Battery discussions often begin with, which one do you sell and the direction they go depends on multiple factors afterwards. Picking a battery manufacturer is like picking between Ford and Chevy, or BMW and Mercedes. Each has their own personal choice and reasons for that choice. I really don't care either way what someone thinks or why when it comes to batteries as my opinion has evolved from the use of several different manufacturers. In the past we have used the following:
1) US Battery
4) Duracell, Crown, Deka, Powertron and all other Eco line units
For those who will ask, no I have not used Crown or Deka and I don't recommend either based on what I've seen. And stay away from Powertrons. They are junk and you will not get even a low end average lifespan from them. I wouldn't use Powertron if they had the last 12 volt batteries on earth and my cart was in dire need. I'll delve a little into what I've seen from each maker.
1) US Battery- This is the sole brand we sell and install. I rarely have any issues with these batteries, and the warranty percentage is probably 1 in 200 if that. (0.5%) Do NOT buy the black bodied US Batteries. That is the economy line and they suck just as bad as other cheap batteries. You might save $200 up front, but you lose that and much more on the back end when the batteries are shot in 3 years instead of 5 or more. US has been near flawless when it comes to the rare warranty issue we experience. They handle our warranty claims quickly and efficiently. Our customers generally see 4-6 years lifespan from US Batteries (total life depends on daily use amount and care over time) In our opinion, no other battery even compares to US Battery.
2) Trojan- These guys have for a long time lived on a name brand recognition that was earned long ago. In our opinion the quality of Trojan batteries has been on the decline for quite some time. We see more melted posts on Trojans than any other battery that comes through our shop. We also sell battery cable kits around the world, and our customers have noted the same thing. Trojans meltdown at ten times the rate or more of alternative brands. It is worth mentioning that Trojan is the only manufacturer that makes their batteries with replaceable posts. You can see that as a positive or a negative. Positive if you have an accident and don't want to buy another battery (good luck getting it replaced in less than a month) or you can ask yourself why do they need to replace posts? Getting the actual replacement done is harder than climbing mount Everest blindfolded, naked and without supplemental oxygen. (those who climb will understand that intently) I have argued till blue in the face with a "Batteries and Bulbs" store employee about getting replacement posts. In the end it isn't worth the effort, and I really believe the ultimate goal of Trojan is to make it so hard nobody actually does it. On top of all their problems, the are about the most expensive brand. In our opinion, they are literally living on a name they earned long ago but no longer live up to.
3) Interstate- We only very briefly used these, the price is simply to high. They are less into golf carts, marine and deep cycle and more into cars, trucks and commercial vehicles. While we can't say they were great, the small sample we dealt with did have good results. However, there weren't enough carts involved to really get a good feel for the brands performance. Their price was a driving factor in choosing someone else.
4) Duracell- We tried these briefly. They are economy batteries and are roughly equal to Powertron, Crown or Deka. Underwhelming performance and lifespan to say the least. Anything that comes from Costco rates in this catagory. We only had them for a short time when we experimented with offering a lower price line of batteries for the super cheap customers. I used them in a personal cart to get a better feel for them as well. At three years with very little use the performance was significantly impaired. (In years past I would use and experiment with my cart trying out all sorts of products. If they made the cut we'd put them into the business on a trial basis for 12 months. If they live through that 12 months we would carry and suggest them.
In the end, it's pretty simple. Cheap batteries don't last as long or perform as well. Your best bet is sticking with the biggest players. Yes, they will probably cost a little more but the are generally going to last longer and perform better than anything you'll get from number 4 above. Paying $1000 for a set of batteries that last you 5 years is far better than paying $800 for a set that get's 3 years. For those you'll hear claim 6, 7, 8 or more years they are full of it. Sure, it might run 15 minutes at that age but it is stone cold dead in 20 minutes. And that assumes you are on flat ground. Add in some hills and that number can easily be halved. You get what you pay for in batteries.
As to lithium, which I will only briefly mention, at this time our opinion is I don't do them. Any new technology needs a few years to work out the bugs. We service a few golf courses and a couple of them jumped into lithium carts early on. And most of them regretted it initially. Quite frankly I find the price point nauseating. For $3000 or more you can get 3 sets of Flooded Lead Acid batteries that will get you 15 years life or you can get 1 set of lithium that will last 10 years. Think about that phone in your pocket. What does it do that irritates you once it gets over a year old? Battery life sucks after 12 months and only gets worse. They are trying to suck you into buying a new phone every 24 months and many do because the can't make a whole day on a charge. Then there is pregnant battery syndrome, the expanding battery that pushes our your screen, the lithium fire hazard and so on. Lithium is likely the future, however the key word is future. Having to buy $3000-$3500 worth just to get into them is absurd to me. Once the technology is vastly improved the price should go down. At that point, we will revisit the topic and see where it goes. At this time however, we don't recommend it solely because it is overpriced.
More to come later on.............