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We know very well that batteries are a key resource for providing portable power. They are particularly useful when the use of power cables is inconvenient or when trying to avoid unacceptable noise and gas emissions, making them a valuable alternative to small gasoline engines.


However, it is important to highlight that batteries are far from new, and technology is experiencing a fast evolution. Not long ago, lead-acid batteries were the only option but then nickel-cadmium (Ni-Cd) and nickel-metal hydride (Ni-MH) came along. Over time, these options have given way to the newer, more advanced lithium-ion batteries. Lithium-ion batteries offer many advantages in the cleaning industry compared to other battery types.

Their ability to store and release energy efficiently makes them the most popular choice in a wide range of applications.

If you are considering the purchase of a battery-powered floor cleaning machine, it is worth taking a closer look at why lithium batteries stand out as the optimal choice.


Lithium-ion technology’s unique feature consists in its capacity to store more energy in a smaller volume than other types of battery can achieve. This offers numerous advantages:

  1. Size and weight
  2. Longevity
  3. Maintenance
  4. Charging time
  5. Safety

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1. Size and Weight

Higher energy density means lithium-ion batteries can be much smaller for the same power and running time as other types of battery. Alternatively, they can hold more charge to keep running longer. That means lighter and more maneuverable equipment, more working hours and less time spent recharging, or both.


To quantify the difference, lithium-ion batteries typically store 260-270 watt-hours (wh) per kilogram of battery mass. You should note though, thanks to all the electric vehicle R&D, that number keeps increasing and some batteries now store over 300 wh/kg. In comparison, lead-acid batteries store 50-100 wh/kg, Ni-Cd batteries are in the 45 – 80 wh/kg range and Ni-MH batteries are 60-120 wh/kg. (Source:

2. Longevity

As they go through repeated charging and discharging cycles, all batteries lose the ability to store energy. However, this happens more slowly with lithium-ion than with other technologies. What is more, lithium does not suffer the memory effects seen in nickel-based batteries.


To be more specific, a lithium-ion battery will still have at least 80% of its storage capacity remaining after it has been through 200 charge-discharge cycles. That is much better than the competition and it means the battery won’t need replacing as often.

3. Maintenance

There are two aspects to maintenance: does the electrolyte solution need topping-up periodically? And do you need to top up the charge in the battery itself?


Lead-acid batteries need inspection and occasional topping-up. This is not the case with lithium-ion. What is more, lead-acid batteries lose about 5% of their charge each month. For nickel-based batteries the number is 10-15%. Lithium-ion though only loses 1.5-2.0%, so even if a piece of equipment has not been used for weeks, it will still be ready to go when you pull out of the closet.

4. Charging time

The chemistry of a lithium-ion battery supports faster charging than is possible with the other technologies. For mobile equipment, this means higher productivity, which means more time for cleaning and less downtime.

5. Safety

If a lithium-ion battery gets damaged it can suffer what is called “Thermal Runaway” when it overheats and can catch fire. To avoid this, manufacturers go to great lengths to protect what is inside the case. Compared with the risks of strong acid though, you can see how lithium-ion is the safer technology.


Lithium-ion batteries help keep mobile cleaning equipment compact and lightweight. They boost productivity too, by enabling longer periods between recharging.


If you are looking for or evaluating battery-powered cleaning equipment, make sure it comes with lithium-ion power. IPC offers an extensive range, so check our website or contact us to discuss your needs.