While there are a copious number of resources online available to provide a wealth of information covering the subject of battery safety, oftentimes it can be difficult to know where to begin. This can be particularly daunting if you look at the number of resources available. We'll do our best here to give a basic overview of what you need to know to stay safe.
For most new vapers, a simple regulated setup like a Kbox with a 0.5 ohm coil in their tank and a battery with a good mAH rating would be sufficient. Past safe battery handling, not much else knowledge is needed.
For these users, the absolute minimum you need to know:
- Don't leave your battery someplace it might fail.This includes:
- Leaving your batteries/mod in a hot car.
- Leaving your battery on a charger that doesn't shut down once your battery is charged.
- Keeping loose batteries in your pocket where it might complete a circuit. (This means keys, change, any metal that might be in your pocket can discharge your battery.) We recommend a plastic battery case for storage.
- If the plastic wrap around your battery is frayed, broken, leaving any part of the positive/negative contact exposed, the wrap needs to be replaced.
- Practice safe charging, find a good quality charger that shuts down when the battery is fully charged. (Don't fully discharge/over-charge your battery.)
- If your battery looks funny (has punctures, looks distended, generally wonky looking) discard of it appropriately.
- You can purchase lipo guard/battery safety bags in which to charge your batteries for extra safety.
When your batteries are ready for disposal, make sure you dispose of them properly. There are recycling centers available (http://www.call2recycle.org/locator/ is a good resource for finding centers if you need help) and often finding a location is as simple as checking the entrance/exit at your local BestBuy, or dropping them off at City Hall or a hardware store. The LiMn batteries most of us use are harmful to the environment when disposed of improperly (unlike most modern AAA/AA batteries).
Breakdown of a Typical 18650 Battery
All batteries are not created equally. For example, many battery manufacturers over-rate their batteries. You will see cheaper batteries rated at 4000-6000 mAh, but they actually should be labeled 2000-2500 mAh because that is their actual capacity. Also, High Drain batteries have a much higher capacity even though they generally have a lower mAh rating.
18650 batteries are a class of Lithium batteries that are designed to be used with high power devices. The most common types are Lithium-Ion. They are rechargeable and can be recharged from 500 to 1000 times (depending on the brand) before they need to be replaced. Many of us can keep a single 18650 for 6 months to a year. 18650 is the measurement specs, size and dimension of said battery. Some will have button tops (they extend a bit longer), others are flat-top (the kind most commonly used by vapers.)
mAh stands for milli-Ampere hour. It is a capacity rating that measures how much current a battery will discharge over a specified period of time (typically a one hour period). For example a 2000 mAh battery will sustain a 2000 milli-Amp (2 ampere) draw for approximately one hour before dropping to a voltage level that is considered discharged. However there are several factors that influence the total capacity of a battery.
Regular 18650 battery have a faster rate of discharge than High Drain batteries, and High Drain batteries can handle higher current loads than regular 18650 batteries. What this means is a pair of regular 18650 batteries rated at 5000 mAh in a GL4-PRO will run for 2-3 hours continually and a pair of High Drain batteries rated at 2900 mAh will run 5-6 hours. We highly recommend High Drain 18650 batteries for use in the GL4-PRO Series lights.
Voltage refers to the amount of electrical potential your battery holds. 18650 batteries will usually indicate 3.7V, this is the average output rating. Batteries will usually charge up to 4.2V, but 3.7V is "average". The normal output range for a battery is 3.2 to 4.2, +/- .5 volts.
Amps (the A rating on your battery, like 25A, 30A, 40A you will commonly see on 18650s) is the rate of the discharge current. This is similar to the mAh in that companies commonly over-rate the amperage. Amps measure the volume of current passing through the battery.
For advanced vapers, like those using unregulated devices (often mech mods), we use amps in a formula to determine the safety of using a battery on a device. The formula we use is A=V/R, or Amps = Voltage / Resistance. So if you're using a .5 sub-ohm coil, and a battery has a voltage of 3.7V, you would want a battery capable of 7.4 amps of continuous current. If you had a 0.14 ohm coil, you would want a battery capable of 26.42 continuous current, which is rare if not impossible to find - at least accurately represented.
While a lot of this can leave everyone guessing what the best battery is to meet their needs, for advanced users, we have Mooch. This guy tests a huge percentage of the batteries commonly used by vapers, and posts his results to the public. From his Facebook page, "Working to expose exaggerated battery ratings and give you the real scoop on the batteries we use."
Links To Mooch's Tests, Blog, and Ratings Tables
Index to all test results, tables, and blog articles:
All the battery tests Mooch has done to date with links to each:
Mooch's recommended batteries:
18650 safety grades and true current ratings table:
26650 safety grades and true current ratings table:
18350/18500 safety grades and true current ratings table: