Until recently in North America, ClipperCreek had something of a monopoly on EV chargers for the home and sold them to electric car manufacturers, regardless of brand. The EVSE market has changed. Today there are many options for charging equipment for your electric car and you will learn about the best models in our review.

Level 1 vs. Level 2

The electric car comes with a Level-1 battery charger. It can be plugged into any regular American outlet (NEMA 5-15). Why buy another charger? There are many reasons.  One is that car owners want to purchase a Level-2 charger so they can charge their cars faster. 

Unlike the Level-1 charger that comes with the car, the faster equipment requires an additional cost. Is the Level-2 charger worth buying?

To answer the question of whether or not to invest in a Level-2 charger, you will need to consider the advantages and disadvantages

Pros of Level-2 EV chargers

How much a powerful EVSE can help you depends a lot on your driving habits and lifestyle. 

Pro #1.  Up to 6X faster charging time.
Yes, a significant reduction in charging time is one of the biggest advantages of a Level-2 charging station for electric cars. Of course, it depends on the type of electric car you have and the battery, but you can usually fully charge your car in 4-6 hours. In contrast, with the Level-1 charger, it takes about 25 hours. For a more accurate calculation of the waiting time to charge, EV Adept has developed special calculators.

Pro #2. The power reserve in one hour of charging is significantly higher for Level-2. 

This means that by connecting the charger to the electric car for 1 hour with a level-1 or 2 charger, the number of miles you can drive will vary: With a level-1, it is about 3 miles, and with a level-2, it is more than 20 miles.

Pro #3. Extensive functionality.
Smart Level-2 EV chargers can be used to monitor charging levels, and predict usage and schedule. The equipment is capable of connecting to your home’s Internet network, and you can interact with it via your smartphone. That said, Level-1 chargers are pretty simple, can’t schedule, and don’t have smart features. That means you have a lot more options if you invest in a Level-2. 

Pro #4. For property owners, it’s an investment in the infrastructure of their home.

Installing a hardwired charging station, or at least having high-power outlets installed (NEMA 14-50, 14-30, 6-50) will increase the resale value of your property.

5 Best EV chargers for home

EV Adept provides EVSE installation services for Tesla and electric cars with a J1772 connector. Based on the experience of our customers, we have selected the best Level-2 EV chargers for the home that will provide convenience, affordability and time benefits.

There are a number of different EV charger manufacturers on the market, but the five below are some of the most popular and well-known.

1. Tesla Connectors

Tesla has expertise in the chargers that are produced under its brand name. You can get a 48-amp device, or an adaptive Mobile Connector that works as a Level-1 or Level 2 EVSE. If you need to charge a non-Tesla electric car, you can use the additionally purchased Tesla-to-J1772 adapter.

2. Enel-X (Juicebox) Chargers

Enel-X is a subsidiary of Italian energy company ENEL, and they produce some of the most popular and well-known EV chargers on the market. Their Juicebox line of chargers is particularly popular, and they offer a variety of different models to choose from.

3. ChargePoint EVSE

ChargePoint is one of the largest providers of electric vehicle charging infrastructure in the world, and they have some of the most widespread availability of public charging stations. They offer a wide range of products, from basic home chargers to more comprehensive charging solutions for businesses and other institutions.

4. Grizzl-E Products

Grizzl-E is a small but growing company that produces a wide range of EV charging products, from simple home chargers to solutions for more complex needs. They offer a wide range of products at a variety of price points, making them a good option for just about anyone.

5. WallBox (Pulsar) Products

WallBox is another large provider of EV charging infrastructure, and they offer a wide range of popular products that users rave about. Like ChargePoint, WallBox offers products for both home and commercial use, so their product lines are suited to meet the needs of just about anyone.

As you can see, there is a variety of different EV chargers on the market, each with its own unique set of features and benefits. 

Level-2 charging station costs

There are two factors that make up the total cost of having a Level-2 charging station in a home. The price of the equipment itself and the cost of connecting to the 240-volt grid. 

Level-2 charging stations require professional installation by a qualified electrician only if you do not have a ready-made outlet.

Plug-in vs. hardwired EV charger

Among 240-v EV chargers there are two types of connection. 

  • Plug-In – Connect using a plug and socket. They are also called portable devices.
  • Hardwired – with connection to the electrical panel directly, without a socket via pigtail.

The cost of having a special outlet installed or directly connecting equipment to an electrical circuit ranges from a few hundred to a thousand and a half dollars (at EV Adept). The price depends on your home’s electrical conditions, the service panel, and whether the wiring needs to be upgraded.

Prices and requirements

The price of the charging station itself also varies, as there are different brands and different models available on the market right now. Be prepared to pay up to $1,200 for a quality Level-2 charging station.

Be on the lookout for special offers and discounts if you’re on a tight budget, but make sure you’re getting a high-quality device with a safety certification like UL-listed or ENERGY STAR.

Choosing a charging station depends a lot on what you need from it. If all you need is a well-built unit with a great warranty, then you’ll be closer to the lower end of the price range. 

One way to keep costs down is to avoid overpaying, which means doing your research beforehand. Take a closer look at charging stations and determine the cost-effectiveness for yourself. Get free advice from electricians and choose one you trust.

Cons of Level-2 EV chargers

Con #1. The need for a 240-volt ready outlet with more power than a regular 120-volt outlet. This is the only way the Level-2 charger can get more power from the electrical grid, which it will deliver to your electric car. High-power NEMA 14-50 or 6-50 outlets are used, for example, as well as for dryers or AC units.

Con #2. The capacity and limits of your home’s electrical grid. Usually a dedicated circuit is required for the charging station, so your electrical panel should have sufficient reserve capacity for this. 

Most homes require an electrical supply of at least 100 amps. This is also the minimum requirement. A minimum electrical supply of at least 100 amps is required by most houses. The National Electrical Code (NEC) specifies a minimum panel amperage of 250 volts and 100 amps. A medium-sized home that includes several 240-volt appliances and central air conditioning will require about 100 amps of service.

Con #3. New Connection Availability. If you own your own home, this is not a problem. But if you live in an apartment or own a condo, you have to ask the HOA or condo board for permission. This can be frustrating. And living in an apartment can make it difficult because there may only be a limited amount of electricity in the garage/parking structure. Manufacturers like ChargePoint are trying to help establish a dialogue for housing associations by providing letter templates.

Installation price for EV charger up to $1.5K if you don’t have an outlet

You are lucky if you already have one of these powerful outlets near your parking space. Or if the outlet is in the house and rarely used, you can use an extension cord for a temporary connection.

Under these circumstances, you will be able to buy a Level-2 portable charger that will plug in through a wall outlet, so wiring and permits are not always required.

Although trivial, it is worth noting that installing hardwired EVSE yourself is dangerous and highly discouraged.

How the chargers connect to the grid

There are two options for connecting the charger to your home electrical system — hardwired and via socket (plug-in). There are two voltages for the via-socket residential connection, which differ in capacity:

  • Level 1 is 120V, a standard household outlet that will charge an empty battery in 16 to 35 hours at 4 miles per hour. A NEMA 5-15 outlet, rated at 12 amps, is common. 
  • Level 2 is 240V, such an outlet is larger in size. The most popular types of outlets are NEMA 14-50, 14-30, 6-50 and 6-20. The empty battery is easily charged overnight at 20–30 miles per hour. 

The Hardwired connection is used for a Level-2 charger. A cable is connected to the electrical system directly without an outlet. Power parameters are 240V, 32-80A, and 7.7–19.2kW. 

Types of EVSE connection to a household electrical circuit 

The EV can be charged quickly at home or on the road. The plug-in portable model can be carried in an EV, like a smartphone charger, unlike the plug-in, non-portable charging stations that are mounted on the wall.

Travel chargers

The latest portable models can charge a car for a 20-mile trip in half an hour. A manual or automatic power regulator reduces the amperage to the amount of amperage allowed in a particular home power line.  Portable chargers come in universal versions, combining Level 1 with 120V and a current range of 12-16A and Level 2 with parameters of 240V and 16-40A. Portable chargers are designed for Level 2 only.

Plug-in vs. Hardwired

Plug-in charging stations have a maximum current of 40A. The 120V units have an output in the range of 1.44–1.92kW, and the 240V units have an output of up to 9.6kW. The ability to plug-in EVSE modules via socket makes it easy to upgrade your charging equipment. If the charging station fails, it can be replaced with a more modern model without the help of an electrician. Hardwired charging stations must be installed without an outlet in a convenient location in your home or garage. Hardwired stations are limited to being upgradable to the more advanced EVSE model up to 80A. 

Types of connectors for EV connection

There are universal connectors and connectors suitable for certain makes of car. The most common connector types for the EV side are as follows:

  • J1772 is a standard 5-pin plug for connecting to Level-1 and Level-2 charging stations. The connector carries currents up to 80 amps 19.2kW. 16/32 amp models are popular.
  • The Tesla Charging Connector combines AC/DC plug. The power range, for example, in the Tesla Model S Performance 2020 is 75 kW/26 kWh.
  • The CCS1 is a combo system for fast DC charging. On average it is possible to quickly charge EVs up to 120kW.
  • CHADEMO — works fast similar to CCS; can transfer electric charge in two directions from home to EV. It is used mostly in older EV models in the US, such as the former Nissan Leaf. 

How to charge an EV from an unsupported connector? Each Tesla electric car is equipped with an adapter for charging from any type of station. Other types of EVs do not have this option. Click the link to find out more about the adapter.

What factors affect the charge of an electric car

The capacity of the battery that powers the motor of the EV depends on its design and chemical composition. In general, lithium batteries have a range of 200 to 300 miles, nickel batteries up to 125 miles, lead batteries from 20 to 50 miles. The charging speed depends on the capacity that the battery can take. For example, if a car is limited to a 7kW-charging speed, it cannot be charged faster from a 15-kW charging point.

Fast DC charging can reduce the life of the battery. But if you normally use AC home power, infrequent DC recharges have almost no effect on battery wear and tear. Various experts recommend keeping the charge level of the Tesla lithium-ion battery between 15% and 90% or 25% to 75% to extend its life. The new lithium phosphate batteries (LFP) for the 2022 Tesla EV can be charged up to 100% daily without risking a reduction in its life.

Where can I plug in the EV charger in and outside the home?

With Level-1 charging, most electric vehicle models charge up to 6 miles per hour. Faster and more reliable electric vehicle charging is provided by EVSE Level-2 charging. 

You benefit from using chargers at home, as electricity rates are significantly lower than at public charging stations. You can charge your EV at home with a Level-1 or Level-2 device. The workplace usually uses the popular L2 chargers, which can be found in every state in many public places. Company employees can leave their electric vehicles charging during work hours. 

When traveling, you can connect to paid or free providers. Near urban infrastructure (malls, city halls, parks, etc.) you can find free charging stations, such as ChargePoint. Near hotels you can often see Tesla Destination, which is a type of free Level-2 charging station.

In extreme situations on the road, when there are no charging stations nearby, you can connect to your own portable generator. 

How to charge an EV battery with a portable generator

A portable generator comes in handy as a backup power source in case your battery unexpectedly runs out on the road or when you have a power outage. You can compare it to your spare fuel can in the trunk of a regular car. Likewise, you can’t charge your electric car from a portable generator while you’re driving. You need to stop if you are on the road. 

It is recommended that you set the current to the minimum value before connecting the alternator to the EV battery. Slowly increase the current to 24 amps while charging. By default, for example, Tesla accepts 10,000 watts of power from a NEMA 14-50 or 40A/240V outlet. Other electric vehicles, such as the Nissan Leaf, for example, can be charged in a similar way. Read Mike Becker’s review of which generators are appropriate for an EV.

What are the best EV chargers for charging outdoors?

Most EV owners prioritize cable length, speed, and type of charging when choosing an EVSE. Additionally, it is important to consider environmental factors. We recommend a Level-2 outdoor charger, and we have selected for you reliable models suitable for different climatic conditions. 

When buying an EV for outdoor use, be sure to check the IP rating, which indicates the degree of the insulation’s protection against water and dust. The higher the IP rating, the better the EV will withstand dust and water. 

To charge an EV indoors, it is acceptable to use a charger without enhanced protection or rated IP54 or lower. 

If you’re going to charge the EV outside, get a charger with at least IP66. This insulation class means that the EV is fully protected against dust and strong water jets. 

EV charging in wet or dusty weather is best done with the Grizzle-E Classic (240V, 16-40A). For outdoor installations, use special NEMA 4 protection equipment. Among outdoor charging stations, EV Adept customers frequently choose a well-protected, rugged device — ClipperCreek.

Our pick

Smart EVSE, like Juicebox and ChargePoint, are the best. The Level-2 charger offers many advantages and is certainly costly. You will have faster charging times as well as increased convenience. On the other hand, you will have to pay for both the installation and the equipment. But to truly understand whether or not it’s worth it, you need to think about the long-term benefits, not the short-term perks. 

Having this type of charging station provides scalability, so if you add a second electric car to your home in the future, this installation will help. It’s important to remember that the purchase of the best home EV charger and installation process are one-time things, but the benefits and convenience will last for years to come.

Beginner’s FAQ

How do I charge my EV at home?

To charge your EV at home, you will need to have a home charging station or a portable EV charger. To find the right type of home charger for your EV, read our guide.

What are the different types of home charging?

There are three main types of home charging for EVs: Level 1, Level 2, and DC fast charging.

Level-1 chargers use a standard 120-volt outlet and can charge your EV overnight. Level-2 chargers use a 240-volt outlet and can charge your EV in about four to six hours. DC fast chargers are the quickest type of home charger and can charge your EV in about 30 minutes to an hour.

What is the best type of home charging for me?

The best type of home charging for you will depend on your needs and budget. If you want the quickest charge time, then a DC fast charger is the best option. If you want to save money on your electricity bill, then Level-2 chargers from our review are the best option.

How do I know if my EV is compatible with a certain type of home charging?

Before you purchase a home charger, you will need to make sure that it is compatible with your EV. To find out if your EV is compatible with a certain type of charger, read our guide.

What are the benefits of using a Level-2 home charging station?

Home charging stations (Level 2 EVSE) are beneficial because they can charge your EV faster than a standard 120-volt outlet. Level 2 home chargers can charge your EV in about four to six hours, while DC fast chargers can charge your EV in about 30 minutes to an hour.

What are the benefits of using a home charger?

Home chargers are beneficial because they can save you money on your electric bill. Level-1 and 2 home chargers are less expensive to operate than DC fast chargers, so if you are looking to save money, then a Level-1 or 2 charger is the best option for you.

How do I know if I need a home charging station or a home charger cord?

If you have a standard 120-volt outlet in your home, then you will need a portable EV charger to charge your EV. On the plus side, it’s likely that all new electric cars will include a Level-1 charger in their trunk. If you have a 240-volt outlet in your home, you will need a home charging station from our top chart.

Can I use my EV’s charging cable to charge at home?

Yes, you can use your EV’s charging cable to charge at home if you have a standard 120-volt outlet. However, it will take much longer to charge your EV this way. For the fastest charge time, we recommend using a Level 2 charger.

How long does it take to charge an EV at home?

The amount of time it takes to charge an EV at home depends on the type of charger you are using. Level 1 chargers will take the longest to charge your EV, while Level 2 and DC fast chargers will charge your EV much faster. For your convenience, we’ve created a wait time calculator.

What are some tips for charging my EV at home?

  • Schedule your charging times for when electricity rates are low.
  • Use a timer to make sure you don’t overcharge your battery.
  • Keep your EV’s charging cable and port clean.
  • Make sure your home’s electrical panel can handle the additional power draw.
Mike Becker
About Mike Becker Linked In
Mike is a seasoned engineer with 10+ years of experience in charging systems. He bought a Tesla Model S in 2014 and has been in love with EVs ever since. He runs a small EVSE installation business in Florida and blogs about what he loves.

Reference

  1. https://evcharging.enelx.com/products/juicebox
  2. https://afdc.energy.gov/files/pdfs/EV_charging_template.pdf
  3. https://www.chargepoint.com/resources/how-choose-home-ev-charger
  4. https://www.mass.gov/doc/massachusetts-installation-evse-guide/download
  5. https://www.amazon.com/gp/bestsellers/automotive/7427415011/
  6. https://wallbox.com/en_us/wallbox-pulsar-plus