Tesla 120V Charge Time

Using a 120V charger may be the simplest way to charge your Tesla, but is the convenience worth the long charging times?
Written by Matthew Lynaugh
Reviewed by Kathleen Flear
Jan 9, 2023
120 volts is the minimum amount of power needed to charge a Tesla, and at this current, can take up to five days to get your Tesla fully charged.
Understanding chargers’ power and how they correlate to charging times is necessary for anyone with an EV. Gone are the days where you can just pull up to the pump and have a full tank in minutes—but don’t worry, it's going to be OK!
If you own a Tesla, adapting to life revolving around charging your car may take some getting used to, but it comes with the territory. Read on to learn about 120V charging, one of the many charging options for Teslas.
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How long does a 120V charger take to charge a Tesla?

Charging at 120V is also referred to as “Level 1” charging because it is the least amount of power needed to charge a Tesla, and can be done with a household outlet. This
NEMA 5-15
charger used to come included with Teslas upon purchase, but this standard equipment has been discontinued as of 2022.
Level 2 charging is the more practical investment and can also be hooked up at home, albeit, not as simply as plugging into an existing outlet. This 240V charger will offer much improved charging speeds—but of course, will come at a steeper price.
The battery size and mileage range of your Tesla factors into charging times the most. With a 120V battery, you will only get three miles of range per hour of charge time, meaning that you will have some horrific wait times if you are relying on a Level 1 charger to fully restore your Tesla with power.
Let’s take a closer look at how charging times vary across different Tesla models at 120V:
Model
Battery Size
Mileage Range
Charging Time
50 kWh
272 mi
91 hours
Model 3 Performance
82 kWh
315 mi
105 hours
81 kWh
330 mi
110 hours
Model Y Performance
81 kWh
303 mi
101 hours
100 kWh
405 mi
135 hours
Model S Plaid
100 kWh
396 mi
132 hours
100 kWh
348 mi
116 hours
Model X Plaid
100 kWh
333 mi
111 hours
As made abundantly clear by the charge times above, there’s a reason Level 1 charging has been nicknamed “trickle charging.”
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What are the benefits of charging at 120V?

Despite the laggard charging times, there are still some advantages to the 120V charger. First and foremost, they are by far the most convenient. All you need is a three-prong outlet, and chances are you have a few of them already in the garage or on the side of your house—the ideal charging spot for any Tesla owner.
Level 1 chargers are also the most affordable. You can find authentic Tesla NEMA 5-15 chargers online for about $40, which is less than the price of one tank of gas! 
If you find yourself in any of the below categories, a 120V charger might be a good option for you:
  • You want to keep car ownership costs as low as possible
  • You have available outlets at home
  • You don’t want to have any additional equipment installed at your home
  • You keep your daily mileage to a minimum
  • You always remember to charge your Tesla overnight
Truth be told, 120V chargers have all but become obsolete, being replaced by more powerful chargers. But if you are someone that has a short commute everyday, you can plug into your 120V and be fine. In fact, you could probably wait every couple of days and then charge overnight and be good to go for the next part of your week!

Alternatives to 120V charging

For some, the simplicity and affordability of a 120V charger might be all you need. On the other hand, if the thought of multiple day-long charge times is enough to send you into a complete frenzy, there are other charging methods for your Tesla, including:
  • Install the Tesla
    Wall Connector
    . Another convenient source of energy, this $350 charger is great for houses, apartments, workplaces, and just about any other property. Enjoy charging speeds of 44 miles per hour of charging, with a 24-foot cable for further flexibility. Keep in mind, a Wall Connector must be installed by a qualified electrician.
  • Use public chargers. They’ve popped up seemingly everywhere, and for good reason. Blowing home chargers out of the water, public chargers are broken down into three categories: Level 2, DC fast charging, and Tesla superchargers. All will get you to 100% faster than a Wall Connector, and a supercharger can get you there in about 30 minutes.
Only you can decide which charger is right for you so take the time to weigh out your options and see which best fits your needs, home, and budget.
Do you find yourself mostly only driving to work and within your town? If so, the 120V may be fine for you. Do you hate waiting, or have a nervous feeling you’re going to be running late and have a low charge? Then the Wall Connector might be worth the investment. Public chargers are open to everyone, so always take advantage of their warp-speed when you can!
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