Home EV charging is considered the easiest and most convenient way to charge your electric vehicle. If you have recently bought, or are about to buy an electric car, you are probably wondering what type of home charging unit you will need. 

There are plenty of different options, making it both exciting and challenging to choose the best EV charger for your needs. One of the most important things to consider is whether you need a tethered or untethered EV charger.

Both tethered and untethered home chargers serve the same purpose of charging an electric car at home, but operate in slightly different ways. There are also varying costs, styles and cable lengths that differ amongst tethered and untethered chargers. 

This guide covers everything you need to know about both types of charger cable, helping you decide whether to install a tethered or untethered EV charger. 

The difference between tethered and untethered

The main difference between tethered and untethered EV chargers is that tethered EV chargers have a permanently attached charging cable, and untethered chargers have a detachable charging cable.

Tethered chargers

Tethered chargers are the most common type of EV charger, and is the style that most EV owners go for.  The best thing about a tethered charger is that you’ll never have to worry about finding and attaching the cable before charging your car. Simply unwind the charger cable and plug it into your car.

A main factor that electric car owners should consider when buying a tethered charger is to check the type of charging cable it has – Type 1 or Type 2. As a tethered charger cable cannot be changed, unlike an untethered charger, it is important to check whether the lead is compatible with your EV. 

Most electric vehicles support Type 2 charging leads. It is mostly older vehicles that support Type 1 connectors, and Type 2 is now the norm. Although it is always best to check. When you’ve finished charging, you’ll need to wind the tethered cable back up to avoid damaging it. For instance, to avoid driving over it. 

Tethered charger pros and cons

ProsCons
Convenient to charge – simply plug in and charge. Cannot change charger cable if you require a longer, or different connector type.
Cable included with the main charging unit price.Replacing a damaged charger cable can be more costly.
More secure – charging cable is less likely to be subject to theft.

Untethered chargers 

Untethered chargers are fitted to your home without a permanently attached charging cable. You will usually have to buy the charging cable separately, or as an optional extra when you buy your EV charging unit. Some electric cars are also provided with a standard charging cable. 

Untethered chargers are considered less convenient than tethered chargers for home charging, since you’ll need to get the charging cable out every time you need it and plug it into both the wallbox charger and your electric car. You’ll then have to unplug the untethered cable from both ends when your vehicle has finished charging. 

Some EV owners prefer untethered chargers as they can look neater and tidier than tethered chargers. Since you’ll be able to remove the cable and store it away, this can help remove the mess of any wires on the side of your home. Although most tethered chargers allow you to wind the cable up neatly when not in use. 

Another main benefit of untethered charging units is that you’ll be able to change your charging cable whenever you want to. This is a great option for if you ever require a longer charging cable, or different type of charging cable, or simply if a broken cable needs replacing.

Untethered chargers pros and cons

ProsCons
Replace charging cable as and when you need to. Less convenient to charge – requires a lot of plugging and unplugging. 
Charging unit can look tidier without an attached cable.Often have to pay for untethered charging cable separately to the main charging unit.
Less secure – some EV owners are concerned that cables could be stolen.

Tethered vs untethered costs

Generally, tethered chargers are more expensive to buy than untethered chargers, as the cost of the cable is included as standard. 

With a tethered charger, the cable cost is factored into the total cost. However, with an untethered charger you’ll have to buy the cable separately, which can bring the cost up.

Tethered vs untethered security

Tethered chargers are considered much less of a security risk than untethered chargers. Unfortunately, untethered charging cables may be more susceptible to theft as they can be easily detached from the main wallbox. 

A tethered charger cable is permanently attached, so is a less likely target of theft.

Tethered vs untethered cable lengths

Most tethered chargers are supplied with a 5m or 7.5 m cable as standard. It is important to check whether the tethered charger cable length is long enough to reach your vehicle before having your home EV charger installed.

With an untethered EV charger, you’ll be able to choose from a range of charger cable lengths that suit your needs. Additionally, you’ll be able to buy a longer charger lead if you ever need one. For instance, if you buy a new electric vehicle with a charging port on the opposite side to your previous electric vehicle’s.

Best tethered chargers

Tethered charger graphic

As experienced EV charger installers, we have come across a huge range of tethered chargers.

Some of the most popular tethered chargers we install include:

Best untethered chargers

Untethered charger graphic

EV chargers that are solely untethered are rare to come across.

Although, one that stands out is the Project EV Pro Earth, designed to be a totally untethered home charging unit.

Best tethered or untethered option chargers

Tethered and untethered charger comparison graphic

Some EV chargers offer both tethered and untethered options.

Some of our favourite charging units that offer both tethered and untethered options include:

Summary – should you buy a tethered or untethered charger?

To summarise, tethered chargers are usually much more convenient to use for home charging, and it is clearer which connector type and length your charger will come with.

An untethered charger is more suitable for those who may need a longer cable in the future, or if you require two separate cable types for two different electric vehicles at home.
In terms of which is better, it is more a question of which type of charger would suit your needs and lifestyle the most. For more information about tethered or untethered chargers, get in touch with our team.

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