Tethered or untethered home charger? Which is best?

Both have pros and cons

Tethered or untethered

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  • Untethered chargers are often neater because there’s no cable tidy.
  • Tethered chargers are more convenient because the cable is built-in.
  • Untethered cables can be upgraded, tethered cables are fixed.
  • With a tethered charger, there is no risk of losing the cable or forgetting it.

Tethered or untethered charger? The truth is, both have pros and cons. A tethered charger means no faffing around with cables, while an untethered charger means a cleaner installation.

The article compares tethered and untethered electric vehicle home chargers. Key points: Tethered chargers have built-in cables for convenience but need cable tidies. Untethered chargers require a cable but allow for neater installations. Tethered chargers cost more due to the cable. Most owners prefer tethered for convenience despite the untidier look. Untethered works well if you remove your cable when traveling. Overall, tethered chargers are more convenient but untethered chargers allow for cleaner look.

Tethered or untethered charger

  • Future-proofing – Untethered chargers allow you to upgrade the charging cable separately from the charger unit itself. This means you can upgrade to a thicker, higher power cable in the future without replacing the whole charger.
  • Smart charging capabilities – Many modern chargers have smart features like scheduling and power balancing. Generally, untethered chargers tend to have more advanced smart charging options compared to basic tethered models.
  • Customization – Untethered chargers allow you to use your own cable, so you can choose the length, thickness, color etc. Tethered cables are fixed.
  • Portability – Some untethered chargers are truly portable, running off a plug instead of being hardwired. This allows you to move the charger between locations. Tethered chargers are fixed installations.
  • Future connections – Untethered chargers with interchangeable plugs may support new connector types in the future, like the upcoming CCS2 standard. Tethered cables can’t be adapted.

Advocates of tethered chargers say they make life easier by reducing the number of steps required to start starting, while untethered advocates would rather have the extra step in return for a cleaner, cableless installation.

evec ev charger

Top untethered choice

evec EV charger

The evec EV charger gives you smart scheduling, 7.4kW charge speeds, and a sleek design for less than £420. It’s a fantastic choice for those on a budget.

Which side do you take?

Me, I prefer untethered chargers because I would much rather have a clean, simple home charger installation with no cable tidy. But I can totally understand why you might prefer a tethered charger that has the cable ready to go all the time.

But I do have a secret – I leave my charging cable plugged into my untethered charger most of the time anyway… I went untethered because I like having the ability to remove it when I go away!

The Easee One is a great charger in this regard because it’s untethered but lets you lock the charging cable into place, creating a tethered unit.

Another big argument is cost. Tethered chargers are around 20% more expensive than untethered chargers because of the 5m or 7.5m cable. My car came with a Type 2 cable, so I don’t have to spend extra to get a cable.

One area where tethered chargers definitely beat untethered chargers is the sheer range of chargers available. By our count, there are 10 tethered chargers for every 1 untethered charger, and only a handful of companies make great untethered chargers (for reference, I recommend Indra, Sync EV, Easee and Rolec).

What is a tethered charger?

A tethered charger has a Type 2 cable wired into it, creating an all-in-one home charger installation. To charge, you plug the holstered charger cable into your car.

Tethered charger pros and cons

Tethered chargers let you park up and charge straight from the wall without getting a cable out of your boot. Although more convenient, they usually look fussier.

Tethered charger pros

  • Fewer charging steps
  • No risk of forgetting the cable
  • In-built cable can be of a higher quality than the vehicle cable

Tethered charger cons

  • The tethered cable needs a tidier
  • The cable is unsightly and makes the unit bulkier

What is an untethered charger?

An untethered charger is a charging unit with a power outlet for your own charging cable. To charge, you plug your cable into the charger and then your car (or vice versa).

Not keen on the boxy shape? Check out the Pod Point Solo 3.

Untethered charger pros and cons

Untethered chargers are tidier than tethered chargers, but you need to plug your own cable into the charger, creating an extra step.

Untethered charger pros

  • Smaller, tidier installation
  • Cheaper (around 20% less)
  • You can upgrade your cable anytime

Untethered charger cons

  • Fewer products available
  • Adds an extra charging step
  • You need to remember your cable

Tethered vs untethered charger cost

Tethered chargers cost around 20% more than untethered chargers because of the extra cable, which is typically 5m or 7.5m The installation cost is the same because electricians have fixed prices for home charge point installation.

Tethered vs untethered charger security

Unfortunately, both tethered and untethered chargers can attract thieves who may want to steal your cable, which is worth around £20 scrap.

Tethered chargers are more likely to be targeted because of the built-in cable, which is available day and night. A tethered charging cable can be ripped from the charger, along with the case, permanently damaging the unit. Untethered chargers are less likely to be targeted because there’s a smaller window of opportunity for thieves, even if it is easier to remove a cable that isn’t fixed to the charging unit.

Tethered vs untethered charger variety

There are more tethered chargers than untethered chargers, especially from known, reputable brands. While some brands offer tethered and untethered versions of the same charger (like the EO Mini Pro 2), others only offer one version.

What are the best tethered chargers?

We recommend the following tethered chargers:

What are the best untethered chargers?

We recommend the following untethered home chargers:

Of course, there are many other excellent products out there.

Tethered or untethered charger for Tesla

Most Tesla owners I speak to have an untethered charger, preferring to use the Tesla cable that came with their car. However, if you want a tethered charger, Tesla does the Tesla Wall Connector, a tethered charger that charges up to 7.4kW.

Tethered or untethered charger for VW ID

VW ID electric cars work best with tethered chargers because the cables VW supply with the cars aren’t the sleekest or grippiest. A high-quality tethered charger like the Hypervolt Home 2.0 will serve you very well indeed as an ID owner.

Tethered or untethered for Hyundai IONIQ

Hyundai IONIQ electric cars work well with tethered and untethered chargers, although most owners use tethered chargers. The Wallbox Pulsar Plus is popular with Hyundai drivers, but if you want an untethered charger, look at the EO Mini Pro 2.

Tethered or untethered for KIA EV6

The Kia EV6 works fine with an untethered charger and comes supplied as standard with a Type 2 cable. A tethered charger is more convenient, however, and is preferred by most Kia drivers I’ve spoken to. The Hypervolt is a popular choice.

Summing up

In conclusion, tethered chargers are more convenient but most products are untidy with a primitive cable tidy. The Anderson A2 bucks this trend, but it’s expensive, costing around £1,000.

Untethered chargers are cheaper and tidier because you can remove the cable, however, the novelty of getting your cable out of the car every time you need to charge soon wears off.

Me, I have a Sync EV untethered charger and I leave my cable in it all the time, so the unit may as well be tethered. However, this setup works for me because I travel often and want to be able to remove the cable before I go away.

Jakk is the founder and chief editor of Top Charger. He drives a Volkswagen ID.3 Family Pro Performance, and despite having a lead right foot, he consistently gets over 200-miles of range.