An EV charger takes an electrical current from the 240-volt outlet it’s hardwired to (or the grid) and gives it to your car or plug-in hybrid, keeping its battery charged. Super-basic models, which look almost exactly like the power cord set that comes with most EVs, can cost as little as $130; higher-speed versions may cost more but are still affordable.

Level 1 chargers plug into a standard household outlet, typically a 4-prong NEMA 14-50 that’s used by electric stoves and clothes dryers; this is a bit slower than the chargers you might find at a public charging station but it’s fine for most daily top-ups or for occasional long trips. If you’re thinking about switching to a time-of-use electricity plan, which can save you money by scheduling your charges for off-peak hours when power is cheap, an EV charger with a built-in timer may help you take advantage of these discounts (though many EVs come with this feature baked into the driver’s app).

Level 2 chargers are more sophisticated and often require professional installation; they plug into a 240-volt outlet but also have internal controls that balance the flow of power so that one EV isn’t pulling more than another, which could damage either charger. This is also the type of charger that most EV owners choose to buy and install in their home, though some renters or those in multi-unit apartment complexes may be able to work with their landlords or HOAs to have one installed in a designated parking spot. EV Charger

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