As more drivers switch from regular cars to electric vehicles, they will realize charging – and specifically where and how they charge their vehicles – are an essential part of owning an EV. With that in mind, new EV owners should also consider their own needs and specific charging scenarios in order to choose the right charger.


Obviously, due to the availability of gas stations everywhere, we are used to taking refueling for granted when we drove gas-engine cars. Unlike regular cars, EV owners usually don’t charge their vehicles from empty-to-full – instead they refuel usually every other night at home, so it is charged and ready in morning. In this case, charging time or range anxiety are no longer issues. Some drivers also opt for public charging, which typically takes longer due to wait times at commercial charge points.


If you decide that you will mostly need to charge at home, you also need to consider some key factors related to your specific needs. With different carmakers and models, EVs come with different charging specifications and capabilities, so there really isn’t a one-stop solution.


Power and Efficiency


All EVs come with a standard portable charger that you can plug into a wall outlet. Charging units from different manufacturers have various levels of charging capabilities and requirements however, and some drivers may find that the charger supplied isn’t enough for their daily charging needs.


It is useful to think in terms of charging speed and power, which is different for Level 1 and 2 chargers. In general, these are the two levels of chargers used for home charging. Some chargers that come with your EV are Level 2 chargers, which are more powerful and usually work with 240-volt outlets.


Meanwhile, some of these standard chargers also work with regular 120-volt household outlets and power your vehicle much more slowly. These chargers are sufficient for charging hybrid vehicles.


Depending on your EV and the type of charging unit supplied, you may wonder if it is enough, or if you need to purchase an extra charger? A general rule to follow is to check if it can fully refuel your vehicle overnight. If so, then it is likely to be sufficient to cover your needs.


Different Levels of Power


Taking into consideration your charging requirements and where you need to charge, new EV owners should know the difference between different levels of chargers, and their respective charging speeds.


Level 1

Level 1 chargers offer the lowest level of charging power up to 1.92 kW, similar to a standard home electric socket. Most of these chargers cannot fully charge your vehicle even when it is plugged in overnight, taking the most time to power your EV. Most Level 1 chargers are able to add between 4 - 8 km of range per hour of charging, and takes about 15 hours or more to completely charge your vehicle.


Level 2, Mode 2

These Level 2 chargers can deliver power up to 19.2kW(80A*240V=19.2kW), it’s 10 times of the maximum power of Level 1 EV chargers. But the main stream maximum charging power of EVs in the market is below 12kW (50A), it’s about 11.5kW(48A). So with a 48A/50A EV charger, usually you can expect your EVs charge to full within 6-7 hours.



How to Choose the Right One


Now, if you have decided that the charger supplied with your EV isn’t enough, you will need to further consider a host of factors to choose the charger that is right for you.


Power Supply

Find out the available power supply in your location or neighborhood. Generally, outlets of residential homes provide 120V or 240V of power, while higher voltages are offered at some commercial and public charging stations. Make sure your EV is compatible with the power infrastructure in your area.


Power Delivery

For efficient charging, your EV charger should be able to deliver at least 32-amps (7.68 kW) and ideally 40-amps (9.6 kW) to your vehicle. Even if your current EV cannot take that much power, the next EV you get likely will.


Connector Type

Electric vehicles from different manufacturers come with different connector types, such as CHAdeMO, CCS, or Tesla which uses its own proprietary connector(Now Tesla shared their connector technology patents to the public, and it will be more popular in the future as many carmakers will adopt it, such as Ford and General Motors). Choose a charger with the appropriate connector type that matches your EV model.


Plug-in or Hardwired

EV chargers are available in either plug-in or hardwired versions, and new owners should choose the type that is most convenient for their daily charging needs. Plug-in units offer more flexibility and you can install in different locations and remove it as needed. Meanwhile, hardwired chargers are permanently affixed to a wall and removal will require an electrician.


Smart Features

You may want to consider buying a smart EV charger, equipped with smart features like mobile apps, Wi-Fi connectivity, scheduling, reviewing and real-time monitoring capabilities. These features allow you to manage and monitor the charging process remotely, and optimize your charging based on different electricity rates.


Cable Length

The length of EV charger cables can vary from 12 feet to as long as 25 feet. To enable convenient charging, it is recommended to choose a charger with a cable that is 20 feet or longer, to be able reach the charge port of your vehicle from any parking position.



Look for chargers that are safety-certified, with features like surge protection, ground fault detection, and temperature monitoring. These safety features will help safeguard both your vehicle and the charging unit.



Check the warranty of chargers offered by its manufacturer. You should aim to buy chargers with longer warranty period and at least a 3-year warranty so you can have peace of mind and adequate protection.



The cost of EV chargers range from $200 to over $1,000. Given your budget, you should take into account the upfront cost of the charger, installation expenses, and any additional features or accessories you may need. And decide on one that strikes a balance between your budget and the features you want.


Do You Need a Hardwired Charger?


EV owners should know the difference between plug-in and hardwired chargers. The main difference to remember is chargers over 40-amps must be hardwired. Hardwired units including 48-amp ones offer additional power for potentially quicker charging, and there are many EV models on the market that can take 48-amps. These types of chargers will need thicker wiring to power the circuit, and this may add to your installation cost.


In most cases, a 40-amp charger should be sufficient for daily charging needs with a full charge overnight. If you decide on a hardwired charger, your vehicle will be able to determine the amount of power it accepts, as it will communicate with the charger and set the maximum power to take in.  


Worried that their supplied charger isn’t enough for their charging needs, some new EV owners rush to buy the most powerful charger they can get their hands on, and realize later that less expensive chargers with less power capabilities are also sufficient. In most cases when you return to your home or garage you will still have some power left in your battery, and essentially you only need to refuel the energy you used that day. Consider your daily travel mileage and determine how much range you need each day.




Finally, you have made your choice and purchased a new charger. The next step is to install it. First of all, EV chargers deliver considerable power and will need to installed on a dedicated circuit. This circuit must be able to provide 125% of the power your charger will deliver. So, if you are installing a 40-amp charger, it will require a 50-amp dedicated circuit.


Also consider your charging location and the type of charger you own. Many EV owners have indoor carports or garages, while others prefer installing their charging station outdoors. If your primary charging location is outdoors, check its durability and if can be exposed to sun, water and other elements.


As mentioned, EV chargers are usually available as plug-in or hardwired units. Plug-in chargers are mounted to a wall above or below the outlet, and plugged in for charging. Hardwired types are first mounted on a wall, with its wiring installed into the device. In general, more vehicle owners prefer plug-in chargers due to convenience of installation and portability.


Whether you decide on using a plug-in or hardwired charger, always hire a certified electrician to install your charging equipment. This is crucial as EV chargers deal with a lot of power and for many hours, usually on a daily basis. You need to ensure the charger is properly installed and up to code, so as to avoid hazards or potential issues that might be detrimental to your vehicle or even your home.  


Finally, your main charging location should be most convenient for daily charging. This is usually a spot in the middle of your garage or parking space. For ease of charging, your charger cable should be long enough to reach the charge port of your vehicle even if you park in different positions.  


Using Your Charger Wisely


After you have installed your charger, you are good to go! To keep your charging unit in good condition for prolonged use, there are a few best practices that you should follow.


When you are not using the charger, coil the cable to prevent it from being run over, and do not leave the connector on the floor. You can also prolong the lifespan of your charger battery by not charging your vehicle to 100% every time, unless you need extra range for longer trips. After charging is complete, you can leave your charger plugged in for some time. Your vehicle will stop charging and cut off power once it reaches the optimal power level.


Finally, you can save your costs by charging your EV during off-peak hours, when electricity rates are lower. Most EVs are able to set a charging schedule within its vehicle settings, and smart-chargers can also sync your charging with off-peak times and even specific electricity plans.