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Can you charge an electric car at home? Can you do it efficiently? You bet! Even if you received a home charger with your electric vehicle, did you know that you can level up to drastically ramp up your charging speed? This could be a game changer if you’re on the road a lot.
If you rely on your electric or plug-in hybrid car to commute or run errands every day, these home EV charging stations are a must.
There are two types of electric car home chargers:
Level 1: This EV home charger is a standard 120-volt connection, which only requires a standard household outlet. They are more affordable than Level 2s, but they’re extremely slow to charge, and you typically get a Level 1 EV charger with your electronic car purchase.
Level 2: This EV home charging station uses a 240-volt power source. Charging times are exceptionally faster, but these stations are more expensive than Level 1s. How much do electric car charging stations cost? They range anywhere from $300 to $1,200, but you may also need to budget for installation costs from an electrician and a higher electric bill. Since most electric cars come with Level 1 chargers, our review only covers Level 2 chargers.
You have two considerations here: 1) the amps that a charging station uses, and 2) the amps you’ll need from your circuit breaker.
EV Charger Amps
The amp rate of your charging station is essential — the higher the amps, the faster your car will charge. Most Level 2 charging stations range from 30-40 amps. Portable Level 2 chargers and Level 1 chargers use fewer amps than Level 2 charging stations.
Circuit Breaker Amps
Every circuit breaker runs at a certain level of amps, but electrical codes require that you only operate your circuit breaker at 80% capacity when charging a vehicle for hours. What this means is that you have to make sure your circuit breaker amp capacity is higher than your charging station.
For example, if your charging station is 30 amps, you would need a 40-amp circuit breaker. Some experts recommend getting a 50-amp circuit breaker so you can upgrade your charging station at a later time. However, 50-amp breakers are several hundred dollars more than 40-amp breakers.
All electrical outlets in the U.S. are NEMA (National Electrical Manufacturers Association) outlets that connect with NEMA plugs, and for most purposes (like connecting your AC unit), there’s a standard type of NEMA that automatically adapts your connection. Many electric cars, however, use non-standard NEMA connectors that require you to ensure that you have a compatible connection between your charging station and electric or hybrid vehicle.
When shopping for EV chargers, you’ll notice such features as NEMA 6-20 or NEMA 10-30 compatibility. Make sure that the charging station you’re purchasing is NEMA compatible with your vehicle’s plug; otherwise, you’ll need to buy an adapter before you can use your charging station.
You want to make sure any charger or charging station you purchase holds UL certification by the global safety consulting and certification company. This approval means that the product you’re getting meets UL’s strict safety standards.
As we mentioned above, all of the products we review here are Level 2 electric vehicle charging stations (EVSEs). Also, all of our reviewed products work with all electric cars, including Teslas (with the Tesla adapter).
JuiceBox gives you the highest available power (40 amps) to charge your existing car or to provide you with room to grow when you get a larger-battery EV in the future. You can control everything from scheduling to checking for peak electric demand/rates via JuiceBox’s app. The app even notifies you if you forgot to plug in your car.
If you have more than one EV car, you can configure multiple JuiceBox charging stations never to .exceed the limit of your electrical supply circuit. This EVSE is NEMA 14-50 compatible, works indoors or out and comes with a long 24-foot charging cord. Users say it’s easy to set up, the WiFi connectivity and scheduling is reliable and customer support is fantastic.
- 3-year warranty
The ClipperCreek HCS-P40 comes in a very close second as the best home charging station. ClipperCreek has been making car chargers for more than 20 years, and they have an excellent reputation. This 32-amp charger isn’t quite as powerful as the JuiceBox, but if you don’t need the extra juice (or WiFi connectivity), you can’t go wrong with this unit.
This EVSE is NEMA 14-50 compatible, has a compact size, works indoors or out and comes with a 25-foot cord. Like our #1 pick, the ClipperCreek HCS-P40 is easy to set up and provides reliable, fast charging.
- 3-year warranty
The Siemens VersiCharge VC30GRYU is undoubtedly the best value you’ll find for a high-quality, UL-certified, 30-amp charging station. Siemens is a well-respected manufacturer of a wide variety of tech products and has been for years. This EVSE is extremely easy to use and provides a reliable charge.
This Siemens VersiCharge uses the NEMA 6-50 plug for use with traditional dryer outlets. It’s highly rated by Amazon customers, and the company gets top nods for their customer support. Siemens also offers a hard-wired charger, which is more affordable than the plug-in version, but you’ll end up paying more for an electrician to hard-wire it into your electrical system.
The AeroVironment TurboCord Dual is widely considered the best portable EV charger on the market. You can plug this flexible and affordable charger into any 240-volt, 15-amp tool outlet (NEMA 6-20), but it also comes with an adapter to plug into an ordinary 120-volt outlet.
This means you can get more juice out of your charger when you’re on the go, compared to your typical Level 1 charger you get with your EV purchase. AeroVironment is also the official charging station provider for Ford, Nissan, Fiat, Kia, Hyundai, Mitsubishi, Volvo, Chevrolet, and BMW.
- 3-year warranty
The ChargePoint EVSE is another WiFi-enabled unit with similar functionality to our #1 pick, JuiceBox. The major differences with ChargePoint are a lower 32 amp limit and a higher price tag. This EVSE also is compatible with NEMA 6-50 and comes with a 25-foot charging cord.
The problem with ChargePoint over JuiceBox lies in its WiFi capability. If your WiFi goes down, the ChargePoint app doesn’t retain your scheduling or settings during the outage. Obviously, this is a huge issue if you rely on your schedule to activate charging after you’re asleep.
- 3-year warranty
Take a look at this brief video by Autoblog Green to see how the installation process works for home electric car charging stations.
If you’re an electric or hybrid car owner, you’re one of Earth’s best friends. Have you considered spreading your environmentally friendly practices to your home? Going solar makes a huge contribution — and can save you tons on electric bills. Check out our guide to going solar and our reviews of the best solar roof panel companies to learn more.
Will having a home EV charger help you and the environment?