April 22, 2022

Basics of Level 1 EV Chargers


2 Min. Read

Your new electric vehicle (EV) came with a “power cord” known as a Level 1 charger. You may ask if all Level 1 chargers are the same or what the best Level 1 EV charger is. In reality, all Level 1 chargers are similar, so asking which is the best is a bit of a trick question.

Level 1 chargers are inherently slow, and most EV drivers aren’t satisfied with them as a primary charging solution. However, a Level 1 charger can be a critical lifeline when a faster charging station is unavailable.

What is a Level 1 EV charger? The Basics

A Level 1 charger is a power cord for an electric vehicle, enabling emergency charging using a 120-V outlet. Unfortunately, Level 1 charging is time-consuming and frustrating. The output of a typical Level 1 charger is 1.3 kW to 2.4 kW; it provides only three to five miles of driving range per hour. Given these glacial speeds, it’s not surprising that most EV drivers consider Level 1 chargers a last resort. For more about the capabilities of Level 1 chargers, read How Long Does It Take to Charge an EV at Home?

Is there a best Level 1 EV charger?

The Level 1 charger delivered with a new EV isn’t fast enough to meet the needs of most drivers. And there is no such thing as the best Level 1 EV charger. These units offer minimal functionality and are useful only as a stopgap until a better solution is available. Your best bet is to upgrade to Level 2.

Benefits of Level 1 EV chargers

Level 1 charging solutions are valuable as a backup for more powerful chargers. Therefore, it’s recommended that drivers carry one at all times. For example, a Level 1 charger requires no modifications to breaker panels or other electrical infrastructure. So it is an essential tool if an EV driver has a low battery and there is no Level 2 charging station or public charging station nearby. In that case, a Level 1 charger can add the miles required to allow the driver to reach a faster charging solution.

Level 1 vs Level 2 EV Charging

There are three categories of EV charging solutions: Level 1 is the slowest and Level 3 is the fastest, based on the number of kilowatts of output. For more details on charger classifications and specifications, read our blog The Differences Between Level 1 and Level 2 EV Chargers.

Public charging stations and other high-volume users, like commercial vehicle fleets, use Level 3 or DCFC (Direct Current Fast-Charging) chargers. A Level 3 EV charger can charge a battery to 80% capacity in 40 minutes or less.

Level 2 Charging Stations are the choice of most EV drivers, enabling them to charge their vehicles overnight at home. For instance, Level 2 Charging Stations deliver power outputs of up to 19.2 kW and can charge a battery in four to six hours.

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As the largest network of certified EV charger installers in North America, Qmerit is the most trusted EV charger installation partner recommended by automakers, EV charger manufacturers, utilities, businesses, and homeowners alike.

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Author: Lowry Stoops

Lowry Stoops

President, Qmerit Network