Wheelchair, scooter and mobility batteries have usage anywhere from a few times a month to many hours a day, every day. If you rely on your wheelchair to stay mobile, you need to be able to rely on your purchase of a good quality battery. The things you want to look for in a wheelchair battery are:
- Make sure it is a deep cycle battery
- Amp Hour (AH) capacity – the higher the AH capacity, the longer the battery will run per charge.
In the following comparisons, I will be using a U1 size battery to compare the different types. There are 3 main types of batteries to power your wheelchair:
General Purpose (GP) AGM Wheelchair Battery
This is by far the cheapest solution for your wheelchair battery needs. Even though this is considered a deep cycle battery and it does typically have the AH requirement, many of the GP batteries you find will not have the cycling ability you need for a wheelchair. One cycle is a discharge followed by a recharge. If your wheelchair use is a few times per week for short distances, a GP battery might work just fine. However, if you routinely discharge your wheelchair battery to 50% depth of discharge (DoD) or below, your GP battery won’t last very long.
Gel Wheelchair Battery
Gel batteries are a good choice for your wheelchair battery needs. There are advantages and disadvantages which you should consider before making your purchase.
- Gel batteries have a very good cycle life.
- For discharges of 50% DoD and below, gel batteries typically do better than AGM with respects to cycle life.
- The AH capacities are typically less than you can get in an AGM. Generally 32 AH is what you will find.
- Gel batteries are typically 30-50% higher in price than AGM.
- Gel batteries are harder to find.
High Cycling AGM Wheelchair Battery
A high cycling AGM wheelchair battery is a deep cycle battery that has a longer cycle life than a GP AGM battery. They have thicker plates with more active material on the plates to aid in DoD and cycle life. Consider these advantages and disadvantages:
- Good cycle life.
- AH capacities anywhere from 32 AH to 39 AH.
- Significantly lower in price when compared to Gel.
- Readily available.
- Cycle life at 50% or more is not as good as Gel, however they still do a good job.
AGM technology has not quite caught up with Gel technology, but it is very close. We recommend a high cycle AGM wheelchair battery as the best option when you compare the advantages and disadvantages of all three. But, we have all 3 types available, so it’s your choice.
Once You Make That Wheelchair Battery Purchase, What Can You Do To Make It Last?
- Try to keep the DoD to 50% or less – preferably 30% DoD.
- Charge your battery after each day’s use.
- Never let your battery stay in a discharged condition.
- If your charger shuts off, you can leave it connected to your chair for an extended period of time. If it doesn’t shut off, don’t leave it connected for more than a few days.