There are plenty of benefits of owning an electric vehicle; the most prominent of which is never EVER having to get in line at the gas station. In today’s guide, we’ll go over five of the best electric vehicle charging stations. Later on, we’ll talk about what factors to take into account when researching different EVSEs.
Top 5 Best Electric Vehicle Charging Stations
ClipperCreek HCS-50 EV Charging Station
Let’s kick things with the ClipperCreek HCS-50—a 40-amp charging station that peaks at 9.6 kW output to provide up to 25 miles of travel per charging hour. It’s it quick-charging abilities you’re looking for, then this is the EVSE for you.
What may be a put-off to some folks is that the HCS-50 is a hardwire-only charging station, meaning you have no option to take it with you during travel. It supports both indoor and outdoor installation thanks to the NEMA 4 fully sealed connector and works in extreme temperatures (-22° to 122°F).
ChargePoint Home Electric Car Charger
If you need to upgrade your old Level-1 charger, then the ChargePoint Home is a great place to start. This device 32-amp at 7.7-kW output power can charge a battery up to six times quicker than a Level-1 EVSE or roughly 25 miles per hour.
This is a smart home charging station that relies heavily on the ChargePoint Home app to get things done. Using the app, you can set up scheduled charging times to avoid peak-hour prices and set up reminds so you never leave home on an empty battery. There have bene issues with the app so a bit of manual monitoring is required.
ChargePoint Home Flex Electric Vehicle Charger
The Home Flex is the upgraded version of the regular Home. It delivers up to 37 miles of travel per hour of charging, making it almost nine times quicker than a standard Level-1 charging station. You can adjust the output power and amperage of this device starting from 16 amp all the way up to 50 amps to suit your car’s acceptance rate.
Available with either a NEMA 14-50 or 6-50 plug, this plug-and-play charging station is prepared to keep your car running at home and on the road. However, an internet connection is required not just to set it up but keep it going.
JuiceBox Pro 32 Smart EVSE
Although there is an “upgraded” version of the Pro 32 (the following item on this list), the Pro 32 remains a relevant and reliable device to this day. With a cap of 32 amps at 7.7 kW output power, it only takes as little as four hours to fully charge your car’s battery.
Available with either a NEMA 14-50 plug or hardwiring, the Pro 32 can be the right choice for anyone. The JuiceNet smartphone app keeps you in the loop by giving you all of the information you need (charging status, remaining charging time, and so on). Using the app, you can program the scheduler to charge your car during off-peak hours while you’re fast asleep.
JuiceBox Pro 40 Smart EVSE
The JuiceBox Pro 40 is an ultra-powerful 10-kW EVSE that’s built for both indoor and outdoor installation. The full-feature JuiceNet smartphone app lets users program the scheduler, check energy status reports, and receive notifications. You can also rely on Alexa to relay voice commands to the Pro 40.
Similar to its little-brother model, the Pro 40 is available as either plug-and-play (NEMA 14-50) or hardwired. This is also the only EVSE on our list that allows load sharing or the ability to charge multiple cars simultaneously on a single dedicated circuit.
Electric Vehicle Charging Stations Buying Guide
Here, we’ll talk briefly about the electric vehicle charging stations in general and how you can do your own research to find the most suitable model for your EV.
Level-1 vs. Level-2 EVSEs
Level-1 charging stations have a maximum output power rating of only 1.8 kW—similar to that of a hairdryer or microwave. It’s very slow and only provides around seven miles of travel per charging hour.
Level-2s, on the other hand, go up and beyond by peaking at between 9.6 and 12 kW (120V and 220V receptacles respectively). You get more than twice as much charging power and several times more travel distance per hour.
To put it simply, think of Level-1 charging stations as a regular garden hose and a Level-2 charging station as a fire hose.
16 to 50 amps?
The Level-2 charging stations on our list are rated between 32 to 50 amps, with the exception being the ChargePoint Home Flex with is adjustable between 16 and 50 amps.
All EVSEs will adjust to your car’s acceptance rate, or how much output power it can handle, so 32-amp, 40-amp, and 50-amp chargers can definitely be overkill. It’s a good idea to go over your car’s paperwork to determine its acceptance rate beforehand.
Important Features and Specs
Plug-and-Play vs. Hardwire
There are way more benefits of plug-and-play charging stations than hardwired—they’re portable, they’re easier to install, setting it up is a DIY project (assuming your homes electrical system is fully prepared), and it’s easy to unplug and remove if there are any problems or you plan on upgrading. Hardwire-only models like the ClipperCreek require full-dedication and a bit of faith that the charger isn’t going to go haywire anytime soon.
There are “smart” chargers and there are “dumb” ones. The former supports internet or Bluetooth connectivity that allows controlling and configuring from afar. All of the models we mentioned above are smart charging stations. Their apps offer a ton of different features, from setting up schedulers to monitoring charging reports and even cost estimates.
If you don’t have a garage and can only charge your car outdoors, you’ll want to check whether the EVSE is made for outdoor installation. All five of the charging stations on our list support indoor and outdoor installation, but if you’re looking for your own, make sure it comes with either a NEMA 3 or NEMA 4 plug.
NEMA 4s are better equipped to handle splashes of water and heavy snow.
Load balancing or load sharing means being able to charge two EVs simultaneously. If both vehicles can use more than half of the maximum output power of the charging station, then the charger will deliver maximum output to one vehicle and leave the “remnants” for the other.
When the first car is fully charged, it’ll kick into high-gear to deliver maximum charging to the second vehicle. This system (only available in the JuiceBox Pro 40) protects the device from overload and premature failure.
1. What is the best Level-2 EV charger?
The one model on our list that stands out from the rest is the JuiceBox 40 Pro. Its load sharing ability makes it unique in the sense that it can charge multiple cars simultaneously without overload.
However, the “best” Level-2 EV charger really depends on what you need in a charger and what your car can handle.
2. Can you overcharge an electric car?
The simple answer is no, you cannot overcharge an electric car’s battery. All modern EVs have built-in management and protection systems that ensure the battery doesn’t overcharge, thus prolonging its lifespan by several years.
Even if you get a 50-amp, 9.6-kW charger for a 2013 Nissan Leaf with an acceptance rate of 3.3 amps and 7.5 kW, the car’s system will force the charger to adjust its output power.
3. Should I charge my EV to 100%?
Some people recommend charging to full capacity if the car is not used regularly and before storage every three months. However, you should always check your car’s paperwork to see whether this is the right thing to do. Reach out to the manufacturer if the paperwork doesn’t offer a detailed explanation.
4. Is fast-charging bad for electric cars?
Fast-charging your car with a Level-2 charger can be harmful if done too frequently. You should really take time to read the charging station’s instructions and your car’s manual before plugging anything into anything.
That concludes our guide on the best electric vehicle charging stations. On our list, we describe briefly what the top five best Level-2 home EV charging stations have to offer. In our opinion, the best of the best is the JuiceBox Pro 40 which is extremely configurable and supports charging multiple cars at once.