The 10 Best Level 2 EV Chargers
Since the initial publication of this wiki in August of 2018, there have been 15 edits to this page. Electric vehicles are better for the environment and cost significantly less to operate than gas-powered cars, but they can take a long time to juice up after their batteries have been depleted. However, one of these level 2 EV chargers can get the job done in a fraction of the time of the level 1 units included with most models. We've made sure to include plug-in and wall-mountable options. When users buy our independently chosen editorial picks, we may earn commissions to support our work. Skip to the best level 2 ev charger on Amazon.
July 14, 2019:
Not all EV chargers are created the same, and if you care about how quickly your car charges, it is important to understand some of the differences. There are essentially two factors that dictate how quickly your vehicle charges — your charger's output rate and your EV's acceptance rate. All level 2 chargers will be faster than level 1 models, but some are quicker than others. Of the options on our list, the JuiceBox Pro Smart and Leviton EVR40-B25 are the fastest, capable of outputting nearly 10kW, while the ClipperCreek LCS-20 and Zencar Portable EVSE are the slowest, offering a maximum output of less than 4kW. All of the rest of the models have an output between 6kW and 8kW. For most users, anything above 6kW should be enough to top up their vehicle a reasonable amount in a short period of time. The lower-powered units are best used in places where you expect to leave your car for at least a few hours between trips.
Other things to consider when choosing a unit are portability and installation. As long as you already have an available 220-volt outlet in your home, plug-in models, like the Siemens US2 VersiCharge, Mustart TravelMaster, JuiceBox Pro Smart, EvoCharge EvoInnovate will be the easiest to install. However, some may prefer the permanence of hardwired models, such as the Bosch EL-51254-A, Leviton EVR40-B25, Schneider Electric EV230WS, and ClipperCreek LCS-20. While any plug-model could technically be considered a portable option, the Mustart TravelMaster and Zencar Portable EVSE are the only ones we feel are small enough to realistically be taken along in your vehicle regularly.
Though they didn't take our number one spot, we feel many users will appreciate that the JuiceBox Pro Smart and Chargepoint CPH25 are Wi-Fi enabled. This means you'll be able to control them on your smartphone or other mobile device by using the associated application. They even integrate with Alexa for voice-controlled operation.
The Times They Are A Changin'
While EVs may only make up a fraction of the car market currently, business analysts see that changing rather quickly.
These days, the majority of American vehicles are powered by internal combustion engines and run on either gasoline or diesel. There is no arguing though, that these are inefficient, not to mention dirty and loud. Inside of an internal combustion engine tiny explosions force a piston to move, which turns the crankshaft, propelling the car forward. The byproduct of this is a release of carbon dioxide into the air, a gas scientists say is one of the leading causes of global warming.
This process is not just bad for the environment, but as previously mentioned, inefficient, too. In fact, according to the U.S. Department of Energy, only about 20 percent of the energy stored in gasoline actually powers the wheels. Of the remaining 80 percent, roughly three quarters is lost due to the inefficiencies of the internal combustion engine alone. Compare this to electric vehicles, in which about 59 to 62 percent of the power from the energy grid actually goes to moving the wheels.
When one considers the problems of internal combustion engines, it is no surprise that there is a big push towards electric alternatives. While EVs may only make up a fraction of the car market currently, business analysts see that changing rather quickly. It is predicted the number of non-gas- or diesel-powered vehicles on the road will triple by 2025. And major vehicle manufacturers not only see the shift coming, but are rapidly preparing for it. There are plans to invest more than $90 billion over the next decade in the research, development, and manufacturing of EVs and the required infrastructure. Volkswagon has even stated they expect their next generation of gasoline and diesel cars, which will begin to roll out in 2026, may be their last. While they may continue to modify their internal combustion technology for a decade or two after that, it will be kept to an absolute minimum and solely to support the release of vehicles in locations where there will be insufficient charging infrastructure.
Level 1 Versus Level 2 EV Chargers
Recharging an electric vehicle is not the same as refueling a gasoline or diesel engine. With the current battery technology, it is generally about constant topping up, rather than driving for long periods of time and only stopping to refuel when you are at a 1/4 tank. For electric vehicles, it is about adding range whenever possible. This means that EV drivers will often want to connect their vehicles to a charging station multiple times each day, whether that be at their home, a local shopping center, or when parked at work.
Electric vehicle charging options range from simple, low-voltage level 1 stations up to extremely high-voltage, networked level 3 stations. Of these, only level 1 and level 2 stations are designed for home use.
Unlike level 1 models, level 2 stations require a 240-volt power source.
Level 1 charging stations are the most basic option. They connect to a normal 120-volt household wall outlet via a standard three-prong plug. This means you won't need to hire an electrician to hardwire anything or add a high-voltage outlet, saving you money on installation costs. The units are generally cheaper to purchase, too. Unfortunately, for most people, the benefits of a low cost are far outweighed by the downside of an extremely long charging time. They typically require anywhere from 17 to 25 hours to fully recharge an EV, depending on the particular model and vehicle. You can usually expect to get between four and five miles of range per hour of charging. Sounds pretty abysmal doesn't it?
Luckily, we have level 2 charging stations. Unlike level 1 models, level 2 stations require a 240-volt power source. For homeowners who are not experienced enough to handle the installation themselves, hooking one up will require the services of a professional electrician to either install a 240-volt outlet or hardwire the unit. For anyone who drives their EV daily, the quicker charging time is worth the investment. You can expect anywhere from 25 to 70 miles of range per hour of charging from a level 2 station, with most units providing closer to the low end of the spectrum currently. This means you may be able to fully charge your EV in as little as four or five hours.
How Long It Will Take To Fully Charge Your Vehicle
Electric vehicle charging times aren't solely determined by the station and the amount of power it delivers. Other factors also come into play. The specifications of your EV make a difference, as well, and can greatly affect how many miles of range you get per hour of charging, and how long it will take to achieve a full charge.
The result is the number of hours it will take that station to fully charge your battery from empty.
EVs vary in how much power they can accept. You can find this number in your vehicle's owners manual under the term maximum acceptance rate. If your charging station provides less power than your vehicle's acceptance rate, than the charging station will be the limiting factor, which is often the case with level 1 chargers. On the other hand, if you have a very powerful level 2 charger, your vehicle's maximum acceptance rate may be less than the output rate of the charger, in which case your vehicle is the limiting factor in how quickly it charges.
The size of the battery pack also comes into play. While battery size won't affect how quickly an EV charges, it will affect how long it takes to reach a full charge. All other things being equal, the more energy a battery can store, the longer it will take to achieve a full charge.
To figure out how long a charger will take to fully charge your vehicle, divide your EV's battery capacity by whichever number is lower, the station's maximum output rate or your vehicle's maximum acceptance rate. The result is the number of hours it will take that station to fully charge your battery from empty. For example, if your battery capacity is 32 kWh with a maximum acceptance rate of 9.6 kW and your charger has an output rate of 4.8 kW, it would take roughly 6.66 hours for your vehicle to achieve a full charge.
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