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.
If you want to buy18650 batteries, here is the result of my searching and picking out stuffs for you to consider
- Made by reliable brand such as Panasonic, Sony, LG, Samsung
- High-drain rating (Ampere): > 10A
- High capacity (mAh): > 2500mAh
- Built-in protection circuit for over-current; over-charge; over-discharge, and over-temp.
- Rechargeable, of course!
Note: 18650 batteries from Nitecore, ORBTRONIC, Olight, etc. are made base on the 18650 batteries of Panasonic, Sony, LG, Samsung, unwrap them and you will see the original brand.
Below are my top choices of good quality 18650 batteries which meet the criteria above, and I’ll lay down other useful information about 18650 batteries as well.
Disclaimer: Some links in this post is Amazon affiliate links. If you click on a link and make a purchase, I may receive a commission of a few cents, but your price will not change. Thank you for supporting my blog!
Top Rated Best 18650 Battery Review
(including button-top and flat-top batteries)
These 18650 batteries have had many positive reviews and recommending from users in many forums such as candlepowerforums, budgetlightforum, e-cigarette-forum.
1. ORBTRONIC 18650 battery review (capacity: 3500mAh)
This is one of the high-capacity 18650 battery for led flashlights or any devices which need the longest run-time possible.
It is very safe working because it had a good PCB protection:
- Over current (Activated at 10A-12A).
- Over charge (Activated at 4.35V).
- Over discharge (Activated at 2.5V).
- Over temperature protection.
- DUAL short circuit protection (for external & internal).
Note: for recharging 18650 batteries, I don’t use dumb chargers, I use smart charger – Nitecore D2 Smart Charger. It is easy to monitor status of batteries and safety as well.
2.NITECORE NL189 – 18650 battery review (capacity: 3400mAh)
Just like ORBTRONIC 18650 batteries, the NITECORE NL189 is integrated with overcharge and discharge protection circuits. So it is safe to use and a popular choice for led flashlights and other heavy load devices.
Nitecore is a big flashlight brand, and they have provided batteries and chargers for quite a time. So, do not worry when choosing it.
I’ve bought and used both 18650 Orbtronic and Nitecore NL189 for my led flashlights for three months. I feel no difference between them, all work well.
3.The 18650 Flat Top Batteries Review
I haven’t used these 18650 flat top batteries before. In searching 18650 process, however, I noted and picked out the list of best 18650 flat top batteries for your reference.
Hope to help you save time with this list.
* these are high drain batteries and they are the best 18650 batteries for vaping
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.
The details about type of 18650 batteries in the market
Each type of 18650 battery has separate-special-features. So, understanding about it is necessary to help you easily choose the right type.
Below are 3 popular 18650 batteries in the market.
1. IMR18650 – Lithium Manganese Rechargeable
The IMR batteries are HIGH-DRAIN rating and don’t need Protective Circuit Board (PCB).
It supplies big current in an immediate without heat or burns out the battery. Even if it is shorted, which not cause of flames or explosion because Manganese is awesome chemical.
That is why there is no built-in protection circuit against over discharging and shorted, though.
Stay with IMR 18650 batteries – these are better for portable devices such as LED flashlight, power tools, vaping and more.
2. INR18650 – Lithium Manganese Nickel Rechargeable
These INR 18650 batteries are similar with IMR 18650 batteries but being added Nickel for optimizing performances.
The INRs combines the safety and low resistance of Manganese with the high energy of Nickel, which gives high capacity, HIGH-DRAIN and higher discharge than the IMR 18650 batteries and higher priced, of course.
3. ICR18650 – Li-Cobalt Rechargeable
The most quality ICR18650 are built-in with protection circuits because ICR 18650 batteries have higher capacity (mAh) but lower drain rating.
When you use high-current discharging or short circuit [get in an accident] it becomes too hot and may cause explosion. A protection circuit, in this case, will reduce the problems.
These ICRs are used in laptop batteries and other devices which need constant power over a longer time.
If you need HIGH-DRAIN 18650 battery for portable devices such as LED flashlights, power tools, vaping. I highly recommend not to use ICR 18650 batteries or at least choose ICR 18650 batteries has PCB (protection circuit board)
Hopefully, these information and review will help you choose the best 18650 battery. Thanks for stopping by!