Best 18650 Battery – Comprehensive Buyer’s Guide

Best 18650 Battery – Comprehensive Buyer’s Guide

Lithium-ion batteries are very in-demand products because of their application in every electronic product in our life. These batteries are built for use in gadgets like your smartphones, electronics, LED flashlights, etc., and the reason is simple: They have an extremely high power storage capacity for their size!

Now, we see batteries that were once meant for manufacturers’ use only on the market for consumers to buy. This is because newer technologies continue to occur with each passing day. The lithium-ion cells we have now are modern, unlike the standardized forms we had in the past. This is the reason that considering the best 18650 battery out there is important. You also need to know what steps to take to detect fake batteries and avoid them.

So, in this guide, we will take you through everything you need to know about the 18650 battery, its specs, what makes them different, and the best 5 you can buy now. Then, we will give you some tips on protecting yourself from buying fakes on the market because we’ve seen a lot of them lately. In all, we want to empower you with information to help you make the right decision in selecting the best 18650 battery.

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What is the 18650 Battery?

Measuring 18 x 65 mm, it’s easy to see that the name of the 18650 battery comes from its size. In the world of replaceable and rechargeable batteries, this product has set the standard. They feature a 3.7 volts output and perform just like lithium-ion batteries with a capacity ranging from 1800mAh to 3,500mAh. This is why they are used in a wide range of gadgets like flashlights, cameras, and laptops, as well as other electronics.

When you place them side-by-side with other rechargeable batteries out there, the 18650 battery easily comes out on top with the best performance. As long as you don’t allow them to become fully discharged, these batteries can last a long time. The degradation rate for the 18650 battery isn’t that much different from how your smartphone battery degrades.

What are the specs of the 18650 battery?

They might have a similar appearance with the AA battery, but they are very different. Here are the specs of the 18650 battery that differentiate it from other batteries.

The size

Just like we earlier mentioned, 18 x 65 mm is the measurement for the 18650 battery, making it just a little bigger than the AA battery. So, if we want to create a battery classification for the AA based on its size of 14 x 50 mm, we would call it the 14500 battery.

The shape                                                

The cells of the 18650 battery are made of thin, flat metal sheets. The manufacturers stack and roll them tightly just the same way it happens with a jelly roll. There are lithium ions present between those layers That move in different directions while charging or discharging. With the roll intact, the manufacturer’s pack it into cylindrical-shape hard steel. The battery comes with an open top, and the positive pole is used to cap the battery before sealing.

Shipping

Conventional batteries have relatively fewer challenges when compared to the difficulties involved in shipping 18650 batteries. The reason is that the 18650 battery falls under the category of dangerous goods since they can explode, especially when shipping them via aircraft. The shipment regulations for this product happen to be stricter.

Some battery manufacturers clearly state on their site that lithium-ion battery shipments are seen as hazardous goods and considered HAZMAT based on us shipping regulations. When buying the 18650 battery, we advise that you look for one where you get free shipping. This will save you some hassle.

Protected Vs. Unprotected 18650 Batteries

Your search for a good 18650 battery will lead you down the road of protected and unprotected batteries. That’s why we want to enlighten you on the differences.

Protected batteries come with an integrated electric circuit in the design of the battery, and you can find this at the battery’s end. With the help of the circuit, the risk of short-circuiting, extreme temperatures, discharging, and excessive charging is very much reduced. This protects you from leaks or the possibility of the battery exploding, thanks to the inside valve. The valve has the responsibility of disabling the battery when it detects extreme pressure.

By now, you can guess that this circuitry is absent in the design of unprotected batteries. This is the reason that unprotected batteries are not as expensive but have a higher risk. Exercise caution when using unprotected batteries should you decide to buy them. To be on the safe side, however, we advise that you invest some more bucks to get yourself a protected 18650 battery.

Button Vs. Flat Top 18650 Batteries

When it comes to size, there are two variants of the 18650 lithium-ion battery – the button top design and the flat-top design. Don’t let these terms confuse you as they refer to the battery’s contacts, especially the positive connection. You will notice a small protrusion in batteries with the button top design, but that protrusion is absent in flat top-design batteries.

“Does that matter?” you might ask.

While this may not seem all that important, that slight difference in size is worth noting. It helps to determine if a battery will fit well enough. The owner’s manual should help you know what battery to buy. You can also examine the batteries in your device to see whether they have the button or flat-top design. However, spring-loaded products can go with any of these batteries.

Factors To Consider Before Buying The Best 18650 Battery

18650 batteries differ in make and class when compared to basic standardized cells. Different manufacturers create so many of these batteries. This means you will find that they vary in areas like continuous discharge ratings, amperage capacity, and quality. If you don’t have all the necessary information, you might end up buying a product that doesn’t satisfy you entirely. Check out these factors to consider before purchasing the 18650 battery –

Voltage

Everything about how energy flows in your device is controlled by the voltage. High voltage devices have current moving faster and supplying more power. But one drawback is the risk of overheating. You might also experience that the power of the battery goes down faster than anticipated. Before buying a product, we advise that you go through the manual, which should tell you what the voltage recommendation is.

There is a range of 2.5 to 4.2 volts, but you’ll find that 3.6 to 3.7 voltages are the ratings for many 18650 batteries, which isn’t that much difference. Whatever you do, avoid going for batteries below 3 volts.

Continuous discharge rate (CDR)

One of the biggest mistakes you will ever make is to overlook the continuous discharge rate. The measurement for CDR is in amps (A). When buying a battery, the first thing you want to do is match your device’s power draw with the CDR of that battery. You will risk the battery cells heating up if you go with the wrong option. Becoming too hot will damage your 18650 battery and lower its longevity. Also, you don’t want to risk the battery leaking or exploding, which could then damage your device.

The continuous discharge rate and battery capacity (mAh) have a relationship. A higher capacity denotes a lower CDR. That way, your device uses the higher-capacity cells to its advantage by drawing less power. Current can only be drawn in the safest way possible when a hungry device has lower capacity cells.

Battery life

Having a long-lasting battery is your objective, and this is another important factor to consider before spending your money. Nobody wants to be in a situation where they switch their flashlight on only to discover that they have dead batteries. Your goal should be to find batteries with an extended shelf life, as well as a long-lasting charge.

Rechargeable?

Why would you want batteries without the capacity for recharging? You have no reason to. Most batteries on the market eventually degrade, which is why the best way to save money is to get yourself a good 18650 battery charger when buying the battery.

Safety

There are safety concerns that come with buying a battery with the wrong voltage. While you don’t want to make that mistake, you should also confirm how strong the casings are. Buying a battery with the outer casing compromised is a risk. Getting a fully enclosed battery is paramount at this point. But the good thing about lithium-ion batteries is that they have very high safety ratings. These batteries are very sturdy, and you will hardly find people that have complaints about compromised casings.

How compatible?

18650 batteries come in different forms. A careful look will reveal to you that some come with flat sides, and others have a prong. The logical thing to do before buying a battery is to know the needs of your device. You don’t want to end up with batteries that you won’t use, do you?

Top 5 18650 Battery Reviews

SONY VTC5 18650 2600mAh

What this manufacturer offers you here is a flat top battery that sits comfortably on the best performance list in the sphere of high drain flat top batteries. This is good because it increases the chances of these batteries being compatible with any device that works with a 18650 battery.

Are you in need of batteries that have very high power performance without the risk of damage? If yes, consider the VTC5.

Here’s why: The Sony VTC5 batteries have their power discharge at 30A (which can double if there are short bursts) when compared to batteries that run on 15A or 20A. For higher-power settings, you have nothing to worry about with these batteries as they are very safe. The fact that they are rechargeable means you can use them many times will give you a value for your money.

But keep in mind that using these batteries at high levels of power, in particular, will increase their degradation time. It is easy to tell because you will start to notice a reduction in how they perform.

Pros

  • Good for high-power devices
  • Rechargeable
  • 30A high discharge rate

Cons

  • Doesn’t last that long in between charges
  • Degradation sets in overtime
4 Pack of Authentic VTC5, 2600mAh 3.7V 30A, Flat Top, 18650-Battery, for FlashlightBuy on Amazon

Samsung 30Q 3000mah 20A Batteries

Next on our list are the 30Q 3000mAh batteries from Samsung, touted as the best based on the opinions of many users. We have good reason to believe they are right, especially as this battery takes up to a week of usage before the next charge. And yes, it’s worth noting that it requires relatively more time to attain full charge. What you have here are flat top batteries, so confirm their compatibility with your device before buying.

They’ll also surpass your expectations because, despite being 15A rated, the batteries can put in a 20A performance. Pushing a battery beyond its threshold can cause it to degrade fast, but this is surprisingly different for the Samsung 20A batteries. No matter the level of current, they will continue to supply the capacity of 3000mAh.

Pros

  • Long-lasting performance after each charge
  • Puts in a 15A or 20A performance

Cons

  • It requires a relatively longer charge time.
4 Pack of Authentic 25R, 2500mAh 3.7V 20A, Flat Top, 18650-Battery, for FlashlightBuy on Amazon

LG HG2 18650 3.7v 20A 3000mAh

In the world of electronics, LG stands out as one of the most reputable brands. This is due to their commitment to producing only dependable and quality products. This same quality reflects in their 18650 batteries that make it into our list of reliable batteries around.

The build of these batteries means they can supply a consistent power flow for long periods. We love the fast charge time, which is long-lasting, implying that you can use it for long before recharging. Apart from being very reliable, the HG2 batteries with a 3000mAh capacity are among the safest on the market. And that’s because they have a super-thick coating for secure use, which should put your mind at ease since there’s a very reduced risk of leaks or overheating.

But one drawback that we noticed about these batteries is that their degradation time is quite short. Just a few hundred charges and you will start to see that they do not have the longest of lives.

Pros

  • Extra-thick coating for safety
  • Long-lasting power
  • Consistent power flow for long periods

Cons

  • Degrades over time after a few hundred charges

MXJO 18650 2500mAh 20A

The MXJO 18650 batteries are kings when it comes to performing at extreme temperatures, unlike many other batteries you’ll find on the market. At temperatures as low as 14 degrees Fahrenheit or that shoot up to 140 degrees Fahrenheit, rest assured that your devices will continue to run.

These 18650 batteries have a very long charge time, similar to many high drain batteries. Buying these batteries from MXJO is no problem, but you should know that you will need lots of time to get them charged. That’s the only way to ensure that your device stays on for very long.

They can run nonstop at 20A with a high discharge current able to reach 35A at maximum. But this triggers faster battery drainage. If you want to enjoy using these batteries, make sure you charge them fully so that you benefit from their maximum performance.

Pros

  • High discharge current
  • Great performance even at extreme temperatures

Cons

  • Battery life isn’t that long
  • Needs a longer charge time
4 MXJO 2500mAh, 3.7V 20A, Flat Top,18650-Battery with Protective case, for Flashlight(New Version)Buy on Amazon

EBL 18650 Battery 3.7V 3000mAh

EBL put in the work needed to ensure that their 18650 batteries can last long. This is not to say that they are more or less powerful than the other brands discussed above. But when you buy these batteries, you have a guarantee of long battery life. It’s rare to notice a drop in battery life after over 100 charges.

But you need to handle them with care if you decide to purchase them. Running the EBL batteries for too long or rough handling them can hurt them. Using them for too long, also, can cause them to overheat. But it is worth noting that they come with a carrying case which should solve the problem of how to store them when not in use. This is necessary because we noticed that the batteries have a thinner outer casing when compared to some other top brands.

Pros

  • Long battery life
  • Retains its power capacity
  • Comes with a carrying case for storage

Cons

  • Tends to overheat fast
  • High damage risk
EBL 2 Pack 18500 Lithium-ion Rechargeable Batteries with EBL Li-ion Universal Battery ChargerBuy on Amazon

Beware of Fake 18650 Batteries!

Fake products are everywhere and this is one of the biggest problems in e-commerce. Vendors from different parts of the world purchase cheap cells and go on to rebrand them. They hope to deceive you into thinking the batteries are original. That’s why you find lots of fakes on platforms like Amazon and eBay, and you need to be careful.

Buying these fake batteries are not only a waste of money but also present significant safety risks. If you have a high powered device and buy a battery that you believe has the right CDR, you might end up with a damaged device. What’s even worse is that you could sustain injuries.

When examining a battery to ascertain whether its original or not, check its weight. Before buying, find the branded battery’s weight and cross-reference it with the specifications provided by the manufacturer. It would also make sense to check the battery on delivery. Your goal here is to ensure that what you have matches the specifications of the manufacturer. Any discrepancies are proof that the batteries are fake.

How To Care For Your 18650 Battery

Lithium-ion batteries need careful handling and storage. Adhering to the safety precautions is necessary and here are some useful suggestions to help you get the best out of your 18650 battery –

  • Keep the batteries within the 3.0-4.0V range to get the most out of it. This will require some effort on your part since a lot of batteries can go as low as 2.5V before they need recharging. These batteries can also reach up to 4.2V on a full charge. The point is that you should take care not to push the batteries to their extremes.
  • Take care not to run your batteries hot as this will cause them to age prematurely
  • Get a charging device for your batteries that switches off automatically on a full charge. We also advise that you take them out of the charger so that you don’t risk topping off your batteries due to continuous charging. This should keep them at maximum capacity for a long.
  • You will find chargers that can charge at 4V or 6V. There are upsides to this, but take note that this could speed up the degradation process because higher charging speeds cause battery cell stress. Find chargers that fall within the 0.1-3A range.

You’re Now Equipped To Buy The Best 18650 Battery

Your aim should be to buy from a seller with a good reputation. You also want to find a battery with the right specs for your device. That way, you guarantee your safety and ensure that your batteries will serve you for long. If your battery starts to show unusual signs, we advise that you stop using them at once. You don’t want to put yourself or your device at risk over a couple of bucks, do you?

This buying guide to the best 18650 battery contains all the information that you need to make the right decision. The five 18650 batteries reviewed earlier are great selections, and you can choose any that suits your preferences.

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