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January 12, 2023

Is It Better To Have a Hardwire Or Plug-In EV Charger?

Is it better to have a hardwire or plug-in EV charger? Here are some things to consider when choosing between a permanent installation and a plug-in charger.

Electrical Wiring, EV Charger Installation, Residential Electrical

Is It Better To Have a Hardwire Or Plug-In EV Charger?

If you are considering purchasing an electric vehicle in New Jersey, you should find as much information as possible about how best to charge one. Most people nowadays are going for level 2 chargers. However, the issue isn’t really about which charger to use, it’s more about how to install one. There are two options to choose from regarding EV charger installation. You can either have yours hardwired or purchase a plug-in charger. So is it better to hardwire or plug-in EV charger? Read on to find out more.

What is a Hardwired EV Charger?

A hardwired electric vehicle charger is wired directly into your home’s electrical system. As you might imagine, this requires the services of a professional electrician or certified EV charger installer. The electrician will install a dedicated 60AMP line from your primary electrical panel to your chosen charger location. In addition, some electricians will install a fire-rated blackboard with an NEC code-required sub-panel. This will make it possible to terminate the power to the unit if necessary. Hardwiring an EV charger means it won’t utilize a 240v outlet. Instead, it will draw power directly from the main panel.

Is It Better To Have a Hardwire Or Plug-In EV Charger?

What is a Plug-in EV Charger?

With a plug-in electrical vehicle charger installation, a professional electrician will install a 240v outlet. Such an outlet is also known as a NEMA 50r receptacle. Once the installation is complete, you can plug in the charger and disconnect it as needed.

Cost Consideration

One of the things to consider when choosing an EV charger is cost. However, this doesn’t mean you have to jump immediately and pick the cheaper option. There are other things to consider as well. Having said that, plug-in charging stations are the more affordable option, and this is because they are cheaper to purchase and install when compared to hardwired options.

To install a hardwired charger, you will need to purchase equipment, pay for installation, and in some instances, may have to pay for permits. According to HomeAdvisor, you may have to pay between $500 and $2200 to purchase hardware equipment for a hardwired installation depending on the system you choose. The cost of installation ranges from $300 to $3300. In addition, depending on your city, you may have to pay $40-60 for a permit application, a license fee of $80-100 on the license, and about $20-40 for processing fees.

On the other hand, plug-in charger installation may cost you nothing if you already have a compatible outlet. All you would have to do is mount the unit, and you can do this independently. If the charger comes without a mount, you may have to part with up to $300 to purchase one. It’s possible that you may not have a compatible unit in your garage or a convenient location. In such instances, you will have to pay up to $1500 to install one.

Is It Better To Have a Hardwire Or Plug-In EV Charger?

Which System is Safer?

Regarding safety, most professionals suggest hardwired systems are safer to operate than plug-in ones. There are several reasons why this is so. For instance, because they are directly wired into your home’s electrical system, they do not rely on an extension cable to reach the outlet. This lowers the risk of overloading and tripping your electrical breakers. Also, hardwired EV charger installation comes with ground fault protection, which can come in handy for protection against electrical shorts and surges. Lastly, you can have your hardwired EV charger installed with a lockable weatherproof enclosure. This will not only protect it from the elements but from potential tampering as well.
While plug-in chargers lack the mentioned advantages of hardwired chargers, they can also be safe if you take the necessary precautions. For instance, you can install a Ground Fault Circuit Interrupter, which will help protect against electrical shock. You should also check and ensure that your cords and outlets are in good condition. Frayed and worn cords can increase the risk of electric shock and fire. You must also consider using weatherproof outlets to help protect against moisture. Some electricians recommend using surge protectors as well.

It’s important to mention that you should only purchase safety-certified equipment regardless of which charger you choose. Unfortunately, not every charger out there carries this pedigree. So the question about certification should be part of your inquiry when you ask is it better to hardwire or plug-in EV charger.

Output Comparison

The output of an EV charger depends on the type of system. However, the consensus is that hardwired EV charging systems have more output than plug-in EV systems. This is because they are not limited by the power draw of the wall outlet. However, plug-in EV charging systems are designed to have higher outputs than hardwired systems. Therefore, it’s best to compare the specific models to determine which will have more output.
Opting for a hardwired EV charging system will provide a better setup if you are a homeowner. In addition, this option has the most convenience since a hardwired system can even allow you to charge more than one vehicle should you decide to get another.

Is it Better to Have a Hardwire or Plug-in EV Charger?

Not sure which system to pick? It can be difficult to choose. Fortunately, we are here to help you make the best decision for your needs. We have years of experience installing charging stations in Northern New Jersey, and we can handle residential and business installations. With our top-of-the-line equipment and expert installation technicians, you can trust that we will provide you with the best charging experience. Call us today for a free estimate and to find out about our financing options.

If you are experiencing any of the above situations or you have a general sense of needing our expert opinion on EV charger selection and installation or your home's electrical, please call us or schedule an appointment at the link below.


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