Level 1 vs Level 2 EV Charger: What’s the Difference?

Level 1 vs Level 2 EV Charger: What’s the Difference?

1 4 月, 2024

When it comes to EV charging, there are different levels of chargers available, each offering unique features and functionality. 

In this article, we’ll dive into the specifics of Level 1 and Level 2 EV chargers, exploring the differences in charging speeds, installation requirements, cost implications, and more.

What is a Level 1 Charger?

Level 1 electric vehicles typically have a power range of 1.4kW to 2kW and can provide the vehicle with a range of 40 to 80 kilometers at night.

It is popular with daily commuter car owners because of its easy installation and low cost. Although the charging speed is slow, it is suitable for charging for long periods at night, making it a universal charging solution.

Pros of Level 1 Charging

Convenience: Level 1 chargers can be plugged into any standard electrical outlet, making them suitable for home use without requiring any special installation.

Cost-Effective: Typically included with the purchase of an electric vehicle, Level 1 chargers require no extra out-of-pocket expense for the equipment. Even if purchased separately, they are relatively inexpensive.

Portability: It’s easy to carry and allows electric vehicle owners to charge their vehicles anywhere a compatible outlet is available.

Cons of Level 1 Charging

Slow Charging Speed: Due to the limited power output of a standard household outlet, a Level 1 charger will typically provide about 2-5 miles of range per hour of charge.

Limited Range Support: 8 hours of charging with a Level 1 charger can provide approximately 16 to 40 miles (approximately 25.75 to 64.37 kilometers) of range for an electric vehicle. For EV owners who drive for long periods, it may not be possible to provide sufficient range replenishment within a reasonable amount of time.

Not Ideal for All-Day Use: Continuous reliance on Level 1 charging may not be practical for individuals who require frequent recharging throughout the day due to its slow replenishment rate.

What is a Level 2 Charger?

Level 2 chargers provide faster charging and typically operate at 208 to 240 volts with a power range of approximately 3.3 kW to 19.2 kW, which can provide sufficient range for an electric vehicle for several hours.

Pros of Level 2 Charging

Faster Charging Speed: Level 2 chargers typically provide 3.3 kW to 19.2 kW of power, enabling most electric vehicles to be fully charged in 4-6 hours.

Support for All EVs: Almost all electric vehicles come equipped with a Level 2 charging capability, making this charging level universally compatible across different makes and models.

Compatibility with Smart Features: Some Level 2 chargers come equipped with smart features such as scheduling, remote monitoring, and connectivity to mobile apps. These capabilities allow EV owners to optimize their charging routines, track energy usage, and take advantage of off-peak electricity rates for cost savings.

Cons of Level 2 Charging

Upfront Cost: Compared to Level 1 chargers, Level 2 chargers require professional installation and potential electrical upgrades, so the investment will be higher. Including installation costs, the total cost ranges from $1,000 to $4,000.

Installation Requirements: While many homes have the electrical capacity to support a Level 2 charger, some may require additional electrical work or upgrades to ensure safe and efficient operation. This aspect should be carefully evaluated before installing a Level 2 charger at home.

Limited Portability: Unlike Level 1 chargers that can be used with standard household outlets, Level 2 chargers typically require dedicated installations. This means they are less portable and may not be suitable for on-the-go charging unless installed at multiple locations.

Key Differences Between Level 1 and Level 2 Chargers

Now that we have explored the individual characteristics of Level 1 and Level 2 chargers, it’s essential to understand the key differences between these two charging options. 

1. Charging Speed and Efficiency

Level 1 Charger: Using a Level 1 charger takes approximately 20 to 24 hours to charge from a completely depleted battery to a fully charged state, making it suitable for charging at home at night.

Level 2 Chargers: Level 2 chargers offer higher charging power and require specialized installation and a higher-wattage power source. The time it takes to fully charge an electric car is between 4 and 8 hours, depending on the charger’s output and the maximum charging rate the electric car can accept.

2. Installation and Equipment Requirements

Level 1 Chargers: Require minimal installation, and easily plug into standard household outlets, making them an ideal option for basic home charging without the need for significant electrical modifications.

Level 2 Chargers: Installation is more complex, often requiring professional setup to meet safety and local regulatory standards. Some homes may need electrical upgrades to support the higher voltage and power demands, including dedicated circuits.

3. Cost Implications

When comparing the cost implications of Level 1 and Level 2 EV chargers, several factors come into play, including purchase cost, installation cost, and maintenance considerations.

Purchase Cost

• Level 1 Chargers: Typically included with the purchase of a new electric vehicle, meaning there’s often no direct cost to the vehicle owner. If needed separately, a decent Level 1 charger can cost around $200

• Level 2 Chargers: The purchase price ranges from $300 to $1,000, depending on the model and features. This variation reflects the advanced technology and faster charging capability Level 2 chargers offer compared to Level 1 chargers

Installation Cost

• Level 1 Chargers: Require no special installation beyond a standard household outlet, making them significantly more affordable in this regard. They’re designed for plug-and-play convenience

• Level 2 Chargers: Installation can vary widely, often necessitating a dedicated 240V circuit and professional installation. Costs can range from $500 to $2,000, factoring in labor and any necessary electrical upgrades to support the higher voltage

Maintenance and Long-term Use

• Level 1 Chargers: Generally incur minimal additional costs post-purchase, given their simple plug-into-existing-outlet operation. Their slower charging speed makes them less suitable for EV owners with higher daily mileage needs.

• Level 2 Chargers: While having a higher upfront cost, they offer faster charging speeds and the convenience of significantly shorter charging sessions. Some Level 2 chargers come with smart features that can optimize charging schedules for off-peak hours, potentially saving on electricity costs over time.

4. Application scenarios and user groups

Level 1 Charger: Suitable for car owners with daily commuting and low-frequency charging needs, ideal for charging equipment at home for renters or residential owners.

Level 2 charger: Using a Level 2 charger is suitable for car owners with frequent charging needs and long-distance travel. They can top up their batteries in a short time at a utility power station to meet their long-distance needs.

Making the Right Choice for Your EV

As an electric vehicle (EV) owner, making the right choice between Level 1 and Level 2 chargers will directly impact your daily charging experience. I will help you analyze and make decisions from the following perspectives:


Level 1 chargers are generally more cost-effective because they use standard household electrical outlets and require no additional installation fees. If your daily driving mileage is not high and you have enough time to charge at home every night, a Level 1 charger may meet your needs with a low initial investment.


If you don’t want to install it yourself or just need to perform simple operations, you can choose a level 1 charger. Compared with the level 2 charger, the installation is more complicated and requires professionals. If you have sufficient budget, level 2 charging, the device will be the best choice.


From a maintenance perspective, Level 1 chargers are generally easier and less expensive to repair due to their simplicity and use of standard power sources. Level 2 chargers may be more complex and professional. Once a problem occurs, the repair cost may be higher and professionals may be required to repair it.

Application scenarios

Level 1 chargers are a cost-effective and convenient option for users who don’t drive a high daily mileage and can charge for extended periods at night.

Level 2 chargers are more suitable for users who need fast charging, or who have high daily mileage and cannot rely on long-term charging at night to meet their travel needs the next day. Additionally, if you consider the life of your electric vehicle and anticipate frequent use of fast charging, investing in a Level 2 charger may provide better long-term value.

To sum up, which charger you choose depends on your specific needs, daily usage habits, and budget considerations. Carefully weighing these factors can help you make the decision that’s best for you.

Daily mileage requirement of 100 kilometers

For daily mileage requirements of less than 100 kilometers, it is enough to choose a Level 1 charger. Level 1 chargers usually charge through a standard household power socket (110V or 220V). 

They charge slowly and are suitable for situations where only a small amount of power is needed every day. The advantages of this type of charger are its low price and easy installation, making it the best choice for short trips.

Daily mileage requirement of 1000 kilometers

For higher daily mileage requirements, it is recommended to consider purchasing a Level 2 charger. Level 2 chargers usually require specialized electrical wiring and installation, charge faster than Level 1, and can fully charge the battery in 4-6 hours. 

This is very practical for those situations where you need to drive for long periods every day and require quick charging. Level 2 chargers also typically offer more charging data and controls, as well as higher charging power.


In summary, choosing between Level 1 and Level 2 chargers requires careful consideration of personal driving patterns, accessibility to home infrastructure, future adaptability needs, and desired convenience features. I believe this article gave you some direction and ideas. 

Click to browse the PIWIN website to choose the most suitable electric vehicle charger. We have a variety of public and home car charging stations and provide bulk purchases.

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