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Should I buy a tethered or untethered EV charger?

There are many benefits to charging your electric vehicle with solar energy at a home charging station. But what’s the difference between a tethered and untethered EV charger? In this guide we’ll walk you through the pros and cons of the two options. If you’re still not sure which option is right for you, one of our Gurus will be happy to discuss this with you. If you haven’t yet, go through our model and you’ll be given the option to speak to one of our Gurus!

What’s the main difference between tethered and untethered chargers?

The most noticeable difference between tethered and untethered chargers is whether the charger comes with a cable attached to it. Tethered chargers do, but in the case of untethered charges, the cable needs to be plugged into both the charger and your car.

Depending on your personal preference, you might prefer one option over the other. We’ll break down some of the things you might want to consider below so that you’re better able to make an informed decision.

Why might I prefer a tethered charger?

Some people prefer the convenience of always knowing where their charging cable is. This also means that there’d be fewer steps required to charge your car. You’d only need to plug it in on one end as it’s already connected to the charger! With an untethered charger, you’d need to fetch the cable from your trunk or wherever you’ve chosen to keep it, and then plug it into both the charger and your car. This certainly doesn’t require much effort, but could be made more efficient with a tethered charger if that’s what you’d prefer.

Why might I prefer an untethered charger?

A benefit to not having an attached cable is that you can put it away. This looks more tidy than with a tethered charger! So if aesthetics is important to you, you might prefer an untethered charger. And although it might seem effortful to fetch your charger from where you’ve got it stored every time you charge your electric vehicle, you would still need to make sure to wind your cable back up if you had a tethered charger. This would protect it from damage as you’d be less likely to drive over it or damage it in other ways.

Tethered versus Untethered chargers:

Performance

Tethered chargers are considered more reliable than untethered chargers as the former are not as prone to malfunction. Keep in mind that untethered chargers are still more reliable than most battery chargers. Tethered chargers are more powerful though.

Security

Both tethered and untethered charges can attract thieves. Because the cable is always present in the case of a tethered charger, thieves are given more opportunities for theft. Yes, thieves can steal your charging cable despite it being attached to the charger. This would permanently damage the unit as they’d rip the case along with the cable.

While untethered chargers are less likely to be targeted for theft, as they’re not as frequently available, their cables are easier to steal as they’re easier to remove.

Future proofing

Untethered chargers are often described as better future proof than tethered chargers as their charger cables are detachable. If you buy a new electric vehicle in the future, and you need a different type of charger cable, you would need an adapter to still be able to use a tethered charge point. However, this won’t be of help if you need to replace your cable for other reasons, such as because it becomes damaged.

If you have friends and family looking to borrow your charger when they come to visit they’re more likely to have brought a cable for their car than an adapter. So this might make sharing your electricity with others a little bit tricky, but some will consider this a good thing… Again, it comes down to personal preference.

Now that you know some of the things to consider when choosing between a tethered or untethered charger, you should feel more confident in your decision. But don’t forget that your Guru will be more than happy to continue this discussion with you! If you’re not ready to chat with a guru, have a look at our other Green Guides or our Guru FAQ.

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