Doing some research on electric vehicle charging station set-ups? We're here to define the key differences between hardwired and plug-in charging options for your home.
Hardwired Charging Stations
With hardwired EV chargers, typically an electrician installs a dedicated 60AMP line from your primary electric panel to power your EV charger. For this kind of installation, the charging unit does not need its own 240v outlet since it is professionally installed and integrated into your existing home electrical panel.
Plug-in Charging Stations
With plug-in EV chargers, typically an electrician installs a separate 240v NEMA-50 outlet in the EV driver’s personal garage or allotted parking space. This charging solution is separate from the main electrical panel and can be placed anywhere on the wall or surface within 15-20 ft. from the charging port of the electric vehicle when parked.
Why Choose One Over the Other?
Many EV drivers say that they prefer hardwired units because they offer a larger range of AMPs and charge-speed options than plug-in units. Also, aesthetically, many prefer hardwiring because it’s easier to tuck away the cables and cleanly place the unit with other electrical panels.
Older homeowners in states with extreme weather patterns (snow, ice, rain, etc.) should consider a hardwired option for use. When it comes to outdoor installations in a home you own, a hardwired unit provides more reliable weather-resistant connection to your home’s power. This would serve as a positive tick towards hardwiring in a home you plan to stay in for 5-10 years, and one that you hope to keep your electric vehicle in for a long time. However, hardwired units have the benefit and the potential con of their permanence.
For renters, younger home buyers, or business owners, plug-in EV chargers might be the better option. Plug-in chargers easier to remove or change their spot on the wall, and do not always require calling out an electrician to make changes (unlike a hardwired EV charging unit).
In conclusion, here are our recommendations:
If you are renting a home, are a young homeowner, or live in a state without strong weather like snow or hurricanes (California for example), a plug-in wall unit should work fine as an EV charging solution. If you plan to move within the next 12 months, do not choose a hardwired charger. Plug-in chargers provide the most flexibility in selecting a space for their use and require less calls to the local electrician for disassembly.
If you have owned your home for over 10 years and do not plan to move in the immediate future, complete most of your charging outdoors, or simply prefer your cables to be tidier with another electrical panel, hardwired chargers would likely be your best option.