When it comes to golf carts, having the right battery is crucial for performance and longevity. I’m an engineer with 15+ years of experience, and in this guide, I’ll explore the best golf cart batteries to help you find the most suitable option for your needs.
The top golf cart battery options provide a balance of high capacity, durability, and reasonable cost. Top picks include lithium batteries from trusted brands like Battle Born, as well as AGM and flooded lead acid batteries from the likes of Trojan.
But before getting into it, it is crucial to understand the available battery technologies, so you can make the best choice for your electric golf cart.
Table Of Contents
Top Golf Cart Battery Technologies
There are a few main types of batteries used in golf carts:
Flooded Lead-Acid (FLA)
Traditional flooded lead-acid batteries use plates immersed in electrolyte fluid, requiring regular maintenance and having a limited lifespan (2-4 years) and discharge capacity (up to 50%). Those batteries should also be kept upright.
The flooded design allows gases to escape and requires regular maintenance to check water levels. If the level is low, you will have to fill it up with distilled water up to the marked level. If you have a water distiller, you can even make distilled water at home very cheaply.
AGM lead-acid batteries utilize absorbed glass mat technology, eliminating maintenance needs, and offering better cold-weather performance. Those are resistant to spills and vibrations, but they still have limited discharge and slower charging.
Lithium batteries feature advanced technology with high capacity, rapid charging, and reduced weight. They excel in deep discharge capabilities (more than 90%) but come at a higher initial cost.
The following table provides a detailed comparison between lithium and lead-acid batteries for golf carts, highlighting their differences in capacity, lifespan, weight, charging time, maintenance, cost, and performance.
|Capacity||High energy density||Low energy density: storing less energy in the same space|
|Lifespan||Longer lasting: 10 years||Shorter lifespan: 2-4 years|
|Weight||Lighter: up to 70% less weight||Heavier|
|Charging Time||Faster charging||Slow charging|
|Maintenance||Less maintenance||Requires more maintenance if FLA|
|Cost for 100Ah||300-1100$||200-350$|
|Performance||High DOD (Depth Of Discharge): up to 95%||Low DOD (Depth Of Discharge): you can use only about 50% of the stored energy|
As you can see, lithium batteries are vastly outperforming lead-acid batteries in everything except for price. So, if you can afford it, the lithium LiFePO4 batteries would be by far the best to power your golf cart!
Importance of the Battery Management System
When choosing a golf cart battery, a strong Battery Management System (BMS) is crucial.
Golf carts can stress batteries with high currents during starts, uphill climbs, and acceleration. A robust BMS protects against overcurrent issues, preventing damage that degrades performance or destroys the battery system over time.
Prioritize models with reliable BMS boards specifically suitable for golf carts. Otherwise, the BMS may just cut off the power to your golf cart while going uphill or if there are more people onboard.
In addition, keep in mind that lithium batteries require a specific charger. Finally, if you are charging from solar panels, make sure to adjust your solar charge controller settings for lithium batteries.
The Best Golf Cart Batteries
Based on performance, value, and reliability, and experience, here are my top picks for golf cart batteries:
1. Dakota Lithium LiFePO4 Deep Cycle Batteries
With 4 times the lifespan and cycles of lead acid, these batteries provide lasting value and performance.
A key benefit is the smart BMS technology that protects the cells and optimizes performance and safety. The BMS regulates voltage, preventing overcharge and increasing longevity. It’s superior to the basic charge controllers.
The LiFePO4 chemistry also makes these batteries very lightweight compared to lead-acid equivalents. This significantly lightens the load on the golf cart for improved speed, handling, and uphill performance.
The main drawback is the higher upfront cost versus lead acid. So, budget-conscious buyers may want a cheaper alternative.
Proper lithium charging practices must also be followed. But with 4 times the cycle life, significantly lower weight, better performance, USA-based support, and an 11-year warranty, the Dakota Lithium batteries are the best lithium upgrade for golf carts.
- Lasts 4x longer than lead acid
- Smart BMS technology
- Good low-temperature performance
- Made in USA
- 11-year warranty
- More expensive upfront cost
The Lossigy 12V 100Ah LiFePO4 battery provides a cost-effective lithium upgrade option for golf carts. It uses high-quality grade A LiFePO4 cells for stability and longevity, providing up to 10 years of life.
The built-in 100A BMS intelligently protects the cells from damage while allowing flexible connectivity.
These batteries shine for their ease of installation as a direct replacement for SLA batteries. Simply connect each 12V battery in series to achieve 48V. Their plug and play nature avoids complicated wiring changes.
At just 25 lbs per battery, they also provide a substantial weight reduction for easier handling and acceleration.
For budget-conscious buyers wanting lithium benefits without premium pricing, the LOSSIGY batteries offer excellent value.
- LiFePO4 cells
- 10+ year lifespan
- Built-in 100A BMS
- Some rare quality issues
The Enjoybot 12V 100Ah LiFePO4 battery provides a great value lithium option for upgrading golf carts. It uses quality automotive grade LiFePO4 cells that deliver up to 5,000 cycles and 10 years of lifespan.
This meets or exceeds premium lithium ratings for a budget price. The integrated smart BMS enables excellent performance across a wide temperature range while protecting the cells.
At just 23 lbs per battery, those are a very lightweight option for your golf cart. The Enjoybot batteries make an excellent drop-in upgrade, directly replacing SLA batteries while providing far superior longevity and performance per dollar. Responsive customer support can provide helpful assistance if needed.
If seeking max value for basic golf cart use, the Enjoybot 12V 100Ah LiFePO4 batteries deliver excellent lithium quality and longevity at a budget-friendly price point.
- Automotive-grade LiFePO4 cells
- Smart BMS with temp protection
- Great value
- 10-year warranty
- Some rare quality issues
BEST AGM Battery
The Weize 12V 100Ah AGM deep cycle battery provides a quality lead acid option for golf carts on a tight budget.
Its calcium alloy plates offer better longevity and performance than economy lead acid batteries. The absorbent glass mat technology makes this battery spill-proof and completely maintenance-free.
At just 60 lbs, the Weize AGM is lighter than an equivalent wet lead acid battery for easier handling. However, this battery is significantly heavier than lithium options.
The valve-regulated sealed design also makes it safe for indoor use. While it cannot match lithium lifespan or performance, it provides an affordable short-term replacement for basic golf cart duties. With proper care, it should deliver 2-4 years of reliable service.
The main limitations are a shorter lifespan and heavier weight compared to lithium alternatives. Frequent deep discharges will shorten life.
But for budget buyers unable to afford premium lithium at the moment, the Weize AGM makes a quality and affordable lead acid option for OEM replacements.
- Affordable price
- Maintenance free
- Decent longevity for lead acid
- Lighter than wet batteries
- Heavier than lithium
- Shorter lifespan than lithium
BEST FLA Batteries
The Trojan T-875 flooded lead-acid battery is the premium golf cart option for buyers wanting maximum longevity from traditional lead-acid technology.
Trojan’s 85+ years of golf battery expertise results in reliable construction that can last 5+ years with proper care. This makes it the longest-lasting lead acid golf cart battery available.
The large 170Ah capacity provides range for many holes on the golf course, even in hot conditions.
Trojan’s deep cycle plates allow excellent performance despite repeated deep discharge on long rounds. By following proper maintenance procedures, these batteries can provide one of the lowest costs of ownership per round over their extended lifespan.
However, the flooded design does require more maintenance than AGM or lithium alternatives, including regular checking of water levels. The 63 lb weight per battery is also significantly heavier than lithium options.
So while the Trojan T-875 is the premium lead acid golf cart battery, lithium alternatives provide an easier to use and longer-lasting experience.
- Long track record
- Lowest $/amp-hour when maintained
- Reliable with proper care
- Requires refilling and maintenance
- Shorter lifespan than lithium
How Do Golf Cart Batteries Work?
Golf cart batteries provide the power needed to move your cart. Most golf carts run on a 36V or 48V battery system connected in series. This is achieved by using 6V or 8V flooded lead-acid batteries wired together. Or by using 3-4 12V batteries in series. But also options with 2x24V or 1x48V batteries are available.
Compared to starter batteries, golf cart batteries are designed for deep cycling. This means they can discharge significantly and repeatedly without damage, providing sustained power.
Key Factors to Consider
When choosing a golf cart battery, there are several key factors to consider:
- Voltage – Ensure the voltage matches what your golf cart requires (typically 36V or 48V).
- Capacity – Measured in amp-hours (Ah), higher capacity means longer run times.
- Battery Type – Flooded lead-acid is most common, but AGM and lithium offer advantages.
- Depth of Discharge – How low the battery can safely discharge; 50 is typical for lead-acid batteries, while lithium can achieve more than 90%.
- Cycles – How many discharge/charge cycles the battery is rated for? More cycles mean a longer lifespan.
- Construction – Robust plates and connections to withstand vibration in golf carts.
How Do Lithium Batteries Improve Golf Cart Performance?
Let’s take a deeper look at the key benefits lithium batteries provide for golf cart use:
Increased Range Per Charge
Thanks to the higher energy density of lithium chemistry, you can drive farther between charges – up to 50 miles or more per charge depending on the battery capacity. No more cutting your round short or limiting cruising because of battery range anxiety!
Faster Acceleration and Hill Climbing Ability
Lithium batteries produce maximum voltage and current as soon as you hit the accelerator. This translates into much faster acceleration off the tee box and improved hill climbing ability even at the end of a long day of golfing.
Lithium batteries can recharge in 2-4 hours compared to 8 hours or more for lead-acid. Some lithium batteries even offer quick “opportunity charging” in under an hour. Less downtime keeps you on the course where you want to be.
Longer Overall Lifespan
While the upfront cost is higher, lithium batteries last 4-10 times longer than lead-acid batteries. With proper care, they can provide 5-10 years of service compared to 2-5 years with lead-acid. Fewer battery replacements means saving money and time in the long run.
Lower Maintenance Requirements
Forget about checking water levels, cleaning corroded terminals, and storing batteries on trickle chargers during the off-season. Lithium batteries require almost zero maintenance other than occasional charging.
Lithium batteries weigh about 1/3 to 1/2 as much as equivalent lead-acid batteries. Less weight improves speed, acceleration, and hill-climbing while reducing strain on the golf cart components.
Safety Tips for Lithium Batteries
Lithium technology comes with a few unique safety considerations. Follow these tips for safe operation:
- Only use a lithium-compatible charger, preferably with auto cut-off at full charge.
- Avoid leaving batteries at peak voltage for extended periods to prolong life.
- Provide adequate ventilation for gas discharge in enclosed battery compartments.
- Check for damage and stop using a swollen or deformed battery immediately.
- Wear protective gear when handling and avoid shorting terminals.
- Dispose of old batteries properly for recycling – do not trash.
Choosing the best golf cart battery involves balancing performance, lifespan, and budget. For golfers looking to enhance their cart’s range and reliability, AGM and lithium batteries are excellent upgrades over standard flooded lead-acid.
Trusted brands like Dakota and Trojan offer robust batteries purpose-built for golf cart demands. With proper selection and care, upgrading your golf cart batteries can provide a very worthwhile boost in range and ride experience.
I hope this guide gave you the golf cart battery insights you need to make the right choice. Let me know if you have any other questions!