How To Choose An EV Charger

Ohme ePod review-min

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Let’s cut to the chase – buying an electric car is a big move, but you shouldn’t lose sleep over charging at home. Charging at home just makes sense because public charging stations can be scarce, unreliable, and expensive. Setting up your own charger means always starting each day with a full “tank” and avoiding the charges you’ll rack up using public stations.

The convenience factor alone is worth the small upfront equipment cost!

Plus, you needn’t necessarily buy a Type 2 charger connected to your RCD – you could always charge with a 3-pin plug and a smart Type 2 to 3-pin charging cable (these devices are also ideal for charging on the go). Check out our list of the best ev charging cables for ideas and our best EV chargers article for a list of the best smart chargers.

However, choosing a home charger takes some legwork – do you want to integrate your smart tariff to access dynamic pricing (check out the Ohme Home Pro)? Do you want to charge with your solar panels (check out the Zappi v2.1)? Or do you want something that looks amazing (check out the Hypervolt Home 3 Pro).

This guide will walk you through the key factors like power needs, hardware, and costs, with plenty of product recommendations along the way. By the end, you’ll have the know-how to choose a charger and juice up at home.

Step #1 – Decide on a Type 2 or 3-pin charger

EV chargers come in two flavours:

  • Type 2: Wall/post-mounted smart chargers that connect directly to your RCD and offer fast charge speeds up to 7.4kW on single-phase and 11kW on domestic three-phase. You can expect up to 28-miles of range per hour at 7.4kW.
  • 3-pin: Portable Type 2 to 3-pin chargers that plug directly into a 3-pin socket, usually with an LED display for the voltage readout and charge session duration. The best units offer up to 13A for faster charging, 10A for overnight charging, and 6/8A for safe slow charging. You can expect 8-miles of range per hour at 2.3kW.

If you have a driveway or other off-street parking, we strongly recommend Type 2 chargers because they are safer at higher voltages, have longer warranties, and charge at significantly faster rates than 3-pin chargers.

Having said that, Type 2 to 3-pin smart charging cables are suitable for people who do low mileage and want to top up with 40-70 miles of range overnight. They are also a top choice if you lack suitable off-street parking for a Type 2 charger.

When shopping for a 3-pin EV charger, look for CE, TÜV, and UKCA certifications for safety, and go for one with an adjustable power output – a higher amperage increases heat, so charging at a slower rate overnight is best.

Recommended 3-pin chargers

3-pin chargers are ideal for on-the-go charging where facilities have external sockets, and they might be all you need for charging at home.

We recommend this 3-pin charger:

vogvigo 3-pin charger

We recommend

Vogvigo EV Charger Type 2 UK 3 Pin

A portable, waterproof Type 2 to 3-pin charging cable with a carry case, 8m length, 3.3kW power output, LED screen, and a two-year warranty for peace of mind.

Note that if you use a 3-pin charger, it’s also worth picking up a heavy-duty 13A extension reel like this one:

status 2 cable reel 20m

We recommend

STATUS 2 Socket Cable Reel 20m

Versatile outdoor cable reel with 20m length, weatherproof design, thermal cut-out for safety, a convenient carry bag, overload protection, and a 5-way binding post for wide compatibility.

Recommended Type 2 Chargers

Type 2 chargers are those installed by an electrician – they connect to your RCD and tap into your house’s maximum electricity supply.

We recommend these Type 2 EV chargers:

Zaptec Go charger

We recommend

Zaptec Go

Charges at 7kW with an untethered design for your cable. You can choose from 6 colours and enjoy charge speeds up to 7kW. The app is excellent and you get a 5 year warranty.

And here’s a cheaper option:

evec ev charger

We recommend

evec EV Charger

Priced at less than £400 with a fantastic app and adjustable power settings of 3.7kW/7.4kW, the evec EV charger is a fantastic smart charger. It gets a 3-year warranty.

Step #2: Decide on a tethered or untethered charger

If you go down the Type 2 charger route, the next big decision is whether to get a tethered or untethered charger.

Tethered chargers have the charging cable permanently attached to the charging unit, while untethered chargers have a detachable cable. There are pros and cons to both.

On the one hand, tethered chargers ensure the cable is always available and can’t get lost or stolen. The cable is protected from damage or wear from repeated connecting and disconnecting. However, the fixed cable length limits where vehicles can park to charge, and not all EV chargers have an elegant cable wrap.

Untethered chargers offer more flexibility on vehicle positioning with the detachable cable. The cable can be stored neatly away when not needed. Users can unplug the cable and take it with them if they want to charge somewhere else. However, detachable cables are at risk of damage and theft, and cables can be an additional purchase.

Recommended tethered chargers

Zappi v2.1

Myenergi Zappi v2.1 review

The Zappi v2.1 is a popular 7kW smart home EV charger made in Great Britain by myenergi. It supports solar, wind and micro-hydro renewable energy integration to charge EVs with 100% green energy. Key features include adjustable charge speeds and in-built cable management.

Ohme Home Pro

Ohme Home Pro
Ohme Home Pro 7.4kW charger

The Ohme Home Pro is a sleek, relatively compact 7.4kW smart home charger with a handy built-in LCD screen and control panel. It delivers reliable charging with smart features like dynamic pricing, scheduling, and an excellent app.

Hypervolt Home 3 Pro

Hypervolt Home 3 Pro Review

The Hypervolt Home 3 Pro is a 7.4kW smart home EV charger with a sleek, minimalist design available in three colors. It offers app control, solar integration, and load balancing to maximise self-consumption. Durable construction meets IP66 rating for weather protection.

Recommended untethered chargers

Ohme ePod

Ohme ePod review-min

The Ohme ePod is a compact, wall-mounted 7kW smart charger with an unobtrusive design. It uses a 4G SIM for connectivity, avoiding WiFi issues. Easy installation includes integrated earthing protection. Smart buttons on the ePod start, stop and pause charging sessions.

Pod Point Solo 3

Untethered Solo 3 review

The untethered Pod Point Solo 3 is a stylish, oval-shaped 7kW smart home EV charger. It features a robust polycarbonate case and refined wiring for reliability. The Solo 3 connects via WiFi to enable app control and scheduled charging based on cheap energy rates.

BG Sync EV

BG Sync EV charger review

The untethered BG Sync EV is a 7.4kW smart home charger made in the UK. It features a compact polycarbonate case and LED light bar that displays charge status. Built-in WiFi enables app control and smart charging features via Monta.

Step #3: Determine the smart features you need

By definition, smart chargers sold in 2023 must comply with The Electric Vehicles (Smart Charge Points) Regulations 2021 – these set out basic smart requirements:

  • The ability to send and receive information, the ability to respond to signals to increase the rate or time at which electricity flows through the charge point, demand side response services and a user interface.
  • Electricity supplier interoperability, allowing the charge point to retain smart functionality even if the owner switches electricity supplier.
  • Continued charging even if the charge point ceases to be connected to a communications network.
  • A measuring system, to measure or calculate the electricity imported or exported and the time the charging lasts, with visibility to the owner of this information.
  • Security requirements consistent with the existing cyber security standard ETSI EN 303 645.

Charge points must also:

  • Incorporate pre-set, off peak, default charging hours and allow the owner to accept, remove or change these upon first use and subsequently.
  • Allow for a randomised delay function.

Despite these regulations, some EV chargers are still smarter than others.

For example, the BG Sync EV, Ohme ePod and Ohme Home Pro, and Hypervolt Home 3 Pro modulate charging rates based on variable tariffs and respond to demands on the grid – but Ohme’s chargers go even further by letting you set kWh price caps so you never pay more for electricity than you are willing to pay.

Solar / renewables integration

Some EV chargers have a separate solar feed built into the device to accept a line directly from the solar panels via a CT clamp for monitoring.

We have an article covering the best EV chargers for solar panels, where we deep-dive into the best chargers you can buy for renewables integration.

For solar EV charging, the inverter routes surplus solar energy directly to a smart EV charger compatible with integrating solar power. This charges the EV battery just like plugging into a wall outlet. Any excess solar goes back into the home’s electrical system or battery.

The size of the solar array needed depends on factors like EV battery capacity, local climate and sunshine levels, solar panel efficiency ratings, overall home electricity usage, and whether battery storage is added. Most experts recommend 10-15 high-efficiency panels as a reasonable starting point for an average EV.

Adding a home battery storage system allows the excess solar energy produced during the day to be stored and used later for overnight EV charging sessions. Popular lithium-ion options for home use include the Tesla Powerwall and LG Chem RESU batteries.

Step #4: Look at reviews including the app

Reading EV charger reviews and user reviews for companion apps on Google Play and the App Store is critical before making a purchase decision.

For the charger hardware, reviews provide insight into real-world performance, build quality, ease of installation, charging speeds, and reliability. This information ensures you choose a robust, efficient charger that will hold up over years of use.

Reviews of smart charger apps highlight their capabilities, user-friendliness, connectivity stability, and how well they enable useful features like charge scheduling, usage tracking, cost estimation, and solar integration.

A glitchy app can ruin the experience of an otherwise capable charger – and infrequent updates can signal a lack of support.

Summing up

Choosing an EV charging takes four steps:

  1. Decide on whether you want a fast Type 2 charger or a 3-pin plug charger.
  2. If you want a Type 2 charger, decide on whether it should be tethered or untethered.
  3. Determine the smart features you want. All smart chargers can schedule charging, and chargers released in 2023 must have demand side response services. Some chargers have more smart features like the ability to set kWh price caps, and some chargers have solar integration (only relevant if you have solar panels).
  4. Read and watch reviews from reputable sources like Top Charger – hands-on reviews like ours are always the best source of information.

Of all the chargers in our article, check these out for value for money:

vogvigo 3-pin charger

We recommend

Vogvigo EV Charger Type 2 UK 3 Pin

A portable, waterproof Type 2 to 3-pin charging cable with a carry case, 8m length, 3.3kW power output, LED screen, and a two-year warranty for peace of mind.

evec ev charger

We recommend

evec EV Charger

Priced at less than £400 with a fantastic app and adjustable power settings of 3.7kW/7.4kW, the evec EV charger is a fantastic smart charger. It gets a 3-year warranty.

If you still need helping choose an EV charger, feel free to email us at info@topcharger.co.uk.

James Lewis is our resident electrical head. He drives an MG ZS EV (2018, which he loves) and plans to get the new one soon. James is much more excited by the lower end of the EV market and is looking forward to the Ora Cat.