Choosing the right batteries for your vape mod box can be as tough and challenging as choosing the mod itself. Vape batteries are not the same and it is very important to choose the right ones. There are so many different types, sizes, specifications etc. So how would you know which batteries are best for your needs and vaping habits? Let’s start with the basics.
What are the battery sizes and what does “18650” stand for?
One of the key characteristics of the vape mod battery is it’s size. The standard batteries used for box mods are called “18650” batteries. This can be broken into two key parts: 18 and 65. The 18 tells you the diameter of the battery in mm while the 65 tells you the length of the battery in mm. So a 18650 battery is 18 mm in diameter and 65 mm tall.
While most vape mods on the market take 18650 batteries, there are some exceptions to this. Some compact mods – especially small mechanical tube mods – use 18350 or 18500 size batteries, which are just as wide but slightly shorter than the standard ones. However, some modern devices need larger batteries. The biggest devices use 26650 batteries, which generally last a lot longer between charges than 18650 options and can put out a lot of power too. Other options that are less commonly found are 21700 and 20700 batteries, and these generally improve on 18650s in terms of capability too, but as mentioned, they are much bigger.
One of the most important characteristics in any battery is the amount of energy it holds and how long it can expend that energy for. It is measured in mAh (milliamp hours) and is known as “capacity”. Capacities can range anywhere from 1000mAh to as much as 3500mAh.
All 18650 cells contain Lithium (Li) in varying amounts, but it’s the other components in the chemistry that determine the capabilities of the battery in terms of capacity and discharge rating.
The most common are IMR and INR batteries, but other composition batteries can be found as well. The most common types are:
IMR – one of the most stable and one of the highest current producing chemistries. It has the lowest running temperature in comparable tests making it far safer than older ICR technology. Therefore these batteries are usually more expensive than INR batteries. EFEST 18650 Battery 3000mah 35A is just one of the examples.
INR – probably the most commonly used battery in the vaping industry. It blends nickel and manganese to form the positive cathode, providing low resistance and the ability for high current output. MoliCel P26A 18650 Battery 2600mah 25A is one of the best on the market.
NCA is a much lesser used but still comparable to the INR. It does away with the manganese element of the cathode in favour of aluminium. It doesn’t have the high level discharge ability of an INR cell, but gets a much longer run time and increases shock resistance. They’re currently being used by lots of e-bike manufacturers as well as Tesla using them in their vehicle batteries.
IFR has very specific uses and is rarely seen now due to advances in other chemistries. The average capacity is about 1200 mAh, some are much lower. They have a low voltage cut off of only 3.2v. Much higher than the normal 2.8v or even 2.5v of other lithium based cells. Therefore that type of batteries are not used for vaping anymore as there are much better available out there (IMR and INR).
ICR (lithium-cobalt) batteries are the highest-energy battery chemistry you might use for vaping, but they don’t do as well as the others when it comes to safety. They need additional protective circuitry to be used in a mod and are very limited because the highest current you can safely use them at is shown by the mAh rating.
How Many Times Can You Recharge a 18650 Battery?
Recharge cycles vary and are limited. As the battery is used and constantly recharged, the battery degrades due to oxidation and electrochemical degradation. This happens to all rechargeable batteries such as a 18650, AA, AAA or even a car battery. All batteries can only be recharged a limited number of times.
The way you recharge your battery impacts the life of the battery. It is best to charge your batteries only when they are flat (empty) and charge them fully. Don’t do quick or half charges, or charge the battery when it is half full.
How to Avoid Fake 18650 Batteries
Like any branded product, you’ve got to beware of the fakes. It’s common for many vendors to buy up cheap cells, rewrap them as name brands, and sell them as genuine items.
Not only is this a waste of your money, it’s potentially dangerous. If you buy a battery for a high-powered device believing it to have an adequately safe CDR, you could injure yourself or damage your device when the battery turns out to have an entirely different rating.
Battery scammers are good at what they do. A genuine battery and a fake are incredibly difficult to tell apart. From the wrapping, to the branding, to the online listings—they look like the real deal. The only way you can tell a fake from a genuine battery is by weight.
To be sure you are buying a genuine product it is always advised to purchase only from a well known reputable retailer. Pure E-Liquids being one of the most reputable online vape shops offer a small, but only the best selection of quality 18650 batteries. Make sure you check them out.