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Can you Use a Marine Battery in a Gas Golf Cart?

So, your golf cart battery just died.

Maybe you have an extra marine battery lying around your house and you’re wondering if you can use it in your golf cart. Or maybe you’re thinking of buying a brand new marine battery for your golf cart, thinking it may be a higher quality battery that will last longer.

to use a marine battery in a gas golf cart

But can you use a marine battery in a golf cart?

Will it last as long as a regular golf cart battery?

What are some major differences between marine batteries and golf cart batteries?

Keep reading to find out more!

Can You Use a Marine Battery in a Gas Golf Cart?

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If you’re thinking of swapping out your dead golf cart battery with a marine battery, you may want to think again.

Technically, it is possible to use a marine battery in a golf cart; both are 12-volt batteries and are likely to be lead acid, AGM, or gel. But the similarities end there. In short, marine batteries are made for a highly specific use, so they won’t work as well in golf carts. 

Let’s look at some specific concerns to take into account when using a marine battery in your golf cart.

  • Run time: A marine battery won’t last as long between charges as a golf cart battery will. This is because golf cart batteries can be more deeply discharged than the average marine battery.
    In other words, you can use up a greater percentage of the golf cart battery’s charge before having to recharge it. If you were to discharge a marine battery as deeply as a golf cart battery, you would ruin the battery after only a few uses.
  • Potential for damage: Golf cart batteries tend to be more well-built than marine batteries in the internal components. Using a marine battery in a golf cart may damage some of the lower quality parts of the battery over time.
  • Charging frequency: As noted above, marine batteries cannot be discharged as deeply as golf cart batteries, which of course means they will have to be recharged more frequently.
    What’s more, marine batteries don’t hold a charge because of the battery plate design. Whereas golf cart batteries are designed with large, solid plates, marine batteries have smaller, spongier plates.
    The plate design helps marine batteries guard against damage from shocks and vibrations on the water, but it doesn’t work as well when used in a golf cart.
  • Cost: Marine batteries are made specifically for use around water, so they are more expensive than golf cart batteries.
    So, unless you have an unused marine battery already on hand, you probably won’t want to replace your golf cart battery with a marine battery simply because doing so would cost more than it’s worth.

The exception to all of these concerns is a marine deep cycle battery. These batteries have better construction and discharge rates, and they can often be used for both marine and non-marine uses. 

Before buying a deep cycle battery, though, make sure you’re choosing one that’s rated for multiple uses. 

How Long Will Marine Batteries Last in a Golf Cart?

Using Marine Batteries for Golf Cart

As discussed above, marine batteries will not last as long as golf cart batteries when powering a golf cart. 

The reason for this is simple: marine batteries can be discharged to about 50 percent of their total capacity, while golf cart batteries can be discharged up to 80 percent. 

This means that marine batteries will have to be charged more frequently than golf cart batteries, which, in turn, means you’ll either need to keep a portable charger with you or plan for shorter days on the golf range.

So how long can you expect the battery to last?

Exact time frames will depend on the battery, the weather conditions, how long you run the golf cart, and many other factors. But, as a general rule of thumb, you can expect a marine battery to need recharging about 30 percent sooner than a golf cart battery.

So, if your golf cart battery lasts for 8 hours, a comparable marine battery will only last a little more than 5 ½ hours. (8 – 30% = 5.6)

The exception, again, is deep cycle batteries, which can be more fully discharged than regular marine batteries–often as much as 80 percent.

What is the Difference Between a Marine Battery and a Golf Cart Battery?

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There are several differences between marine batteries and golf cart batteries. Check out the table below for a side-by-side comparison.

PriceMarine batteries are more expensive because they are made specifically for use around water.Golf cart batteries are less expensive because they require no special construction.
ConstructionMarine batteries are made with a heavy duty outer casing to protect the battery from moisture and vibrations. The internal components are generally lower-quality than other battery types.Golf cart batteries are made with a lightweight outer casing because they are not designed for water exposure. The internal components are well-made and high-quality.
Plate SizeMarine batteries are designed with small, spongy plates that won’t be damaged by water or vibrations, but they don’t store energy like standard battery plates.Golf cart batteries have larger, tougher plates that store energy better than marine battery plates do.
Discharge RateMarine batteries can only be discharged up to 50 percent of their total capacity.Golf cart batteries can be discharged up to 80 percent of their total capacity.
Charging TemperatureMarine batteries are charged at lower temperatures than golf cart batteries, which will affect how well they take and hold a charge and the overall run time.Golf cart batteries are charged at much higher temperatures than marine batteries.

Conclusion

Now that you understand the differences between marine and golf cart batteries, you can see why using a marine battery in your golf cart might not be a good idea. If you need to do so for a short period of time, you can, but understand the performance won’t be as good.


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