In this post, I recommend a list of the best 18650 batteries for flashlights. These are the best quality 18650 battery to buy on Amazon of 2020.
What is the best 18650 battery for flashlight?
I set some criteria for a good quality rechargeable 18650 battery. I’m sure that the best quality 18650 battery must have:
- Made by a good reliable brand such as Sony, Panasonic, NiteCore, LG, Samsung
- High-drain rating (Ampere): 5A to 20A
- High capacity (mAh): around 2000mAh
- Best quality 18650 batteries have a weight around 42g, fake ones are very light.
These are the intelligent (smart) charger that keeps battery life long and safety during charging.
Nitecore NL1835HP 8A 3500mAh – Best 18650 battery 3500mah for flashlights
Nitecore is a reliable flashlight brand they have provided batteries and chargers for quite a time. So, I do not worry when choosing it.
I’ve bought and used Nitecore NL1835HP for my led flashlights for a year. Till now, I feel no difference, all work well.
Nitecore NL1835HP is one of the good cheap rechargeable 18650 batteries for led flashlights or any devices which need the longest run-time possible.
The Nitecore NL1835HP 3500mAh is the best quality 18650 battery for the flashlight because:
- Capacity 3500 mAh, max continuous 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
Top best 18650 battery for flashlights
All of the 18650 batteries with the normal-drain rating at 5A, 8A, 10A that are good for flashlights, toys. The high-drain rating at 15A, 20A, 25A, 30A that are good for power tools, and vamp mods.
The high-drain 18650 batteries have low capacity, and vice versa.
Here is the list of good quality 18650 batteries for flashlights:
#1. Sony VTC6 18650 3000mAh 15A Battery Rechargeable – best 18650 battery for vape mods and flashlight
- Brand & Model: Sony US18650VTC6
- Nominal Capacity: 3000mAh
- Continuous Discharge Current: 15A
- Nominal Voltage: 3.6V
- Top: Flat Top
- Approximate Weight: 46.6g
#2. Panasonic NCR18650B 3400mAh 4.9A Good Cheap 18650 Battery for Video doorbell USB Fan LED Flashlight
- Brand & Model: Panasonic NCR18650B
- Nominal Capacity: 3400mAh
- Continuous Discharge Current: 4.9A
- Nominal Voltage: 3.6V
- Top: Button Top
- Approximate Weight: 47.5g
#3. Samsung 35E 18650 3500mAh 8A – best 18650 battery 3500mah for flashlight
- Brand & Model: Samsung INR18650-35E
- Nominal Capacity: 3500mAh
- Continuous Discharge Current: 8A
- Nominal Voltage: 3.6V
- Top: Flat Top
- Approximate Weight: 50g
Are there different types of 18650 batteries?
There are 3 different types of 18650 batteries:
- IMR18650 – Lithium Manganese Rechargeable
- INR18650 – Lithium Manganese Nickel Rechargeable
- ICR18650 – Li-Cobalt Rechargeable
1. IMR18650 – Lithium Manganese rechargeable
The IMR batteries are HIGH-DRAIN ratings 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 to 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 is built-in with protection circuits because ICR 18650 batteries have a higher capacity (mAh) but lower drain rating.
When you use high-current discharging or short circuits [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 that 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)
Can a 18650 battery 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 reasons 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, an 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 the battery explosion.
The battery was the short circuit, which 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:
#1. 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.
#2. The high temperature will cause a short lifespan and reduce the capacity rating. That is why you do not store them at high temperatures.
#3. Do not charge batteries with high-current-charging. In most of the best 18650 batteries, you should charge them with current under 1 amp.
Although high-current-charging helps you reduce charging time it also causes overheating, explosion, and short life battery.
Which 18650 battery lasts longest?
Here are some lasts longest 18650 batteries:
- Sony VTC6 18650 Battery 3000mAh 15A Flat Top
- Samsung INR18650-30Q 3000mAh 15A Battery Flat Top
- Samsung 25R / INR18650-25R 2500mAh 20A Flat Top
- LG HE4 INR18650 Battery 2500mAh 20A Flat Top
Most of the best 18650 batteries have a typical cycle life of about 300 to 1000 cycles for charge and discharge. The cycle life depends on current discharging consumption.
For example, a Nitecore NL1835HP has 500 cycles, so the lifespan estimate for 1.5-year-old if you recharge it once a day by an intelligent (smart) charger.
What battery is a 18650?
The 18650 is the size of a li-on 3.6v battery. It means the diameter is 18 millimeters, and the length is 65.0 millimeters.
The good 18650 batteries are popular on various devices such as portable charger power bank, flashlights, vape mods, toys, power tools.
Are 18650 batteries the same as AAA?
The answer is No! The 18650 batteries and AAA batteries are completely different about the size and the volt level.
- The 18650 battery has 18 millimeters of the diameter, 65.0 millimeters of the length, and the volt is 3.7v
- The AAA battery is smaller and the volt is only 1.5v
How can I tell if my 18650 battery is real?
The simplest way (without causing damage) to check the 18650 batteries is real or fake that is weighing it. The fake batteries are very lightweight, and fake capacity (very large at 4000mah, 5000mah) on the label.
The weight of the best quality 18650 battery should be more than 42g. So you should buy 18650 batteries from reliable stores.
What can I use instead of a 18650 battery?
You can use two CR123 lithium rechargeable battery to replace for a 18650 battery.
Are all 18650 batteries the same size?
NO, there are some 18650 batteries which are not the same size because:
- Some battery brands have thicker wrappings
- There are both button-top and flat-top batteries
- Some 18650 batteries built-in a circuit board side that is why they are taller than other 18650
The last words
Hopefully, these reviews will help you choose the cheap best 18650 batteries for the flashlight
Thanks for stopping by!