But, how can you be sure if a 36v vs a 48v golf cart is better for you (or which one will best impress your golf buddies)? There is a lot to consider.
Before the options get too overwhelming, we can narrow down some of the most important differences to think about when choosing the right battery voltage for your golf cart.
Volts and Amps
Let’s look at the importance of voltage and amperage when choosing a cart.
Voltage tells you how much power you’ll get from your battery pack. Think of it as the “horsepower” of your cart.
Higher volts = more power. More power creates a better ability to handle different terrain.
Higher volts also means more speed. How fast is a 36 volt golf cart? Without any upgrades, you can plan on max speeds between 12-14 mph.
Amperage, however, is what determines how far you can go. It’s like the gas in the fuel tank of your car. More gas (or more amperage) means you can drive further before needing to recharge.
When choosing between stock 36v or 48v cart, the 36 volt golf cart will have less power (get-up-and-go). It also will not go as far on a single charge compared to the 48 volt golf cart.
But that doesn’t mean that one option is necessarily better than the other. Speed and longevity isn’t everything.
There’s much more to consider.
Over Hills? Or Just the Plains
Where do you need your cart to go?
If you are chasing golf balls over any of these toughest courses in America, you might need more amps and volts to keep up with your foursome.
But if your local golf course is “fair”ly flat and you plan to stay on designated cart paths, less power and a lower capacity for long distance should work well for you.
Since a 36v cart is not designed for driving on the fairway, this is a great option if you stay on the straight and narrow paths. However, if you are free to offroad, the 48v cart would be a better option for you.
The Cost of a 36v vs 48v Golf Cart
Of course, as with any purchase, factoring the cost both in the short-term and the long-term is important when choosing your golf cart.
You might decide that you need a brand new 48 volt golf cart with all the bells and whistles, but the price tag is more than your handicap will allow.
In most cases, a brand new 36v cart will be a lower initial purchase cost than a 48v cart. Among other factors, having fewer batteries in the battery pack makes it more cost-effective. This is important to consider–now and long-term–if you need to watch your budget.
Aside from the voltage, the brand of the cart can also determine the cost. Several major brands, including ClubCar, EZGO, and Yamaha were some of the first brands to introduce the 36v and 48v golf carts. They continue to make some of the best of both carts.
When considering your 36v or 48v cart purchase, be sure to also factor in the ongoing maintenance and related costs.
Not only is a 36 volt cart likely a lower-cost initial purchase, battery replacement will be less expensive over time. As we noted above, fewer batteries in the pack = lower cost to replace.
However, low cost doesn’t always mean it’s the best option. With the efficiency of the 48 volt golf cart and a wider availability of replacement parts, it’s possible that the ongoing maintenance costs of either cart are not a major cost concern.
As always, keeping your cart clean and light will help maintain the efficiency of all working parts for the long game.
Remember, you can also help your cart go faster or farther with after-market upgrades.
If you need to be conservative with your budget, start with a lower-voltage cart or with fewer bells and whistles. Over time, upgrade parts for performance based on your needs and as budget allows.
Tire Size Matters
A simple change to a larger tire will help your cart go faster. As far as upgrades go, this is one of the most cost-effective changes you can make to improve your cart’s performance.
Changing the tires is also one of the easiest changes you can do. Even if you are not as great of a mechanic as you are a golfer, you can probably handle changing the tires on your cart.
Torque Around With It
Torque, in the simplest explanation, is force. How much force are you getting from your motor? If it’s not enough, it can be adjusted.
Changes to torque can include a different motor. This can give either the 36 v or the 48 v golf cart a boost to get up over those hills or last a little longer on a charge.
Best Bang From Your Battery
If you notice that your cart seems a little sluggish, check your battery.
New stock batteries aren’t always the highest quality, the most power, or last the longest. If you’ve purchased a used cart, the battery could be old and need to be replaced.
Batteries can be a simple solution to boosting power, and we can recommend replacement batteries to get the best performance from your cart.
The Cart That’s Right For You
There are pros and cons to either of these golf carts, both with the initial purchase and the long-term maintenance. In most cases, there is not a right or wrong solution when choosing between a 36v vs 48v golf cart.
But we are here to help! Check out our reviews of many carts on the market.
We can also help you find a cart to buy, starting with our online inventory.
Consider your needs, plan your budget, and have fun with your new golf cart!