nationwide and Plug-In Hybrid Vehicle owners in California to offset their vehicle charging with 100% renewable energy—no matter where the vehicles are plugged in. And there’s no cost to participate in the program.
How it Works
Owners of eligible vehicles can opt into the Toyota Clean Assist program through the Toyota App. Active Remote Connect Trial or Subscription required.
The Toyota App then tracks the amount of the electricity used during charging and calculates the net emissions produced by charging.
Toyota then generates, or buys, an equivalent amount of Renewable Energy Certificates (RECs), ensuring that all charging activity is matched with zero-carbon electricity.
Feel the smooth acceleration, instant torque delivery and quiet drive—all advantages of the electric motor over an internal combustion engine.
Reducing CO2 emissions by going fully electric is one way we can lessen our impact on the environment.
All-Electric and Plug-In Hybrid vehicles can bring about potential state incentives. Preliminary expectations include a lower cost of ownership, including overall service and maintenance costs.
What are the different types of electrified vehicles?
Electrified vehicles come in four flavors: hybrid, plug-in hybrid, fuel cell, and all-electric (referred to as Battery EVs, BEVs, or simply EVs).
Toyota offers a wide range of hybrids and plug-in hybrids, as well as the fuel cell Mirai in California, and the all-electric bZ4X. Discover this growing lineup at toyota.com/electrified.
Why drive an all-electric vehicle?
Three words: convenience, fun and savings.
All-electric vehicles can be conveniently charged at home, overnight and on-demand, as well as at public charging stations when out and about. No more trips to the gas station needed.
They’re also fun to drive, thanks to the immediate torque response from the electric motors, as well as the smooth acceleration and quiet cabin.
Drivers won’t just save money by avoiding the gas pump, either—they may also be able to enjoy state incentives, as well as the potential long-term maintenance savings typical of an all-electric powertrain.
And as icing on the cake, driving an all-electric vehicle can also help the environment by reducing CO2 emissions.
What is the all-electric vehicle driving experience like?
Thanks to the use of electric motors instead of internal combustion engines, all-electric vehicles provide smooth acceleration, immediate torque response and a surprisingly quiet ride experience.
How far will an all-electric vehicle go?
The driving range of an all-electric vehicle will vary depending on how/where you drive, charging habits, accessory use, outside temperature and other factors. Battery capacity also decreases with time and use, which will reduce range.
What can impact driving range?
All-electric driving range may decrease significantly depending on speed, outside temperature, accessory use, how/where you drive, charging habits, and other factors. Battery capacity also decreases with time and use which will reduce range.
Where can I charge an all-electric vehicle?
Many public charging networks, like ChargePoint and EVgo, further simplify the charging process by providing app-based charger access and payment.
What are the different charging levels?
There are three different all-electric vehicle charging levels.
Level 1 is the basic charging solution. Primarily for home use, Level 1 charging cables plug directly into a standard wall outlet. They are usually included with the vehicle and are totally portable, so they can go where you and your vehicle go. This is the slowest option, however, with all-electric vehicles requiring days to reach a full charge. Because of this charging time, Level 1 is best used with plug-in hybrids.
Level 2 is a more powerful AC charging solution that is commonly found both at home and at public charging stations. Level 2 chargers are ideal for charging all-electric vehicles overnight, but for home use, the equipment must be purchased and installed by a licensed electrician.
Level 3 is also known as “DC Fast Charging,” and usually can be the quickest charging solution. This is partially because it outputs DC electricity, which means the vehicle doesn’t need to convert incoming AC first. Level 3 is not practical for residential use and is only found at select public charging stations. Charge time will vary widely depending on outside temperature and other factors. DC Fast Charging is only available for bZ4X at this time.
How do I charge an all-electric vehicle?
The actual fill-up process is similar to that of a gasoline vehicle—simply insert the connector into the vehicle and charging will begin. In fact, most all-electric vehicles will also allow you to set a charging schedule to take advantage of varying electricity rates throughout the day.
This charging process can vary depending on equipment and location. Watch the how-to video on this page to learn more.
How do I monitor and manage my charging?
For Toyota vehicles with active Connected Services trials or subscriptions, the Toyota app is the best resource for home-charging management. It offers great tools and insights, including vehicle range, charging scheduling, tracking charging status and costs, and more.
The Toyota app can also be used to find public charging locations, as well as handle charging and payment at select network stations.
You can also monitor your charging—including battery level and estimated range—through the Multi-Information Display (MID) and central touchscreen in your vehicle.
It’s important to note that any estimated vehicle range calculations shown are based on previous usage patterns and may not accurately predict the vehicle range.
Where can I find out more information about Toyota’s electrified vehicles?
You can learn more about Toyota’s current and future electrified lineup by visiting toyota.com/electrified.
Steps to a successful installation at a single-family home
If you’re a single-family homeowner with an EV, installing a Level 2 charger in your garage or carport, or near your driveway makes charging a breeze. So it’s worth doing it right.
If you live in an apartment or condo, the steps are slightly different.
Find an electrician
Need help finding an electrician? Request an EV electrician referral to get in touch with qualified electricians from our Alliance of Energy Professionals.
To protect your home and your EV, we strongly recommend hiring a certified electrician who has completed the Electric Vehicle Infrastructure Training program to get the job done properly and safely – and to enable you to claim a rebate.
Once you’ve hired a certified electrician, follow the steps below to complete your installation and apply for your rebate.
Step 1: Determine your home’s eligibility
Confirm with your municipality or Technical Safety BC to make sure that your home is eligible for a charger installation.
Step 2: Confirm you have sufficient electrical service
Check to see if you’ve got sufficient electricity flowing into your home to support an EV charger. If you need to upgrade your service, learn about electrical service extensions and then contact BC Hydro’s Express Connect team at 1 877 520 1355.
Step 3: Confirm your electrical panel has space
Check to see if there’s enough space on your electrical panel to accommodate a circuit breaker for the EV charger. If not, you’ll need an electrician to help.
Step 4: Purchase a charger
Choose and purchase an EV charger.
Step 5: Obtain an electrical permit
Apply to your municipality (or Technical Safety BC) for an electrical permit. If you hire an electrician, they will do this for you.
Step 6: Charger installation
Install the EV charging station. Remember that you must get a safety officer to inspect your electrical work before any wiring is concealed or connected to a supply source. Your electrician needs to complete the contractor consultation form after the installation is complete. You’ll need this when you apply for a rebate.
Step 7: Inspection
Have the installation inspected by your municipality (or Technical Safety BC). If an electrician did the installation, they will do this for you.
Before you start the installation process, consider these things:
Consult with an electrician to perform an electrical service size calculation for your home based on the Canadian Electrical Code. This will help you determine whether you have sufficiently sized electrical service coming in to your home to support EV charging, or whether you need to budget for upgrading your electrical service to 200- or 400-Amp. Charges and fees for electrical service connections
Of course, you don’t need a Level 2 charging station to power your EV. You can use a Level 1 charger plugged into a standard outlet, it’ll just take more time. If you use your EV mainly for commuting, then it can just sit and charge all evening after you get home. It’s even possible to own an EV without charging at home and just take advantage of charging stations at work or at one of the more than 2,500 publicly available chargers in B.C., including a growing network of fast charging stations.
EV charger rebates for single-family homes
Copyright © 2023 BC Hydro. All Rights Reserved.
Rebates for single-family homes
EV charger rebates for single-family homes are currently unavailable.
Visit the EV charger rebate program for information.
If installed at an apartment/condo or workplace, this networked charger may be eligible for a rebate.
Rebates for apartments/condos
Get up to 5,000 in rebates, up to 50% of costs, per charger to purchase and install Level 2 networked EV chargers at your building’s residential parking spaces, to a maximum of 25,000.
Rebate amounts vary depending on factors such as whether or not the building is participating in other EV Ready rebates.
Rebates for workplaces
Up to 5,000 per charger to purchase and install eligible Level 2 networked EV chargers for employee use, to a maximum of 25,000.
Pre-approval from BC Hydro is required for apartment/condo and workplace customers. Program maximums apply.
Load management: Allows multiple EV chargers to share the same electrical circuit, allowing the charging power to be distributed across each charger.
Networked: A networked charging station that is connected to a central system via internet communication such as open protocol (e.g. OCPP, OpenADR or other) or a proprietary system (must be connected to a network for minimum of two years).
Multiple ports: Allows multiple vehicles to charge at the same time.
CSA Certification: Tested and certified electric vehicle charging and components by CSA Group.
cETL Certification: Compliant with North American safety standards and tested/certified by Intertek.
cUL Certification: Compliant with Canadian safety standards by UL Canada.
Finding a public charger can be a real hassle, but with one of these at home, you’ll never find your car without a charge again.
By Bob Beacham | Published Apr 21, 2023 8:57 AM
We may earn revenue from the products available on this page and participate in affiliate programs.
While public charging points for electric vehicles are becoming more common, a home electric vehicle (EV) charger will save a lot of hassle. Those capable of charging an EV at home have the utmost in convenience because the job can be done overnight or whenever the vehicle isn’t in use—no driving around, searching for a charging station, or waiting in long lines. What’s more, vehicle manufacturers warn that regularly using a public EV fast charger can actually shorten battery life.
There are plenty of home EV chargers on the market, but performance and features can vary considerably. So can the price. In this guide, we answer key questions and provide the information EV owners need to make a fully informed decision. We also have some excellent recommendations of what we believe to be the best home EV chargers currently available, offering solutions for every electric vehicle.
- BEST OVERALL:ChargePoint Home Flex Electric Vehicle Charger
- BEST BANG FOR THE BUCK:Megear Skysword II Level 1-2 EV Charger
- BEST Smart:JuiceBox 40 Smart Electric Vehicle Charging Station
- BEST WEATHERPROOF:Grizzl-E Level 2 EV Charger
- BEST MULTIUSE:Wallbox Pulsar Plus Level 2 EV Smart Charger
- BEST PORTABLE:Mustart Level 2 Portable EV Charger
How We Chose the Best Home EV Chargers
How drivers rely on their electric vehicles varies considerably, from occasional users to city commuters to those who travel across the country. In making our selections, we sought to ensure solutions for all users and all situations. As a result, we have both portable models and fixed installations.
We looked at a wide range of features and how these could benefit drivers in terms of shorter charging times and management strategies that might save money. Price being a key factor, we looked for chargers to suit all budgets and also consulted independent expert sources to check long-term reliability. Finally, curating owner feedback gave us valuable real-world information.
Our Top Picks
These are the home EV chargers that made our final cut. There should be something here that will appeal to most EV owners, from those interested in the latest technological advances to folks focused on value for money.
ChargePoint Home Flex Electric Vehicle Charger
ChargePoint is one of the country’s most experienced manufacturers of electric vehicle chargers with over 100,000 public installations worldwide. The ChargePoint Home Flex Level 2 EV charger, the company’s consumer model, offers high performance and flexibility. Thanks to Wi-Fi and the included smartphone app, it can save you money by scheduling charging at off-peak times. It also provides detailed charging information and voice control via Alexa.
One key feature is flexible output, which delivers anywhere between 16 and 50 amps depending on the home supply. This gives potential for a class-leading speed of 37 miles per hour of charging. It comes fitted with a NEMA 6-50 or NEMA 14-50 plug or can be hardwired if preferred. A weatherproof NEMA case is recommended if installed outdoors, but it isn’t included. The cable length is 23 feet.
The ChargePoint Home Flex is one of the more expensive units, and many of its best features do depend on Wi-Fi. Although they have been reported, faults are rare.
- Input: 240 volts via NEMA 6-50 plug, NEMA 14-50 plug, or hardwired
- Output: 16 to 50 amps
- Cable: 23 feet with cable management
- Fast, flexible device rated for up to 37 miles per hour of charging
- Smartphone app provides money-saving charging options, detailed reporting, and integration with Alexa
- Underwriters Laboratories (UL) listed for electrical safety and Energy Star certified for efficiency
Get the ChargePoint home EV charger at Amazon, The Home Depot, or Target.
Megear Skysword II Level 1-2 EV Charger
EV owners looking for portability at a modest cost will want to check out the Megear Skysword II. It’s a Level 2 charger that weighs under 9 pounds and comes with its own carry case. While the supplied plug is a NEMA 14-50, it also comes with a 110-volt adapter so that in an emergency it can provide low-speed charging from any household socket.
As a Level 2 EV charger it delivers a fixed 16 amps, providing a charging rate of 11 to 15 miles per hour. A wide range of safety features is displayed via a straightforward LED array. The J1772 vehicle plug meets the IP65 standard for weather protection, so the unit can be used indoors or out.
The Megear Skysword II may not be the fastest charger, and there are a few concerns about long-term reliability, but the 2023 EV charger price is very competitive and represents good value for money.
- Input: 240 volts via NEMA 14-50 plug or 110-volt adapter
- Output: 16 amps
- Cable: 25 feet
- Budget-friendly portable EV charger works on all models, including Tesla
- Numerous safety features as well as straightforward LED array for status and fault alerts
- Includes an adapter for Level 1 use with standard 110-volt outlet
Get the Megear home EV charger at Amazon.
JuiceBox 40 Smart Electric Vehicle Charging Station
First and foremost, the JuiceBox 40 is a fast home EV charger capable of delivering around 30 miles of travel per hour. It can be plugged in or hardwired and has a 25 foot cable. However, the key features of this model are the Wi-Fi connectivity, JuiceNet smartphone app, and the ability to integrate with Amazon Alexa or Google Home for voice control.
Schedules can be set to allow low-cost off-peak charging. The app can deliver reminders and advise when charging is complete. Settings can be controlled remotely, and a host of data is provided, including money-saving advice. An LED array on the control box itself also provides useful information while charging.
The charger can be installed indoors or out, and a lock prevents unauthorized use. The tough polycarbonate casing is described as weatherproof and dust-tight, though it is not Ingress Protection (IP) or National Electrical Manufacturers Association (NEMA) rated. For a full discussion of IP and NEMA, please see the section on Weather Protection below. While not the most expensive model, the JuiceBox 40 does have a premium price tag. Some buyers report struggling with Wi-Fi and app setup, but it’s impossible to know whether the fault is with the device or homeowner setups.
- Input: 240 volts via NEMA 14-50 plug or hardwired
- Output: 32 or 40 amps
- Cable: 25 feet with cable management
- Powerful Wi-Fi-enabled charging station offers comprehensive control plus Alexa and Google Home integration
- Locking mount provides secure installation and prevents unauthorized use if fitted outdoors
- Has UL safety listing and complies with Energy Star certification for low power consumption
Get the JuiceBox home EV charger at Amazon or Best Buy.
Grizzl-E Level 2 EV Charger
The Grizzl-E is another Rapid home EV charger that can be configured for 16, 24, 32 or 40 amps, depending on the circuit breaker available. At the highest rating, it will deliver up to 30 miles of charge per hour, which is very competitive. Yet the standout feature here is the protection offered by the NEMA 4 aluminum case.
Many EV chargers claim to be for indoor or outdoor use, but none are tougher than this. It meets the IP67 standard for dust and water protection, meaning it could actually withstand full immersion. It is also fire-resistant, meets the UL standard for safety, and will operate at temperatures as low as.22 degrees Fahrenheit and as high as 122 degrees Fahrenheit.
Considering its performance, the Grizzl-E EV charger comes at a very reasonable price and is generally very reliable. However, the output of each unit is factory set; the company claims that this reduces installation costs. While that is often true, it does mean that it cannot be changed if the owner changes residence and the power supplied is different.
- Input: 240 volts via NEMA 6-50 plug or NEMA 14-50 plug
- Output: 16 to 40 amps
- Cable: 24 feet with cable management
- NEMA 4 aluminum casing is IP67 water-resistant; unit is also fire-resistant and UL safety listed
- Has a Rapid charging rate of up to 30 miles per hour
- Easy-to-fit wall mount comes with anti-theft features
Get the Grizzl-E home EV charger at Amazon.
Wallbox Pulsar Plus Level 2 EV Smart Charger
The latest generation of electric vehicles uses a 48-amp supply for potential charging rates in excess of 35 miles per hour. The Wallbox Pulsar Plus is one of the few home EV chargers capable of meeting this level. It also comes with the ability to charge two vehicles at the same time using intelligent circuits that balance power so breakers won’t trip.
There are actually two versions of the Wallbox Pulsar Plus. The slightly less powerful 16-40 amp uses a 14-50 NEMA plug; the 16-48 amp must be hardwired. Both have Wi-Fi integration and use the included smartphone app for scheduling and monitoring. They are also compatible with voice control via Alexa or Google Home. Provision of Bluetooth means most smartphone features still work even when Wi-Fi is unavailable, though distance from the device is limited to about 30 feet.
The mount for the Wallbox Pulsar Plus is easy to fit and allows the unit to be unhooked and moved. However, the need to hardwire the 48-amp version makes this impractical with that model. A NEMA 4 watertight case allows for indoor or outdoor use.
- Input: 240 volts via NEMA 14-50 plug or hardwired
- Output: 16 to 40 amps, or 16 to 48 amps
- Cable: 25 feet with cable management
- Rapid charging for next-generation EVs or 2 vehicles at the same time
- Wi-Fi-enabled with smartphone app allows remote access and control via Alexa or Google Home
- Bluetooth allows use of Smart features if Wi-Fi is not available
Get the Wallbox home EV charger at Amazon or Best Buy.
Mustart Level 2 Portable EV Charger
The Mustart home EV charger is unusual in that it provides the performance of a fixed unit in portable form. The 40-amp output can give a charging rate of up to 30 miles per hour, which is impressive for such a compact device. The price is competitive, too.
While it doesn’t have any Smart features, the built-in LED gives plenty of information about charging status, duration, and electricity consumption. The control box meets the IP65 standard, and the EV connector is IP67, so it’s safe to use outside as well as indoors.
The Mustart EV charger weighs 13 pounds and comes with a carry bag, making it easy to take from place to place. However, there is no 110-volt option, so a NEMA 14-50 plug must be available in each location. A circuit fitted with a ground-fault circuit interrupter is recommended for safety.
- No other portable EV charger we found can charge vehicles faster
- IP65 control box and IP67 EV connector make it safe for outdoor use
- LED lights and screen give comprehensive information and status alerts
Get the Mustart home EV charger at Amazon.
What to Consider When Choosing a Home EV Charger
Every electric vehicle and plug-in hybrid electric vehicle (PHEV) comes with a Level 1 charger. These devices are safe but basic, and charging is slow. For those who want to upgrade, the following factors can be taken into account.
Input and Output Capability
The Level 1 chargers supplied with all EVs and PHEVs only require 110-volt input supply, so they can plug into any ordinary household socket. Level 2 chargers require a 240-volt supply to take advantage of the faster charging capability.
Output is usually rated in amps, though some also use kiloWatts (kW). Level 1 chargers output between 8 and 12 amps, which equates to a rate of 3 to 5 miles per hour of charging. For example, 12 hours of charging would only add 60 miles of range.
Level 2 chargers have variable output of anywhere from 16 to 50 amps depending on the breaker rating. At the upper end, that can result in a charging rate of 35 miles per hour or more. That’s seven times faster than the best from a Level 1 charger and explains why Level 2 EV chargers are now so popular.
There are a couple of points worth noting. Not all EVs can take advantage of the fastest charging rates. For example, some vehicles are restricted to 25 amps to protect the battery. It’s a figure worth checking before investing in one of the more expensive models. Also, a few Level 2 EV chargers will run off 110 volts if necessary. If a household socket is all that’s available, it will still work, but at the slower rate.
Plugs and Cable
There are usually two plugs on a home EV charger: one at the electricity supply end and one that connects to the vehicle. The exception is fixed chargers that are hardwired at the supply end.
Level 1 chargers use an ordinary 110-volt household socket, but Level 2 models use NEMA plugs. These are designed to carry higher amps and voltages, which in the case of home EV chargers, results in faster charging. A few Level 2 home EV chargers come with 110-volt adapters. This allows them to work as Level 1 chargers if no other power is available, though charge rates slow to the Level 1 equivalent.
At the other end of the cable, all American EVs use an SAE J1772 plug except Tesla. This means that anyone wanting a Tesla electric charger for home use either needs to buy Tesla’s own model (which can cost over 1,500 with installation) or use an adaptor. Tesla is aware of this, and all new models now have an adapter included. Other types of plugs are used in Europe and Asia but are not fitted to U.S. models.
Most home EV chargers have a cable length of between 20 and 25 feet. This is important because EV charging cable cannot be used with extension cords. Not only is it impractical because of the difference in plug and connector types, but it’s also unsafe because of the risk of fire. A standard 2-car garage is 20 feet deep and anywhere from 20 to 24 feet wide. Most cables will reach across that, but a few will not. A 3-car garage will take that width out to in excess of 30 feet. Clearly, the available cable length can have an impact on where buyers need the charger to be installed.
Level 1 EV chargers are usually portable because they are a basic plug-in device that can run from any household socket. Level 2 chargers can either be portable or fixed. DIY EV charger installation may be possible for those who have the necessary knowledge of household electrics, though most manufacturers recommend using a professional. In essence, a 240-volt circuit is required with a breaker of between 20 and 80 amps. The higher the amperage, the faster the charge rate available.
The cable length and any kind of cable management may impact on where a fixed charger is installed, though this aspect of the installation is relatively simple. Many can be fitted entirely outdoors, just like public EV chargers, though it’s important to check weatherproofing.
Most home EV chargers claim to be weatherproof, so they are safe for outdoor use. This may be useful if it’s difficult or inconvenient to get the vehicle into the garage for charging. While buyers frequently need to rely on the word of the manufacturer, there are two independent standards that can apply.
First is Ingress Protection, usually written as IP and two numbers. The first number represents dust protection, and the second is for water. Higher numbers are better. For example, IP65 devices are completely dust-tight and can withstand low-pressure water jets from any direction.
The other standard is the NEMA rating for enclosures/cases (which should not be confused with the ratings used to describe plugs). NEMA uses different “Types,” with NEMA Type 4 providing protection against “falling dirt, rain, sleet, snow, windblown dust, splashing water, and hose-directed water.”
Several home EV chargers now come with integrated Wi-Fi and smartphone apps that provide a range of advanced user-friendly features. It is possible to schedule charging to times when it’s most convenient or for off-peak hours when electricity is cheaper. Alerts can be set to remind owners to plug in.
Data is also available for things like charge time remaining, miles added, and the total electric car charging price. This allows accurate monitoring of travel costs and reporting for tax purposes if necessary. It is also possible to connect some EV chargers to Smart-home systems like Alexa and Google Home, providing voice control. In a few cases, Bluetooth is also available. This allows smartphone apps to be used if Wi-Fi is unavailable for any reason, although range is only around 30 feet, so the EV charger and the phone need to be in close proximity.
The feature set of each Smart-home EV charger varies, so those who are interested in advanced control will want to spend time investigating each one in detail.
Still have questions about which home EV charger might be right for you? Read below to check out some consumers’ most frequently asked questions and their answers.
Q. What’s the difference between Level 1, Level 2, and Level 3 charging?
Level 1 is the slowest way to charge an EV using a device that plugs into a standard 110-volt household outlet. Although other EV chargers are faster, Level 1 will work with all current EVs and PHEVs, and keeping a device in your vehicle means it can be charged virtually anywhere in an emergency.
Level 2 EV chargers are now the most popular option for home installation and can charge a vehicle much faster than Level 1. The same technology is found in some public EV chargers. However, a separate 240-volt supply line is usually required for installation, often with an uprated breaker.
Level 3 chargers, also called Fast Chargers or Superchargers, use DC current for very Rapid charging: 10 to 15 times faster than Level 2. However, they require very high voltage and so are usually only found in public electric vehicle charging stations.
Q. Should I use the charger that came with my car?
The charger that comes with your electric vehicle is a Level 1 charger. It is perfectly safe, portable, and convenient in that it can use any household socket. They are adequate for PHEVs, which have relatively small batteries. However they are slow and may not completely charge a fully electric vehicle even if left running all night. Given the affordability of many Level 2 chargers, an upgrade is often a good idea.
Q. What is the fastest Level 2 charger for home?
It’s a difficult question to answer. Several manufacturers claim that their home EV charger is fastest, and constant development means that the model that’s fastest today may not be next week. High amperage or kiloWatts are often suggested as a guide, but some EV batteries restrict charging power, so this isn’t always true.
The ChargePoint home EV charger that we chose as Best Overall is certainly one of the fastest, and the JuiceBox home EV charger is competitive. However, in order to get the best home EV charger for your needs, the other features offered should also play a part in your decision.
Q. Is it OK to charge an EV every day?
Charging an EV every day is not recommended unless the battery is sufficiently drained. It is not a good idea to “top up” overnight if the battery still has a charge level of 20 percent or more (as long as the remainder meets intended mileage). Manufacturers also recommend not charging above 80 percent in normal usage. Some Smart-home EV chargers can be set with maximums less than 100 percent, and this helps extend the life of the vehicle battery.
Q. Are all home EV chargers the same?
No, they are not. While all home EV chargers are either Level 1 or Level 2, performance varies considerably as does the variety of features offered, and of course the price. The article above discusses these differences in depth and is an essential guide to choosing the best home EV charger for your vehicle and the way you use it.
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Bob Vila has been America’s Handyman since 1979. As the host of beloved and groundbreaking TV series including “This Old House” and “Bob Vila’s Home Again,” he popularized and became synonymous with “do-it-yourself” home improvement.
Researcher and product specialist Bob Beacham has been writing consumer advice articles for national publications for more than a decade. He covers a wide variety of automotive, engineering, and technical subjects and is known for providing information that is thorough yet easy to understand.