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5 Best EV Chargers for 2022

5 Best EV Chargers for 2022

What are the Different Types of EV Chargers?

Before you charge your electric car, it is useful to know which options are available to you. There are three main types of chargers, each with different performance levels: Level 1 and Level 2 AC chargers, as well as Level 3 DC fast chargers. When it comes to home units, Level 1 and Level 2 offerings are by far the most common option. This is usually due to the fact that your home is already running on an AC power circuit and therefore these chargers do not require any special equipment or specialized assistance from your service during installation.

Level 1 chargers operate on 120 volts AC and plug directly into a standard wall outlet. As you would expect, this is the slowest way to charge your EV. Speeds are usually around 4 kilowatts. Level 2 chargers, on the other hand, operate on 240 volts alternating current.

While you may not think you have one of these plugs in your home, chances are your dryer already runs on a 240-volt outlet. Depending on the amperage of your socket, you can expect speeds between 5.8 and 19.2 kW. Level 3 chargers have an extremely high voltage (400 to 800 volts) and are completely incompatible with the wiring in your home. They also tend to run well into the six digits, which is why you’ll really only find these at public charging stations.

They’re also capable of putting the miles back into your battery in no time, with Tesla’s Supercharger network delivering approximately 200 miles of range in just 15 minutes of charge. Based on the mileage you drive and your public charging options, a Level 1 or Level 2 charger is a great addition to your garage.

Are all home electric vehicle chargers the same?

This one really depends on how technical you want to be. The tools we call EV chargers are really known as electric vehicle supply equipment and simply serve to transfer energy from your home to a vehicle. From there, the vehicle’s built-in charger will convert that alternating current into a type of direct current, which is used to charge the battery pack. In that sense, the general function of any home EV charger is identical. That said, there are certainly some real differences in how these machines work, as well as the features they offer owners.

The biggest difference between home charging options comes down to the total power of the charger. These figures are measured in amps (e.g. 32, 40, 48 amps) or power (e.g. 7.7, 9.6, 11.5 kW). The higher the charger’s power, the faster you can charge.

The second important factor to consider when shopping is whether or not you want a smart charger. Supported by Wi-Fi connectivity, these chargers typically offer more features such as charge reports, off-peak charging scheduling, and even mileage logs. Those added features tend to bring an extra chunk to the price tag, so it’s worth considering your actual usage scenario.

How do you choose the right charger?

Here are some of the key considerations to consider with any EV home charger purchase:

Cable management and length

It may seem crazy, but having a handy place to plug in your charging cable after a top-up is a nice feature, and one that many chargers miss. Of course you can always stick a hook in the wall if your charger of choice doesn’t have this option. What’s harder to get around is the length of the charging cord, which varies widely between manufacturers. Depending on where you park and the overall cleanliness of your garage, a long cord may be required. In addition, thick cords are not as flexible as thinner counterparts, but rather they can withstand some abuse. Keep all these factors in mind as you shop

Mate

Depending on how much space you have available in your garage or outside your home, certain EV home chargers may not meet your needs. A larger unit could gobble up useful garage space, while a thinner unit wouldn’t. Measure the space you want to place the charger in and make sure the device you want to buy will fit!

Weatherproof

If you’re short on garage space, you can choose to install an outdoor EV charger. While there are a ton of weatherproof units for sale (including every unit you see here), check the owner’s manual to make sure everything is in order. Water and electricity is not a nice combination.

Hardwire vs Plugin

Once you’ve set aside a space for your EV charger at home, you’ll have to decide whether you want a wired or plug-in unit. Plug-in units have become much more popular as more EVs hit the market, as owners can simply unplug the unit and take it with you on a trip or a complete move. That said, a wired unit will still provide the same level of charging performance, albeit locked in one place.

Do I need to buy my own EV charging equipment?

This is a more personal consideration that every EV should make. You don’t technically need any kind of home charger to own an EV, as a typical outlet is capable of charging a car battery when needed. However, as we discussed before, that simple exhaust doesn’t have much output behind it. If you don’t drive that much, it might be more than fine to just top up a little bit every night and use the public charger if possible. That said, folks who need to rack up a little more mileage may want to consider some of the home charging options you see here.

How do I wire my house to charge an EV, and how much does it cost?

The answer to this question largely depends on the house you currently live in. If you have enough electrical capacity on your property, an installation can cost as little as a few hundred dollars because you only need an extra dedicated electrical line.

This runs from your circuit breaker to the charger and ensures you have the consistent output needed to charge the vehicle. You’ll also need a 40 or 50 amp circuit if you don’t have one nearby. A NEMA 14-50 exhaust; outlet works fine and allows you to unplug your charger if needed. You can also use heavy power tools on that socket, if you also have a project car in the garage. Qmerit is a company that provides these installation services nationwide and is a great resource for new EV owners.

If you don’t currently have enough electricity on your property, the cost of installing a charger becomes significantly more expensive. We’re talking at least a few thousand dollars of work to get you the extra juice. That’s worth keeping in mind before you get started installing an EV charger yourself.

Are there tax benefits for electric car owners who buy a home charger?

You better believe it! As far as the federal government is concerned, you qualify for a tax credit of as much as 30 percent of the purchase price of your home EV charger, up to a total of $1000. Much of the United States also offers their own cost-saving benefits for installing of an EV charger, the most common of which was to reduce energy costs for owners.