Tips & AdviceShould You Install a Garage EV Charger?

Should You Install a Garage EV Charger?


Electric vehicle (EV) owners may experience a new sensation: range anxiety. While short drives around town may not pose a problem, longer drives may require a stop along the way to replenish the battery. As EVs become more popular, finding an available public charger can sometimes prove difficult, and drivers may worry if they can sustain a longer journey. A garage EV charger provides one solution that can help you save time and money.

The rise in popularity of electric cars has led homeowners to reconsider how they use their garage space. Installing a garage charger may rise to the top of your list of home renovations after you buy an electric car. Also, homebuyers who currently own an EV or plan to buy one at some point in the future may actively seek out properties that can accommodate garage chargers, which could increase the value of your home.

Types of EV Chargers

Owning an electric vehicle requires a changing mindset when considering how to maintain and power a car. As the technology continues to evolve, future electric charging methods may improve what’s currently available, but the standard chargers that today’s electric cars use include Level 1, Level 2, and DC Fast chargers.

Level 1 Charger

Level 1 chargers use a 120-volt outlet to power a car battery. New electric vehicles typically include a charging cable that can plug directly into a three-pronged, 120-volt outlet. According to the U.S. Department of Transportation, a Level 1 charger takes about 40-50 hours to charge an electric car battery from 0 to 80%. For hybrid electric vehicles, Level 1 charging takes about 5-6 hours. While not practical for long commutes, this may suffice for those who limit their driving to short trips and who have easy access to public charging stations.

Level 2 Charger

Approximately 40% of EV owners surveyed by Forbes reported having a Level 2 charger at home. These chargers utilize 240 volts to replenish an EV battery and take about 4-10 hours to go from 0 to 80%, as estimated by the U.S. Department of Transportation. An electrician can install a Level 2 charging station in your garage and recommend any upgrades to your home’s electrical capacity to handle the charging system.

*Photo contribution: Original Content for RealtyHop Blog

Direct current (DC) Fast Charger

Public charging stations utilize DC fast chargers designed to replenish a car battery in less than an hour. You can find these ultra-fast chargers in mall parking lots, highway rest stops, or other locations near highly traveled roadways. As they are intended for public use, the higher costs and increased power level of DC fast chargers make them unsuitable for home charging.

Do You Need a Garage EV Charger?

While Level 2 garage chargers can save both time and money in the long run, you’ll need to spend money upfront for installation and setup. To help decide if a home charging station may work for you, consider the following factors:

Average Daily Driving Miles

Your average commute will help to determine what type of charger you need, Level 1 or Level 2. If you plan to use your electric vehicle for small trips around town, you may not need a more expensive Level 2 charger that can replenish your battery faster. Level 1 chargers may suffice for shorter, less frequent trips. Level 1 chargers may also work well for plug-in hybrid vehicles with a shorter battery range. Those who consistently use their car for longer may justify the more expensive Level 2 charger as it will ensure they efficiently reach their destination daily.

Local Climate

The local climate may affect your decision to buy a garage EV charger. Cold temperatures decrease the battery performance of EVs, making each charge slightly less effective. Keeping your car in a garage as opposed to leaving it outside when temperatures dip below freezing can help to preserve the charge.

Even those in northern climates with a garage to help preserve EV battery life may still opt to install a charger to avoid some of the extra trips needed to use public chargers in colder weather. Charging your car while you sit by the fire in the comfort of your home seems like a better alternative to trekking through ice and snow to use a public charging station.

Cost to Charge at Home vs. Public Charging Stations

If you want to save money at home, a garage EV charger can help lower your transportation costs. In most cases, relying on your residential electricity service costs less than using a public charger for your electric vehicle. Before you install a home charger, you should review your utility bills for current pricing. Utility providers price electricity using kilowatt hours (kWh). As of February 2023, the average residential cost of electricity in the U.S. equaled 15.96 cents per kilowatt hour. In the state of New York, electricity costs average slightly higher, 23.6 center per kilowatt hour.

Public chargers typically cost more than home charging. Home Advisor estimates that public charging stations charge between 30 to 60 cents per kilowatt hour before factoring in any membership discounts or user fees. While drivers can find some free public chargers, they tend to run slowly and take hours to charge. Also, some electric car manufacturers offer free use of public chargers for a certain period of time, or in a certain number of kWh as a purchase incentive. As these incentives wear off, you should expect to pay for public charging stations, especially DC fast chargers.

Charger Availability

With the growing popularity of electric vehicles, finding a public charging station when you need one may become difficult. Developing an infrastructure to handle the growing number of EVs on the road may take some time. Some geographic areas of the country have made larger investments than others, so when taking longer trips, you should check for charger availability on the route to your destination. Depending on the number of miles you drive, and the EV battery capacity, a home charging station may give you added comfort until the public charging infrastructure improves and chargers become more readily available in your area.

Cost to Install EV Charger at Home

After you understand how often you’ll need to charge your EV, you can price out the costs of installing a home charger. Level 1 charging stations could cost $300-$600 for charging equipment, which may come with your vehicle. Additionally, you may need to pay an electrician to install a 120-volt outlet in your garage.

For Level 2 Chargers, you may need to purchase a charging station and install a 240-volt circuit. Homeowners can expect to pay an average of $500 to $700 for a single port station and an additional $400 to $1,700 for installation.

Don’t forget to look into tax rebates or state incentives for in-home charging stations when researching installation costs. You may recoup some of the upfront costs of your installation if you can take advantage of these programs.

How to Install an EV Charger in Garage

Homeowners should hire a professional to install their EV chargers. Qualify a potential electrician by asking about their experience with this project, or call a company specializing in electric vehicle chargers. Before the installation, check with your homeowner’s association about rules related to car chargers. You should also check with your local town to determine if you need a permit.

Best Location for EV Charger in the Garage

Work with your electrician to select the best spot for your charger. Find a safe place with easy accessibility. You’ll want to install the charger at the proper height for optimal visibility when pulling in and out of the garage. The charger’s location may also depend on where the charging cable plugs into your vehicle. You should install a charger on the wall, close to where you plan to store your car in the garage so the charging cable can reach the station.

Perform Electrical Upgrades if Needed

Older houses may require additional circuits to accommodate an EV charger. Ask your installer to take a look at your current electrical setup and determine if you need additional amps or circuits. You should install the EV charging station on its own circuit and talk to the installer about the need for surge protection.

Purchase Charging Equipment

Research the available products and decide which EV charger garage setup works best for you. If you stay with Level 1 charging, an electrician can provide the equipment needed to install a 120-volt wall outlet. If you choose a Level 2 charger, you may need to purchase a charging station. You can ask your vehicle dealer to recommend charging stations that work best with your particular make and model. Charging stations may also offer features such as Wi-Fi access to help you monitor charging progress.

Do EV Chargers Add Value to Your Home?

Electric vehicle chargers may increase the value of your home for the right homebuyer. A prospective buyer with an EV may favor your home over comparables that do not have chargers. In 2021, a report in the United Kingdom found that 76% of homes with EV charges sold for more than their competitors without chargers by an average of 13%. Prospective buyers can even specifically search for homes on RealtyHop with EV charging.

Of course, a home with a charger may not be as valuable in a market where buyers do not own electric vehicles. Homeowners can consider the popularity of EVs in their area to determine if their installation will fare well among future buyers.

Property investors may install electric chargers to increase rental prices and recoup more on their assets. Larger buildings with multiple charges may appeal to tenants, and owners can install chargers in a common area of a parking garage.


With alternative fuel vehicles rising in popularity, installing an EV charger may increase your home’s value or offer a point of differentiation among comparable homes if you intend to sell. If you’re building a home or buying something new, ask your contractor about pre-wiring for an electric vehicle charging station in your garage. The convenience of a home charger can save you time and money and allow you to fully enjoy your new car by lowering your range anxiety.

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