How to Choose the Right Forklift Battery

You depend on your forklifts daily to power efficient operations throughout your facility. Having dependable batteries in them keeps production going, so it’s important to monitor battery health so you can make a replacement when one reaches the end of its service life.

Before you invest in a new power source, you need to know how to choose the right product.

Considerations in Choosing the Right Battery

There are many factors to consider when selecting the correct battery for your needs, with battery type, equipment type and compatibility being among the most crucial.

Forklift Battery Types

Today’s motive power batteries fall into two categories — lead-acid and lithium-ion.

Lead-Acid Batteries

Today’s lead-acid battery designs have advanced to keep pace with more demanding applications. Conventional lead-acid and modern alternatives like thin plate pure lead carry different prices, upkeep requirements and run time to meet your unique needs.

Lead-acid battery manufacturers now offer a wider selection of models, each with its own performance characteristics and requirements. Improvements include batteries that can be charged more frequently, with less cooling and longer life cycles. 

“Opportunity charging” allows batteries to work longer on a charge without reducing their operational life. There are also rapid-charging batteries that charge in four hours instead of the usual eight. Meanwhile, higher-powered 80-volt forklift batteries can last up to 14 hours on a single charge.

Lithium-Ion Batteries

Lithium-ion batteries are popular because they require no daily maintenance — there’s no need to water them each day or swap them out at shift change. As a result, you can devote labor hours and floor space to more production-oriented activities.

Li-ion technology can power a lift on a single battery with opportunity charging and reach full charge in less than two hours.

Key Facts About Lead-Acid and Lithium-Ion Batteries

Additional points you’ll want to consider as you choose between the two include:

  • Cycle life: Lithium-ion batteries typically have a longer life span than lead-acid varieties. This extended performance helps offset the higher price since you’ll need to replace lithium-ion batteries less frequently.
  • Water maintenance: Lead-acid batteries require regular water fill-ups due to their heat generation — if that doesn’t happen as prescribed, it can lead to early battery retirement and excess costs.
  • Operating environment: Lithium-ion batteries can tolerate temperature extremes better than lead-acid types.
  • Power and productivity: Lead-acid batteries may require extra power units and multi-battery packs. These enable you to keep working longer and maintain productivity.

Existing Equipment Type

You’ll need to know your forklift model specs, including its voltage and the size of the battery compartment. Counterweight and the ampere-hour capacity rating (AH) are also key pieces of information to have handy. Your owner’s manual is a good source for verifying the data you collect.

Another important consideration is your industrial charger system. Lithium-ion batteries often charge faster and need no cool-down period. No matter which type of battery you choose, you can keep costs in check by opting for one that’s compatible with your existing charging system.


Besides being compatible with your industrial chargers, you must choose a battery that’s right for the tasks your forklift handles.

Some factors to take into account here include:

  • Corporate sustainability initiatives
  • Daily hours of forklift operation
  • Distance your electric truck travels to get things done
  • The weights your forklift handles
  • Routine lifting heights

Answering the questions above will help ensure you get the right battery for your unique job needs. The expert team at Burns Industrial Equipment can also guide you in locating the correct one for your lift truck model and operations.

Fully Integrated Lithium-Ion Forklifts

Hyster and Yale offer several models specifically designed around fully integrated lithium-ion power. Electric high-capacity lift trucks power your possibilities by reducing emissions, fuel consumption and maintenance costs while delivering the ICE-like strength you need to get the job done.

Additional Battery Services

Burns Industrial Equipment proudly offers an extensive inventory of industrial batteries and chargers in Ohio, Pennsylvania and West Virginia. Plus, we’re here to keep operations moving smoothly with other battery-related support services like: 

  • On-site battery washing in Ohio
  • Battery repairs
  • Battery handling systems

Get the High-Performing Professional Batteries You Need From Burns Industrial Equipment

Burns Industrial Equipment has been Ohio, Pennsylvania and West Virginia’s trusted source for new and used forklifts for over 50 years. You’ll also find the area’s largest selection of motive power batteries at our convenient locations. Call us at 800-569-9419, request a part online or contact a knowledgeable team member for additional information.

Get the High-Performing Professional Batteries You Need From Burns Industrial Equipment
Greater Pittsburgh and Western Pennsylvania

210 Thorn Hill Road,
Warrendale, PA 15086