The Best 18650 Batteries

In a Nutshell

Our choice for the best 18650 battery is the Panasonic 18650 battery. This battery has a high capacity (3100 mAh) and performs better than comparable 18650 batteries. The Panasonic 18650 battery is available at Amazon for around $21. You can also find a pack that includes a charger and four batteries on Amazon here.

If you are looking for a good 18650 battery charger, these two charger get the highest ratings on Amazon:

Full Details

18650 batteries are rechargeable 3.7 volt lithium-ion batteries, and we think they are underrated! They usually have nondescript names, and come in generic packaging. 18650 batteries are mainly used in power high-performance flashlights, laser pointers, vaporizers and electric cars likes the Telsa Roadster.

Panasonic makes a 18650 battery with a capacity of  3100 mAh, and it has 675 Wh/L in energy density. Panasonic claims that this is the highest energy density of any 18650 cell, and this probably true. The battery uses Panasonic’s “NNP (Nickel Oxide New Platform) Technology”, this increases the performance of the battery by incorporating a positive electrode made of nickel. You can read all about  NNP Technology here (PDF file).

18650 Sizes and “Protected 18650s”

There has been a lot of confusion concerning the standard size of a 18650 battery. This is due to fact that some flashlight manufacturers like Nitecore produce flashlights that do not fit all 18650 batteries.

Panasonic, Sanyo, Samsung, LG are the top level 18650 cells manufacturers, and they make 18650 in the standard size, which is 18mm x 65mm.

Some third-party manufacturers, and companies in China make “protected” 18650 batteries, which incorporate a small circuit board, typically on the bottom of the battery, to stop overcharging and short circuiting. However, these batteries actually vary a bit from the standard 18650 size, and this becomes a problem when installing them in some equipment. However, standard “non-protected” batteries do not have this issue.

Where to Purchase

The Panasonic 18650 battery is available at Amazon for around $21. You can also find a pack that includes a charger and four batteries on Amazon here. The Tenergy 2-Channel 18650/14500 Li-ion Battery Charger  is available here.

Comments

  1. Andrew says

    Great Article!

    I will not contradict anything that was said, but I do with to provide an update on capacity and pricing.

    The best rated 18650 batteries are 3400mAH Panasonic 18650s. They are available for $16.21 per pair (with free S/H to the USA) at: http://www.fasttech.com/products/1420/10001980/1141104

    I have no affiliation with FastTech. I make not money from linking to them. I am only passing on info that has helped me.

    –Andrew

  2. Rich S. says

    For much more detailed information on Li-ion batteries go here.
    http://lygte-info.dk/

    You can even compare different brands/models in a graphical manner,
    comparing run times at different current draws so you can select the right battery for your use.
    Ex: the Panasonic 3400mah 18650 is great for most uses but does not work well above 5A in high drain vaping (ecigs) or hi power single cell flashlights.

    Samsung 20R, 25R, 29E, LG HE2 and Sony Vtc 4 and 5 are excellent hi drain cells, but do your research first to get the right model, usually in the 2000-2600mah range.

    Highest capacity and highest supply current can’t be made, as of yet, in 1 battery.
    You usually trade 1 for the other.

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