What to Look For in an EV Charger

At its most basic, an EV charger pulls electrical current from the grid or a 240v outlet it’s hardwired to and then delivers that electricity to your electric vehicle, charging your battery like any other device or appliance would. There’s more to them than that, of course: EV chargers can be smart and offer features that optimize charging for energy efficiency and help you save money by using cheaper off-peak electricity. Some are compatible with utilities’ demand response programs, too.

The best EV chargers are simple, rugged and cost-effective and have a range of features that allow you to maximize your EV’s battery life and efficiency. Most are UL Listed, an industry-standard mark of safety based on third-party testing from Underwriters Laboratories.

There are plenty of inexpensive, low-quality EV chargers for sale on the internet, but most buyers shouldn’t be tempted by them. Look for a model that’s safety certified by an established entity (UL or ETL) and has at least a 3-year warranty.

A simple plug-in home EV charger costs around $130, while more advanced models can cost up to $320 or more. Most models that accept more than 40 amps have to be hardwired in and typically require lower gauge (thicker) wires, adding significant cost to installation. They also can run on AC, rather than DC power, and some can support bi-directional charging, allowing you to top up your car from the sun. A few can also set a schedule to use cheaper off-peak electricity, a feature that’s ideal for owners of EVs on time-of-use (TOU) electricity rates. EV Charger