Electric car home chargers rated
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Electric car home chargers rated

Dec 16, 2023

The debate about expanding the infrastructure to support more electric cars tends to focus on public chargers but most drivers want to be able to plug in their car at home, so the home chargers market is growing fast.

At present, around 80% of electric vehicle (EV) owners charge them at home, and there are around 400,000 home and workplace vehicle chargers in the UK, according to data from online charging location guide ZapMap. However, that figure is set to increase hugely.

David Martell, chief executive of home charger specialist Andersen and Evios, says EV owners draw parallels between charging an EV and charging a mobile phone. Both occur mainly at home, during evenings and overnight, in readiness for the day ahead.

The expected increase in home EV chargers comes in the wake of new legislation. In June 2022, the Government updated the official building regulations to introduce a stipulation for all new houses (as well as commercial buildings and flats with parking for 10 or more vehicles), to include electric car charging facilities. That applied to buildings that didn't yet have planning permission, but from June this year it will apply to all new-builds, and that will significantly increase the number of domestic EV chargers across the country.

Martell and others in the industry also predict that the London ULEZ expansion and the introduction of clean air zones in cities around the UK will encourage more drivers to switch to EVs, prompting another rise in demand in 2024.

All that means car buyers will need sound advice when choosing a home charger, so we’ve taken a deep dive into the industry and asked our experts – along with EV owners – to rate many of the biggest players in the market.

We asked 4130 EV owners to tell us about their experiences of buying and using a home charger. We asked how long they’d had to wait after paying for the charger for it to being up and running, as well as how reliable it has been.

Customer satisfaction is the biggest factor in our ratings, with up to 75% awarded for really positive reviews. And because the rising cost of living has changed how many of us think about money, the average price paid by our respondents to get their home chargers fitted makes up the remaining 25%.

Our survey was open to all, including those who had chargers fitted three or more years ago. Some respondents will have benefited from discounts, promotions and grants that are no longer available, so we’ve included a synopsis of how much people paid.

Finally, to gain even greater insight, we also asked colleagues who have had chargers fitted over the past two years to tell us about their experiences.

Rating 69.6%

The company formerly known as Chargemaster is one of the UK's biggest and best-known home charger suppliers. However, it announced in May that it is no longer selling home chargers, instead focusing on installing public chargers and units for fleet users. It has said it will honour installations for units that have already been ordered, and will cover the three-year warranty period.

Although our respondents didn't score BP Pulse too shabbily for costs or promptness of fitting, it rated poorly for satisfaction. Its score of 69% in this area is more than 20% below the best-regarded companies.

Owners told us that 87% of chargers were fitted within three months of being ordered. They also said 50% of their chargers cost less than £500, and only 13% had to pay out more than £1000 overall.

Tester Darren Moss EV charger BP Pulse 7kW Price £950 (typical installation) bppulse.co.uk

"Before my BP Pulse charging point could be installed, I had to liaise with my electricity supplier to have an isolation switch fitted to my fusebox. This allowed for the charger to be fitted to my older, Victorian-era house and cost around £100. Once fitted, it took only a couple of weeks to get an appointment to have the charging point fitted. The installation took only a couple of hours, and the charger has performed faultlessly ever since.

"It doesn't have a big LED information screen like some rivals, but the string of LED lights on the front tell me quickly whether it's charging or idle, so all I have to do is plug in my car's charging cable and wait for the green lights to come on.

"The charger comes with an app, which is easy to navigate and tells me how much energy has been used and at what cost. It also lets me deactivate the charger, so I can turn it off if I know I’m going away on holiday. The charging point is quite small and minimalist in its design."

Rating 72.7%

Indra is a British firm, based in Malvern, that was established on the back of its founder's experience converting his Mazda RX-8 sports car to electric power.

The firm says it has an ethos of minimising environmental impact in production and manufacturing, with the aim of sending nothing to landfill. Its chargers are covered by a five-year warranty. Respondents told us that the majority of Indra chargers (82%) were installed less than three months after the initial order was placed, and the remaining units were fitted in less than six months.

Total fitted costs varied enormously, though: 27% cost customers less than £100 in total, and a further 27% came in below £750. However, 18% of installations cost up to £1000, and the rest resulted in bills of more than £1000.

Tester Chris HainingEV charger Indra Smart Pro (untethered)Price £1099 (fitted) indra.co.uk

"I chose the Indra Smart Pro charger for its futureproof nature. It's compatible with solar panels and can take advantage of low-rate electricity tariffs as they become available. The untethered version I opted for is sleek and unobtrusive without a cable permanently dangling from it. Installation should have been carried out within a month, but it was delayed by my electricity supplier's tardiness in fitting a supply isolator switch.

"The Indra app is comprehensive and can be used to schedule charging by time or charge level. The charger communicates with the app via my home wifi, so I can monitor its status remotely. The control panel has no display – only a boost button and an indicator light whose colour and sequence of flashes can be interpreted for fault-finding. The whole set-up couldn't be simpler to use.

"I’ve had a few instances of communication dropping out, but I feel the blame for this lies entirely with my flaky internet connection."

Rating 73.7%

EO has come a long way since its inception in a Suffolk barn in 2014. The firm's EV charging technology is now used by some of the world's largest businesses, including Amazon, DHL and Tesco. Its Mini Pro chargers are small and relatively affordable, making them an attractive proposition to EV owners.

The total costs paid by EO customers who completed our survey were varied, with almost three quarters spending less than £750 in total and 53% paying between £500 and £750 overall. Only 7% spent more than £1000 to get up and running. Installation was swift in most cases, too, with 87% of chargers fitted in less than three months.

At 79%, satisfaction with the company isn't bad, but that score is more than 10% lower than the most highly regarded charger providers.

Tester Lydia CurtisEV charger EO Mini Pro 3Price £1109 (fitted) eocharging.com

"Getting my Mini Pro 3 installed was quick and easy. I simply sent EO photos of the main consumer unit and a basic sketch of the property showing the intended chargepoint location, and the installer arrived a week later, completing the fitting in just two hours.

"The EO Mini Pro 3 is one of the smallest home chargers you can buy – about the size of an A5 sheet of paper. It's clever, though, with wifi, Bluetooth and wired internet connectivity as standard, and the option to add some extra kit so it can use power from domestic solar panels if you have them.

"It also has built-in power balancing, which reduces power to the car if your home's usage gets close to your fuse limit. It also protects against excess current flowing through the system, including surges in voltage, which can be caused by lightning strikes. There's also excess temperature protection, with an automatic shutdown if the system gets too hot.

"Installation was completed in less than a month from my order, and the charger has worked faultlessly ever since."

Rating 73.8%

Ohme was set up in 2017 and produced its first home charger in 2019. Its chargers can link with the national grid in real time and use dynamic charging with flexible EV tariffs, such as those from Octopus and Ovo, to help balance out demand on the grid. Ohme is the official charger provider for the Volkswagen Group, the NHS and Motability scheme drivers. The brand also works with housing developers.

Promptness of installation impressed survey respondents. In all cases, the period between ordering their EV charger and having it fitted was less than three months.

Although the majority of EV owners were happy with their chargers, they were less pleased about the total cost of installation. They told us 28% of installations cost between £500 and £750, while 25% cost between £750 and £1000.

Tester Mark PearsonEV charger Ohme Home Pro T2Price £999 (typical installation) ohme-ev.com

"My home charger was fitted in September 2022 by Elecology, Ohme's approved EV installation partner for my area. The firm provided a terrific service from start to finish.

"The process started with a survey, using photographs I sent of my incoming electricity supply, electricity meter location and the area where I wanted the charger fitted. The installation took four hours and the installer managed to run the cable under the paving near my front door, replacing it to look neater and cleaner than it did before.

"The wallbox has an integrated five-metre lead that wraps around a cradle when not in use, with a sturdy holder for the plug. The charger has a large, brightly lit panel with controls that are easy to use. Alternatively, you can use the Ohme phone app to start and monitor charging. The charger's software can be kept current via over-the-air updates.

"So far, my charger has been utterly reliable. It takes about eight hours to fully charge the 77kWh battery in my Volkswagen ID 5 from close to fully depleted."

Rating 77.6%

Rolec is based in Lincolnshire and has specialised in outdoor electrical equipment for more than 30 years. It has been designing and selling EV chargers for homes and businesses for more than 10 years and works on large installations in shopping centres and on housing developments, and alongside corporations such as MG Motor and the NHS.

Installations are carried out swiftly and many Rolec customers got a great deal on supply and installation. Around a third paid between £200 and £500 to get up and running, while 25% paid £750 to £1000 and only 5% paid more than £1000.

Virtually all chargers (98%) were purchased and fitted in less than three months. However, although the above is good news, our respondents still placed Rolec only halfway up the table for satisfaction.

Tester Oliver YoungEV charger Rolec ZuraPrice £1249 (fitted) rolecserv.com

"The Rolec Zura charger I opted for was initially set to be available in summer 2022, but it was delayed due to supply issues, and that meant I waited eight months for my unit. Installation consisted of a two-hour site visit and a six-hour install. The fitting time was longer than normal because the electrician ran the cable inside our house, down the back wall and through a brick wall to the driveway, so no cable was visible on the front of the house.

"There isn't a screen or any buttons on the charger – just a light to indicate if it's charging. Everything is operated via an app called Monta. You can use it to schedule charging, view costs and choose the cheapest way to charge using the SmartCharge feature.

"The app is clearly laid out and has some handy extras, such as a live support chat and a map of public chargers nearby. The unit consistently charges at its maximum speed of 7.4kW and I’ve woken up to a fully charged car every morning. The Zura isn't very aesthetically pleasing, but Rolec sells customisable fascias, so you can change how it looks if you wish."

Rating 78.0%

Green-tech company Easee was formed in Norway in 2018 and now exports its products to a number of European countries. Although it develops and manufactures chargers in Scandinavia, the units sold here are designed specifically to adhere to UK regulations.

Our respondents gave Easee a strong rating of 89% for satisfaction, and they said installation was swift, with all of the units fitted in less than three months. It lost marks overall because purchase and installation costs were on the high side.

Total fitted costs varied greatly, with only 13% of installations costing less than £500 in total and another 13% paying up to £750. More than half of the charge points we were told about (53%) cost between £750 and £1000, while 20% of owners paid more than £1000.

Tester Kiall GarrettEV charger Easee OnePrice £1099 (typical installation) easee.com

"The Easee One can be used tethered or untethered; the charging lead can be locked into the unit or, via the app, you can unlock it for removal. It is a sleek-looking unit that comes in a choice of several colours to suit your personal preference.

"Installation was very quick. It took just two weeks from the initial communication to everything being completed. Easee's third-party installer, We Power Your Car, sent a survey for me to complete, and asked me to send photos of my power supply so it could make the necessary arrangements for the charger to be installed. I also received a phone call to assist with the survey.

"The wallbox is quick to respond, and, as its name suggests, it's simple to use: simply plug the car in and click ‘Start’ on the app. There is a light-up bar that flashes to indicate charging, but it doesn't show the charging status. Nor are there any controls on the charging pod, and that means everything has to be controlled via the app. Thankfully, the latter is very easy to understand and operate."

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How we calculated the ratings Electric car home chargers ranked 9. BP Pulse Rating Our experience Tester EV charger Price 8. Indra Rating Our experience Tester EV charger Price 7. EO Rating Our experience Tester EV charger Price 6. Ohme Rating Our experience Tester EV charger Price 5. Rolec Rating Our experience Tester EV charger Price 4. Easee Rating Our experience Tester EV charger Price Next: the top three home EV chargers >> Page 1 of 2