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18650 batteries are rechargeable lithium-ion batteries that are slightly larger than alkaline AA batteries with about twice the standard voltage. 18650 batteries are more expensive than AA batteries and require extra hardware to recharge. However, many flashlights are currently being manufactured to accept 18650 batteries because they’re more powerful, reliable, and environmentally friendly.
What should you do if your new EDC flashlight requires 18650 batteries but all you’ve ever used are alkalines? Check out our handy guide below to learn about the best 18650 batteries for your flashlight. One thing to note: none of the following batteries are sold with a charger, so you’ll need to buy one separately.
The Best 18650 Batteries for Flashlights
Each battery uses AllForBest’s Z-Curve Technology, which can verify discharging current and voltage. At the heart is a 100-percent genuine Samsung core. They utilize 20-amp high drain cells, which are ideal for continuous output devices that need a lot of output. These 18650 batteries even come in a protective case that’ll keep them organized and secure.
Each battery measures 65 x 1.8 millimeters
Offers a 3,000 mAh capacity
Rechargeable for repeated use over many months or years
- Weight48 grams
Offer long-lasting power for high output flashlights and torches
Advanced battery technology delivers quality power
Included case offers storage and protection for batteries when not in use
Batteries need a high-quality charger to deliver the best results
Can take as long as 5 hours to fully charge
The 18650 batteries included are perfect for using in small and compact flashlights. You can also increase the value of these batteries by using them in USB fans, video doorbells, and any other device that will accept an 18650 battery. Small in size but with sufficient battery power, you’ll be able to rely on these 18650 batteries to power your flashlights. They’re even rechargeable so you can get long-term use out of these batteries.
Includes an organized storage case
Suitable for flashlights, video doorbells, and more
Batteries are rechargeable.
- Weight7.2 ounces
Batteries have a 10-year shelf life
Charges last a long time
Rechargeable nature is cost-effective
Can be a tight, very snug fit in some devices
Storage case can only hold two batteries at a time
Imren is a brand that’s recently been making a name for itself by building affordable, reliable Li-ion batteries—enough of a name that we’re prepared to name its rechargeable 18650 battery our best pick for flashlights.
Its flat top battery comes fully charged, and is rated for a capacity of 3500 mAh and a current of up to 30 amps. That’s at the top of what’s currently possible, for a very affordable price, including a 100 percent satisfaction guarantee. If you charge them properly, they can last for several years.
Flat top 18650-size batteries
Up to 3000 mAh capacity, 20A current, 3.6V power
Order comes with two units and a storage case
- Weight6.1 ounces
Arrives fully charged
Last for years even with daily recharging
100 percent satisfaction guarantee
Sometimes gets stuck in battery case
May be larger than other batteries
Each individual charge doesn’t last as long as competitors
Each one of the 18650 batteries included in this set is a 3.7-volt battery measuring 8 x 7.2 x 2.2 centimeters. They have individual capacities of 3,400 mAh, which makes them a good choice for high output devices and items. They’re also flat top batteries, not button batteries, so make sure they work with your flashlight before purchasing. All four of the batteries come packed in a storage case, which offers convenient organization and a handy way to store them.
3.7-volt battery suitable for flashlights
Includes 4 batteries and a storage case
Batteries are rechargeable for repeated uses
- Weight7.2 ounces
Consistent power and consistent ability to hold a charge
Last longer than some big name brands
Quick to charge when recharging
The charger you use for recharging can affect battery charge time and results
What really makes the Majoxin 18650 batteries a great buy is the fact that they’re sold in a set of 20 batteries. This means you’ll have a steady supply of batteries any time you need a new one, and you’ll always have spare batteries on hand. You’ll never have to go without power in any devices that require 18650 batteries.
Offers a highly impressive capacity of 6,000 mAh
Includes 20 batteries
Lithium ion battery construction
Good quality for their price
Great for high output flashlights
Small and lightweight
Batteries may not actually have a full 6,000 mAh capacity
Batteries are not rechargeable
Best 18650 Batteries for Flashlights Buying Guide & FAQ
18650 batteries have exploded in popularity in recent years because of how well they perform in high-throughput devices. They combine the high storage capacity of lithium-ion technology with the versatility of the classic AA and AAA alkaline sizes. In addition to flashlights, they power everything from laptops to e-cigarettes. And many of them don’t have to sit in the charger for very long at all to work at peak performance.
Because they’ve gotten so common, you might have already needed to replace one and not been sure how to go about it. “What was wrong with AAs?” you might ask in frustration.
Now, part of that is market saturation due to their use in laptops. But another reason is that 18650 batteries perform even better than rechargeable EBL alkaline batteries. Once you’ve used a tactical flashlight or even a penlight with a good battery brand (and gotten a good battery charger), you’ll never go back.
Why Do You Need an 18650 Battery for Your Flashlight?
18650 batteries represent the most economical use of space in battery technology. While AA non-rechargeable batteries output around 1.5 volts, and rechargeable alkaline batteries put out between 1.2 and 1.6 volts, the average 18650 battery puts out upwards of 3.5 volts from the same space. This allows your flashlight to shine much brighter without significant alterations.
If getting the same energy from one Li-ion cell that you would from four AA batteries isn’t enough, another major benefit of 18650 batteries is their life cycle. In a device with a high discharge rate, an 18650 battery tends to lose capacity much more slowly than an AA or other alkaline battery, meaning it’ll be much longer before you need to replace it. This helps 18650 batteries pay for themselves in no time, even factoring in the cost of a battery charger.
18650 lithium batteries are also significantly safer than traditional alkaline cells. They’re much less prone to leaking and destroying your appliances (or your hands). Some of them are also “protected,” and include internal circuits that make them less likely to overheat or short circuit. Some also include external protections in the form of protective nickel plating. However, even the “unprotected” 18650 batteries are generally safer to use than alkaline batteries.
- Much higher energy output from almost the same size cell
- Longer lifespan before needing to be replaced
- Devices are safer from leakage, overheating, and short-circuiting
What to Look for When Buying an 18650 Battery for Your Flashlight
18650 batteries are fairly simple to shop for since they only need to do one thing: put out enough energy to keep your lightbulb bright. However, not all of them are created equal, and there are a few considerations to keep in mind when choosing the right one.
- Protected vs. Unprotected
As mentioned above, 18650 batteries are naturally safer than the alkaline alternative, but they don’t all carry equal safety measures. For an 18650 battery to be called protected that means it has at least a PTC (pressure, temperature, current) switch to shut off the battery whenever it threatens to overcharge or overheat. It also has a pressure valve that permanently disables the battery whenever internal pressure grows too high.
Almost all 18650 batteries on the market come with these internal protections. External protections, which are less standard but still common, usually consist of inhibitor plating to prevent short circuiting. If a commercial battery is labeled as unprotected, it will be cheaper and carry a warning about how to use it properly (which you should definitely heed). It’s up to you to decide whether the risk is worth saving a bit of money, but we recommend you buy protected on. It won’t cost that much more.
- Brand Name
Given how many things can go wrong when you’re dealing with stored electric current—from the deadly all the way down to the merely annoying—batteries are one of the products where an established seal of approval is most important. Samsung, LG, Panasonic, and Sony are the best-known makers of reliable 18650 batteries, but newer brands like Nitecore, OLight, Fenix, Vapcell, and Imren have proven themselves in the market more recently.
Unfortunately, fraudulent 18650 batteries are common. If you’re buying a rechargeable 18650 battery outside an established brand, be very careful that it’s not making any claims it can’t back up. A good way to tell is to check what capacity the battery is rated for: higher than 3500mAh currently doesn’t exist in 18650 batteries, so if anyone says their battery has a higher capacity than this, they’re lying.
Be on the lookout for fakes as well. There are cheap batteries packaged as brand-name products and sold at a higher price. The way to spot a fake 18650 battery is the weight: fakes weigh less due to the actual battery being smaller. Make sure to weigh the battery you’ve bought on a kitchen scale and compare it to the publicly available weights of brand-name batteries.
- Capacity and Current
Capacity (measured in milliampere-hours or mAh) and current (measured in amps or A) are the two measures of what your rechargeable battery will be able to do for the flashlight or other appliance it’s powering. Higher-capacity batteries last longer, while higher current batteries provide more power at one time.
Usually, battery construction is a tradeoff between these two traits. Flashlight batteries run the spectrum from extremely powerful batteries that lose charge quickly to low-output batteries that last for a long time. When picking an 18650 battery, first check to see whether the flashlight you’re powering has any specific requirements. Then look for one that balances capacity and current output.
Tips for Buying and Using 18650 Batteries for Flashlights
18650 batteries are great tools for getting the most out of your flashlight. If they’re not performing quite as expected, however, check out the list of helpful tips below.
- Established battery brands make the weights of all their products available in online databases. Use these when weighing your 18650 battery to ensure it’s genuine.
- Continuous discharge rating (CDR) is a measure of how much current a battery is able to output. Check how much current your flashlight requires, and make sure you’ve bought a battery that matches.
- You can extend the life cycle of most 18650 batteries by always charging them before they discharge completely.
Best 18650 Batteries for Flashlights FAQ:
Check here for answers to all your questions about 18650 flashlight batteries. Whether you’re uncertain if you’ve bought the genuine article or just want tips for getting more value out of your rechargeable batteries, we’ve got you covered.
Before you start reading, remember the common-sense tips about all 18650 batteries: check them against a manufacturer database, and do your best not to let them run completely out of charge.
Q: Are there other ways besides weight to tell if my 18650 battery is a fake?
A: The most reliable way is to only order from an established brand. This ensures you don’t hand money over to a scammer. If you’re not sure, weight is the best measure.
Q: What’s the difference between flat-top and button-top batteries?
A: They’re mostly identical, but button top batteries might not fit in some flashlights built for flat tops, and vice versa.
Q: What can I do to make sure my 18650 flashlight batteries work at peak performance?
A: Don’t overheat them by putting them in devices with higher CDR demands than the battery is rated for. Also, keep them within the mid-to-high range of their voltage capacity. Don’t leave them in the charger too long, or let their charge slip too low.
Our Top Pick
The AllForBest 4 Pack Flat Top Rechargeable Batteries are our pick for the best 18650 batteries. They are long lasting and feature advanced technology for optimal performance. They also come in a protective storage case. Try them in your LED flashlight—you won’t be disappointed with the improved performance.