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The Ultimate Electric Car Charger Guide

The Ultimate Electric Car Charger Guide

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Only a few years ago there were very little choices for electric vehicle charging equipment. When I got my MINI-E in 2009, BMW partnered with ClipperCreek to supply the home charging station, or as BMW called it, the “Wallbox” to charge the fleet of 450 MINI-Es in service in the US. Tesla also reached out to ClipperCreek back in 2008 to supply the charging equipment for the initial Tesla Roadsters. Neither company really had any choice, because at the time ClipperCreek was pretty much the only company that could deliver this specialized EV charging equipment.

A lot has changed in 10 years in the world of electric cars, and also in EV charging equipment. ClipperCreek is still around, and is still one of the top companies providing electric vehicle supply equipment, or “EVSE”. Electric vehicle supply equipment is really the proper term to use, but the general public really hasn’t warmed up to that, and most people call EVSEs “charging stations”. The reason charging station is not really the proper term is because the actual charging equipment is built into the car, and the EVSE really just provides a safe supply of electricity to the vehicle.

However, we’ll use the term “charging station” here since that’s what most people recognize the equipment as, and so those new to electric cars won’t get confused. It’s also important to note that this post is specific to the North American market. The electricity supply in Europe and most other parts of the world doesn’t use 120-volts as their standard household current as we do here, so there is no “level 1 charging”. Also, in Europe the charging cable is often not tethered to the unit for Level 2 charging, and thus, the equipment is very different than what is used in North America.

A BMW level-1 portable charger. These are provided with every BMW plug-in vehicle sold or leased. *Notice a standard household plug is used.

A BMW level-1 portable charger. These are provided with every BMW plug-in vehicle sold or leased. *Notice a standard household plug is used.

Level 1 or Level 2 – What’s the difference?

Every electric vehicle sold today comes standard with a 120-volt Level 1 portable charger. These chargers can be plugged into a simple household outlet, and don’t require any special installation. Some manufacturers, like Tesla’s cars for instance, come with a plug-in 120/240-volt Level 1/2 charger. These require a 240-volt outlet, which most owners need to have installed.

However, most manufacturers only provide a basic Level 1, 120-volt charger, and offer as an option, a higher-powered level 2 unit for sale. In order to recharge their EV quicker, many owners choose to buy a 240-volt, Level 2 charging station and install it at their home. This goes for basically all electric vehicles other than Tesla. Tesla is unique in that they use a proprietary connector, that only they use.

Every other electric vehicle made today uses the same connector for level 1 and level 2 charging for that specific market. So, there’s one plug for North America that everybody besides Tesla uses, and it’s called the SAE J1772, and another plug that everyone uses in Europe called the Type 2. We mention this not to confuse the readers, but to assure them that any charging station they purchase in their native market will charge their electric car, they do not need to worry about buying the “wrong one”. Aditionally, Tesla vehicles can also use any level 1 or level 2 charging station because Tesla provides an adapter with every car. These adapters allow Tesla to use charging stations with the J1772 connector.

Level 1 chargers will deliver between 3 and 5 miles of range per hour to a typical electric car. For level 2 chargers the rate increases to a range of between 12 and 60 miles per hour. However, that number will be limited to how much electricity the car’s onboard charger can accept. The car is always in control of how much electricity it takes in, so you won’t damage the vehicle if you buy a charging station that can deliver more power than the car can accept. In fact, many people choose to buy a charging station that can deliver more power than their current EV can accept, so they’ll be ready if their next EV can charge at a higher rate.

There are low-powered level 2 chargers that are small and portable. Many of these are limited to a power delivery of 16-amps to 20-amps. These units will charge a typical EV at a rate of about 12 to 18 miles per hour. We’ll be doing a side-by-side comparison post here on those portable units soon, but today we’re going to focus on the best choices for medium-powered, wall mounted charging stations.

These units typically deliver between 30-amps and 40-amps, and will charge a typical EV at a rate of about 25 to 35 miles per hour. Most of today’s wall-mounted level 2 charging stations come in both hard-wired and plug-in versions, which we’ll discuss later. But before buying a Level 2 charger, there are a couple things you should consider.

A lower-powered portable level-2 charger. It's about the same size as a portable level 1 unit, but can deliver much more power. *Notice a NEMA 14-30 240-volt plug is used.

A lower-powered portable level-2 charger. It’s about the same size as a portable level 1 unit, but can deliver much more power. *Notice a NEMA 14-30 240-volt plug is used.

Considerations Before You Buy

  • Are you in control of your electricity supply? If you own your home, then there’s no issue because you can install your charging station without needing asking for permission. If you own a condominium, you will probably have to get permission from the association, which can be troublesome. If you live in an apartment and have a reserved parking space or garage, you’ll likely need to get the landlord’s permission before installing the charging station, and there may be a limit on how much power is available to you in the garage.
  • Does your electric service panel have enough spare capacity to allow you to install a dedicated circuit for the charging station? If you have any question about whether or not you have enough spare capacity, consult a licensed electrician to inspect your service to let you know if you do.
  • Where would you like it installed? You should locate the charging station close to where the inlet for the connector on the car is, and make sure the cable on the charger is long enough to reach the inlet without stretching. Every EV has a different location for their charge port, so make sure you know where your charge port is located before installing your charging station.

Once you’ve confirmed that you can install the charging station and you know where you want it, it’s time to decide which charging station to buy. There’s many choices available today, and not all charging stations are created equal. Let’s look at the different features that should be a consideration when deciding on which station is the right one for you.

Power: Level 2 charging stations typically deliver anywhere from 16-amps to 80-amps. This can make a huge difference in how quickly your EV charges. You probably don’t want to buy an underpowered charging station, only to need to buy a more powerful at a later date. Even if your current EV can only accept 16-amps (3.3kW) you might want to consider getting a more powerful unit, because your next EV will likely accept at least 32 amps (7.7 kW) For that reason, we recommend getting a charging station that can deliver at least 32-amps, preferably 40-amps if you want to future-proof your investment.

Cable Length: Some charging stations come standard with only a 16-foot cable. In our experience, that’s not long enough for most people. We recommend making sure the cable length is at least 20 feet in length, with 24-25 feet being ideal.

Safety Certified: Since electric vehicle charging is a relatively new industry, there are a lot of small start-up companies making EV chargers, some of which haven’t taken the time or expense to have the device safety certified by an established testing entity like Underwriters Laboratory (UL). These devices will be delivering a high amount of power to your car every day, and for many continuous hours. You want to make sure it has been fully tested and certified. We do not recommend buying any charging station that doesn’t have the UL certification seal on it.

Hardwired or Plug-In? Hardwiring simply means the unit is permanently connected to the electric supply, so you cannot remove it without opening the charger up and removing the wiring. A plug-in unit isn’t permanently connected to the electric supply, it simply plugs into an electrical receptacle.

There are a few advantages to having a charging station that plugs in, as opposed to permanently installed:

  • You can unplug the unit and take it with you to charge at another location. Perhaps you have a 2nd home, or visit family or friends that live far away. You can take a plug-in unit with you on long trips, but you cannot take a hardwired one. These aren’t as small and as light as the lower-powered level 2 portable chargers, but they can be easily removed and taken to another location.
  • Installation can cost less. Since all you need to have your electrician do is install a 240-volt outlet, the installation can be much less than if they have to hardwire and install the charging station.
  • Since all you need is an outlet, you can have it installed before you buy the charging station, and have your garage ready to go when the charging station arrives. If you do this, make sure you have your electrician install a circuit that can deliver at least 40-amps, 50-amps would be even better.
  • If there’s a problem with it, and you need to have it repaired or replaced under warranty, you just unplug it and ship it back. If it’s hardwired, you need to have your electrician come to remove it, cap the wires, and then come back to reinstall the new one.

Outdoor Rated & Connector Holster

 Many people don’t have a garage to park their EV inside, so their charging station has to be mounted outdoors. Make sure the station is outdoor rated, but that’s not the end of the story. The charging stations usually have either a NEMA 3 or NEMA 4 rating. Both are acceptable for outdoor use, but NEMA 4 adds a little more protection and adds protection against a direct blast of water from a hose. This could be useful in areas that get blowing rain or wind-driven snowstorms.

Some charging station have a built-in or remote connector holster so the plug is protected while not in use. Other stations just direct the customer to drape the cable over the body of the unit and leave the connector hanging and unprotected. We recommend making sure the connector is properly protected when not in use. This will keep dirt, water and other contaminants from entering the connector and possibly damaging it.

Smart or Dumb?

A “dumb” charging station just charges the car, period. And for some owners, that’s all they care about.  A smart charging station has the ability to connect to WiFi or PLC and allow the owner to monitor their charging, check the power being delivered, review statistics from past charging sessions and more. This allows the owner to see exactly how much energy the car is using, so they can calculate how much the car costs to power. Without this feature, an EV owner can only guess how much the car is costing them to charge.

Some smart chargers can perform other tasks, like connecting to Amazon Alexa for voice-control of your charging, communicating with your utility so you can charge your car when the electricity provided is the “greenest” available, and even load-share so you can have two chargers on one dedicated circuit. If you want options like these, or you’re kind of a data-geek, you’ll definitely want a smart charging station.

Cost

 You can expect to spend somewhere between $400 and $1,200 for a high quality, safety-certified electric vehicle charging station. However, spending more doesn’t always get you more. We’ve also noticed many of the charging stations listed below often have special offers and discounts, so shop around a bit before you make a purchase.

For some, the least expensive charger that’s built well and has a good warranty is the right choice, and we have a top pick recommendation that fits that profile. For others, having the ability to review charging session history, calculate the exact cost of charging, using Amazon Alexa to voice control your charging and other smart-charging options are worth the extra cost, and we offer our top pick for these higher-end smart-chargers also.

A variety of wall-mounted level 2 charging stations

A variety of wall-mounted level 2 charging stations

Recommendations:

The charging stations below are some of the most popular on the market today, and we can confidently recommend all of them. They are all safety certified and have very high customer-satisfaction ratings. After considering all of their features as well as the cost, we ranked them in descending order.

However, it’s important to note that all of the units here are a solid choice if they meet your personal qualifications. In our opinion, all of the chargers listed below are better choices than many other charging stations on the market today.

And our top recommendation is…

JuiceBox Pro 40

JuiceBox Pro 40

#1: JuiceBox Pro 40 by eMotorWerks: The JuiceBox Pro 40 is our Top Pick for a number of reasons. First, it delivers up to 40-amps of power, while the main competition is limited to 30 or 32-amps. If you don’t want the extra power, the JuiceBox Pro 32 is available for about $80 less and has all the features of the Pro 40. It comes standard as a plug-in unit, it has a NEMA-4 rated outer case for extra protection from the weather, a 24-ft cable is standard, and it’s WiFi-connected with an app that has the most smart-charging features available. You can de-rate the power delivery, set reminders and notifications, and even use Amazon Alexa voice control.

The JuiceBox is also the only EVSE on the list that allows load-sharing, which allows the owner to use one dedicated circuit for multiple units. This can be very useful for two-EV families. Basically, it checks all the boxes. It costs less than the other stations yet has more features which is why it earns the top spot. Also, the JuiceBox along with the ChargePoint Home are the only Energy-Star certified units on the list.

Cost: $579.00 (The 32-amp JuiceBox Pro 32 is $499.00)

ClipperCreek HCS-40

ClipperCreek HCS-40

#2 ClipperCreek HCS-40P ClipperCreek has been making EV charging equipment longer than any of other company, and has built a reputation for making extremely durable, reliable charging stations. The HCS-40 is a “dumb” charger and is available hardwired or as a plug-in unit. The HSC-40 can deliver up to 32-amps, and comes standard with a long 25-ft cable. The outer casing is NEMA-4 rated for extreme weather and like the JuiceBox, it comes with a remote connector holster which allows the owner to locate it wherever they choose. Many owners like this option, so they can locate the holster on the wall directly opposite their charge port, even though the charger may be further away.

The HCS-40P is physically the largest unit on the list, which may be a consideration if you have limited wall space. ClipperCreek’s reputation for high-quality & durable units is well earned, and they have a very loyal customer base. I’ve personally used their products for years, and have never been disappointed.

Cost: $589.00

ChargePoint Home2

#3 ChargePoint Home 25 ChargePoint manages the largest network of public charging stations in the US. They entered the residential charging stations market in 2015 with the introduction of the ChargePoint Home. The Home is a WiFi-connected smart charger and offers real-time charging data, the electricity cost of each session, as well as previous charging history. It is available as a plug-in, as well as hard-wired unit. Like the JuiceBox, you can sync the Home with Amazon Alexa to remotely start, schedule and stop charging sessions and it’s also Energy-Star certified. The ChargePoint Home delivers up to 32-amps, and has a NEMA-3 outer enclosure, that is suitable for outdoor use but offers a little less protection from the elements than some other units that are NEMA-4 rated. There’s a built-in connector holster with a nice LED light to help center the connector when holstering it.

The ChargePoint Home is the smallest and lightest unit, with a very sleek design and pivoting connector holster in the center of the body. You won’t be disappointed if you choose to buy the ChargePoint Home

Cost: $674.00

Siemens VersiCharge™

Siemens VersiCharge™

#4 Siemens VersiCharge 30GRYU The Siemens VersiCharge is the least expensive charger on the list. It’s a basic, no-frills “dumb” charger that comes in a plug-in version as well as hardwired. Like the ChargePoint Home, it has a connector holster located on the center on the unit and is available in different cable lengths. It has a NEMA 4 rating for top weather protection. The standard cable length is a very short, 14-feet, so if you order the Siemens VersiCharge, make sure you order the cable length that you need. If you’re in the market for the most economical level 2 unit that’s safety certified, plugs in and has a NEMA 4 rating, then this might be your best choice. For that reason, it’s our Top Pick for a low-cost basic, charging station

 Cost: $458.94

These devices offer a middle-ground between the standard 120-volt, level 1 chargers that most EVs come standard with, and a typical wall-mounted EVSE like the ones we compared in our Ultimate Buyers Guide. These units are especially well-suited for those customers who want to charge at multiple locations (home, work, a relative’s house, etc) with only one unit, and also for those who don’t have the electric capacity to install a higher powered unit at home. Also, they allow PHEV owners to fully recharge their batteries in a couple of hours, instead of the 10 to 15 hours that it would take on level 1. PHEV owners may not feel the need for a more powerful, wall-mounted unit since their car has a smaller battery, and a lower charge rate than a pure EV.

The ClipperCreek and Webasto units have been available for years now, and have long since established themselves as high quality, dependable units. However, these well known favorites aren’t inexpensive, and have recently been challenged by a number of new entries to the market, many of which are offered at a significantly lower price point.

One example of the new, lower-priced units is the AmazingE. The AmazingE has been available for a little over a year now, and seems to have a relatively high customer satisfaction rate. It has an Amazon rating of 4.8 out of 5 stars, and the reviews on many online EV forums are mostly satisfactory.

AmazingE charging a BMW i3s

High Powered or Low Powered? That Depends.

Before we start the comparison, we’d like to talk a little about the power delivery of these units. Some manufacturers like to boast about the charging speed of these units in their advertisements, and it can sometimes get a little confusing. We’ve seen claims of “charges three times as fast” and “lightning fast” being used, and some people new to EVs may not fully understand how EV charging works. Some EVs can only accept 16-amps of power, while others, like the new Audi e-Tron for instance, can accept up to 40-amps. Therefore, make sure you know your car’s charging capabilities before you purchase charging equipment, or you may not pair the correct device with your car’s charging ability, and your driving needs.

Most EVs today come with a 120-volt portable EVSE. Some EVs however, come standard with a portable level-2 unit, and this trend seems to be increasing. Tesla for instance, provides a 120-v/240-v Mobile Charger with every car they sell. Therefore, Tesla owners typically wouldn’t be in the market for a portable unit like those we’re comparing here. Audi is also going to be providing a high-powered (40-amp) portable 240-v EVSE with every e-Tron, so it’s possible that more OEMs may start to follow Tesla’s model of including a 240-v EVSE with the car.

If your EV comes with a portable 240-volt charger, then you probably have no need for another one. In that case, you’re more likely to be in the market for a higher-amperage wall mounted unit.  As for charging speed, it is true that a 16-amp portable 240-volt EVSE will charge an EV at nearly three times as fast as a 120-volt, 12-amp unit as the ads claim. Just make sure you know exactly what charging equipment came with your EV before making a purchase, or you may end up buying something that isn’t really better than what you already have. The advertisments that claim their products will “charge your car 3 times faster” don’t always tell the whole story.

There are also many EV owners who may be better served buying a 32-amp wall mounted unit for only a little more than the cost of many of these lower-powered, portable 240-volt units. These wall-mounted chargers are twice as powerful as the 16-amp portable units we’re discussing here today. Therefore, “powerful” is a relative term, and we urge customers to do their due-diligence before purchasing any EV charging equipment.

ClipperCreek includes a wall-mounted connector holster with every EVSE. Webasto includes a wall-mounted cable organizer and a carry case. AmazingE includes two large grocery-style bags for storing & transporting the unit.

ClipperCreek includes a wall-mounted connector holster with every EVSE. Webasto includes a wall-mounted cable organizer and a carry case. AmazingE includes two large grocery-style bags for storing & transporting the unit.

Part of your research should be determining whether or not it’s even possible to add a dedicated 40-amp or 50-amp circuit necessary for a 32-amp or 40-amp higher powered wall unit to your home. Many homes, especially older ones, cannot add a 40-amp circuit without an entire service upgrade that costs thousands of dollars. Those in that position may have no choice but to settle for a lower-powered 16-amp 240-volt EVSE. All three of the units in our comparison can deliver 16-amps of power, which will charge a typical EV at a rate of rough 11 to 15 miles of range per hour, depending on how efficient the vehicle is.

One last consideration is the plug. While they all use the same industry-standard J1772 connector to plug into the car, each of the three units in our comparison uses a different wall plug on the other end. The variety of different types of outlets can be a big problem for those who want to take these small, portable units on the road with them. It’s not an issue for home charging, because you can install the outlet you need at home, your place of work or maybe even at a relative or friend’s house.

However, trying to find an available NEMA 14-30 outlet at the local shopping mall, or a NEMA 6-50 at a rest stop along the highway can be challenging. The NEMA 14-50 outlet seems to be the most popular, and that’s probably because Tesla uses it for their Mobile Charger. Tesla has had them installed for destination charging in many locations, as have Tesla owners. If it’s your intention to use your portable 240-volt EVSE at multiple locations and opportunity charge whenever possible, we’d recommend investing in an array of adapters, definitely including a NEMA 14-50, so you’re ready for any available 240-volt outlet that you come across.

The Contenders

ClipperCreek LCS-20P

ClipperCreek has been making electric vehicle charging equipment at least as long, if not longer, than anyone in the business. Many manufactures have turned to them for the standard level 1 charging equipment that is supplied with their electric vehicles. The LCS-20P we’re using for the comparison is the heaviest of the three and weighs 6 lbs. However, it also has a standard 25-foot cable, which is 5-feet longer than the other two units. It has a built-in cable management by coiling the cable around the unit, and securing it in place with a locking strap. There are four holes (two on top and two on the bottom of the unit) which allow for easy wall mounting and removal if desired. The unit is NEMA 4 rated which is good for outdoor use even in extreme weather.

ClipperCreek includes a wall-mounted connector holster in the box with all of their EVSE, which is especially useful if you’re going to be charging outside. We at InsideEVs recommend always holstering or capping your EVSE connector when not in use to prevent dust, water and other contaminants from infiltrating the connector head. Unlike Webasto or AmazingE, ClipperCreek doesn’t provide a carrying case or bag with the unit. However, as mentioned above, it does have a nice cable management system to make handling and transporting it easy.

One notable point is that ClipperCreek is the only company that allows their customers to choose which plug they would like on the unit. They offer the LCS-20P with four different plug configurations: NEMA 14-50, NEMA 6-50, NEMA 14-30 or NEMA L6-30. By allowing the customer to choose which plug is used, the customer could potentially save up to a couple hundred dollars by not needing to install a new outlet, or needing to upgrade the wiring in the existing circuit. We got our unit in a NEMA 14-50 plug configuration because that seems to be the most popular. Plugshare even has a 14-50 plug option in their search criteria, so you can search a destination for available outlets. You can’t do that for the other 240v plug configurations.

Webasto TurboCord

The TurboCord was developed and sold by AeroVironment until earlier in 2018 when Webasto purchased AeroVironment’s EV charging business. AeroVironment specializes in “Unmanned Aircraft Systems and tactical missile systems used for surveillance and reconnaissance by the military,” so EV-charging equipment should be pretty simple for them. They did in fact, prove their engineering expertise when they developed and introduced the TurboCord in 2014.

The TurboCord is tiny, and weighs only 4 lbs. It’s so small and light, that it plugs directly into the outlet, so there’s no need to have any kind of wall mounting system. It has a 20-foot cable and the unit has a NEMA-6 rating, which is not only good for all kinds of weather, including direct hose spray like the NEMA 4 rated ClipperCreek and AmazingE, but it is also rated for up to 30 minutes of complete immersion in up to a meter of water. It’s the smallest, lightest and highest NEMA-rated unit of the three. Webasto includes a wall-mounted cable hanger in the box, but not a connector holster.

The TurboCord is also the only 120-volt/240-volt unit of the three in our comparison. It’s worth noting that you can get the TurboCord in a dedicated 240-volt configuration for $389, which is $110 less than the dual-voltage version we have that retails for $499. To switch from 240-volts, to 120-volt charging on the dual-voltage unit, you simply remove the 240-volt adapter and locking clip, and plug the unit into any simple household outlet.

When the unit is charging on 120-volts, it will deliver up to 12-amps (1.4kW) of power which will charge a typical EV at about 3 to 5 miles of range per hour. Add the NEMA 6-20, 240-volt adapter, and the charge rate jumps up to roughly 11 to 15 miles per hour. Having the ability to switch between 120-volts and 240-volts is desirable, because the one unit is all you ever need to charge at home or take with you on the road.

AmazingE 

The AmazingE is the lowest-cost choice of the three, and by a significant amount. At only $219.00 it’s a good value for a solid 240-volt portable charger. Like the ClipperCreek unit, it’s NEMA 4 rated, which is fine for use in all outdoor weather conditions.

Unlike the two other units, there’s no cable management system. The only thing included for cable management is a small Velcro strap attached to the cable. As for wall mounting, there are two brackets on the rear of the unit which will slide over screw heads to hold it on a wall. It works, but it’s not as easy or as secure as the ClipperCreek’s mounting process. There is no connector holster included but their website does have a connector holster available for $19.00. It’s actually the exact same holster that’s included with the ClipperCreek unit.

In fact, the AmazingE is sold through, serviced by, and uses components made by ClipperCreek, and that offers buyers a higher level of confidence, since ClipperCreek is an established brand with high customer satisfaction. As mentioned above, AmazingE has started off well, and currently has a very-high 4.8 of out 5-star rating on Amazon, which is part of the reason why we chose to include it in this review, instead of one of the other new-to-market portable 16-amp EVSE.

On the negative side, AmazingE only offers an 18-month warranty, which is half as long as what ClipperCreek and Webasto offers on their products. That’s a significant shortcomming in our opinion, and buyers should definitely take warranty length into consideration when making a purchase decision. It also uses a NEMA 14-30 plug which aren’t very common in many public places. We’d recommend getting a NEMA 14-50 adapter if you have an AmazingE and plan to charge on the road at times.

AeroVironment / Webasto

AeroVironment / Webasto

#5 AeroVironment/Webasto EV Charger Earlier in the year, AeroVironment sold their EV charging division to Webasto, which is the reason for the dual-name above. AeroVironment had been making this popular charging station since 2010, and it has proven to be an extremely reliable unit. BMW, Ford, Nissan and others all chose AeroVironment at one time or another to be their official charging partner and used this unit. It is a “dumb” charging station and is available in hardwired or plug-in versions and delivers 32-amps. Like the ChargePoint Home, the outer casing is NEMA-3 rated, so it has a little less protection from the elements than the other three units on this list. This charging station was once a top choice, but it hasn’t upgraded or improved in eight years, so the competition has passed them. However, it’s still a solid choice if it fits your needs and budget.

Cost: $589.00

Lower Cost Portable Options

We recently posted our Ultimate Buyers Guide to Level 2 Chargers, that included our Top 5 picks for wall-mounted, medium power (30-amps to 40-amps) level 2 charging stations. We’re now turning our attention to lower-powered, portable Level 2 EVSE units, and have selected the ClipperCreek LCS-20P, the AmazingE, and the AeroVironment (now Webasto) TurboCord for our side-by-side comparison.

By the numbers:

 ClipperCreek HCS-20P                  Webasto TurboCord                          AmazingE

Power:  16-amps @240v              12-amps @120v 16-amps @240v           16-amps @240v

Weight: 6 lbs.                                               4 lbs.                                             4.6 lbs.

Cord Lenght: 25-feet                                              20-feet                                        20-feet

Dimensions: 11″L x 4″W x 3″D                     5.5″L x 3.7″W x 1.8″D                   9.2″L x 3.5″W x 2″D

NEMA Rating: NEMA-4                                        NEMA-6P                                        NEMA-4

Plug: (NEMA 14-50, 6-50, L6-30 or 14-30)          NEMA 6-20                                   NEMA 14-30

Connector Holster: Included                                         No                                              Optional

Cable Mgmt: Built-in w/locking strap         Included- wall mounted                      Velcro Strap

Warranty: 3 Years                                         3 Years                                           1.5 Years

Price:  $395.00           $389.00(240-v only) $499.00 (120/240v)              $219.00

Other Considerations

As mentioned above, there have been a lot of new entries in the portable 240v EVSE market in the past couple of years. The units selected for this comparison are, in our opinion, some of the better choices available today.

InsideEVs also reached out to Duosida to see if they wanted to be included in this comparison test, but they didn’t respond back. Duosida offers a low cost (sub-$200) portable 120v / 240v EVSE that is marketed and sold under 4 or 5 different names (Zencar, EVChargeSolutions, BougeRV, OrionMotorTech and more). However, this unit seems to have many unfavorable ratings on Amazon, with customers complaining that their units failed within the first year of use. Also, the Duosida website states that the product is only covered by a 30-day warranty, so buyer beware.

Another consideration worth mentioning is the fact that ClipperCreek offers a variety of different power level options to meet the customer’s needs. We focused on 16-amp unit here, because 16-amp units are the most popular, and what the majority of the competition is offering. In addition to offering four different plug configurations, ClipperCreek also offers their LCS models in power ratings of:

  • 12-amps (2.8 kW)  – Delivers about 8-11 miles of range per hour
  • 16-amps (3.8 kW)  – Delivers about 11-15 mph (The model used in our comparison)
  • 20-amps (4.8 kW)  – Delivers about 14-19 mph
  • 24-amps (5.8 kW)  – Delivers about 17-23 mph

 

Recommendations

Choosing the right level 2 portable EVSE for your needs is a personal decision based on budget, the charging capability of your EV, the power you have available at your house, the daily driving range you need, and perhaps the outlets you have available for you to use at work or other locations you frequent.

The three units we present here are all very capable, well made devices and InsideEVs feels comfortable recommending all of them. With that said, it would be hard to say that ClipperCreek isn’t our favorite brand for portable EV charging for the following reasons:

  • They offer units in 4 different power levels, and all come in 4 different plug configurations
  • All of their units come with the industry-best 25-foot cables
  • All of their products come with a robust 3-year warranty
  • They have built-in cable management, and include a wall-mounted connector holster
  • ClipperCreek has a long history of making top-quality products & great customer service

But that’s not to say that someone might be looking for the least expensive, well-built 16-amp portable EVSE available and find ClipperCreek’s $395.00 price a little too high. Those people may find the $219.00 AmazingE the right fit for them (provided they can look past AmazingE’s kitschy cartoon advertising!).

 

The TurboCord’s ability to switch between 120-volts and 240-volts is a feature that others will put a premium on. It’s small, light, and comes with a nice carrying case, but at $499 it’s more than twice the price of the AmazingE. On the other hand, the warranty is twice as long as the AmazingE’s, and it’s the only unit of the three that’s NEMA 6P rated, which means it can be fully submerged in up to a meter of water for at least 30 minutes and still operate and quality like that does come with a price.

The TurboCord's 240v adapter pulls off to reveal a simple 120v household outlet

The TurboCord’s 240v adapter pulls off to reveal a simple 120v household outlet

While there’s no one-size-fits-all when buying electric vehicle charging equipment, there are some important features and other considerations when shopping for one. First, make sure your home can accommodate the electric demand the unit you want needs. Make sure it’s paired well with the amount of electric your EV can accept (the car always dictates how much power it will accept, so you don’t have to worry if you get a charger that can deliver more than your car’s maximum charge rate). Decide which plug you want, and get adapters if necessary. Check to see if the unit is safety certified and that it has at least a NEMA 4 outdoor rating for adverse weather conditions. Make sure the cable is long enough for your needs, and that you have a holster or cap for the connector when not in use. Finally, don’t rush to buy a unit that is a few dollars less without thoroughly checking product reviews and ratings.

There are a lot of new entries to this market, and many of these units aren’t built as well, and don’t have the proven track record as the three we used for this comparison. Since these devices will likely be used every day and for many continous hours, and if they aren’t well-made you could run into serious problems. Saving a few bucks today could be very costly down the road, so do your homework before buying an EVSE, and certainly make sure it’s safety-certified and market tested.

Source: insideevs
Anand Gupta Editor - EQ Int'l Media Network

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