18650 batteries are rechargeable lithium-ion batteries that are slightly larger than alkaline AA batteries with about double the standard voltage. 18650 batteries are more expensive than AA batteries and require extra hardware to recharge. However, many flashlights are manufactured to accept 18650 batteries because they’re more powerful, reliable, and environmentally friendly.
What should you do if your EDC flashlight requires 18650 batteries but you’ve only used alkaline ones? Check out our handy guide below to learn about the best 18650 batteries for your flashlight.
The Best 18650 Batteries for Flashlights
If you want 18650 batteries and a charger that you can rely on but won’t cost you an arm and a leg, then consider the Deleepow Rechargeable Lithium/Li-ion AA Batteries. These 18650 batteries are perfect for many flashlights, and they offer 1.5 volts and a 3,200 mAh capacity. Sold as a pack of four flat top batteries, this very competitively priced set includes a charger, making it an even more attractive buy — plus, you’ll get quality that’s hard to beat. Designed for bright flashlights, these 18650 batteries are rechargeable and can be used over and over again.
Each battery can be efficiently recharged for up to 1,500 cycles and can be fully recharged in as little as two hours. Easily see the state of the charge of the batteries while in the charger thanks to bright lights on that indicate red during charging and turn green when charging is complete. The only drawback is that these batteries can only be recharged using the Deleepow charger and not with any other device.
- Each battery measures 65 x 1.8 millimeters
- Offers a 3,200 mAh capacity
- Rechargeable for 1,500 cycles
- Brand Deleepow
- Weight 5.9 ounces
Offer long-lasting power for high output flashlights and torches
Advanced battery technology delivers quality power
Included charger makes this an even better deal
Batteries need can only be recharged in their specific charger
Customer support is minimal
If you’re in the market for a complete and durable kit that includes 18650 rechargeable lithium-ion batteries, a charger, as well as a flashlight to put them in, look no further than the Maxiaeon 18650 Tactical Flashlight and 3.7V High Capacity Rechargeable Batteries and Charger. This kit has everything you need, and it’s offered at one of the most competitive prices on the market, making it an even more attractive deal.
The flashlight offers a super bright 2,000-lumen output that can be seen far and wide. It has five light modes, including low, medium, high, strobe, and SOS, making it a versatile emergency light. It’s capable of lasting up to six hours on medium beam mode before needing a recharge. The light is also IP-65 rated for water resistance and can be used in some of the heaviest rains. The batteries feature a 3.7-volt, 1,200mAh capacity, which isn’t the strongest but still gets the job done. They can be fully recharged in eight hours.
- Comprehensive kit includes flashlight, batteries, and charger
- 3.7-volt, 1,200mAh battery capacity
- Flashlight is equipped with 2,000 lumen output capacity
- Brand Maxiaeon
- Model XML-T6
- Weight 13.4 ounces
Good quality for their price
Small and lightweight
Batteries take a long time to recharge
Charger is not equipped with automatic shut-off, so you need to remove the batteries to prevent overcharging
The LCLEBM 18650 Rechargeable Batteries are a great option if you want batteries you can rely on. This set of four batteries provides excellent consistency — the batteries last for a long time, delivering great value with every use. And since they’re rechargeable, you can use them again and again in various devices. Whether you’re using them in a flashlight, a headlamp, or a doorbell, these 18650 batteries can meet your needs without fail. You won’t even have to worry about them thanks to their reliable power.
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
- Brand LCLEBM
- Weight 7.2 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
The EBL 3.7V Li-ion Rechargeable Batteries is an excellent option when it comes to life span and budget considerations. These well-made lithium-ion rechargeable batteries feature 3.7-volt and 3,000 mAh capacities, which definitely isn’t the longest lasting on our list, but still enough to meet the needs of most flashlights for hours of uninterrupted use.
Good for up to 1,200 recharge cycles, they’re one of the longest-lasting batteries on our list. They don’t include a charger, so you’ll need to purchase that separately. These batteries are perfect options for powering flashlights, but also electronic gadgets, portable devices, small power tools, and more. All-in-all, they’re a good, budget-friendly option that won’t hurt your bank account. Please note that these are button-top batteries, not the flat 18650 batteries that some flashlights require.
- Button top 18650-size batteries
- Up to 3,000 mAh capacity
- 3.7V power
- 2-pack of batteries
- Brand EBL
- Weight 4.6 ounces
Good for up to 1,200 recharges
Last for years even with daily recharging
Suitable for multiple devices
Sometimes gets stuck in battery case
No included charger
Only sold as a package of two
Another 18650 rechargeable battery that’s deserving of an honorable mention is the Shenmz 2 Pack 3.7V 3400mAh Flat Top Rechargeable Battery. While it’s definitely not the lowest priced rechargeable 18650 battery on the market, it’s still reasonably priced. You get two 3.7-volt, 3,400mAh, high-drain flat top batteries that measure 8 x 7.2 x 2.2 cm and will work well with flashlights, small electronics, household appliances, and much more. These are long-lasting batteries that can go for hours before needing a recharge.
As a bonus, these batteries also come with their own charger, so you’ll be sure to get the maximum life out of them by using equipment that’s designed specifically for this make and model. Even better, this battery and charger combo pack comes backed by an impressive 12-month warranty to protect against manufacturer’s defects or unforeseen functional issues. We just wish that the set came with more than two batteries.
- Comprehensive kit includes two batteries and charger
- 3.7-volt, 3,400mAh battery capacity
- Flat top batteries
- Brand Shenmz
- Weight 3.2 ounces
Batteries take a long time to recharge
Only comes with two batteries
A little pricey
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?
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?
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?
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 Deleepow Rechargeable Lithium/Li-ion AA Batteries are our pick for the best 18650 batteries for flashlights. They are rechargeable for up to 1,500 cycles and also come with a USB charger. Try them in your LED flashlight—you won’t be disappointed with the improved performance.