The Ins and Outs of Home Charging: What to Know About Plugging Into a — Lectron EV Skip to content
FREE SHIPPING ON ORDERS $35+
FREE SHIPPING ON ORDERS $35+
The Ins and Outs of Home Charging: What to Know About Plugging Into a Regular Outlet

The Ins and Outs of Home Charging: What to Know About Plugging Into a Regular Outlet

One of the main selling points of electric vehicles (EV) is the convenience of charging at home.

Unlike traditional internal combustion engine (ICE) cars and plug-in hybrids, EVs eliminate the need to pull up at a gas station each time the car's about to run out of gas.

If you're new to the world of EVs, you may be wondering whether electric cars can be plugged into regular home outlets and if it’s even safe to do so.

We'll answer that and more in this post.

Why is charging an EV at home important?

Electric vehicle charging stations are not yet as common as gas stations, so having the option of home charging is a convenient and practical solution for EV owners.

By doing so, you can avoid the hassle and expense of having to go to a public charging station.

Just like charging your phone overnight, you can plug in your electric vehicle when you get home and wake up to a fully charged vehicle in the morning.

This eliminates the need to go to public chargers, which can be time-consuming and inconvenient.

Electric car charging at home is often cheaper than using public EV charging stations.

The cost of electricity varies by location, but in general, the cost of charging your EV at home is less than the cost of gasoline.

Many utility companies offer special rates for EV charging during off-peak hours, which can make charging even more affordable.

Can you plug an electric car into a regular outlet?

The simple answer to this question is, "Yes."

Most EVs come with a Level 1 charger that is designed to be plugged into a standard 120-volt outlet.

However, Level 1 chargers are slow and can take up to 24 hours to fully charge a car, depending on the make and model.

EV charging from a regular outlet can also put a strain on your home's electrical system, especially if you have other high-energy devices plugged in.

Using a regular outlet to charge your electric car may also cause the outlet to overheat, which could be a fire hazard.

If you plan to plug your car into a regular outlet, you should make sure that the outlet is on a dedicated circuit and that the wiring and circuit breaker are up to code.

You should also monitor the outlet for signs of overheating or other damage.

Most electric car owners choose to use Level 2 fast chargers for charging as a home charger.

Level 2 chargers require a dedicated 240-volt circuit and can charge your electric vehicle much faster than a regular outlet.

With this type of charger, you can typically charge your EV in a few hours, which is much more convenient than waiting up to 24 hours when using a Level 1 charger.

The Lectron V-BOX, for example, can either be directly plugged into a 240-volt outlet or be hardwired into your home's electrical system.

What kind of charger do I need?

The type of charger you need depends on factors including the manufacturer and model of your car, as well as your charging needs.

Level 1 chargers, although slower with a maximum output of around 5 kW, are typically sufficient for most EV owners who simply need to top up their charge overnight. If your daily driving falls within the national average of 30-40 miles, a Level 1 charger should meet your requirements.

Lectron's new Level 1 Charger checks all the boxes you should consider when searching for a reliable charger. It is not only portable and compatible with standard 110V outlets but also delivers 1.65 kW of power, allowing for an additional range of 40-50 miles overnight. Equipped with LED indicators, you can easily monitor the charging status, ensuring a safe and reliable charging experience. The Lectron Level 1 Charger has a UL 2251-certified handle and certifications from ETL, FCC, and Energy Star assuring both safety and reliability.

On the other hand, many EV owners prefer installing a Level 2 home charger for faster charging times. Level 2 chargers typically provide between 3.3 kW and 19.2 kW, with most offering around 7 kW. These chargers are suitable for EVs with larger battery sizes and for drivers who require quick and efficient charging. Some Level 2 chargers are portable, allowing for mobility, while others are wall-mounted for a more permanent setup.

The new Lectron Level 2 Charger is an excellent option to consider. This 40 Amp charger conveniently plugs into a NEMA 14-50 outlet, offering a robust input power of up to 9.6 kW. Similar to the Level 1 Charger, it features indicator lights for effortless monitoring of the charging status. The charger's handle holds the UL 2251 certification, ensuring safety and reliability. The Lectron Level 2 Charger has Energy Star, FCC, and ETL certifications, so you can be assured of its quality and adherence to standards.


When selecting an EV charger, it is crucial to consider factors such as charging speed, cost, and installation requirements, as well as to ensure that the charger is compatible with your car's specific make and model. Some EV manufacturers may recommend specific chargers or provide a list of compatible models, so it's beneficial to review their recommendations.

How fast will my car charge?

The charging speed of your electric car depends on several factors, including the type of charger you are using, the capacity of your car's battery, and the charging rate of your car's onboard charger. In one of our previous articles, we discussed the fastest EV chargers you can buy.

With a Level 1 charger, you can expect to charge your car at a rate of around 3-5 miles of range per hour. That is, for every hour that you charge, you will be able to drive your care for 3 to miles.

With a Level 2 charger, you can expect to charge your car at a rate of around 25-30 miles per hour.

Some Level 2 chargers can charge your car even faster, depending on the car's battery capacity and the charger's output.

The charging speed of your EV may also be affected by the temperature of the battery and the charging environment.

Cold temperatures can slow down the charging process, while hot temperatures can cause the battery to heat up and reduce its lifespan.

It's also important to note that some EVs have larger battery capacities and may require longer charging times, while others have smaller battery capacities and can be fully charged in only a few hours.

Can I get a Level 2 charger at home?

Many EV owners prefer to install Level 2 charging station in their home for more efficient charging.

Level 2 chargers require a dedicated 240-volt circuit and are typically installed by a licensed electrician.

Before installing a Level 2 charger, you should check your EV manufacturer's recommendations to ensure that the charger you choose is compatible with your specific make and model.

It's also important to note that installing a Level 2 charger may require modifications to your home's electrical system, such as upgrading your electrical panel or installing a new circuit.

You should consult with a licensed electrician to determine the scope of work and cost involved in installing a Level 2 charger at your home.

Your electrician should also perform a load calculation for your home's electrical system to ensure that it can accommodate the additional electrical load of the Level 2 charger.

The rule of thumb is to have at least a 20% buffer from the maximum output of the circuit breaker.

So, for a Level 2 charger with a 40 Amp output, you will need a 50 Amp circuit breaker.

Hardwire installations, for their part, can require 60 Amps or more.

When considering the charging options for your electric vehicle, understanding the appropriate car battery charger amps is crucial to ensure safe and efficient charging practices.

How will home charging affect my electric bill?

Treat your home EV charging station as any other high-powered appliance. It will increase your electricity usage and, therefore, your electric bill.

However, the impact on your electric bill will depend on several factors, including the size of your EV battery, the distance you drive, your charging habits, and your local electricity rates.

As of this writing, the average electricity cost in the US is around $0.13, while the national average price of gasoline is around $3.44 per gallon.

To put that into perspective, an ICE car with a 12-gallon tank costs around $42 to fill up. If it can drive 30 miles per gallon, a full tank can give you about 360 miles of range.

If you drive within the national average of 1,183 miles per month, you will need to go to a gas station 3 times and spend about $138. An electric car with the same range would cost almost 40% less.

Assuming an EV with a 60 per-kilowatt-hour (kWh) battery and an electricity rate of 13 cents per kWh, it would cost around $46.80 to charge the battery from empty to full. This would provide a range of about 200-300 miles.

So, for example, if a Tesla Model 3 costs $0.05 per mile to charge, and you drove 1,183 miles, you would pay around $59 for the electricity.

To minimize the impact of home charging on your electric bill, you can take advantage of off-peak electricity rates, which are typically lower than peak rates.

Many utility companies offer special rates for EV charging during off-peak hours, which can make charging even more affordable.

FAQs

  • How long does it take to charge an EV with a standard 110/120-volt outlet?

    A regular socket can provide around 3-5 miles of range per hour. If you need to fully charge an EV with 300 miles of driving range, it could take up to 60 hours to charge it from empty to full.

  • How long does it take to charge an EV on a 220-volt outlet?

    A 220-volt outlet can provide a charging rate of around 25 to 30 miles of range per hour. If you need to fully charge an EV with 300 miles of driving range, it would take around 10 hours to charge from empty to full.

    Note that EV manufacturers generally do not recommend charging habits of going from zero to full charge, as this can reduce the lifespan of your battery pack. Most people most of the time charge their EVs through top-ups of 20% to 80%.

  • What do I need in my garage to charge an EV?

    To charge an EV in your garage, you will need:

    1. An Electrical Outlet: If you're using a Level 1 charging station, you'll need a standard 120-volt electrical outlet in your garage. If you're using a Level 2 charging station, you'll need a higher voltage outlet (240V). An electrician can install the outlet and circuit needed for your charging station.

    2. Proper Wiring: Depending on the charging station and your home's electrical system, you may need to have additional wiring installed to support the charging station. It's important to consult with a licensed electrician to ensure that your wiring is up to code and can safely support the charging station.

    3. A Dedicated Circuit: To ensure safe and efficient charging, it's recommended to have a dedicated circuit for your charging station. This will prevent overloading the circuit and reduce the risk of electrical fires.

  • Can you plug a Tesla into a regular outlet?

    Yes, Tesla vehicles can be plugged into a regular household outlet using the Mobile Connector that comes with the vehicle. The Mobile Connector comes with a NEMA 5-15 adapter that can be plugged into a 120-volt outlet for 3 miles of range per hour, and a NEMA 14-50 adapter that can be plugged into a 240-volt outlet for up to 30 miles of range per hour.

     

Looking for affordable home charging solutions for your electric vehicle? Be sure to check out Lectron's collection of Level 1 and Level 2 chargers, plus other accessories to make your charging experience more convenient than ever!

Previous article How Long Does a Tesla Battery Last?