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 –
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
- Good for high-power devices
- 30A high discharge rate
- Doesn’t last that long in between charges
- Degradation sets in overtime
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.
- Long-lasting performance after each charge
- Puts in a 15A or 20A performance
- It requires a relatively longer charge time.
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.
- Extra-thick coating for safety
- Long-lasting power
- Consistent power flow for long periods
- Degrades over time after a few hundred charges