You’ve decided that Tesla is the electric vehicle for you, but which home charger should you buy? While Tesla sells its own charging equipment, there are other lots of other options to consider. Here’s a breakdown of how EV charging works and how quickly the different chargers can charge your Tesla so you can decide which charger is the right choice for your needs.
Every Tesla has a Level 1 charger
Your Tesla comes with a Level 1 charger that you can plug-in to a standard 120-volt outlet. It includes a handy carrying bag, 20-foot cable, and an adapter for use at public charging stations that might not otherwise accommodate your Tesla’s unique charging port. A Level 1 charger is the slowest way to charge an EV. On average, it delivers just 4 miles of range per hour, so this isn’t the best solution.
The upside to using this type of charger is that it requires no special equipment, just a typical household outlet. The only added expense you’ll have to worry about is the cost of having an electrician install a plug near where you park if there’s isn’t an accessible plug already.
Upgrading to Level 2
A Level 2 charger significantly increases the speed at which you can fully charge your Tesla. These chargers are typically 240 volts and deliver around 25 miles of range per hour. Rather than buying a Level 2 charger, you can purchase Level 2 adapters for your Tesla Level 1 charger directly from Tesla. These plugs come in a variety of styles that work with different 240-volt outlets, so you can take advantage of the faster charging whenever and wherever it’s available.
While this option works, at home you might find it more convenient to leave the Level 1 charger and any adapters tucked away in your vehicle to use only when needed out on the road. Installing a Level 2 charger at home is an easier solution for daily charging rather than bundling up the Level 1 charger and its adapters and tossing all that equipment in your trunk every morning.
Level 2 chargers are available as either plug-in units or hardwired units. A plug-in unit simply requires the appropriate outlet, which is generally a NEMA 14-50 or 6-50. These are the same kinds of outlet that are used to power a clothes dryer. If you already have one installed near where you park, then you’re all set. Otherwise, you should call a licensed electrician to professionally install this outlet to ensure it operates properly.
If you choose to go with a hardwired Level 2 charger instead, then you absolutely need an electrician to do the installation work. This does cost more than having a simple outlet installed, but a hardwired Level 2 charger has its benefits. They’re often a better solution if you have extreme weather conditions like severe snow or rain. They’re also a better choice if you’re concerned about theft since someone can easily unplug a plug-in charger and walk away with it while a hardwired unit poses more of a challenge.
Our top picks for Level 2 EV chargers
1. EVoCharge EVSE Level 2
The EVoCharge EVSE is a plug-in Level 2 charger that requires a NEMA 6-50 outlet but can also be hardwired. It is compatible with all electric vehicles including Tesla, but it does require a Tesla charging plug adapter. This charger has an adjustable output of either 16, 24, or 32 amps and can support circuit breakers from 20 amps to 40 amps.
The unit is designed for both indoor and outdoor use with a NEMA 4 rating for harsh weather and is available with two charging cables. Choose either an 18-foot cable or a 25-foot cable depending on how closely you can park to the charger. A mounting bracket and cable holster are included for easy storage and there’s a status indicator light so you can easily see if your Tesla is fully charged.
2. Siemens US2 VersiCharge Universal
The Siemens US2 VersiCharge Universal is a plug-in Level 2 charger that requires a NEMA 6-50 outlet. This should be professionally installed if you don’t already have one located close to where you’ll be parking. There is also a hardwired version of this charger, too, but it comes with a higher price.
The plug-in model works indoors and outdoors and has a 30-amp power output. It comes with a standard 20-foot cable that works with any Tesla equipped with a charging plug adapter. This charger also has a delay function that can be set for 2, 4, 6, or 8 hours so you can wait on charging your Tesla until your local utility rates are at their lowest.
3. Tesla Wall Connector
The Tesla Wall Connector is a hardwired Level 2 charger that requires professional installation. You can choose to order the unit and hire your own electrician do the work, or you can choose to have a Tesla installer do the work as a package deal when you purchase the charger. This unit is approved for indoor or outdoor installation and is compatible with the Model S, Model 3, Model X, and Model Y.
Depending on exactly which Tesla you own and how its configured, you can get up to 44 miles of range per hour. You can also customize the power level provided by your Tesla Wall Connector for circuit breakers as low as 15 amps all the way up to a maximum of 60 amps. This charger includes an 18-foot cable and features Wi-Fi connectivity.