Home charging technology is moving as fast as the carmakers. We look at the latest Electric Vehicle Supply Equipment (EVSE) and select our top 3.
With electric vehicles zooming at us at an head-spinning rate, the important question of charging those vehicles factors into the decision to buy one. Depending on your use of the vehicle, daily commute (or lack thereof), and other range requirements — there are a slew of home plug-in and hardwired, permanently installed chargers widely available (ranging in price from $300 to $700+) that will meet your needs. You can opt for a more powerful charging station and have your car charged much faster, but it’ll cost you.
Fast charging is key for many potential EV buyers. Current owners are finding it helpful to install a 240-volt charger and get charging done in just a few hours — at approximately 20 miles of range per hour of charging — as opposed to charging at 120 volts at approximately 2-3 miles per hour of charging. For many drivers, an overnight “trickling” charge may be adequate for a typical commute, but for drivers who drive 100-plus miles in a single day, upgrading to 240 volts and spending an additional $750 (on average, according to HomeAdvisor) to install the wall charger is a good investment.
One last note: Tesla sells its own charger, however Tesla owners can use one of these units with an adapter.
What makes the ideal home charger?
While all the chargers we’ve seen work as advertised, deliver the charge and are well built, there are some practical differences that become important for everyday use.
Cable length: Yes, the cable length was one of the most popular responses in a recent survey. Depending on your garage, carport or wherever, cable length could become an important consideration. The ideal cable should be long enough to reach the charging port — wherever it’s located on the car. So you’ll want a long cable — 25 feet will do — to make charging convenient.
Compact design/Usability: Users surveyed prefer smaller units which may include a cable management system. No large screens, just a clean design that can fit easily into small spaces — and offer a solid, reliable plugging/unplugging of the connector.
Safety/Reliability: Users overwhelmingly say that they want charging to resume automatically after a power outage. And finally, it is critical to purchase a UL-certified unit to ensure it complies with all safety standards.
ChargePoint Home Flex
Price: $699 Available at Amazon, Home Depot and ChargePoint.
The impressive Home Flex delivers up to 37 miles of Range Per Hour to your EV with the Home Flex 240-volt Level 2 home charger, delivering up to 50 amps of power. Most drivers will use 32 or 40 amps. 48 or 50 amps will give you the fastest charge, but requires hardwired installation and may require electrical upgrades. Cable length is at 23 feet.
The ChargePoint Home Flex is the most expensive of the trio, and it is sleek and meticulously well constructed down to the last detail — including a solid, reliable plug/unplug. Connects to WiFi and amps can be adjusted — up to 50 amps — using the Smartphone app. The ChargePoint Home Flex resumes charging after a power outage.
- The Home Flex includes a very robust Smartphone app (Android and iOS) that helps you Find places to charge away from home, filter by charging speed, see if stations are available and more.
- The app also schedules charging when energy is cheapest, and you get reminders to plug in. Never forget to charge when you set regular reminders.
Enel X Juice Box 40
Price: $569 Available at Amazon.
JuiceBox 40, the best-selling smart home charging station, combines speed, performance and value. It has the longest cord length at 25 feet. In use today by thousands of EV drivers, it delivers all the safety and smart charging features that make home charging easy, reliable and cost-effective.
JuiceBox is the only line of charging stations that affords both direct user control and smart grid optimization, accessible through its software platform, JuiceNet. Control charging anywhere, anytime via the mobile app and web portal and reduce your energy costs by scheduling charging when rates are low.
Blink HQ 40
Price: $400 Available at Amazon.
At the low end of the price scale, the Blink HQ 40 is not as compact as the others but it is easy to use and easy to install. The Blink allows you to charge at 30 amps. The cable length is slightly sub-par at 18 feet, but if that works for your situation, the “budget” charger, at just $400, is well built and a good buy.