By: Nicholas King.
Last Updated: August 12th, 2018.
There are few things worse than to get caught short with low batteries while you are out and about. Good batteries are not cheap, and we expect them to last a while. In a previous blog we looked at the cause of vaping explosions and it came down to the battery. When you choose the correct type of battery for your mod, you increase the safety – and fun factor – of your vaping experience.
Let’s first look at the best batteries on the market, we have tried to break it down by usage with a simple description of the ideal setup!
20A batteries are ideally recommended for regulated mods powering at around 40-80W with a resistance of around 0.19 to 1.26 OHMS.
Samsung INR18650-25R 2500MAH - 20A
Reliable and one of the most popular batteries on the market
LG HE2 18650 2500MAH - 20A
Long storage life, with light weight and high energy density
20A-30A batteries are ideally recommended for regulated mods 60–120W with a resistance of around 0.14 to 1.18 OHMS.
SONY VTC6 18650 3000MAH - 30A
Highly rated and perfect to use in most variable voltage/wattage mod
MXJO 18650 3500MAH - 20A
Max discharge of 35A, with a continuous discharge of 20A.
Higher than 30A batteries are ideally recommended for regulated mods 60–120W+ with more higher current so lower resistances of around 0.02 to 1.0 OHMS.
MXJO 18650 3000MAH 35A
One of the best for about everything from mechanical mods to starter kits
LG HE4 HIGH DRAIN 2500MAH 35A
LG HE4 is an upgraded version of the LG HE2 and handles loads of 30A
The best box and vape mods requires a supply of long-lasting energy, and the battery must be capable of discharging at an even rate, for long periods, at high capacity.
No matter what brand you buy, beware of unscrupulous operators. Batteries are supposed to be manufactured under stringent quality regulations in ‘clean rooms’ to prevent any stray particles from entering the battery. Cheap batteries from China are flooding the market, and in most cases, we know nothing of their reputation or willingness to stick to manufacturing rules. Test each battery carefully, monitor temperature while in use, and regularly examine for signs of decay. Take a look at our 9 Safety and Handling Tips article which should cover most of the safety precautions.
The market leaders such as LG, Panasonic, Sony and Samsung do a lot of R&D to ensure they stay at the head of the pack. You will also be familiar with Hitachi, Kokam, Toshiba, SAFT and BYD.
Bottom Line – Buy with confidence.
Due to the high demand for Li-Ion batteries, a host of new manufacturers have stepped into the fray. Some of these companies simply copy good products. A notable few companies such as LeClanche, Amperex, MicroVast, Electrovaya and Johnson Controls also do their own development and can be regarded as the ‘Up & Comers’ of the industry.
Bottom Line – Help to add to the reputation and body of knowledge by keeping good records of their performance.
Some users are concerned about the safety and quality of re-wrapped brands. The battery manufacturing process is a little like baking a batch of brownies – although you use the same ingredients and process, there may be tiny variances in the final product.
That is why manufacturers test each battery and classify it according to stringent requirements. Top quality batteries go into the A-bin, and there are B and C-bins for batteries that show slight variances from the norm. Batteries from the B and C-bins – and sometimes A-Bin batteries – are sold to other companies who re-wrap the cells with a PVC coating and sell it under different brand names.
Most of the companies who re-brand operate with extreme care and goodwill, but there are disreputable operators in the industry who use this opportunity to sell inferior or unsafe products as ‘re-brands’. They even claim excessive performance levels, so the next time you see a battery rated at higher than 30Amps, be warned, it is certainly not true!
Bottom Line: Buy with great caution. Re-wrapping companies don’t do expensive R&D and can, therefore, supply quality products at a lower price, but always check that it is indeed a re-wrapped battery and not an inferior product masquerading as a re-wrap. Some of the re-wrap brands have earned their own following. You may have seen some of these names come up: Pegasus, Orbtronic, Robiton, NiteCore, GTL, Efest, Basen, EagleTac, UltraFire, Vamped, EnerPower, Xtar, Fenix and many more.
This table has been in use in the industry for a while and helps users to pick the right batteries for their gear. As technology improves and manufacturers manage to cram both high capacity and high discharge ratings into their newer batteries, the lines between the previously clear categories for batteries (5 types, from A to E) are blurring and you’ll see more and more overlap between the ‘types’. If you are in doubt, rather err on the side of caution. Sub-ohm vapers should rather buy high-drain (high Amp) batteries than accidentally ruin their battery with excessive high Wattage demands.
|Types of 18650 Batteries|
|TYPE A||TYPE B||TYPE C||TYPE D||TYPE E|
|Ultra High Density (Up to 3500 mAh)||High Density (Up to 3000 mAh)||Medium Density (Up to 2500 mAh)||Low Density (Up to 2000 mAh)||Very Low Density (Up to 1500 mAh)|
|Very Low Discharge – Up to 10Amp||Low Discharge – Up to 15Amp||Medium Discharge – Up to 20Amp||High Discharge – Up to 25 Amp||Ultra High Discharge – Up to 30 Amp|
|Recommended usage: No more than 30 Watts||Recommended usage: 30 – 60 Watts||Recommended for Regulated mods 40 - 80W||Recommended for Regulated mods 60 – 120W||Recommended for Regulated mods 120+ Watts|
|Mechanical Mods 0.4Ohm or higher||Mechanical Mods 0.27 to 0.4 Ohms||MECHANICAL MODE 0.19 to 0.26 OHMS||MECHANICAL MODE 0.15 to 0.18 OHMS||MECHANICAL MODS 0.14 to 0.12 OHMS|
|Average Voltage 3.6V||Average Voltage 3.6V||Average Voltage 3.7V||Average Voltage 3.7V||Average Voltage 3.6V|
3500mAh is the highest safe capacity on the market, and the MJ1 is ideal for use with mods with a 30W or lower wattage which can support resistances of 0.4ohm and more. Although it is a relatively new battery and quite expensive to boot, it has already won many dedicated fans.
Excellent 3,000 mAh capacity but the amp limit is higher than the average at up to 15A, due to the addition of nickel (hybrid chemistry) to the battery. It can support resistances as low as 0.27ohm. It’s very affordable and dependable.
Although the LG INR 18650H conforms to Type B with its 3000mAh, it offers a 20 A maximum continuous discharge which makes it suitable for Type C. This hybrid battery life advantage means it is an excellent choice for sub-ohm vaping. It offers a long battery life at 3000mAh; however, the 20A discharge current makes it a high drain battery suitable for mods in Type C. It is very popular among sub-ohm vapers as it is highly compatible with all variable voltage/wattage mods and it is highly affordable.
The HE2 and HE4 batteries offer good battery life at 2500mAh and 20A continuous discharge limit. Some users find that the HE4 is capable of more charging cycles than the HE2. Both the HE2 and H4 is dependable and easy to find and remains a favourite high-drain vaping battery
Medium capacity 2000mAh battery and the 3.7V operating voltage makes it suitable for mechanical mods. Amperage is up to 30amps. It is meant for powerful mods that can support wattage between 80 and 120W and a coil resistance of 0.15ohm. Contrary to media reports, the VTC4/5 batteries have not been discontinued and are manufactured by Sony in China. The Sony US18650VTC5: 30 A – has a 2600 mAh capacity and 30 A limit.
The 20R has a 2000mAh capacity. The 25R has a 2,500 mAh capacity but has suffered a small decrease in continuous current (from 22A to 20A). Either way, you won’t be disappointed, though the Samsung 18650 25R is more popular than the 20R.
The LG HD2 is known as one of the best vaping batteries due to the 25A discharge rate. The 2,000 mAh capacity is not extreme but adequate. This hybrid (NMC) chemistry battery is safer than other ICR options.
No contest – the LG HB6 replaced the HB2 and HB4 with a capacity of 1500mAh and extreme 30A discharge rate. At an average voltage of 3.6V, it can be used with power mods and at very low resistance, though they don’t last long.