How to charge an electric car at home

Jesse Crosse

29 Aug 2023

In reality, most EV charging is done at home and that’s part of the appeal. No more tedious stopping at filling stations when you just want to be somewhere else, no more paddling around in puddles of spilt diesel or queuing to pay. Just go home and plug in. It’s that simple. The car will fill itself up while you sleep, eat or watch the telly. It's incredibly convenient, but you will need to think about how it is going to work - so this is our guide to charging an electric vehicle at home.

What do I need to charge an electric car at home? 

There are two main types of charger you can use at home, the slowest is a 2.4kW trickle charger, also known as a granny charger, which plugs straight into a 13 amp socket just like any other household appliance. No electrical installation work is needed to use one. 

The second is a charge point installed on the wall of your property. Charge points are the faster option and available at three levels of power, 3.6kW (classified as slow) 7kW (fast) or 22kW (fast). The 22kW option requires an expensive, industrial 3-phase electrical feed.

Which is the best choice of home charger? 

Trickle chargers are sometimes supplied with an electric vehicle as standard or as an option from new or you can buy one from third party suppliers. They plug straight in to a household 13amp socket, draw a maximum of 10 amps and charge at 2.4kW. 

Most modern EVs can fast charge from a domestic AC supply at around 7kW and so a 7.2kW wall box is the most common choice. 3.6kW wall chargers are designed for older cars like the early Nissan Leaf which as standard could only charge from AC at 3.3kW. An early Leaf can be plugged into a 7kW wall charger but will still only charge at 3.3kW, so it makes sense to fit the more powerful charger in case you decide to switch to a more modern EV later. 

A 7kW charger will charge at twice the speed of a 3.6kW charger if you have an electric vehicle that can accept it. You can see reviews and learn more about these on our charging pages

A 7.2kW wall box is the most common type of home charger

kW and kWh, what does it all mean? 

A kW stands for kilowatt which is equal to 1000 Watts and is a measure of power. kWh stands for kilowatt/hour which is a quantity of electricity and a measure of battery capacity. It’s also the equivalent of a unit of electricity as quoted by energy suppliers on our electricity bills.

If a battery has a capacity of 30kWh it means it can supply 1kW of power for 30 hours, or say, 10kW of power for three hours.

The same applies to charging. In one hour, a 7kW charger will increase a battery’s state of charge by 7kWh. A 7kW charge point will fully charge most EVs overnight quite comfortably.

How fast can I top up the range of my electric car at home? 

That depends on the power of the charger and the energy consumption of your electric car. So if your EV instrument display is telling you it’s covering around 4 miles per kWh consumed, a 2.4kW charger will be adding just under 10 miles every hour. Plugging into a 7kW fast charger will add around 30 miles range every hour.

The time taken to fully charge an electric car battery depends on the power of the charger, the capacity of the battery and the state of charge of the battery (how “full it is”) when you start charging.

Do I need a qualified electrician to install an EV charger at home? 

You don’t usually need any electrical work done to use a trickle charger, just plug it in to a domestic 13 amp socket. But since there will be a continuous heavy load on the plug and wiring, it is best to make sure it is in good condition and connected to modern circuit breakers, as it will soon reveal any weaknesses in old circuits. Get it checked out if you are in doubt.

A charge point needs to be installed by an electrician and prices quoted by some manufacturers like include installation. Others will be able to point you towards approved installers.

Tom Ford and Juice Booster 2 charge cable The 3-pin 'granny' charger won't need a professional installation, but your wiring needs to be in tip-top condition

What kind of car connector do I need? 

As with many kinds of technology, such as mobile phones, there are different types of connectors out there. Thankfully, most modern EVs have settled on the Type 2 connector for AC charging. Some older EVs, like the original Nissan Leaf, will use a Type 1 connector.

If buying a trickle charger, make sure you choose one with the connector to match your car. When having a fast charger installed, the same applies and you can also choose between tethered and untethered cables. A tethered cable is permanently connected to the charger and stowed on it, which is convenient and makes it fast to connect when you pull up to charge.

Untethered means the wall box has a socket on it and you connect the cable to it which came with the car. If you need to buy a cable to connect to your untethered fast charger, be sure to select the correct connectors.

Can I use an extension lead with a trickle charger? 

You can but with caution and only use a heavy duty lead rated to carry 13 amps. Longer DIY leads often come wound onto a spool. The maximum power of an appliance you can plug in when the lead is wound onto its spool is less than when it’s completely unfurled. Those details should be marked on a label but never used a coiled extension lead to charge an EV as it can lead can overheat.

In short, we wouldn't recommend it. 

An extension lead also adds additional plug-in connections between the mains supply and the car which mustn’t under any circumstances be exposed to rain. Specialised weatherproof extension leads are available up to 25 metres in length designed especially for use by EV owners to extend granny chargers. You can also buy longer 'granny charger' leads with stretches of up to 15m.

Take advantage of cheaper tariffs 

Many energy suppliers are offering off-peak tariffs aimed at EV owners which can also be used for any appliance used on a timer, like dishwashers, washing machines or immersion heaters. Tariffs typically offer very low rates in the early hours, between 12 midnight and 4am or 5am in the morning. On the flipside, the daytime rate is higher, so it’s important to look at your daytime and evening use to make sure there’s a saving overall.

Be careful if you need a longer cable to reach the plug

Share this post

Click here to subscribe
“Added to your showroom”

You currently have no cars in your showroom. Browse our reviews here to start.


Please fill out your contact details below.