Published on April 14th, 2017 | by Jimmy Hafrey
Best 18650 Battery Guide For Vaping
Table of Contents
- Introduction to the 18650 Battery
- Operating Temperature
- Summary of 18650 Batteries
- Choosing Your 18650 Battery
- Counterfeits and Rewraps
- Closing Points on our 18650 Battery Guide
Introduction to the 18650 Battery
Probably the most notorious battery for Vapers today, the humble 18650 has risen to become the near industry standard over the past few years. The rechargeable 18650 battery is friend to the smallest box mod to the most complex mechanical mod.
Although newer or casual observers might be fooled into thinking these little lumps of Lithium Ion are pretty standard like other consumer batteries, they actually vary greatly. From capacity and voltage to the often wide range in quality and price points, finding the perfect battery can be a minefield. So we’ve put this handy little guide together so you won’t be left head scratching when you come to purchasing your first, or next, 18650 partner in crime.
As with most things in life, one size doesn’t fit all. Deciding on the best 18650 battery for your needs will, as mentioned, depend on several areas.The key four factors you will need to consider on which one will fit your device and your own personal requirements are:
- Current Rating
- Operating Temperature
As with all electronic purchases, price, brand and warranty are also going to be considerations, as is avoiding cheap counterfeits too. However, they are often much easier to factor in once you know which type of 18650 is going to be right for you.
The capacity of the 18650 battery is what will tell you how much charge the battery can hold and how long you can vape before recharging the 18650 battery. You’ll often see batteries advertised as high capacity and that’s the general category of batteries you want to get. However, you might ask how you can tell if it really is high capacity or a marketing tactic. Milliampere-hours is what you look for and that is designated as mAh. It shows how many milliamps that can be drawn in an hour and is used to break down how long it will last.
If you look at the LG HE4 18650 35 AMP 2500 mAh battery (which is available for $8.46), the important information is the mAh in this part. 2500 mAh means it is rated to pull 2500 milliamps in one hour of use. That’s not realistic for vaping, but you could pull 2.5 amps in an hour. You can also do simple math to see that you could pull 1250 milliamps in 2 hours if you get it back to the 2500 mAh you can determine how long it will last.
While the math won’t be for everyone, you can follow a rule of thumb that is easy – the higher the mAh, the longer the battery will last. You should also keep in mind that no 18650 battery performs at 100% of what it is rated to be. They will also decrease in effectiveness over time. You do have to keep in mind that capacity isn’t everything when it comes to batteries. So, don’t just buy the highest mAh battery you can without knowing your requirements for current as well. High current batteries have lower capacity so you may need to walk a line on capacity and current.
One important note to include on capacity is that you should charge your batteries frequently regardless of the choice you make. If you don’t do this, it will greatly decrease the 18650 battery life if they sit dormant for a few months. It’s possible they may not even hold a charge if it goes long enough between charges. This simple reminder will save you from a mistake we made early on in vaping.
Safety is the number one priority for any advanced vaper that doesn’t want to run into issues. Determining the right amount of current for your box mod is simple, it’s in the specifications. If we look at the popular iJOY RDTA (see deal here) you can see that it has an output current of 1-45 amps. Since you probably won’t want to be at the max, you should consider the LG HG2 18650 20A 3000 mAh battery (available here for under $6.64 using coupon code “5OFF”). This is one of the most popular batteries in the vape word because it’s got the current rating of 20A and a decently high mAh at 3000. Since two of these batteries go in the iJoy RDTA, you could get 40A out at once out of them.
You can actually get to 45 amps but we recommend following specifications because many companies are not accurate in their stated specifications. The brands we trust for our own vape equipment as being accurate are Sony, LG, Samsung, and Panasonic. We tend to stay away from any other brands. On top of that, you also need to make sure they are authentic when being sold as one of those 4 brands, but we’ll cover that later on.
When you are looking at current, you want to reference the continuous discharge rating or CDR instead of pulse ratings. This is also called the maximum continuous discharge and maximum continuous current and rate the batteries capabilities on a more consistent basis over pulse ratings. To simplify it, this is the maximum electrical current at which a battery can be discharged continuously before it will fail. If you want more CDR amps you will have to sacrifice mAh and run time. If you want more mAh and run time, you’ll have to sacrifice CDR amps. So many users who want higher CDR amps tend to buy multiple batteries to combat this issue.
Voltage is important for delivering the right amount of current to the coil so it is important to know what your box mod calls for. It is even more important for mechanical device users because it will pass everything through to the coil and create a harder hit the higher the voltage.
Voltage isn’t determined by current as batteries with the same current can have different voltages. You generally want to choose one that runs at the highest voltage for the longest time regardless of if you’re using a mechanical or regulated device. As a general rule of thumb, you can find the ones that run at a higher voltage by looking for ones that run at cooler temperatures, have a higher current rating, and a good capacity. Many manufacturers list the voltage and it can vary depending on who the manufacturer is. Some non-major brand names tend to over exaggerate all their stats so buyer be warned.
When it comes to choose a 18650 battery one of the most overlooked and most important aspects is the temperature it runs at. This is huge for safety and makes a major difference in that regard. Aside from safety, batteries that overheat also damage the charging cells and don’t last as long because of it. As a safety tip, if your batteries are getting much hotter, you should definitely replace them. This is a sign of age or damage to the batteries because more resistance is present than it was designed for.
You will want to find the batteries that run at the lowest operating temperature so you don’t end up having to change the way you vape to accommodate your battery. The 18650 battery should work for you, not the other way around. If you have hot running batteries, you would need to lower the power level or use higher resistance coils and that is not what most advanced vapers want to do.
Summary of 18650 Batteries
So, as you can see, there is no perfect battery. The idea of finding one is like finding a unicorn. In order to increase the value of one of the categories you want, you generally have to decrease the value of another. So it is important to find what is most important to you. Then look for those elements and try to balance the others well. The first way to sort the batteries should be current level and then determine the other factors from there.
We’ve provide a guide below on the best batteries for each current group. They are up to 20 amps, 20 amps to 30 amps, and 30 amps to 40 amps. We do also recommend that you use the same two (or three) batteries in a device together. Don’t mix brands or types to ensure the best performance and life of your batteries. Even if you’re using the same brand and type, it is beneficial to have two sets that always get used together rather than mix and match.
Choosing Your 18650 Battery
While it will depend on you and there is no one size fits all choice with 18650 batteries, we’ve created the below list of our favorite ones for each class. These are broken out by current and we’ve provided links to where you can get each of them with our price comparison tool.
Up To 20 Amps
20 Amps to 30 Amps
30 Amps to 40 Amps
The 18650 batteries may be on the list twice since they work in both categories.
Best Overall 18650 Batteries
Our favorite overall batteries in general for the 18650 size are determined by the expert vape staff. Don’t worry if you are stuck and don’t know what to choose by narrowing down the list with current. We are here to help you with our favorite 5 batteries below.
|Sony||VTC5||Best High Drain Battery|
|Samsung||25R||Most Durable & Reliable|
|Sony||VTC4||Longer mAh w/ High Drain|
|LG||HB6||Great High-Drain Performance|
Counterfeits and Rewraps
Counterfeits are an unfortunate part of the 18650 battery business. It’s incredibly easy to do since the batteries are plain in nature with printing just identifying what it is. This is especially true since the vaping products come mostly out of China. There is a high volume of counterfeit products that come from there on the US market. If a price is too good to be true, it probably is. There are deals to be found, it should be a red flag when it is too good of a deal without reason.
Red flags are about all you can do to prevent buying a counterfeit online. You can identify them once you have them though. This way you know not to buy from that store again and can warn others. The weight of an average 18650 battery is 45 grams and no less than 42 grams. If it weighs under that then it is trouble, if it weighs more, then you should be fine as well. Genuine sellers tend to list battery weight in the specifications so you can look out for that.
Another thing you can look at is the font. Counterfeiters will tend to make it good enough but major manufacturers will have the same print every time. You can also measure the other dimensions of the battery and do a visual inspection. It is a red flag when there is too much wear on the bottom. You’ll also know a fake when you use it because it won’t last as long and won’t work as well.
The other item to be cautious about is rewrap batteries. These batteries are made by the big 4 brands and have another manufacturer’s label on them. While this is a way to score deals, it can also be a way to score a lower quality 18650 battery as well. Batteries that don’t meet the big 4 brand specifications will be sold off. Then the the batteries are purchased by a third party. The batteries are then wrapped with a new cover and sold to the public. We figure if it isn’t good enough for LG, Samsung, or Sony to sell it, we don’t want it. Not all rewrap batteries are bad, some do just buy the good quality ones to put their brand on it. So, you need to know the store selling them so you can determine how they conduct business.
Closing Points on our 18650 Battery Guide
You should be aware of what they are looking for in a battery. You can use this guide to determine what is best for you. Not all batteries are the same and there is no perfect 18650 battery. You should be aware of the brand you buy to make sure it’s a reputable company. Further, you should make sure you are buying from a reputable vendor. Buying fakes saves you money in the short term but costs you more in the long run. We recommend you use our list of batteries in this post as we have done the research and used them. Make sure you buy a good multi-battery charger and extra batteries so you can always have a good vape experience! Let us know if you have anything to add in the comment section below. Good community interaction is key to sharing information.