Our top-rated non-smart charger, the Grizzl-E, gets put to the test to see just how good it is.
The Grizzl-E home charging station is a relatively new offering in the electric vehicle charging market. It's proudly made in Canada by United Chargers and promises adjustable power delivery up to 40-amps at a reasonable starting price of just $399.00. We got our hands on one and used it for a while so we could offer readers the full product review below, as we do with many popular home charging equipment choices.
Before we get underway, we'd like to point out that some readers may have already seen a recent article here on InsideEVs about the Grizzl-E. You'll notice that instead of an author's byline, it reads "Sponsored." That's because United Chargers paid for advertising on our site. Whenever we publish an article from one of our advertisers, we clearly label it as "Sponsored" so readers know upfront that the article was paid for.
This article isn't sponsored. It's an honest product review that wasn't influenced in any way by the fact United Chargers is an advertiser on InsideEVs. I personally do most of the charging station reviews for InsideEVs, and I don't directly benefit from advertising on the site. Now onto the review.
The Grizzl-E is a 240-volt level 2 EV charging station that can deliver up to 40-amps to the vehicle. Many Level 2 home charging products today are limited to 32-amps, so the Grizzl-E is one of the more powerful chargers on the market. However, this unit can also be set to limit the power to 16-amps, 24-amps, or 32-amps if desired. The reason someone might want to limit the power delivery is if the circuit they are installing the charger on cannot safely deliver 40-amps.
There's no need to worry about the charger being "too powerful" for your EV. That's because the car always determines how much power it takes in, not the charger. The charging station will only deliver as much power as the car asks for. But the car doesn't know the limit of the circuit the charger is on, so it can ask for too much power. That's why the charger needs to limit its power delivery to comply with the circuit's maximum allowable limit.
Inside the Grizzl-E, there are three DIP switches that can be set to make sure the unit only delivers as much power as your home's circuit can handle. The Tesla Wall Connector also has interior DIP switches to limit the power output when needed. Some of the EV chargers available today allow the user to limit the power output through an app, but that can run afoul with North American electrical codes because the user can accidentally change the power limit in the app and possibly overload the circuit.
Ease of Installation
The Grizzl-E is a plug-in unit, so the entire installation process is limited to screwing the mounting plate to the wall, hanging the unit on the mounting plate, and plugging it in. You can order the Grizzl-E with either a NEMA 6-50 plug or NEMA 14-50. The power delivery is the same, it's just a matter of plug preference.
There's an optional lock that you can order from United Chargers that secures the unit to the mounting bracket if theft is a potential issue. The lock costs $9.99 when ordering it with a Grizzl-E charging station. Otherwise, a supplied cotter-pin holds the unit securely in place.
Construction & Cables
The Grizzl-E's outer casing is made of thick, durable aluminum, making it one of only a few EV chargers that have metal enclosures; most others are made of plastic. It has a NEMA 4 rating, which is good for indoor or outdoor use and protects against extreme weather events including blowing rain and snow. That's important to United Chargers as they are a Canadian company and set out to make EV charging equipment that can withstand the toughest Canadian winters.
To demonstrate just how tough the Grizzl-E is, United Chargers CEO, Gleb Nikiforov, made a video (see below) where he runs over a Grizzl-E with an 8-wheeled Argo Centaur on a frozen Canadian lake. And that was after he drove over the same unit with an SUV in the parking lot of United Chargers. After dunking the unit into the lake to wash it off, Nikiforov plugs it in and the Grizzl-E still worked.
The Grizzl-E has two cable options: regular and premium. The premium cable is made to withstand outdoor weather conditions and extreme weather. It's specifically designed to remain pliable in freezing cold conditions. Some EV charging cables get stiff like a frozen garden hose when it's cold outside, so you want to avoid those if you live in a cold-weather climate.
For that reason, Canadian purchasers can only order the Grizzl-E with a premium cable. If you are ordering from the US, you have the choice of the standard cable or the premium for an additional $20.00. You can also choose between the standard 18-foot cable and the optional 24-foot one, which also costs an additional $20.00. We'd recommend getting the premium cable if you live in an area where temperatures drop below 32 degrees Fahrenheit during the winter months, especially if the unit is being installed outside.
The only downside to the premium cable, besides the extra $20, is that it's thick and heavier than cables from many competing chargers. It's not a deal-breaker, but we'd like to see a thinner cable that's just as flexible in colder temperatures - and they do exist. In the picture above, we compare the cable from the Grizzl-E to the Enel X JuiceBox and the Flo X5. The Flo X5's cable is noticeably thinner and lighter and is also designed to remain flexible in cold weather. However, FLO's least expensive charger costs $300 more than the Grizzl-E.
Connector Holster & Cable Management
The Grizzl-E has a plastic remote connector holster that can be mounted wherever the owner desires. United Chargers calls it the "Easy EV Plug" because it's designed to allow the user to holster the connector easily, even in a dark garage. It does so with a tapered inlet, so you don't have to perfectly align the connector with the holster to get it to connect. As long as you're close and find the front of the Easy EV Plug, the tapered inlet will guide the connector to its target, and it will lock in place.
I found it reasonably effective. It's not perfect, but it's better than many connector holsters that require you to perfectly align the connector or it won't lock in place. However, what I do like about the EZ EV Plug is that the top is deep enough to hold 3-4 widths of coiled cable and the tab on the front is high enough so the cable won't slip off. Some of the remote cable holders from other brands don't work as quite as well. The EV EV Plug is also available in black or white.
Is a remote cable holster better than one integrated into the main casing of the charger? That's debatable, and really a matter of personal preference. The one advantage to a remote holster is you can sometimes store the connector closer to the charge port on your car. I think the best solution is to have an integrated connector holster, and also sell a remote holster for those customers that prefer it.
The Grizzl-E is a standard EV charger, meaning it doesn't have a smartphone app, or WiFi connectivity; it just charges the vehicle without performing advanced tasks like remote monitoring, the ability to participate in demand response utility programs, or connectivity to Amazon Alexa or Google Assistant, like the ChargePoint Home and Enel X JuiceBox can. Those devices are typically referred to as "smart chargers," and the Grizzl-E doesn't have those features. However, it soon will.
United Chargers is working on a simple upgrade that current owners can buy and turn their Grizzl-E into a smart-charger if they desire. Full details on the upgrade haven't yet been released – only that it's coming soon, won't cost too much, and will be a simple-to-install solution.
One last thing that needs to be addressed is the fact the Grizzl-E looks very similar to a first-generation JuiceBox, and that's caused some people to wonder if it's some kind of JuiceBox knockoff. No, it's not. It looks similar because the outer case is a similar size and shape to what the JuiceBox used to look like.
That's because United Chargers is using a widely available existing NEMA-4 aluminum casing, allowing them to sell the Grizzl-E at a more-competitive lower price. However, now that Enel X bought eMotorWerks, it has come out with a 2nd generation JuiceBox that has a totally different look with a NEMA-4X rated outer casing made of corrosion-proof high-density plastic and integrated connector holster with cable management.
Gallery: Grizzl-E Home Charger
Bear or Bull?
At $399, the Grizzl-E is a good deal. It's a high-quality home charger that's safety-certified (UL Listed), it's made in Canada, and it's very well constructed. You can adjust the output from 16-amps (3.8 kW) all the way up to 40 amps (9.6 kW), and do so with internal DIP switches instead of an app for an added level of safety and code compliance. Not many EV chargers allow that flexibility.
It will charge any EV in North America, including Tesla vehicles by using the Tesla/J1772 adapter included with every Tesla sold.
At the $399 price point, most home chargers available today are lower-quality devices made in Asia and sold on Amazon. Many of these units are not safety-certified, have very cheap internal electronics, and aren't built to last. Many higher-quality chargers are priced $500 and above, so the Grizzl-E delivers a quality unit at a great price and will soon be offering an upgrade so existing owners can turn their Grizzl-E into a smart charger if they wish.