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SLA Battery Charging Best Practices

Power - by Joe Weber - updated on 10/4/2023

little boy in a toy riding car with father kneeling beside it

Sealed Lead Acid (SLA) batteries are used in so many applications that it can sometimes be hard to list them all out. They are commonly seen in security systems, UPS backup units, riding toys and many commercial applications. Knowing the charging best practices for these common batteries will help you not only keep them charged but keep them healthy too.

When Were SLA Batteries Invented?

The first lead-acid battery   was produced in the late 1800s as the first rechargeable battery that could be used commercially. Flash forward over over 150 years and this battery is still one of the most commonly used batteries for many applications.

The technology and engineering behind the sealed lead acid battery's success are impressive. To learn more about how these batteries work to produce power, give our informative blog "How Does an SLA Battery Work?" a read.

With so many years of research and development, these batteries are pretty resilient. However, proper charging and maintenance are key to their longevity.

What Are SLA Batteries Used For?

Sealed Lead Acid batteries are used in a variety of things that are used at home, in the office or on the go. Below is just a sampling of the many things that use SLA batteries.

  • Computer Backup (UPS) Systems
  • Kids' Riding Toys
  • Security Systems
  • Medical Equipment
  • Emergency Lighting
  • Electric Wheelchairs and Mobility Scooters
  • Recreational Vehicles (RVs)
  • Boats

When Should I Charge My SLA Battery?

To get the most life out of your sealed lead acid (SLA) battery, make sure you are practicing great charging habits. If you use any equipment that is powered by an SLA battery, like any of the items listed above, it is ideal to charge the battery after every use. Be sure to print out our best practices below so you always have the best-performing, longest-lasting battery.

SLA Battery Charging Best Practices

Follow these best practices to make sure your batteries last as long as possible. Print out our printer-friendly   version to keep with you.

  • Recharge your battery after every use.
  • Charge your battery in a well-ventilated area.
  • Use a charger that has the appropriate voltage output for your battery.
  • If you are not using an automatic charger, disconnect the charger immediately once the battery is fully charged.
  • Store the battery fully charged during the off-season or when not used for an extended period.
  • Store your SLA battery in a cool, dry place like a garage.
  • To prevent sulfation, never store an SLA battery in a discharged state.
  • A lead battery will lose charge at a rate of roughly 5% per month. When storing a battery, check its charge every couple of months and charge as needed if not connected to an automatic battery maintainer.

Can You Overcharge A Sealed Lead Acid Battery?

Most newer battery chargers are smart and will automatically shut off or switch to a maintenance mode when the battery reaches a full charge. When using a standard charger that doesn't change modes or switch make sure you disconnect the battery from the charger when the battery is full. Overcharging a lead acid battery is definitely possible when you leave a non-automatic charger connected.

Is Overcharging Bad?

Overcharging can heat up the battery to a point where it can essentially cook the internals of the battery creating a buildup of flammable gas that needs to be vented. This is a dangerous situation if this happens, as the gasses can easily ignite.

Overcharging a lead-acid battery can also cause the battery plates to corrode, reducing the battery's performance and greatly reducing the life of the battery.

Here's your takeaway about overcharging, if you overcharge the battery too much, eventually the battery will be damaged beyond repair.

How Long Do SLA Batteries Last?

How long your SLA batteries last will depend on many factors, including the operating temperature, what it's being used for and how you maintain it. Battery life for sealed lead acid batteries is measured in charging cycles.

A single charging cycle refers to the process of going from the battery's full charge to a complete discharge. In general, you can expect an SLA battery to last between 50 and 500 charging cycles. That's a large gap but also another reason why good charging and maintenance habits of SLA batteries are so important.

Replacement Lead Acid Batteries at Batteries Plus

If your batteries are starting to show some signs that they might be nearing the end of their life, bring them into your local Batteries Plus store to have our battery experts test them to see if it's time for new ones or if they can be salvaged.

If it is time for a new one we carry a large selection of batteries for all of your sealed lead acid needs. To learn more about maintaining your SLA batteries read our article titled "How Do I Know if My SLA Battery is Dead?".

If you are a business owner, be sure to sign up for a business account online for a free Batteries Plus business account  . If you are interested in learning more about all of the SLA options we have for your business read our article "Which Type of SLA Battery Does Your Business Need?".

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