If you’re switching from a gas guzzler to an EV, it’s best to buy a home charging kit. Though many urban areas have charging stations, and increasing swaths of suburbia and even some rural areas are seeing them pop up, you shouldn’t rely on public stations alone. EV and auto parts retailers sell an abundance of home charging kits. But which home EV chargers are the best? Consumer Reports and Car and Driver recommend these four.
1. JuiceBox 40 home EV charger
As it does with the thousands of products it tests, Consumer Reports conducted a thorough assessment of home EV chargers through a focus group and a survey of EV owners. Vehicle owners prioritized usability and convenience and noted factors such as how easy it is to manage the cables and automatic charging resumption after an outage. Using these criteria, Consumer Reports put the JuiceBox 40 on the top of its list.
Not only is CR impressed, but Car and Driver also names this home EV charger as the best. In addition, C/D considers usability and convenience-related factors, including each charger’s range of compatibility, optional features, and pricing. Car and Driver reviewers also appreciated JuiceBox’s extensive and current vehicle information database, which helps the unit tailor its charging sessions to a vehicle’s battery automatically.
Both publications note the JuiceBox 40 delivers partly because this smart charger offers multiple output options (32 to 40 amps) at different price points. The 32-amp model sells for $669, and the 40-amp version sells for $699 on Amazon. To help EV owners save money, the JuiceBox also provides detailed information about each charging session, allowing users to time their sessions to take advantage of different electricity prices. The product also comes with a 25-foot cable, making it easy to charge your EV from multiple locations.
2. ChargePoint Home Flex
Both Consumer Reports and Car and Driver also praise the ChargePoint Home Flex, manufactured by a company with a substantial footprint in the public charging space. CR’s reviewers note the residential unit’s attractive design and ease of connectivity. Unlike the JuiceBox 40, the Home Flex charger can offer as much as 50 amps.
C/D mentions that although both units can be configured to start charging sessions when electricity prices are low, Home Flex offers a more detailed database of utility pricing information, allowing users to determine the best possible rate plan and save the most money. However, like its rival, the Home Flex can also be paired with a smartphone and connect to a Wi-Fi network.
Car and Driver also notes that the $699 Home Flex unit includes a vehicle information database, though it does not match the JuiceBox’s in terms of comprehensiveness. However, with its utility pricing capability, 23-foot cord, and sleek design, the ChargePoint Home Flex is an excellent choice.
3. Lectron 32 NEMA 14-50 Level 2 home EV charger
C/D also singles out the Lectron 32 NEMA 14-50 Level 2 as the best home EV charger for buyers on a budget. Indeed, it retails for just $319, and that’s not even the cheapest Lectron EV charger. However, the option that C/D reviewers recommend received recognition for several reasons.
Though the Lectron is not a smart model, this charger performs the fundamentals well. The unit is cleanly designed with the information you need appearing clearly on an LCD screen. Unfortunately, it does not come with instructions. But with only two buttons, it’s easy to figure out how to use it. You can also set the limit on the amount of current you use to match your home outlets.
Options are another attractive part of Lectron’s charger offerings. You can buy a 16-amp version for $200 or a 40-amp model for $328, both of which are more affordable than the JuiceBox 40 or Charge Point Home Flex. You can even buy adaptors for charging a non-Tesla EV using Tesla chargers and charging stations from Lectron. But if you’re looking to track your EV’s charging efficiency or utility pricing information, the Lectron 32 NEMA 14-50 Level 2 isn’t your best bet. However, for a no-frills charger, this is the one to buy.
4. Tesla Wall Connector
You don’t need a Tesla EV to make good use of the $400 Tesla Wall Connector. However, you will need an adaptor in addition to this unit if you don’t own one. Lectron offers one for around $160. If you’re willing to pay for one, you’ll get a reliable, easy-to-use smart charger.
Now, if you own a Tesla, you’ll also need a workaround to access charging efficiency and pricing information. But if you don’t, you won’t be able to do so. Without charging efficiency and pricing information, you’ll have a 48-amp charger with a long (24-foot), thin, and flexible cable that makes plugging in simple.
Car and Driver reviewers praise Tesla’s design as the most attractive of the home EV chargers they tested. It’s likely a better option for Tesla owners, though, given that it lacks smart charging capabilities and, with the cost of the unit and adaptor, is almost as expensive as the JuiceBox 40 or ChargePoint Home Flex. But it’s a solid charger for Tesla EV owners and worth consideration.