For our latest electric vehicle charger test, we reached out to Emporia to ask if we could try their very popular Emporia Electric Vehicle EV Charging Station. The company was generous and sent one to us for our real-world evaluation. This is a charger that has earned high scores on many reviews from many owners, and we wanted to see if the unit lived up to its high praise. In case you want the short form of our review, it certainly does.
Who Is Emporia?
Emporia is a Colorado-based energy management company that focuses on home energy products. In addition to its EV charger, Emporia offers energy monitoring and management systems, smart plugs, battery backup systems, and products related to solar power. While personal use by homeowners is the company’s primary focus, it also offers a line of chargers called ProControl designed for multi-family housing, workplaces, rentals, fleets, and other charging situations requiring access controls for tenants, employees, guests, and other regular drivers.
The company says on its About Us page, “By reducing our customers’ energy use and saving them money, Emporia is helping people create a healthier planet and build a brighter future for us all.” The company also says that it can help homeowners save as much as 50% on their utility bills by using its products.
Emporia Electric Vehicle EV Charging Station - What Is It? Is It Fast?
Emporia’s EV charger, if we may shorten up its name a bit, is a smart charger. It has the ability to act as your charging scheduler and timer. That allows you to take advantage of utility discounts for EV owners who charge off-peak. The unit is a Level 2 charger, meaning it operates on a 240-volt circuit. It is a high-power charger in the sense that it can deliver a lot of power for a unit of its type. During our use, the charger consistently delivered 9.6 kW. (240 volts times 40 amps = 9600 watts). Chargers of this type can deliver around 25 miles of EV range per hour on the charger. Your vehicle’s consumption rate, its battery’s state of charge, the ambivalent temperature, and your home’s panel voltage will determine the exact rate of charge.
Emporia Electric Vehicle EV Charging Station - How Many Amps Can It Deliver?
The Emporia EV charger can operate on a 48-amp circuit if it is hard-wired, or it can operate on 40 amps if it is used with a NEMA 14/50 plug. We used it with the plug, since we test chargers regularly, and hard-wiring them all the time would be an inconvenience. We do not recommend this, however. Instead, we always suggest that homeowners hard-wire their chargers.
Emporia Electric Vehicle EV Charging Station - GFCI Nuisance Tripping
When one installs an EV charger outlet in a garage, a ground fault circuit interrupter-protected breaker must be used to meet safety codes. Our home EV charger test rig circuit has that protection and we did not experience any nuisance tripping. Why do we mention this? Because some home chargers and some EVs do have this issue when a charger is on a GFCI circuit. Based on our testing, the Emporia unit does not suffer from this malady.
Emporia Electric Vehicle EV Charging Station - Does It Have UL Listing and Does It Earn Energy Star?
Yes, the Emporia EV charger is definitely UL listed. In fact, Emporia offers owners the UL certification information (you can click here to go to the page that has it.) This is something we look for in every EV charger. Underwriters Laboratories is an internationally-respected testing and certification lab. It is our opinion that having a UL listing is an important consideration when shopping for any electronic device, particularly an EV charger, which is usually the highest-power draw device in any home. The Emporia unit is also Energy Star certified.
Emporia Electric Vehicle EV Charging Station - How’s The Quality?
We found the Emporia charger’s perceived quality to be very high. Why do we use the term “perceived?” Simply because we cannot spend years testing every device to see how they hold up, nor can we test thousands of them to determine a failure rate. No tester we know does so. So we rely on our eyes, ears, nose, and hands to tell us if the unit feels like a quality unit. This one seems of very high quality.
Emporia Electric Vehicle EV Charging Station - Packaging and Installation
Our Emporia unit arrived in a compact box with no wasteful overpackaging and zero peanuts or other types of unnecessary packing waste. The packaging was well thought out and neat. We made an unpacking video you can view here.
Installation could not have been easier. The unit comes with all of the fasteners and drywall anchors you will need. Check out our full listing of EV installation tips, but we always suggest that homeowners place a mounting board on the wall secured to the studs. Then, one can secure the charger to the board with screws. Drywall anchors seem like a hokey thing to use for a high-power unit of any type.
From unboxing to charging, we spent no more than 30 minutes. That included reading the very clear installation guide and user manual. Emporia even included a big zip-lock bag for the manual to live in. The only tools we used were a cordless drill/screwdriver, and a Phillips screwdriver. We did also use a level at one point, but just because your author is a geek that way. I like my charger installs to be neat and square.
Emporia is smart. They ship the units intended for hardwiring set to work on 48 amps, and the ones that are equipped with a plug are set to 40 amps. So in our installation, we didn’t need to mess with dip switches or anything of that sort. It came ready to operate on our 50-amp GFCI-protected circuit equipped with a NEMA 14/50 outlet.
Emporia Electric Vehicle EV Charging Station - Features and Functions
The Emporia unit is super simple to operate. Once it has power, you need not do anything to initiate charge other than plug the J-handle into the vehicle. Charging starts automatically. To stop charging, one unlocks the charger handle using the vehicle’s method (usually unlocking the vehicle), and the handle is removed and placed back in its cradle.
The charger also works with a very simple app you can install on your Apple or Android device. We installed the app on a 5-year-old Samsung Galaxy phone in just moments. The registration process is very easy and includes telling the app your wifi password.
Emporia Electric Vehicle EV Charging Station - Does The Customer Service Line Answer?
Emporia has a help line that is offered in case an owner has any questions about the unit’s operation, installation, or if a problem arises. We called the help line mid-morning on a Friday, and there was no wait time to speak to an Emporia customer service/tech support person. Emporia employee Ryan picked up, and he was very helpful. Just to have a question ready, we asked how much energy the unit draws when in its ready state (not charging but powered on). Ryan advised it uses 3 to 4 watts per day, about what a nightlight would consume.
Emporia Electric Vehicle EV Charging Station - Can It Work Without WiFi?
Although you might assume that you need wifi to access this unit’s many features, in fact, you don’t. The unit can also communicate with your phone via Bluetooth. Therefore, if you are planning to put the unit in, say a barn or detached outbuilding on your property, or on a post located too far from your router to pick up a solid wifi signal, you can still use it to its full effect. CleanTechnica’s Jennifer Sensiba did exactly that, She reported that when using the unit away from a wifi signal, “I only charged for a few minutes, but it was clearly working great and pulling the vehicle’s peak power (just under 6.6 kW). I could see that you could not only monitor usage live, but also see historical usage for the month, what its maximum power usage was, and many other things.”
Pick Your Color (Black or White)
One suggestion we have is to consider your color. It can come in white or black. Black looks cooler in some ways. If you have a stylish garage, pick a color that you find matches the look best.
Emporia Electric Vehicle EV Charging Station - How Much Does It Cost? Where Can I Get One?
The Emporia EV charger we tested has a price of $399 and can be ordered directly from Emporia. It is also available on Amazon. When we wrote this story, the price was discounted 13% by Amazon to $349, and was available for same-day shipment and free next-day delivery for Prime members. Those who install EV chargers may qualify for federal, state, and local rebates and tax incentives.
Emporia Electric Vehicle EV Charging Station - Favorite Features
We liked the 24-foot cord length. If centrally located, it offers enough cordage to charge either the left or right vehicle in a 2-port garage with cable to spare. The feature that impressed us the most was the J-handle (which Emporia calls a “gun” in its owner’s manual). It feels substantial and solid. The most high-quality of any handle we have used, public or private. Since this is the only thing you normally touch, we thought it was very smart for Emporia to spend a few bucks here and make it feel like a quality piece. It slid into a Hyundai Ioniq 6’s port smoothly and offered a satisfying click when engaged. The trigger is also smooth in its operation and released easily. Charger handle hassles are the most widely-reported negatives if you read a lot of charger reviews.
During our time testing the charger, we felt the plug, cord, breaker, and casing to see if any unusual hot spots were being created and found none. All chargers become warm to the touch, and this one was no different.
Emporia Electric Vehicle EV Charging Station - What Do Other Reviewers Say About It?
The Emporia Electric Vehicle EV Charging Station has nearly 800 ratings from owners on Amazon, and it has earned a 4.7-star overall average. A whopping 82% of the reviews are 5-star! We looked closely at the Amazon reviews and found that all of the 20 most recent posts were either a 4 or 5.
One positive Amazon verified purchase review from Corey M reads: “I bought this shortly after I got my Kia EV6, after doing a bunch of research into various chargers. The Emporia was recommended a number of times as being a good charger for an excellent price. After using it for a couple of months now, I have to agree with the other reviewers. This has given me no trouble. It was also very easy to install. I used the plug option rather than hardwiring it, and had no problems getting it mounted, plugged in, and configured with the iPhone app. If you're looking for a good charger for your new EV that doesn't hurt your wallet too much, this is the one.”
We also looked very closely at the 1-star reviews on Amazon. There are not many. There is no consistency in the negative reviews, which means there is no single common problem being reported. One negative review didn’t like the screen protector film. Another incorrectly stated that the unit isn’t really a 48-amp charger. Another managed to break the screws that hold it to the mounting bracket. Only one review we found mentioned that the owner didn’t like the software. Overall, the unit has very few negative reviews.
Motortrend named Emporia’s EV charger The Best Smart EV Home Charger. CleanTechnica reviewed the Emporia home EV charger and said it is “Relatively future-proof,” meaning that it will work with your next few EVs. Tom Moloughney of State of Charge tested the Emporia EV charger for Inside EVs and gave it a solid 93 points on the ChargerRater.
Emporia Electric Vehicle EV Charging Station - Conclusion
The Emporia Electric Vehicle EV Charging Station is a high-value, attractively-priced smart home EV charger. At its surprisingly low price point, it offers not just a high-quality feel and simple operation but also smart features like scheduled charging. Pluses include a UL listing, 24-foot cord, and a handle that is among the best we’ve ever put to use. This is a charger that would be ideal for any homeowner who wishes to use an app to schedule charging and who likes to use a phone to see the charging status. That said, it also works just fine if you simply plug it in and walk away. Based on our real-world testing, we give the Emporia Electric Vehicle EV Charging Station two thumbs up.
Test Notes: The charger we reviewed in this story was sent to us at no cost by Emporia. Like all such tests we perform, we offered to return the unit at the conclusion of our testing. Torque News does not accept compensation from companies, and we do not have direct advertisers. Any ads you see when reading our reviews are inserted by your browser.
John Goreham is an experienced New England Motor Press Association member and expert vehicle tester. John completed an engineering program with a focus on electric vehicles, followed by two decades of work in high-tech, biopharma, and the automotive supply chain before becoming a news contributor. In addition to his ten years of work at Torque News, John has published thousands of articles and reviews at American news outlets. He is known for offering unfiltered opinions on vehicle topics. You can follow John on Twitter, and TikTok @ToknCars, and view his credentials at Linkedin
Images of Emporia EV charger and Hyundai Ioniq 6 by John Goreham. Image of Emporia ap in use by John Goreham. GFCI breaker for EV circuit image by John Goreham