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How To Choose the Best Voltage for an Electric Bike

When shopping around for e-bikes, you’re going to be hit with a bunch of different metrics and numbers. Knowing how to understand these e-bike qualities will give you the best chance at finding the right bike for your particular needs. One metric that you’ll have to decide on is battery voltage.

A battery’s voltage and amps will give you an indication of how many Watts of power it can put out. The equation for Watts is Voltage x Amps. In most cases, a 36V or 48V battery will be more than enough for your bike, but for mountain bikes, consider higher-voltage batteries.

Understanding voltage can help you make the most out of your e-bike purchase. It’s not the only thing you’ll need to know, but it is an important factor to consider. We’ll walk you through what you need to know for purchasing the best battery for you. Just read on!

What is Voltage and Why is it Important?

Electric Mountain Bike In Mountains

When it comes to the e-bike electricity equation, battery voltage is just one part of it. You’ll need a bit more information to get a grasp of how the voltage of an e-bike battery affects overall performance and speed. So, what does voltage mean, and what are the best e-bike voltage range options?

Voltage is essentially a measure of electrical pressure, or electrical potential. Think of voltage as the water pressure in a garden hose. The higher the voltage, or the more pressure in the hose, and the more pressure of electrons flowing through the circuit.

At this point, you may be wondering what that has to do with the power of your e-bike? Well, to find the answer to that, you’re going to need to find the amps of your battery as well.

Amps measure electrical current. Imagine them as the diameter of the garden hose we mentioned earlier.

Basically, the smaller the amps, the harder it is for electrons to flow freely. It would be like having a water hose that’s a bit too small. Instead of a steady stream of water, you’d get a very intense, but small, stream. Taken together with all your electric bike’s other components, volts and amps combine into watts.

You can gauge the power of your battery/engine combo by checking it’s total watts. You can even relate these two to horsepower.

When it comes to the best electric battery type, battery voltage certainly plays a role — but it’s not the only factor you should take into account.

What is the Best Voltage For an E-bike Battery?

Moped Style Electric Bike with river in background

Voltage is an important factor when it comes to e-bike batteries. While we’ve learned that this isn’t the only metric you should be judging your e-bike, you should definitely still check the battery’s voltage to assess your bike’s power. So, which voltage is best when it comes to e-bikes?

Generally speaking, the higher the voltage, the better the power. Amps will play a role in this as well. E-bike batteries come in a variety of voltages, from as low as 24V all the way up to 72V, with 36V and 48V being typical values. The

more volts, the more powerful the bike is, but the faster it’ll run through its battery.

Some places have laws and restrictions on this kind of power and classify this kind of e-bike as a motorized vehicle — meaning you’ll need the proper safety features and licensing.

Why There Is No Single “Best” Battery Voltage, and How Voltage Affects Performance

When it comes to choosing the best e-bike battery type, you’ll certainly want to look at voltage. But, as we touched on earlier, that’s not the only metric that helps determine overall speed and performance.

There isn’t one universal “perfect” battery voltage for e-bikes. That’s because different voltages offer different experiences for riders, and no one voltage is considered the best. To calculate what voltage you need, you’ll also need to know your battery’s amperage.

If you remember our garden hose analogy from earlier, we can get a good idea of how voltage and amps relate to each other. If you have a high voltage or pressure, and low amps, or a smaller hose diameter (the flow of electrons), then you won’t have the optimal flow.

Additionally, if the metrics are switched, and you have low volts and high amps, it would be like a trickle of water coming from a huge pipe — which isn’t very effective either.

That’s why you need to match your motor with your battery. There’s a range of e-bike battery voltage options, and each one has its benefits in terms of performance, top speed, and torque.

What Are The Positive and Negative Effects of Having High or Low Battery Voltage?

While the volts of your battery only matter in relation to the amps, that’s not quite the whole story. For most e-bikes, you’ll need to look at watts over anything else. This is the closest measure of power we have that is similar to miles per hour.

While there is no direct conversion, the higher the watts, the more power you have. But what are the effects of high or low volts on an electric bike? Well, first, we need to see the formula for wattage:

This is the formula for calculating wattage:

Watts = Volts x Amps

So, a 36V bike pulling 20 amps will produce 720 watts of power. Alright, now that we understand that, back to the original question: how does higher voltage affect the performance of an electric bike?

Alright, so let’s say e-bike A has a 24V, 20AH battery. That bike would have 480 watts of energy. Now, e-bike B has a 48V, 10 AH battery. This bike would also have 480 watts of energy. So, are they any different?

Simply put, both bikes would offer very similar performance. Due to the higher voltage and the higher pressure in the circuit, the bike with a higher voltage, e-bike B, will be able to perform a bit better in certain conditions — like riding up steep hills.

Why? Well, the extra pressure will allow the motor to turn at a higher RPM. This will affect overall torque.

Is a 36V or 48V Battery Better?

As we’ve already learned, no one battery voltage is inherently better than the other. While you might get a bit more performance out of a higher voltage unit, the difference will be minimal, given that the e-bikes still have a similar wattage.

Overall, you’ll want to choose the right voltage for you. In most cases, you’ll be choosing between a 36V or 48V battery, as these are the most popular choices for e-bikes. One is not necessarily better than the other. Other factors, like battery amperage, size, and capacity, will also play a role.

The most important factor is purchasing a high-quality batter from the start. This can have a bigger impact on your overall e-bike performance than just judging a battery by voltage alone.

Most battery manufacturers will offer options in different voltage ranges. A saddle battery pack, like this Battery from UnitPackPower (on Amazon), is great for weight distribution.

Some products, like this X-go Battery Pack (see on Amazon), will come packed with additional features. This modern unit allows for phones or other connected devices to share the charge or the battery.

At the end of the day, as long as the overall e-bike wattage is what you need, voltage won’t have as much of an effect as these other feature and quality-driven decisions.

How to Choose the Appropriate Battery Voltage for Your New Electric Bike

When it comes to choosing the best e-bike battery types for your ride, you’ll probably have a few decisions to make. Battery voltage is certainly one of them, but remember that it’s not the only metric you should be looking at during the buying process.

So what’s the best e-bike battery? How do you choose the right voltage?

You want make sure your battery’s combination of amps and voltage will have enough power to keep up with your engine. In most cases, a 36V or 48V battery will be more than enough.

For some specialty e-bikes, like mountain bikes or super fast e-bikes, a higher voltage may be necessary but also check with the manufacturer.

Can You Change Your Battery Voltage Later?

Since batteries are usually replaceable, it follows that you might think you can just swap out for a larger voltage sometime in the future. Lots of people will be looking to add a bit of extra juice to their ride. Is this the right way to do it?

Yes, you can swap out your current e-bike battery for a battery with a higher voltage later. Keep in mind that you’ll need to factor in other battery values like amps to get the most out of the swap.