I needed to replace the old 18650 batteries for my tactical flashlights – Fenix PD35 and Nitecore P12 – wanted to have something better.
So I did research and bought both 18650 Orbtronic (3500mAh) and 18650 Nitecore NL189 (3400mAh). They turned out great, I’ve been very pleased with them.
You may be wondering what is the best 18650 battery? After few days digging in a deep searching for that question (yeah, I had quite free time), below are what a good quality 18650 battery must have:
- Made by good brand such as Panasonic, Sony, LG, Samsung
- High-drain rating (Ampere): > 20A
- High capacity rating (mAh): > 2500mAh
- Built-in protection circuit such as over-current; over-charge; over-discharge, and over-temp.
Things you should consider
Before you buy the 18650 batteries, you should consider these factors below:
Flat top vs. button top: Although they are 18650 batteries but the dimension is little bit different – flat top cells are shorter. They are separate and not interchangeable.
High drain discharge vs. high capacity: The high-drain is used in heavy load such as led flashlights and e-cigar whereas high-capacity is used in most of the digital devices.
Actually, the differences between them are not so big. Nowadays, the new version of 18650 batteries has larger capacity and high-drain than before.
Tips to keep 18650 batteries long lifespan and maintain capacity rating
Just like the AA/AAA batteries, the lifespan of 18650 batteries depends on how you use and charge them.
For long lasting lifespan and maintain capacity rating, here are some important points that you should know while using and storing 18650 batteries:
Do not deep discharge (don’t let it discharge to empty or near empty). If the capacity of 18650 battery reduces to less than 50%, you should recharge it.
The high temperature will cause short lifespan and reduce capacity rating. That is why you do not store them in high temperature places and shouldn’t recharge them with high-charging-current.
You should buy a smart 18650 battery charger which is worth the money. Read my another post of 18650 battery charger and you will know why I recommend it for you.