Forklift battery charging procedure

How to Charge a Forklift Battery

With more and more businesses switching from IC (internal combustion) forklifts to electric forklifts, new challenges are presenting themselves. This article will describe best practices around charging and maintaining a forklift's battery.


  1. Be sure the charger is correctly matched to the battery.This means that the charger has the correct output voltage (12, 24 volt, 36 volt, 48 volt, etc). Also, the output Ampere Hour rating on the charger is closely matched (within 10%) of the AH rating of the battery.
  2. Be sure the charger cables are not damaged or heat worn.The connectors should be in good shape, not damaged or cracked. Also, the connectors should not be burned or pitted and they make a good electrical connection with each other.
    • If the lift truck consumes greater than 40% of the battery's charge at the end of the workday, the battery should be placed on charge for a full 8 hours.
    • Batteries are watered after they are fully charged. The water should be distilled or free from heavy mineral content and the levels in each cell should be raised to just above the perforated grid. Do not overfill. Do not water an uncharged battery - it can overflow.
  3. Keep a watering log in case of a warranty claim.The manufacturer will want to see your watering records.
  4. Charge the battery no more than 300 times a year for 5 years (1500 cycles) to not void the warranty.
  5. Allow the battery to charger a full 8 hours through the gassing stage.This helps recombine the electrolyte (acid) throughout the battery and keeps the battery running optimally.
    • The gassing phase or charging a battery produces oxygen and hydrogen. Never inspect a charging battery with an open flame. Never smoke around a battery. Charge the battery in a well ventilated area, never in a small room.
  6. Equalize charge your battery once a week.This is a longer charging cycle and is often performed at the end of the week.

Community Q&A

  • Question
    A Nissan electric forklift is leaking acid and smoking from the top of battery cells, what do I do?
    Top Answerer
    Immediately change the battery and dispose of the old one. Consult an authorized repair person for removal of old battery and refitting of the new battery.
  • Question
    My lift batteries died and aren't charging, what do I do?
    Top Answerer
    Consult an authorized repair person/forklift mechanic who will diagnose what the problem is - likely the battery needs replacing.
  • Question
    Can I put a battery to charge when is 75% charge?
    Top Answerer
    Usually yes, most electric forklifts can be put on charge whenever not in use regardless of battery charge level - e.g. in most warehouses, the electric forklifts may be put on charge on lunch breaks and overnight at the end of the shift. Typically the charger stops once the battery is full, but if in doubt, contact the manufacturer.
  • Question
    Can I charge a 48-volt battery (60 amp) with a 48-volt charger with 120 amp output?
    Top Answerer
    Likely not. Contact your forklift dealer or manufacturer before plugging it in. Anytime the voltage or amps is higher than what the equipment is rated for, there is a very likely chance that the equipment, wires, or batteries get short-circuited, blown up, or can even start a fire. Forklift batteries are generally very expensive and difficult to replace, so this is to be avoided at all costs!
  • Question
    We have a forklift that we have just received with a new charger, but now the charger says it is too low to charge. What do we need to do to charge the battery?
    Top Answerer
    Contact the forklift dealer, manufacturer, or the battery charger manufacturer, whoever you bought the new equipment from. If it's a local company, they usually will be able to provide a technician to visit on-site and diagnose/fix the problem in person.
  • Question
    On a sit-down electric forklift, does the cover need to be open when charging the battery?
    Top Answerer
    Usually yes, to provide adequate ventilation, but also for the simple reason of letting operators see the forklift is charging.
  • Question
    My forklift won't charge. The charger shows f23. What does this mean?
    Top Answerer
    Refer only to the manufacturer instructions for your forklift -- failure to do so may damage the electrical system and/or battery and will likely void any warranty. If in doubt, call the forklift company or authorized repair person.
Unanswered Questions
  • When charging a forklift does the lid need to stay open?
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  • Similar to all rechargeable battery devices, forklift batteries should generally be drained as much as possible before recharging to a full charge. Constant recharging of a mostly full battery reduces its lifespan.
  • After several years, most old electric counterbalance forklift's batteries last around 4-6 hours. For this reason they are sometimes put on charge sometime through the workday (as directed by the forklift / workplace supervisor).
  • Brand new electric counterbalance forklift's batteries should last at least 8-12 hours of continuous use (depending on make, model, type of forklift lifting capacity, operating environments/tasks, etc).


  • Never place metal objects on top of a forklift battery.
  • Always use a battery service stand to inspect a battery. A forklift battery can weigh more than 2000lbs. It should be handled only with the greatest care.
  • Never charge the battery near an open flame or spark.

Video: Charging Forklift Batteries

How to Charge a Forklift Battery
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Date: 02.12.2018, 04:01 / Views: 54195