In the previous post, I wrote about the benefits and has recommended the best 18650 battery chargers for your choice. Today, I continue to write the buying guide for choosing best 18650 battery. Hope you like it. Here we go!
In a Rush?
There is a ton of junk 18650 batts from generic brands in the market. So, understanding the features of 18650 batteries and filter out the qualified brands are necessary! By following this article, you will find out which 18650 battery is the best choice and other useful information as well.
- Top 3 BEST Quality 18650 Battery to consider
- Tips to keep 18650 batteries long lifespan and maintain capacity rating
- Three types of BEST 18650 Battery in the market
- So, what is the BEST choice?
Top 3 BEST Quality 18650 Battery to consider
Here are my some recommended best quality 18650 batteries for your choice. These 18650 batteries have had many positive reviews from users in many forums. I already bought both 18650 Orbtronic and 18650 Nitecore NL189 for my best tactical flashlight – Fenix FD35 and I have been very pleased with them!
1) ORBTRONIC (capacity: 3400mAh)
This is one of the high-capacity 18650 battery for flashlights or any application which needs 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).
2) NITECORE NL189 (capacity: 3400mAh)
NITECORE NL189 is integrated with overcharge and discharge protection circuits. So it is safe to use and a popular choice for led flashlights.
Nitecore is a big flashlight brand, and they have provided batteries and chargers for quite a time. So, do not worry when choosing it.
3) LG HE2 (capacity: 2500mAh – 20A)
If you are looking for a good quality flat-top 18650 battery, the LG HE2 is the BEST choice.
Tips to keep 18650 batteries long lifespan and maintain capacity rating
Just like the other 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:
- You do not deep discharge before recharging 18650 batteries. 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 why you do not store it in high temperature and quick recharge it at high-charging-current as well.
- 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.
Three types of BEST 18650 Battery 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 batteries – these are better for portable devices such as LED flashlight, power tools, vaping and more.
2. INR18650: Lithium Manganese Nickel Rechargeable
These INR batteries are similar with IMR 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 batteries and higher priced too.
3. ICR18650: Li-Cobalt Rechargeable
The most quality ICRs are built-in with protection circuits because ICR 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 batteries or at least choose ICR batteries has PCB (protection circuit board)
So, what is the BEST choice?
Before you buy the 18650 battery, you should consider these factors that I listed below:
- Flat top or Button top: Although most of the devices use 18650 flat-top battery but some others don’t. You need to choose the right one for your devices if you don’t want to waste your money.
- High drain discharge rating vs. High capacity rating: The high-drain is used in led flashlights and e-cigar whereas high-capacity is used in most of the digital devices. Actually, the differences between them are not much. Nowadays, the new version of 18650 batteries has larger capacity and high-drain than before.
- The number of rechargeable times: Depend on brands and types of material, the number of rechargeable times is different. It probably has 500, 1000 or 2000 times of rechargeable. You may think 500 times of rechargeable is not much. Think again. If you need to recharge 18650 five times a week, you need up to 25 months to get over 500 times recharging!
- About the brands: The Panasonic, LG, Sanyo, Samsung and Sony are qualified brands that you can probably trust. Why? Because there are some BIG brands such as Nitecore, Foxnovo, Orbtronic, which produce their 18650 batteries by rewrapping from Panasonic, LG, Sanyo, Samsung.
Many generic battery brands re-wrap the other brands and lie about their specs. There are lots of frauds out there, so only buy from a known and trusted vendor.
Hopefully, my buying guide for choosing the best 18650 battery would be useful for you. Thanks for stopping by!