Golf carts may look all the same to many people, but they have surprising variations in their overall design and manufacturing which can make them quite different from each other.
We’ll examine not only the top five golf cart brands on the market, but we will also explain to you our methods for choosing these manufacturers.
The Best Golf Cart Brands
Our list of the best golf cart brands includes the Big Three manufacturers, of course, in E-Z-GO, Club Car, and Yamaha, but we also discuss two other brands that are slowly expanding their golf cart market share: Star EV and Polaris GEM.
The first three names on this list should all be well-known to anybody who has ever investigated buying a golf cart, as they are by far the largest market presence in the golf cart world.
Interestingly, though each of these brands has a huge market share and provides different advantages, no one manufacturer has a significantly larger share, but taken together, they are about 90 percent of the market.
The companies within the other 10 percent need to focus on providing a substantially different experience from the Big Three manufacturers and find unique ways to stand out among them.
For instance, some companies produce high-performance carts that can be used not only on a golf course but can also be driven on certain roads with relative ease and simplicity.
Other cart manufacturers focus more on luxury, such as high-tech innovations that make golf carts more comfortable, including Bluetooth speakers and even wireless internet connectivity.
We feel confident that E-Z-GO, Club Car, Yamaha, Star EV, and Polaris GEM are the top five best cart manufacturers which you can buy right now.
How We Chose the Brands
When gauging the different advantages and disadvantages of a golf cart manufacturer, it’s important to know what we would want out of a golf cart.
We have examined elements like the overall cost, the manufacturing quality of cart models, the amenities and features on each, how well they drive, and a few other critical factors.
The Top 5 Golf Cart Brands
1. Club Car—A Trusted Luxury Manufacturer
Among the Big Three manufacturers on the golf cart market, Club Car is the one that focuses the most on high-quality luxury and comfort design elements on each of their vehicles.
As part of the Ingersoll-Rand manufacturing firm, Club Car has continually focused on technological innovation, interesting luxury factors, and comfort-based designs.
Therefore, you’re going to find that these carts are usually more attractive than those from other manufacturers, often possessing very comfortable seats and unique entertainment options.
While Club Car carts don’t have the kind of raw power you might experience in other options like Yamaha, they are far from underpowered and will get you where you want to go.
Even if they don’t have the same kind of complete adaptability common with other types of golf cart manufacturers, they do allow you some adaptability and tweaking of their overall design.
The biggest downside of Club Car is always going to be the cost, as they are typically more expensive than most cart models on the market, thanks to their luxury and comfort designs.
That said, the price difference isn’t so huge that most people who want to buy a golf cart can’t afford this brand, but you should just know you may have to take a slight power hit compared to Yamaha carts.
Who Would Love This Manufacturer? Club Car has positioned itself as the largest luxury golf cart manufacturer on the market today. Though you’re going to pay a bit more money for one of their models, you will have a cart that is comfortable, and which may last a long time.
2. E-Z-GO—A Strong Balance of Elements
Although E-Z-GO was once an independent company, it has since been purchased by Textron, a big-name manufacturer, and it remains one of the most important companies in this industry.
E-Z-GO is considered by many in the market to be something of a balance between the lower-cost options common with Yamaha golf carts and the higher-end luxury options common with Club Car.
Typically, E-Z-GO carts are acclaimed for being among the strongest-built on the market, and they are available at a price that is very fair considering this factor.
Not quite as inexpensive as Yamaha carts, they also lack the same kinds of bells and whistles you get with Club Car (though they are far from Spartan or basic in their design).
E-Z-GO also offers the advantage of easy adaptability, often having a large number of add-on options that you can purchase to enhance their overall look and make them more comfortable for your needs.
The only real downside that we see with E-Z-GO is inherent in its strength: by being a good middle option, it is a bit of a jack-of-all-trades but master of none, which is something some buyers may not appreciate.
Who Would Love This Manufacturer? We think people who have a little money to spend on a cart, but who don’t want to spend an excessive amount, will enjoy this brand. Their modular design and adaptability also make them a good choice for DIY owners.
3. Polaris GEM—The Low-Speed Vehicle Manufacturer of Choice
Polaris is by no means new to the manufacturing industry, as they have been known as one of the most trusted power-sport manufacturers on the market today.
That said, they aren’t as commonly known as a golf cart manufacturer, even though their GEM division has slowly been gaining more traction as of late.
GEM has wisely chosen not to directly compete with the Big Three manufacturers on their terms, but they have instead carved out a niche as the best manufacturer of low-speed vehicles.
Low-speed vehicles are those that can be used in certain environments and are driven at speeds of up to 25 miles per hour or below and are built and designed to look like golf carts.
However, a true low-speed vehicle has a myriad of different upgrades which make them road-legal in states where they are accepted, such as seat belts, stronger brakes, and much more.
While you can always upgrade golf carts to become these vehicles, GEM cuts out the extra steps by providing a road-ready vehicle without requiring specialized upgrades.
This benefit is huge for those who want this type of vehicle because it can cut down on potential mistakes, ensure that your cart is environmentally safe, and protect yourself and others.
The downside of these carts is that they are going to naturally be more expensive than non-low-speed vehicles and may not be permitted for use on some golf courses.
Who Will Love This Manufacturer? If you are interested in a road-ready golf cart that you don’t have to upgrade to run properly, this is the manufacturer for your needs. Just be ready to put down a little bit of cash and check with your city and state laws before riding it on any roads.
4. Star EV—A Relative Newcomer
Though most readers should be familiar with the manufacturers here, including Polaris, with their other products, Star EV may not be as well-known.
That’s because this company was founded in just 2003, but it has quickly become one of the most respected manufacturers of golf carts on the market.
They stand apart from other manufacturers by focusing even more heavily on safety and innovation, utilizing stronger batteries, better safety protection, and new control elements.
For instance, they are acclaimed for their new batteries that can easily run for 60 miles on a single charge, making them one of the longest-lasting options on the market.
Unlike Polaris GEM, Star EV does directly compete with the Big Three, and it does suffer a bit by comparison—not due to the quality of their carts but because they are not as well known.
As a result, you may struggle to find these carts available for purchase or have a hard time finding a mechanic who is capable of working on them.
Who Will Love This Manufacturer? Anybody who doesn’t care for the Big Three manufacturers but who wants a comparable product may enjoy Star EV. As they remain relatively new and open, they also have very strong customer service and a buyer-first perspective.
5. Yamaha—Powerful and Inexpensive Carts
Of the Big Three golf cart manufacturers, Yamaha is the only one that still operates as an independent entity and not as a smaller division of a larger company.
As a result, Yamaha has retained a unique singularity of vision that makes their carts feel connected and which has helped them retain a high-quality reputation for years.
As with other Yamaha products, these golf carts are designed to be both powerful and fairly priced, giving the user a surprisingly great experience for a comparatively low price.
This focus on power and strength makes Yamaha golf carts a great choice for someone who plans on riding their cart in more off-road scenarios on private property.
These carts also offer easy adaptability to their overall design, allowing you to change up how they look and how they run with minimum difficulty.
If you want a stylish golf cart that will look great for years to come, a Yamaha model may not be the best for your needs because these carts are not designed for beauty.
Who Will Love This Manufacturer? If you want to cut back on your golf cart purchasing price and want a golf cart that is strong and reliable with its power, Yamaha is your option.
Their independence also makes it easier to work with their customer service department.