In 1996 Electric cars started to make themselves known and now in the present day, they are becoming more and more popular, with over 1.4 million plug-in electric vehicles being sold in the United States in 2019. And that number is only growing.
They come with many advantages over the mainstream gas-powered cars, they are more economical and more environmentally friendly. They are often quiet, making it easy to drive without any worries in quiet neighborhoods late at night.
They also cost less to maintain, with electric power costing less than gas, and even if the costs of home charging wrack up your electric bills a bit, it is still less than you would spend on gas at the gas station.
That’s another benefit, if you have the space on your personal property for an EV charger, you can forget trips to the gas station unless you’re on a long haul journey, of course.
Some residential areas may even have them on the streets, but if you’re in an underdeveloped area, you can certainly buy your own and save yourself from tedious charging station queues and agonizing waits.
Of course, you want to be wary of a few things when you are buying an EV charger for your home, as standard wall outlets often don’t cut it and they are not cheap but make up for it in improving your life.
You also want to look at your car, is it a plug-in hybrid or is it battery electric? As plug-in cars don’t necessarily need an expensive charger, although battery electric will likely need something with a little more power.
Consider NEMA plug types, portability, speed, costs, and how many cars you need to charge.
We’ve compiled a list to show you your options in every area you need to think about when buying an EV charger and help you find the best EV charger for you.
Best Portable EV Chargers.
OUR TOP PICK
A good portable charger should offer you everything you need to get it around, be lightweight, powerful enough to charge your car, and be versatile in its charging ability. The Mustart TravelMaster is very portable.
It has multiple plug options; Nema 10-30, 14-30, 6-50, and 14-50.
It also offers even faster charging, in fact, four times faster, than a standard 16Amp level 1 charger, this does depend on which amp type you chose upon purchase as well, as they offer three different amp options; 26A, 32A, or 40A.
It comes with a two-year warranty and a 25ft cable, it also includes hardware for hanging your charger when you aren’t transporting it or needing its portability.
However, this charging box needs to be kept indoors, although the company did recently update it is an IP55 waterproof rating as well as giving it better abrasion resistance for the control box, it is not recommended to have it outdoors.
It also has silver plating on the standard J1772 inlet with has superior conductivity and prevents overheating.
With its fast charging check your AC minimum and maximum current and the PC power (kW) of your vehicle, test how fast you can get back on the road.
- Fast Charging.
- Automatic safety detection.
- Provides versatile charging,
- Keep out of rain/snow.
Another fantastic portable EV charger is the BougeRV charger. It has many fantastic features, including its comparability with level 1 charging for vehicles such as; Chevy Volt, BMW, Nissan Leaf, Fiat, Ford Fusion, and more.
It powers at 240V and 16Amps and comes with a lengthy 25ft charging cable.
It can charge up to three times faster than a standard Level 1 charger, the cable is long enough to reach a driveway from the socket.
It also offers two different charging options, where it can work at either 240V/16Amps with Nema 6-20p, such as your dryer’s outlet, or it can also work with an included adapter with 120V/16Amps with a Nema 5-15.
It comes with a sturdy carry case for traveling, so no matter where you are taking your charger it will always be safe and secure. It works with any USA standard EV J1772 connector.
For the best life span in your charger, it is best to install it and use it indoors, despite its portability. However, it is very secure with lightning, leakage, overcurrent, and overcharge protection. It also features an LED indicator that helps you to read the charge status.
- Easy handling,
- Keep Indoors.
If none of these is a good fit for you, but you know you seek portability, then the Primecon EV charger might be best for you. It has a voltage capacity of 220/240V, with 16Amp power, and provides options of either a 30ft, 40ft, or 50ft charging cable.
Although it does have a working range between 100V and 240V. It works with all brands of EV, PHEV, and plug-in hybrids. Providing a charge that averages at 3.84kW per hour giving about 12 miles of range per hour. It is waterproof and is very safe to use outdoors.
It is a definite favorite as it also uses an intelligent chip that gathers information such as temperature, battery level, and capacity and will automatically adjust the voltage so that you will get prime life expectancy out of the battery of your vehicle.
It can be connected to your dryer outlet. There are also many options for you to choose from when choosing your outlet, ranging from 10-30 to L6-30 or even European, as it provides universal compatibility.
It is also very safe, will all the general protective measures as well as IP55 and UL94V-0 flame resistance.
- Extremely safe.
- Universal compatibility.
- Easy to use.
- 16Amp, slower charge than 32Amp options.
Another option for a portable charger is the 32Amp, level 2 charger by Morec. It is likely one of the most portable options and it does not need to be wall-mounted. It also features a 26ft charging cable, giving you plenty of space. It also functions through a Nema 14-50.
If you invest in this particular charger, ensure that your breaker is at least 32Amps and that your vehicle is compatible with a 32 Amp charger.
It has a durable box, made from ABS material and also provides an LCD display that shows essential information such as charging status and current, voltage, temperature, and the maximum charging current.
It has an IP66 rating and is both CE and TUV certified. It is compatible with any SAE J1772 standard car. It generally charges at 240 volts as well and has a charge six times faster than a standard Level 1 charger.
- IP66 rating.
- Easy installation.
- Comes with an adaptor.
- Considered a basic charger.
Best EV Chargers under $2,000
OUR TOP PICK
Some chargers can reach the highest prices in the market, but you don’t have to blow out your bank to buy quality. For example this charger, the EVoCharger is made by an Australian-based company that is located in California, and it is fully compatible will all-electric vehicles in the USA and Canada.
It hits a maximum wattage of 7.68kW, and the charge is eight times faster than a standard Level 1 charger, so it offers around a 25-35 mile range per hour of charging.
It is also really easy to install and works via a standard 6-50 Nema plug. It also supports a universal mounting bracket to mount it wherever you want or need.
It has a multitude of current rating options, with 20A, 30A, or even 40A. So you can adjust it for maximum output, talk about versatility! It is also beautifully rated Nema 4, for outdoors and indoors.
It can be used on a variety of cars including; Chevy Bolt, Nissan Leaf, Ford Fusion, BMW i3, Chevy Volt, Toyota Prius, and Tesla (with an adaptor). Doing so via an 18ft cable.
- Easy Use.
- Indoor and outdoor use.
- Cable shorter than other options.
Perhaps you want something modern, with all the high-grade technology, something that will fit into your smart home easily and make your life easier. If so, then you might want to look into Juicebox.
This Juicebox EV charger is wifi enabled, with 40amps. A level 2 EVSE, with a 25ft cable, UL, and is energy star certified. It is capable of indoor or outdoor use and uses a 14-50 Nema plug.
You can pair this charger with your Amazon Alexa so that you can use voice control on it. By doing so you can remotely start and stop the charging and monitor energy consumption through Alexa and get notifications when the charging is finished.
It is built on the J1772 charging standard and can power any EV vehicle available on the market, including Tesla with the provided adapter. It also has a convenient built-in cable rack and security lock for your peace of mind.
- Alexa enabled.
- Fast Charging.
- Be wary of unexpected software updates.
There’s always the option of a well-respected automotive brand, automotive brands may seem like they will always lean towards the typical automobiles but now, there is money to be made in EV related sales, and BOSCH knows it. That’s why BOSCH created its brand of EV charger.
It features a sleek and compact design, which charges any vehicle that means the J1772 standards. BOSCH charging statio9ns are CUL and UL listed and exceed NEC 625 and SAE J1772.
It is also weather-resistant so is capable of being fitted outdoors or indoors and uses Nema 3R.
It can be either hardwired or as a plugin with a Nema 6-50 plug, showing its wide versatility. It also features an on and off switch so that you avoid any energy consumption when the charger is not in use.
Like many other modern EV chargers, it also has LED’s that show charging and power statistics. What is even more admirable, is its three-year warranty, keeping you worry-free.
- Appealing design.
- For indoor and outdoor usage.
- 32Amp, which may be overkill for some vehicles.
Best Home EV Charger to take Advantage of Dual Charging
OUR TOP PICK
In the case that your household supports more than one electric vehicle, having one charger could be problematic.
You could find multiple problems when two people need the charger at once and it may make things difficult, that’s why technology decided that sometimes a charger unit needs to offer dual charging.
This saves you money from having to buy two charging units or arguing over who gets to use your only one first.
ClipperCreek is the brand for this type of charger. Offering a charger that will charge up to two electronic vehicles simultaneously.
It uses a 32Amp power supply and charges both vehicles on 16Amps each. This particular charger offers a double charging capacity without any infrastructure upgrades needed.
It has a 7.7kw power supply so charges two vehicles very quickly. It is fully sealed Nema 4 so can be installed outdoors for your convenience. It has a variation of 208-240V and 32A.
It also features a service ground monitor that that will constantly check for the presence of proper safety grounds. It features an automatic circuit reclosure after minor power faults for extra safety. And includes a wall mount to make life a little easier.
- Dual charging.
- Safety secured.
- Quick charge.
- Not wifi enabled.
Best NEMA 14-50 EV Chargers
OUR TOP PICK
Having a 14-50 Nema plug is very useful as it is going to be most compatible with your house, it is generally used for dryers, washers and a lot of cooking appliances too, so you’ll likely already be using them. Getting an EV charger that has 14-50 is a smart and money-saving move.
The Morec 32Amp charging station uses a 14-50 Nema plug. It uses a volt range 220-240. Has a 6-meter cable and also features an LCD display.
It will display all of the data of your car on the station while it charges, including important information such as the current, the voltage, and temperature.
It also has a handy power-leveler that balances the power station when the device is in operation, this means it can operate under constant current while avoiding any breakages or any safety hazards.
It is of a trustworthy quality with CE and TUV certification. And is compatible with most electric vehicles.
Its body is stronger and resistant made from aluminum alloy and PC alloy plating. Its IP rating is IP66, so it is very resistant and will survive some rain.
It also has an operation temperature vaster than most able to operate in any temperature between -40 degrees Fahrenheit and 131 degrees Fahrenheit.
- Water-resistance IP66.
- Collision avoidance.
- NEMA 14-50.
- High working current, check your circuit breaker before buying.
There are plenty of 14-50 Nema chargers out there, but you want to ensure you choose the best for you.
A great deal of these chargers will have an amp rating of 32Amps, so ensure your circuit breaker can take it. This charger in particular works on 220-240V and is also portable, like a great deal of this brand is.
It is TUV and CE certified, it is also lightning proof, has leakage protection, overvoltage protection, overheating protection, and over current protection, with UL94V-0 flame resistance and IP65 waterproof rating, making it incredibly safe, so your worries are all blown away with all grounds covered.
It features an LED screen that shows charge status indications, showing real-time information such as amperage, actual voltage, kilowatt consumption, and more.
It has an intelligent chip as well that adjusts and changes the amperage as needed. It is perfectly safe for outdoor use and is universally compatible with any EV car.
- Ergonomic grip handle.
- NEMA 14-50 Plug.
- Super safe and secure.
- Shorter cord length than others.
It’s hard to turn away from one of the most loved and most affordable EV chargers on the market. BougeRV has a very wide range of EV chargers available and a great deal of them are accompanied by a 14-50 Nema plug and long cables.
This one is no different, it offers up to five times the charging speed you would see in a standard level 1 charger. It also has a rapid charge of 7.2kw per hour, which equates to 23 miles per hour of charging.
You could charge up your car for an hour and go to the local store and come back with no problem!
It is compatible with any J1772 car and is incapable of carrying out any delayed charging functions. However, the cable is rugged and robust, equipped with overvoltage, overheat, and overcurrent protection, to keep you and your car safe.
It has a handy indicator light on the charging station that shows the stages of charging as it does so and gives you warnings of any possible errors.
It is very compact and is great for home use as the 25ft charging cord easily meets your driveway from your house or garage. It comes with a year warranty and has a waterproof IP55 rating, it is not recommended for outdoor usage, especially in severe weather conditions.
- Quick charge.
- Decent Warranty.
- IP rating could be higher.
You may want a 14-50 Nema plug, but you could also get plugs with other Nema ratings, sometimes it is good to just have the option to choose.
Megear provides that option. With a wide range of plug options, they can provide; Nema 6-30, Nema 6-50, Nema 10-50, Nema L14-30, Nema 14-30, Nema 14-50, for this charger alone. All these are 16Amp, level 2 chargers that offer an 11-mile range per hour of charging.
It supports a 25ft cable, so you will have plenty of wiggle room for plugging in your vehicle and it also has an IP rating of IP55, so it is best recommended to be kept indoors.
It is very safe, as many of these other EV chargers, with leakage protection, overheating protection, UL94V-0 flame protection, Lightning protection, as well as overcurrent and overvoltage protection.
There is also an LED indicator that will show you the charger status as well as letting you know of any charger updates, or when your charging is finished. As well as importantly highlighting any possible issues.
It includes a handy case for easy transportation, which makes this charger portable as well and it also has a connector hostler dock and hook, with a year of warranty.
- Very Safe.
- Many plug options,
- Slower charge than some others.
Best Combo level 1 + 2 EV Chargers
OUR TOP PICK
Having a charger that is capable of charging at level 1 and level 2 can be useful, although not for everybody, Level 1 charges a lot slower giving an average charge of fewer than 10 miles per hour of charge.
However, it can be more energy-saving if you enjoy leaving your car on charge while you take a nap. Or if your car is better suited for level 1 like some still are.
This charger features level 1 and level 2 charging. It uses 16Amps, with a Nema 6-20 plug with an adapter for Nema 5-15.
It can work at 100-240V, giving you a useful variation in power output. It is also portable with a 1-2 charger that can be used at either a 6-20 Nema (220V) socket or a 5-15 Nema (110V) socket.
It is usable for any electric car but is not recommended for electric motorcycles. It is CE and TUV certified and is made from a high strength ABS material, which is best for high quality and fantastic durability.
It has overcurrent and overvoltage protection, as well as leaking protection, overheating protection, and an IP rating of IP65 so is safer for outside use than any charger with IP55.
- Easy Installation.
- Portable if needed.
- 16Amp for 1 and 2.
- Primarily best for type 1.
However, if you want something that will be even more suited for outdoors while providing both level 1 and level 2 charging the Max Green outdoor use EV charger is even better. This is a very versatile option and is widely compatible with a range of Electric vehicles.
It is available with five options of adapter, ranging from 100-240 Volts. All with 16Amps and providing a 25ft cable.
You can get this with a Nema 5-15, Nema 6-20, or a Nema 10-30 and more. It is waterproof, splash resistant, dustproof, and sandproof, so is perfectly fine to be stored in your garage, garden, or courtyard.
Although it is waterproof, it cannot be fully submerged, so should not be given a bath or stored at a height submersible in floodwaters.
It comes with 5 adapters in the case that you may head to charge elsewhere outside your home where sockets may differ.
The level 2 charge provides three times the charge of a standard level 1 but also lets you charge at level 1 with the 5-15 Nema adapter. Coming with a year warranty and LED indicators that give you a warning of any issues.
- Adapter options.
- IP66 Rating.
- Very compatible.
- Simple outdoor charger.
Finally, we have a level 1 and level 2 charger that powers at 120-240 Volts, 16Amps and has a 25ft cable. It provides power as a Universal home charging station and gives three times the charging speed of a standard level 1.
It is fully compatible with all EV cars and uses a Nema 6-20 plug. It has a free 110V standard outlet adapter for you to use for level 1 charging. It also has a full 2-year warranty. It is a great solution for low-cost home charging and charges at 3.84kW.
It features an LED control box to show the charge status and has an included carry case. It can also be used to charge Tesla vehicles with an SAE J1772 adapter.
- Versatile for many cars.
- Long cable.
- Long warranty.
- Very Basic.
What is an Electric Vehicle Charging Station?
An electric charging station is the electric version of a gas station for fuel-based vehicles, but electric-based vehicles.
Instead of outputting gasoline for fuel, it outputs electricity, they are made for transport as transport needs reliability in its fuel source, so it is not like when you charge your phone or your laptop. EV chargers, also known as EVSE provide you with the power that gas would do otherwise.
A fuel station is not like a charger, a charger is a device that converts household or wired electrical energy into electric power that can be stored and then used. In this case, the car's battery is the charger, whereas the charging station sources the electricity.
Level 1 vs Level 2
If you know electric cars, you are probably familiar with the difference between level 1 and level 2 charging. Level 2 is faster than level one, and level one is considered standard, using standard household power outlets.
Level 1 is slow, giving you an average of four miles per hour of charge, which may suit some people if you do not drive very far in day to day life. It is also suitable for people who drive PHEVs.
However, for most, a Level 2 is required, which means needing a 240V outlet, much like what your dryer uses. Not all houses will have this, so you may need to consider hiring an electrician to get the relevant outlets installed.
Level 2 also offers a variety of speeds, so you will need to be more thorough when you are searching for your EV charger with a relevant charging speed.
Be aware that public charging Level 2 stations will offer a charge rate of around 25 miles per hour of charge, maxing at 6.6kW, whereas household Level 2 chargers will often offer more.
Hardwired or plug-in?
When you are looking at getting a charger for your EV, you may come across chargers that are hardwired or plug-in. Some chargers are hardwired, these do not require an outlet. It is possible to avoid these and have an electrician set up the appropriate plug for your charger.
There are often very little cost differences between hiring someone to hardwire or hiring someone to install an outlet, we lean towards outlets and recommend choosing this path if you can.
Keep in mind that certain local codes may require you to have hardwired charging rather than a plug-in before you buy, you must check this so you can get the appropriate setup and void yourself of the extra costs of hiring an electrician to change the setup.
Volts, Amps, and kilowatts
Looking at different options, you may see volts, amps, and kilowatts being listed, and unless you’re used to the tech, it may seem a bit confusing, especially if this is your first time buying an electric car. The short explanation of this is that the higher the number the more electricity you will get.
Volts are like water pressure in your garden hose, or your washing machine, a level 2 charger will use the same voltage of 240V, as your dryer will. Amps will measure the rate of flow, the speed of the flow. Most level 2 chargers will use between 20A-40A.
Kilowatts is how much electricity you will get when you multiply the amps and the volts. Don’t worry you don’t need to do mathematical calculations. Simply check the average numbers and aim for something higher if you want a higher electric flow and faster charge.
Level 2 is always averaging at 240Volts, so any Level 2 charger with 40Amps will have the same output, whereas a 40Amp charger and a 20Amp charger will differ, even if the voltage is the same.
Inside or outside?
The inside or outside debate falls to personal living conditions. Not everyone has a garage or a garage big enough for a vehicle and charger, same as some families may have more than one car.
So, sometimes you will need a charger that is capable of charging outdoors. If you get an outdoor charger, a holster is recommended with a J1772 connection, to protect the plugs for outdoor charging.
Also, check the Nema rating for outdoor use, it is usually a rating of Nema 3 or 4, if it is outdoor usable, although 4 is best recommended as it is more weatherproof.
Most level 2 chargers will provide a cable length of 16-25ft, the longer the cable, the more expensive it’ll be usually. Before buying, check the distance you expect between your car and the area where you will install the charger.
If you do intend to charge your car overnight, a longer 25ft cable will provide the extra mobility for you to do so, so this is always an advised purchase.
Frequently Asked Questions
Can I leave my EV plugged in overnight?
There is nothing to strictly say, ‘No, you can’t’. Overnight charging is an easy routine to maintain and can be very beneficial for the working person who will use their car every day for a lengthy commute.
But if you will not be using your car for days on end then it is best not to overcharge, although a lot of chargers may have an overcharge protection feature, it is still best to be wary of it yourself.
Think of it as a laptop battery, if you leave your laptop plugged in all the time, you risk damaging the battery and your laptop will live a much shorter life. An EV battery is the same.
Is charging an electric car cheaper than gas?
Electric cars are cheaper to run and maintain than gas options. As electricity is cheaper than both petrol and diesel, so they have lower fuel costs. They also have simpler engines, which help with breaking, so you can save on maintenance costs for brake pads.
Where can I charge my EV for free?
Although it may not seem so common to get a free charge due to electricity costs, you can get it. You may find free charging in public areas such as apartment buildings, parking garages, parking lots, and possibly urban street corners.
Public stations will often offer free charging, but be aware some may ask for a fee, which will often vary per charging station.
How expensive is it to charge an electric car at home?
You can easily figure out the car's costs through basic mathematics as long as you know your car's specifications and your electricity costs.
For example, if your electric provider charges $0.13 per kilowatt of electricity and your EV has a full charge range of 200 miles, assuming that your battery is as 66kW and starts at 0%, then a full charge will cost around $9.
The average cost is around $0.04 per mile, this factor does depend on your car, its battery, and your electricity provider charge rates. This is very good in comparison to the US average cost of petrol at $0.48 per mile.
How long does an electric car last?
It is harder to anticipate for recent models as they have not lived a long enough life yet for solid confirmed life expectancy rates.
However, it is averaged that an EV’s battery life can last a long time, provided that the car's battery remains in good health, with no overcharging over extended periods. With proper care and maintenance, your EV’s battery can last between one to two decades before it will need replacing.