Level 1 vs. Level 2 Electric Vehicle Charging Stations

Electric car owners might get confused about choosing the right charging equipment for their vehicles. Knowing the differences between level 1 and level 2 charging stations will help you make a decision about the charger you need for your home.

Understanding the difference between Level 1 and Level 2 Chargers

How fast a vehicle can be charged is determined by the charging level. Each level runs on a different voltage. Basically, the higher the level is, the higher the voltage is, and the faster the car will be charged. 

Level 1 Charging Stations

Level 1 EV Charging Station

A Level 1 charging unit, is the cable that comes with your new electric car as a standard charger and which simply just needs to be plugged into a normal electrical outlet. Level 1 charging units operate on electric power of 120 volts, 20 Amp circuits, and about 1.4 KW power.

Level 2 Charging Stations

Level 2 EV Charging Station

A Level 2 charging unit is a specific charging unit, generally firmly mounted on a wall and facilitating efficiently the electric vehicle owners. Level 2 charging units possess around 240 charging volts and a 40 Amp circuit. There’s some variation depending on exactly what model you purchase. 

When it comes to connecting your car with one of these charging units, it is way more user-friendly and easier for everyone. We’re now going to compare both Level 1 and Level 2 chargers.

Level 1 vs Level 2 Charging Stations: Comparing Scenarios

Charging at home provides you convenience, and comfort, and is always an inexpensive way to fuel up your car as the cost of electricity is lower than gasoline. Therefore, the trend of owning electric cars is rising day by day.

Here are the different aspects to consider when comparing both Level 1 and Level 2 charging stations:

  • The Charging time
  • The price
  • The installation
  • The mobility
  • The safety

1. Charging Time

For the vehicles possessing 100 miles of battery, it would take up to 25 hours to fully charge your vehicle on a level 1 charging mode with a simple electricity plug socket at your home or at work. Level 1 charging modes work mainly on identical output with the Homes. 

Whereas, for a level 2 charging mode, a vehicle with 100 miles of battery capacity could be fully charged as early as only 4-5 hours. There is a totally different scenario for Level 2 charging modes, as it requires installing a higher-output range of about a 240-volt power source. Charging times would be greatly reduced than those of a Level 1 EV charging mode. There is a huge difference due to their charging voltage and capacity of storing charge. 

By going deep into the comparison of Level 1 EV charger vs Level 2 EV charger, the Level 2 charging unit adds about 25 miles of Range Per Hour (RPH), while Level 1 charging only adds about 4 miles of Range per Hour. Because it requires about a full day to charge an EV, therefore, it might attract fewer users.

Check out our electric vehicle charging time calculator to determine the time you would need to charge any car with the charging station of your choice.

2. Price

Level 1 chargers are often provided with any new electric vehicles. So you don’t have any additional costs.

Level 2 chargers can be found for a price ranging from 500$ (€) to 1000$ (€) on average. It is quite an investment but as we’ve seen above, charging a car is about five times faster than you would with a Level 1 charging station.

3. Installation

Level 1 charging units require no specific installation as it just needs to be plugged into a classic home outlet. They are easy to install and easy to operate at home, with the flexibility of inexpensive installation. It could be installed by anyone who may not be familiar with electrical equipment.

On the other hand, level 2 charging mode at home requires proper installation and learning how to install it if you are not familiar with electric equipment. The installation could be done either by yourself or by hiring qualified personnel. However, we highly recommend hiring a qualified electrician for it.

4. Mobility

An advantage is Level 1 chargers could be easily carried out whenever and wherever you want. This is quite convenient.

Contrary to Level 1 charging stations, level 2 units are wall-mounted and cannot be carried around.

Another option could be to use a portable unit that can charge up to 3 times faster than a Level 1 charging station but slower than a level 2 charger and can still be transported everywhere you go in the trunk of your car.

5. Security

Both Level 1 and Level 2 charging stations are manufactured with a safety switch. Electric car chargers are weatherproof and are specifically designed to protect both the car and people from electric sparking or shocks.

Here a summary of the differences between Level 1 and Level 2 charging stations that we’ve just seen:

CharacteristicsLevel 1 Charging StationLevel 2 Charging Station
Charging time for 100 miles or kmSlow – 10.5 hours with a 1.9kW charger for 100 miles (or km) for a 20kWh consumption per 100 miles or kmFast – 1.8 hours with an 11kW charger for 100 miles (or km) for a 20kWh consumption per 100 miles or km
Full charging time31.6 hours for a 60kW EV battery with a 1.9 kW charger5.5 hours for a 60kW EV battery with an 11 kW charger
Rough max. powerAbout 1.9 kWBetween 3.4 and 22 kW
PriceFree – Provided with the electric carBetween 500$(€) or 1000$(€)
on average
InstallationCan be installed by anyone who might not be familiar with electric equipmentRequires proper installation by yourself or by a qualified electrician
MobilityCan be easily carried out wherever you want in the trunk of your carWall-mounted and can’t be transported
Safety switchYesYes

Depending on your needs, you can now decide if you prefer to opt for a Level 1 or Level 2 charging station. If you’re interested in purchasing a Level 2 charger, we’ve created a guide to buying the right EV home charging station for your car.

Benefits of charging an EV at home with a level 1 or level 2 charger

  • Charging at home provides you comfort and is always an inexpensive way to fuel up your car as the cost of electricity is lower than gasoline. Therefore, the trend of owning electric cars is rising day by day.
  • Electric Vehicle drivers need to charge where they can park their vehicles, and their homes are a much safer and more convenient way to go. You plug in your car overnight and cruise through the roads all day. Moreover, you don’t have to be dependent on public charging infrastructures. You’re more flexible and can charge your car at home at any time.

In conclusion:

Concluding with the final remarks, a wise selection and wise decision rely on your choice. Level 1 chargers applaud you with the flexibility of charging the vehicle easily at home, in public places, or someplace fairly favorable. Whereas, a level 2 charging unit comes with faster charging and quicker response whenever you need to rapidly reload your car. A wise decision relies on your choices, flexibility, time availability, cost approach, and familiarity with electrical equipment. Therefore, keep in mind all these scenarios and then opt for one out of these two.