The 3 Best Electric Car Chargers of 2022

ev charging Mar 21, 2022
By Michael Jones

With 80% of electric cars being charged at the home of the vehicle's owner, installing an electric car charger at home will soon become a priority for many suburban homeowners.

In this post, we will rank and review the three best home EV chargers on the market in 2022. We'll look at factors such as charging speed, pricing, and ease of use to determine which one is right for you.

Most people think they need a level 2 home charging station, either in the garage or close to the driveway before they can even think about purchasing an electric vehicle. That's not necessarily the case.

You don't need to have a home charger set up before you take the EV plunge. It might even be a good idea to live without one for the first few months while you take stock of your driving and charging needs before investing in your home charging station.

Level 1 Charging

There are three levels of charging when it comes to electric cars. Level 1 is what your EV comes equipped with and it requires nothing more than a 120-volt wall outlet. It should be located close enough to where you park that you can plug your electric car in without the use of an extension cord, so inside a garage or outside close to the driveway would be ideal.

Most suburban homes already have this, of course, and, if not, the installation costs are minimal for any local electrician. However, level 1 charging is a painfully slow way to charge a vehicle. It could take up to 24 hours to fully charge your car (or about 4-6 miles of range per hour).

But, before you discard level 1 charging entirely, think about how often you might need to fully charge your vehicle.

How Fast Does Your Home EV Charger Need to Be?

It's not uncommon for an electric car to have a 250-mile range these days. Let's say that, between a short commute to work, various errands and occasional trips to the gym maybe you drive 40-50 miles a day.

You will have barely used 20% of the battery's charge on a typical day. In that case, the 10 hours it might take you to get back up to a full charge could easily be accomplished overnight most of the time.

And for those times when you do need faster charging, consider how close you live to a public EV charging station that offers fast charging. Maybe you have access to EV chargers at work.

And what are the available charging options at or near other places you may stop for any prolonged period of time - school, the mall, a favorite coffee shop? If any of these locations have EV charging stations, then maybe you wouldn't need a level 2 charger at home.

Of course, only you know how much you'll be driving, where you drive to, and at what times of day. And even you probably don’t know until you start keeping track of it. So keep a log for a few weeks to map your driving habits before you decide whether you need to think about going to level 2 charging options.

Level 2 Charging

For EV drivers who need a faster charging solution, Level 2 is very doable at home. It requires more specialized charging equipment and a 240-volt NEMA 14-50 outlet similar to those that power an electric stove or tumble drier. Again, most suburban homes already have at least one of these outlets, although it’s less likely to be in the garage, and highly unlikely to be available outside.A 240-volt Level 2 charger may not be necessary at home

This would charge your EV at a rate of 25-30 miles of range per hour of charging (about half that for plug-in hybrid vehicles). That’s plenty fast enough for an overnight charge even if you have a long commute with no access to workplace charging stations.

What is a Smart Charger?

While a level 2 charging set-up can be as simple as a 240-volt outlet with a circuit breaker, more and more EV drivers are leaning on smart EV chargers that connect to Wi Fi and can control EV charging from a mobile app, allow owners to control charging speeds, monitor charging progress, and schedule charges for times when electricity rates are lowest.

They are typically wall-mounted and can be either hardwired or plug-in units, and many EV owners consider them to be an essential addition to their Level 2 home charger.

What is the Best Home Electric Car Charger?

Here are my top picks of the best smart EV Charger to use this year.

Juicebox 40

The JuiceBox 40 is a high-power fast and compact electric car charger with advanced WiFi internet control. It can charge your vehicle up to seven times faster than with a standard wall outlet.

Installation is straightforward, either hard-wired into your electric panel or plugged into a NEMA 14-50R outlet (the same kind as any electric stove or dryer would use).

The smart grid features allow you to schedule your charge times to take advantage of off-peak electricity rates and the WiFi connectivity allows you to use the JuiceNet app to set reminders for yourself, monitor charging, and tap into charging data that can help you save money.

Key Features:

  • 40 amps of power
  • 10 kW Output
  • Offers both hard-wired and NEMA 50-14 options
  • Built-in WiFi
  • JuiceNet smartphone app

Pros:

  • One of the fastest home chargers on the market
  • Easy to monitor charging progress
  • Cable length 25 feet
  • You can schedule charges for low electricity rates

Cons:

  • Requires JuiceNet subscription for some features

Bottom Line:

The Juicebox 40 is a great choice for EV owners who want a fast, easy-to-use charger that offers plenty of power.

Pricing:

The Juicebox 40 costs $649.

 

Chargepoint Home Flex

First introduced in late 2020, ChargePoint's Home Flex is one of the most popular EV chargers in the US today and offers a considerable upgrade from its predecessor, 2015's ChargePoint Home.

First of all, it has an output of 50 amps, doubling the 25 amps offered by the previous iteration. That benefit is tempered somewhat by the fact that practically speaking, it can only deliver that output if it is hard-wired into the electric panel.

If you use it with a NEMA 14-50 plug instead, US Code only allows you to install a 40 amp line. That said, 40 amps is plenty good enough for most Level-2 uses.

While the Chargepoint app is more focused on destination charging and DC charging (with home charging merely being a dropdown on its main menu), one key benefit it has over competitors' apps is that it's not only available for phones, but also on Apple Watch and iPad (great for older users like me).

Key Features:

  • 50 amps of power
  • Offers both hard-wired and NEMA 50-14 options
  • Built-in WiFi
  • Smartphone app
  • Integrates with Amazon Alexa and Google Assistant for voice-command charging

Pros:

  • Backlit connector holster makes it easy to see in a dimly lit garage or driveway
  • 25 Foot Cable (longer than many others)
  • App Available for Apple Watch and iPad

Cons:

  • Can only offer full 50 amps output if hard-wired

Bottom Line:

Compact and efficient, this is a great choice for EV owners who want a more powerful charger that doesn't break the bank.

Pricing:

The Chargepoint Home Flex costs $699.

Wallbox Pulsar Plus

Barcelona-based Wallbox introduced the Pulsar Plus EV Charger to the US market in the Spring of 2021. By that time it had already been available in Europe for several years and it quickly established itself in North America as one of the top home electric vehicle charging units around.

Comparable in price to both the Juicebox and the ChargePoint Home Flex, the Pulsar Plus offers up to 40 amps of power, making it capable of delivering a charge at a rate of 9.6kW. That should be enough to fully charge pretty much any electric vehicle overnight.

One important feature is that its enclosure is NEMA-4 rated for extreme weather events, so it's a particularly good choice for EV owners who do their charging outdoors.

Key Features:

  • 40 amps of power
  • 25-foot cable
  • Smartphone app
  • Integrates with Amazon Alexa and Google Assistant for voice-command charging

Pros:

  • Particularly well-suited to outdoor installation
  • Fastest home charger on the market
  • Easy to monitor charging progress

Cons:

  • Cable can be difficult to manipulate in extreme cold

Bottom Line:

Although a relatively recent arrival on the US Electric Car charger scene, The Pulsar Plus is already giving the "big Boys" a run for their money.

Pricing:

The Wallbox Pulsar Plus costs $649