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For Level 2 EV charger installations, one important decision is whether to hardwire the charger directly into the electrical system or to use a NEMA outlet. In this blog post, we’ll explore the key differences between these two approaches and weigh the pros and cons of each.

Hardwiring a Level 2 EV Charger:

Hardwiring a Level 2 electric vehicle (EV) charger refers to directly connecting the charger to the electrical system of a home without the use of a power outlet or plug. Instead of using a plug that can be inserted into a wall socket receptacle or an electrical outlet, the charger is connected to the electrical wiring within the building itself.

The hardwiring process involves a direct connection of the charging unit to a breaker in the electrical panel. This typically requires a licensed electrician to ensure compliance with electrical codes and safety standards. The electrician will run appropriate wiring from the electrical panel to the location where they will install EV charger . The wiring is then connected directly to the charger, creating a permanent and fixed electrical connection.

Here are some key points to consider when hardwiring a Level 2 EV charger:

Professional Installation

Hardwiring a Level 2 EV charger should be performed by a licensed electrician. This ensures a safe installation that adheres to local electrical codes and regulations.


Hardwiring makes the EV charger a permanent fixture in the installation location. This could be an advantage for those who don’t plan on moving the charger and prefer a clean and streamlined appearance.

Complexity and Install Cost

While hardwiring can be more complex than installing a standard electrical outlet, oftentimes it is the cheaper option, especially in states that require the installation of a GFCI breaker for NEMA outlets.

Charging Speed

Hardwiring your EV charger may actually give you higher charging speeds if you have a 48 amp charger.  For safety reasons, EV chargers need to be wired to breakers that have 25% more amperage than the charge they make available.  Your charger will be hardwired to a 60 amp breaker, which allows you to charge at the full 48 amps.  A NEMA 14-50 outlet, on the other hand, is only rated for a 40 amp charge rate, meaning you may not get the full benefit of your 48 amp charger.  The ultimate charging speed is still dependent on the max charge rate set by your EV, so you should understand if your vehicle allows for 48 amp charging.


Hardwiring can provide a sleek and uncluttered look since there are no visible cords or outlets. This can be appealing for those who prioritize aesthetics.

Looking for a hardwire level 2 EV charger?  Shop Emporia’s award-winning hardware and get a free estimate for a hardwire installation!

Installing a NEMA 14-50 Outlet:

Installing a NEMA 14-50 outlet receptacle for a Level 2 electric vehicle (EV) charger involves setting up a specific electrical outlet to which the Level 2 charger can be plugged in. NEMA (National Electrical Manufacturers Association) outlets are standardized outlets commonly used for various electrical applications, including EV charging.  These outlets are much like the ones used for clothes dryers and ovens.

Here are some key points to consider for installing a NEMA 14-50 outlet:

Professional Installation

Installing a NEMA outlet is a task that should be performed by a licensed electrician. This ensures a safe installation that adheres to local electrical codes and regulations. Some modern houses may already have one of these installed, so double check first before contacting an electrician.  If you do already have one, you can simply mount your charger and plug it in.

Flexibility and Portability

One of the significant advantages of using a NEMA outlet is the flexibility it provides. If you anticipate moving or relocating your charging station, a NEMA outlet allows for easier disconnection and reinstallation at a new location.

Compatibility and Standardization

NEMA outlets are standardized and compatible with a wide range of devices. If you ever switch EV models or want to use the outlet for other purposes, the standardized nature of NEMA receptacles provides versatility.

Ease of Upgrades

If you need to upgrade your Level 2 charger in the future, having a NEMA outlet simplifies the process. Upgrading a hardwired charger might involve more extensive electrical work, while a NEMA outlet can easily accommodate a new charger with matching specifications.

Adaptable for Future Expansion

NEMA outlets offer adaptability for future expansion. If you plan to install additional charging stations or modify your setup, having NEMA outlets allows for a straightforward and scalable solution.

Looking for a NEMA level 2 EV charger?  Shop Emporia’s award-winning hardware and get a free estimate for installation of a NEMA 14-50 outlet!

In Summary:

Choosing between hardwiring and a NEMA outlet for your Level 2 EV charger installation involves weighing the trade-offs between aesthetics, flexibility, and complexity. If a sleek and permanent solution with higher charging speed is your priority, hardwiring might be the ideal choice. On the other hand, if you value flexibility and portability, you may want a NEMA outlet.

Ultimately, the decision should align with your specific needs, preferences, and future plans. Whether you opt for the streamlined elegance of hardwiring or the flexibility of a NEMA outlet, the goal remains the same: a reliable and efficient charging solution that seamlessly integrates into your electric vehicle lifestyle.

Want to know what installation in your home would cost? Emporia can help! Click here to get a quick estimate and a no-obligation quote from a licensed electrician.


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