Home Chargers for Electric Cars: What Consumers Think
If you’re thinking of getting behind the wheel of a more efficient, eco-friendly vehicle, there’s never been a better time. With more affordable EVs, more incentives for buyers, and a rapidly expanding nationwide public EV charging infrastructure, electric cars are within the reach of more drivers. But if you’re looking for the best, most convenient experience possible, you’ll want to invest in a home charger as soon as possible.
You have so many options for home chargers for electric cars that it can be difficult to know where to begin. Fortunately, you’re not the first to make the switch to an EV, so take a look at what experienced drivers look for in a home EV charger in the guide below before making your decision.
Level 1, 2, and 3 Charging Explained
First, you’ll need to know about home EV charging levels. EV chargers operate at different charging speeds. Level 1 chargers draw power through standard residential 120-volt AC outlets. Level 2 chargers require the installation of dedicated charging equipment to provide a 240-volt current. It can take a level 2 charger about 12 hours to charge a battery electric vehicle to full from empty, whereas a level 1 charger may need more than 50 hours to fully charge an EV.
Level 3 chargers, also known as DC fast chargers, are larger, more expensive to purchase and install, and most commonly seen in public DC charging stations. In general, these are the least affordable and convenient options for home users.
Top EV Level 1 Chargers
Most EVs come with a level 1 charger included, but plenty of aftermarket options also offer a range of additional features and benefits. Here are some of the best-rated level 1 home chargers for electric cars.
Lectron NEMA 5-15 Level 1 EV Charger
The Lectron Level 1 EV Charger is a great option for EV drivers on a budget. Typically retailing for around $185, it’s one of the most affordable on the market, and its best features include simple installation and reliable charging. It’s designed to plug into NEMA 5-15 outlets (the standard three-wire outlets found in most homes) and offers a maximum current of 16 amps along with overvoltage, overheat, and overcurrent protection.
Drivers can purchase a J1772 charging cable for Tesla models, and you may also want to buy a 220-volt adapter for faster charging times. The main drawback of this product is the charging cable, which, at just 21 feet long, may be a little too short to connect if you don’t have an outlet near your driveway. However, you can find extension cords suitable for use with this model if needed.
Megear Skysword II Level 1-2 EV Charger
The Megear Skysword II isn’t technically a level 1 charger but rather a level 2 designed for use with NEMA 14-50 high-voltage plugs. However, it comes with a 110-volt adapter, making it suitable for slower but more affordable home charging. The Skysword II features a built-in LED display through which you can make use of several useful alerts and safety features.
This charger comes with a J1772 plug suitable for indoor and outdoor use. Its 16 amps give it a charging rate of 11 to 15 miles per hour, which isn’t the fastest but will give your EV enough power for short journeys or to reach your nearest public fast charging station. The 25-foot charging cable may also not be long enough for some homes, so you might need to invest in an extension cord before using it.
Morec Level 1-2 Portable EV Charger
Although this is technically a level 1 charger, the Morec is designed for use with 240-volt NEMA 6-20 outlets with a NEMA 5-15 adapter to offer level 1 and 2 charging. Plus, the Morec design offers superior water resistance and heat dissipation, making it a more robust charger suitable for long-term charging on the go.
Other features include a 24-foot-long cable, an LED display to monitor alerts and charging progress, and a maximum current of 15 amps to supply 1.8 kW of charging power. Plus, with a water-resistance rating of IP 65, Morec’s level 1 charger can even be used to charge your vehicle in the rain.
Let’s recap: whether you’re looking for an EV level 1 charger for on-the-go power top-ups, or just to keep your car powered enough to reach the nearest DC fast charger, there are plenty of options to choose from. What’s more, lots of chargers are even capable of level 2 charging, giving you the power to stay on the move within your budget and on your terms.
Just look for one of the quality chargers described above and be prepared to shell out a little more for extras like extension cords and adapters, and no destination will be beyond your reach.