How to choose the Best 18650 Lithium Cell 2023
18650 lithium cell, when it comes to powering your electronic devices, the quality of your battery can make all the difference. That’s why we’ve compiled a list of the top 5 18650 batteries on the market today. Whether you’re a vaper, flashlight enthusiast, or just need a reliable battery for your everyday electronics, these batteries are sure to impress. So, without further ado, let’s dive into our top picks.
What is 18650 Battery?
18650 batteries are rechargeable lithium-ion batteries that are commonly used in electronic devices such as laptops, flashlights, and power banks. The name 18650 refers to the battery’s size, which is 18mm in diameter and 65mm in length.
These batteries have a high energy density, which means they can store more energy in a smaller size compared to other types of batteries. They also have a long lifespan and can be recharged hundreds of times before needing to be replaced.
18650 batteries have a nominal voltage of 3.7 volts and a typical capacity of 2200mAh to 3500mAh. They can be charged using a compatible charger, and it is important to use the correct charger to prevent damage to the battery or device.
Importance of Choosing the Right 18650 Battery
18650 batteries are widely used in various applications such as flashlights, laptops, power banks, and electric vehicles. Choosing the right 18650 battery is crucial because it can affect the performance, safety, and lifespan of the device.
Here are some reasons why choosing the right 18650 battery is important:
- Performance: The capacity and discharge rate of the battery can affect the performance of the device. Choosing a battery with a higher capacity and discharge rate can provide better performance.
- Safety: Using the wrong battery can lead to overheating, explosions, and fire hazards. Choosing a battery with the correct voltage, chemistry, and protection circuitry can ensure safe operation.
- Lifespan: The quality of the battery and how it is used can affect its lifespan. Choosing a high-quality battery and following proper charging and storage procedures can extend the battery’s lifespan.
Choosing the right 18650 battery is important for optimal performance, safety, and lifespan of the device. It is recommended to do research and consult with experts before purchasing a battery.
Factors to Consider When Choosing the Best 18650 lithium cell
- Capacity: The capacity of the battery is measured in milliampere-hours (mAh) and determines the amount of energy the battery can store. A higher capacity battery will last longer than a lower capacity battery.
- Voltage: The voltage of the battery determines the power output. Most 18650 batteries have a voltage of 3.7 volts, but some may have a higher or lower voltage.
- Chemistry: 18650 batteries are available in different chemistries such as lithium-ion (Li-ion), lithium polymer (LiPo), and nickel-metal hydride (NiMH). Li-ion batteries are the most common due to their high energy density, low self-discharge rate, and long lifespan.
- Brand and quality: It is important to choose a reputable brand and high-quality battery to ensure safety and reliability.
- Protection circuitry: Some 18650 batteries come with protection circuitry that prevents overcharging, over-discharging, and short circuits. This can increase the safety and lifespan of the battery.
- Price: The price of the battery should be considered, but it should not be the only factor. Cheaper batteries may be of lower quality and may not last as long or be as safe as more expensive batteries.
- Size and shape: 18650 batteries come in different sizes and shapes, so it is important to choose a battery that fits the device it will be used in.
- Usage: The intended usage of the battery should be considered, as some batteries are better suited for high-drain devices such as flashlights, while others are better for low-drain devices such as remote controls.
TOP 5 18650 Lithium Cells
The Samsung 25R is a high-quality rechargeable battery manufactured by Samsung. It is a Lithium-ion battery that is commonly used in electronic devices such as vape mods, flashlights, and other portable electronic devices. The 25R is a popular choice for many vapers due to its high capacity, long battery life, and reliable performance.
The Samsung 25R has a nominal voltage of 3.6 volts and a capacity of 2500mAh. It has a maximum continuous discharge rate of 20 amps, which makes it suitable for use in high-performance devices that require a lot of power. The battery is rated for a maximum charge voltage of 4.2 volts and has a standard charging current of 1.25 amps.
The 25R is a flat-top battery that measures 18.3mm in diameter and 65mm in length. It is a protected battery, which means that it has built-in safety features to prevent overcharging, over-discharging, and short-circuiting. The battery is also designed to be durable and long-lasting, with a lifespan of up to 500 charge cycles.
In terms of performance, the Samsung 25R is known for its high capacity and long battery life. It is capable of delivering consistent power output, even at high discharge rates, making it a reliable choice for vapers who need a battery that can handle heavy use. The battery also has a low self-discharge rate, which means that it can hold its charge for longer periods of time when not in use.
While all lithium ion batteries are safe when cared for properly, the Samsung 20S is considered one of the safest options. The CDR of 30A is the highest true rating among all lithium ion 18650 batteries and it has tested to maintain a low running temperature at up to 40A CDR. This high current rating does come with a cost as the Samsung 20S has a capacity of only 2000mAh so you will find yourself charging these batteries more often.
The SONY VTC5A is a high-performance lithium-ion battery that is widely used in many electronic devices, including vape mods, flashlights, and other portable devices. It is known for its high capacity, long-lasting power, and excellent performance.
Here are some of the key features of the SONY VTC5A:
- High capacity: The SONY VTC5A has a capacity of 2600mAh, which means it can provide long-lasting power to your devices.
- High discharge rate: The battery has a maximum continuous discharge rate of 25A, which makes it ideal for high-powered devices that require a lot of power.
- Reliable performance: The SONY VTC5A is known for its consistent and reliable performance, which makes it a popular choice among vapers and other electronic device users.
- Safety features: The battery has built-in safety features, such as overcharge protection, over-discharge protection, and short circuit protection, which help to prevent accidents and ensure safe use.
- Compatibility: The SONY VTC5A is compatible with most devices that require a 18650 battery, making it a versatile and convenient option for many users.
The SONY VTC5A is a high-quality battery that offers excellent performance, reliability, and safety features. If you’re looking for a powerful and long-lasting battery for your electronic devices, the SONY VTC5A is definitely worth considering
LG HG2 is a high-quality rechargeable lithium-ion battery manufactured by LG Chem, one of the leading battery manufacturers in the world. The battery has a nominal capacity of 3000mAh and a maximum continuous discharge current of 20A, making it ideal for use in high-drain devices such as vaping mods, flashlights, and other electronics.
The LG HG2 battery has a cylindrical shape and measures 18.3mm in diameter and 65mm in length. It features a flat top design with no protruding button, making it compatible with a wide range of devices that require this type of battery.
The battery uses a lithium-ion chemistry, which provides a high energy density and long-lasting performance. It has a nominal voltage of 3.6V and a maximum voltage of 4.2V when fully charged.
The LG HG2 battery is designed to be safe and reliable, with built-in protection against overcharging, over-discharging, and short-circuiting. It also has a high-temperature cutoff to prevent damage from overheating.
The Panasonic NCR18650B is a high-quality rechargeable lithium-ion battery that is widely used in various electronic devices, including flashlights, laptops, power banks, and electric vehicles. Here are some of its detailed features and specifications:
- Capacity: The NCR18650B has a capacity of 3400mAh, which means it can store a significant amount of energy and provide long-lasting power to your devices.
- Voltage: The battery has a nominal voltage of 3.7V, which is standard for most lithium-ion batteries.
- Chemistry: The NCR18650B uses a lithium-ion chemistry that ensures high energy density, low self-discharge rate, and long cycle life.
- Size: The battery has a standard 18650 size, which means it measures 18mm in diameter and 65mm in length.
- Weight: The NCR18650B weighs around 47 grams, which is relatively light compared to other high-capacity batteries.
- Protection: The battery has built-in protection circuitry that prevents overcharging, over-discharging, and short-circuiting, ensuring safe and reliable operation.
- Charging: The battery can be charged using a standard lithium-ion charger, and it takes around 4-5 hours to fully charge.
- Discharging: The NCR18650B can deliver a maximum continuous discharge current of 4.87A, which is suitable for most high-drain devices.
- Temperature range: The battery can operate within a temperature range of -20°C to 60°C, making it suitable for use in extreme environments.
- Lifespan: The NCR18650B has a lifespan of around 500 cycles, which means it can be recharged and used up to 500 times before its performance starts to degrade.
The Panasonic NCR18650B is a high-quality lithium-ion battery that offers high capacity, reliable performance, and excellent safety features, making it an ideal choice for a wide range of electronic devices.
The Sanyo NCR18650GA is a rechargeable lithium-ion battery that is commonly used in high-drain devices such as flashlights, e-cigarettes, and power tools. It has a nominal voltage of 3.6 volts and a capacity of 3500mAh, which means it can provide a high amount of energy for a long period of time.
The NCR18650GA uses a flat top design and measures 65mm in length and 18mm in diameter, making it compatible with most devices that use 18650 batteries. It has a maximum continuous discharge rate of 10A, which means it can handle high current demands without overheating or causing damage.
One of the key features of the Sanyo NCR18650GA is its high energy density, which allows it to store a large amount of energy in a small and lightweight package. This makes it ideal for portable devices that require a lot of power but need to be lightweight and easy to carry.
The NCR18650GA also has a long lifespan, with a typical cycle life of over 500 charge and discharge cycles. This means it can be used for several years before needing to be replaced, making it a cost-effective choice for many applications.
The Sanyo NCR18650GA is a high-quality lithium-ion battery that offers a combination of high energy density, long lifespan, and reliable performance. It is a popular choice for a wide range of applications and is widely regarded as one of the best 18650 batteries on the market.
Here is a table comparing the Samsung 25R, Sony VTC5A, LG HG2, Panasonic NCR18650B, and Sanyo NCR18650GA:
|Nominal Voltage (V)
|Max Continuous Discharge Current (A)
How to Choose an 18650 lithium cell
Brand / Manufacturer
The first thing to consider when choosing an 18650 battery for your device or project is the battery brand. Not all brands are created equal and often times you will find are not very truthful in their battery ratings. This is especially true when discussing the Chinese re-wrapping brands. The goal of any manufacturer or brand is to sell as many batteries as possible but some companies have been known to exaggerate their ratings to appear to offer a better product than the other. This practice of exaggerating battery specs is unlawful and can be very dangerous to consumers if gone unchecked. Thankfully, there is a watchdog in the lithium ion battery industry known as the battery mooch who provides thorough testing and will call out these companies for their unlawful practice.
There are five major brands that manufacturer batteries who you can rely on to provide quality, consistent and truthfully rated batteries and those brands are; LG Chem, Molicel, Samsung, Sony|Murata and Panasonic|Sanyo. These brands are well established and have long standing tradition, values and standard to uphold. Any manufacturer specs provided by these brands is well documented and tested many times over. You will often see the battery outperform the manufacturer ratings put forward from these brands.
Other brands such as Efest, Vapcell, Imren have been established for a few years and their quality has certainly improved. These brands tend to slightly exaggerate the battery ratings for their products in an effort to appeal to the consumer and sell more. It should be noted these companies do not actually produce their own lithium ion battery but instead purchase them from other manufacturers and then wrap the battery and add packaging to make the battery suitable for retail sale. They do often provide value by using a thicker PVC wrap on the battery which provides an extra layer of protection. As well these brands often include a battery carrying case with all of their batteries.
Given the choice, everyone would choose a battery with the highest capacity. Capacity is measured in milliampere-hours (mAh) and this tells us how many milliamps we can draw from the battery for how many hours. However, capacity comes at the cost of current rating (CDR). Inside of each cell, they can only fit so much material so you often have to choose between a high capacity battery OR a high current battery. Take for example the LG HB6 which has a CDR of 30A but only a capacity of 1500mAh. On the other end of the spectrum is the Panasonic NCR18650B which has a CDR of only 4.9A and capacity of 3400mAh.
There are some batteries that manage to balance capacity and current rating such as the Samsung 25R, LG HG2, and Samsung 30Q. All three of these batteries provide a great balance of capacity and current.
Continuous Discharge Rating (CDR)
This is probably the most important thing to consider when selecting a battery. You need to know how much current the device you are trying to power requires before choosing your battery. If you choose a battery with a current rating less than what you need, you will notice the battery overheating as it is working beyond its ability to keep up. There are also two terms you should know that are discussed in battery current ratings. Those terms are continuous discharge rating (CDR) and the pulse discharge rating (Pulse).
CDR – The maximum current at which the battery can be discharged continuously and safely per manufacturer testing without damaging the battery. Pushing a battery to limits beyond it’s ability will greatly increase the risk for battery failure.
Pulse Rating – The maximum current at which the battery can be discharged for a short period of time without damaging the battery or reducing its capacity.
We avoid using any pulse ratings as there are far too many factors to consider when pulsing a battery such as pulse length, time at rest between pulses and battery temperature to accurately compare two batteries. For these reasons, we use the CDR rating which is the current rating at which the battery can be continuously discharged at safely without overheating or damaging the cell.
Voltage Discharge Curve
Operating Temperature – If your battery is consistently reaching a high temperature and getting hot, this is a warning sign that the battery is being pushed too hard. A battery that is consistently rising above 45C will certainly age faster than a cool running battery. They can also be dangerous as the potential for venting and/or bursting is increased greatly with a high temperature lithium ion battery. You should consider choosing a battery with a higher CDR rating.
Flat top and Button Top – One final thing you want to consider is whether you need a flat top battery or a button top battery. This is referring to the positive end of the battery. A button top battery has a protruding surface which increases the battery’s length and may not fit in a device which requires a flat top battery. A flat top is as the name suggests a flat surface and may appear to be too short if your device is requiring a button top battery.