Out of the most common rechargeable external batteries used for mods, either box or tubular, in this article, we’ll focus on the best 18650 battery for vaping because this battery size is by far the most often used. Other dimensions include 18500, 18350, 26650 and a few more.
What do these numbers actually mean? Well, the first two are the battery width in mm, and the last three is the battery length, also in mm. So the 18650 battery is 18mm wide and 650mm long.
These dimensions are very important since the battery compartments in tubular, box mods or vape starter kits can usually take only one battery size which is clearly stated in the mod specs.
Now, some mods such as GeekVape Aegis take 26650 but also include an adapter so you can also use narrower 18650 batteries as well. Most other best rated high-powered box mods take two 18650 batteries and box mods up to 80W take one 18650 battery.
Features for Top 18650 vape batteries - Buying Guide
Table of Contents
- 1 Features for Top 18650 vape batteries - Buying Guide
- 2 Best 18650 batteries – Reviews
Not all batteries are created equal! Not all 18650 batteries are safe to use for vaping! Not all batteries which ARE safe to use in your mods have the same features!
Bear in mind that we’ll be discussing high-drain, 20-25A CDR rated flat top batteries as they are most often used. There are,however, button top models which are a tad longer cause of the button on the positive end as shown in the image on the right.
Now, since even the best mod you can get without a safe, reliable, high-performance and long-lasting battery is nothing more than an empty box, do pay special attention to the following features.
Safety first – CDR (continuous discharge rate)
This value shows how much electrical current can be safely discharged from your battery during those long lung inhales without causing any safety issues, damages to the mod or battery venting which will result in you getting straight on YouTube with a title “Another ecig battery exploded” = danger = injury = bad publicity for us vapers = more money for BT.
Explosions happen extremely rarely and they are most often caused by either abusing safe CDR limits or simply using cheap, low-quality batteries or causing unintentional short.
CDR, which is expressed in A (amperes), shows the maximum continuous current discharge that a battery can handle safely and without overheating or Venting. Genuine and truthful CDR ratings are usually either 20A or 25A.
So what about 35A or 40A (usually pulse discharge specs falsely passed as CDR)?
I’ll happily quote Battery Mooch from ECF for the next bit:
“There are no 18650 batteries with a genuine rating over 30A! Batteries are manufactured by only a handful of companies like Samsung, Sony, and LG. It takes millions of dollars to start up even a modest battery production line.
The companies you see selling these high-amp batteries are just too small to be able to afford that kind of investment. So where do they get the batteries from? The established battery manufacturing companies like Samsung, Sony, and LG!”
My 2 cents on the Mooch’s words of experience and knowledge is that you can only hope that the batteries you’re buying from shady or unknown brands have the cells actually made by the three industry giants: and if they do, the cells may not be high-drain at all – they can have CDR ratings up to 4-5 times lower than you need.
So, best avoid any batteries which are not tested, proven and trusted widely in the vaping community. Bear in mind that we are NOT advertising brands here, we ARE advertising SAFETY!
18650 battery capacity
This is the feature which has to do with how much vape time your battery is going to provide while you are using your mod. Capacity is expressed in mAh (milliamp hours) and the bigger capacity, the better!
The average capacity of high-quality 18650 batteries is between 2500-3000mAh.
Here’s a chart with our 7 best 18650 batteries including manufacturer-rated CDR as well as actual CDR tested by Battery Mooch:
The actual vape time will vary significantly based on your style of vaping. If you vape direct to lung and run your mod at higher wattages, 50W, 80W, 100W or even higher, your battery will last significantly less than if you vape mouth to lung at 10W – 12W, for example.
Also, if you have a dual box mod with 2 batteries in series, you will NOT double the capacity or CDR. You will only double output in Volts to get more power (in W-watts).
However, if your dual 18650 mod has 2 batteries in parallel, the capacity (in mAh) will double while output in Volts will remain the same. When the battery is fully charged, the voltage is 4.2V and different mods will drain the battery anywhere from 3V-3.4V.
As for the running temperature of the battery and the mod itself, a quality battery will run cooler at low to moderate power but expect it to get warmer at extreme wattages. Fortunately, all good mods have overheating shut down protection.
A few more notes on safety
Once you have bought a trusted battery, look after it! Try not to drop them, as that might makee a bump or a dent as it may obstruct the battery from fitting snug inside your mod battery compartment.
Battery cases are inexpensive so if you are carrying a pair of batteries around, use a case like mine on the right!
As for rewrapping your batteries, first of all, you can avoid this by being gentle with your batteries. Pay special attention to the ends of the wrap on your positive and negative battery end:
These are the parts of the wrap which are the most sensitive when handled roughly and they will occasionally tear. If that happens with a few days old battery, you can use a quality wrap and rewrap the battery carefully. This is not recommended, however, and you will be doing this while taking full responsibility if anything goes wrong later on.
Do not rewrap an old battery! Simply throw it away in a safe and environmentally friendly manner. There’s no point because batteries are affordable and you are risking your safety and the safety of the people around you.
In addition, if you use a dark color wrap you might NOT notice a battery leak:
Read our detailed article on vape battery safety here.
Not to go into too many confusing details about the vape batteries being labeled protected or unprotected, bear in mind that all the batteries reviewed are labeled “unprotected” but that’s because all mods have safety protection features on board that don’t play well with protected batteries.
As for the battery chemistry, this topic may require a more detailed article (INR being the usual standard for 18650), so all you need to know for now is in this short info video:
You can also reed Mooch’s blog about battery chemistry and labeling here.
To sum up, buy trusted and proven batteries from reputable manufacturers, treat them right and you’ll be safe as long as you don’t go over CDR limits.
Best 18650 batteries – Reviews
Our rating: 4.9/5
Samsung 30Q is a very good, 3000mAh capacity battery from Samsung. Although the manufacturer rated it at 15A by Samsung, Mooch thinks it’s probably to make it users treat it as such. This is to ensure low operating temperature and long life. The tested continuous discharge rating (CDR) is actually 20A.
The battery grandmaster six-cycle test showed almost no loss in performance at 20A, which shows that the cell wasn't being badly overstressed. The overall loss in capacity by the 6th discharge was about a 1%.
The cell temperatures at 20A are comparable to other battery cells, meaning that the cycle life at 20A should be similar. You should stick to using it up to CDR of 20A as the overall voltage drop at 25A was significant during Mooch’s testing and the cell got too hot to recommend a CDR higher than 20A.
Samsung 30Q will perform best if you keep the CDR at under 20A by using a coil of overall resistance of 0.2 ohms or higher. Bear in mind that when you are using a regulated mod, the resistance of the coil doesn't factor into the amp draw. The wattage and battery charge are all that matters in this case.
The amp draw will increase as the battery charge drops because the battery is being pushed harder to deliver the same power. That being said, big, subohm coils will take more air and are used at higher power. This means that you should expect less vape time at higher wattages.
If you are vaping at extreme (by my standards of course) wattages of 100W or higher using 2 batteries in your mod, you should get 25A rated batteries for more peace of mind.
If you are vaping at low to moderate wattages, Samsung 30Q will give you that much welcomed extra vape time with their 3000mAh capacity. Overall, a good value for money, for sure!
Our rating: 4.8/5
LG HE2 is one of the several really good batteries for your vaping device from LG. It’s reliable, has a 2500mAh capacity, and the continuous discharge rate of 20A.
Again, based on Mooch’s tests, this is a well-performing battery. At 10A it reached about 2375mAh, which is a good performance for a 2500mAh-rated cell. The maximum temperature reached 65°C at 15A - this is below the average temperature of a battery operating at its continuous discharge rating (CDR), in this case, 20A.
At 20A discharge, the maximum temperature of LG HE2 reached 80°C. This is a little above the average temperature which shows that the battery is used at or near the CDR for this cell.
The temperature rose to 91°C at 25A, which is way too high for a cell operating at its CDR. So, stay within the 20A CDR rated limit.
What makes good enough to be on our list? Well, you can use them to power up those big coils in dual or triple 18650 mods and they will perform well. On top of this, the price for the value-pack makes this a great deal.
Our rating: 4.4/5
LG HE4 is another great value pack of high-drain batteries from LG for all your vaping needs. I have these in daily rotation and apart from the fact that they make me feel safe and enjoy my vape, I also like the yellow wrap color – it makes it super easy for me to locate them on my vape shelf or around the room.
Let’s face it: all the batteries we’re reviewing are good quality, solid CDR and great capacity for our needs. Since all the batteries which I know and use are readily available, I picked these because of the wrap color
Another thing is, it’s good to have various brands and color batteries so you don’t mix them up. I already have a bunch of Samsung 25R, Sony VTC4 and even some older Efest and AW IMR batteries.
As for the battery itself, LG HE4 is a genuine 20A continuous discharge current 18650 battery. Again, I had a detailed read of Mooch’s tests and they show that this battery runs a bit hot at 20A CDR and, it has a little lower voltage under load and less capacity than the Samsung 25R when you push it hard.
So why did I put it ahead in the reviews? Subjectively, I found LG wrappers better quality and less prone to scratches and tears. Again, both batteries work absolutely fine in all my mods and I have a lot of each. I rarely pass the 60W mark anyway except to test out a mod or an atomizer.
Overall, another solid battery which you can trust as long as you respect the CDR ratings and look after the cell.
Our rating: 4.5/5
Samsung 25R is a battery every vaper I know has. I kid you not. They are inexpensive, come from a trusted manufacturer and are readily available in all vape shops.
As with all 18650 vape batteries, the specs are what matters. Samsung 25R has the capacity of 2500mAh and the CDR of 20A. It really deserves its good reputation and popularity.
This 25R green wrap is a more recent variant of the blue wrap but the cells are basically identical. However, there is one difference: you should get a longer cycle life from the new green wrap 25R.
I had a few blue ones and I use 6 green Samsung 25R batteries in daily rotation. I really wish they start producing them in different colors. If you get more of these but use them in dual or triple 18650 mods, make sure you label them.
In all aspects, this may not be the best vape battery ever but it’s always been a safe choice. Whenever someone asks for a starter 18650 battery, I recommend these as the price is good and you can get them everywhere.
In Mooch’s tests, this battery features great capacity and moderate maximum temperature of 77°C at 20A CDR. A continuous discharge at 25A brings the cell temperature to 91°C and causes a significant voltage drop. 91°C is too hot and will considerably speed up the damage done to the cell, so bear in mind that this is a 20A cell.
Our rating: 4.5/5
Sony VTC4 is a classic. It’s been around for a long time…It’s another safe choice, especially if you are seriously subohming and chasing those huge clouds.
Regardless of the label, this is a good 20A cell which runs cooler than other cells above 20A. However, according to tests, just like the other batteries it is still running way too hot.
The fact of the matter is: Sony VTC 4 is a 20A cell which can be forced to run at up to 30A if you're willing to accept a shorter cycle life and reduced margin for safety.
Although Sony lists the VTC4 CDR as 30A, this is only in reference to the current level at which the protection circuitry should kick in. It is not a rating for normal cell operation. Mooch has spoken and in Mooch we trust!
The battery will lose capacity when cycled at 30A but the discharge will be cut off when the temperature reaches 75°C. This is a protective feature by Sony which won't allow the battery to complete its discharge at 30A. So, the temperature won't rise up and accelerate cell damage.
Once again, at your own risk, Sony VTC4 can be run at 30A but this can shorten the life of the cell and increase the risk of the cell venting due to high temperature. A lot of cells can be run at 30A if you are willing to accept the cell damage and increased safety risks. I do not recommend this at all.
Vape responsibly and stay safe while enjoying your favorite juice.