There is currently an abundance of electric vehicle chargers on the market, but which one is right for you? It can be an overwhelming decision, especially if you are new to the world of electric cars, but there are a number of different things that you should be looking for before committing to one.
With many energy companies branching out into this field and producing their own devices, it is important that you find an electric charger that is really worth its price and has the features you need.
What should you be looking for in an EV charger?
Choosing the right charger for your car can be tricky, but there are generally a number of things to look out for before you make a purchase:
EV Charger Price
Budget is a great starting point to help decide which charger is right for you. There are many great chargers with extra features and fancy designs, but they tend to come at a higher price. You can find chargers for as little as £150, though the reviews tend to be very mixed, so we recommend going for a mid-price charger if possible. You should also remember that most companies charge extra for installation at your home.
The OLEV grant from the UK government is great because it allows you to buy a quality charger, with lots of extra features, at a cheaper price. The grant offers up to £350 to put towards a device – this leaves you with very little left to pay. It is worth noting that many companies in the UK advertise their price with the £350 taken off, assuming that you will receive the OLEV grant.
Type of EV charger
When purchasing your charger, you should be conscious of whether it is tethered or untethered. Tethered chargers mean that the cable to connect your car is permanently connected to the appliance, which can be more convenient for you as you do not need to purchase one separately. The main disadvantage of tethered cables is that if something were to go wrong, or you wanted to purchase a longer cable, you would need to replace the whole electric charger.
You also need to choose whether you would like a type 1 or type 2 charger, dependant on your vehicle. Untethered chargers offer the most flexibility; they are compatible with both types of car, as well as giving you the option to replace the cable as often as you would like.
The only drawbacks of an untethered charger are security and storage. It is a lot simpler for a criminal to steal the cable if it is untethered, and storing it can be more effort. It is also important to remember that this would be an additional cost when you first purchase your charger.
EV Charger Style
As with anything that you buy for your home, as well as having lots of functionality, it is important that the device looks great when attached to your wall. You should be able to pick where your charger is fitted; the more hidden it is, the less it matters what it looks like.
If your charger is attached to the front of your house, it might be worth finding one that is less bulky and looks sleeker. You will likely be seeing it every day, so it is important that you like its aesthetics.
EV Charger Features
Arguably the most important aspect of an electric vehicle charger is the features that it offers. While simple devices that charge your car in a few hours are a lot cheaper, it can sometimes be worth paying extra for features such as rapid charging and solar energy diversion. It really depends on your lifestyle and what you personally need in a charger.
If you live in a location that has terrible WIFI, many electric chargers have built-in 4G systems that can allow you to use the device without connectivity issues – a lot of them even connect to their own personalised apps, letting you change the settings from your sofa.
Best EV Chargers in 2021:
Ohme fixed wall charger
Features: This is a small but powerful charger that packs a lot of great features. It is easy to control with the app (this even has voice recognition!) and allows you to optimise your charging to be greener and protect the battery life. You can even set notifications to alert you when energy companies reduce their prices, as well as setting charging schedules to suit you.
Design: This is a great tethered charger that can connect to both type 1 and type 2 vehicles. The cable length is 5 metres; this is a great length if you would prefer to hide the device around the side of your building rather than have it on display at the front of your house. It is a compact and neat charger that looks really sleek and modern – our favourite on the market.
User reviews: Users are raving about this charger and its compatibility with Octopus Energy’s smart tariff. Ohme’s customer support is proving popular, and their mobile app is incredibly user-friendly. With an average 5* rating, this is a great all-rounder at a reasonable £495.
Lite by Pilot EV
Features: This charger has an adjustable power output that can be controlled remotely by its user-friendly mobile app. You can choose whether you want this device to be wall-mounted or post mounted and Pilot EV offer a 5-year warranty with the purchase of any of their products – great if you want peace of mind with your charger.
Design: At £695, this is a great option if aesthetics is a top priority for you. It has a modern black casing and a screen that lights up at night. The Lite is a tiny device that looks great on the front of your property and offers tethered or untethered charging.
User reviews: The main benefit of this device is its attractive design – the LED lights are really popular. They offer bespoke design options which allow customers to really personalise their chargers to complement their homes. This charger is well-deserving of its 5* rating.
Elvi by Evbox
Features: Although this is a fairly expensive charger at £895, this device ticks all of the boxes. A great feature of this charger is its solar energy integration, which can save you a lot of money in the long run if you already have solar panels on your property. The app works perfectly and allows you to customise your charge.
Design: Both tethered and untethered options are available, as well as a choice between a black and white design. Though it is a slightly larger charger than the Ohme, it is still an attractive appliance that would not look out of place on the front of your home.
User reviews: Users love Elvi’s futuristic design and its compatibility with every charger. The device also requires user authorisation before charging commences, which ensures that nobody can steal your energy to charge their own car – this is a very popular feature amongst reviewers.