The Best 18650 Batteries

In a Nutshell

Our choice for the best 18650 battery is the Orbtronic cell. This battery has a high capacity (3100 mAh), and maintain their voltage until fully drained.

A two-pack of these cells is available at Amazon for around $30. Also available are Panasonic 18650 cells, with a bit more capacity (3400 mAh).

If you are looking for a good 18650 battery charger, I recommend this one: Tenergy 2-Channel 18650/14500 Li-ion Battery Charger (4.5 out of 5 stars from 97+ reviewers)

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.

Orbtronics makes a 18650 battery with a capacity of  3100 mAh, with a 675 Wh/L in energy density. 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.

11 thoughts on “The Best 18650 Batteries”

  1. What 18650 Battery has The Highest capacity aka (mah) with a continuous Discharge of 20Amps

    Is there any 3000-4000 mah Battery’s that can safely continuously discharge 20Amps. Trying to build a 48v Ebike Battery and want to make sure I use the batteries that will give me the longest range possible for the bike. I’m thinking of doing a 48v 14ah pack. How many Cells would I need?

  2. Thanks for the good article, but I think there are some other important things to mention.

    Top 3 categories:
    We can categorize the best 18650 batteries by things like high-energy (Wh), high-power (A), or high-capacity (mAh).

    Other considerations:
    There are also things like safety standards, your application, environment, and so forth which will dictate which cell is best for you.

    One important factor that people overlook is production availability. Many cells simply are not currently in production so any stock you buy will be old. It’s best to buy whats in production, now.

    If we just take a balanced look at cells, here is what I think are the best cells at the moment (posted March 2016).

    LG Chem HG2
    3000mAh, 20A

    LG Chem HE2 / HE4
    2500mAh, 20A
    *Note, the HE4 is better with handling heat, and also only needs to be discharged to 2.5V to reach its maximum capacity, while the HE2 needs 2.0V.

    Samsung 25R5
    2500mAh, 20A
    *Note, the blue 25R is no longer in production, always buy the green 25R5

    These cells are primarily high-power cells (amperage).

    If you are maximizing for capacity, there are other cells you may consider. I know many people reading this post are e-cigarette / vape users. Actually it is a myth that your battery needs to be “super-amped”. In many situations, especially with dual-battery mods where the amperage is multiplied, you only need 10A cells to product significant “clouds”.

    The other nice thing about high-capacity cells, is that generally they have a longer cycle life. You can also put protective circuitry directly on low-amp cells (less than 6 amps generally).

    So here are the best high-capacity 18650s:

    LG MJ1
    3500 mAh, 10A

    Samsung 35-E
    3500 mAh, 10.5A

    Panasonic B
    3400 mAh, 4.5A

    If you are really interested in high-power cells, with a high maximum continuous discharge rating, then take a look at this cell:

    LG HB4
    1500 mAh, 30A

    There are many “fake” or counterfeit cells with high amp ratings that exceed 30 amps. That is impossible, no 18650 cell on the market has a rating above 3000mAh.

    I hope this helped you find the best cell! All the models I mentioned in this list are currently available and in-production by LG, Panasonic, and Samsung.

    – Buy 100% authentic 18650 batteries and read about them.
    – Quickly compare all 18650 batteries.

    1. The link you provided despite the FALSE title is not for the Sony Brand but rather a knock-off 2Pcs GOODFIRE Brand… This would lead one to believe you are affiliated with this brand and deliberately posted a false link. If not poor judgment was used in providing the link. Anyone purchasing the fakes whilst following your link is not going to be impressed with the GoodFire brand as they are well known to be of inferior quality, providing false maH ratings. Click on the picture, it clearly shows the true brand of these batteries.

      1. 1/10 troll Everything Anti_Scam said was wrong. Yes fake batteries from China with inflated stats flood the market, but no, these are FUNKING SONY brand.

  3. For much more detailed information on Li-ion batteries go here.

    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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