Trickle Charger Vs Float Charger: Which Is Right For You?

Trickle Charger VS Float Charger

Trickle Charger Vs. Float Charger: Which is perfect for your golf cart to charge the battery accurately? It all starts with understanding the dynamics of trickle and float chargers. Trickle or float chargers both have their own pros and cons, making the choice for your golf cart’s specific needs potentially overwhelming. 

Investing in high-quality chargers is essential to save you valuable time and money. In this blog post, we’ll explain both chargers, ensuring you know how to choose the correct charger for your golf cart. Let’s get started!

What Is A Trickle Charger And How To Use It?

A trickle charger, also known as a battery maintainer, is a specialized charger designed to provide a low and steady flow of electrical current to a battery. Its primary function is to maintain the charge in a battery rather than quickly charge it. 

use Trickle Charger

Unlike standard chargers, trickle chargers deliver a slow, consistent current, not a high one for rapid charging.

To use a golf cart trickle charger, follow these steps:

  • First, ensure the charger is turned off and unplugged before connecting it to the battery.
  • Next, connect the positive (red) clamp of the charger to the positive terminal of the battery and the negative (black) clamp to the negative terminal.
  • Turn on the trickle charger.
  • Lastly, the charger will now supply a low, continuous current to the battery. Leave it connected for an extended period.

What Does A Trickle Charger Do?

The main purpose of a trickle charger is to prevent a battery from losing its charge over time due to self-discharge or environmental factors. Batteries naturally lose power when they sit idle, which can lead to reduced lifespan and poor performance. A trickle charger counteracts this by providing a small but constant stream of electricity, keeping the battery at its optimal charge level.

How Much Time Does It Take To Charge A Golf Cart Battery With Trickle Charger?

A trickle battery charger typically takes 14 hours or more to charge a golf cart battery. It depends on several factors, such as the state of charge of the batteries, the capacity of the charger, and the battery condition. 

This method is intentionally slower than traditional golf cart chargers to ensure the battery’s health and longevity. If you’re looking for a trickle charger, consider checking out options at AutoZone and similar retailers to find the right one for your needs.

Who Needs A Trickle Charger?

Anybody can use the Trickle chargers, and it’s essential for individuals who own vehicles or equipment with infrequently used batteries. 

What Are The Pros And Cons Of Trickle Chargers?

Here are some pros and cons of trickle chargers: 


  • Keeps the battery charged when not in use
  • Safeguards against overcharging and damage
  • Extends the battery’s lifespan
  • User-friendly operation


  • It takes time for a full battery to charge.
  • It’s not suitable for jumpstarting a dead battery.
  • It can be more expensive than an alternative option.

What Is A Float Charger And How To Use It?

Battery chargers with float technology keep batteries’ charges stable for a prolonged length of time. It’s also named float charging. It employs a “set it and forget it” strategy for battery maintenance. Once connected, it will automatically keep track of and manage the battery’s charge so that it is always available for use without the risk of overcharging or damage. You can perform the following actions to utilize a float charger:

Use Float Charger
  • Ensure that the float charger is turned off and unplugged before connecting it to the battery.
  • Connect the positive (red) clamp of the float charger to the positive terminal of the battery and the negative (black) clamp to the negative terminal.
  • Some float chargers allow you to set the desired voltage for your battery. Ensure the charger is set to the appropriate voltage for your battery type (e.g., 12 volts for a standard car battery).
  • Turn on the float charger.
  • The charger will now monitor the battery’s voltage and supply just enough current to maintain it at a constant level. This prevents overcharging while keeping the battery fully charged.

What Is The Purpose Of The Float Charger?

A float charger prevents undercharging and overcharging by maintaining an ideal  battery charge for a long time. It keeps the battery completely charged without overcharging. This strategy extends battery life and ensures optimal performance when needed. For cars and machines with irregular usage, this is beneficial.

How Does a Float Charger Work?

A float charger supplies a constant low-voltage current during battery charging, enhancing battery cycles and preventing excessive high-current charging. It’s used to store emergency backup power in batteries. The float charging system connects batteries and power supply simultaneously in a parallel configuration. It operates at a low voltage to prevent it from overcharging. For a 12-volt battery with four 3.2-volt cells each, the charger takes them to 3.65 volts (totaling 14.6 volts) and stops charging automatically based on voltage sensing.

Is Float Charge Good For Batteries?

Float charging is very beneficial for batteries. It keeps its charge at an optimal level and prevents overcharging, which helps prolong the battery life and improve its overall performance. Float charging also reduces self-discharge, making it useful for keeping batteries ready for prolonged periods of inactivity.

Does Float Charging Damage The Battery?

Float charging, when properly applied, does not cause damage to batteries; it helps sustain an optimal charge without the risk of overcharging, preserving battery health over time.

Pros And Cons Of Float Charger

The pros and cons of float chargers are given below:

Pros of float charger 

  • Parallel battery, charger, and load connection ensures uninterrupted power supply, ideal for backup and emergencies.
  • It utilizes lower voltage and constant low current, increasing battery longevity.
  • Float Chargers boast simple, cost-effective designs often based on rectifier circuits.
  • It minimized risks of overcharging, overheating, self-discharge, and voltage drain.

Cons of float charger

  • Charging duration is prolonged due to the utilization of low current.
  • Best suited for low-power and short-duration backup applications; less suitable for scenarios requiring extended backup times.

Difference Between A Trickle Charger Vs Float Charger

AspectTrickle chargerFloat charger
Charging MethodConstant low-current charging equal to self-dischargeProvides reduced voltage and low constant current
Charging DurationSlower, can take more than a day to chargeTypically faster due to higher current
Safety ConcernsRisk of overheating, potential safety hazardsSafer, automatically shuts off current to prevent overcharging
Automatic ShutdownNo automatic shutdown; continuous current supplyAutomatically stops current supply when complete
Efficiency in Battery Life ExtensionLimited impact on battery lifespanEfficiently extends battery lifespan

Summing It Up

The choice between a trickle charger and a float charger depends on your specific needs. A float charger offers safer, automatic charge management and is ideal for maintaining battery health over time. On the other hand, a trickle charger, while slower, requires more attention to prevent overcharging and is best suited for short-term use. Understanding their differences empowers you to make the right choice for your battery maintenance requirements.

FAQs on Trickle Charger Vs Float Charger

Q1: Do Float Chargers or Trickle Chargers Stop Charging When Full?

Ans: Float chargers automatically stop charging when the battery is full, preventing overcharging. Trickle chargers may not always have an automatic shutoff, potentially leading to overcharging if not monitored.

Q2: Does a Trickle Charger Reduce Battery Life?

Ans: Trickle chargers, when used improperly or for prolonged periods, can potentially reduce battery life due to continuous low-level charging. 

Q3: Should I put a trickle charger on my golf cart?

Ans: Using a trickle charger on your golf cart can help maintain its battery charge during periods of inactivity and prolong battery life. 

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Van Douglas

Van Douglas is a seasoned golf enthusiast and skilled writer, delivering informative and engaging articles on his blog that capture the essence of the sport with expertise and passion.
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