EV Charger Buying Guide

Electric Vehicle Chargers vary massively in price, looks, and features. It can be a bit of a minefield to work out which is best for your requirements. This buying guide helps to navigate that minefield and allows you to compare the chargers we offer and their key features. We’ve broken down the key considerations when choosing your ideal charging point:

  • Budget – EV Chargers for home use range from approximately £300-£3000.
  • Tethered or Untethered? Do you prefer just a socket and a portable cable, or do you want to have your cable connected, then keep a spare in the boot for out and about? Also, you need to consider vehicle connection type – Type 1 or Type 2?
  • Location – Where is your charger going to be located? Do you want ease of installation or ease of charging?
  • Look, Size and Features
    • Small and discreet, or stylish and standout?
    • Compatible with solar or other renewable sources?
    • Wifi and handy App to control the charging?
    • Need an Earth Rod for installation?

Budget

The saying “you get what you pay for” is mostly correct in the EV charging world. Chargers for home use can range from £300 to £3000. The low end of the price range has useable chargers but are perhaps less reliable and not as robust as the more premium chargers. Super expensive chargers are great but out of most people’s price range.

At Smartly, we focus on chargepoints which are mid-range in price (approximately £600-1000), as they are more affordable are very reliable, look great, and have excellent features.

Tethered or Untethered?

EV Chargers can be tethered with a charging cable attached, or untethered where you connect a charging cable to a socket on the charger. Both options are great, and some brands even offer both types of for their chargers – it’s really personal preference which one you go for, and comes down to a balance between ease of use and cost. Some pros and cons of each type are below:

  • Untethered chargers are cheaper than tethered.
  • Untethered would require an additional charging cable at cost.
  • Tethered chargers are quicker to use and the cable usually tucks away easier.
  • Untethered chargers allow the charging cable to be removed, so the charge point is less “messy” than with a cable wrapped around. Saying that, most people just leave the cable wrapped around the charger with both charger types.
  • Tethered chargers are only available in standard lengths of charging cable, so if you wish a longer cable for charging at your location, then untethered is better, and then buy a longer detachable charging cable.
  • We recommend buying a spare cable to use for public charging, so if you need a spare anyway then maybe untethered is better?
  • However, it can be onerous to constantly plug and unplug the cable when you need to take it with you. So, do you want a tethered charger and then just keep a spare charging cable in your boot all the time?

  • When deciding on Untethered or Tethered, it is very important to consider your vehicle connection Type.

  • Type 1 Connection
    • If you own an electric vehicle with a Type 1 connection then buying an untethered charger (and a detachable Type 1 charging cable) is recommended, for future proofing, as the vast majority of modern electric vehicles have Type 2 connections.
  • Type 2 Connection
    • Most electric vehicles have a Type 2 connection and most tethered chargers have a Type 2 plug, so either tethered or untethered would generally suit, but it is definitely worth checking.

Location

When buying a charger for your EV, its installation location and vehicle location are important. If you are buying a tethered charger, then make sure the charging cable connecting the car to the charger can reach. If you are buying an untethered charger, then it is easier, as you can buy the required length of
charging cable.

Equally, make sure that the charger can be installed where you wish, for example inside your garage or on an external wall of your home next to the driveway.  The charger needs connected to your home consumer unit/fuse board, so requires cabling installed. It may be easier to install the charger nearer the consumer unit and buy a longer charging cable. This can be discussed with your installation electrician.

In terms of charger appearance, location is important. Yes, it is a functional piece of electrical equipment, but many EV Chargers sit at the front of the home, so why not have a more stylish charger? If the charger will be hidden in a garage or side of the house, then this may not matter as much. At Smartly, we have hand-picked the most affordable and stylish chargers on the market, to
hopefully make this decision easier for you.

Looks, Size and Features

As you can see from our store, EV Chargers come in lots of different styles and sizes – futuristic designs or smaller and more subtle. Again, it’s personal preference, whether you wish your charger to be a feature of your home or driveway or whether you wish it to be hidden away.

Our comparison chart shows many of the features you may wish to consider, for example:

  • Colour options – for example, do you want a plain black charger or a bright red feature charger?
  • Is the charger wifi compatible and can be controlled via an app? Which allows you to control the timing of your charging (for example at night when electricity is cheaper).
  • Is it compatible with solar panels? If you have solar panels installed (or may have in the future), then integrating your charger with the solar system can allow you to charge for free with the sun’s rays!
  • Has the charger equipped with PEN Fault technology? This means it is able to be installed without requirement of additional earthing, so the installation will be cheaper and less intrusive.
  • Find your vehicle and its compatible charging products here!

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