If you rely on a mobility scooter to help you to get from place to place, then you need to make sure that it is running on a battery that won’t let you down.
There are several different types of battery that are compatible with a mobility scooter, and each one has its pros and cons. Understanding the difference between these batteries and how to look after them is an important part of using this type of mobility aid.
Types of Batteries for Mobility Scooters
Mobility scooters are usually powered using two batteries. However, there are several different types that can be used. While there is not one type of battery that is better than another, a manufacturer will typically choose the right one based on the model they wish to power. Each type has pros and cons and when choosing between them, it can help to understand these.
For people who are going to be using their mobility scooter more intensely, a gel battery is an excellent option.
These batteries have a far superior life cycle and they also don’t require a lot of maintenance. Much like the sealed lead acid battery, these ones are sealed so there is no risk of spillage. However, the electrolyte in these types of batteries has silica added to it which causes the mixture to set.
Owing to their ability to perform better in hot temperatures, they are typically favored for many applications, and this is one factor that contributes to their ability to withstand more charge cycles.
Absorbed Glass Mat (AGM) Battery
The AGM battery, also known as a sealed lead acid (SLA) battery, was developed for military use back in the 1980s, but since then it has been used in a wide range of applications. One of the reasons that it is so popular with mobility scooters is that it can withstand a lot of vibrations; as you move around in your scooter, this means that the battery will be more resistant. What’s more, the AGM battery is designed with two main purposes in mind; to give a powerful boost to get started and to run over a long period of time.
The reason for this superior power is twofold. First of all, the AGM battery has several glass mats squashed together inside to cushion the lead plates. Since there is a lot of room inside for many of these, more lead equals more power. Secondly, the AGM battery features a valve that regulates the amount of gas allowed to escape at any one time, meaning that it can run for longer.
These batteries offer excellent reliability, and many will withstand as many as 600 charge cycles before they need replacing.
The lithium-ion battery is one of the newest types of batteries and has risen in popularity for many applications in recent years. You will find them in everything from lawnmowers to mobility scooters, and cellphones to RVs.
One of the great things about the lithium-ion battery is that it has a much greater energy capacity than other types meaning that it will generally offer longer running times.
when not in use, these batteries tend to discharge much more slowly than other types, plus they are incredibly low maintenance.
However, they do typically cost a little more. It is important to make sure that a lithium-ion battery has a protection system to ensure that it only runs within the recommended limits.
How Long Does a Mobility Scooter Battery Last?
Mobility scooter batteries are all 12v, but the type that is used in your scooter will determine how long it will last. For example, a gel battery is designed to go through many more charging cycles and so is perfect for people who will be using the scooter more intensely. On the other hand, an AGM battery won’t withstand as many cycles and so is usually fitted in a scooter that will only be used from time to time.
There are also lithium-ion batteries which are great for everyday use thanks to their incredibly long lifespan. Moreover, they aren’t affected by charging cycles, but this does come at an additional cost. Overall, the gel battery is considered to be the best option for a mobility scooter owing to its superior performance.
You will find that most batteries come with a year’s warranty, so you know you’re covered for at least that long. However, a good battery should last much more than this, with many performing well for around 18 months.
How to Prolong the Life of Your Mobility Scooter Battery?
Nobody wants to find themselves being caught out when using their mobility scooter, but the way that you maintain your battery will help to improve or decrease its lifespan. Of course, different batteries require differing levels of maintenance, but there are some guidelines you can follow to get the most out of your mobility scooter.
Charge Your Battery Correctly
You may not realize it, but the way that you treat your battery during charging can have a profound effect on its performance and longevity. To begin with, you should avoid allowing your battery to run entirely flat. You can ensure that it doesn’t lose its charge when the scooter is not in use by turning off any lights and other equipment.
If you do not use the mobility scooter frequently, it will still need charging as the batteries will gradually discharge over time. We recommend giving it a boost charge at least once a month when it isn’t in use.
When charging, try to do this overnight so that the battery receives a full and complete charge. Moreover, it can be useful to charge your mobility scooter battery after every use to ensure it stays boosted.
Storing & Maintaining Your Battery
It’s one thing to take good care of your mobility scooter batteries when they are in use, but you should not forget about maintaining them when they are in storage. One of the most important things to keep in mind is that these batteries will dwindle in performance if they are exposed to extreme temperatures. For this reason, it is highly recommended to store them at an even temperature and in a dry environment since moisture will also have a negative effect.
When in storage, you should ensure that you check the charge on your batteries regularly and give them a boost charge at least once a month. If they are allowed to completely drain, this will affect their lifespan. The only exception to this rule is when the batteries are brand new. In this instance, you will want to fully charge and drain them a few times.
Can a Mobility Scooter Battery Be Transported on an Aeroplane?
If you need to travel by air, then it stands to reason that you are going to have to take your mobility scooter batteries with you. Most airlines will be happy to transport them, but you may need to prove that they are IATA approved. This can be done through either a display sticker or certification from the battery manufacturer.
How to Choose the Right Battery for Your Mobility Scooter?
How frequently you use your mobility scooter will be one of the main determining factors in the type of battery you opt for.
Of course, you will need to check with the manufacturer as this is the best way to work out which type of battery is compatible with your scooter. You can also find this out by looking at the battery compartment and depending on the type of scooter you have, this may be located on top of the framework, or on smaller scooters, there will be a central battery box.
Generally speaking, if you are going to be getting some heavy use out of the scooter, you are better off choosing something with greater longevity and reliability, such as a lithium-ion battery.
You will also need to think about the power output. Most mobility scooter batteries are fitted in pairs with a total of 24 volts. However, you will also notice that there is a figure given in Ah on the battery which refers to amp hours. This is the rate at which a battery discharges when in use, typically over a 20 hour period. In the simplest terms, the higher the amp hours, the longer the battery will last.
How to Replace a Battery on a Mobility Scooter?
When it comes to replacing your mobility scooter batteries, one of the first things you will need to do is to inspect the battery compartment. It is important to make sure that none of the battery connectors show any signs of corrosion and that everything is in good and safe working order.
Make sure that you are working on a flat surface and that you have the correct tools for the job. In most cases, you will need a wrench to loosen the battery connectors. Begin by disconnecting the black terminal first, followed by the red. You will now be able to remove the battery, but bear in mind that they can be heavy, so don’t be afraid to ask for help if you need it.
You can now insert the replacement batteries. It is essential to ensure that the connectors are secure, and you will need your wrench once again for this. Additionally, ensure that the batteries have a snug fit. Now you can close the battery compartment, and your scooter will be ready to use.
Best Places to Purchase a New Battery for Your Mobility Scooter
If you are shopping for a new battery for your mobility scooter, there are many places that will be able to meet your needs. Of course, it helps to know a little bit about these companies so we have provided an overview of some of the best options.
1800wheelchair offers a wide selection of mobility scooter and powerchair batteries. They offer sealed lead acid and sealed gel batteries from a range of well-known manufacturers such as MK.
The company also retail AGM batteries and a selection of battery chargers. However, if you are looking for lithium-ion batteries, they do not stock these.
MedMart sells a variety of batteries that range in price from an affordable $39 all the way through to more high-end products. They offer a choice of AGM and sealed lead acid batteries with a variety of Ah levels.
In addition, MedMart provides gel batteries which do cost a little more as well as a choice of battery packs.