February 2, 2022 - Brandon Burkey
The majority of golf carts driven today use a 6-volt golf cart battery, which is why most online searches for golf cart batteries tend to take you straight to 6v options. Of course, as any golf cart owner familiar with using a 6-volt battery knows, there are reasons why people want to find another option. Not only do 6-volt golf cart batteries tend to run out of juice pretty quickly, but they can also be lackluster when it comes to power and other performance needs.
To help make navigating the world of batteries a little easier, we’ve compiled a quick guide for anyone looking to make their batteries last longer — or who just want another option to the standard 6-volt golf cart battery.
The Best Golf Cart Battery Options
Typically, the type of battery you need for your golf cart depends on the type of cart you drive. The reason so many people use 6-volt batteries in their carts is that most standard carts call for a 6-volt golf cart battery. If your cart doesn’t use a 6-volt golf cart battery, then the other two standard options are an 8-volt or a 12-volt golf cart battery. While you can make certain modifications to your cart to accommodate a different type of battery, most owners will stick with the model recommendations to eliminate the extra cost and potential issues down the road.
In addition to 6, 8, and 12-volt golf cart batteries, there are also deep cycle batteries, which are used in electric golf carts and offer different types of charges to make sure you have sustainable power you can count on.
But your options don’t just end there…
There are plenty of choices when it comes to finding the best golf cart battery for your needs. Knowing which battery is right for you depends a lot on your current cart, your budget, and what you actually use (or want to use) your golf cart for. There are also, of course, some less-than-optimal options for your golf cart battery. In a pinch, you might be tempted to use a marine battery, but while it will likely work for a short period of time, it will shorten the amount of time you can go without a charge and potentially hurt other components in your cart in the long run. No matter how many times your neighbor tells you to use a regular car battery in your golf cart, don’t — out of all of the golf cart battery options out there, a car battery is one of the worst, especially when it comes to longevity.
Your golf cart is not a boat or a car — so don’t treat it like one.
Aside from the standard battery options mentioned above (6-volt, 8-volt, and 12-volt golf cart batteries), our three favorite golf cart battery choices are:
- Lithium Golf Cart Batteries
- 36 Volt Batteries
- 48 Volt Batteries
Here’s why we love them — and why some people don’t…
Pros and Cons
Lithium Golf Cart Batteries. Lithium golf cart batteries are known for their longevity, which is one of the reasons they’re becoming more popular in general. Lithium golf cart batteries can last through 5,000 charging cycles. That’s more than twenty times the longevity of a standard 6-volt golf cart battery or 12-volt golf cart battery. Caring for a lithium golf cart battery, however, can be more difficult than it seems, and a failure to properly maintain them can nullify all of the advantages they offer.
36 Volt Batteries. One of the more affordable battery options for your golf cart, 36v batteries are ideal for carts used in standard settings — like cruising around on the golf course or driving slowly on smooth sidewalks. 36-volt batteries are not, however, ideal for offroading, although you can modify them so that they work with carts designed to go faster.
48 Volt Batteries. Most golf cart owners who choose to use a 48-volt battery do so for off-road purposes. Basic battery options like 6-volt golf cart batteries or 12-volt golf cart batteries can contest the efficiency and capability of a 48-volt. They are, however, more expensive to purchase. But, by upgrading your cart to a 48-volt system, you also increase the value of your golf cart if and when you ever decide to sell it.
Golf cart battery questions answered: How can I extend the battery life of my golf cart? Should I keep my golf cart plugged in all the time? How long should golf cart batteries last? Should you charge golf cart after every use? 48 volt golf cart battery set replacement options deep cycle battery?
Golf cart batteries are a crucial component of your electric golf cart, and their lifespan can significantly impact your cart's performance and operating costs. To ensure that your golf cart batteries last longer and provide reliable power, follow these maintenance and care tips:
1. Regular Charging:
Ensure that you maintain a consistent charging routine for your golf cart batteries. Charge your cart after every use, even if it's just a short trip. Avoid letting the batteries run down completely before recharging. Partial discharge and recharge cycles are better for battery longevity.
2. Use a High-Quality Charger:
Invest in a high-quality charger specifically designed for your golf cart batteries. Avoid using automotive chargers, as they may not be suitable for deep-cycle batteries. Some smart chargers are designed to monitor and maintain battery health automatically.
3. Proper Charging Habits:
When charging your golf cart, follow these best practices:
- Charge in a well-ventilated area to prevent the buildup of hydrogen gas.
- Ensure the charger is plugged into a grounded outlet and that the connections are secure.
- Allow the charging cycle to complete fully before unplugging the charger. Avoid interrupting the charging process.
4. Water Level Maintenance (for Flooded Lead-Acid Batteries):
If your golf cart uses flooded lead-acid batteries, regularly check and maintain the water levels. Here's how:
- Wear appropriate protective gear, including gloves and safety glasses.
- Use distilled water to fill the cells if the water level is low. Do not use tap water, as it may contain impurities that can damage the batteries.
- Maintain water levels approximately 1/4 inch above the plates.
5. Avoid Overcharging:
Overcharging can damage golf cart batteries. Ensure that your charger has an automatic shut-off feature or use a timer to prevent overcharging.
6. Proper Storage:
If you're not using your golf cart for an extended period, take these steps to store the batteries correctly:
- Charge the batteries fully before storing them.
- Disconnect the batteries to prevent any drain from accessories or electrical systems.
- Store the batteries in a cool, dry place, away from extreme temperatures and direct sunlight.
7. Avoid Deep Discharges:
Lead-acid batteries, in particular, should not be discharged below 50% capacity whenever possible. Deep discharges can reduce battery life.
8. Equalize Charge (for Flooded Lead-Acid Batteries):
Periodically, you can perform an equalization charge on flooded lead-acid batteries. Consult your battery manufacturer's guidelines for the proper procedure. This process helps balance the cells and extends battery life.
9. Check and Clean Terminals:
Regularly inspect the battery terminals and cables for corrosion or loose connections. Clean the terminals with a mixture of baking soda and water to remove corrosion and prevent poor electrical contact.
10. Keep Batteries Clean:
Keep the battery tops clean and free of dirt, debris, and moisture. This helps prevent short circuits and battery damage.
By following these maintenance and care tips, you can maximize the lifespan of your golf cart batteries, ensuring that they provide reliable power for your electric golf cart for years to come. Additionally, consult your golf cart's user manual for specific maintenance recommendations and guidelines provided by the battery manufacturer.