Flashlights are among the most valuable commodities of the modern world - they are an indispensable part of many professions. Their capability to illuminate a huge area makes them a necessity for policemen, night watchmen, repairmen, camping enthusiasts, and many other occupations and hobbies.
The only issue here is that when one uses a flashlight with alkaline batteries, he is certain to see it die just when he needs it the most. Fortunately, there's a solution to this problem, in the form of 18650 batteries. Not only do they last longer than their alkaline counterparts, but are also rechargeable and provide a lot more lighting power.
For that matter, we have decided to take a closer look at the currently best 18650 batteries and see what they offer. In our short but informative reviews, you'll be able to find out everything you need to know about these cells - read on!
When looking for a good 18650 cell for your flashlight or any other battery-operated device, look for the following qualities:
As you already know, the capacity of batteries is measured in mAh - milliamperes. The number of mAhs written on the package shows how many milliamperes the cell allows to be drawn and for which amount of time (typically shown in hours). In simple terms, a battery with the capacity of 2000mAh allows the user to draw 2000mAhs in one hour and half of that number (1000mAhs) in two hours.
The cells don't always have 100% efficiency, and the conditions in which they are operating can also impact their overall capacity. However, we can safely say that the higher number of mAhs means higher capacity - a higher number leads to less frequent recharging.
The capacity of each 18650 cell gradually decreases over time, although their longevity can be increased by proper storage, avoidance of over-discharging and overcharging, and by using a quality, compatible charger.
There's only one thing you'd like to keep low in your 18650 cell - the temperature. Low temperature doesn't only ensure a longer lifespan but also removes the risk of overheating and possible dangers that come with it.
High voltage is quite important when it comes to using 1865 batteries in high-drain flashlights. With a high amount of voltage coming from the cell, a flashlight user is able to use his torch more efficiently and for longer periods of time.
This is one of the most crucial features since a high-drain flashlight can put a large amount of pressure on the battery. The cell needs to be capable of safely delivering the current which is withdrawn from it without any overheating.
However, there's usually a tradeoff between the current rating and the capacity - a model with high current rating will have lower capacity and vice versa. There's a difference between the maximum current rating and the continuous current rating - the later one is the one that matters, and should always be at least 30A.
Since the costs of the cells we've reviewed all range between $10 and $30, we believe that the price shouldn't be as important as the above mentioned factors while shopping for a quality 18650 battery. However, we should still mention that the more expensive batteries of this type bring better protection from overheating, better capacity, as well as the higher voltage.
A single cell of this type has a runtime that equals that of three or four standard AA batteries, and the reason behind this is its higher voltage. Depending on the bulb of your flashlight, a regular AA battery will give you around 10 hours of use, while the 18650 one can increase this number to whopping 30 hours.
But even so, the user can extend the cell life in a couple of different ways. Here are some of them:
With these tips in mind, your 18650 cell should last a lot longer.
All of the 18650 batteries we've reviewed here come with their own distinct sets of advantages and disadvantages - it's up to you to choose a pack that suits your needs the best. However, if we would have to choose a winner; that would undoubtedly be the Orbtronic's 3500mAH 18650 cells.
These batteries effortlessly deliver top performance due to Orbtronic's use of latest technology in manufacturing them. Not only does their high voltage provide the user with uninterrupted use of a high-drain flashlight, but they also have a very long lifespan and can serve you for years to come.
Their outstanding performance is precisely the reason behind their immense popularity - the guys and girls at Orbtronic certainly know how to make the best rechargeable batteries. We hope that our reviews and articles have been helpful to you - don't forget to read our reviews of the best EDC and tactical flashlights and find a house for your new, powerful 18650 battery.