Batteries are critical to the operation of all golf carts, whether they are electric or gas, as they help provide either the full power for the cart or the spark that gets it in operation.
There are a handful of different battery types on the market from which buyers like you can choose, including what are known as AGM batteries.
This option is one that is fairly new, and it is designed to provide a myriad of different advantages for the cart owner and their ride.
However, some owners may not fully understand these battery types and whether or not they are right for their golf carts.
Others may even believe that all or even most of the golf cart batteries on the market are of this new and innovative design.
As a result, it is important to fully understand the nature of an AGM battery, whether or not all golf cart batteries are of this type, and the advantages of this and other types of batteries.
The following information will cover all of these aspects and more to give you the necessary insight into the next golf cart battery purchase you need to make.
Are Golf Cart Batteries AGM?
The answer to this question is slightly more complex than just saying “yes” because to do so implies that ALL golf cart batteries are AGM.
Frankly, that is simply not the case because, while there are many AGM batteries used on golf carts, a number of others are flooded or wet-cell batteries.
The differences between these types of batteries is quite high, and this is something that has to be explored in depth before any golf cart owner makes a purchasing decision.
Thankfully, we have experience with both types of golf cart batteries and are able to provide you with the inside information that you will need to pick the right battery for your needs.
The information below will educate you on the mechanical operation of these batteries and how they provide your cart with power.
However, we’ll also discuss the many pros and cons of each type to make it easier for you to pick one that suits your cart.
Let us say straight away that both of these batteries are a good investment for a golf cart and that we don’t necessarily prefer one type over the other.
We are simply detailing facts about their operation and believe that they can be right for many types of carting scenarios.
When you buy an AGM or flooded battery, make sure that you pick the brand and voltage that is necessary for your cart.
These factors will vary depending on elements like the design of your cart’s engine, whether or not it is gas or electric, the manufacturer that made it, and its build year.
Thankfully, there shouldn’t be too much variation between the different battery options, helping to make this a fairly simple process for most cart owners to handle.
It’s important to note that you should check your golf cart manual to see if it suggests AGM or flooded batteries for your golf cart.
While you don’t have to follow their exact suggestions, doing so is often a wise choice.
Why is it a good choice to follow the advice of your manual? Doing so will help to make sure that you don’t pick a battery that may end up damaging your cart due to its unique design.
Thankfully, this type of problem is usually quite rare, and you should be able to install most types of AGM or flooded batteries into a golf cart, as long as they match the proper energy output it needs.
If you’re still uncertain, it is a good idea to talk to a local mechanic who can give you the insight that you need into what type of battery you should purchase for your golf cart.
These mechanics can not only help you choose from among the many different models and designs on the market, but they are also skilled enough to handle installation of these batteries.
If you want to save money, though, you should be able to handle a battery installation, as it just requires you to carefully detach the old one, remove it from the cart, and put in the new one.
What are AGM Batteries?
The Term “AGM” stands for “Absorbent Glass Mat,” which employs a unique design that utilizes a unique glass mat separator.
This separator is the “absorbent glass” mentioned in the name of this battery, and it is designed to prevent a large amount of liquid from getting on the mat and the electrolyte of the battery.
The mat is positioned between the electrolyte and the plates of the battery and will separate different cells from liquid, using just enough to keep the separator wet along with the electrolyte.
This structure is designed to keep liquid from leaking out of the battery if the housing gets broken, helping to protect from various types of leaks.
This design also helps to keep the battery operating in this scenario, providing your cart with a lot of power.
When using this type of battery, it is important to purchase a special type of battery charger which provides a slow and steady charge that doesn’t overpower the battery and cause it to die.
This specialized charger typically either comes with the battery at the time of purchase or can be bought separately to keep the battery energized.
That said, some types of traditional cart batteries now have an AGM mode which provides energy at the slow and steady pace required.
Choose the best model to ensure that you charge your battery properly and avoid damaging it by accident.
You must also make sure that you utilize a specialized AGM battery tester to ensure that you don’t damage it.
When installing an AGM battery, you may need to use a recalibration or scan tool to make sure that the alternator knows you are running an AGM battery.
Without this adjustment, you run the risk of damaging your battery and even killing it before it gets much use.
Refer to your owner’s manual and that of your AGM battery before you attempt to install one on your cart.
Now it is a good idea to take a look at the benefits and disadvantages of this type of battery to help you decide if you’d ever want one.
Pros and Cons of AGM Batteries
AGM batteries have a myriad of advantages that make them worth a purchase, including the following benefits:
- Faster Charging Time—Though an AGM battery needs a specialized slow-charge charger, it still charges up to five times faster than other batteries.
- Great Discharge—A good AGM battery should have a depth-of-discharge of about 80 percent, which is much higher than flooded batteries.
- Very Strong—The design of AGM batteries is very strong and resists spills and vibrations, allowing for a stronger and higher-powered battery.
- Cold Temperature Capabilities—AGM batteries have a very strong resistance to cold that makes them a great choice for those in this type of environment.
These simple advantages make this an excellent option for many cart owners, but there are disadvantages that must be considered, such as:
- Higher Cost—AGM batteries will cost cart owners more money than flooded batteries due to their higher manufacturing needs.
- Charging Problems—AGM batteries must be stored in a fully charged condition and may be sensitive to overcharging dangers and damage.
- Sensitive to Heat—Excessive heat may end up damaging some AGM batteries if they aren’t protected from direct exposure.
All that said, these negatives are things that can be ignored due to the many benefits provided by AGM batteries, though you should understand flooded batteries as well before buying any battery.
What are Flooded Batteries?
Flooded batteries are the traditional type of golf cart battery that you see in most vehicles, and they are probably what you’ve worked with in the past.
This design works by flooding the cell with a battery acid which triggers a chemical reaction throughout the acid, creating an electrical flow.
The different terminals on the battery are used to draw both positive and negative charges, sending them to the proper part of your cart’s system.
This type of battery in a golf cart is considered a secondary or rechargeable flooded cell battery, as the chemical reaction which creates the charge can be reversed.
Primary flooded batteries cannot be reversed and may only be used once, such as the common small batteries used to power remote controls and other electrical devices.
That said, even a rechargeable battery can only reverse the chemical reaction a certain number of times, which is why you need to replace your golf cart battery from time to time.
While AGM batteries also need to be replaced, they are designed to decrease the frequency of their charging and have a larger number of potential charges over the years.
Pros and Cons of Flooded Batteries
There’s a reason flooded batteries have been used for decades in golf carts, as they provide many advantages and benefits over AGM that make them worth using, such as the following:
- Inexpensive—Compared to the costs of an AGM battery, a flooded battery is much more affordable and is something that most golf cart owners should find relatively easy to afford.
- Long Range—A flooded golf cart battery is often longer lasting in its range than AGM types, though this variable may depend on the battery that you purchase and its overall design and execution.
- Easy to Install—Unlike the AGM battery, you don’t need to do any specialized installation steps on a flooded battery, as most golf carts are designed for their use without any adjustment.
- Simpler Charging—The dangers of overcharging a flooded battery are much lower than with an AGM model, meaning you don’t have to worry nearly as much about their state and health.
While flooded batteries are incredibly common, that doesn’t necessarily mean that they are perfect, as the following disadvantages easily show:
- Easy to Spill—The more open and flooded nature of this battery means that it is more likely to spill if it were to tip over or if its surface gets damaged at any time during its operation and handling.
- Weather Changes—Temperature changes may have a surprisingly high level of impact on this type of battery, potentially draining it in cold temperatures and making it hot in extreme heat.
- Regular Maintenance—Flooded batteries need to be maintained more often and charged more frequently, requiring a bit more money and time from the cart owner to properly manage.
These negatives are important to fully consider before making any battery purchase, though thankfully, they can usually be countered by being fully prepared for them and handling their needs.