Forklift Battery Charging: Do’s and Don’ts


When using your forklift throughout your organisation’s day to day operations, it is inevitable that the battery is going to run low. When using electric lift trucks, the batteries normally only need to be charged once a day - with the expectations of the battery’s full life to be around five years. However, this can be dramatically increased, or decreased, depending on how well the battery is looked after during its lifespan. 


To help you ensure your forklift’s battery is being looked after correctly, the exceptional Trucks Direct UK team have put together their do’s and don’ts of forklift battery care. 


DO charge your forklift battery to its maximum


Every battery, including forklift batteries, have a limited lifespan. In this case, forklift batteries have an average lifespan of around 1,500 charging cycles in their useful life. However, it is important to take into consideration that your lift truck battery does not distinguish between full and or half charging, which means it will use up a charging cycle in the useful life of your battery. 


Therefore, it is very important that your forklift battery is always charged to its maximum in order to prevent wasting precious charging cycles. Charging twice a day cuts the life span in half, which just shows how charging the battery based on convenience rather than protocol is one of the most destructive yet common practices. 


DO carry out general forklift battery maintenance


Forklift batteries should be correctly maintained in order to ensure they have a longer lifespan. For example, each month the top of the batteries should be cleaned with warm water or a battery cleaner to prevent build-up from the cell breather. This could affect the electronics within the forklift, as well as causing tray corrosion, voltage tracking and faster self-discharge. 


The battery water levels should also be inspected at least once a week, making sure that each battery cell is not overfilled. As the water levels come down, the plates will be exposed to air. If the water levels need to be topped up, make sure this is completed after charging, as it is much safer, faster and more efficient.


DON’T use your forklift when it is discharged beyond 80% of the battery 


When your forklift reaches a discharge level reading of 20% to 30% charge remaining, it is important that you stop using the battery and it is placed on its charger. If the battery is used in the ‘red zone’ this can significantly reduce the useful life of the battery, risking electrical components overheating and damage to the forklift. 


It also shouldn’t be allowed to sit for extended periods when uncharged, as the effectiveness and life of the battery will be significantly reduced if hard sulphation is allowed to build up.


DON’T swap your forklift battery mid-shift 


The optimal time for charging your forklift battery fully is between 20%-30%, but by switching the forklift battery halfway through the working day, you will waste energy stored in your battery and reduce its useful life by one charge cycle. 


Quick charges, or also known as opportunity charges, are not efficient and will decrease the lifespan of the forklift battery. Pre-mature charging eats away at the battery life and can even reduce the battery’s run time to four to five hours, rather than the usual eight. 




Correct, and efficient, forklift maintenance is not hard to carry out and it is vital that the forklift itself is fully safe and prepared to use. To get the desired life of your forklift battery, ensure safety and optimal performance and to reduce unnecessary expenses, it is essential to follow the specific do’s and don’ts we have highlighted today. 


If you are thinking of purchasing a used forklift truck, and would like some more information, please feel free to visit the Trucks Direct UK website. You are more than welcome to telephone us on 0121 344 4744 and one of our excellent staff members will be more than happy to help you. 




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