When it comes to choosing a new battery for your mobility scooter, you will soon recognise that there are different types of batteries to choose from. If you are scratching your head wondering what the actual difference is between the two main types of battery – AGM and GEL – then read on.
In this article, we are going to take a closer look at these two types of batteries and so help you decide on which one you should choose.
Both batteries have many similar traits such as:
Those are some of the similarities, so what is the main difference?
The main difference lies in the volume and makeup of the electrolytes, which are the liquids or gels, containing ions, that power the battery. That may sound a very technical answer, but you will see that this determines why you would choose one type over the other dependant on the conditions they work under.
AGM batteries, (short for absorbed glass mat batteries), use a liquid-based electrolyte that is held within absorbent glass mats. The mats act as the separators between the battery plates.
GEL batteries use thinner separators with a gel-like electrolyte. This is, of course, where the name GEL Battery comes from.
GEL: The thicker, gel-like substance, that’s used within a GEL battery results in a slower discharge rate, meaning it can run for longer at a steady pace. GEL batteries are also well suited to variable terrain, poorer surfaces, and for use in higher temperatures.
AGM: The liquid acid substance used within AGM batteries provides a higher discharge rate, which means you may have more power, but for a shorter duration. AGM batteries are great when making regular journeys, using good surfaces, and travelling on relatively flat terrain.
As with many other mobility scooter parts, deciding on which is better will come down to a number of different factors.
The easiest way to help you decide which is best is to do a direct comparison of the two types.
AGM batteries typically do not last as long as GEL batteries, but this is often down to the way that they are cared for.
To ensure you get the very maximum lifespan out of your AGM battery, you would be advised to keep your battery above 50% charge.
If you regularly go past 50% (which in the real world many users do) it will inevitably decrease the lifespan of your battery.
GEL mobility scooter batteries will often out-live AGM batteries since they are built to withstand excessive usage.
You can discharge GEL batteries up to 90% and usually won’t be risking any damage or loss of performance.
In fact, tests have shown that discharging a GEL battery at 90% gives you about 700 cycles. Whilst an AGM battery discharged at 50% would give you around 550 cycles.
AGM batteries aren’t necessarily suited to heavy usage as much as GEL batteries are since they can deteriorate quickly when they’re subject to hard or constant use.
As mentioned, GEL batteries can be discharged to a far lower level than AGM batteries making them perfect for extensive mobility scooter or constant power chair usage.
AGM batteries are undoubtedly cheaper than GEL batteries and provide great value for money.
GEL batteries are more expensive to manufacture with more expensive components. The GEL battery can, however, offer that enhanced performance over long periods of time when in the correct application.
No matter what type of battery you have, the way that you charge your battery can ultimately determine the lifespan of your battery.
For the most part, AGM and GEL batteries follow the same charging principles, here are a few tips for charging your battery:
At Strident we recommend AGM for the majority of mobility scooter users. This is because many users are infrequent and indeed charge correctly, therefore, cannot justify the extra expense of true GEL products. However, we do say that if you frequently use your equipment on steep inclines, on uneven terrain or the total weight of equipment and user is reasonably high then the GEL technology would be worth considering.
The other consideration is if you regularly take your equipment to the limit ie: drain the batteries until they stop, this again could be beneficial to look at GEL.
If you’re looking for a new AGM or GEL mobility scooter battery, you can get a copy of our battery brochure below. All of our batteries are tested in rugged environments, to gauge their performance in extreme circumstances.
If you are still not sure which type of battery to choose then why not talk to one of our experts about your current situation. You can contact us by simply clicking the button below.