If you’re looking at buying or already owning an electric car, your car either comes with a charger that’s most likely 110-volt, or it doesn’t come with a charger at all.
The kicker of owning an electric vehicle is traveling to your friends’ houses or going to different areas. You figure out that at some point, you have to take that charger you have at home and remember to put it in the trunk or purchase an extra Level 1 / 2 portable electric car charger that’s always in the trunk for emergencies or while you’re traveling.
Since the Level 1/ 2 charger is portable, the charger doesn’t actually take up too much space. They are portable, well-made, and compact for convenience.
In addition to that, if you apply Level 2 charging, it charges your electric car much faster than the standard Level 1 charger.
You may want to make sure that you have an extra portable EV charger, especially if you go camping. You can simply plug it in at that point to the same NEMA 14-50 or NEMA 6-20 or NEMA 5-15 outlet and enjoy the convenient charging. The charging cost could be zero under some circumstances.
Most of the portable electric car chargers you’re looking at will come with the J1772 handle. So if you have a Tesla, you’re going to need an adapter so it will work with your Tesla vehicle.
We will walk you through the 8 best portable electric car chargers that we tested and picked up and show you why they might be an excellent backup at home or as you’re traveling.
1. Most Portable and Lightest Electric Car Charger – Lectron NEMA 5-15 Level 1 Charger
This Lectron Level 1 EV charger weighs 6.65 lbs and sizes 9.45 inches by 3.5 inches by 2.4 inches, making it the lightest and most portable EV charger on the market.
The Level 1 charger is one of the most compatible charging plugs by default. It comes with a nice little travel case for your cord and cable.
The beauty of this charger is you can plug it into any 110V AC outlet anywhere, anytime, because you have this kind of outlet anywhere. You could use this charging cable and plug it in, and then it starts charging.
Most EV manufacturers provide a standard Level 1 charger with an all-battery electric car, so it would be more efficient to charge the vehicle with at least a Level 2 charger. This Lectron Level 1 charger, we think, is perfect for plug-in hybrid EVs, such as Chevy Volt, BMW 530e, Toyota Prius Prime, etc.
Depending on the type of your EV, let’s take Chevy Volt as an example, you get about 4 MPH of charging, so it’s not too bad for charging overnight.
Honestly, if you don’t drive a ton, you can undoubtedly get a 110-volt charger. This charger plug works well for you.
This charger has a 21ft extension cord and a J1772 cable plug, giving you plenty of room.
The handle feels good and lightweight. It has a little cap on it to cover it up. The connector pins can stay covered when not in use. It’s got a latching handle where you press the thumb button to lift it up and slide it into your charging port on your car.
One thing to note is that the documentation that came with the unit said it was UL listed, but there wasn’t any UL label on the product body, and the manufacturer gave us an answer that it was TUV-tested according to UL standards.
Besides, it isn’t weatherproof rated, so just use it indoors for safety.
Compared with other portable EV chargers we listed in this article, the Shell EV charger is a heavy-duty charging station. Besides, it’s a bit more expensive.
However, this unit has a UL safety certification, while others don’t. Last year, the manufacturer said the charger was both FCC and UL certified; however, only an FCC logo was stamped on the body of the product. There was nothing about any UL listed or certified information in the manual.
This year, they got their full UL certification for the EV charger.
It’s IP66 water-resistant rated for both the control box and the charging gun, which means that when you’re traveling on a rainy or snowy day, you don’t need to worry about having a problem with charging your car outdoors.
This IP66 feature is important because you’re not always going to be able to get into a garage, especially when you’re traveling.
Therefore, the Shell portable EV charger may be perfect for outdoor uses.
Let’s look at some of the other key features.
The Shell portable electric car charger functions at up to 32 / 40 amps working within a range of 208V – 240V with a NEMA 14-50 adapter. It charges five times faster than the Level 1 110V or 120V charger.
The charger works with all brand EVs in North America perfectly. The intelligent chip insider the charger communicates with your electric vehicle to adjust the amperage automatically.
When you plug it in and charge your vehicle, the LCD screen will display the control box temperature, charging time, amperage limit, actual charging voltage, amperage, power (kW), and transferred energy (kWh).
It’s designed with built-in safety features, including over-voltage, over-current, overheating, and leakage protection, to make sure that your charging is safe.
It’s inaccurate at 30ft long cable. We measured it was about 25ft without the charger box.
The Lectron Level 2 32-amp Portable EV Charger is bundled with a NEMA 14-50 plug and a 21-foot long cable for most driveways or garages. It’s designed perfectly for convenient charging.
In terms of charging power, the 32-amp power is much stronger than the 16-amp one, and just a little weaker than the 40-amp one.
In terms of cable length, the 21ft cable covers almost every corner of most garages, and you can even charge your EV on the driveways.
Let’s look at the features of this excellent portable charger.
The EV charging is quick and effortless with this portable charger at 32 amps, 208-240 volts. It’s adjustable at 10, 13, 16, and 32 amps. You just need to long press either the “+” or “-” button to select your amperage and long press it again to apply.
The charger is rugged and robust, equipped with over-voltage, overheat, and over-current protection.
The indicator light on the charging station shows the current charge status and allows you to manage the problem if a warning indicator is on. Once it’s plugged in and you hit the power button, the LED display will show the charger’s amperage, voltage, and temperature.
It can be plugged into any NEMA 14-50 outlet. This portable EV charger is a good solution for drivers living in apartment buildings, condos, or circuits limited to 32 amps.
It’s SAE J1772 compliant, so any EV sold in North America applies to it, even the Tesla vehicles, if with a proper adapter.
The Lectron appears to apply UL listed components, but the unit itself isn’t UL listed.
The Schumacher SC1455 portable EV charger can be used with NEMA 5-15 110-volt and NEMA 6-20 220-volt outlets, featuring Level 1 and Level 2 charging and offering up to 16 amps of power. The unit has a 28-foot-long cord for extended reach. It’s easy to use at home, and compact for taking on the road.
This portable EV charger is a universal SAE J1772 charger that’ll work on most electric cars sold in North America, including the Tesla, with an adapter for the J1772 connection.
It’s a great charger because it’s a Level 1-2 charger, Level 1 being the 110-volt home outlet supply, as well as the higher capacity Level 2 220-volt product that will deliver up to 12 miles of range per hour on your car.
The J1772 connector this charger comes with is a very ergonomic design. It comes with a rubber cap that keeps the end clean and clear of dust. It also features a pad-lockable latch for the connector to prevent someone from removing it from the car during charging.
The charging process couldn’t be any easier if you’ve charged a phone. You can charge a car by removing the dust cap, plugging the SC1455 into the car, and the charging process begins.
The control box has a series of status LEDs. The LED shows the power, charging time, and temperature of the control box when connected to the input.
The Schumacher SC1455 is an excellent everyday charger in your garage, but it’s also very portable, and you can take it everywhere you go. The charger features over-current and over-voltage protection.
It’s IP55 waterproof rated, so it helps keep water and dirt from going inside the unit, but it’s not a good idea if you use it outside on a rainy or snowy day.
The MEGEAR portable EV charger features a 25-foot charging cable and a NEMA 6-20 & NEMA 5-15 plug.
This home charger offers up to 16 amps of power, delivering up to 12 miles of range per hour for most electric vehicles. It also can be used as a Level 1 charger when plugged into a 110-volt outlet.
It’s IP54 waterproof rated, so that the connector can work in light rain. But we recommend that you use the charger inside the door. The portable charger features leakage protection, overheat protection, over-voltage protection, and over-current protection.
LED indicator lights allow you to read the charging status of the charger, including the temperature of the main box, the charging time, and the charging power. The portable EV charger uses a standard J1772 charging protocol.
It comes with a 2-year warranty.
Since this is a 16-amp charger, it won’t charge quite as quickly as other more powerful chargers. It’s expected to charge the electric car three times quicker than a standard Level 1 charger.
If you don’t drive a lot, want to charge your car indoors, or don’t pursue the charging speed, this charger may suit your needs. It has an attractive price.
The BougeRV Level 1-2 portable charger comes with a NEMA 6-20 plug and a NEMA 5-15 plug, delivering up to 16 amps of power.
The company also provides you with the J1772 plug and a 25-foot charging cable that should reach from the back wall all the way to the end of your car for any type of electric vehicle.
One of the great features is this portable electric car charger comes with the ability to have over-voltage protection, overheat protection, and over-current protection on a display.
It comes with a display that shows you the voltage, amperage, and the actual temperature of the device while it’s charging. It comes with a really nice case that you can store everything in if you want to take it with you.
The control box is IP55 waterproof rated, so we recommend that you temporarily use the charger outside on a rainy day, but you use it indoors most of the time.
The BougeRV portable EV charger offers three times faster charging of your electric vehicle than the standard Level 1 charger.
The Splitvolt 40-amp portable EV charger has a good overall value with an affordable price and fast allowable NEC charging rates. Compared with other 40-amp portable EV chargers, this Splivolt charger has a better value for money.
The 16.4-foot long charging cable provides flexibility and also being lightweight. However, it is much shorter than other charging cables, and it might not be able to cover every corner of your garage. It coils easily into the included campus carrying case if you want to take it out.
The Splitvolt 40-amp charger can be connected to the dryer socket. Just plug in, and you have 21 or 37 miles per hour of fast EV home charging rates. They’re all-weather IP55 rated so that you can charge your car on a rainy day temporarily.
The standard NEMA plug types support both existing and upgraded household power circuits. Splitvolt portable EV chargers use standard J1772 handle connectors across North American EVs and fully support the standard Tesla adapter.
It’s designed to include internal vehicle power protection, and four LED indicator lights with real-time status information that will alert you to failures or issues with your power source. Although designed for portability, the charger may also be easily wall mounted. It’s up to you. Just plug it in, and your fast home charging begins.
This 40-amp portable electric car charging station costs only $329 if you apply an extra $20 coupon (as of 5/19/2022), coming with a 25ft long cable and a standard 2yr warranty, which is more appealing than other 40-amp portable chargers.
When you receive a MUSTART portable EV charger, open the package, and you can find a sturdy carrying bag, some useful accessories, and a user manual that comes with it.
Currently, the MUSTART 40A portable EV charger with a NEMA 14-50 plug is the fastest electric vehicle home charging station of the company, which offers the maximum power of 9.6 kW, charging your car five times faster than the Level 1 16-amp EV charger.
The 25-foot-long cable charger contains the standard SAE J1772 connector, a protecting cap and a nice touch LED screen. The MUSTART EV charger works well with all SAE J1772 standard plug-in EVs, including Nissan LEAF, BMW I series, Chevy Volt and Bolt, Ford Focus, and more, even Tesla with a suitable adapter.
You can safely charge your vehicle with all these protections: lighting-proof protection, leakage protection, overheat protection, over-voltage protection, and over-current protection.
According to the easy-to-read LED screen, you can clearly know the charging status, such as temperature and charging indicator with the running kWh counter.
Although this 40-amp charger delivers more power, it could make the cable hot, burn your hand or bring some safety issues. We suggest you charge your EV at 40 amps, not for a very long time, because this charger is not UL listed and 40 amps, 208-240 volts of power are strong.
Even though the manufacturer got the MUSTART EV connector IP67 rated, and the main unit IP65 rated, for safety’s sake, we recommend the connector used on a rainy or snowy day temporarily and the control box used indoors.
Do you want a portable EV charger sitting in your car’s frunk or trunk somewhere you need it? We have listed the 8 best portable chargers in this article. Hope you can find the ONE that suits your needs.
These portable electric car chargers will work with any vehicle with an SAE J1772 inlet in North America and even work with a Tesla vehicle if a proper adapter is applied.
There are some downsides to these portable chargers:
– The characters are small on the screen, and it would be hard to read for older people
– The cable gets pretty stiff when it’s below freezing, so it would be a problem in winter
– They have half-smart charging features with no Wi-Fi functionality.
HOWEVER, we have to admit that portability is their most significant advantage, and they are affordable.
These mobile EV chargers will fit in your EV with no hassle or damage to worry about, and it’s convenient to take the charger out and charge your EV anywhere, whether you’re visiting relatives or friends or camping.