Batteries are everyday items used with not much thought - whether that’s switching out old for new ones in a torch or a remote. But with vaping, it’s a little more complicated than that. Although you can now get models such as 26650 or 21700, most vapers opt for the ever-popular 18650 batteries, which are compatible with devices from top brands such as SMOK or GeekVape. Without them, you would not be able to power your vape. Single or multiple 18650s allow the coil to operate, which heats the e-liquid to create the vapour you love. However, there is much to consider before sticking these external batteries into your device and firing away. This guide aims to navigate through the scientific meaning and technical specifications required to find the best 18650 vaping batteries around.
What’s great about modern vapes is the range of devices at your disposal, each with their own unique features. Before you can begin to think about finding the best 18650 batteries for long life and power, it’s important to ensure external batteries are the right fit for you. Alternatively, you have internal batteries, which are pre-fitted into a device. Some vapers prefer this because it involves minimal fuss.
But for more experienced vapers, in particular those who prefer Sub-Ohm vaping, external 18650 batteries are the ideal choice. Find out why below, but first of all it helps to understand the jargon that comes with 18650 batteries, such as what mAh is and the key differences between this battery and alternatives.
Understanding the Terminology to Find the ‘Best 18650’ Option
How 18650 got its name is simple - based on dimensions 18mm is the size of the diameter, 65mm roughly is the length of the battery and the 0 at the end relates to the ring or cylinder shape of an 18650 battery. The same method applies when considering other sizes such as a 21700 battery. Not just used in vaping devices, you can find 18650 compact sources of energy in laptops, electrical tools and even cars, with thousands used to power a Tesla Roadster!
While lithium made batteries are not chargeable, the beauty of an 18650 battery is it’s created with lithium-ion, meaning you can recharge them. The two key aspects of any 18650 are the capacity, which is measured in Milliamps (often referred to as mAh) and the constant discharge, measured in Amps.
The capacity of an 18650 refers to how long the battery will last before it needs to be recharged. Meanwhile, the discharge rating relates to the amount of current discharged to support your device. Batteries with a high Amp should use a low mAh and a high mAh creates a low Amp reading. The recommended range is between 20-25A, anything below that will not be powerful enough to support your device. Go above that and you go into ‘pulse discharge’ territory.
This is when you exceed the amount of continuous current ‘pulsing’ through your vape. We advise sticking to the safe recommended levels. A simple way to measure the required amps for your device is:
V (Volts) = I (Amperage) x R (Resistance)
Once you work out this formula for your device, you know based on the wattage you use how much battery power you need and whether the 18650 is suited to your requirements.
What 18650 Battery is the Best?
While you’ll want to avoid 18650 batteries that reach a high temperature, it’s better to find a battery with high mAh and Amp numbers to optimise your performance. Anything above 2500mAh capacity is ideal, allowing a day long vape with most devices. However, it also depends on which technique you use such as Mouth to Lung or Direct to Lung vaping and how frequently you vape.
Finally, it’s great if you can find a battery that provides a large voltage. Why? First, it will ensure you do not need to extract as much current for regulated mods, meaning it will not require as much energy or effort. Second, those keen vapers looking to make big clouds can expect an easier ride when they have more volts to call upon.
Safety is another big consideration you need to make. It’s best to not just purchase the first battery you see that reads high in both Amps and mAh. In most cases, you will not want to exceed both simultaneously to continue enjoying your MTL or DTL experience. Instead, choose one with a high reading based on what you seek when you vape, whether that’s battery duration or power. Here are some other top safety tips to consider before you use them:
- Always go with a recognised brand that doesn’t claim huge Amp or mAh numbers above the industry standard.
- Keep your 18650 batteries in cases if taking extras out and about.
- Be wary of any scratches and marks on the batteries. Do not use if this is the case.
- If you’re using dual 18650 batteries (some mods even support three or four), it’s safer to go with the same brand so they charge at the same rate.
- Use a compatible charger with your chosen batteries. A good option is to go with a versatile option that accepts multiple battery sizes.
- Keep your batteries in good working order by not allowing them to overheat or cool down too much. The latter will result in a reduced capacity while overheating will prevent a long life.
Do 18650 Batteries Go Bad? When Should You Replace Them?
Like with any batteries, you can let them drop right down until they require charging. In most cases, there is an indication of the remaining battery level displayed on the mod screen and on some pod devices too. For peak performance, it’s best to charge them back up every time they drop to around 3.5 volts. But this is open to interpretation, with some vapers letting it run down to roughly 3.0 Volts. Any lower than that and you will know because it will begin to affect your vaping experience. They can ‘go bad’ if not maintained and will need replacing eventually anyway, with the average amount of full charges between 300-500 times. When you do decide they need charging, always keep a watchful eye to ensure safety for yourself and those around you.
The more recognised the brand, the better the quality meaning you can get a longer life out of them. Also, how you manage your batteries and adding them to a compatible device is equally important. With 18650 batteries, you can get protected or unprotected products. Everybody has different preferences but with protected, you get additional insurance with the built-in short circuit which helps to prevent overheating or excess discharging.
Because many 18650 batteries are used externally for mods and kits, lots of advanced devices equipped with their own circuit protection means ‘protected’ 18650s are not required unless you prefer added security. Nevertheless, better to err on the side of caution. For instance, with technology brand Samsung, they warned e-cigarette users not to use Samsung lithium-ion 18650 batteries in devices, or risk fire damage, injury and even death in a message to their customers.
Overall, 18650s can last from a couple of months up to a year depending on how frequently you vape. The best advice is to keep within the recommended Amp, Volt and mAh levels to reduce the frequency you’ll need to replace your 18650 batteries.
More Power or Battery Life?
With so much choice, it’s challenging to know what’s best for your device. After reading our guide, the reasons for 18650s popularity and common preference should be more clear, providing you always look for a recognised label that clearly states all the key specifications. That way you’ll know whether it will match your vape and the wattage you like. With so many different options in the vaping industry, keep in mind that many sites will try to offload fake batteries or low powered products that will not last. Try not to be swayed by impossible levels of Amperage. Even with a supercharged Sub-Ohm device that packs a punch, if your 18650 battery (whether singular purchase or multiple) claims they can reach beyond 35A, it’s best to avoid.
Whether you want a longer-lasting battery that keeps you going all day or a powerful battery to help create huge vapour clouds, there is plenty of options. For instance, if you like not having to charge as often, why not try an 18650 battery with a large 3000mAh capacity. Or perhaps you’re seeking something with slightly less power that’s even easier to maintain and suitable for mid-range devices too. The good thing about the 18650 battery is its versatility. It fits in most mod devices and often used in mod devices too pre-fitted. If you prefer to swap out your own and charge when you need, it’s the ideal solution to give a vaper more flexibility.
Plus, you can use them in multiple devices too, which is a fantastic benefit. Providing you’re safe when using them, take care to not overload their capacity and dispose of correctly by recycling, 18650 is the clear winner! If you have any questions regarding 18650 batteries or simply need some advice which pair best with your device, do not hesitate to reach out and contact our helpful customer service team.