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How to Charge Your Lead Acid Batteries

February 13, 2020 9:50 AM by Tennant Company

A lot has changed in 160 years, which is when lead acid batteries were invented. Lead acid batteries are the most common battery type and are low maintenance, 100% recyclable, and may offer the most bang for your buck in terms of price.

At a high level, there are three types of lead acid batteries:

WET BATTERY TYPES

Wet (Flooded) Lead Acid Batteries

  • Best for applications where long runtime is needed
  • Designed to deliver consistent and reliable power
  • Require regular battery watering
  • Lowest cost lead acid battery ($)
Tennant 12 Volt, 260 CCA Starting Wet Trojan Battery

12 Volt, 260 CCA Starting Wet Trojan Battery

 Tennant 12 Volt, 520 CCA Starting Wet Trojan Battery

12 Volt, 520 CCA Starting Wet Trojan Battery

SEALED BATTERY TYPES

AGM (Absorbent Glass Mat) Lead Acid Batteries 

  • Best for applications where short runtime is needed
  • Eliminate the need for battery watering
  • Eliminate risk of acid contact
  • Short battery life
  • Moderate cost lead acid battery ($$)

Tennant 12 Volt, 234 AH C/20 Deep Cycle AGM

12 Volt, 234 AH C/20 Deep Cycle AGM

Tennant 12 Volt, 140 AH C/20 Deep Cycle AGM

12 Volt, 140 AH C/20 Deep Cycle AGM

Gel Lead Acid Batteries

  • Best for applications where short runtime is needed 
  • Eliminate the need for battery watering
  • Typically higher cost than standard ($$$)
  • Medium battery life
  • Eliminate risk of acid contact
  • Longer cycle life over standard AGM

12 Volt, 102 AH C/20 Deep Cycle Gel Battery

12 Volt, 102 AH C/20 Deep Cycle Gel Battery

6 Volt, 180 AH C/20 Deep Cycle Gel Battery

6 Volt, 180 AH C/20 Deep Cycle Gel Battery

TPPL (Thin Plate Pure Lead) Batteries:

  • A type of AGM battery that can be opportunity charged
  • Eliminate need for battery watering
  • Fastest recharge 
  • Longer cycle life than standard AGM or GEL
  • Most expensive type of lead acid battery ($$$$) 
36 Volt, 210 AH C/20 Deep Cycle

36 Volt, 210 AH C/20 Deep Cycle 

Changes in battery technology over the past 5 years also means charging best practices have changed. With batteries being one of the biggest investments you’ll make throughout the life of your cleaning machine, it’s important to understand how to properly maintain them and what can impact performance.

Are you charging your lead acid batteries using today’s standards?

Here are 4 of our top tips for properly charging lead acid batteries:

  1. DO start the day fully charged. If you’ve used your machine for 15+ minutes in a day, be sure to fully charge the machine before the next use. Failure to do so will diminish the life of the batteries.

  2. DON’T opportunity charge. Opportunity charging, which means plugging in the machine for a short period of time without fully charging, can negatively impact the life of the batteries. (Not applicable to TPPL batteries.)

  3. DON’T over charge. Do not fully charge lead acid batteries more than once per 24-hour period to maximize your battery’s life. (Not applicable to TPPL batteries.)

  4. DO check fluid levels. The flooded (wet) lead-acid batteries require routine watering (unless equipped with Smart- Fill™ Automatic Battery Watering technology). Check the battery electrolyte level weekly. The electrolyte level should be slightly above the battery plates as shown before charging. Add distilled water if low. DO NOT OVERFILL. The electrolyte will expand and may overflow when charging. After charging, distilled water can be added up to about 3 mm (0.12 in) below the sight tubes.

infographic illustrating the recommended daily charge to maintain the performance of your lead acid batteries

Follow this daily use/charge cycle to maintain the performance of your lead acid batteries.

infographic visual display illustrating checking fluid levels for lead acid batteries weekly ensures there is enough distilled water to cover the lead plates

Checking fluid levels at least weekly ensures there is enough distilled water to cover the lead plates.


Want to ensure you're following all of our lead acid battery charging best practices? Download our Battery Charging Guide for additional tips! 



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