The very best electric vehicle chargers come with so many amps and features they’re almost more impressive than the car itself. Unfortunately, they also tend to cost as much as a small car. And while we all love the idea of a car charging so quickly, it’s ready to go after only minutes plugged in, this isn’t realistic.
There are many reasons to be looking for a budget charger to use in your home. A slow charge isn’t a terrible inconvenience at home, and a lower-powered charger may be all that works with your circuits. However, budget EV chargers tend to have a bad reputation, and even the cheapest of chargers will still set you back over $100.
The Megear is a budget charger with prominence. The first charger they released proved popular with EV owners who wanted something simple. The Generation 2 hopes to live up to the promise of its predecessor.
What is the Megear EV Charger?
Megear made a name for themselves as a cheap and effective EV charger. They may not deliver the most amps, nor ddothey have the highest tech, but they would get your car charged. And as the average EV charger can cost over $500, the bargain price that Megear offered was cundoubtedly a major selling point.
The most recent offering from Megear is an updated version of their classic charger design. This one boasts faster charging, an upgraded design, and better safety features. In this review, we take a look at the Megear Gen 2 Level 1 and Level 2 16A portable home EV charger.
What we like about the Megear EV Charger
A home charger for an EV is an essential purchase, but it isn’t a particularly cheap one. Even the most basic of chargers can set you back several hundred dollars. So, the Megear option is an absolute bargain.
However, the pitfall of a cheap charger is the lack of power, which we’ll cover later. Remember, while the Megear may be inexpensive compared to other chargers, the lower price is for a good reason
EV chargers can be surprisingly bulky items. They may not be close to the size of a gas pump, but they’re still larger than your phone plug. Most of the time, the charger will be installed on the wall, so this isn’t a major problem. However, if you live, or are traveling to somewhere with few public EV chargers, then portability becomes a must.
The Megear isn’t hardwired, and it’s small enough to even be considered handheld. It plugs into a NEMA 6 -20 or 5-15 socket, so you can use it easily in various places. It even comes with a carry case, making transportation that bit simpler. If you’re after a decent charger to take on the road with you, the Megear is a fantastic option.
Lights and design
The design of the Megear charger is simplistic, without the sleek construction of higher-end chargers. However, no one picks an EV charger based on the style elements, and what Megear has done with the design is make it simple.
The new and upgraded Megear charger initially stands out because of the color. The original was a plain back, but the new version is a bright blue. It looks different and makes the Megear easier to spot in a crowded garage.
Megear has also used a simple light system to indicate the status of the box. This small feature is incredibly handy, as it lets you keep an eye on exactly how long it takes to charge your car. Although this isn’t a particularly impressive feature, it’s good to see on a budget charger.
Something else to like about the design of the Megear is the remote cable holder. This simple hook allows you to store the cable easily, away from the main box of the charger. Of course, it would also be nice to have an integrated cable holder, but even the simple hook is good for the price.
One final pleasant surprise – the Megear charger comes with a 25-foot cable. Bigger tends to be better with EV charger cables, as they give you greater leeway in installation and parking. A 25-foot cable is on par with the best available chargers, a definite plus for this cheaper box.
Ease of installation and use
The Megear is essentially a plug-it-in and-go charger. Even first-time EV owners shouldn’t struggle to get to grips with it and will hopefully be ready to charge not long after taking the Megear out of the box. It’s compatible with either NEMA 6-20 or NEMA 5-15 sockets and doesn’t need to be hardwired.
This isn’t a smart charger, which can be a disadvantage. However, it also means that set-up takes almost no time at all. Once plugged into your vehicle, the lights will tell you how the charge is going.
Upgraded safety features
Safety is an essential part of any EV charger, as you have to leave it running, unobserved, for long stretches of time. Megear has upgraded the safety features across the Generation 2 charger, providing that extra peace of mind. The waterproofing for the connector has been upgraded to IP54 level, making it suitable for use in light rain.
The charger is also lightning-proof, with ground, leakage, and overheat protection. It also has a UL84V-0 rating for flame resistance and overcurrent protection. All components are UL approved, and the radiating performance of the circuitry has been optimized.
What We Don’t Like About the Megear EV charger
The standard version of the Megear charger carries only a 16 amp charge. This is half what you expect from a higher-quality charger, with the standard around 32 amps. As the EVSE market grows, so does the standard of charge available. Even 32 amp chargers are beginning to look underpowered, as some chargers deliver 48 amps.
A higher-powered Megear charger is available, which provides 32 amps of charge. However, with this, we lose the main selling feature of the Megear – the price. For the 32 amps charger, the cost almost doubles.
And although the 16 amps charger may be a bargain, the 32 amps charger is more expensive than similar options from more popular brands. It also doesn’t have any smart features or additions to make it worth the cost. 16 amps will power your car, but it will take a while.
The new Gen 2 Megear charger is stronger, with better waterproofing and optimized heat dissipation. It also passes the Megear crush test, so it should be strong.
However, this is a portable charger, and a lack of durability comes with portability. The Megear might not have the strength needed for a healthy charger for cold or damp areas.
Indoor use only
Megear insists that their charger can be used in light rain but should be brought inside for anything heavier. While many of us do prefer to keep the charger indoors anyway, this is inconvenient for those who prefer outdoor use. You may prefer to have the charger outdoors, so it’s disappointing that the Megear can’t accommodate that.
The 12-month warranty offered by Megear is good, but it isn’t ideal. The standard for higher quality chargers is a 3-year warranty. Although you may be initially saving money with the Megear, if it breaks after the 12-months, this bargain becomes a liability. Some users have claimed that the Megear charger has given its last charge right after that 12-month mark has passed.
Where to buy the Megear EV Charger
The main strength of the Megear charger is also its greatest weakness. The fantastic price is offset by a lack of power, which makes it a tricky one to evaluate.
16 amps isn’t necessarily a bad thing. In fact, depending on the circuitry of your house, 16 amps may be all you’re able to use. If you don’t spend much time charging your car at home or have several electric cars on the same circuit, the weaker charger can be a benefit. For an older EV that can only accept a small charge, there are even more reasons for picking the Megear.
If you’re after a travel charger or a backup charger, then the Megear is a great option. It’s surprisingly lightweight and portable, and the easy installation means you won’t be fumbling around to get it going.
At some point, you’re likely to find that a 16 amps charger just isn’t getting the job done anymore. However, the Megear offers many benefits for a starter charger or older circuitry. And if you’ve just bought your first EV and you’re after a charger to get you by, the Megear has multiple benefits.