Residential EV Charging Stations: A 2023 Buyers Guide

After purchasing your EV you’ll need to invest in a home EV charging station– yet how do you decide which one to buy? You’ll find many residential EV charging stations on the market and many variables to consider including; charging speed, price, quality, ease of installation, and looks. Read this guide to help you make an informed decision on which charging station is the best. You’ll learn what a charging station is, the different types, and important considerations to be aware of.  

Let’s first take a look at why you need a better charging device for daily use than the trickle charger that came with the EV!

Trickle Charger: Why It May Not Be The Best Choice

Level 1 EV chargers or ‘trickle chargers’ often come with your EV purchase. They’re one of the slowest charging devices because it can take more than 24 hours to fully charge an EV battery with them. In practical terms, you have to charge your EV as soon as you finish work and return home. This is a major headache for most EV owners as you’ll always worry about when you can plug-in your vehicle! Trickle chargers are classified as a level 1 charging device, aka the slowest of 3 established levels. If you own a level 1 charger you can expect it to use a 120 volt source and generate a power output of approximately 2.4kW. This equates to a  possible range increase of 5 miles in an hour of charging.

Your level 1 charger is the bare minimum that you’ll have at home or in the back of your EV. Trickle chargers are easy to use because they fit a regular household plug socket and can save the day if you are a light commuter and make a habit of charging your EV overnight. That said, for most people, a level 1 charger will often not be efficient enough for their usage levels. The slow charging time greatly limits the user’s mobility because it does not allow for any unplanned journeys as you may not have sufficient charge in your battery for the entire trip. 

The time taken to charge an EV has always been one of the primary concerns in EV purchase. If you want to truly embrace the EV experience, it’s always best to invest in a level 2 charger. 

Level 2 charger: A substantial upgrade

Level 2 residential charging stations require a certified electrician to install them unlike a level 1 charger. This is because a level 2 charger does not use a household socket and is often mounted to a wall. That said the installation is a relatively quick process with no alteration of the electricity used. This means you don’t need specialist electricians or teams to implement level 2 chargers; making the process less of a hurdle for EV owners.

Once the installation is complete, the long term benefits outweigh that of a level 1 charger. Below shows some key benefits of how the level 2 chargers substantially upgrade your EV experience. 

Saves time

Level 2 residential EV charging stations can be a lot faster in charging your EV – in fact, they’re  around 5 to 15 times faster than a level 1 charger! As a result, you no longer have to spend more than 24 hours to fully charge your EV battery. For instance, BOLT EARTH’s electric charger has a power output of 3.3kW and uses a 220 volt connection. It can fully charge a Nissan Leaf in 6-8 hours, saving you plenty of time compared to a level 1 charger. The varying capacities of a level 2 charger can also greatly enhance your smooth driving experience. Additionally, the driving range per hour of a level 2 charger can be as much as 25 miles, as opposed to the 5 miles driving range per hour from a level 1 charger.

Provides additional features

A level 2 EV charger for daily home use can often be paired up with a smart app on your phone which allows you to monitor the charging levels and prompts you to charge your EV when the battery is low. For instance, Bolt Earth offers WiFi connectivity with its chargers. It also offers to the market, ‘Bolt Earth OS’ which is a sophisticated app that goes beyond providing charging information. Bolt Earth OS stays connected to your vehicle and monitors its battery levels, speed, navigation, tracking, and even child locks. Having such features can help you keep an eye on your vehicle’s health, get reminders to service your EV, and also to avoid last minute recharging challenges.

Improves property value

Installing a level 2 charger may also raise your property’s value similar to how a renovation would add monetary value to your house. That said, the data about the Indian property market is yet to be assessed. A survey from Rivervale Leasing in the UK however pointed out that a property with an electric charger installed sells for 13% more than the local average house prices. The information shows how keen the global market is to embrace EV adoption. This is due to the added convenience for a potential buyer who can readily purchase an EV without the hassle of investing in a level 2 charger.

5 things to consider when buying residential EV charging stations

More than 30+ residential EV charging stations are currently on the market in India.  The question you may be asking yourself is which device is the best? This will depend on a number of factors related to your needs.

1.    Charging speed

EV owners have a tendency to overestimate the time they can spend charging everyday; making them invest in less suitable charging devices. To determine your actual requirements, compare the charging speed offered by each charging station and shortlist the most suitable options for you.

Bolt Earth charger offers a 3.3kW charger that’s excellent for overnight charging. It’s designed to transfer energy to your EV as fast as your 220V home power supply will allow. Speed here is balanced with a low cost device which is easy to install. If you want faster charging you’ll need to have a commercial electricity supply and premises zoned for commercial use; not something the average homeowner can get.

1.    Quality of the charging device

You’ll need to conduct your own research on the quality of each charging device. Take a look at reviews and overall reputation of the company before investing in your EV charger. In addition to using the internet, you can also ask your friends or local businesses who may have experience with residential EV charging stations. Check if the product has been installed in a number of other places, which may speak for the charging station’s quality and market dominance. In brief, the larger the company and their devices in a region the more likely you’ll get a high quality product from a popular brand.

Bolt Earth, for example, is India’s first and largest peer to peer EV charging network. Bolt Earth has installed over 10,000 charging stations in 100+ cities within just 5 years of operation. The EV charger is reliable and comes with a 1-year warranty. In the upcoming year, Bolt Earth is set to install a further 50,000 residential EV charging stations across India. With over 50,000 active users in India, Bolt Earth has also been the pioneer of introducing passive income. To generate money from your device all you need to do is share it on the Bolt Earth OS app. In addition, Bolt Earth has also partnered with a number of community EV installation initiatives in housing associations and workplaces to encourage the use of EVs.

2.    Price of the charging station

Quality is not always directly proportional to the product’s price. For example, Bolt Earth occupies 50% of the EV charging market in India and proves an accessible yet high quality solution. Bolt Earth’s popularity is shown by its market share!

If you’re wondering, a Bolt Earth residential charger is ₹3,750 and is excellent value for money. In addition to the charging station, make sure to budget for the electrician cost you may have to incur when installing the product at your home.

3.    Tethered vs Untethered residential EV charging stations

Charging stations have the cable either permanently attached (tethered), or removable (untethered). In a tethered charger, the attached cable length is often 5 meters, which can become difficult to manage at times. That said, the tethered charger is more convenient as you do not have to add the cable each time you want to charge your EV. It is also more secure as the cable cannot be removed from the charger.

Untethered charging stations can be great for flexibility as you can separately purchase a  cable of a desired length for your charging station. That said, the hassle of storing a lengthy cable everyday after charging or taking extra care of the cable may not be your cup of tea.

4.    Your charging station’s appearance

A residential EV charging station that you install at your home will be around for the next decade, plus it could influence the value of your home- should you wish to sell your property. These are some of the reasons why it’s important to also think of the slick looks you’d like to have in addition to your EV charger’s functionality. A contemporary design now may look dated in a few years’ time! 

Before making a decision on which EV charger to buy, think of the appearance and where you would like to install it. Compare the products in the market that suit your visual taste.

What to do if you don’t find a charger that has all the features?

Level 2 residential EV charging stations come with numerous features like multiple EV charging, different charging speeds, and app support. Some features will be essential when deciding on your EV charger, while others will be optional. If you don’t find a charger that fully satisfies you, prioritize the essential features and choose the best from your charging station list.

Given the pace at which the EV charging infrastructure market is moving in India, you cannot postpone investing in a residential EV charging station. Using the above list of priorities and key features may help you choose the best home EV charger to charge all your EVs at your convenience.

Summary of important factors to consider:

Charging speedHigh priority
Quality of the productHigh priority
PriceDetermined by the user’s budget. High priority
Tethered vs UntetheredUser’s convenience
Looks and appearancePriority depending on the installing location

Final Thoughts

If you choose to use a level 1 trickle charger to recharge your EV each day it will cost you more money long term due to its inefficiency. Home EV charging stations are more efficient, faster, and more useful for overnight charging.

Investing in a residential EV charging station is one of the most important decisions you make.

With a residential EV charging station you get better flexibility in how you live your life thanks to them being faster and more cost effective when compared to a trickle charger. You can also use them to generate a passive income by joining a charging network. Bookings and payments are handled by apps like Bolt Earth OS and ensure your utilizing your device effectively.

In this article we’ve provided you with key features and user needs you’ll have to think about when selecting the right charging station for you.

If you are using your charging device to generate a passive income you should go with the largest charging network provider around to get the most users of your charging station. In India Bolt Earth holds 50% of the market share, making Bolt Earth the obvious choice. 

Want to know more about residential EV charging stations? Check out our FAQ and Resources sections below.