Tethered or untethered home charger?

Should you choose a wallbox with an integrated cable, or without? We explain the pros and cons of each

Aside from the power output of your home electric car charger, one of the biggest decisions you’ll need to make is whether you want a tethered or untethered unit.

It sounds complex, but it simply describes whether or not your charger has an integrated cable. Tethered chargers have their own cables hardwired in, while untethered units require a cable to be connected each time.

There are no hard and fast rules, and it’ll come down purely to personal preference in the end. So which should you choose?

Tethered wallbox chargers

Many electric-car and plug-in hybrid owners choose the tethered option, because it means they can leave their car’s cable in the boot. You simply park up and plug in. It really is the last word in convenience.

 

Tethered chargers come with two notable drawbacks. Firstly, there’s the issue of potential obsolescence. While most home chargers come with the almost-universally used Type 1/Type 2-style socket, it's just one of the standards out there. Should there be a wholesale shift to another kind of connector, you may find your next car isn’t compatible – meaning you’ll need an adaptor.

Also, unless the unit has a handy way of coiling the cable, you could end up with it trailing across the ground. And even if it does, you’ll still have to coil the cable up neatly each time.

It’s also worth noting that tethered chargers have cables of a fixed length, meaning you can’t usually purchase a longer cable if you need one.

Untethered wallbox chargers

 

If you go down the untethered route, you’ll have to supply your own cable. In reality, that’s not a big deal, as most plug-in cars are usually supplied with one. However, if you lose yours or simply want an additional cable, you can expect to pay more than £100.

Unlike a tethered charger, you’ll have to dig around in the boot for your cable each time you want to charge – and repeat the process when you unplug.

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.