Electric Vehicle Charging Guide

Electric vehicles (EVs) use electricity to power their motors. The electricity is stored inside a battery, which is recharged by plugging into an EV charger.

EV chargers are classified into three categories: Level 1, Level 2, and Level 3 (DC Fast charging). The categories are defined by the power and rate at which they charge a vehicle, and the electric infrastructure required for installation and operation.

Want to learn about more than just chargers? Get all the info on EV charging in our free EV Charging Guide!

Level 1 chargers

Standard level 1 ev charger and 120v outlet
Standard level 1 EV charger uses 120v outlet

Level 1 chargers plug into a standard household 120 volt electric outlet, and are the slowest and least powerful EV charger. They provide about four to six miles of charge per hour and are typically used for overnight charging, EV’s with smaller batteries, or where installation of more powerful chargers is not possible. They can be used wherever there is a standard 120 volt electric outlet.




Level 2 chargers

level 2 ev charger utilizes 240v outlet
level 2 EV chargers utilize 240 v outlets

Level 2 chargers provide about 12 to 25 miles of charge per hour (depending on type of vehicle and power of the charging unit). They require installation by a professional electrician and utilize a 240 volt plug identical to a household clothes dryer. They can be installed in garages, on the side of buildings, or on pedestal mounts in parking lots for businesses. They charge three to six times faster than a level 1 charger, and are the most commonly-used EV charger. The cost of charging equipment can range from $500-$750 plus the cost of installation (typically between $500-$1,000).

With their relatively low cost and ease of installation, level 2 chargers are a great option for those interested in having faster charging capability. If you have a longer than average commute, an EV with a large battery, or simply want faster charging at home, a level 2 charger is a great solution.



Level 3 DC fast chargers

DC fast chargers can deliver more than 80 miles per hour of charge. Although much faster than level 1 and 2 chargers, they require costly electric infrastructure for their installation and use, and are primarily used for public charging along transportation corridors. They are the least commonly-used chargers for homes or businesses, and can be costly.


JL 1772 Charger
J 1772 Charger

Will all chargers work with my EV?

Nearly all level 2 chargers are equipped with the J 1772 or “universal” charging port that accommodates all major EV makes, with the exception of Tesla. Tesla vehicles have their own type of charging port, but also have an inexpensive adapter that can be used with standard universal charging ports.