Review: 3 Best 18650 Battery and Charger for Flashlights

By Cameron | Good Stuff

Aug 01

Review - the Best 18650 Batteries and Chargers for Flashlights

3400mAh 18650 Battery ORBTRONIC Protected Button Top Rechargeable High Performance Li-ion 3.7V for High Power Flashlights (Pack of: 2X Batteries)
684 Reviews
3400mAh 18650 Battery ORBTRONIC Protected Button Top Rechargeable High Performance Li-ion 3.7V for High Power Flashlights (Pack of: 2X Batteries)
  • Unlike other batteries that will cut off power at 4 Amp, our battery will provide up to 10 Amp load
  • Protection: Over-current, Over-charge-Over-discharge-Over-temp. and DUAL short circuit protection.
  • Best Protected battery for High-Power flashlights - NOT for E-CIG mods
  • 5 yrs storage life battery cell: Panasonic-Made in Japan, Protection -Seiko, ICs made in Japan.
  • Dimensions: Diameter (mm): 18.6 mm (+/- 0.03), Length (mm): 68.9 mm (+/- 0.03). Top Button.
Nitecore D4 digital smart battery Charger for Li-ion Ni-MH Ni-CD with 12V DC Car Adapter, NBM40 18650 battery magazine & EdisonBright Battery Carry Case
3 Reviews
Nitecore D4 digital smart battery Charger for Li-ion Ni-MH Ni-CD with 12V DC Car Adapter, NBM40 18650 battery magazine & EdisonBright Battery Carry Case
  • Capable of charging 4 types of batteries simultaneously
  • Compatible with Li-ion (26650, 22650, 18650, 17670, 18490, 17500, 18350, 16340(RCR123), 14500, 10440), Ni-MH and Ni-Cd (AA, AAA, AAAA, C) rechargeable batteries
  • Optimized charging design for IMR batteries; • Intelligent circuitry detects the battery type and status before entering automatic charge mode (CC, CV, dV/dt)
  • Integrated LCD panel clearly displays charging parameters and progress
  • 12V DC Cable, Nitecore NBM40 battery magazine & BBX3 EdisonBright battery carry case included

Last update on 2018-10-22 PTS - Details

In the previous article, I mentioned two tactical flashlights run on 18650 batteries which I bought for my camping trip

It’s so interesting that one of my friends is also asking me about “the best 18650 battery and the best charger for flashlights”.

REVIEW: Top 3 BEST 18650 Battery Chargers
REVIEW: Top 3 BEST 18650 Batteries

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 and charger for flashlights.

Just like the methods I used as looking for the best led-flashlights before, I also set some criteria for 18650 batteries and chargers.

So, what is the best 18650 battery and charger?

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.

Review: 3 Best Quality 18650 Batteries for Vamping, and Flashlights

I can’t wait to show you my review of top 3 BEST cheap 18650 batteries. Amazingly, they are not only good for flashlights but also for other devices such as vaping and toys.

These 18650 batteries have had many positive reviews and recommendations from users in many forums such as candlepowerforums, budgetlightforum, e-cigarette-forum, quora and reddit.

1. ORBTRONIC 18650 (capacity: 3500mAh) battery for Flashlights

This is one of the button-top high-capacity 18650 battery for led flashlights or any devices which need the longest run-time possible.

However, if you are looking for high drain best 18650 battery for vaping,  the LG HE2 18650 2500mAh High Drain 35A is one of the best choices.

Button-top ORBTRONIC 18650 (capacity: 3500mAh)

ORBTRONIC 18650 battery review

It is very safe working because it had 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).
Buy It On Amazon

Note:

To recharge 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 a status of batteries as well as safer. It is cheap BEST 18650 battery charger worth buying.

2. NITECORE NL189 – 18650 battery review

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 NL189 – 18650 (capacity: 3400mAh)

Just like ORBTRONIC 18650 batteries, the NITECORE NL189 is the best 18650 battery for flashlights

  • Capacity 3400 mAh
  • Integrated overcharge & discharge protection
  • 500 charge cycles, the lifespan estimate for 1.5 year-old if you recharge it one a day

So NITECORE NL189 is safe to use and a popular choice for led flashlights and other heavy load devices. But NOT for Ecig devices

Buy It On Amazon

I’ve bought and used both 18650 Orbtronic and Nitecore NL189 for my led flashlights for a week. Till now, I feel no difference between them, all work well.

3. The Best 18650 Flat Top Batteries Review for vape mods

So what is the best 18650 battery for vaping? That is high-drain 18650 batteries. It means these batteries have max-min discharge from 30 amps to 20 amps.

I haven’t used these 18650 flat top batteries for vape mods.

In searching 18650 processing, however, I noted and picked out the list of best 18650 vape battery 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.

Best 18650 batteries for vape mods

Hope to help you save time with this list:

  1. Samsung  INR18650-25R –  2500mAh High Drain 20A
  2. SONY US18650VTC6 – 3000mAh High Drain 30A
  3. LG HG2 INR18650 – 3000mAh High Drain 20A
  4. LG HE2 18650 – 2500mAh High Drain 35A

* these are high drain (high discharge amps) batteries and they are the best cheap 18650 batteries for vaping 

Top 3 best SMART 18650 battery chargers review for the money

So you’ve already picked the good 18650 batteries and now you are looking for a good charger?

A fast, safe, and reliable charger at a good price?

Here are three BEST 18650 battery chargers – Nitecore D4, Nitecore I4, and XTAR VC4, you can’t go wrong with any one of them.

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1. Nitecore Intellicharger (digicharger) D4 review

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
Nitecore Intellicharger (digicharger) D4 Review

Nitecore D4 Charger with Integrated LCD Panel Clearly Displays For Li-ion Ni-MH And Ni-Cd Rechargeable Batteries – Buy it at Amazon

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

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2. Nitecore Intellicharger (digicharger) New I4 Review

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.

NITECORE i4 (New version) Intellicharge universal smart battery Charger review

NITECORE i4 (New version) Intellicharge universal smart battery Charger – Buy it at Amazon

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:

Nitecore Intellicharger D4 vs. New I4 – Review

Check the details & PRICE: Nitecore D4 | Nitecore I4

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.

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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.

XTAR VC4 18650 charger review

XTAR VC4 Li-ion/Ni-MH Battery Charger Premium USB LCD Display Charger – Buy it at Amazon

Here is the comparison table between VC4 and D4:

Nitecore D4 vs. XTAR VC4 review

Check the price and more details: Nitecore D4XTAR VC4

The Xtar VC4 can charge 2 cells at 1 ampe each bay or 4 cells at 0.5 ampe each bay. The Nitecore D4 can only charge one cell at 0.75 ampe and 4 cells at 0.35 ampe 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.

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.

First:

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 battery increase quickly and explode.

Second:

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 capacity rating. That is why you do not store them at high temperature.

Do not charge batteries with high-current-charging:

In most of 18650 batteries, you should charge them with current under 1Amp. Although high-current-charging helps you reduce charging time but it also causes over-heating, explosion, and short life battery.

The features 3 type of 18650 batteries in the market

Each type of 18650 batteries 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).

IMR18650

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.

INR18650

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.

ICR18650

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)

The last words

Hopefully, these reviews will help you choose the cheap best 18650 batteries and chargers in a budget for the flashlights and vamping.

Thanks for stopping by!

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