I remember the first time I saw an electric caddy on a golf course… It was 2014 and I was playing Chambers Bay in University Place, Washington. My group was walking up the hill to the refreshment stand near the 16th tee when a push cart, unattended, drove right by. I didn’t totally understand what I was seeing but was so impressed – some guy had a robot carrying his clubs!
In all the golf I’ve played, I didn’t see another until the Spring of 2020 at Kenosha Country Club when WiscoGolfAddict Contributing Writer Gregg Thompson’s friend brought out his new BatCaddy (Gregg has a BatCaddy now, as well). I knew these e-caddies were out there, and from time to time heard about awesome golf experiences in Europe where everyone uses “Trolleys” while walking the great links courses, but that next big thing just never seemed to arrive.
I knew it was coming, though, and wanted to get ahead of the trend. After some initial research I got my first electric caddy in the Spring of 2020: A BatCaddy X4R. I was immediately hooked. Using an electric caddy allowed me to completely offload the weight of my clubs while bringing all the things I’d only bring if using a cart. And everyone who saw it seemed to have that same reaction I had back in 2014: “Whoa…”
The Electric Caddy Industry
As with golf, in general, COVID was a shot in the arm for the electric caddy industry, especially during the first few months of the pandemic when the government wouldn’t allow riding carts (and later only allowed one rider per cart).
Golf enthusiasts scrambled to find push carts, buying out the market and forcing players to look for alternatives. While they had already started catching on out East and on the West Coast, it was finally time for players in the Midwest to begin adopting this exciting new technology. And we are. Many manufacturers of electric caddies sold inventory out quickly, luring new manufacturers/entrants into the space and resulting in a more diverse product selection.
The industry hasn’t looked back since. Electric caddies are here to stay and we’re now seeing them at courses all over, especially at private clubs.
About two dozen members at my home club, North Hills, now have electric caddies, and I’m literally being asked for my thoughts on them every time I play.
These are the thoughts I intend to share in this Electric Golf Cart Buying Guide. What do you need to know about electric caddies, and how can you identify the right cart for you? What are the best carts on the market today?
First Things First:
What You Need to Know
Use the Right Bag
Electric caddies are meant to be used with cart bags. Larger in size than standard carry or stand bags, cart bags have a more substantial base and carry their weight more proportionately (eg: They have apparel pockets on each side and are generally symmetrical). This is important with caddies to promote a straighter path and keep the cart better grounded. Using too light of a bag will typically result in the cart oversteering and a frustrating user experience. If a stand bag is your only option, consider adding weights to its bottom pockets to even things out.
Most electric caddies have a weight capacity between 35-60 pounds, allowing you to add a ton of supplies and equipment. That said, if you’ve got a large bag then keep in mind what’s all loaded in it.
A staff bag (like Troy’s Vessel Prime Staff, shown bottom-left) will work with an electric caddy if it’s not filled to the brim, but if not regulated can easily weigh over 60 pounds and seriously weigh down the cart. When that happens, the cart will ride slow and struggle climbing hills, have too narrow of turns and run out of battery more quickly.
All that said, if you have the means then use an e-caddy with a cart bag for an optimal user experience.
Always Charge Your Cart and Remote Control
There is nothing worse than getting to the course, setting up your cart and bag and realizing either your cart or remote control is dead.
Charge your cart’s batteries between every round, and [similar to having spares for your rangefinder] keep extra batteries in a sealed bag for your remote.
Some carts’ remote controls are rechargeable, like the Stewart caddies. Make sure you charge these every time, too.
If you do have a dead battery, you’ll want to make sure you know how to put your caddy into “Free-wheel mode.” Usually this involves adjusting the wheels so they no longer engage the gears and allow the cart to operate like a standard push cart. I highly recommend getting a cart with free-wheel mode, and getting to know its operations so you can quickly switch between free-wheel and powered functionality.
Features & Functions
Most features and functions of electric caddies are fairly standard, but there are a few you’ll want to consider:
- Follow technology: Do you want a cart that will follow you, versus always using a remote control?
- Best in class: Stewart Q Follow
- Warranty: While buying second-hand will save money, keep in mind that if anything goes wrong you likely won’t have a warranty backing up your purchase
- Anti-tippers: All carts will fall on extreme side hills, and it’s best to hold the handle and guide your caddy around elevated tee boxes, between bunkers that are tight to green complexes and across narrow bridges. Make sure the cart you get is rated to go up hills that have at least 20-30 degrees of incline. The only thing worse than collecting a yard sale off the fairway is getting your caddy and equipment out of a sand trap.
- Best in class: BatCaddy X8R (dual Mountain-Slayer anti-tippers)
- Turning radius: Being able to turn left and right without going forward is ideal as it can get you out of tight spots and keep you from having to pick up the cart to maneuver it manually
- Best in class: MotoCaddy M7
- Weight capacity: If using a heavier bag, or if you want to bring along a lot of extras, you’ll want a cart with a higher weight capacity. Most carts’ weight capacities are rated between 30-45 pounds
- Best in class: BatCaddy X8R, X4R (77 lbs)
- Ease of setup: Can you get it up and running quickly when you get to the course tight on time?
- Best in class: BatCaddy X8R (very fast with its no-lock system)
- Weight & Portability: If you’re going to an electric caddy because you still want to enjoy walking the course but don’t want to / aren’t able to carry your own clubs, you’ll probably want something fairly light when transporting to/from your car trunk
- Storage: Nobody has unlimited extra space in their garage, and you’ll need to fit this into your car’s trunk along with clubs and other gear
- Battery life: Walking 36+ holes can be a breeze when you have no weight on your shoulders, so make sure you have a cart that can keep up and stay charged as you finish out
- Best in class: BatCaddy’s LiFePo4 (36+ holes/charge and 1,000-1,500 battery charging cycles)
- Steerability: Slight adjustments in left/right movement are ideal to allow you to steer the cart on unpaved paths and around green surrounds
- Climbing ability: Show off on the steepest hill at your home course by sending the caddy ahead of you to the top while you stroll leisurely behind. Weak climbing/power will otherwise lead to it meandering crossway as it struggles upward
Several companies now offer follow technology, but the original and leader in the space has always been Stewart Golf. Stewart’s X10 and Q Follow models are the industry’s top current options featuring technology that utilizes Bluetooth to follow players between shots.
How Does Follow Technology Work?
The Stewart X10 and Q Follow, CaddyTrek R2 and other models that have follow mode feature a remote similar to a standard RC-operated cart. On that remote, though, there will also be a “Follow” button. When the cart is stopped, simply stand within 5-10 feet of its front and hold down the follow button until the cart engages. This will confirm linking. Then, clip the remote control to your belt, start walking and the caddy will follow you from a convenient distance of 6-10 feet behind. Hit the stop button when you reach your shot to keep it from jostling behind you as it continues to follow the motion of the controller/Bluetooth.
The video below shows Troy using the Q Follow in both remote-control and follow mode – see 27 seconds in for follow:
Inexpensive Ways to Get an Electric Cart
Non-Remote Controlled/Powered vs. Remote-Controlled Caddies
If you enjoy using a push cart but wouldn’t mind a little assistance via powered wheels, then a non-remote controlled powered caddy (aka electric push cart) might be the right choice for you. Much less expensive, non-remote carts have all the amenities of a standard push cart but with the power of a motor.
They make getting up steep hills a breeze, which is one of the great things about having an e-caddy. They do not allow you to leave your cart while looking for a ball, though (for example), and then remote it quickly to you when it’s found, or run your cart up to the next tee box to wait for you while you putt out (in either situation you’ll have to go back to collect the cart and maneuver it manually to its next destination).
The remote control allows you to feel very free on the golf course. Other than a small controller and your favorite beer, you can keep the cart totally separate from yourself whether out in front, to the side or behind you [using follow technology]. Or you can drive it straight to your next shot and have it wait.
Do you want that total physical freedom? If so, you’ll want a remote-controlled caddy. If not, and you’d just like some powered assistance, then you can save a lot of money by going with a powered/non-remote cart.
My recommendation here is the BatCaddy X3 Sport. At $399.95, or $359.96 after our exclusive WiscoGolfAddict 10% discount, this is the lowest-priced powered caddy on the market from one of its top, most trusted brands.
Another great option for a manually controlled electric golf caddie is the Kam Kaddie V1. While I have not tried this one out yet myself, WiscoGolfAddict Contributing Writer Brian Murphy uses it and loves it. Check out his full review here:
Motorized Kits for Push Carts
Alphard sells a kit that can be affixed to most push carts to make them fully electric, remote-controlled units. This allows you to keep using your current cart (if you love it) and come out a bit ahead price-wise. At $799.90, it’s about a 40-60% savings over going with most remote-controlled options on the market today.
Having used the V2 wheels I’ve been pretty impressed with its functionality and do see it as a legitimate option.
The X4R was my foray into electric caddies, and this classic cart is still as good and feature-rich today as it was in 2020 (and still the company’s top seller). It’s just less expensive now because newer models have been released, and is in fact now available for $1,079.96 to WiscoGolfAddict readers including the all-world LiFePo4 battery that will get you 36+ holes per charge and last over 1,000 charging cycles. You can get it with the standard Lithium-Ion battery for even less – just $944.96 after the WiscoGolfAddict 10% discount!
Another of the lower-priced options I’ve really liked has been the Cart Tek Yellowstone. Including the remote, scorecard, umbrella and drink holders, the Yellowstone comes in at just $1,099 with a 29-volt battery that should last 27 holes with ease.
The Yellowstone has a nice, wide wheelbase, is whisper-quiet and is an excellent climber.
Cart Tek has a number of mid- to higher-end options, as well, including the [Galaxy] Titan series of light-weight titanium trolleys (16 pounds!) and their popular GRi-1500 line that’s been the company’s best seller for seven years running.
I put the R2 by CaddyTrek in the “Lower-priced options” category because it gives you so much for what you’re paying. At an entry price point of $1,495 (or $1,395 after $100 discount through WiscoGolfAddict) the R2 gives you functionality you’d only expect in a cart almost double the price.
This functionality comes in the way of its operational modes, which include:
- Remote-control – the standard remote-controlled operations we’ve discussed
- Follow – the R2’s follow functionality is not quite as smooth as the more expensive Stewart models, but it still works well and to have it at this price point is ridiculous
- March – similar to follow, but has the cart “march” in front of you until you hit stop – this is a very unique feature in the industry
The R2 also has an onboard gyroscope (similar to the MGI Zip Navigator) that helps hold straight lines over uneven terrain.
This is a very feature-rich caddy option.
As the electric cart industry has grown, so too have its specialized inhabitants. Most brands will have a number of great accessories you can add to your electric caddy, and some are just more interesting than others. One of those, for example, is the Super E-Caddy, which comes standard with a 6-pack cooler and padded seat attached to its frame.
If you’re looking for your own personal bartender on the course, the E-Caddy may be perfect for you, but keep in mind that it does store to a bit larger size than most.
The Main Event:
Golf’s 5 Best Electric Caddies
While all of these are fantastic golf carts that you’ll be proud to have leading you around the course, here’s my personal ranking of the top caddies on the market today:
The Stewart Q Follow is to me the best follow cart on the market and also has great standard remote-control functionality. Using 7th generation follow technology, the Q Follow is a powerful golf cart with a steady base and one of the most compact stowaway sizes.
These are not cheap – currently selling for $2,699 – but it is a really heavy-duty unit with idyllic operations and a full 2-year warranty.
The big differences to me between the Q Follow and the X10 have to do with their size and aesthetics. The X10 is considerably larger for storing as it has a sizable, solid plastic base while the Q Follow stows much smaller. The X10 is a wonderful caddy on the course, but I do prefer the Q Follow.
To me, there is nothing more important than smooth operations, and the BatCaddy X8R has the best I’ve tested. An over-correcting electric caddy is troublesome to operate – it’s tough to maneuver in tight spaces and risks hitting sidewalls, others’ feet and bags and running off cart paths and into bunkers (e-caddies will tip over if they’re put on extreme side hills). The X8R, especially, allows the user to make very small directional adjustments which makes navigating a breeze.
The X8R also has an easy-to-use 9-speed system for forward and reverse, dual “Mountain slayer” anti-tippers (the best anti-tip system on the market), the easiest setup we’ve tested, is significantly lighter than most e-caddies and has the industry’s leading battery available: The LiFePo4 that provides twice the golf on a single charge versus most brand’s Lithium-Ion options and will yield over 1,000 charging lifecycles ensuring you’ll be able to use your cart for many seasons to come.
The X8R is my personal everyday caddy and my favorite of the remote-control only (non-follow) units. I highly recommend it as well as the newer X9R.
BatCaddy is also priced competitively – at or below the average remote-controlled cart. An X8R is now just $1,299.95 (or $1,169.96 with WiscoGolfAddict’s exclusive 10% discount) with the LiFePo4 battery, or about $500 more with fully customized colors like mine:
Winner of MyGolfSpy’s “Best Electric Golf Cart” for 2022, the M7 Remote is the second smoothest riding cart I’ve tested (behind the X8R) and has some really enviable features.
I love that the battery is fully enclosed, for example, clicking into place in its own encasement at the base of the cart. This also adds weight to the unit, though, which is extremely compact but on the heavier side (~ 31 pounds). This weight can be good or bad, by the way, as it makes it more challenging to get out of trunks but leads to better stability on the course. While I have no issues with a few extra pounds, some might.
I also love the battery indicator on the handle – a digital readout that makes sure you always know how much juice is left, and its reversible wheels that allow you to take up even less space.
At $1,549, the M7 is an incredibly solid caddy and one of the very best models on the market today.
As mentioned earlier, the R2 is a great cart with functionality that outperforms its price tag, giving you full follow and march capabilities at just $1,495 (or $1,395 after $100 discount through WiscoGolfAddict).
CaddyTrek also released the new R3 this July, which is the industry’s first cart with integrated A.I. (artificial intelligence). The R3’s new technology actually allows users to walk remote-free, using hand gestures to engage and operate follow mode. It’s an intriguing concept that if it works well should help quickly advance technology within the space. Starting at $2,195, WiscoGolfAddict readers can get $100 off by using discount code wiscogolf.
The MGI Zip Navigator has the industry’s leading gyroscopic technology, allowing it to give a really smooth ride over hilly, uneven turf. It also has a really sleek profile, which more or less disguises it as being an electric caddy if that’s something you’re self-conscious about.
The digital read-out on the handle is great, and it’s one of the quickest units we’ve tested. This is the most popular cart I’ve seen around North Hills this season.
Regardless of the electric caddy you go with, expect a few things from your purchase:
- A more leisurely golf experience
- A lot of people will ask about your cart and say they need to get one, too
- A 1- or 2-round learning curve – you’re going to dump it a few times while you and your new partner get acquainted
If you’ve got questions, feel free to reach out. And to see all the electric caddies we’ve reviewed, check out the WiscoGolfAddict.com landing page for golf carts and caddies:
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