The best battery for floor scrubbers
Cordless floor scrubbers are highly popular, and for good reason – in commercial settings, they can save you a significant amount of time and money. But the type of battery you choose – or have to use – for your floor scrubber has a substantial impact on your time, productivity, running costs and more.
There are three common battery types used in floor scrubbers:
Lead acid or wet cell batteries – these are the least expensive type of battery for floor scrubbers but come with significant drawbacks. Lead acid batteries are bulky, heavy, and normally require regular maintenance of the cells to prevent damage to the batteries. They also retain a ‘memory’ caused by partially discharging the battery before they are recharged. This memory prevents the battery from recharging fully, which can drastically shorten its operating life and the run-time of your floor scrubber.
Gel or AGM batteries – these are considered superior to lead batteries for use in floor scrubbers as they are leak-proof, spill-free, and maintenance-free. They are also heavy and bulky however, which increases the weight of your floor scrubber and makes them harder to manoeuvre.
Lithium-ion (Li-ion) batteries – These are the ultimate battery for commercial floor scrubbers. They are lightweight, highly efficient, energy-dense, and are better for the environment, but that’s not all:
- They are spill and maintenance-free and don’t need to be kept horizontal.
- They have a far higher power-to-weight ratio, meaning the battery can be lighter while giving equivalent power output to its counterparts.
- They are memory-free, which means that if you discharge a small percentage of the battery, you can recharge it without impacting the overall life of your battery.
- They are fast-charging, so there is less downtime and more getting things done!
Let's take a closer look at the benefits of lithium batteries
BATTERY CAPACITY (Gives you more charge, less weight)
In short, battery capacity refers to how much charge is in the battery (how long the current that is drawn from the battery can continue while the battery can supply a load). Let’s compare the capacity and size of lead acid, nickel metal hydride and Li-ion batteries:
If all three are the same CAPACITY (producing the same charge):
The weight of Lead - NiMH - Li-ion will be around 6:3:1
(Meaning: Li-ion is considerably lighter)
If all three are the same SIZE:
The capacity of Lead - NiMH - Li-ion, will be around 1:2:4 respectively
(Meaning: Li-ion can produce far more charge)
In summary: Lithium is far lighter and produces more charge than its counterparts.
Example: Say you had two machines that had the same size battery pack. If you use a Li-ion battery pack, you’ll get eight hours of running time and the device will be lighter. With a lead acid battery pack you’ll only have two hours of running time and the machine will be much heavier.
EFFICIENCY (Get more out of your battery)
Lithium batteries are more efficient than other battery types. For example, most lead batteries are only 80-85% efficient, depending on the condition and model. Alternatively, lithium batteries are more than 95% efficient. This means you’ll keep your batteries for longer.
CYCLE LIFE (You can charge your battery many more times)
Battery cycle life is the amount of time you can charge and discharge your battery before it gives up and needs to be replaced.
- Lead acid battery: approximately 300 to 400 cycles
- Lithium-ion battery: approximately 500 to 600 cycles (With the improved technology of the i-team i-power Li-ion batteries however, you still have 50% capacity after 1400 cycles)
ENERGY DENSITY (More energy in less space)
Lithium batteries can fit much more energy into less space than lead batteries. Consequently, they take up less space in your device, allowing for lighter, better design and improved manoeuvrability, as is the case with the i-scrub.
FAST CHARGING (Charge fast and get on with the job)
Most large commercial floor scrubbers require a minimum of 6 to 8 hours of charge time before they are up and running. Lithium batteries can handle a higher amperage from the charger, allowing them to charge faster. For example the advanced technology of the i-team supercharger enables an i-power 9 i-mop battery to be fully charged in just 1 hour. Lead acid batteries by comparison slow down significantly at around the 85% capacity mark. After that, the charger automatically slows down to top off the batteries.
ENVIRONMENTALLY FRIENDLY (Less toxicity, less risk)
Lead acid batteries are terrible for the environment. They contain sulphuric acid and lead, both of which are toxic to the environment and the human body.
SAFETY (Avoid accidents, explosions, and fires)
In theory, NiMh (Nickel metal hydride) batteries are the safest on the market. Lithium batteries are actually more dangerous than lead because of their chemical materials. However, due to the construction of our i-power lithium battery cells, coupled with the intelligent Battery Management System (BMS), lithium batteries can be as safe or even safer than their counterparts.
COST (Save a significant amount through cheaper operating costs)
Lead batteries are cheaper per unit. When looking at the cost of running the battery each hour, lithium batteries are about a third of the price.
Weighing it all up
Battery technology is an important consideration when choosing a floor scrubber, especially when you want to avoid downtime, clumsy machinery, and unnecessary running costs. However, batteries are not the only consideration.
If you’re wondering how to choose the right floor scrubber, there are other things to think about like size, manoeuvrability, portability, ease of use, storage and environmental impact. It all adds up, so do your research carefully. An informed decision can make all the difference in choosing the right floor scrubber for your needs.