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How Do I Choose the Best Forklift Battery Charger?

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  • Written By: Lori Kilchermann
  • Edited By: Lauren Fritsky
  • Last Modified Date: 19 August 2016
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Many forklifts are battery-powered and required to be connected to a forklift battery charger to maintain the machine's readiness. In order to choose the best charger, it is wise to obtain a charger that offers both a fast charge as well as a slow or trickle charging function. While a small battery charger can be used occasionally to recharge a forklift, it is best to purchase an industrial or commercial grade forklift battery charger to ensure that you have a unit that will provide many hours of charging time without failing or overheating. Some lesser-quality chargers will have a pair of large clips to engage the positive and negative posts on a battery; the best chargers will utilize a clip designed to plug into the power cable coming from the forklift's battery pack.

A forklift battery charger with a fast charge option will be the best method of charging a forklift very quickly to complete a quick job or to finish a task where the forklift battery has been drained before the task was completed. The fast charge, however, will not completely recharge a dead battery pack and could potentially damage and ruin the batteries if used continually. The trickle charging cycle is intended to restore a dead battery to its full potential overnight or during the day. By using the battery charger for the forklift on the trickle or slow charge mode, the batteries are not overheated and boiled, which allows for a long life.

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You should also choose a charger that has a cooling fan to reduce the heat produced by the charging element within the unit. By eliminating or reducing the heat, the charging unit will last much longer and provide adequate charging cycles far beyond the capabilities of a non-fan cooled unit. The larger the diameter of the cables coming from the charger, the better, in most cases. Choosing a forklift battery charger with the largest charging cables that you can find will typically result in a better charger than one equipped with small cables.

Large forklift battery charger cables allow more charging power to flow from the charger, thus the batteries receive more power in the same amount of charge time. It is also best to purchase a charger fitted with wheels to make moving the unit an easy task. When possible, always choose a charger that is fitted with gauges instead of indicator lights. This will allow the user to monitor the level of charge in the batteries instead of simply a single light indicating a completed charge.

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