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What is the best at home EV charger?

Mar. 08, 2024
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The Lectron 32-amp charger represents one of the higher-quality options for a relatively bargain price. There’s no Wi-Fi connectivity (you’ll have to shell out more cash for that luxury), but it comes with a display screen that displays things like amperage, temperature and voltage. 32 amps is the max setting, which can be adjusted down to 10 amps.

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What to Look For When Buying a Level 2 Charger

Plug

Tesla uses its own plug, called NACS (North American Charging System). Most other manufacturers use CCS (which is based off the J1772 standard). Nissan still uses a CHAdeMO plug for the Leaf, but most non-Tesla EVs currently use CCS, although Ford, GM and several other manufacturers plan to convert to NACS by 2025.

Amperage

Level 2 EV chargers offer different charging speeds, which is largely a product of how much amperage they can draw. The higher the amperage the higher the speed. But higher amperage units are likely to cost more. You’re also limited by your circuit breaker. The National Electrical Code requires a circuit to be rated for 25 percent more amperage than the charger’s output. So a 50-amp outlet can also support a 40-amp Level 2 EV charger.

Cable Length

Before you buy a Level 2 charger, you’ll need to make sure that you can install it in a place where the cable can reach your electric vehicle’s charging port. A longer cable gives you more flexibility on where to place the charger. Most chargers come with a cord of 18 ft, but some can stretch into the mid-20s.

Connectivity

Smart features on your Level 2 charger will cost more. But some of the features may be worth the price. Being able to monitor your Level 2 charger from a Smartphone can allow you to monitor your charging session, schedule charging windows, and determine how much you spend each time you charge.

Certifications

To protect your home’s electrical system, you should ensure that the charger you’re buying has the certifications for safety and electrical soundness. A UL certification means that your Level 2 charger meets OSHA and National Electrical Code standards. The EPA will also give chargers ENERGY STAR certifications for meeting specific efficiency standards.

Outdoor Use

The National Electrical Manufacturers Association (NEMA) provides a rating scale for how well electrical equipment can protect itself from the elements. Most Level 2 chargers straddle the line between NEMA 3 and 4 on the rating scale, which gives them varying degrees of protection from dust, debris and light water. NEMA 4 and 4X-rated chargers provide better protection against water seeping in and corroding your charger from the inside out, but it’s not always 100 percent effective.

Installation Process

Installing a Level 2 EV charger can be straightforward or complex and expensive. A higher amperage unit may charge your car more quickly. But it may need to be hardwired into your electrical system at an additional cost. Adding a 240V outlet if one is not accessible from your garage or carport can also add to the cost.

How to Get a Level 2 Charger Installed

Many Level 2 chargers will come with a NEMA 06-50 or 14-50 plug. The 14-50 plug is the type used for heavy appliances. So, if you have one that isn’t being taken up by a washer or dryer, you can install a Level 2 charger yourself by mounting it on the wall.

But if you have a high-amperage model, then you’ll want to have it hardwired into your house’s electrical system so that it can regulate its output and self-manage so it doesn’t trip the circuit breaker. That will require a certified electrician. Estimates differ based on amperage, your home’s setup, and location, but the installation cost could run up to around $1,000.

Anyone who owns or is thinking about buying an electric vehicle also needs to factor in a home charging station. While you can charge at public stations, that quickly grows tiresome as you deal with chargers already in use, chargers that are constantly out of service and the necessary trip planning. You can avoid all of that with a home EV charger.

Level 2 home chargers are slower than commercial DC fast chargers, but more than quick enough to charge your car during the hours you’re at home, which may coincide with your electric company’s off-peak pricing (many of these chargers allow scheduling). Automakers sell their own branded 240-volt Level 2 chargers for the home, but apart from Tesla, all EVs use the Common Charging System (CCS), giving you more economical alternatives in the aftermarket. Some chargers are designed for outdoor use, while others are best suited for garage installation. Many of these charging units also connect to smartphone apps so that you can monitor the charging status from anywhere. The variety in capabilities of these various chargers makes them an attractive alternative to the dedicated automaker chargers. Prices of these third-party chargers range between $400 and $800.

What is the best at home EV charger?

Best Home EV Chargers Of 2024

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