How to choose Best Home EV charging station? [Complete Guide]

Now as you know people are becoming more conscious in making choice of things in their life. With this Automobile sector is seeing spike in users of Electric Vehicles. And you know, almost all of them are experiencing EV driving first time in their life. You might be one or atleast you’re considering now (OR you could be way ahead in this curve).

And one thing which is new for all apart from seating in and driving a car which is not traditional (i.e. liquid or gas fuel powered) but it is electric powered – which is still a newer technology being adopted by mass – is that now pit stops are being installed at people’s homes. It is no more like you have to drive to gas station and fill up the tank. That’s a completely new experience which we are a part of, getting a HOME (SWEET HOME) EV charging station installed (where we live.. yes!).

However, public chargers (just like our traditional gasoline stations) are also there and many people like to charge there also. But with time Home EV chargers are going to become a part of our routine life.

OK, leave that apart. Let me tell you how it looks like having an EV and living our routine life – with this new technology besides us.

Let’s say you are a casual city driver (Don’t worry long runners… I am covering you also next) and sometimes you also travel on long trips once or twice a month. Now what you will do is in majority of the days, you want your EV to have sufficient charge level in the morning, having enough juice for the day. So that you won’t have to hang on roadside charger anywhere in between the day.

All in the day you go to work either it may be office or just outside (if you carrier is like that) and you may also be using your car to drive along in case of outside work. With that said, you come to your home by evening or night, park your car and you put your car on charger overnight to charge and be ready for next day – your car then which is just within reach of charging cable from the charger, having plugged it in and then have peace of mind enjoying time with your family.

The charger is installed in garage or on outside wall of your house in open space where car can also be parked.

OR you already have sufficient charge level for next 2-3 days as you already have charged it to 80%-90% a day ago. And you charge it twice a week. And let’s say even if you forget to charge it sometimes, you can do it in the morning, charging 1 to 2 hours, so at least for the day your EV can role on the road worry-free.

OR if you charge your EV to 90%-100% then probably it is also possible that it runs throughout the week and you just charge it once a week, yes in the weekend when there is plenty of time for roaming around.

OR you still let it remain plugged in every evening or in the night before you go to sleep, and you have set a charge limit let’s say 80% and let it charge overnight daily. So by every morning you have your car ready with 80% juice.

BUT.. there’s one more thing. (You may also be thinking of) If enough public chargers are available nearby you – where you live or where you usually drive – which can be any of either Level 1, 2 or 3, then instead of charging at home you can charge at those public chargers. Because even if you maintain around 50% State of Charge, it would be enough for you cover the run, daily.

Yes! you’re right. That’s possible without any issue. But considering your (important) time that you Level 3 or DC chargers if available will be a more proper fit. Because it won’t take more than 30 mins to fill up the battery which will be enough for the day or couple.

But for that you have to depend on public infrastructure then (and It’s traffic if there’s and so waiting time, etc. But it may not be the case at all charging stations.. so not to worry!). But the thing is you have to go there every time when you want to charge. Which is not bad actually. Instead it’s quite good if you’re OK with that. And that’s what we were been doing for gas powered vehicles.. right?

Driving 10-20 or 50 miles a day every day, either of this or a mixture of any of this practices will be your ideal driving habit and charging habit, which actually naturally fits into your routine.

Ok, tell me how it looks like… (It feels quiet natural right..? without disturbing our daily life and without having that feeling like how will we handle needs of this new creature ..!)

And That’s what we need right?

Note:

(If you don’t know different types of chargers and different Levels of it, go here.)

Ok, NOW Let’s see another case.

Let’s say you are driving 80 to 100 or 100+ miles a day. A quiet burning the rubber (and the road) throughout the day!

Now what you will do is, may be you might require to spend night away from home or by end of the day you come to your home, with almost emptying the battery.

If you are like this, you will sure required to charge your EV almost everyday. You might also sometimes need to charge with roadside public chargers.

Here, the only thing which will fit into your routine is, charge overnight everyday. May be not a full charge daily but at least 80% to 90% you have to fill up the battery.

Important Note on Range of EVs:

Currently, EVs come with atleast 200-250 miles and not to surprise EVs with 300 to 400 miles range are there with newer models. Range capacity with new technology is continuously improving. If you don’t know what range is, let me tell you, Range of an EV is the distance you can travel with 100% of the battery till it becomes empty.

So 80%-90% charge level probably will be more than enough for the day.

Now in case public chargers are falling in your route it’s a plus point for long runners. Because if by any chance you weren’t able to fill up your EV at home, you can do that at a public station. And especially if DC charging stations are there (which are increasing day by day) it won’t take more than 30 mins or an hour of yours to fill up enough juice for the day.

Looks fair enough?

(However if no option other than Level 1 or Level 2 public chargers then that can be of some issue, because it will take 4-5 hours of time atleast to have enough juice for next 100 miles let’s say. Level 1 chargers! don’t go bro. Those public chargers are not for marathoners.)

Now you may say OK…Ok.. it is becoming clear…

You can now picture it what it looks like.

Now if you are casual city driver, you could be thinking it may work even without Home charger!

But it may be also be the thing that, you want to have this facility that charger is ready waiting outside of your home and you can charge your EV at your own convenience.

While for if you are covering long routes daily then its more clear for you mate.

OK, so let me clear this first and THIS IS THE FIRST CONSIDERATION YOU SHOULD HAVE. Should you buy a Home EV charger? Then we can look further into other considerations.

Let’s go into it.

Whether you need a Home EV charger

So now you probably have got the point and if you are thinking, But what if I just utilize public charging infrastructure available nearby me?

Yes, if you think the public charger provides your EV enough juice considering your time and convenience, that can be your choice. And especially if it’s very nearby you that’s very good then..

But still if you are inclining towards public chargers then, still it is better to have a home charger, not expensive but a portable or Level 1 charger. You can have it with your EV or can also use it at your Home. It is slow however, but you can use it in case of emergency or when you travel to remote places where you don’t find a public charger.

May be you don’t need a faster charger, but good to have portable charger atleast, which will be Level 1 and/or Level 2.

And the thing is, many EVs come with a Level 1 charger already, if so with your case and you don’t travel enough then you are at a good place already.

Remember, you probably have to get atleast half an hour to one hour to charge at public charger in best case scenario with DC chargers. With Level 2, it’s going to be atleast 2-4 hours in best case. So think on it.

But if you think it’s better to have a home charger so that not every time I have to go to public charger and actively wait for an hour to couple of hours just for charging my EV. Of course you can go to coffee or shopping nearby, but that won’t be the case everytime…

If you see that say it’s better I can just plug it in my EV at my very home and I can then spend time onto other things or just have a rest … Yes, without worrying or actively looking to my EV’s charging. Then that’s also your choice.

This dilemma of to get or not is just for those who are covering small commute daily, not for long travelers.

Yes, I recommend for long route coverers, it is best to have a home charging station, because you don’t have much time to charge. The best will be you get to charge your EV every night and so for next day it will be ready shoot on the road. It will make it possible to utilize your important time at your home and won’t leave you with deficit of power in your EV.

So now I hope atleast you are clear with your decision whether to have a charger. Now we can look into other important factors if you made a decision to go for a Home charger.

(Still if unable to decide yet then still I recommend you to look into all the factors to consider which I am going to discuss, it will definitely help you to filter your decision and come to a solid place)

Please note we will look at consideration as different steps or levels, and so step by step you will see the right choice for you will be clear by end of this analysis. With me just do the analysis for you and it will be clear to you. I considered the scenarios which can fit into almost all EV owners but if not then I ensured I put enough data and analysis that you can analyze for yourself and come to the right option.

Ok, let’s go for our first level of considerations.

Most Important Factors to Consider in Selecting Home EV Charger – First Level of considerations

Now, once you decided to have an EV charger for your home, the next most important factors to consider is the Budget and Speed of Charging required.

There are many other factors to be looked up to that I will also discuss here, but as per my opinion Budget and Speed of Charging are those factors which will make your choice filtered in such a way that it will become easy for you to further choose exactly which charger to be tapped on.

Because other factors are such like additional or supplementary factors however some very important ones, but still I feel it is best to go through these two filters first.

Let’s look into both one by one.

First One – Budget

Now, depending on various things and functions built into EV charger or say EVSEs, the cost of it varies from as low as $150 to as high as $1000+.

Yes, EV chargers come with just simple plug-n-play to very smart features and not to forget the various qualities of hardware which is used to make an EVSE. I will cover those also as factors to consider, later in this article.

Note:

EVSE means, Electric Vehicle Supply Equipment – the real word (technical) for EV charger which is commonly used word. If you want to know more about how EVSE works, here you go.

Now to make it simple, below is the purchase cost breakdown of EV chargers,

  1. Portable Level 1 EV Charger: $150-$200 (±$50)
  2. Portable Level 2 EV Charger: $200-$250 (±$50)
  3. Plug-in Fixed Location Level 2 EV Charger: $399 to $599 (±$100)
  4. Hardwired Level 2 EV Charger: $399-$799 (±$100)

These are the average costs of EV chargers available in the market and mostly used by all EV owners as home charger.

I have mentioned the cost with option of Portable and Fixed location, Plug-in and Hardwired charger. because it gives proper insight into the cost of it.

Now, if you don’t know, just purchasing an EV doesn’t mean it’s the end of it. The thing is it requires installation. And with installation comes installation cost. So let’s look into that.

Below is the installation cost breakdown of EV chargers,

(Please note the cost includes cost of permits, but exact cost will be different for different locations)

1. Portable Level 1 EV Charger:

No installation required it is ready to use, so No cost of installation

2. Portable Level 2 EV Charger:

You can use this only where 240V power is available. Now if you want to use at your home and,

If 240V powerline is ready then ready to use and No installation required so No cost of installation,

If 240V powerline is to be drawn then $500-$800 for powerline and $50-$200 for wall outlet

If powerline is there and just need to setup wall outlet which will be just $50-$200.

3. Plug-in Fixed Location Level 2 EV Charger:

This is again 240V charger used with 240V wall outlet. So if 240V powerline is ready with wall outlet then again no cost. 

But if 240V powerline to be drawn or wall outlet then it will cost $500-$800 and $50-$200 respectively.

4. Hardwired Level 2 EV Charger

Now this kind of charger is most expensive to install. Normally this requires $500-$750 in best case scenario if 240V powerline is available and not much electrical work. Otherwise the cost can go up to $1500 to $2000.

The costs includes labor charges, material and permits.

Now, this costs are average, but all the cost of drawing a powerline which requires electrical work, the actual cost in worst case can go up to as high as $5000-$6000 depending on how much work is needed with labor cost and material costs.

So now you should have an idea about total cost of charger and you can relate it with your budget.

Note:

If you want to know more about cost of installation, I have made a separate article on that. You better look at that.

Further details on technical aspects of chargers including portability, charging speed including others functions are in later sections.

Important Note on Level 3 Chargers:

Level 3 chargers or DC chargers are not for residential use. Because it uses 400V+ three-phase power which won’t be available in residential area. And it costs way high in 5 figures. These are actually just used for commercial purposes and as public chargers. So no point to look into Level 3 when discussing about Home chargers.

Now not to forget here that there are tax credits and rebates on purchasing and installation cost of EV charger. This will save you money and aggregate cost of owning an EV charger will go down.

Here’s the details.

Tax Credits and Rebates

This tax credits are different in different countries and even within country different states would have different policies.

PLUS, apart from government rebates, EV charger manufacturer’s themselves provide credits on purchasing and installation of EV charger. Which is again different with different EVSE making companies.

Because the technology is still is transitioning stage towards mass adoption, so there will be incentives to encourage people.

Now, in USA as per US federal Government, there’s 30% tax credit up to $1000 on purchasing and installing an EV charger at home.

Here’s the UK Gov site you can refer if you are living in UK.

I also encourage you to find tax credit schemes offered by your country’s government. To find it what you can do is just search this on Google “tax credits on purchasing and installing EV charger [Country name]”. Just replace “country name” with yours and you will see all referring information on Gov. Websites about this.

So cost wise you now have an idea, but it won’t be still clear which category you fall into. Which you will be after some time.

So now let’s see how charging speed affects your daily charging routine and so what to consider in it before choosing an EV charger.

Speed of Charging – Level of Charging

Speed of charging is sometimes given over-weightage while actually it’s not that complex thing. But still important one while doing initial filtration on selecting an EV charger.

OK, so here is the bifurcation of various charging speeds offered by EV chargers. charging speed is expressed in terms of by how many miles of range is added in one hour of charging.

Level 1 Chargers:

  • Power supply: 110V/120V
  • Power output: 0.9 kW at 8amp to 3.6kW at 32amp
  • Range added per hour of charging: 1-4 miles
  • Time to charge from 20%-80%: 10-15 hours
  • Time for full charge (0-100%): 2-5 Days

Level 2 Chargers:

  • Power supply: 240V
  • Power output: 1.9kW at 8 amps to 22kW at 90 amps
  • Range added per hour of charging: 30-40 miles
  • Time to charge from 20%-80%: 6-10 hours
  • Time for full charge (0-100%): 15-20 hours

Now, as you see Level 1 chargers are slow chargers functions at 110V/120V standard power input. While Level 2 chargers are medium to high speed chargers function at 240V power input.

Now the thing is Level 1 chargers are plug-in type, portable and lightweight. And it mostly come with the purchase of Electric Vehicle. These are very convenient to have it in the vehicle and if needed can be charged at any standard wall outlet. You just plug-in the power cable to wall outlet for power source and then plug-in the charging cable in your vehicle. And that’s all.

While, Level 2 chargers requires some sophistication as it needs 240V power. These are the fastest Home EV chargers. However, this requires a fixed installation and so can be used only at the site where it is installed. It can of-course be reinstalled at different location, but are not meant to be portable.

But some low power output Level 2 chargers are portable which provides slower charging speed than high power Level 2, but are faster than Level 1 chargers. While some portable Level 2 chargers are not different from Level 1, they actually have an extra power cable to be used in place of 110V cable or can be attached on it as adapter cable supporting 240V power. It can add 10-25 miles of range per hour of charging. They give power output ranging from 1.9kWh to 7.6kWh with 240V power at 8A-32A output respectively.

So when it comes to portable charger this kind of Level 2 chargers are favorites.

Now, budget and speed of charging are most considered factors. And these are the firsts which make a basis on further narrowing down the selection of chargers. So let’s first clear it out for you which is right fit.

Verdict on First Level of Considerations – Budget and Speed of charging

Now here instead considering budget first, if we consider what speed you will require budget criteria will anyway be cleared. Then you just have to look whether you can afford.

For Small Commute Drivers – 10-20 to 50 miles a day (And some frequent long travels)

If you fall into this category and you aren’t bounded by time, then as per me it’s ok to use public chargers and don’t have a home charger.

But still having an EV, it’s best to have at least a portable Level 1 or portable Level 2 charger as home charger. It will save your money and will be enough for your commute whenever required. You can use it overnight as well if required so by morning you will have enough juice.

Now, this is again if you don’t travel frequently and you have public charger access very easily.

But even if you do travel like ones of twice a month, Level 2 portable charger will take care of it even if sometimes you don’t find nearby DC chargers. However remember it will take atleast 2 hours to have some juice in your EV.

BUT, if you see public chargers are not easily accessible then as per me it is best for you to have a plug-in or hardwired high speed Level 2 Home EV charger (atleast). I am not just recommending but I insists you in this case. Because charging stations aren’t like gas stations, that somehow you can find it or manage this way or that way.

If that’s the case and if it’s your home where you can afford to install, please have a Home EV charging station.

If you living in rental space or apartment/condos and can’t manage to install the charger then have atleast good portable Level 2 charger which provides atleast 4.8kW to 7.6kW power. It can also ensure good source of juice for your EV. But apart from this I insists you to talk to landlord or apartment associations to have Level 2 EV chargers installed in parking spaces with RFID function. Then all of those stays in apartments get advantage of charging an EV without any fuss of payment issues.

NOW, if you don’t have budget issues or any other and don’t like to go to public stations every time (And don’t want to settle down to medium speed Level 2 portable charger) then just have a high speed Level 2 charger installed at your Home. Yes, it will be worth enough to have. It adds up to your home facilities and so value, PLUS most importantly you will have EV charger available at your footsteps. So no need for hanging around public chargers every time.

Now, I hope the dilemma to have it or not for casual drivers are clear. And you came to a decision at this stage.

Now let’s look for those travelling long every day.

For Long Travelers – 50-80 to 100+ miles a day

At this stage long traveling dudes should have understood the importance of a Home EV charger. Especially your carrier is like that then you should have a level 2 Home charger installed.

Yes, a high powered atleast 9.6kW Level 2 charger you should have installed at your home. Unless you have a very HIGH capacity battery like 100kWh and above electric vehicle.

If so you can go for 12kW Level 2 charger.

A 9.6kW charger will add up around 30 miles per hour of charging and by overnight charging you will have around 200-250 miles available for the day.

And if having a high battery capacity vehicle (100kWh and above) then with 12kW level 2 charger you will have around 270-300 miles range available by morning with overnight charging.

So now I hope you are clear up to now what charger is right for you by budget and charging speed.

OK then let me clear some simple things about charger here. It will help you to further clear out some doubts.

Clarifications on Portability of charger & Connection with Power Source (Plug-in/Hardwired)

Now, Portable EV chargers are lightweight and small sized chargers which you can take it with yourself and charge at any standard or 110V/240V wall outlet available. They are plug-n-play chargers, easy and simple to handle.

While that’s not the case with Fixed location chargers, these chargers you can’t take it with your car and charge anywhere at any wall outlet like portable ones. Because these are comparatively heavy weight and large sized chargers. So not practical to take it with vehicle. Now, fixed location doesn’t mean you can’t change the location of installation, you can but it will again need professional electrician to uninstall the charger and install at new location.

Now, as far as portability of EV charger concerns and your choice is portable charger instead of fixed location then please know portable chargers are not as powerful as fixed location chargers.

To maintain the portability of charger it has to be lightweight and easy to handle, and just plug-n-play ready to use functionality in front quality of portable chargers. With that advantage the built up of these chargers won’t allow you to charge anymore faster than 7.6kW which in best case provide 25-30 miles per hour of charging at max. So consider atleast 8 to 10 hours to charge from 20%-80%.

Now you should know whether this is for you depending on your driving needs.

Anymore powerful charger has to be installed at a fixed location and can’t be portable. So if you want more speed of charging like 40-45 miles per hour then fixed installation is the only option.

Now, when it comes to plug-in installation or hardwired installation, it’s both possible actually up to 40A of power output is enough, i.e. 9.6kW power output.

A Plug-in charger can save you some installation cost but it costs around $50 more in purchase than hardwired charger. Because with plug-in charger you also get a NEMA power cable compatible with respective power input of 110V-120V/240V.

While, above 9.6kW power output it should be hardwired to power source with a dedicated circuit breaker considering the safety parameters.

Now hardwired chargers are cheaper compared to plug-in as it does not require extra NEMA power plug, but when it comes to installation it is expensive than plug-in type. But it is more safer and probably won’t require any replacement, like NEMA cable in case of plug-in type and gets faulty. As hardwired don’t involve any movable part like plug-ins have.

So I hope you are also now clear about which option to have, portable charger, plug-in charger or hardwired.

At this point if you have decided to a point then 70% of decision process is done… Yes.

Now lets move into other factors to further consider in narrowing down the choice.

Now these are second level of considerations which are again important besides first level of considerations you have seen above.

Compatibility of EV charger with site of installation and your vehicle – Second Level of Considerations

Now, if you came to place where you are clear what kind of EV charger is right fit based on above considerations, then it also becomes important now to look at its compatibility.

Again, these considerations are such that it may change your choice at this stage. Yes.. so its important to look at those.

Let’s start with this now.

Vehicle’s compatibility

Now, if you know all components of EV charging system, you should know that as details of external EV charger (which we are referring here as EV charger or EVSE, but actually it is an ecosystem of number of components) is important, the onboard charger in your EV is equally important to consider, I mean the configurations.

Because, home chargers are AC (Alternate current) chargers, but the power stored in vehicle’s battery is in DC (Direct Current) form. So what converts AC power to DC? It’s onboard charger in your EV.

Onboard charger first received power from external EV charger in AC form and then converts it to DC and sends it to battery. With this function of onboard charge, there’s limit to how much maximum power and current EV’s onboard charger can accepts.

Vehicle’s manufacturer decide this as part of making of the vehicle.

It is like a regulatory window in between the power you send from EV charger and EV’s battery.

So the point is, even if you send more power than onboard charger can accept, still the power which will be transferred to battery will be the maximum limit which onboard charger can accept…. Let me clear further.

Let’s say you are using 11.5kW 48A EV charger, and your EV has 9.6kW 40A onboard charger then even if you charge with 11.5kW 48A power it will only accept 9.6kW 40A. Yes, and the battery will charge at the respective speed, not faster with high power supply.

So you have to check what’s the onboard charger configurations in your vehicle and see what maximum power it can accept. Because there’s no point buying an EVSE which is more powerful than onboard charger.

Home’s existing electrical system

Now next thing to consider is whether the electric system in your home is compatible to accommodate EV charger.

As EV charger is high power usage device and it needs to meet certain safety standards in installation.

So a certified electrician can assess current state of electric system in home and suggest whether it requires any upgrade.

It includes any wiring system, electric panels, appliances used and electric circuits depending on where you want to install.

If upgrade required then all upgrades have to be done beforehand of installing EV charger.

Plus, Level 2 chargers require 240V power supply which is used to power high-powered appliances like dryers. While in USA mostly as standard system 120V power is available, now if 240V powerline is not available then again it needs to be drawn with all permits.

For this you need to hire a certified electrician to do all this job.

One more thing is how electric wiring system is presently in your home, are there any underground wirings or are there trenches etc. Because this things requires tougher job and impacts total cost of installation.

And so most importantly you need to have a cost estimation of installation before buying an EV charger. Because upgradation of system will add up to the cost and this cost can go as high as $5000 to $7000.

But if there’s not much modifications then it can be completed well within $500.

With this there’s one more thing you need to decide. That’ where you will install the charger. Let’s look at that.

Location of installation

Now, mostly EV chargers are installed on outside wall of the house or inside garage, especially where a proper parking space is available.

Because to charge your EV you have to let it remain parked for 5-8 hours.

PLUS, at the location is there any dedicated and compatible electric circuit available to install EVSE? That’s again something affects cost directly.

Another thing is, you have to see that where EV charger is installed, the EV should be parked in such a way that charging cable reaches the charge port in your EV, whether it’s on front, rear or in either side. That you have to preplan.

Ideally it is best to install EV charger in such a way that when you park your EV, the charge port in your EV remains in front of EV charger. That will make your work much easy.

Now, EV chargers come with mostly 20 to 25 feet cable. These are plug-in or hardwired fixed location chargers. While some portable chargers (which also require to plug-in to power source) have 15-16 feet long cable. But mostly it’s around 25ft.

So you have to juggle between these two and find a sweet spot. First is how is your parking space where EV charger can be installed and vehicle can be parked appropriately, and will charging cable reach to charge port from mounted location of EV charger?

Because if space is not like that, then it is not recommended to use power extension cable to use to extend reach of charging cable. However, it is only possible with plug-in type and portable charger. But still it’s best to not to use. OR at least you need to ensure it meets the standards which requires EV charger to operate safely.

But however with plug-in/hardwired Level 2 charger, it is best to have atleast 25ft cable. Because mostly in any parking space that long cable is enough to reach to charge port of EV, even if it’s on opposite facing of EV charger.

So as far as compatibility of EV charger concerns I hope you have good enough knowledge what things to be carried out beforehand what other things to be considered.

Now let me clear one thing, which again has direct impact on cost of installation.

Dedicated Circuit breaker installation

This Level 2 EV chargers require a dedicated circuit breaker. OR if not then it has to be confirmed by electrician whether it will work with other appliances on that circuit breaker.

Now the thing is, circuit breaker has to be rated in such a way that total power output of EVSE should no more than 80% of circuit breaker rating.

So if EV charger’s power output is at 40A with 240V power supply, the circuit breaker rating has to be atleast 50A.

However, you don’t have to worry about it because electrician will look after all this little things for a proper installation.

So these were the second level of considerations in choosing perfect Home EV charger for your needs.

Now to finally select which brand and model of EV charger you will buy let’s head on to third and final level of considerations.

These are what EV chargers provide, their functions and their specifications. If you very specific with your requirements, these are the things you should look in any EV charger to see whether it is a right fit.

EV Charger’s Functions and Specifications – Third Level of Considerations

Now, once you have figured what is the most suitable EV charger for you considering budget, speed of charging and EV charger’s compatibility, now is the time what exactly you can look in each EV charger model to put your hand upon.

Here we will see those in two steps. One is common functions which normally all EVSEs would have and other smart functions which are specific to each EV charger brand and model.

So let’s dive into it one by one and find perfect one for you.

Common Functions:

Power output:

Now, there are chargers in the market with 0.9kW to 22kW power output. Which I have discussed in earlier section of charging speed under first level of considerations.

Charging Connector type:
There are over 6 types of connectors and corresponding charge ports exist in world right now.

But in USA J1772 type 1, CCS type 1 and NACS are used mostly. (know more about charging connectors and usage in world)

All Teslas have NACS while non-Teslas have J1772 type 1 and CCS1. While there are J1772 type 2 and CHAdeMO also used more or less.

So look in your EV which type of charge port is there, so accordingly you have to select corresponding charging connector or plug.

But if the charger of your choice does not have compatible charging connector and if you are solid in your choice then you can use adapter. Adapter is a device which acts as converted between one type of charging plug to another type of charge port. So that can be workaround for you in this case.

Single cable/Dual cable:

Most EV chargers come with single charging cable and can charge only one vehicle at a time. But there are some EV chargers come with dual cable. It means you can charge 2 EVs parallel with one charger.

But usually dual cable chargers are expensive. While single cable chargers available at usual rate.

So if you have multiple EVs then you can choose dual cable charger. And also if EVs have different charge ports type then you can have two cables with different and compatible charging connectors with your EVs.

While, if you have only one or you can manage with one home charger OR you want two separate chargers for multiple EVs then you can go with single cable charger.

Power cables:

Now, this is the case with plug-in chargers. Where you have a power cable attached to EV charger at one end and another you need to plug-in to power source.

So plug-in EV chargers come with a power cable and it will be NEMA cables mostly.

You will have one NEMA cable compatible with 120V or 240V power respectively. Mostly it will be NEMA 5-15 for 120V and NEMA 14-50 for 240V.

But remember there are 8 types of NEMA power cables and all provides various charging speeds.

There are NEMA 5-15 and 5-20 for 120V and NEMA 6-15, 6-20, 10-30, 14-30, 6-50 and 14-50 for 240V available in market.

NEMA 5-20 is fastest in 120V and NEMA 14-50 is fastest with 240V power source.

However, the cable comes with charger is most suitable and fast, so you don’t have to think much on this.

Charging cable management system and Holster/Dock:

Cable management system means, a proper place to wind charging cable so that it becomes easy to handle.

Now, there are two types of cable management system, one is inbuilt to charger where over the charging unit itself there are edges made just for charging cable to wind around. While some comes with separate hanger to wind the charging cables.

Similarly there’s holster or dock, it is the place to dock the charging connector. Again there are inbuilt dock and separate dock. Some charger come with flexible and sophisticated holster like ChargePoint and Tesla Universal Connector’s magic dock.

But this is not a big deal. Even if it doesn’t come with this you can handle it like how garden’s water pipe. You can buy those holsters from Amazon. So nothing to worry.

However, some docking systems not designed perfectly so it becomes lil difficult to engage or remove charging handle. You can know by your experience, but that’s not a big deal as per me.

Cable length:

The only thing you should care is, cable should reach easily from EV charger to your vehicle’s charge port. There are EV chargers with 16ft long cable to 28+ft long cables. So accordingly you should choose sufficient long cable. Which I have discussed earlier here in installation section – under second level of considerations.

Apart from this, the material of cable is also important. If you live in cold weather states where temperatures are near to 0 degree or even minus, the cable may become little stiff and so becomes difficult to handle.

But again this is something EVSE makers are improving constantly but as per me this is not that big factor to consider if other important factors are fitting with your needs.

Weather protection:

Now weather protection is something important but all EV chargers come with atleast NEMA 3 rating enclosure.

While there chargers having NEMA 3R, NEMA 4 and NEMA 4x rating. While some have IP65, IP66 or IP67 rating.

These are important in the sense using it indoor or outdoor. If weather conditions are worst like very heavy rain fall or snow then it is best to have NEMA 4 rated enclosure. Else NEMA 3 and 3R works fine.

While there are different standards of rating like UL certified, ETL certified, CSA certified besides NEMA and IP standards.

But mostly NEMA rated chargers prevails in the market.

LED status indicators:

This is a very common function among available in EV chargers. It indicates various state of charging and if any error or glitch. It helps in troubleshooting any issues. So it is best to have this. But all EV chargers have this anyway. So it’s all good.

Energy Star certifications:

Energy efficiency is again a good and important factor just like other appliances which is rated by Energy Star. Almost all EV chargers are Energy Star certified, but still some of chargers weren’t found in their database. But this is again something like not to worry kind of factor.

Size of EV charger:

As a thumb of rule small is better. But if you don’t have any issues with wall or pedestal where charge will be installed and have enough flat surface to hang EV charger then size won’t matter.

Wall mounting-pedestal mounting:

Again, most chargers are more suitably for a wall mount, but many also have mounting mechanism to support pedestal or pole mount. Pedestal mount as per me don’t’ demand much space and will be more flexible in charring car parked nearby than wall mount charger.  So if this is something you need to consider with location of installation then you should look at. This will become then important for you.

Home design & architecture:

Now if you feel you have a classy designed home and you want EV charger to blend with the design and architecture then yes, the color of it, size everything matters. Because just look and feel gives a different feeling, I know that. So yes, if you are meticulous then yes find one such a like. But probably there won’t be much options there and also other technical specifications to match also, because those are important also, without good function just good look id of no point.

For me functions are first than look, but if I find a good blend of both then yes I definitely like to think of it.

So these were some common things to be considered which anyway most chargers come with.

Now let’s look at those functions which are smart and different with different brands and models. This is something can alter your choice further if you are looking for specific smart features.

Smart Functions:

Connectivity:

Smart EV chargers come with excellent connectivity features. You can connect your EV charger to your mobile through Bluetooth or Wi-Fi and also connect with internet.

With this, it enables you to control charging functions remotely from your mobile.. Yes!

It comes with a phone application from which you can control charging functions. This comes with Android and iOS based so all users can be covered.

Functions like charging start, stop, schedule and many alike can be done from you phone. Not all charger provides all smart features, so we will look into those specific features and uses.

This is the product of built-in software/firmware and os there will be updates also.

This connectivity makes the charger really easy to use.

And if you’re a Tech guy who likes to control an EV charging station just on your fingertips then these functions are for you and you should look for this when buying one.

Adjustable power output:

Now some chargers have built-in controller in charging unit itself to control power outputs. While some provide same function through app integration.

But actually having maximum power output default all the time won’t generate any need to change. But if there’s any need to control or reduce the output due to any electrical system related issues, it’s best to have it.

It can also be done by changing circuit breaker ratings. But still good to have this function.

Software/Firmware Updates

Smart features won’t become possible without basis of software or firmware in charger.

Plus, firmware also are responsible for charging related auto communications between EV charger and vehicle.

Now, with this functions it may also come with some glitches, so receiving software updates through internet connectivity becomes important.

Plus, to enhance the features also updates become important.

While, most smart EV chargers give over-the-air firmware updates over time for free of cost, but some provide this with an add-on feature. So free are best as per me so you need to look whether FREE OTA updates are available.

Schedule charging:

Now if app integration is available, schedule charging won’t be a problem for you.

Setting up charging start time and stop time in future just like how we set alarm timings is of huge help.

But again you need to confirm as due to their app limitations it could be possible that this feature is not part of smart features.

But as far as I know all EV charger with app integration have this feature.

The difference it can make is, various more and less limitations can be in setting up scheduled or delay charging.

Some charger apps provide daily control of scheduling, while some only provide week and weekend control instead of daily – which is a limitation.

So you can look into their app and see how sophisticated are the settings.

Off-peak charging:

Off peak charging is again part of delayed charging functions. But some chargers can communicate to utility provider and so provides only off-peak charging schedules, which is even more helpful than just simple delayed charging settings.

Charging in off-peak hours can reduce charging cost by almost 50% or even more. So if this function is there then really this is a PLUS point of charger’s smart functions.

Otherwise with simple schedule settings you have to manually set up charging times confirming off-peak hours with your utility providers.

Charging Stats data:

Now as charger supports an app integration it shows you that charger specific charging statistics. It includes totally energy used, cost of charging, savings compared to gas fuel costs and alike. Now certain apps also has features where you can specifically select utility provider in your area which you are subscribed to and get accurate cost data PLUS their off-peak and peak charging hours with rates.

Voice Assistant:

Now many chargers come with Alexa or Google voice assistants. It makes things even simpler. Where instead of doing things from mobile app, you can just tell your charge your command. And same will be implemented.

Again not all chargers come with this feature but many have this built into.

So if you are PRO-Tech guy and want things to happen even without lifting your little finger then this is for you. You should look for this feature when buying one station for your home.

Access control:

Now this is very important feature where you don’t want others to use your charger without you knowing. And this is required also. Because if you’re outside of your home and if someone tries to use your charger then that’s theft. And this will cost you many things.

So access control is a very good feature where either by vehicle’s brand or with specific VIN (Vehicle Identification Number) you can restrict to use to that extent.

Or you can also set just your vehicle in allow list and do no one else can charge. So this is good one. However there are many ways you can cope with thievery and that happens with rare, but if you think this is needed for you then this should in your must list.

RFID feature:

Now, let’s say charger is installed in apartment parking or it is installed on shared basis where only selected number of people can charge.

Then RFID feature is must. Because this feature works for identification and with RFID card you can have only selected people use EV charger. This is possible using RFID card matching user’s identity with allowed list of people.

So no outsider can use. This is again very good feature if EV charger is used in certain scenario.

Power load sharing:

If you have multiple EVs or you ‘re going to have and having a condition where you have to charge multiple EVs at the same time then single charger won’t be enough.

You have to have multiple chargers installed. But with multiple chargers the problem will be there are high chances to go electric circuit to overload and can damage other appliances or even EV charger.

And installing each EV charger on a separate circuit will be big mess and won’t be possible practically.

So considering this many EV chargers support power sharing feature. Where in the same circuit specific ‘n’ number of chargers can be installed.

And power sharing feature will work in such a way that it will always balance the load even if at all shared chargers EVs are getting charged at the same time. And this will happen without overloading the circuit.

But here the thing is the EV charger model should remain the same along the multiple units on same circuit. You can’t power share on same circuit with different brand or model of chargers.

And that’s how currently this feature is working.

Like Tesla wall connector supports up to 6 chargers and Wallbox supports up to 25 chargers over same circuit.

So considering the plus point with its limitations if you think this is going to be advantage for you then this will be a good narrowing down point for you.

But for most EV owners having home chargers this feature is of no use. Yes! They mostly use the charge alone or even if having multiple EVs they charge it simultaneously. And it works pretty well. So there’s varied opinion on this feature.

Auto troubleshooting:

Now if any internal glitch occurred in the charger’s circuit or in some part then some chargers come with auto troubleshooting feature. Where the error is detected automatically and will be solved automatically.

While in some other chargers this will be shows in LED status indicator with a specific color of light and requires manual intervention.

So this feature again becomes useful if it’s there in EV charger.

Resuming charging session after a power outage:

There’s a problem among EV home charger owners that if power goes in between a charging session then charging is going to stop.

But when power comes back the charging won’t start automatically. It needs a manual intervention to again start the charging session.

This is pretty much irritating, because what if you aren’t around and power goes even for few seconds? And you come to know after 5-8 hours that no charging is done…

So this feature is very much under a must list, that whenever power goes off and comes back the charging should automatically start.

Now there are some conflicts here. Because what will need is first EV charger should be smart, so that when power comes back it detects that charger is still plugged in it immediately communicates with vehicle and start the charging process.

But what if charger is smart but not the vehicle?

Because charging is two way process. One is EV charger should supply the power and another is EV should accept the power.

In some EVs I have seen this glitch, and this specifically glitch in EV’s software. And I also have seen after a software update this is being solved.

So when selecting an EV charger it’s better to confirm this feature. And as far as EV is concerned you can test it with different EVs. If EV happens to be a fault then you can reach out to vehicle’s manufacturer and report this.

Solar power support:

If in your home you have installed Solar panels then it becomes obvious to use it to charge your EV. But with solar power you would need an energy management device which manages the power between various connected appliances. And this is all about electronic communications in handling energy.

Currently not all charger comes with inbuilt energy management system which supports solar power ecosystem.

But there’s many such smart energy management devices available which can regulate solar power and distribute it among connected appliances including EV charger. And you can also control how much solar to be used for EV charger or any particular appliance. So with that device solar charging is possible.

Now this is again very less adopted tech where currently yet EV charger is slowly adopted. So it will slowly develop and become available to larger public use.

But if you have solar panel then you can inquire whether charger supports being part of this kind of energy system. Or need to have an energy management system for this.

OK so these were smart features to consider when buying an EV charger for home.

I hope now you are clear on different functions of EV charger and the actual need of it for yourself. And can clearly see which EV charger is for you without getting confused about various features of it.

Now let’s see some other important factors regarding EV charger.

Miscellaneous considerations

Warranty

Currently majority of EV chargers come with 3 Years (36 months) warranty.

While some provide even 4 or 5 years and others with just 1 Year or 2 Years.

So as per me warranty should be at least of 3 Years. Because that also shows confidence of charger maker, how long they believe this gonna run.

Customer Support

This is very nuance factor and as far as I have seen all EV charger users have varied opinions on this. Some have good experience with a brand while others don’t with the same brand.

So what you should look for, a CLEAR contact address to hit on where you’re in a problem.

A support phone number is must (Working one), and additionally there should be a way to contact the support from your account of that EV charger directly. Either from the app directly or from web address.

But if that’s not available then nearby service center address and contact number is a MUST.

Either of these is must. Else what you gonna do?

Return/Refund policy

This is not something which needs some extra information because nowadays all of use used to shop online and we always check beforehand what I don’t like the product.

So normally all EV charger brands offer 14-30 days of return/refund policy if product comes undamaged in resalable condition. Which is fair enough. And I assume you all aer well educated to check this before you buy the charger.

Summarizing

So this was all about choosing a right EV charger for yourself to be installed at your home.

Now I am confident that you can refer to this guide and make decision for yourself which going to appreciate for a very long time for you.

If you still have any doubts comment below and let me know.

Now if you tend to forget about what we initially discussed here’s the final verdict.

Final Verdict

1. For commute drivers (Daily 10-20 to 50 miles driving):

1.1 If you have easy access to Level 3 public charging station then,

  • Level 1/Level 2 (low-medium speed) 4.8kW to 7.6kW Plug-in Portable Home EV charger (I recommend to have, but it’s also Ok to not to have a Home charger in this case)

1.2 BUT If you want no fuss in charging and don’t want to hang on public station every time then,

  • Level 2 Hardwired 9.6kW High speed Home EV Charger

2. For Long runners (Daily 80 to 100+ miles driving):

  • Level 2 Hardwired 9.6kW to 12kW High speed Home EV Charger is must

2.1 PLUS If you often travel to remote places and have no public charger access then additionally you should have

  • Level 1/Level 2 (low-medium speed) 4.8kW to 7.6kW Plug-in Portable Home EV charger

Now all detailed things about this are discussed here in this article. You can read it few times to clear and refine your decision.

Here’s our comparison tool to compare EV chargers head to head and come to a best option among available brands and models of EV charger.

Steve
Steve

An engineer turned entrepreneur, being a Tech-enthusiast I am passionate about helping people understand and embrace the potential of technology in an insightful manner. At EV Chargers Guide, I help EV owners to navigate the Electric Revolution by providing in-depth guides to overcome their EV charging challenges and helping to make the Best choice selecting Charging Equipment for their EVs.

2 Comments
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  1. Ok, I have put my pin on EVIQO EVIpower Level 2 charger. Looking at all various factors I think this is best fit for me. I needed this information really, was actually confused earlier in choosing best charger among lot of available options.

  2. I just bought Autel maxicharger Lite. It’s really amazing, installed in my garage. It’s under my budget with good overall quality and all smart functions. I was looking for good option under $450. And I found three options suiting my needs. Then finally decided Autel’s one.

    I found this guide really helpful. Thanks..

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