Electric golf carts provide many conveniences. They allow you to putt around the golf course without spreading fuel emissions, they’re a low-cost way to get from point A to point B at a campground, and they provide property owners with an easy way to haul tools and supplies around their land. But of course, an electric golf cart needs frequent charging, especially if you’re using it daily. So what is the best battery charger for a golf cart? Let’s find out.
Do You Need a Special Charger for Golf Cart Batteries?
The charger you need for your golf cart batteries entirely depends on your battery type and the voltage of that battery. Some chargers, however, can have their profiles changed and work for different types of batteries.
For example, lithium batteries may require different chargers than lead-acid batteries because their electrochemistry is quite different. A good battery charger will ensure that each battery cell charges succinctly with one another. It will also ensure that the battery doesn’t overcharge and receives proper amperage.
Thus, there isn’t a specific charger for golf cart batteries. It really depends on the batteries that are powering your golf cart. In fact, any charger designed for the battery type used can be used on a golf cart. However, there are lots of manufacturers that market them for golf carts specifically.
How Many Amps Do You Need to Charge a Golf Cart?
While there’s no set number of amps you need to charge your golf cart, the amperage your batteries can handle is influenced by the type of batteries you have. The term “amperage” measures the current of electricity or how fast the electrons are flowing. Thus, the number of amps a battery charger emits directly relates to how quickly the battery charges.
→ New to amps? Find out What are Amps and Why They Matter
Because of their advanced electrochemistry, lithium batteries can charge much faster than lead acid. For example, a 100Ah lithium-ion battery like our Battle Born line can be charged at 50 amps (50% capacity) all the way to full. Meanwhile, a 100Ah lead-acid battery is usually specified to be charged at around 25 amps (25% battery capacity) for the first 70% of the current needs to be dropped and voltage needs to be held constant for the rest of the charge.
If you attempt to charge too fast all the way to full lead acid, batteries will get damaged. This is why you see “smart” chargers that make this change and watch the battery voltages carefully.
Lithium batteries can simply handle more current without being damaged and charge all the way without the need to drop current. This means they can charge fully about 5 times faster.
What Is the Best Battery Charger for a Golf Cart?
If you’re searching for the best battery charger for your golf cart, we highly recommend a charger that is programmable to work with many different battery types. These chargers usually have Bluetooth or a cable that lets you change the charge profile. The reason for this is that most golf carts have lead-acid batteries, but many choose to upgrade them to lithium. If you choose a charger that can change profiles it’s possible to keep the same charger and get the benefits of lithium easily.
Another type of charger we recommend is an On-Board Charger (OBC). These chargers are usually built into your golf cart and stay securely in place as you ride around. On-board chargers are convenient because they can convert any source of AC electricity into usable DC electricity. This means you can plug your battery charger into any AC electricity outlet (provided you have the right extension cord).
While they might cost a bit more than an off-board charger, on-board chargers are much more rugged because they stay wired to your batteries. These chargers are also weatherproof.
One of our favorite golf cart chargers that meets these requirements is the Lester Summit 2. This charger can be voltage specific or you can even get a programmable voltage unit. Thus this charger will work with any battery configuration you choose to use, including an upgraded set of lithium batteries.
Is a Lithium Battery Better for a Golf Cart?
Because of the way golf carts are used, lithium batteries provide far superior performance and lifespan compared to lead acid for many different reasons.
First, they weigh one-third less than their lead-acid counterparts while providing up to 100% more power. This is because lithium batteries are the most energy-dense battery on the market right now.
They also have extremely fast charging speeds, meaning you won’t have to leave your golf cart hooked up for very long before you can use it again. We’re talking about three hours compared to eight hours or more for lead acid.
You can also discharge your lithium batteries up to 99% without damaging them, versus only 50% for lead-acid batteries. This means that you can use nearly 100% of the energy stored in your lithium batteries.
Overall your cart will be more efficient, go further charge faster and you should never have to maintain or replace a set of lithium batteries.
→ Learn how to get the most out of your electric golf cart.
Best Lithium Battery for a Golf Cart: Battle Born GC2
Now let’s take a look at our Battle Born golf cart battery: the GC2. It can power your golf cart with ease and efficiency. And it requires virtually no maintenance.
If you’re ready to upgrade your lead acid golf cart, the GC2 is a perfect choice. It’s a 100Ah 12-volt battery in a 6-volt form factor. This lets you easily switch out your existing battery for a higher-powered option.
The GC2 provides 3,000-5,000 life cycles. You’ll be able to charge and recharge this battery up to 5,000 times with reliable battery capacity. In fact, you’ll receive as much as 75-80% battery capacity after as many as 3,000 life cycles. It also comes with a 10-year warranty so that you can feel good about the initial investment.
The Battle Born GC2 battery accepts 14.2-14.6 volt charging voltages and 13.6 volt or lower float voltages. It also weighs 31 pounds and comes with our standard Battery Management System to ensure that it will function correctly for years to come.
How Far Do Lithium Batteries Go in a Golf Cart?
The range you can travel in a golf cart will depend on both the type of batteries you have and the amp hours of your batteries. For example, most new lead-acid 36V batteries will provide around 30 miles range (this drops with older batteries). A like-for-like comparable lithium battery pack will provide around 100 miles! Because of this, many times, smaller lithium packs are installed in golf carts to save money and still get all the benefits.
Should I Leave My Golf Cart Plugged in All the Time?
If you have the correct battery charger for your batteries, leaving your golf cart plugged in shouldn’t cause any issues. You need a charger that is “smart” and will stop charging when the batteries are full. These smart chargers also go into a trickle charge mode that charges very slowly to prevent drain.
Can You Overcharge Your Golf Cart Batteries?
Again, the appropriate battery charger should shut off before it overcharges the battery. However, if you have the wrong charger, you could risk overcharging and thus overheating your batteries. This will most certainly damage lead acid batteries, but it could also be extremely hazardous and cause a chemical fire.
Our Battle Born batteries will not be overcharged, however, because the internal BMS will turn them off to prevent damage. One more reason our lithium products are a better choice.
Is a Battery Charger for a Golf Cart Necessary?
Absolutely! Not only is a battery charger for a golf cart necessary, but the right battery charger and battery setup can make all the difference.
If you want to get rid of battery anxiety, trust your golf cart to take you where you need to go, and reap the benefits of reliable, fast charge-ups, lithium batteries are a must. Then, pair your lithium battery with a compatible onboard charger, and you won’t have to think twice about your batteries again. Charge your golf cart anywhere there’s AC access and be on your way!
Do you have any questions about battery chargers for golf carts? Drop them in the comments below!
Want To Learn More About Electrical Systems and Lithium Batteries?
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