If you’re getting into vaping, one of the first things you’ll learn is that power sources matter. A good quality battery goes a long way in building a vape rig that produces reliable power, at a precise level, continuously. One of the most common battery types is the 18650 battery.
There are differences in 18650 batteries that make them more or less applicable for the different types of liquids you might be trying to atomize. Here’s a quick rundown of these batteries and how to make sure you’re selecting the right one for a smooth, flavorful vaping experience.
What is an 18650 battery?
An 18650—sometimes called a 18650 cell—is a lithium ion rechargeable battery with a voltage range between 2.5 volts and 4.2 volts, and a capacity of between 1800mAh and 3500mAh, depending on the model. For beginners, the nominal voltage of a standard 18650 is 3.7 volts.
Factors to consider when choosing 18650 batteries
Before you head off to your favorite destination for vaping supplies, there are some things you need to keep in mind:
- Capacity: This varies with different makes of 18650 batteries, so check the specs before purchase. Think about whether you need a lot of capacity or just enough. When you’re buying other parts for your vape rig, like tanks or coils, be sure they’re compatible with the battery you’ve selected.
- Discharge rate: If your 18650 battery is not rated for high-discharge, don’t try it. Never exceed the specifications on an 18650 battery, or you could cause damage that renders it unable to be recharged or unfit for vaping use. The higher the discharge rate, the greater its capacity.
- Safety: Certain batteries aren’t built with safety features that allow them to be used safely in vaporizers; always check that your battery can handle the equipment you’re using it with before making a purchase. Look for models made by major brands like Efest, Sony or Samsung.
- Certification: The UL certification is the mark of approval most often associated with batteries. This is a respected stamp of approval among manufacturers looking to use batteries in their products, so you know they’re trustworthy.
Finding your ideal battery
Before you buy, do some research on the type of vape mod you’re using and the kind of atomizer you have. That will give you an idea of what kind of capacity, discharge rate and certification you need your battery to have before purchase. Here are some general tips:
- 100mAh – for low-output devices; with coils at .5 ohms or less
- 300mAh – for medium-output devices; the “sweet spot”
- 500mAh+ – for high-output vaping (cloud chasing) with sub-ohm coils
- 10A+ – for high-output devices, especially those that use sub-ohm coils
- 5A – for medium-output vaping with sub-ohm coils; this is the “sweet spot”
- 1A – low-output devices; use these batteries if your device is made for low output
Safety and certifications
Each cell in the battery has to be UL certified as safe before it’s considered fit for vaping use. If you don’t see this on your 18650 batteries, do not buy them; they’re unsafe for vaping use.
- Unregulated vapes: No standard specification yet, but a current rating of greater than 60 amps is recommended to be considered safe for unregulated vaporizers.
- Regulated vapes: The battery must have a continuous discharge rate of 10 amps or higher in order to be considered safe for regulated vaporizers.
What’s the best 18650 battery for vapes?
While there are many differences in 18650 batteries, the safest choice is one with a UL certification, a continuous discharge rate of at least 10 amps (for regulated devices) and a maximum discharge rate of 20A (also for regulated devices). Now you know the basics required to make the right choice when it comes to finding your ideal 18650 battery.
Be sure to check out the rest of our articles to learn more about how to build the optimal vape rig!