Best EV Charging Stations in 2017

Product Features / Benefits Price / ROI Buying Options
HCS-40P Plug-in  image HCS-40P Plug-in

Durable

Great for outdoors

Separate holster holder

$589

Amazon

Home 32 Amp Plug-in image Home 32 Amp Plug-in

Wi-Fi equipped

National network

Stylish

$700 - $749.99

Best Buy

Home Depot

Amazon

Evr-Green e40 Electric Vehicle Charging Station, 40A image Evr-Green e40 Electric Vehicle Charging Station, 40A

Higher amp capacity

Clean interface

NEMA 4 enclosure

$699

Amazon

JuiceBox Pro 40A image JuiceBox Pro 40A

Wi-Fi equipped

Higher amp capacity

Portable

$599

Amazon

VersiCharge image VersiCharge

Simple display

Easy installation

$499

Home Depot

Amazon

Wall Connector image Wall Connector

Highest amp capacity

Customizable power levels

$639.99

Amazon

EV Charging Stations Buyer's Guide

What is an electric vehicle charging station?

If you've just bought an electric vehicle (EV), you've probably realized that your new car is no ordinary vehicle – instead of gasoline, your EV gets its power from an electric outlet. But it’s not exactly an ordinary appliance, either. Your EV is your source of transportation, and you need it powered reliably. An electric vehicle charging station, also known as an EVSE (electric vehicle supply equipment), can provide the power to your EV just like gasoline powers a fuel-based car. 

At this point you might be asking, if this device provides the power to charge my car, why can’t we just call it a charger? Why are we calling it a charging station, supply equipment, or an EVSE? This is because a “charger” refers to a device that converts household electricity to electricity that can be stored. In the case of electric cars, the charger is actually in your car’s battery. Charging stations/EVSEs provide the source of electricity while the car battery does the charging.  

Why buy an EV charging station?

First, let’s think through the benefits of the electric vehicle itself. With an electric vehicle you can drastically reduce your carbon emissions, you never need an oil change, you can repair your vehicle by plugging it in and pushing “download system update,” and you can save thousands of dollars on gas. In fact, you can avoid gas stations altogether. But then there’s the issue of charging your car.

To help with the charging issue, all electric vehicles come with a 120 volt charge cord, also known as a Level 1 charger. The 120 volt cord plugs into a regular household outlet and gives you 4-5 miles of battery life after one hour of charging. That’s not fast enough for many EV owners and so they choose to upgrade by installing a charging station. Charging stations (also known as Level 2 chargers) use a special 240 volt outlet, like the ones used to power clothes dryers. Level 2 chargers can charge an EV at more than twice the speed of a Level 1 charger.

solar panels and electric cars



What EV charging station features are important to consider?

Cutting your charge time in half with an EV charging station has clear benefits. However, not all EVSEs are the same, and installing them isn’t free. Here are a few criteria that you might want to consider when buying an EV charging station. 

Volts, amps, and kilowatts 

In very general terms, higher volts, amps, or kilowatts will mean more electricity. But buying an EV charging station can be complicated and you should understand the differences between the terms.  

It’s easiest to think about volts, amps, and kilowatts as if you were moving water instead of electricity:

  • Volts are like the water pressure. A Level 2 ESVE will use a 240 volt outlet (like the outlet for your clothes dryer). 
  • Amps measure flow rate. You can think about it like the volume of water that comes out of a hose at a given point. Most EVSEs provide somewhere between 20 and 40 amps of electricity. 
  • Kilowatts measure how much power you get when you multiply the volts (pressure) and the amps (volume). Because all Level 2 EVSEs use 240 volts, the kilowatts delivered by two different 40 amp charging stations will be the same. 

Most EVSE product descriptions use amps as the main measurement to indicate how fast your vehicle will charge. A good rule of thumb is that an output of 30 amps will give you approximately 30 miles of driving per one hour of charging time. It’s a rough estimate, but the logic follows for other levels of amps as well: 40 amps for one hour would give you approximately 40 miles of driving. 

We recommend buying a station with an output of at least 30 amps. Since EVs are the way of the future, planning ahead is wise. You might not need 30 amps for your current vehicle, but if you upgrade or add a new EV to your fleet, your won’t have to purchase a new EVSE at the same time. 

Location: outside vs. inside

Not all EV owners have garages or room to store their cars inside. In those cases they will need to research charging stations that have outdoor functionality. A holster that protects the plug on the end of a charging cord, called the J1772 connector, is recommended for outdoor installations.  

If you need an outdoor installation, look for the device’s NEMA enclosure ratings. Both NEMA 3 and NEMA 4 rated outlets should be suitable for outdoor use, but a NEMA 4 rating means the charging station will be slightly more weatherproof. 

Plugged-in vs. hardwired EVSEs

A plugged-in EVSE describes a charging station that plugs into a 240 volt wall outlet, just like your clothes dryer unit. A plugged-in station is usually slightly more expensive, but is portable and easier to repair or replace. Any EV driver that has two homes and hopes to use the same EVSE at both locations will want stations that plug into an outlet.

By comparison, a hardwired EVSE has an interior electric connection, like a ceiling fan. A hardwired station allows you to avoid installing a junction box (the metal box behind your outlet) and may be necessary for outdoor installations. With the interior connection, repairing and replacing a hardwired charging station can be more complicated.  

Wi-Fi connected capabilities

EVSEs connected to Wi-Fi typically also include an app from the manufacturer that allows you to control scheduling, remote starting and reminders. For EV drivers with time-of-use (TOU) metering, this functionality can allow you to program your charge for the time of day when your electricity is cheapest. 

Note that some connected devices will not function without Wi-Fi access. If you’re getting a charger the requires Wi-Fi, you’ll want to make sure your signal is strong enough in the location where you install the EVSE. 

Some EVs come with remote start and remote scheduling installed directly into the car, in which case having this feature on the charging station may not be necessary. However, again, consider that your next EV may not have Wi-Fi capabilities. 

Charging station cable length 

Most EVSE manufacturers sell both 16 and 25 foot chargers, with the longer chargers usually priced a little bit higher. When considering EVSE cable length, imagine where your car and the charging station will be positioned. Ask yourself: How far from the charging station will the car’s outlet be? 

Twenty-five foot chargers come with the convenience of extra mobility and may help you save money on installation if less electrical work inside the wall is necessary as a result. Also remember that you’ll likely charge your vehicle every night – the added convenience of mobility can be worth the premium. 

Price of EV charging stations 

At about $500 for the cheapest model, charging stations do not have to break the bank, but models with Wi-Fi or other additional features can increase the cost to almost $800. You will also want to factor in the cost of installation. Depending on the requirements for your installation and going rate for electricians in your area, installation can vary from a few hundred dollars to as much as $1000. 

Luckily, powering up with a charging station is cheaper than buying traditional fuel. In fact, you can save several hundred dollars a year driving an EV. Over time you will be able to make up the cost of the charging station, especially if you combine your EV with rooftop solar.  

EV tax credits and incentives

Many states have rebate programs or other incentives to encourage the use of electric vehicles and EVSEs, including specific programs to reduce the cost of installing a charging station. The Department of Energy maintains a list of the different programs in place and can be a good resource. 

Installation: finding a quality electrician

At some point you should consult an electrician. EVSEs usually involve installing a new outlet or doing other electrical work behind your walls. Unless you’re an expert yourself or you know an electrician already, any search for an EVSE should include research into electricians as well.

EnergySage EV Charging Stations Reviews
  • Review: HCS-40P Plug-in by ClipperCreek

    HCS-40P Plug-in  image

    Of the EVSEs reviewed on this site, ClipperCreek has the highest Amazon ratings (4.9). ClipperCreek’s charging stations are proudly made in America, come with a three-year warranty, and include a 25 foot cord.  

    The ClipperCreek units are plain black and do not connect to Wi-Fi, but they are durable, reliable and well-rated for outdoor use. A separate holster for the connector is included, which can be convenient if the logical storing location for the holster is separate from the device itself.  

    Buying Options: Amazon
  • Review: Home 32 Amp Plug-in by ChargePoint

    Home 32 Amp Plug-in image

    Compact and stylish, the Chargepoint 32 amp model connects to Wi-Fi and to Nest thermostats. By working with Nest it can provide a useful report on your monthly energy usage.

    A light on the face of the device indicates whether your EV is connected, charging, ready, or if there is an error. All controls are handled through the app. There are no buttons on the interface itself. 

    Buying Options: Best Buy | Home Depot | Amazon
  • Review: Evr-Green e40 Electric Vehicle Charging Station, 40A by Leviton

    Evr-Green e40 Electric Vehicle Charging Station, 40A image

    With 40 amps of charging capacity, the Leviton is a good option for EV drivers that own cars with higher charging capacity (such as a Tesla, Rav4 EV, or Mercedes B-Class). It has a clean interface with three lights to show power, charging, or fault. The enclosure is rated at NEMA 4, meaning it is great for outdoor installations.

    Buying Options: Amazon
  • Review: JuiceBox Pro 40A by eMotorWerks

    JuiceBox Pro 40A image

    At 40 amps, the JuiceBox is another option with higher than average charging capacity. The JuiceBox device is smaller than most other models, making the plug-in version more portable than some of its competitors and potentially more attractive for EV owners with weekend homes. 

    The JuiceBox offers a more industrial look and is available in a Classic and Pro edition. The Pro edition adds Wi-Fi connectivity and app controls. Other Pro features include voice control management via Alexa, charge scheduling & timing, and energy metering.

    Buying Options: Amazon
  • Review: VersiCharge by Siemens Industry, Inc.

    VersiCharge image

    The Siemens VersiCharge is an affordable option that is fully functional at a reasonable price. The device itself is larger than many other options, but it is designed to allow a cord to wrap around the body of the device, meaning its bigger size may actually add functionality.

    The VersiCharge has a simple control panel with two buttons: on/off and a button allowing 2, 4, 6, and 8 hour delays. Big, curbed red and green lights surrounding the device indicate whether the device is on, ready, charging or finished.

    The VersiCharge is rated at only 30 amps of output versus the more standard 32. It does not include Wi-Fi connectivity.

    Buying Options: Home Depot | Amazon
  • Review: Wall Connector by Tesla Energy

    Wall Connector image

    Tesla not only built its own Level 2 charging station (the Tesla Wall Connector) – the company also built their own plug. The Wall Connector comes in a 60 amp (48 amp output) and 90 amp (72 amp output) models. At the moment, Teslas are the only EVs with that much charging capacity. The 90 amp model allows the Model S to charge up to 54 miles in an hour.

    For any Tesla driver that is interested in non-Tesla charging stations, plug adapters are included with Tesla vehicles.

    Buying Options: Amazon
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