Tethered or untethered home charger?

All the pros and cons of home wallbox chargers with either tethered or untethered cables

BMW i3 wallbox

If you’re just bought, or are planning to buy your first electric car, you’ll need to think about how you’ll charge it. A home wallbox is the best option for most as you can plug in your EV whenever you need a top-up – they come in two different styles: tethered and untethered, but what’s the difference?

A tethered home wallbox charger has a cable built into the unit and you plug into your car at the other end. Meanwhile, untethered wallbox chargers are designed to be used with a cable that has a plug on both ends, like the one that comes with most new electric cars. You simply plug one end into your car, and the other in the charger itself. 

Prices differ between the two, so read on to learn about the pros and cons of each type to help decide whether a tethered or untethered home charger would suit you best…

Tethered wallbox chargers

Tethered wallbox chargers are, in some ways, more convenient than untethered boxes, so this is the style most buyers go for. It means you don’t have to find your cable to be able to charge up – you just arrive home, park next to the box, unwind the cable and plug in.

But you have to make sure you wind the cable back up and store it neatly every time you unplug your car, otherwise you risk driving over it or damaging it in some other way. You also need to check if the built-in cable is long enough to reach your parking space, otherwise you’ll need to pay extra for a longer cable when ordering your unit.

There’s also a slight possibility that by choosing a tethered charger you could end up with a box that you can’t use somewhere down the road. It seems unlikely that anything other than Type 2 will be the norm in the future, but advances in tech could make it obsolete.

Untethered wallbox chargers

Untethered wallbox chargers require you to connect your own cable to use them. Most cars come with this as standard, but sometimes it’s an optional extra and can cost hundreds to replace if you lose it. It’s more inconvenient than a tethered charger because every time you arrive home, you’ll need to open the boot, or wherever the cables are stored in the car, get them out and plug in at both ends. Then you have to do the reverse when you set off. 

However, without a cable, untethered units look a bit tidier on your driveway, and you can purchase cables of different lengths as required. They’re also the best way of future-proofing your charger, as you can simply upgrade the plug configuration when you need to. Plus, they’re generally less expensive than tethered chargers because manufacturers don’t have to provide any charging cable.

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