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Tethered or Untethered EV Chargers

If you’re in the market for an EV charger, you’ve likely seen the terms tethered and untethered EV chargers.

But what exactly do these terms mean, what are the differences, and which one should you buy?

You’ll learn all this and more in our blog post below.

Topics on this page include:

  • Difference between tethered and untethered EV chargers.
  • Pros and cons of tethered vs untethered EV chargers.
  • Price comparison

Let’s get started:

Difference Between Tethered and Untethered EV Chargers

A tethered charger is an EV charger that comes with a permanently attached cable. 

An untethered charger is an EV charger that doesn’t come with an attached cable. 

Tethered chargers are notable for their convenience. 

As they come with a permanently attached cable, you'll always have a dedicated cable for charging your vehicle. 

On the flip side, untethered chargers offer unmatched versatility. 

They don’t have a fixed cable, allowing you to use various cable types and lengths as per your requirements. 

If your household has multiple electric vehicles (EVs) with different EV connector types, an untethered charger is likely the better choice, as you can simply switch out the cable.


Tethered Charger

Untethered Charger

Cable Attachment




High (no need to connect a cable)

Lower (requires cable management)


Lower (fixed cable type)

High (flexible cable choices)

Risk of Misplacing

None (cable is fixed)

Higher (separate cable can be lost)


What is a Tethered EV Charger? Overview

As previously mentioned, a tethered EV charger is a charger that comes with a permanently attached cable. 

Due to having their own permanently attached cable, you'll always have a dedicated cable for charging your vehicle. 

Your at-home charging becomes a plug-and-play experience since there's no need to store or manage an additional cable. 

Additionally, the risk of forgetting or losing the cable is eliminated, adding to your peace of mind.

Tethered chargers are seen as a permanent fixture, usually mounted on a wall or a dedicated charging port. 

The fact that they're fixed means there's a reduced risk of damage or wear from frequent handling. 

What's more, since the cable remains out of sight when not in use, it contributes to a tidier look and less clutter around your parking space.

Here's a breakdown of the key advantages of choosing a tethered charger for your electric vehicle:

Tethered EV Chargers Pros

  • Convenience: No extra cables are necessary.
  • Reduced wear and tear: Lower likelihood of damage from constant plugging and unplugging.
  • Enhanced security: With no detachable cable, there’s less risk of theft.
  • Aesthetic appeal: Keeps the charging area neater.

It's crucial, however, to ensure that the fixed cable length on a tethered charger aligns with your parking arrangement. 

If the cable's too short, you could be in for some frustration, especially if you tend to park your vehicle a considerable distance from the charger.

Remember, the choice of a Type 1 or Type 2 tethered charger will rely heavily on your vehicle's compatibility. 

While most recent EV models in the UK and Europe use a Type 2 connector, older or imported models might require a Type 1. 

In short, a tethered EV charger might be your best bet if you're after simplicity, security, and peace of mind. 

But, before making your decision, it's essential to consider how this type of charger fits into your daily routine and whether it's the right complement for your EV lifestyle.

Tethered EV Charger Cons

  • Limited mobility: Your car must be parked within the range of the fixed cable length.
  • Vehicle compatibility: Should you switch to an EV requiring a different plug type, your charger may become obsolete.
  • Potentially higher upfront costs: Tethered chargers can be more expensive due to the attached high-quality cable.

What is an Untethered EV Charger? Overview

When exploring electric vehicle charging options, untethered chargers stand out as a flexible alternative. 

Unlike tethered chargers that have a fixed cable, untethered EV chargers come without a built-in cable. 

You'll need to plug in your own cable that connects the charger to your electric vehicle.

This arrangement offers a key advantage: versatility

With an untethered charger, you're not bound by the constraints of a hardwired plug. 

Instead, you can use various cable types to suit different EVs. 

Let’s say your household has multiple electric vehicles with different connectors, or you're planning to switch cars in the future.

Having an untethered charger will mean you can easily swap out the cable to match the car you’re charging. 

Another point worth mentioning is the ease of upgrade. 

Technological advancements or changes in your EV's charging requirements won't necessitate a completely new setup. 

Just switch out the cable, and your charger is as good as new. 

This feature is particularly appealing as it allows for a straightforward transition should the industry standards evolve.

While considering untethered chargers, remember to factor in the need to purchase a separate charging cable if it's not included. 

Additionally, you must be mindful of storing and maintaining this cable. 

After all, without proper care, you're at risk of more wear and tear. 

Choosing the right type of charger means weighing the trade-offs between convenience and flexibility. 

An untethered charger could be the smartest investment for long-term flexibility, given the rapid developments in the EV market.

Untethered EV Charger Pros

  • Versatile and Future Proof: As you don’t have a permanently fixed cable, you can swap it out if you have a new car that doesn’t have the same connector type.
  • Easily Transportable: You can store the untethered cable and take it with you to use it at public charging stations.
  • Easier to Replace: If your cable gets damaged, it can be easily replaced, unlike a tethered EV charger.

Untethered EV Charger Cons

  • Additional Cost: You’ll likely need to buy an additional cable, which can cost up to £300 for a premium cable. 
  • More Wear and Tear: As you’ll be unplugging and plugging in the cable more, there’s more chance of wear and tear.
  • Less Convenient than Tethered Chargers: Many users can find connecting a cable each time to be a nuisance compared to the plug-and-play approach of a tethered cable.

What’s More Expensive? Tethered vs Untethered

When you're in the market for an EV charger, cost is often a key factor. 

You might assume that the initial price reflects the overall expense, but there's more to consider. 

Tethered chargers typically have a higher upfront cost.

This is because they come with an attached cable, saving you the hassle and expense of buying one separately. 

Many users find the convenience worth the extra cost.

Untethered chargers, on the other hand, seem less expensive at first. 

However, remember that you'll likely need to purchase a cable. 

The cost of high-quality cables can add up, potentially offsetting the initial savings. 

Additionally, should your cable become damaged or misplaced, you'll face the cost of replacing it, something that tethered charger owners don't worry about.

To give you a clearer picture, let's examine some average costs:


Tethered Charger Cost

Untethered Charger + Cable Cost

Initial Charger Unit



Charging Cable






So potentially, the combined cost of an untethered charger and a separate cable can equate to that of a tethered charger. 

But cables can be far more expensive than this and can go up to £300 for a high-end one. 

What's more, you need to also consider potential expenses like cable wear or loss over time.

These could lead to unexpected costs for untethered charger owners.


Deciding between a tethered or untethered EV charger isn't just about the initial price tag. 

It's about weighing the long-term costs and conveniences that align with your lifestyle. 

Remember the additional expenses that can accumulate with an untethered charger and the ease a tethered version can offer. 

Your choice should factor in not only the financial aspects but also how it fits into your daily routine. 

By considering the whole picture, you'll ensure your investment is smart and sustainable for your electric vehicle charging needs.

Frequently Asked Questions

What's the main difference between tethered and untethered EV chargers?

Tethered EV chargers come with an attached cable, while untethered chargers require you to purchase the cable separately.

Are tethered EV chargers more expensive than untethered ones?

Yes, tethered EV chargers typically have a higher upfront cost, but they include an attached cable, which might be cost-saving in the long run.

Does the price of an untethered charger include the cable?

No, the price of an untethered charger usually does not include the cable, which must be bought separately.

Can the cost of cables for untethered chargers offset the initial savings?

Yes, buying a separate cable for an untethered charger can offset the initial savings, making it potentially as expensive as, or more than, a tethered unit.

Should cable wear or loss be considered when buying an EV charger?

Absolutely, considering potential expenses such as cable wear or loss over time is important when choosing between a tethered and untethered EV charger.

What other factors should be considered apart from the purchase price?

Apart from the purchase price, it's important to consider the complete financial journey of owning an EV charger, including longevity, warranty, and potential savings from avoiding frequent cable replacements.

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