Lead-acid forklift batteries are the industry standard. They’re cheap, reliable, and provide plenty of power for most applications. But there’s one thing they’re not: efficient.
Maybe you’ve noticed that your lead-acid battery-powered forklift’s load capacity keeps dropping as the battery begins to lose its charge? This is because lead-acid batteries are only about 50% efficient. They lose power as heat, which wastes the electricity that could be powering your forklift on simple tasks like moving pallets around on the warehouse floor.
On top of being inefficient, lead-acid batteries have a limited lifespan, which means they need to be replaced every 1-3 years. The more the forklift is used, the more frequently this will happen.
What are Lithium battery forklifts and how do they work?
Lithium battery forklifts work a lot like their lead-acid counterparts. They can lift heavy loads and provide plenty of power for most applications. But they’re also about twice as efficient as lead-acid batteries, which means that over time they’ll save you money from how much money you can save on electricity costs. They also last much longer than lead-acid batteries, which means there’s less time spent maintaining and replacing their parts.
Lithium battery forklifts vs traditional lead-acid ones
Lithium batteries provide more power and longer-lasting runtime than their lead-acid counterparts. Their efficiency and durability mean lower overall maintenance costs. They also require less frequent maintenance, which means less time spent on battery replacement and repairs. These benefits add up to increased productivity during the day for your warehouse employees.
- Higher efficiency means more power.
Lithium battery forklifts are more efficient than lead-acid ones, which means that they can provide more power for lifting heavy loads while also requiring less electricity to do so. This is because lithium batteries are about twice as efficient at turning the electricity they receive into mechanical energy, which powers whatever you have attached to them.
- Lasts longer with less downtime
Lithium batteries have a lifespan of about 5-7 years, which is double that of lead-acid ones. That means you won’t have to spend as much time maintaining and replacing your forklift’s battery packs . It also means fewer down periods due to recharging times and fewer malfunctions.
- Lead-acid batteries lose power as they age and get warmer, but lithium ones don’t
Lead-acid batteries get less efficient over time and when they’re used in higher temperatures. This means that the forklift will have significantly reduced performance on hot summer days or when being used to move heavy loads. Lithium batteries, on the other hand, don’t lose power as they get older or as they’re used in high temperatures.
- Lead-acid batteries need to be replaced every 3 years but lithium ones can last 7
If you’re spending $3,000-$5,000 a year on new lead-acid forklift battery packs every 3 years, you’ll start seeing a lot of savings with lithium batteries. Lithium battery packs cost about twice as much as their lead-acid counterparts but double the lifespan and they’re more efficient, so it’s well worth the investment.
- Environmental impact
Lead-acid forklift batteries release toxic and corrosive gases when they’re being used and need to be carefully disposed of after they’re no longer useful. Lithium batteries are significantly cleaner, which is environmentally friendly for companies that use forklifts (and the planet as a whole).
- Lower maintenance costs
Lithium battery forklifts require less regular maintenance than lead-acid ones, which means lower costs for you. You’ll spend less time fixing and replacing your batteries and have more time to focus on other parts of your operations. A lithium battery might outlast a set of 4-5 lead-acid batteries so in the long run, the cost of replacing it will work out to be cheaper.
- Improve your company’s image
Lithium battery forklifts look a lot better than lead-acid ones because they don’t have their unsightly cables attached to them all the time. They’re also much less noisy, which means that you’ll have an easier time hearing that customer call for help, instead of having to try and guess where the sound came from.
- Safer batteries
Lithium forklift batteries are much safer than lead-acid ones because they don’t explode or release poisonous gases when punctured or exposed to high temperatures (unlike their lead-acid counterparts).
How to choose the best lithium battery forklift for your needs
- Ask yourself what you need
What’s the weight capacity of your heaviest load? What operational environments do you use your forklift in most frequently (daytime, nighttime, hot or cold outdoors)? How much electricity does it take to run whatever electrical equipment you’ve attached to the forklift? Knowing the answers to these questions will help you determine which lithium battery forklift will be best for your needs.
- Make a budget
Forklift batteries can cost anywhere from about $3,000 up to $10,000 depending on how big and powerful the battery pack is. The higher-capacity batteries will be able to lift heavier loads more quickly, but they’ll also be more expensive.
- Make sure the supplier is reputable
It’s worth it to go with a lithium battery forklift supplier that has been tried and tested in their industry. This will help you ensure you’re getting the best quality product for your money so that you don’t have to deal with faulty equipment.
- Rethink your needs as you grow or they change
The best lithium battery forklift for a small warehouse is going to be different from what you need in a larger one, so make sure that you’re able to upgrade as your business grows and has the capital available for this without incurring too much unnecessary expense.
- Ask for referrals from other customers
If you know anyone else in your industry who uses lithium battery forklifts, don’t be afraid to ask them about their experiences with different suppliers or models. This is the best way to determine which supplier will give you the best quality product for your needs so that you can avoid any unpleasant surprises.
Lithium-ion battery forklifts are quickly gaining in popularity as businesses realize the benefits of these high-capacity, long-lasting and environmentally-friendly equipment options. A lithium battery forklift may cost twice as much as a lead-acid one, but it will last 2x as long and provide more power with less downtime due to malfunctions.
If you want to get the most out of your forklift equipment, investing in lithium battery forklifts is a great way to improve productivity and keep your employees safe while getting more work done with less equipment.