Type of Forklift Battery: What Does a Forklift Use?

Forklifts are essential machines in many industries, and the type of battery they use is crucial for their performance. Different types of forklift batteries offer unique advantages and disadvantages. This article will explore the characteristics, benefits, and maintenance requirements of various forklift batteries, including forklift lead acid battery, lithium ion forklift battery, and AGM forklift batteries. Understanding these differences can help businesses choose the best battery for their needs.(Get the best value with custom lithium ion forklift batteries from MANLY Battery. Click here to contact us now!)

36 volt lithium ion forklift battery - manly

Types of Forklift Batteries: Lead-Acid Batteries

Forklift lead acid battery is the most common type of battery used in forklifts. These batteries are also known as wet-cell batteries because they use a liquid electrolyte made of water and sulfuric acid. The basic components of a forklift lead acid battery include a battery case, cells, cables, and the sulfuric acid-water mixture.

Characteristics of Lead-Acid Batteries

Forklift lead acid battery is popular due to its relatively low cost. These batteries can last up to five years or more with proper maintenance. They are quite heavy, which can add to the overall weight of the forklift, making it less efficient in some scenarios. Another characteristic is the slow charging time; it typically takes about 8-12 hours to fully charge these batteries. This can be a significant limitation for operations that require quick turnaround times and continuous use of forklifts.

Pros and Cons

One of the main advantages of forklift lead acid battery is affordability. This makes it a common choice for businesses aiming to reduce costs while still ensuring reliable performance. However, there are several drawbacks:

  • Weight: The heavy nature of these batteries can reduce the efficiency of the forklift.
  • Charging Time: Slow charging (8-12 hours) can hinder operations that need rapid battery turnover.
  • Cycle Life: These batteries have a shorter cycle life compared to other types, meaning they may need to be replaced more frequently.

Maintenance of Forklift Lead Acid Batteries

Proper maintenance is crucial for the performance and longevity of a forklift lead acid battery.

Regular Checks and Cleaning

Regularly checking and cleaning the battery is essential. The battery should be kept clean and free from dirt and grime. Inspections should focus on identifying any potential issues such as damage to the battery case or cables.

Electrolyte Levels

The sulfuric acid-water mixture, or electrolyte, must be maintained at proper levels. A forklift battery watering system can help keep the electrolyte levels accurate. It’s important to check that the electrolyte density is within the range of 1.28±0.01g/cm³. This ensures the battery functions efficiently and has a longer lifespan.

Proper Charging Practices

Using the correct charger for forklift lead acid battery is vital. Overcharging can lead to overheating, while undercharging can result in insufficient power. Both can reduce the battery’s lifespan. Following the manufacturer’s guidelines for charging is essential. It is also important to avoid overcharging and deep discharging. Overcharging can cause the battery to overheat and damage its internal components, while deep discharging can significantly reduce its lifespan.

Safe Storage

Store the battery in a cool and dry place. High temperatures can cause the battery to overheat and suffer thermal runaway, leading to damage. Ensuring the battery is kept in a well-ventilated area helps maintain its health.

In conclusion, while forklift lead acid battery offers affordability and reliability, it requires diligent maintenance and careful handling to maximize its benefits and lifespan. Regular checks, proper charging practices, and maintaining electrolyte levels are key to ensuring these batteries perform efficiently over time.

Types of Forklift Batteries: Lithium Ion Forklift Battery

Lithium ion forklift battery is becoming increasingly popular for powering forklifts. These batteries are known for their advanced technology and numerous benefits that make them an attractive choice for many businesses.

Features of Lithium Ion Forklift Battery

Lithium ion forklift battery is characterized by its high energy density, meaning it can store a lot of energy in a small space. This makes the battery smaller and lighter compared to other types like forklift lead acid battery. As a result, forklifts using lithium ion forklift battery are more efficient and easier to maneuver. Additionally, these batteries have a long lifespan, often lasting several years longer than lead-acid batteries, depending on usage and maintenance.

Another notable feature is the fast charging capability. Unlike traditional batteries that may take up to 12 hours to charge, a lithium ion forklift battery can often be charged within 1-2 hours. This rapid charging reduces downtime and increases productivity, which is crucial for businesses with high operational demands.(Upgrade to MANLY Battery’s cost-effective custom lithium forklift batteries. Click here to get in touch!)

Advantages of Lithium Ion Forklift Battery

Lithium ion forklift battery offers several significant advantages:

  • High Energy Density: These batteries store more energy in a smaller size, which is beneficial for space and weight management in forklifts.
  • Long Lifespan: They typically last longer than lead-acid batteries. With proper care, a lithium battery can last several years beyond the average lifespan of lead-acid counterparts.
  • Fast Charging Times: The ability to charge quickly—often within 1-2 hours—means forklifts can be back in operation much faster, reducing downtime significantly.
  • Low Maintenance: Unlike lead-acid batteries that require regular watering and maintenance, lithium ion forklift battery requires minimal maintenance. There is no need to check water levels or clean acid spills, making them safer and easier to handle.
  • Consistent Performance: Lithium batteries maintain their performance throughout their charge cycle. This means a forklift powered by a lithium ion forklift battery will operate at full power until the battery is nearly depleted.

Maintenance of Lithium Ion Forklift Battery

Even though lithium ion forklift battery is low maintenance compared to other types, there are still a few essential practices to ensure they remain in good condition and have a long lifespan.

Regular Inspection

Periodic inspections are necessary to check for any physical damage to the battery and its connections. This helps in identifying and rectifying potential issues before they become serious problems.

Proper Charging Practices

Charging lithium ion forklift battery correctly is crucial. Avoid overcharging or deep discharging as this can damage the battery. Always use the recommended charger and follow the manufacturer’s guidelines for charging. In colder climates, it’s important to charge the battery immediately after use while it is still warm to ensure optimal charging conditions.

Temperature Management

Lithium ion forklift battery is sensitive to extreme temperatures. High temperatures can cause the battery to overheat, which can damage the internal components. It is recommended to charge and store the battery in a cool, well-ventilated area. The best charging temperature is around 25°C (77°F), and it should not exceed 45°C (113°F) during charging.

Avoid Overloading

Using the forklift within its specified load limits is essential to prevent excessive strain on the lithium ion forklift battery. Overloading can lead to increased energy consumption and reduce the battery’s lifespan.

In conclusion, lithium ion forklift battery offers numerous advantages, including high energy density, long lifespan, fast charging times, and low maintenance. These features make them a superior choice for many businesses looking to improve efficiency and reduce downtime. However, proper handling and maintenance are still required to maximize their benefits and ensure safe operation.

Types of Forklift Batteries: AGM Forklift Batteries

AGM forklift batteries, or Absorbed Glass Mat batteries, are a type of dry-cell battery that is increasingly popular in the forklift industry. These batteries use a special glass mat to transfer electrolytes between the battery plates, which helps suspend the electrolytes in a dry state. This design offers several advantages.

Characteristics of AGM Forklift Batteries

AGM forklift batteries are known for their low maintenance needs. Since they are dry-cell batteries, they do not require regular watering like forklift lead acid battery. This makes them much easier to handle and reduces the risk of acid spills. If the battery case cracks, there is no liquid acid to leak out, making them safer to use.

Pros and Cons

One of the major benefits of AGM forklift batteries is their maintenance-free nature. Businesses do not need to invest in forklift battery watering system or spend time checking electrolyte levels. This can save both time and money. These batteries are also more stable and can be used in various environments without worrying about spills or leaks.

However, there are some drawbacks. AGM forklift batteries have a specific way of performing best. They need to discharge up to 50% of their capacity during each charge cycle to ensure a long lifespan. Overcharging or discharging them too deeply can harm their performance and shorten their life. Despite this, they still offer a good alternative to traditional forklift lead acid battery for businesses looking for low-maintenance options.

Maintenance of AGM Forklift Batteries

Although AGM forklift batteries require less maintenance than other types, it is still important to follow some basic guidelines to extend their lifespan and maintain performance. Regularly inspecting the battery for any physical damage or cracks in the case is essential. Additionally, it is crucial to use the correct charger and avoid overcharging, which can damage the battery.

AGM batteries do not need watering, but it is still important to ensure that they are not exposed to extreme temperatures, as this can affect their performance. Storing them in a cool, dry place will help maintain their efficiency and prolong their lifespan.

In conclusion, AGM forklift batteries offer a low-maintenance and safe option for powering forklifts. While they require careful management of their charge cycles, the benefits of reduced maintenance and increased safety make them an attractive choice for many businesses.

Other Types of Forklift Batteries

Gel Cell Forklift Batteries

Gel cell forklift batteries are a type of forklift lead acid battery that require less maintenance than traditional wet-cell batteries. They use a gel electrolyte mixture, which is achieved by adding silica to the sulfuric acid, creating a thick, gel-like substance. This thickened electrolyte means that gel cell forklift batteries can be installed in various positions without leaking or emitting fumes.

One of the main advantages of gel cell forklift batteries is that they are sealed and do not require a forklift battery watering system. This makes them easier to maintain and safer to use, as there is no risk of acid spills. However, charging these batteries requires special attention. The charging process is slower, and it is crucial to remove the battery from the charger as soon as it is fully charged. Leaving a gel cell forklift battery on the charger can cause voids in the electrolyte, leading to irreversible damage.

Gel cell forklift batteries are less affected by extreme vibrations and shocks, making them ideal for rough environments. They are particularly suitable for applications where the forklift may be subject to frequent jolts and impacts.

Nickel-Cadmium Forklift Batteries

Nickel-cadmium forklift batteries are known for their reliability and long life. These batteries can achieve over 8000 cycles, making them a durable choice. They also have a high energy density and can deliver a strong power output, which allows for quick charging and consistent performance. However, nickel-cadmium forklift batteries are more expensive and heavier compared to other battery types. The use of cadmium also raises environmental concerns, making them less attractive for companies focusing on sustainability. Additionally, while nickel-cadmium forklift batteries have minimal degradation, between zero and 2%, they still pose a greater environmental risk.

Nickel-Metal Hydride Forklift Batteries

Nickel-metal hydride forklift batteries are a newer type of battery used in high-end, large forklifts. These batteries are more environmentally friendly compared to nickel-cadmium forklift batteries and offer a higher energy density and longer lifespan than forklift lead acid battery. They are also efficient and have a short charging time, making them suitable for high-frequency use.

However, nickel-metal hydride forklift batteries come with a higher cost and require a specialized battery management system to achieve optimal performance. They are ideal for scenarios that demand long continuous use, such as in manufacturing and logistics operations.


In conclusion, selecting the right type of forklift battery depends on the specific needs and operational conditions of your business. Forklift lead acid batteries are cost-effective and reliable but require regular maintenance. Lithium ion forklift batteries offer high energy density, long lifespan, and low maintenance, making them ideal for high-demand environments. AGM forklift batteries provide a low-maintenance option that is safe and stable. By considering the pros and cons of each type, you can ensure that your forklifts operate efficiently and effectively, enhancing overall productivity and reducing downtime.

Learn More About Battery