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The Best 18650 Batteries for Vaping

Batteries are the engine that drives your vaporizer. In order to enjoy blowing those tasty clouds, you need a battery that is both powerful and long lasting. Most importantly, you want to be able to vape with peace of mind. When choosing the best batteries for vaping, the three most important things you should consider are output, capacity and safety.

What Is The Best Battery For Vaping?

Mods are powered by either a built-in pack or a removable battery. Advanced vapers prefer the latter because they are more versatile and are safer to charge. The 18650 has become the battery of choice when it comes to vaping, and modern mod designs are often based on this configuration.

Why 18650 Batteries Are Ideal For Vaping

Mods with built-in lithium batteries are compact and produce decent to above-average output. Their main advantage is that you don't have to carry around a kit full of spare batteries and chargers. As a plug-and-play device, these mods are ready to go as soon as you take them out of the box. There are also less safety concerns with built-in batteries.

The drawback to integrated batteries is that they are essentially disposable. Batteries do not last forever and once they deteriorate, you have to throw away the entire device. An external 18650 battery gives you more control over your mod performance and battery quality. When it reaches the end of its life cycle, you can simply replace it with another 18650 battery.

What You Should Look For In A Vape Battery

When choosing a battery for your vaporizer, you need to consider these four important qualities:

  • High capacity (mAh)
  • High current rating (amperage)
  • High voltage when vaping
  • Low operating temperature

Price should be at the bottom of your list when picking a vape battery. Cheap knockoffs can totally ruin your vaping experience. They may vape well at the beginning but after a few weeks or months the vapor disappears and your mod starts overheating. For a couple more bucks you'll be able to vape on a better, safer device for a year or longer.

High Capacity

Battery capacity is measured in milliampere-hours (mAh). This indicates how many milliamps you can draw from the battery in a specific amount of time.

Let's say you have a battery with a rated capacity of 2500mAh. Theoretically, you'll be able to draw 2500mA from it for one hour. This can be converted to 5A for half an hour or 1250mA for two hours.

However, there are plenty of factors affecting battery performance. Some devices consume power more than others. Batteries also deteriorate over time. They are not 100% efficient so this formula may vary. A 2000mAh battery will not always offer 2000 milliamps for one hour. The capacity rating in milliampere-hours is only used to give you a rough idea which batteries last longer than the others. If you have a 2500mAh battery, you will most likely need to recharge it more often than a 3000mAh battery.

High Current Rating

Amperage is the amount of current the battery can offer at one time. A rating of 1 amp-hour should be able to continuously supply a current of 1 amp for an hour, or 2 amps for half an hour, before becoming completely discharged. The higher the current, the higher the wattage output.

Whether you are using a regulated or unregulated mod, your battery should be able to deliver the current that you need without overheating.

To explain the difference between capacity and current rating, let's look at the longneck beer bottle. The milliamp-hours indicate how much beer the bottle could hold. The amperage is how much beer can go out at one time through the neck of the bottle.

Ideally, you would want a battery that is both high mAh and high amperage. But that is not possible due to the limitations of existing technology. Manufacturers still haven't figured out how to fit all that into one small 18650 battery. You can have a high capacity battery or a high current rated battery but not both. While a 40A battery would seem like the perfect choice, the tradeoff is that the capacity will only be around 1500mAh. If you want a high capacity battery, you'll have to sacrifice a little power, and vice versa.

Vaping batteries usually come in three categories: high amp and low capacity, high capacity and low amp, and some that try to strike a balance between the two.

When choosing a vape battery, look for one that delivers the current rating that you need without overheating.

High Voltage

For mechanical and unregulated devices, high voltage means that the device will deliver more current to the coil. A hotter coil translates to more vapor and flavor, creating "hard hits" that cloud chasers enjoy.

For regulated devices, high voltage means that the battery won't have to work very hard. The higher the voltage, the less current is drawn from the battery.

Low Temperature

Exploding batteries give vaping a bad name. There have been numerous reports of overheating vape batteries sending people to the hospital, which is why battery temperature is crucial.

Apart from safety, operating temperature is also important to battery life. Extreme temperature is the main cause of premature aging and damage to your vape battery. If the battery gets too hot due to improper use or lack of proper venting, it could burst and result in serious injuries.

The best vape battery for you is one that not only runs at the highest voltage for extended periods but also operates at the coolest temperatures.

What You Should Know About Battery Labels

Battery labels are peppered with numbers and letters that are extremely important for vapers. But if you don't know much about battery chemistries, these tidbits of information may be confusing at first. Here is a brief glossary of battery terms that you need to be familiar with.

  • I: Lithium-ion battery
  • M: Positive ion is manganese
  • C: Positive ion is cobalt
  • N: Positive ion is nickel
  • F: Positive ion is iron
  • R: Shape is round
  • F: Shape is flat

18650: The battery is 65mm tall and 18mm thick

Most 18650 batteries produce 3.7V and chargers automatically shut down when the battery reaches 4.2V.

A vape battery with INR 18650 on its label means it is a lithium-ion battery with a nickel positive ion, round shape, and 65mm by 18mm measurement.

A vape battery with IMR 18650 2500mAh 3.6V on its label means it is a lithium-ion battery with a manganese positive ion, round shape, 2500mAh capacity, 3.6V nominal voltage, and 65mm by 18mm dimensions.

Best 18650 Batteries For Vaping By Class

There are nearly a dozen brands of 18650 batteries out there. Add to that the many different models and specifications and it can be overwhelming to pick the right one for your vaping device and style.

While there is no standard classification for 18650 batteries, there are five general categories that you can use as buying guide. Classes A, B, C, D and E are based on battery capacity.

Class A – 3500mAh

  • Ultra-high density up to 3500mAh
  • Very low discharge up to 10A
  • Recommended usage: no more than 30 watts
  • Mechanical mods: 0.4 ohm or higher
  • Average voltage: 3.6V

Class A batteries have the highest capacity at 3500mAh. Because of the capacity versus current rating tradeoff, expect these models to have the lowest amps. Some are even lower than 10A. These batteries are ideal for vaping at 30 watts or lower, with support for resistances as low as 0.4 ohm.

The major brands such as Samsung and Sony have yet to come up with 18650 batteries in this range so you most likely will find them from rewrapping vendors. More detailed information on rewrapped batteries later.

One must be wary of published ratings for rewrapped batteries. If a 3500mAh battery is said to have 20 amps, it is probably NOT true. For marketing purposes, rewrapped batteries tend to be rated far above what they can truly handle. If you do not want to charge batteries often, you could opt for a 3000mAh battery with a true 20A rating or 1500mAh capacity rated at 30A.

Class B – 3000mAh

  • High density up to 3000mAh
  • Low discharge up to 15A
  • Recommended usage: 30 to 60 watts
  • Mechanical mods: 0.27 to 0.4 ohm
  • Average voltage: 3.6V

If you are looking for the best battery capacity with a slightly higher discharge, this is the category for you. Class B batteries have a 3000mAh capacity and 15A rating. These are ideal for vaping at 30 to 60 watts, with support for resistances as low as 0.27 ohm.

Best in Class: the Samsung 30Q and the Sony VTC6

Samsung INR 18650 30Q 3000mAh 15A

The Samsung INR18650-30Q has excellent capacity at 3000mAh. The addition of nickel to this hybrid chemistry gives it a higher than average amp limit of 15A.

Dependable and affordable, the Samsung 30Q has a nominal voltage of 3.6V and can support resistances as low as 0.27 ohm.

Sony VTC6 3000mAh 15A

The Sony VTC series has always ranked high on any list of best 18650 vape batteries, and this latest incarnation is no exception. While the Sony VTC6 does not have a high continuous current output as the VTC4 and VTC5, it has a whopping 3000mAh capacity. If you are looking for maximum capacity, then the VTC6 should be your battery of choice.

Note: there are a lot of fake Sony batteries out there. Be sure to purchase only from reliable sellers.

Class C – 2500mAh

  • Medium density up to 2500mAh
  • Medium discharge up to 20A
  • Recommended usage: 40 to 80 watts
  • Mechanical mods: 0.19 to 0.26 ohm
  • Average voltage: 3.7V

Class C batteries are great for mid-wattage vapers. While capacity is lower at 2500mAh, the discharge rate goes up to 20 amps. These batteries support resistances as low as 0.19 ohm and vape well at 60 to 80 watts.

Best in Class: the Sony VTC5 and the Samsung 25R

Samsung INR 18650 25R 2500mAh 20A

The Samsung 25R has a 2500mAh battery capacity with continuous current of 20A. Nominal voltage is 3.6 volts.

Sony VTC5 18650 2600mAh 20A

The Sony VTC5 has a lower capacity at 2600mAh with a higher 20A current rating. Another version of this battery, the Sony VTC5A, has 2600mAh capacity and 25A rating.

The 3.7V operating voltage combined with 2600mAh capacity and 20A amperage works perfectly with mechanical mods. The VTC5 supports resistances as low as 0.14 ohm.

Class D – 2000mAh

  • Low density up to 2000mAh
  • High discharge up to 25A
  • Recommended usage: 60 to 120 watts
  • Mechanical mods: 0.15 to 0.18 ohm
  • Average voltage: 3.7V

Class D batteries have a lower capacity of 2000mAh and higher amperage of 25 amps. These batteries are ideal for vaping at wattages as high as 80 to 120 watts with atomizer resistance of 0.15 ohm.

Best in Class: the Samsung 20R and the Sony VTC4

Samsung INR 18650 20R 2000mAh 22A

The Samsung 20R has a lower capacity of 2000mAh with a slightly better rating of 20A. Since the difference is only 2 amps, many vapers prefer the additional 500mAh capacity of the 25R than the 20R.

Sony VTC4 18650 2000mAh 30A

The Sony VTC4 is one of the best vape batteries in terms of balancing capacity and current rating. The 3.7V operating voltage combined with 2100mAh capacity and 30A amperage works perfectly with mechanical mods. The VTC4 is designed for vaping between 80 and 120 watts, with support for resistances as low as 0.15 ohm.

The Sony VTC4 is one of the most popular vape batteries out there – hence the most number of clones. Make sure you purchase only from a reputable vendor.

Class E – 1500mAh

  • Very low density up to 1500mAh
  • Ultra high discharge up to 30A
  • Recommended usage: higher than 120 watts
  • Mechanical mods: 0.14 to 0.12 ohm
  • Average voltage: 3.6V

Class E has the lowest capacity at 1500mAh but with the highest discharge rate of up to 30amps. They are ideal for high-wattage vaping above 120 watts with support for extremely low resistances of 0.12 ohm.

Best 26650 batteries For Vaping

If your mod is designed to fit a 26650 battery instead of the more popular 18650, your options may be limited as there are very few 26650 batteries available.

Our Top Two:

Best Battery Brands

With millions of R&D dollars at their disposal, the powerful duo of Sony and Samsung have maintained their positions at the top of the 18650 battery category. Toshiba, Hitachi, Panasonic, SAFT and BYD also offer decent vaping batteries.

The rest of the field is composed of companies that rewrap cells from these manufacturers.

Exercise Caution When Using Rewrapped Batteries

Rewrapped batteries are usually cells that did not pass quality assurance from the original manufacturer. That by itself can be a red flag. Worse, resellers tend to post exaggerated ratings and capacities to boost sticker price.

Battery manufacturers usually classify rejected products into Class A, B or C depending on the defect found. These are then sold to other companies who re-wrap the batteries with a PVC coating for sale under a different brand name. While many of these companies exercise extreme care when rewrapping cells, there are unscrupulous vendors who only care about making a buck.

Some of the re-wrap brands that are known to perform well include Efest, Orbtronic, GTL, Robiton, NiteCore, Basen, EagleTac, UltraFire, Vamped, EnerPower, and Xtar.

Not all generic batteries are rewrapped cells. Some are manufactured by independent companies in China and are perfectly safe to use.

Single and Multiple Battery Mods

As vapers continue to demand thicker clouds, manufacturers try to keep up with technology upgrades. Coil resistances as getting ridiculously lower while battery output pushes through the roof. Vaporizers now can fire up to 300 watts – with power requirement that simply cannot be met by a single 18650 battery. Modern vaporizers now come in dual, triple or even quadruple battery configurations!

Keep in mind that extra power means additional weight and cost. Mods with multiple battery bays are bulky and not pocket-friendly. While a quad 18650 setup may sound really cool, not everyone needs that much vaping power. The vape battery configuration that you choose will ultimately depend on your vaping style and preference.

Top 10 Vaping Batteries

  • Sony VTC4 18650 2100mAh 20A to 30A
  • Sony VTC5 18650 2600mAh 20A
  • Sony VTC5A 18650 2600mAh 25A
  • Samsung INR18650 20R 2000mAh 22A
  • Samsung INR18650 25R 2500mAh 20A
  • Sony VTC6 18650 3000mAh 15A
  • Samsung 30Q 3000mAh 20A
  • Efest Green IMR 26650 4200mAh 23A
  • MNKE IMR 26650 3500mAh 20A
  • Sanyo UR18650NSX 2600mAh 20A

Best 18650 Battery Conclusion

Choosing the best 18650 battery for vaping is more than just being able to blow clouds like a steam engine. Battery safety has become a hot issue with recent reports of exploding vaporizers. A reliable vape battery has a high amp limit that allows your battery to perform for extended periods. If you are into high-wattage vaping at super sub-ohm levels, make sure that your battery not only delivers some serious current but does so while managing the heat.

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