It’s so interesting that one of my friends is also asking me about “the best 18650 battery for flashlight”.
Honestly, it’s quite hard to present all of the essential things in few words. So you may get it, this post is all about the best 18650 battery review for flashlights.
So, what is the best 18650 battery ?
Just like the methods I used as looking for the best tactical led flashlights before, I also set some criteria for 18650 batteries and chargers.
After 10 hours of deep internet searching, and even after testing, I’m sure that:
Below are what the BEST 18650 batteries must have:
- Made by a reliable brand such as Sony, NiteCore, and LG
- High-drain rating ( Ampere): > 10A for flashlights, and >20 amps for vamping
- High capacity (mAh): > 2000mAh
- Built-in protection circuit for over-current; over-charge; over-discharge, and over-temp.
As for best 18650 battery chargers, I just use intelligent (smart) charger because it keeps battery life long and maintains safety during charging.
1/ Nitecore NL1835HP 3500mAh – Best 18650 battery for flashlight
Nitecore is a big flashlight brand, and they have provided batteries and chargers for quite a time. So, I do not worry when choosing it.
Nitecore NL1835HP is one of the good button-top high-capacity 18650 battery for led flashlights or any devices which need the longest run-time possible.
The Nitecore NL1835HP 3500mAh is the best 18650 battery for flashlight because:
- Capacity 3500 mAh, and max continuous rated discharge 8A
- Integrated overcharge & discharge protection
- 500 charge cycles, the lifespan estimate for 1.5-year-old if you recharge it once a day
- Overcurrent (activated at 10A-12A).
- Overcharge (activated at 4.35V).
- Over-discharge (activated at 2.5V).
- Over-temperature protection.
- DUAL short circuit protection (for external & internal).
That is why NITECORE NL1835 is safe to use and a popular choice for led flashlights and other heavy load devices. But NOT for Ecig devices
I’ve bought and used Nitecore NL1835 for my led flashlights for a month. Till now, I feel no difference between them, all work well.
And don’t forget:
To recharge the best 18650 batteries, you should not use dumb chargers. I highly recommend this smart charger – Nitecore D4 Smart Charger
Nitecore D4 charger is easier to monitor the status of batteries as well as safer. It is cheap BEST 18650 battery charger worth buying.
2/ The Best 18650 High-drain Batteries Review
So what are the best 18650 high-drain batteries? It means these batteries have max-min discharge from 20 amps to 15 amps.
In searching 18650 processing, I noted and picked out these best 18650 batteries for your reference.
Here are the Best 18650 batteries for vape mods:
These high drain flat-top 18650 batteries for vaping, have recommended by many vaping guys on Reddit, and vaping forums.
Hope to help you save time with this list:
* these are high drain (high discharge amps) batteries and they are the best cheap 18650 batteries
3/ Nitecore D4 review – Best 18650 battery charger
As I said above, Nitecore D4 Digi charger is my favorite. It is a small, and all-in-one smart charger for almost all cylindrical rechargeable batteries such as:
- Li-ion / IMR / LiFePO4: 26650, 22650, 18650, 17670, 18490, 17500, 18350, 16340 (RCR123), 14500, 10440
- Ni-MH / Ni-Cd: AA, AAA, AAAA, C
The reason I like Nitecore D4 so much is each of the four slots can monitor and charge independently.
Moreover, it integrates an LCD panel that visually displays progress and charging parameters.
Plus, the Nitecore D4 is super easy to use, you just insert the battery into the slot and done.
It will auto-detect the battery type and status, and then automatically apply charge mode (CC, CV, dV/dt) for each battery.
Note: CC: Constant Charge Current, CV: Constant Charge Voltage, dV/dt: delta Voltage/delta Time
And, other great features are:
- Automatically stops charging when complete
- Over-charge prevention to protect batteries
- Temperature monitoring to prevent overheating
- And made from durable ABS plastic for fire retardant/flame resistant
4/ Nitecore I4 Review – Best Cheap 18650 battery charger
In my book, Nitecore New I4 is absolutely another good choice if you need a simple design charger at a reasonable price.
In fact, Nitecore New I4 features similarly to the D4.
The significant difference between D4 and New I4 is, the New I4 only has an LED light displays progress charging while D4 has an LCD panel.
The New I4 can fast charge at 1.5 A with one battery put into the slot while D4 is good at 1A.
So, which one is the BEST, Nitecore D4 or New I4? Here is the comparison table of New I4 and D4:
Although Nitecore D4 and New I4 have the same features, the price of D4 is higher and completely worth a few extra dollars.
- D4 has an LCD display showing useful information about charging status and charging parameter for each battery.
- New I4 just has 4 LED displays charging progress for each slot. However, New I4 is really good for the money.
3/ XTAR VC4 Review
Xtar VC4 seems to be similar to the Nitecore D4 above, but VC4’s current charging is a little bit higher than D4’s.
Here is the comparison table between VC4 and D4:
The Xtar VC4 can charge 2 cells at 1 amp each bay or 4 cells at 0.5 amp each bay. The Nitecore D4 can only charge one cell at 0.75 amp and 4 cells at 0.35 amp each bay.
Moreover, VC4 has a USB interface that helps to charge flexible and convenient.
In short, both VC4 and D4 are the best for 18650 batteries or any other. If you need fast charging, VC4 is my recommendation.
Note: charging cells at high current can cause short life cell, but if you’re in the rush, it is fine.
Personally, I like Nitecore D4 the most, I bought it for a few months ago and I don’t regret my choice.
The features 3 types of 18650 battery review
Each type of 18650 batteries has separate-special-features. So, understanding 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 immediately without heat or burns out the battery. Even if it is shorted, which won’t cause flames or explosion because Manganese is an awesome chemical.
That is why there is no built-in protection circuit to prevent over discharging and shorted.
Stay with IMR 18650 batteries – these are better for portable devices such as the 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 performance.
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 have a higher price, 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 the 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 long time.
If you need HIGH-DRAIN 18650 battery for portable devices such as LED flashlights, power tools, vaping…
… I highly recommend not to use ICR18650 batteries or at least choose ICR18650 batteries which have PCB (protection circuit board)
Why are SMART 18650 battery chargers always the BEST choice?
Can a 18650 be charged without a specific charger? The answer is YES, of course. However, I don’t recommend you do that, why?
- Safety is first! This is one of the main reason I voted for digital smart chargers. I do not want fire or/and explosion during charging by using dumb chargers.
- With a smart 18650 battery charger, you wouldn’t worry about the over-charge, weak-charge and over-heat battery.
In addition, when the battery is being charged, you easily monitor the status of the battery such as voltage, current, estimated charging time, which dumb chargers can’t tell you.
Time (h) charging = capacity (mAh) / current (mA) charging.
For example, a 18650 has 3500mAh, it will take ~ 7 hours to be fully charged if you charge with current 500mA.
If you don’t want to use default mode, you can probably set the current charging for fast charging or something like that.
How can you prevent 18650 batteries from exploding?
There are two main reasons for battery explosion.
The battery was the short circuit, that means the positive (+) and negative (-) are in direct contact together via the metal objects such as paper-clips.
That causes the temperature and internal current of the battery to increase quickly and explode.
Over-charging, over-discharging, high-current-charging, buying low-quality batteries are the reasons why batteries explode.
So I highly recommend you use smart chargers which have protection circuit built-in.
It helps you avoid problems during charging batteries such as over-charge, reverse polarity, over-heating, and so on.
Plus, you need to store batteries into the battery case, that keeps your batteries out of the short circuit.
How can we extend the life of 18650 batteries?
The lifespan of 18650 batteries depends on how you use and charge them. Here are these tips to keep your 18650 long-life:
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 the capacity rating. That is why you do not store them at high temperature.
Do not charge batteries with high-current-charging:
In most of best 18650 batteries, you should charge them with current under 1 amp. Although high-current-charging helps you reduce charging time but it also causes overheating, explosion, and short life battery.
The last words
Hopefully, these reviews will help you choose the cheap best 18650 batteries for the flashlight
Thanks for stopping by!