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The Best Electric Vehicle Chargers for Home – The New York Times

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November 25, 2022
Whether you’re a longtime electric vehicle owner or you’re still waiting for your first EV to leave the factory floor, you should consider investing in a Level 2 charger for your home. Most modern EVs ship with a Level 1 charger—these tend to be small, portable, and slow-charging, thanks to their 120-volt output. But a 240-volt Level 2 charger is the fastest way to juice up an EV at home, adding four or more times as many miles per hour of charge. They’re also more likely to have premium features, such as a power cord that’s long enough to reach across a two-car garage or a wide variety of installation options. After 28 hours of research and 85 hours of testing, we found that the United Chargers Grizzl-E Classic is the best at-home charger for most EV drivers, whereas Tesla drivers should stick with the Tesla Wall Connector.
The vast majority of EVs fall into one of two categories: Tesla and everything that’s not a Tesla. The latter category is made up mostly of EVs from legacy car manufacturers like Chevrolet, Ford, and Volkswagen, with a charging port where the gas tank would normally be (called a J1772 port). Teslas have their own proprietary charging port (much like how, at least for now, iPhones charge from Apple’s exclusive Lightning port, whereas most other smartphones have a USB-C port). For this guide, we chose to focus on chargers that are compatible with either a J1772 or a Tesla port, as well as on adapters that can convert one type of plug to the opposite type of port.
This is the EV charger we’d put in our garage. It’s fast-charging and lightweight, and it comes with a lengthy, 24-foot cord. Plus, it’s the most weatherproof model we tested.
Despite costing less than any other J1772 (non-Tesla) EV charger in our testing pool at this writing, the United Chargers Grizzl-E Classic offers many of the same capabilities and features seen in pricier models. It’s rated for a maximum current of 40 A, which we were able to reproduce in our testing, allowing it to charge much faster than the Level 1 chargers that come with most EVs. The three-year warranty is as long as any we’ve seen, giving you plenty of time to make sure the charger works properly and meets your needs. It’s available in two plug-in configurations and can also be hardwired, whereas many of the models we tested have just one or two installation options. This charger is also fairly compact, so it won’t take up much garage space, and it’s lightweight enough to lift into a trunk or mount onto a wall with relative ease. And it has a long, slim cord that can be neatly wound around the included cable organizer. If you’d like the option of installing your charger outside, the Grizzl-E Classic has the most weatherproof exterior of any we tested, with a rating that shows it can shield the charger from superficial dirt, dust, oils, moisture, and even heavy rain or snow. It’s also rated to operate safely in temperatures between -22° to 122° Fahrenheit, and its plug has a protective rubber cap. Our main gripes with this model are that its packaging isn’t especially protective, so we worry that it could be more easily damaged in transit, and its painted metal exterior attracts fingerprints and smudges more than most models we tested. But we think most people can overlook these minor quibbles in light of the Grizzl-E Classic’s other great qualities.
Max current rating: 40 A
Weatherproof rating: IP67 (fully dustproof and waterproof)
Installation options: three (hardwire, NEMA 14-50 plug, NEMA 6-50 plug)
Warranty: three years
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If you drive a Tesla, this is your best option for at-home charging. It’s rated for up to 48 A of current, suitable for indoor and outdoor use, and backed by a two-year warranty. It also has a super-streamlined look, and its built-in cable organizer keeps its 24-foot cord neatly stored.
Not surprisingly, our testing showed that the best charger for a Tesla EV is Tesla’s flagship charger, the Tesla Wall Connector. It’s not our top pick for all drivers, because connecting it to a non-Tesla EV requires a pricey third-party adapter that isn’t designed for everyday use. (Plus, since Tesla sells more EVs than the other car companies combined, its chargers are in high demand and often out of stock.) But if you drive a Tesla, it’s the best option available with the company’s proprietary connector. Its maximum current rating of 48 A is among the highest of those we tested, and at this writing its price is one of the lowest. The Tesla Wall Connector is even slimmer and lighter than the Grizzl-E Classic, it has a super-sleek look, and it’s backed by Tesla’s two-year warranty. This charger has a 24-foot cord, just like the Grizzl-E Classic, and its built-in cable organizer is elegantly designed. It’s not quite as weatherized as our non-Tesla pick, but it’s still rated to provide ample protection against dirt, dust, and oils, splashes and sprays of water, and temperatures between -22° to 122° Fahrenheit. The biggest downside to this charger is that it lacks plug-in options, so you have to hardwire it into your home’s electrical system. That’s less convenient if you want to be able to move your charger without calling an electrician. But since hardwiring is generally preferable to plug-in installation anyway, we don’t consider this a fatal flaw.
Max current rating: 48 A
Weatherproof rating: IP55 (highly dustproof and waterproof)
Installation options: one (hardwire)
Warranty: two years
This is the EV charger we’d put in our garage. It’s fast-charging and lightweight, and it comes with a lengthy, 24-foot cord. Plus, it’s the most weatherproof model we tested.
If you drive a Tesla, this is your best option for at-home charging. It’s rated for up to 48 A of current, suitable for indoor and outdoor use, and backed by a two-year warranty. It also has a super-streamlined look, and its built-in cable organizer keeps its 24-foot cord neatly stored.
As the writer of this guide, I spent 28 hours researching and 85 hours testing EV chargers. I’ve been a science writer for more than nine years, covering a wide variety of topics, from particle physics to satellite remote sensing. Since joining Wirecutter, in 2017, I’ve reported on surge protectors, rechargeable batteries, power banks for phones and tablets, and more.
In preparation to write this guide, I interviewed Paul Vosper (CEO of JuiceBar, a manufacturer of commercial EV charging stations founded in 2009) about the history and current landscape of the EV charging industry. I discussed the ins and outs of installing an EV charger in a private home or an apartment building with Tracy Price (CEO of Qmerit, a network of certified electricians specializing in the installation of EV chargers) and Caradoc Ehrenhalt (CEO of EV Safe Charge, an EV charger installation and consulting firm). To better understand the needs and concerns of EV drivers, I interviewed Joe Flores, deputy director at San José Clean Energy, a nonprofit electricity provider; Suncheth Bhat, director of clean energy transportation for the Pacific Gas and Electric (PG&E) utility company; and Aaron August, PG&E’s vice president of utility partnerships and innovation.
If you’re in the process of buying an EV, and you want the fastest possible at-home charge right out of the gate, this is the guide for you. If you already own an EV, and you’re thinking about leveling up (literally) from a sluggish Level 1 charger to a speedier Level 2 charger, this guide is also for you. If you’re just here to learn, welcome! We hope you find what you’re looking for.
Gas-powered vehicles might still rule the road, but global EV sales doubled in 2021, and analysts expect there to be 26 million EVs worldwide by the end of 2022. We can safely assume that these millions of EV drivers, despite having at least one thing in common, have widely varying lifestyles, needs, and priorities: They could be homeowners in single-family houses or renters in multi-unit apartment buildings. Or they might be remote workers who rarely leave the house or ride-share drivers clocking hundreds of miles a day. Maybe they pass dozens of charging stations along their daily route, or perhaps they live 90 miles from the nearest public charger.
Regardless of your situation, though, having the most powerful EV charger possible at home will likely be a worthwhile investment. Per the U.S. Department of Transportation, a Level 1 charger can take days (40 to 50 hours) to charge an EV battery from empty to full, whereas a Level 2 charger can complete the same task in just four to 10 hours. Even if you don’t put many miles on your car, and topping off the battery overnight works for you most of the time, you still might want to have a charger at home that lets you juice up quickly in the event of a wildfire, flash flood, or other unforeseen disaster.
In addition to faster charging times, Level 2 chargers often come with features you might not get from the charger that came with your EV, such as:
As is true of any home-improvement project, upgrading your EV charging setup will come at a cost. In addition to the sticker price of the charger, you’ll likely pay around $400 to $1,200 to have it professionally installed. You can circumvent some of these installation costs by buying a plug-in model, but if you don’t already have a 240 V outlet installed at your parking spot (they’re typically used for RVs or electric stovetops, among other things), you’ll still need to spend at least a few hundred dollars to take advantage of the Level 2 charger’s higher current. The silver lining here is that to help recoup the costs of going electric, many federal, state, and regional programs offer rebates and other incentives, including discounted rates for electricity usage during off-peak hours (which you can manage through your EV’s app or, if it has one, your EV charger’s app).
If you rent your home and you’re unsure whether your rental agreement allows you to install a Level 2 charger, check your state’s “right to charge” laws. Likewise, if you own a home or rental property, the U.S. Department of Energy has a trove of resources explaining the various rules, regulations, and rudiments of installing EV chargers.
To find the most well-known and widely available makers of Level 2 EV chargers, we sniffed around the websites of major retailers like Amazon, Best Buy, and Walmart, as well as industry publications such as Car and Driver, CleanTechnica, Electrek, and InsideEVs. From there, we built a list of contenders based on the following features:
After sifting through dozens of contenders based on these criteria, we were left with a list of 10 models for testing:
In addition to these chargers, we also tested a handful of adapters that make it possible to charge an EV with an otherwise incompatible charger. For non-Tesla EV drivers who want to use Tesla chargers (except Superchargers, which currently can’t be used by non-Tesla drivers in North America), we tested two Tesla-to-J1772 adapters: the Lectron Tesla to J1772 Charging Adapter (40 A) and the Lectron Tesla to J1772 Charging Adapter (48 A). For Tesla drivers who want to use non-Tesla chargers, we tested Lectron’s J1772 to Tesla Charging Adapter, as well as the J1772 to Tesla adapter that comes with all Teslas.
We opted not to test Combined Charging System (CCS) adapters, which allow some J1772 or Tesla EVs to charge at Level 3 chargers (also called DC fast chargers). These top-speed chargers are commonly seen at public charging stations, but since they require a heavy-duty 480 V power circuit, they’re impractical for at-home charging.
To test the chargers, we rented a 2022 Tesla Model Y Long-Range AWD and borrowed a 2021 Volkswagen ID.4 Pro for a week apiece. Teslas have a proprietary charging port, whereas all non-Tesla EVs (including the ID.4) have a J1772 port. So testing with one of each type allowed us to confirm the chargers’ compatibility with both types.
Over the course of two weeks, we drove the cars up and down country roads, circled parking lots, and waited in fast-food drive-through queues to run the batteries down to a 65% charge. We then charged the batteries up to 75% and recorded three key measurements, as reported by the cars’ built-in software: time elapsed (in minutes), battery capacity (in kilowatt-hours, or kWh), and maximum current (in amps, or A). To test all 10 chargers with both cars, we repeated this process 20 times.
In general, to make them last longer, EV batteries should be kept at a 20% to 80% charge, and ideally they’d never get lower than 10% or above 90%. We chose an even narrower window for our testing, though, since staying above a 65% charge and below a 75% charge puts minimal strain on a lithium-ion battery (the kind found in most EVs). It also allowed us to spend way less time driving and charging than we otherwise would have: The Tesla we tested on has a 75 kWh battery and a 330-mile range, and the Volkswagen has a 82 kWh battery and a 260-mile range. So draining their batteries from 75% to 65% takes about 20 minutes to an hour (depending on driving speeds, wind, and other factors).
We ran the majority of our charging tests using a NEMA 14-50 wall outlet, which is rated for 240 V and 50 A. Even though hardwiring offers some well-documented advantages for long-term use, we didn’t think we’d glean any additional insights by hiring an electrician to install and uninstall all 10 chargers for our two-week testing period. Since the Tesla Mobile Connector comes with two swappable plug options, we tested it on a slow-charging 120 V outlet as well as the 240 V outlet. And we used a Kill A Watt power meter to verify that its time, capacity, and amperage measurements matched the readings shown on the EVs’ respective display screens (they did). Also, before getting started, we used a Klein Tools electrical test kit to make sure the voltage and wiring conditions of both outlets were up to snuff (they were).
Two of the models we considered couldn’t be tested on our NEMA 14-50 wall outlet. The Tesla Wall Connector is limited to hardwire installations, so we performed our tests at a public charging station that already had one installed. The Blink HQ150 can only be hardwired or plugged into a NEMA 6-50 outlet, but we decided to dismiss it based on other factors before getting to the charging tests. We used the Lectron Tesla to J1772 Charging Adapter (Max 48 A) or Tesla SAE J1772 Charging Adapter to connect the Volkswagen or Tesla, as needed, to a non-compatible charger. Once we’d identified the most powerful chargers, we used them to put the other adapters in our testing pool to the test.
To compare the circumferences of the chargers’ main power cords, we measured them with a small measuring tape (all were less than 3 inches around). In general, longer electrical wires are thicker to combat resistance and carry power over greater distances. So we didn’t expect any of the EV charging cords to be as slim as, say, a smartphone or laptop charging cable. But we favored thinner cords because they’re typically lighter and easier to maneuver, and they don’t add as much clutter to your charging setup.
In addition to these quantitative tests, we spent hours collecting qualitative data. Throughout our two-week testing period, we took stock of the overall look, feel, ease of use, and build quality of the chargers. We also assessed the efficacy and added value of any extra features, such as a mobile app or cord-storage rack. We did the same for the adapters we tested.
This is the EV charger we’d put in our garage. It’s fast-charging and lightweight, and it comes with a lengthy, 24-foot cord. Plus, it’s the most weatherproof model we tested.
The United Chargers Grizzl-E Classic is the EV charger we’d buy for ourselves. As of this writing, it costs less than any non-Tesla charger we tested, while offering many of the same benefits of models costing hundreds of dollars more. It’s rated to charge at 40 A, and it matched that figure in our testing with the Tesla and slightly surpassed it with the Volkswagen. It can be hardwired into your home’s electrical panel. But if you prefer a plug-in model, you have two options in that regard: either a NEMA 14-50 or a NEMA 6-50 plug. This charger is lightweight, has a long cord, and boasts a higher weatherproof rating than any other model in our testing pool, making it great for outdoor use.
When we charged the Volkswagen and Tesla batteries with the Grizzl-E Classic, their power gauges registered 45 A and 40 A, respectively. In real-world terms, this meant that it charged the Volkswagen’s battery from 65% to 75% in 45 minutes, and the Tesla’s in 55 minutes. Batteries don’t drain or charge at a constant rate—and most EVs have a setting to automatically prevent you from getting down to 0% or up to 100%, since these extreme states of charge can put undue strain on the battery—but from this we can roughly calculate that the Grizzl-E can fully charge either of these EVs in about 7.5 to 9 hours.
The Grizzl-E Classic is UL-listed, meaning it’s been tested and certified to be in accordance with national safety and compliance standards. It’s also backed by United Chargers’ three-year warranty (there’s an optional five-year warranty for $100 more), giving you plenty of time to install your charger, use it, and determine if it needs to be replaced or repaired.
In addition to being hardwire-ready, the Grizzl-E Classic comes in either a NEMA 14-50 plug or NEMA 6-50 plug configuration. We generally recommend having a certified electrician hardwire an EV charger into your home electrical system, but if you prefer a plug-in charger we think you should opt for one with a NEMA 14-50 plug: Unlike a 6-50 plug, it has a neutral wire, and it can also be used to power RVs, electric stoves, and more. In any case, we like that this charger offers more options than most—especially if you already have a 6-50 outlet in your garage for a welder or some other power tool.
The Grizzl-E charger is relatively compact and lightweight, measuring 6.25 by 10.25 by 3.5 inches (not including the cord) and weighing just 20 pounds (about as much as a small dog crate—or a small dog). Its cord is longer than most we tested, measuring 24 feet in length, and it has a circumference of 2.75 inches. It also comes with a sturdy, wall-mountable cord organizer to keep your garage walkways clear of clutter.
This charger is better-suited for outdoor use than any other we tested. Its weatherproof rating is best of the bunch (IP67, meaning it’s fully protected from dust and water). And its plug has a protective rubber cover attached by a short tether, further protecting the internal components from the elements. Also, like most models we tested, it’s rated to operate safely within a temperature range of -22° to 122° Fahrenheit.
The United Chargers Grizzl-E Classic isn’t the sleekest or most attractive charger we tested, and its glossy painted metal surfaces attract fingerprints and smudges more than most. But we think most people can overlook its sub-par aesthetics in exchange for superior weatherization.
When we unboxed this charger, it wasn’t as well-wrapped as other models, which could have potentially led to it being harmed in transit. And we found several user reviews reporting damaged parts, dents, and/or scratches straight out of the box. But since ours arrived intact, and the charger seems sturdily built overall, we don’t think it’s a major cause for concern (just make sure to inspect yours for signs of damage before setting it up).
If you drive a Tesla, this is your best option for at-home charging. It’s rated for up to 48 A of current, suitable for indoor and outdoor use, and backed by a two-year warranty. It also has a super-streamlined look, and its built-in cable organizer keeps its 24-foot cord neatly stored.
If you drive a Tesla, or you’re planning to get one, you should get a Tesla Wall Connector to charge it at home. It charges EVs (Teslas and otherwise) slightly faster than our top pick, and at this writing the Wall Connector costs $60 less. It’s small and sleek, weighs half as much as our top pick, and it has a long, slim cord. It also has one of the most elegant cord holders of any model in our testing pool. It’s not as weatherized as the Grizzl-E Classic, and it has no plug-in installation options. But if it didn’t require a third-party adapter to charge non-Tesla EVs, we might have been tempted to make it our overall top pick.
True to its amperage rating, the Wall Connector delivered 48 A when we used it to charge our rental Tesla, and it ticked up to 49 A when charging the Volkswagen. It brought the Tesla’s battery up from a 65% charge to 75% in just 30 minutes, and the Volkswagen’s in 45 minutes. This translates to a full charge in roughly 5 hours (for the Tesla) or 7.5 hours (for the Volkswagen).
Like the Grizzl-E Classic, the Wall Connector is UL-listed, showing that it meets national safety and compliance standards. It’s also backed by Tesla’s two-year warranty; this is a year shorter than United Chargers’ warranty, but it should still give you plenty of time to ascertain if the charger meets your needs, or if it has to be repaired or replaced.
Unlike the Grizzl-E Charger, which offers several installation options, the Wall Connector must be hardwired in (to make sure it’s installed safely and in accordance with electrical codes, we recommend hiring a certified electrician to do this). Hardwiring is arguably the best installation option anyway, though, so it’s an easy pill to swallow. If you prefer a plug-in option, or you don’t have the ability to permanently install a charger where you live, Tesla also makes a Mobile Connector with two interchangeable plugs: One goes into a standard 120 V outlet for trickle charging, and the other goes into a 240 V outlet for fast-charging up to 32 A.
Other than the Tesla Mobile Connector, the Wall Connector is the lightest model in our testing pool, weighing just 10 pounds (about as much as a metal folding chair). It has a sleek, streamlined shape and a super-slim profile—measuring just 4.3 inches deep—so even if your garage is tight on space, it’s easy to sneak past. Its 24-foot cord is on a par with that of our top pick in terms of length, but it’s even slimmer, measuring 2 inches around.
Instead of a wall-mountable cord holder (like the ones most models we tested have), the Wall Connector has a built-in notch that allows you to easily wind the cord around its body, as well as a small plug rest. It’s an elegant and practical solution to prevent the charging cord from being a trip hazard or leaving it at risk of getting run over.
Though the Wall Connector lacks the Grizzl-E’s protective rubber plug cap, and it’s not completely impervious to dust and moisture like that model is, it’s still one of the most weatherized models we tested. Its IP55 rating indicates that it’s well protected against dust, dirt, and oils, as well as splashes and sprays of water. And like most chargers we tested, including the Grizzl-E Classic, the Wall Connector is rated for use in temperatures between -22° to 122° Fahrenheit.
When it arrived on our doorstep, the Wall Connector was carefully packaged, with little room left for it to knock about inside the box. This minimizes the likelihood of the charger getting battered or broken en route, necessitating a return or exchange (which, in these times of lengthy shipping delays, can be a major inconvenience).
Just as you can’t charge an iPhone with a USB-C cable or an Android phone with a Lightning cable, not every EV can be charged by every EV charger. In rare cases, if the charger you want to use is incompatible with your EV, you’re out of luck: For example, if you drive a Chevy Bolt, and the only charging station along your route is a Tesla Supercharger, no adapter in the world will allow you to use it (at least for now). But in most instances, there’s an adapter that can help (as long as you have the right one, and you remember to pack it).
This compact, easy-to-use adapter lets drivers of non-Tesla EVs use Tesla chargers (except Superchargers) to juice up. When paired with a compatible charger, it can provide up to 48 A of current.
The Lectron Tesla to J1772 Charging Adapter (48 A) allows non-Tesla EV drivers to juice up from most Tesla chargers, which is helpful if your non-Tesla EV battery is running low and a Tesla charging station is the closest option, or if you spend a lot of time at a Tesla owner’s home and want the option to top off your battery with their charger. This adapter is small and compact, and in our testing it supported up to 49 A charging speeds, slightly exceeding its 48 A rating. It has an IP54 weatherproof rating, which means it’s highly protected against airborne dust and moderately protected against splashing or falling water. When you’re connecting it to a Tesla charging plug, it makes a satisfying click when it snaps into place, and a simple press of a button releases it from the plug after charging. It’s also UL-listed and has a one-year warranty.
Included for free with all Tesla EVs, this easy-to-use adapter is the best option for charging any Tesla using a non-Tesla charger. Since it supports up to 80 A of current, it can be paired with any Level 1 or 2 charger.
To charge a Tesla from a non-Tesla charger, the Tesla SAE J1772 Charging Adapter is your best bet. It comes free with all Tesla EVs, and even if you buy it separately—maybe you lost yours, or you just want a backup—it’s still one of the least expensive options available at this writing. It’s small and lightweight, making it easy to pack in a trunk or even a glove compartment, and we measured up to 48 A of current flowing through it in our testing. (This is lower than its 80 A rating. But since our testing pool included only chargers rated for 48 A at most, it’s the highest amperage we’d expect to see, and as high as on any adapter of this type that we tested.) Its NEMA 3R weatherproof rating (equivalent to IP14, meaning it’s minimally dustproof and moderately waterproof) isn’t great, but it should be fine for occasional use. Plus, it’s backed by a two-year warranty, which is twice as long as that of any adapter we tested. It’s worth mentioning that the Tesla adapter is the only product we tested for this guide (chargers and adapters included) that hasn’t been certified by UL, ETL, or another NRTL. But we are reasonably confident, given its prevalence, that any potential issues will have been spotted and ironed out at this point.
If the Grizzl-E is out of stock: You should buy the Emporia EMEVSEVAR (an almost identical charger, save for the price) without hesitation. It costs $100 more than the Grizzl-E at this writing, but it’s still one of the cheapest non-Tesla chargers we tested. It got up to 40 A in our tests with the Tesla and 45 A with the Volkswagen—both of which are below its 48 A rating but still on a par with that of the Grizzl-E. Like the Grizzl-E, this charger has a three-year warranty, is UL-listed, weighs 20 pounds, and has a sleek, low-profile shape. It has a slim, 24-foot cord, its metal cord holder is sturdily built, and it comes with a handy set of hook-and-loop ties to keep the cord neatly coiled when not in use. The Emporia model can be installed via a NEMA 14-50 plug or hardwired directly into your home power grid. (It lacks the Grizzl-E’s optional NEMA 6-50 configuration, but that’s an unusual plug type anyway.) This charger is rated to operate in temperatures between -22° to 122° Fahrenheit, and its NEMA 4 (similar to IP56) rating means it’s highly protected against the elements. Plus, its plug has a removable rubber cap, further protecting its innards from dust and water damage, and it was shipped to us in adequately protective packaging.
If you want a charger with a replaceable cord (and can live with some significant drawbacks): The ChargePoint Home Flex is a good alternative to the Grizzl-E. It’s one of the priciest models we tested ($750 at this writing), and its NEMA 3R rating (similar to IP14) means it’s not especially weatherproof. It also failed to live up to its amperage claims in our testing (it’s rated for 50 A, but we measured only 44 A with the Volkswagen and 40 A with the Tesla). And if you don’t connect to its mobile app, you’re stuck at a sluggish charging rate of 16 A. However, there’s still a lot to like about this charger. It has a three-year warranty, is UL-listed, and can be hardwired or plugged in via a NEMA plug (either 14-50 or 6-50). It weighs just 18 pounds, and it has a slim, 23-foot cord. It’s relatively sleek and compact, and it comes with handy hook-and-loop cord keepers, a built-in cord holder, and pre-printed sticky labels (so you can easily annotate the circuit breakers on your electrical panel). Notably, this is the only model we tested with a user-replaceable cord, meaning you can easily swap in a new one when it wears out, rather than having to replace the entire unit (because the cord gets handled more frequently than the other components, it’s likely to wear out the quickest). This charger is also the only model we tested that uses almost no plastic in its well-designed packaging, and it can be used in colder climates than most models we tested (with a working range of -40° to 122° Fahrenheit).
If you want a charger the size of a child’s lunch box that has a longer cord than the Grizzl-E: Get the Wallbox Pulsar Plus (48 A). Its nearly $700 price tag (at this writing) is eye-popping, but it has a slightly longer cable than those of our picks (25 feet, which is as long as it can be while abiding by national safety standards), and it’s one of the smallest, most discreet models we tested. Like the Grizzl-E and Emporia chargers, it weighs just 20 pounds, is UL-listed, and has a three-year warranty, and it performed well in our amperage tests (passing 40 A to the Tesla and 45 A to the Volkswagen). Also like those models, it can be plugged into a NEMA 14-50 outlet or hardwired in (though it lacks the Grizzl-E’s NEMA 6-50 plug option). It has a NEMA 4 (similar to IP56) rating, meaning it’s highly protected against the elements, and it’s safe to use in temperatures from -22° to 104° Fahrenheit.
The Enphase HCS-50 is on the larger side, but it has a slim profile, and, at 14 pounds, it’s one of the most lightweight models we tested. It has a 25-foot cord, a built-in cable organizer, a wall-mountable plug holster, a lock on the plug to prevent illicit charging, and a NEMA 4 (similar to IP56) weatherization rating. It’s also ETL-certified, backed by a three-year warranty, rated to operate safely at temperatures from -22° to 122° Fahrenheit, and available in a NEMA 6-50, NEMA 14-50, or hardwired configuration. However, its amperage rating is on the lower end (40 A), and it’s the priciest model we tested, costing $725 at this writing.
If you want something more portable and less expensive than the Tesla Wall Connector (and you can deal with slower charging): The Tesla Mobile Connector is a good option. Unlike the Wall Connector, the Mobile Connector can’t be hardwired into your home’s electrical setup, but it comes with two interchangeable plugs: NEMA 5-15 (for a standard 120 V outlet) and NEMA 14-50 (for a more powerful 240 V outlet). It comes with a convenient mesh zip-up storage case, it’s small and sleek, and, at 5 pounds, it’s lighter than any other contender. Like the Wall Connector, it’s backed by a two-year warranty, is UL-listed, is rated to operate safely at temperatures between -22° to 122° Fahrenheit, and has an IP55 weatherproof rating. It has a lower amperage rating (12 A with the NEMA 5-15 plug or 32 A with the NEMA 14-50 plug) than the Wall Connector (which offers 48 A), and its 20-foot cord is on the short side compared with most we tested. But these tradeoffs might be worthwhile if you want a charger you can keep in your trunk for emergencies or occasional slow-charging. Also, at this writing, it costs just $200, making it the least expensive charger we tested.
If you want an adapter with a 6-inch cord to charge a J1772 EV from any Tesla charger (except a Supercharger): The Lectron Tesla to J1772 Adapter (40 A) is a good option. We thought most people would prefer a small, compact adapter like our pick in this category. But this adapter adds a half-foot to the end of the charging cord, if you prefer to have some extra length (and you don’t mind that it’s a bit bulkier, making it more cumbersome to store). This model has a lower amperage rating than our pick in this category (40 A versus 48 A). But both models performed the same in our testing by allowing up to 48 A to pass through to the vehicle. (A representative from Lectron told us, however, that even though it’s safe to do so, passing more than 40 A through this adapter will likely hamper its long-term performance.) Both adapters cost the same, at the time of writing, and their plug ends fit snugly into their respective ports. Like the other Lectron adapters we tested, this one has a one-year warranty, is UL-listed, and has an IP54 weatherproof rating.
If you want a weather-sealed, UL-listed adapter to charge a Tesla EV from any J1772 charger: The Lectron J1772 to Tesla Charging Adapter (60 A) is a good alternative to the Tesla adapter we recommend. Our pick in this category is the one that comes free with every Tesla, but maybe you lost that one (or want a backup) and want the added peace of mind that comes with having an adapter that’s UL-listed and has an IP54 weatherproof rating—two features Tesla’s own adapter lacks. In that case, this is the one to get. It has a shorter warranty (one year, as opposed to two) and currently costs $10 more than Tesla’s version, but those aren’t dealbreakers. It also has a lower amperage rating than our pick in this category (60 A versus 80 A), but both models performed the same in our testing, delivering up to 48 A to the Tesla. (This is the highest amperage we’d expect to see, since we didn’t test them with any chargers rated for more than 48 A.)
By most metrics, driving an electric vehicle is much kinder to the environment than driving a gas-powered car. Fossil fuels produce large quantities of carbon dioxide when burned, and in turn those carbon emissions trap heat in the atmosphere and lead to climate change.
In 2020, the largest contributor of greenhouse gas emissions in the US was the transportation sector, primarily from combustion-engine cars and trucks. By contrast, in 2022 the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) reported that EVs “offer the largest decarbonisation potential for land-based transport.” They have no tailpipe emissions, require much less maintenance than traditional vehicles, and lack many of the components that have historically made cars difficult to recycle. (At the same time, it’s important to recognize that the process for recycling lithium-ion batteries, the kind found in EVs and most other rechargeable devices, is still far from perfect.)
In terms of charging EV batteries, there’s still room for improvement, since about 61% of the electricity generated in the US currently comes from fossil fuels. However, if you’re able to install rooftop solar panels or another energy-efficient electrical system in your home, you could greatly reduce the climate impact of powering your EV charger. Even if you’re not a homeowner, there might be a community solar program that you can take advantage of in your area.
As with most electronic devices, one of the most sustainable things you can do with an EV charger is treat it well, avoiding the need to replace it. If a part breaks or it stops working, the company might offer replacement parts or repairs (especially if the charger is still under warranty). There’s also a growing industry built around maintaining and repairing EV chargers, and many DIY-ers offer free tutorials (video) if you want to try your hand at it (if you have questions, we recommend consulting the community at iFixIt, especially if you’re new to electronics repair).
Even if your charger is running like Usain Bolt (as in, perfectly), you can keep its ticker ticking longer by wiping off any excess dust and moisture that accumulates on its exterior surfaces, since they can degrade metal and plastic over time. Also, to avoid damage, don’t run your charger if the weather is hotter or colder than its rated operating temperature. Keep in mind that a stuffy garage is often hotter than the temperature outside.
Sadly, at some point, even the sturdiest and most scrupulously cared-for EV charger will reach its end of days. When that happens, the best thing to do is recycle it. Recycling facilities salvage usable components from old electronics, which can mitigate the need to mine and manufacture the materials needed to make new ones. So this simple action can help conserve natural resources, reduce emissions, and avoid polluting soil and water systems.
Here are some of the best ways we’ve found to recycle used electronics:
The Blink HQ 150 is small and streamlined, weighs just 16 pounds, and comes with a wall-mountable cord organizer. It’s also UL-listed, backed by a three-year warranty, and has a 25-foot cord (among the longest we’ve seen—and the longest the National Electrical Code (NEC) will allow). However, it has the lowest amperage rating we accepted in our testing pool (32 A), and we were unable to confirm this in our hands-on testing since it can only be hardwired or plugged into a NEMA 6-50 outlet (we used a NEMA 14-50 outlet for our testing, which is more common). The plug has a handy rubber cap attached to keep out dust and moisture, but it’s otherwise less weatherized than most models we tested; it has a NEMA 3R rating (similar to an IP14 rating), which means it’s only somewhat protected from accumulating ice, airborne dust, and falling rain, sleet, and snow.
The Electrify America ‎EA2R040JPA10-00 slightly exceeded its amperage rating (40 A) in our testing, reaching 45 A with the ID.4 and 40 A with the Model Y. It’s large yet streamlined, weighing just 20 pounds, and it has a 24-foot cord, a built-in cable organizer, and a wall-mountable plug holster. It’s backed by a three-year warranty, is UL-certified, and has two installation options: NEMA 14-50 plug or hardwired. However, it’s on the pricey side ($650 at this writing), and its NEMA 3R rating makes it one of the least weatherized models we tested.
The Enphase HCS-50 is on the larger side, but it has a slim profile, and, at 14 pounds, it’s one of the most lightweight models we tested. It has a 25-foot cord, a built-in cable organizer, a wall-mountable plug holster, and a lock on the plug to prevent illicit charging. It’s ETL-certified, has a NEMA 4 (similar to IP66) weatherization rating and a three-year warranty, and it’s available in a NEMA 6-50, NEMA 14-50, or hardwired configuration. However, its amperage rating is on the lower end (40 A). And even though it reached that level in our testing with the ID.4, it got up to only 32 A with the Model Y.
This article was edited by Ben Keough and Erica Ogg.
Paul Vosper, CEO of commercial EV charging station manufacturer JuiceBar, phone interview, January 6, 2022
Aaron August, vice president of utility partnerships and innovation for Pacific Gas and Electric Company, phone interview, February 23, 2022
Suncheth Bhat, director of clean energy transportation for Pacific Gas and Electric Company, phone interview, February 23, 2022
Tracy Price, CEO of EV charger installation network Qmerit, phone interview, February 24, 2022
Caradoc Ehrenhalt, CEO of EV charger installation and consulting firm EV Safe Charge, phone interview, February 25, 2022
Joe Flores, deputy director at nonprofit electricity supplier San José Clean Energy, phone interview, February 25, 2022
Charging Your Plug-in Electric Car, U.S. Department of Energy (DOE)
Electric Vehicles, U.S. Department of Energy (DOE)
Electricity FAQs, U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA)
Explaining Electric & Plug-In Hybrid Electric Vehicles, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)
Sarah Witman
Sarah Witman has researched, tested, and reviewed all manner of products—from massage chairs and mousetraps to pencils and power banks—since joining Wirecutter in 2017. Before that, she worked as a science writer and fact checker for numerous publications, and she studied journalism at the University of Wisconsin. In her spare time, she eats as much cheese as her body will tolerate.
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