What is The Best 18650 Battery in 2022

by Andrew Guy | Last Updated: August 25, 2020

If you have ever starting researching or getting to know some of the better or best handheld LED flashlights that are available on the market, you will have no doubt read the numbers 18650.

If you are at all into the large new Vape craze, or have friends that are into high-quality vapes and vaping, you will have heard of the 18650 battery.

If have never heard of a 18650 battery, but you have ever used a good quality cordless power tool, vacuum cleaner or even laptop, you have probably used or own a 18650 battery, as most of those power packs consist of multiple 18650 batteries inside.

When it comes to the best bang for buck rechargeable battery, in terms of price and money, or in terms of output and length of time it lasts for it’s size, the 18650 is undoubtedly the best rechargeable battery out there, and the best handheld high current rechargeable battery.

That being said, being the best, comes at a price, and often the common 18650 batteries that are found on the market, or included with budget or lower end flashlights, are often fake or cheap Chinese made versions, being of a low quality and having a low capacity.

When you really get into the technical specifications of handheld LED flashlights, and top end vapes, you realize that a good quality brand 18650 battery makes a big difference, and you often get what you pay for.

Some of the big names in the 18650 battery market are Samsung, Panasonic, Sony and LG to name a few. But because of their popularity, the market for counterfeit big brand 18650 batteries is huge. The venerable Samsung VTC6 18650 which has gained notoriety for it’s high output and long lasting capacity among Vape and LED flashlight enthusiasts, is almost impossible to ensure you get a real original one, without buying it from one very few reputable stores, or cracking open some of the high-end OEM powertool battery packs and taking them out of there.

With all that being said, let us take a look at what are our picks for the best 18650 battery for 2020 for the money, when considering the price, capacity, output and availability. We also recommend legitimate store to buy them from to ensure you get a real legitimate 18650 that is actually manufactured by the brand the store is claiming.

Best Value for Money 18650 Battery

Samsung High Drain 30Q 18650 Battery

The reputable and famous Samsung 30Q 18650 pink battery, is known for it’s reliability, and true 15A drain output, whilst still offering a good 3000mAh capacity. Excellent for most 18650 uses like normal handheld LED flashlights and vapes where ultimate output is not the main goal, but rather accurate consistency, and quality at a reasonable price.

Rated at 15A and tested to 15A, but even at 20A if kept under 75 degrees Celsius.

Rated at 3000mAh capacity and tested to be true 3000mAh capacity.

This makes it our top Value for Money choice for the best 18650 battery for 2022.

When you use the link above to shop for one of the products, we receive a small commission from the sale, at no extra cost to you. This helps us keep this site going, and does not affect the price you would pay usually in any way whatsoever.

Best High Drain 18650 Battery

Sony VTC6 18650 Battery

The current recognized high drain king of the 18650 battery market, the Sony VTC6 has become the go to battery for ultimate LED flashlight output and lumen power as well as max vape current with a 30A max discharge capability.

Rated at 15A output, and tested to 15A output, but also able to achieve 20A output if battery is kept under 20 degrees Celsius.

Rated capacity of 3000mAh and tested at 3000mAh capacity.

This makes is our top choice for the best 18650 battery for 2022 in the high drain category.

When you use the link above to shop for one of the products, we receive a small commission from the sale, at no extra cost to you. This helps us keep this site going, and does not affect the price you would pay usually in any way whatsoever.

Best 18650 Battery Charger for 2022

Nitecore D4 smart Charger

Maybe not the very latest on the market, but we have been using this same one for over 5 years since 2015, and it has been proven by millions of users worldwide, so it still remains our top choice for the best 18650 battery charger for 2022.

When you use the link above to shop for one of the products, we receive a small commission from the sale, at no extra cost to you. This helps us keep this site going, and does not affect the price you would pay usually in any way whatsoever.

Frequently Asked Questions:

What is the mAh rating on a 18650 battery?

Capacity or mAh Rating-an approximation of how long a battery charge should last from 100% charging to cutting off the battery. About 100 mAh = 1 hour use with low-drain applications such as flashlights. With the higher performance demands of most vape gear today, your estimate will be lower than that of how long the battery will last between charges.

Capacity is normally indicated in mAh, but as it is, this number is not very usable. To use it more effectively, you need to convert mAh (milliamp hour) to Wh (Watt hours).

Not mAh, but Wh (Watt-hours) is the interesting or useable figure here. Current capacity is easily converted to power capacity using Ohm’s law and a nominal voltage of 3.7V on this easy conversion tool or with the formula of (Wh)*1000/(V) =(mAh). For example, if you have a 1.5Wh battery rated at 5V, the power is 1.5Wh * 1000 / 5V = 300mAh.

A 2 Wh battery can deliver two Watts for an hour, one Watt for two hours, and so on, half a Watt for four hours, etc.

What is the C rating or Amps rating of an 18650 battery?

Amp Rating – or ‘continuous rate of discharge’ (CDR). In layman’s terms, that is the cell’s maximum current available.

Technically this is the maximum electric current at which the battery can be continuously discharged before the battery fails. The manufacturer sets this specification, and is a standard measurement in the industry.

The “pulse or burst discharge rate” is not a standard measure, and varies from one manufacturer / seller to another, making comparisons from one company to another impossible and should therefore never be relied on.

Be wary of an advertiser or vendor using pulse rating to describe their battery; find out what the “continuous discharge rating” (CDR) is.

The CDR is not offering a suggestion.
It’s the cell’s sure operating limit.

Basic rule of thumb right now, you have to sacrifice mAh and run time to get CDR amps. You’ll need to sacrifice amps and CDR to get more mAh and run time. You will not find a battery that has the highest amp rating as well as the highest mAh capacity; that’s how it works with batteries.

Do I look at mAh or Amps when choosing an 18650 battery?

When choosing which battery to buy, you need to select which feature is your priority for the application that you will be using it.

You can’t have one battery with both the highest mAh and the highest amps. This is because of the limitations of current chemistry & technology for batteries. (Safety, your number one priority should always be).

The “best battery” is not always the one with the greatest rating of mAh. In most vaping applications the better battery is determined by higher amp rating (CDR or continuous discharge rate).

How many Amps drain 18650 battery do I need?

Especially for vapers or vaping, a great battery drain calculator tool to use is this one, to help determine what Amp drain rating battery would suit your application. For LED flashlight users, if unregulated, use the highest drain battery you can buy, if you want the brightest output you can get. Just beware that it should then be used in short bursts as it can overheat, and damage either the battery or the flashlight.

What is the highest drain 18650 battery available?

Till date, there has not yet been an 18650 battery yet, with a true continuous amp rating of over 30A. All the manufacturers or batteries that claim 35A, or 40A or higher is a lie. These false claims are usually only made by either the cheap Chinese manufacturers, or by the fake brand manufacturers.

What is a Aftermarket or Re-Wrapped Battery?

Many battery companies are not actually manufacturers, but are simply companies that rebrand batteries from other manufacturers. In other words, they don’t make their own cells and are just buying cells from other manufacturers and “rewrapping or rebranding” them with their own plastic wrapper that has its own brand name and logo.

While the headquarters of Lg and Samsung / Sony / Sanyo originate from Korea and Japan, most aftermarket batteries come from Chinese companies respectively. The first thing that must be realized by vapors is that many of these brands have nothing to lose, and can make considerably exaggerated claims about performance without any bad fall back. There is no authoritative organization that honestly holds the battery industry.

For example, ultrafire in cells which are tested to be only 1000mah will claim 6000mah capacity. Of course the other grossly exaggerated stat is the amp rating … and many of these firms will make outrageous claims for specifications to be sold to vapors. We really recommend that consumers simply stay away from all batteries on the aftermarket.

18650 Battery Brands

Beware of dubious marketing that overrate their ratings on battery amps. Usually these disreputable vendors and manufacturers are of the category aftermarket or re-wrapper. These companies are trying to confuse consumers with the specifications of “max ampli.” The worst perpetrators of this practice are Chinese brands such as Efest, IMREN, MXJO, AWT and the “—- Fire” brands.

To avoid these scams and fake brands and resellers.

The only reputable manufacturers of these 18650 batteries are Sony, Panasonic, Sanyo and LG. There are a few other good brands that are just re-wrapped or rebranded versions of batteries from these same top manufacturers, but buying from a reputable reseller, will ensure you get the better quality batteries. The reseller and it’s sourcing procedures, determine whether you buy a fake or a genuine battery.

Lower quality battery Brand-names. In terms of quality and safety, Trustfire, Ultrafire, and Surefire are lower-tier brand batteries. Not advised. The same goes for brands such as AWT, Basen, Imren, Cloud Chaser, Efest, MXJO and Vappower. Independent tests revealed that from what is advertised, these have overrated specifications. Most of these brands are “re-wraps”.

Caring and Charging

With the advent of lithium ion (Li-Ion) and lithium polymer (LiPo) batteries, the technology, output and capacity of batteries have greatly increased and allowed much more efficient storage of electricity or power and enables much of the modern electric devices and electric vehicles. This new technology does come at a cost however, both to our personal safety, and that of the environment.

Get the best charger you can afford, again from a reputable vendor or retailer. Most battery incidents occur statistically while the batteries are charging. A higher end charger will have better protection built in.

Many of today’s high-end box chargers are equipped with “intelligent” technology designed to shut down the charger when the battery reaches full voltage (4.2 volts), however electronics may fail. Don’t trust a faulty electronic circuit or charging cord to the safety of your home & family.

Fireproof Lipo 18650 Battery Storage Bag

LiPo and Li-Ion batteries can be very dangerous if shorted without protection, or if damaged, and can ignite or even explode in such circumstances. It is therefore very important to store these unused batteries inside special battery storage boxes or pouches, not leaving them discharged inside equipment for long periods of time, over discharge them or leave them to charge unattended. We often find that the highest drain or capacity batteries also achieve this without overcharge and over discharge or reverse polarity protection, which makes them especially dangerous.

When you use the link above to shop for one of the products, we receive a small commission from the sale, at no extra cost to you. This helps us keep this site going, and does not affect the price you would pay usually in any way whatsoever.

When Charging a 18650 battery, it is important to use an intelligent charger that can balance the various batteries to the correct voltages, and also cut off to prevent over charging or complete discharging through low voltage cutoff.

It is important to note that most of these OEM batteries are designed and manufactured, to be sold for use only in battery packs with their own proper protection circuitry and battery management systems. They were not designed for individual use in vapes or flashlights without protection circuitry. Thus it is important not to over charge or drain them.

Important 18650 Battery Safety Guidelines:

Routine check for damage to your battery wraps and insulation rings — Extremely important!

The plastic insulation wraps are very fragile, so if you are not careful to install / remove batteries from the mod / charger, that plastic may tear exposing the “can” or cell’s bare metal. That bare metal exposure is what can make the battery shorts. The insulation rings on the battery’s positive end also protect the metal surface of the can from making contact with a metal surface, resulting in a short one too.

Touching batteries and charger may get warm; that is relatively normal. Neither should feel hot to touch; not so hot that it becomes uncomfortable for 30 seconds to hold on.

Disposing of old 18650 batteries when done with them, should be done at a specialist battery recycling and disposal facility. When they are old or beyond use, these batteries should also be disposed of at a specific disposal sites as they are also very harmful to the environment if they leak or are disposed of incorrectly. Let us all keep our landfills free of these harmful chemicals and batteries, go here and enter your zip code to find a facility close to you.