Electric golf cart batteries are available in two major voltage strengths: 36 and 48-volt golf cart batteries. The strength of your batteries is determined by the type and model of cart you have.

Keeping the battery voltage in mind when shopping for electric golf carts is essential. Each of the two alternatives has its pros and cons. Depending on your preferences, one may be better for you than the other.

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What is Voltage?

When comparing a 36V vs. 48V golf cart, you must understand voltage. Voltage is the potential difference in charge between two points in an electric field.

However, that is the technical definition. When shopping for electric vehicles, remember the greater the voltage, the greater the current running through the batteries.

If you are wondering whether the cart you are looking at uses 36 or 48-volt golf cart batteries, there are several ways to find out.

Among the easiest is to ask the person helping you with the purchase. You can also calculate the voltage by counting the holes in each battery.

Multiply this number by 2 to determine the voltage of a single battery. Then multiply the voltage you get by the total number of batteries in your cart to select the voltage of the cart.

For example, if one battery has four holes, you multiply that number by two and get 8. If your cart has six such batteries, you will multiply 4 and 6 to discover that your cart uses 48-volt golf cart batteries.

36-Volt Golf Cart Batteries

Carts with 36-volt golf cart batteries are more affordable, making replacing the batteries more manageable. A 36V battery for golf cart applications can provide a longer shelf life and better performance.

The best 36v golf cart batteries are designed with high-grade materials and top-of-the-line technology to ensure they last as long as possible.

36V golf cart batteries offer enough strength to make driving around a golf course enjoyable and usually allow carts to reach up to 12mph speed.

You can also upgrade to create a golf faster cart for more speed.

However, remember that these batteries will always offer less power than their 48-volt alternatives. They are also less efficient, so you must recharge them more often. The lower power means that carts with these batteries are inappropriate for off-road usage.

48-Volt Golf Cart Batteries

48-volt batteries are an excellent option for people using their golf carts for off-roading activities because they offer more power than 36-volt alternatives.

48-V batteries are also more effective since they use less amperage and the battery lasts longer. You also won’t have to worry about making frequent pit stops to recharge. These carts also have a higher resale value so that you can recoup more of your investment should you ever decide to sell your cart.

However, these batteries require a more significant investment upfront. Not only are carts with 48-volt batteries more expensive to purchase, but they are also more expensive to replace. Therefore, 36-volt batteries are the better option if you are on a budget.

What is the Difference Between 36V and 48V Golf Cart Batteries?

The difference between the golf cart batteries depends on their key features. 

Features

36-volt golf cart batteries

48-volt golf cart batteries

Energy Capacity

Generally lower than 48V systems

Higher energy capacity than 36V systems

Performance

Adequate for flat terrain and lighter use

Better for hilly terrain and heavier loads

Maintenance

Maintenance requirements can be similar but may depend on battery type (e.g., lead-acid vs. lithium)

Similar to 36V, efficiency and battery management systems in 48V systems can reduce wear

Speed

Typically lower than 48V carts

Can be faster than 36V carts due to higher voltage

Efficiency

Less efficient than 48V systems

More efficient, especially under load

Upgrade Potential

Limited compared to 48V

Greater flexibility for upgrades and enhancements

Initial Cost

Generally lower than 48V carts

Higher initial investment than 36V carts

Operating Costs

Can be higher due to less efficiency

Potentially lower due to higher efficiency and less strain on batteries

Weight

Lighter due to fewer batteries

Heavier due to more or larger batteries

Popularity

Common in older models

Becoming more standard in newer models

Lifespan

Can vary, but is often shorter due to the higher discharge rate needed for performance

Generally longer, as the higher voltage can provide adequate power with less strain on each battery

Choosing the Right Golf Cart 36V vs. 48V Battery System

Your unique needs influence the choice between 36-volt and 48-volt golf lead-acid cart batteries, including golf cart brands. Most golf carts are equipped with lead-acid batteries straight from the factory.

Whether you have a Club Car, a Star EV golf cart, or a battery setup on an E-Z-GO golf cart, the power systems are unique for each model.

36-volt batteries are ideal for basic golf carts that need a reliable battery system to get around the course.

48-volt batteries offer higher performance, allowing for more powerful hill climbing, faster acceleration, and improved torque over their 36-volt counterparts.

48-volt battery systems provide extended run times compared to 36-volt models.

When deciding which model is best for your cart, consider the critical power needs of your specific golf cart model and the terrain you plan on navigating most regularly.

Can I Run a 36 Volt Golf Cart on 48 Volts?

Yes, you can run a 36-volt golf cart on 48 volts, but it is not recommended due to potential risks. To convert a 36-volt golf cart to 48 volts, you would typically need to replace the existing batteries with a set of six 8-volt batteries wired in series instead of the usual six 6-volt batteries that come standard in a 36-volt system. 

This modification should be done carefully and preferably by a professional to ensure safety and optimal performance. It’s important to consider the compatibility of the cart’s components with the increased voltage to prevent damage. Always consult with a knowledgeable technician to ensure the conversion is done correctly and safely.

Conclusion

Knowing what conditions your golf cart must endure can help narrow the choice between 36-volt and 48-volt systems.

At Carts & Parts, we understand the importance of having the right battery power for your golf cart. As a result, we are a proud distributor of Trojan Batteries.

Our knowledgeable staff can help you find the best 36-volt or 48-volt system for your golf cart to ensure you get the most out of your on-course experience or paved golf cart community.

Contact us today at (937) 459-8891 for more information about our 36-volt and 48-volt systems selection. Of course, we also carry 6-volts and everything in between.

A close up of electric golf cart batteries that are 48-volt batteries