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How To Choose The Best Electric Bike Battery – [2018 / 2019]

For E-Bike Conversion Kit Or Replacement -- These Are The Top-Rated E-Bike Batteries

In this product review article Outside Pursuits leads you through everything you need to know to pick the best electric bike battery for your needs.  Whether you’re building an electric bike using a conversion kit, or you own a manufactured electric bike, we’re going to help demystify the variants and evolving standards for e-bike batteries.

We’ll take a look at what makes the wisest choice for purchase across the 5 major types of E-Bike batteries and teach you about the technologies, specs and standards for them in How To Know Which E-Bike Battery Is Right For You later in the article.  Here we go.  What is the best battery for an electric bike?

Quick Answer: The 5 Best E-Bike Batteries

  1. AW Lithium Rechargeable Battery
  2. Flying Horse ModWheel
  3. Joyisi
  4. Mighty Max Baoshi
  5. Universal Power Group UB12120

Best Electric Bike Batteries

 AW 36V 10AHFlying Horse ModWheelJoyisi
editors choice
Battery TypeLithiumLithium ionLithium ion
Voltage36V36V48V
Amperage10 AH11 AH15 AH
Customer Ratings3.5 / 5.0 Stars4.1 / 5.0 Stars4.4 / 5.0 Stars

Also see: Electric Bike Battery Comparison Table


Best E-Bike Batteries Reviews

#1 AW Lithium Rechargeable Battery 

top-rated best ebike batteries

AW 36V 10AH / 36V 14AH / 48V 14AH Lithium Rechargeable Battery at a Glance

  • Battery Type: Lithium
  • Voltage: 36V or 48V
  • Amperage: 10AH or 14AH
  • Weight: 8.6lbs
  • Longevity / Life: 1000 charging cycles
This AW model is a great-looking lithium battery and uses regenerative breaking to extend the battery life. It’s known as a “water bottle” mount because it’s lockable mount bracket bolts to a bicycle frame using the same threaded offsets as water bottle cage. The battery cell portion is lockable and removable for security.

AW-Lithium-Rechargeable-Battery-Electric - ebike 3

It is absolutely necessary to waterproof this battery if it is being used in rainy conditions. Aside from that, under regular conditions, this lithium battery performs well. It has an impressive range of around 50 miles when combined with a bit of pedaling and the acceleration is also impressive.

AW offers lithium rechargeable Ebike batteries (36V 14AH and 48V 14AH) that mount on a rear rack that is included with the battery. The battery clicks into place on the rack and is locked in with a key, and is easy to remove and take indoors with you to prevent theft and in case rain is expected.

This is a popular format for Ebike batteries but sacrifices some storage space usually available on the rear rack. In general, the most powerful lithium batteries designed for electric bike conversion kits are being delivered in this format because of the ample size to accomodate the larger cell.

AW-Lithium-Rechargeable-Battery-Electric ebike image

See the specs and current pricing for all (3) AW brand batteries at AW’s Amazon seller page by clicking any of links in this review.


#2 Flying Horse ModWheel

Flying Horse ModWheel at a Glance

  • Lithium ion
  • 36V
  • 11AH
  • 5lbs
  • Over 800 charging cycles
The Flying Horse ModWheel is an expertly made piece of kit that is both reliable and powerful.

It is compatible with 250, 500, 750 and 1000 watt conversion kits, depending on the version you choose, placing it between the AW and the Joyisi in terms of power.

With 11 amp hours, It can easily exceed 20 miles in a single charge, even when used consistently.

You can attach the Flying Horse ModWheel either to a pannier rack on the back of the bike or on the down tube. Mounting is secure, sliding onto a rear rack and clicking into place. Then, you can lock it using a simple key, to stop any forward-thinking thieves from sliding it off the back.

The most expensive product on this list, the Flying Horse ModWheel has top specs, such as high-quality Panasonic cells and excellent build quality. Although it claims only 800 charging cycles compared to the 1000 from the AW and Joyisi models, you won’t be disappointed with this battery.

This e-bike battery is also available in a 48 volt 11.6 amp hour version.


#3 Joyisi

Joyisi 48V at a Glance

  • Lithium ion
  • 48V
  • 15AH
  • 1000 charging cycles
The Joyisi 48 volt is a fantastic battery, jam packed with impressive power and capacity.

With 15 amp hours to draw on from one charge, the Joyisi 48 volt battery has the longest range of the items on this list, somewhere between 30 to 40 miles, depending on weight, speed, terrain etc.

The 48 volts work with 1000 watt conversion kits, meaning it is also the most powerful product we selected. This is obvious when you need it most, giving you a strong boost up hills.

It is attached to the rear of the bike via an included rack. Like the Flying Horse, you can lock your battery into place using one of the two keys provided for security and safety. There is a useful handle attached to the back which you can flick open when sliding the battery out of the holder.

This is probably the best performance battery included here, yet cheaper than the 48 volt Flying Horse version — an awesome choice to enhance your bike.


#4 Mighty Max Baoshi

Mighty Max Baoshi at a Glance

  • Sealed Lead Acid
  • 4 X 12V
  • 22AH
  • 13lbs
The Mighty Max Baoshi is a sealed lead acid battery which immediately puts it in a different category to the previous three.

There are four 12 volt batteries which you can add to, or take out of, a series, depending on what your conversion kit requires. This gives you the flexibility to adapt your battery to your voltage needs, but isn’t as neat and discreet as the lithium batteries above.

Where these really win is in the price department. A total of 48 volts for around $165 makes them far cheaper than the 48 volts for around $460 you get from Flying Horse.

They are reliable and well built too, with shock absorbers and a spill-proof casing. The performance is not bad either, although not as good as the lithium batteries.

SLA batteries are slowly going out of fashion, but as long as the lithium batteries stay in their own league in terms of cost, batteries like the Mighty Max Baoshi will hold their place in the market for people experimenting with making electric bikes.


#5 Universal Power Group

Universal Power Group at a Glance

  • Sealed Lead Acid
  • 2 X 12V
  • 12AH
  • 16lbs
Universal Power Group offer two 12 volt batteries that can be run in series or alone to match your conversion kit’s requirements.

At just over $50 they are a steal and good value for money for e-bike experiments. The downside to this is that they don’t come with any mounting mechanism, nor a bag to attach them to the frame. The company claims them to be spill proof, so I would recommend making these (as well as all other) batteries waterproof before you head out for a spin.

In terms of performance, they simply can’t be compared to the lithium batteries, the weight worsening the already poor range.

I would recommend the Universal Power Group batteries to people who are building their own e-bike and can’t bear the thought of blasting up to $400 on a lithium battery. They are not the most powerful, nor the most practical for e-bikes, but for a cheap battery that does the job, the Universal Power Group has got you covered.


Electric Bike Battery Comparison Table

Best E-Bike Batteries PriceBattery TypeVoltageAmperageCustomer Ratings
AW 36V 10AH$239.95Lithium36V10 AH3.5 / 5.0 Stars
Flying Horse ModWheel$419.95Lithium ion36V11 AH4.1 / 5.0 Stars
Joyisi$399.99Lithium ion
48V15 AH
4.4 / 5.0 Stars
Mighty Max Baoshi$164.99Sealed Lead Acid
4 X 12V
22 AH4.0 / 5.0 Stars
Universal Power Group UB12120$52.99Sealed Lead Acid
2 X 12V
12 AH4.0 / 5.0 Stars

How To Know Which E-bike Battery Is Right For You

E-bikes as a concept stretch back well over a century, but it is only recently that they have become efficient, practical and reliable enough to hit the mass market.

ebike battery guide image

Electric bicycles manage to overcome everything that is wrong with modern transport: traffic, pollution and a sedentary lifestyle, so it is no wonder the industry is on the rise.

China has led the charge and will continue to make up a huge section of the market, but with approximately 40 million units expected to be sold worldwide in 2023, the wave is expected to engulf Western Europe before heading to North America.

However, with ever-changing developments in all departments, the inner workings of electric bikes remain quite a mystery. Nowhere is this more true than in the different performance, stability and longevity of e-bike batteries.

Here at Outside Pursuits, we have made up a diverse list of the top e-bike batteries on the market at the moment, so you can explore what kind of products are out there.

Further down the page, you will find a comprehensive deconstruction of the batteries, analyzing the difference between batteries and how to get maximum performance out of them.

Types of Batteries

Choosing a different type of battery is the biggest change you will find from one product to another.

It is not just a simple question of choosing between a sealed lead-acid, nickel based battery or lithium battery, there are many variations of each type of battery and myriad results that each one has.

Sealed lead-acid

These batteries have been around for over 100 years, so the technology has been refined over time.

On the plus side, they are the cheapest out there and can be easily recycled. This is great for people who are building their own bikes on a limited budget.

However, with the introduction of the following two battery types, they have really been outdone in terms of performance.

They are very heavy, don’t last very long, have less capacity and are more vulnerable to changing weather conditions than their rivals.

Unless price is an absolute top priority for you, or you just want to experiment building your own e-bike, my advice would be to steer clear of lead-acid batteries.

Nickel Batteries

There are no nickel-based batteries on this list due to their brief time as the cutting-edge technology, but to leave them out of a run down of e-bike batteries would be a disservice.

Nickel Cadmium

A step up in terms of energy density, nickel-cadmium can store more energy per pound than lead-acid batteries, which is one of the most important factors when choosing your e-bike battery.

Unfortunately, they are pretty poor in terms of recyclability and are quite a dangerous pollutant.

Nickel-metal Hydride

Nickel-metal hydride batteries beat cadmium versions when it comes to recyclability, and they are also more efficient, but they don’t represent a massive improvement on their Cadmium cousins.

The future of nickel-based batteries looked bright for a while, but since lithium batteries came on the scene, they have been somewhat cast into the shadows.

Lithium-ion batteries

Lithium-ion batteries have been absolute game changers in the e-bike and many other industries, and I don’t think it will be long until they compete their rivals out of existence.

They improve further on the nickel batteries in terms of energy density, generating a truly impressive amount of power in exchange for very little weight. As opposed to older batteries, they also handle high and low temperatures better.

One downside is that lithium batteries are still not 100% stable (remember Samsung’s PR disaster?) and far more expensive than SLA batteries, but they are rapidly improving.

Their high energy density, slow rate of discharge when not in use, low maintenance and vast range of variations have caused a great leap forward in battery technology.

Quick tip: When browsing through e-bike batteries, you will often find that they are simply referred to as “lithium batteries”. Most manufacturers do not specify which variation of lithium batteries they use, but the majority, like the Flying Horse for instance, are Lithium Cobalt.

Lithium-ion Polymer Batteries

When it comes to cost, weight and range these are pretty much identical to regular lithium-ion batteries.

What sets these apart is the ability to mold them into many different shapes. What’s more, they don’t contain any liquid, making them resistant to overheating.

Lithium Phosphate, Lithium Cobalt and Lithium Manganese

While polymer batteries are relevant because of the way they are made, they don’t refer to the chemical make up inside. Below, you can find three popular types of lithium batteries in use today.

Lithium phosphate’s advantage is in extracting a larger amount of amps out of them, and therefore more power and acceleration. The downside of this is that they take up a lot of weight.

Lithium cobalt batteries are being produced in vast numbers these days, and they are used in everything from Tesla cars to laptops. They produce around double the watt hours as a lithium phosphate for the same size and weight.

Nowadays, almost all e-bike battery manufacturers that use lithium batteries go for lithium cobalt batteries over lithium phosphate, opting for a lightweight, long-range bike over a heavier, but fast-accelerating one.

Lithium manganese batteries are another result of the evolution of lithium batteries. Used in the Nissan Leaf and some elite electric bikes, it is said to be the best base for an e-bike battery currently in existence, with reportedly higher power and better range than all other lithium batteries.

Battery Technologies for the Future

One thing is for certain, advances in battery technology show no signs of stopping, so you can be sure that new variations of lithium batteries will be popping up soon enough.

Check out this list of batteries for the future and let your imagination run wild.

Technical Factors

Compatibility

Batteries are nothing without a conversion kit, so before you buy, make sure you are aware of what kind of motor you have and the power it requires.

Voltage — Speed

You might remember what voltage is from high school, but here’s a refresher just in case.

Voltage refers to the pressure that electricity is moved. You will notice that the SLA batteries on this list have 12 volts per pack, whereas lithium batteries can commonly handle 36 and 48 volts each.

The voltage listed for each battery refers to the standard amount that runs out of the battery, not taking into account heavy bursts, which will require a higher voltage.

A high voltage basically translates into a fast bike, and the voltage displayed represents the voltage for regular use. This fluctuates for bursts of speed.

Amp Hours (Ah) — Capacity

In simple terms, amp hours refer to charge capacity — how long your battery can supply a steady current of one single amp before it expires.

E.g.:

1Ah = 1 amp for 1 hour

1Ah = 2 amps for 30 minutes

1Ah = 0.5 amps for 2 hours

 

20Ah = 20 amps for 1 hour

20Ah = 40 amps for 30 minutes

20Ah = 10 amps for 2 hours

As a general rule, the more amp hours your bike battery has, the better. Nobody has ever complained about having too much battery supply.

Of course, having more amp hours means a more expensive battery.

Watt Hours

Watts and watt hours come into play when the electricity is converted into energy in the motor, so I’ll keep this short.

Watts are determined by multiplying voltage by amperage, so 36 volts and 10 amps will create 360 watts.

Like amp hours, watt hours combines the time a motor can sustain a certain amount of watts, e.g. 360 watts for 2 hours would mean 720 watt hours.

That is useful to know, but with batteries, we’re only really concerned with voltage and amp hours.

Weight

To get a good power-to-weight ratio when choosing an e-bike battery, you need a good power density. As an example, a 37 volt, 12 amp hour SLA battery from the 1990s could weigh around 36 pounds, while a 37 volt, 26 amp hour lithium battery nowadays can weigh just 10 pounds. Over twice the amp hours at less than a third of the weight.

SLA technology has improved over 20 years, but lithium batteries are still in another league when it comes to energy density. Choosing a battery with a good energy density, such as the Flying Horse, means you get a lot of power for little weight.

Stability

Replacing a battery is expensive business, so a more stable battery can save you lots of money in the long run.

SLA batteries are still much better than lithium in terms of stability and reliability, but as long as you are careful with overheating, it would be rare to have problems with lithium batteries in this day and age.

Charge Cycles

Charge cycles refer to the amount of times you can charge your battery from flat to full in one battery’s lifetime.

Batteries only have a limit amount of charge cycles, around 1000 for most of these products, before they eventually stop working. This means you can get around three years of full charges every day before it dies.

Maximizing Range

The most important result you want from an electric bike battery, and an e-bike in general, is good range. Range is simply the distance you can travel on a single charge, and can be affected by the following factors:

Motor Efficiency

The topic of motor efficiency is too complicated to cover fully here, but a good motor will convert a maximum amount of electricity into forward power.

Battery Capacity

Quite a straight forward section, the more battery capacity you have, they further you can go on one charge. Just remember to charge it!

Tire pressure

Just like a car, if you have a low tire pressure, that will be reflected in how long your battery lasts. Making your battery work to compensate for sub-optimum tire pressure is a sure-fire way of draining your battery. Keep those tires pumped up for maximum battery efficiency.

Speed

Air resistance increases at a rate of speed cubed. In practical terms, this means that as you accelerate, there is an exponential rise in resistance. Unless you’re on a tight schedule, I would recommend traveling at around 15 miles per hour to get the best speed to range possible.

Hills and Acceleration

E-bikes used around San Francisco will predictably use up a lot more energy climbing up hills than an e-bike in the Netherlands. Acceleration, for all intents and purposes, puts the same strain on your battery, using up more electricity and depleting the battery faster.

Pedaling

It is logical that the less time you have your battery engaged, the more range you’ll get out of it. When commuting, I try to use the battery as a “sweat saver”, giving myself a boost only when the going gets tough. For flats and downhills, I prefer to give the battery a rest and do a bit of the work myself.

Similarly, I have learned that batteries really do not like standing starts. The high current needed to get your bike going is well above what is needed to maintain a moderate speed, so getting started using your feet will extend your range a bit further.

Caring for your battery

Although batteries are manufactured, they are affected by physical conditions in the same way that living beings are. They can lose around two to three percent of their capacity per year in normal conditions even when unused, and all batteries will eventually die and be unable to recharge.

Below are a few pointers on how to extend the life of your battery.

Draining

You might have heard through the grapevine that allowing batteries to use up all of their charge prolongs their life over time.

I haven’t read any reliable sources that confirm this, in fact, most recommend keeping the battery above half charge whenever possible. They work a bit like you do. If you use up all of your energy and collapse exhausted, your recovery will take a long time and it will have a negative effect on you over time.

There is plenty of comprehensive material out there that teaches you how to prolong lithium-based batteries.

Temperature

When possible, batteries should be kept at around 60 degrees, as that is more or less the optimum temperature for all types of batteries.

Leaving a bike out in the cold will decrease the voltage used by your bike which can be noticed when riding, so try to store your bike, or at least the battery, indoors when possible.

Charging

Be careful to use the correct charging kit to juice up your battery. If you use an inappropriate device or continue charging once it has already reached full capacity, you can lower the amount of cycling charges.

Overcharging

Here’s some good news — lithium batteries are clever. It is impossible to overcharge them, whereas nickel-based batteries can be damaged if left plugged in too long.

So don’t worry about forgetting to unplug your lithium batteries, they will be fine.

E-Bike Battery FAQs

If my battery is at 75% and I charge it up to 100%, do I lose a charging cycle?

Not at all! You can even improve the life of a battery by not letting it die.

Try keeping your lithium batteries as close to 100% as possible.

Will my battery be affected by the cold?

In the cold, lithium batteries perform much better than the SLA batteries of old, but you should try to keep your battery as close to 60 degrees as possible to avoid deterioration.

How do I keep my battery from dying when not in use?

A good tip is to always keep your battery topped up when not in use. Leaving it to die is detrimental to the battery’s health, so I would recommend giving it a 30 minute boost about once a week when not in use.

If you won’t be using a battery for an entire season, such as winter, you should try to leave it around about 50%. All batteries discharge over time, so making sure it is at 50% for storage will prevent it from discharging completely.

Can I recycle my battery?

The most common e-bike batteries, lithium-based batteries, can be recycled in the same recycling centers that you can take laptop batteries to. Most cities have a recycling center and there is even a directory of these centers. Nickel batteries, which are not commonly used any more, are a hazardous material and are very hard to recycle.


Thanks for reading How To Choose The Best Electric Bike Battery. We hope this article has helped you to discover the best choice for your needs when selecting an E-Bike battery.

If you have any questions or comments for us just use this Contact Form.

Also see: Best Electric Bike Conversion Kits and Best Electric Folding Bikes

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R. L. Moore "El Tigre"

Richard M. aka El Tigre is an avid adventure traveler with extensive trekking experience throughout Central America, Mexico and the Caribbean. In 1998 he weathered category 5 Hurricane Mitch on the northern coast of Honduras. He has mountain-biked, hiked and 4x4 toured extensively in Central America, Puerto Rico, Cuba and Mexico. In the summer of 2004 he lived among the Kuna Indians of the San Blas islands in Panama. Today, he manages a real estate investments company based in San Jose, Costa Rica and organizes adventure travel excursions to Costa Rica. He is a motorcycle enthusiast and enjoys sport touring and dual-sport riding. Richard lives in Arizona.

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