I am going to be covering a few topics before we start on the actual battery reviews. The reason being you will have a better understanding of what a 18650 li-ion battery is and by knowing these details you will be in a better position to choose the correct battery for your task. So continue reading and learn all you need to know about the versatile and powerful 18650 li-ion battery.
What is a 18650 Li-ion Battery
The 18650 battery is simply a cell measuring 65mm in length and 18mm in diameter. The 18650 name, simply put, is the size of them, just as the more common AA and AAA batteries have their names.
Lithium-ion (or Li-ion for short) is the chosen battery makeup for a vast majority of portable electric products like laptops, smartphones, power tools and even fully electric cars like Tesla. The reason for their popularity is due to their great power output rates and the fact that unlike other rechargeable batteries they can be charged if they’re partially discharged or fully discharged without causing damage.
What Does mAh Mean and How Does It Affect Your Battery
mAh is short for (milliamp Hour) and is a unit that measures (electric) power over time. The number is an indicator of the amount of energy the battery can store after a charge. Using the same device with a 2000mAh battery compared to a 4000mAh battery, you would achieve twice the usable time before the recharge is needed. A higher number means that the battery can store more energy, so it has a higher capacity.
Maximum continuous discharge or CDR (continuous discharge rate)
In plain English CDR is the maximum continuous power in Amps the battery can deliver. This figure is more important when you plan to use your new 18650 battery in a high drain product. You can normally find these details on the item spec that you plan to use your battery on or you can check the battery that is being used or supplied in the product you are planning on buying a new battery for, the most common figure is in the 30A CDR range.
The Benifits In Using a 18650 Battery Over a Standard Non Rechargable Battery
So we have two things to consider here. One is the cost involved between buying non rechargeable alkaline batteries and the other being the ability to buy a battery that completely suits your needs.
Lets do a quick comparison over buying rechargeable vs non rechargeable batteries:-
- A 18650 Samsung 2500mAh battery x 2 is available on amazon for around $16.00
- A pack of 8 AAA Duracell batteries from Walmart / Asda around $6.50
A non rechargeable AAA battery in a device like a torch or a vape will last up to 24 hours before it’s fully drained, compared to a 18650 li-ion battery which, depending on it’s mAh, can last longer and then be recharged and used again. A 16850 battery can have a life span of around the 2 – 3 year mark so if it’s a device that you use frequently you’re going to be making a huge saving just by being able to recharge the same battery. If you were using one pack of AAA batteries a month you would be saving $140 over a two-year period.
Protected and Unprotected batteries
When shopping for a new 18650 Li-ion battery you will notice you have the option ‘protected’ or an ‘unprotected’. Unprotected batteries will more than likely be cheaper as there is no electrical circuit built into the battery casing that protects not only the battery from being excessive discharge and charged, short circuits and extreme temperatures it also protects the product you intend to use it in. If you do intend on buying an unprotected battery you will need to take a few precautions like not leaving the battery on charge to long and making sure the device your using it for does not have a large power draw as this could damage the battery to a point were it could leak or even explode.
I highly recommend spending the little extra and choosing a protected battery over an unprotected battery.
Tips On looking Out For Fake 18650 Batteries
This is a bit of a tricky subject to cover because fraudulent companies have become very good at making fake or cheaper version of the battery they claim to be selling look like a genuine. It’s just a case of replacing the plastic cover with a replica of a genuine expensive battery, so there are a few things you can look out for when buying, the main one being if it’s a lot cheaper than all the other’s their is a good chance it’s cheap for a reason i, e it’s a fake, the other checks you can do require you to physically have the item in your possession. The first being, weighing the battery and checking online to see if it matches up with the manufacture’s information. All you need to look up is for example “Samsung 18650 4500mAh data sheet”. The other check you can do but not always is companies like vapCell will put on a ANTI FAKE label on the battery. Just scratch it off and you can check the number on it’s website for authenticity.
Best 18650 Batteries On The Market Without Prejudice
- Panasonic NCR18650B 3.7V 3400mAh
- Samsung INR18650 2500mAh 3.7v
- UltraFire 18650 2000mAH 3.7v
- LG INR18650 HG2 High Drain Li-ion 3.7V 20A 3000mAh
- Sony VTC5A 15A 3000mAh
- VapCell 38A 2000mAh 3,7v
- Efest Purple IMR 18650 2500mAh 35A 3.7v
So to conclude, now you know what your looking for in a new 18650 Li-ion battery, you will be able to purchase the best battery for the product or use you have in mind for. You know what a 18650 battery is, what the mAh represents, what CDR is and how it can effect you, the benefits of using a protected battery over an unprotected battery and how to check for fake dangerous batteries. Now you’re in the strongest position to go and get a great battery to meet your needs.