- by Bryan Veldboom - updated on 5/26/2021
Millions of Americans rely on power wheelchairs and mobility scooters to help them live more active lives. In order to get the most out of your wheelchair or scooter, it's important to understand the type of battery in your machine as well as how to maintain it. This article will provide you with a breakdown of your wheelchair battery options in order to help you find the right one for your needs.
Power wheelchairs and mobility scooters both run on lead acid batteries. This category can be broken down further into two basic types, AGM and gel batteries. Lead acid batteries contain an electrolyte solution inside them that allows the flow of electrical charge between the cathode and anode. AGM and gel batteries use a different method to accomplish this.
AGM batteries (short for Absorbed Glass Mat) contain a special glass mat which is designed to wick the electrolyte between the battery's plates. In a gel battery, the electrolyte is suspended in a silica additive that creates a gel-like mass that allows electrons to flow between the plates. Gel batteries then use a one-way valve that allows the internal gasses to recombine into water.
When it comes to selecting the best battery for your wheelchair or scooter, gel batteries have a number of advantages over AGM options. For starters, they have longer life cycles, lasting up two times longer than an AGM battery. Their construction also allows gel batteries to charge more readily than AGMs, plus they have a better tolerance to extreme temperatures.
One thing to keep in mind, a gel battery will cost more upfront, although their longer lifespans can even this cost out over time. Gel batteries also have very specific charging requirements, so you'll need to pay special attention during the recharging process. Looking for the right battery for your wheelchair or mobility scooter? Batteries Plus makes it easy. Enter the brand and model of your wheelchair or scooter to get a list of compatible batteries.
If your battery is several years old, it may time for a replacement. Bring your battery in to your nearest Batteries Plus and we'll test it for you for free. We can also recycle any old wheelchair batteries you might have. Note, due to state and local regulations, there is some variation in what each store can recycle. There may also be a slight cost for recycling. Contact your local store or more details.