Light Those Torches Up!: 5 of The Best 18650 Batteries for Flashlight

Flashlights or torches play critical roles in almost all outdoor activities, especially when camping. Hence, every camper should possess a reliable torch in his/her arsenal together with the best 18650 batteries for flashlights.

18650 batteries belong to a class of high-capacity batteries used to power advanced, high-performance electronics as well as simple devices such as laptops, cameras, car batteries, and flashlights.

Possessing energy equal to 3 regular batteries, you can rest easy knowing that you can count on your 18650 battery-powered torch during evening treks, blackouts, night tent lighting, search parties, and even road trips through off-the-beaten paths.

After all, a flashlight is only as good as its batteries. No matter how fancy or expensive your torch is, the longevity of its running time will depend on the batteries.

Let’s learn more about 18650 batteries, shall we?

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A Quick Overview At Our Top 5 Picks For The Best 18650 Battery For Flashlight

What Exactly Are 18650 Batteries And What Good Are They?​

With all the available batteries out there, you might be wondering why you should get an 18650 battery, the "gasoline of the 21st century", for your torch.​

18650 batteries are 3.7-volt lithium-ion batteries, a size classification of Li-ion batteries, which are rechargeable. Its name was rooted from its dimensions which are 18mm x 65mm.

If you’ve ever held one in your palms, you’ll notice that they’re a bit larger than the AA battery but has the same exact shape.

Furthermore, the 18650 type is one of the most energetic and widely available lithium-ion battery type as, it is utilized by a wide array of devices such as laptops, vaporizers, electrical vehicles, robots, solar grids, and almost any tools and equipment designed to store energy more efficiently.

So, with all those information, you might have already have a concrete grasp of the things that make 18650 batteries ideal for torches. That includes:

They Are Rechargeable​

Are you tired of constantly throwing away and replacing empty batteries on the go? We feel you! Apart from it’s not a very cost-effective action, improper disposal of batteries can be harmful to the environment.

We prefer rechargeable batteries more because you can charge them on the go. How convenient is that?

They Have Longer Run Time​

A single 18650 battery has a run time equal to 3 to 4 AA batteries due to its higher voltage – it provides thrice the amount of watt –hours for the same capacity.

Depending on the torch’s bulb, the average AA battery can last up to 10 hours of use. Since 18650 batteries have thrice the power of AA batteries, it may last up to 30 hours in a single full charging.

Moreover, a unique thing about this particular battery type is it has no memory effect. It simply means that the user doesn't have to completely drain or discharge the battery before recharging, compared with other battery chemistries.

They’re Lightweight​

18650 batteries are generally lighter than others of the same size, courtesy of the lightweight lithium and carbon comprising the battery’s electrodes.

Lithium, being a highly reactive element, stores a lot of energy within its atomic bonds. This unique feature translates to a high energy density for this particular battery type.

For a better understanding, put this into perspective: a typical lithium-ion battery can store 150 watt-hours of electricity in 1 kilogram of battery whereas an NiMH (nickel-metal hydride) battery stores approximately 100 watt-hours per kilogram, and a lead-acid battery can only pack about 25 watt-hours per kilogram.

Looking at lead-acid batteries, it takes a hefty 6 kg to store the same amount of energy than that of a 1 kg Li-ion battery – that’s a huge advantage for 18650 battery types.

18650 batteries may look flawless and perfect, but they do have a few disadvantages as well.

Disadvantages Of 18650 Batteries​

  • 18650 batteries last an average of 2-3 years; well, it’s not exactly a disadvantage considering that disposable batteries only last for days. These cells start the process of degradation as soon as they leave the factory.
  • Heat hastens the deterioration of 18650 batteries. They deteriorate much faster than they normally would when exposed to extremely high temperatures. Hence, you should store them in cool, dry places.
  • They have no memory effect but they cannot be completely drained or else, they’ll become defective. It’s worth noting that the nominal voltage for an 18650 is 3.7; thus it shouldn’t be discharged below 3.0.
    Additionally, when buying 18650 batteries, you should opt for one which features a protection circuit. This design is like an insurance policy against charging failures; it protects the battery from accidental overcharging or over-discharging. The circuit ensures that the cell’s voltage doesn’t fall below 3.0, the threshold.
  • They need a charger. Owning rechargeable batteries means that you will need a charger to go with it. These chargers tell the actual mAh capacity of the battery, allowing you to see if it’s getting the right fill and when it loses efficiency.

The LCD screen tells you the real mAh capacity of your batteries, so you can make sure they are getting the advertised amount of fill or identify when they are losing efficiency.

Button Top vs. Flat Top

As you begin the process of scouting for 18650 batteries, you’ll notice that some have the button tops which are typical of regular batteries while some sport a flat end.

In many situations, the head's structure makes no difference. But for some flashlights which feature a battery spring or a direct electronic connection to the bulb, a flat-top cell won’t usually work because the interior requires a tight-fitting cell that only button-tops can provide.

The bottom line is, when shopping for an LED flashlights, pay attention to the battery configurations suitable for that particular torch. Or better yet, ask the sales representative which 18650 battery style will work best.

Product Reviews: Our Top Picks For The Best 18650 Batteries​

Securing the top spot as the best 18650 battery is Eastshine’s E35 10A Button Top Li-ion battery. This powerful battery fits snuggly in any flashlight and boasts advanced features that cater to the user’s convenience.

First off, it has a button top which makes it more compatible with devices and electronics. We like how it fits perfectly in about any torch and doesn’t make a rattling sound inside. Second, this 3.7V 18650 rechargeable batteries make it the best of the bunch due to its numerous security features.

For instance, it has nickel-plated ends that ensure full working condition even when subjected to impacts and accidental falls (because no matter how careful you are, you’re still going to drop that flashlight). It also sports a metallic film covering that protects against abrasions and a thermal overheat protection at the top part of each battery.

Lastly, we loved this battery because it has an efficient protection circuit with the goal of keeping the cells safe from short-circuiting, overcharging, and discharging.


Pros

  • Has a very high power capacity
  • Has safety features (e.g. abrasion resistance and nickel-plated ends) and a protection circuit
  • Has a button top; fits more comfortably in flashlights
  • Extensive life cycle

Cons

  • Slow-charging

Featuring a raw look and a standard 2500 mAh capacity, this terrific battery will perform well given any rough nights at camp.

Perhaps, you’re thinking that it has a low capacity because you’ve probably seen 18650 batteries bearing 3000-3500 mAh, but a low capacity battery generally has a higher energy output.

We’ve tried this battery out to test its effectivity. We left the bulb on overnight and came back the following morning to see how much charge the battery has. Surprisingly, the charger’s LCD monitor displayed a 90% charge remaining, and we’re just stunned to learn how long-lasting it is.

The only con of this product is the lack of charge protection features; hence, the "raw" appearance. Since it lacks protection, users should be careful when charging the product – do not overcharge or discharge completely.


Pros

  • Has a high power output
  • Long-lasting
  • Fast-charging

Cons

  • Lacks protection features

These button top 18650 batteries from EBL packed in stable storage boxes comes pre-charged and ready for the long night ahead.

Uniquely, these EBL cells have zero memory effect, meaning they can be recharged a thousand times (1200 times to be exact) when they are fully or partially drained.

Furthermore, it has a degradation protection feature during charge and discharge cycles which are designed to extend the battery’s lifespan.

However, know that these batteries won’t work with E-cigs and such which only accept flat-topped 18650s. So if you’re thinking of getting this product for your torch and E-cig, don’t do so.

Also, we’ve encountered a slight problem when testing these babies not long ago. Upon charging it, we noticed that they don’t reach 3000mAh, its indicated output.

They only charged up to around 2500 mAh, and they drain much faster than others bearing the same capacity.


Pros

  • Has a very high power capacity
  • Has degradation protection features
  • Has zero memory effect
  • Has a button top; fits more comfortably in flashlights
  • Great case included

Cons

  • Slow-charging
  • Lacks safety features
  • Does not charge up to its indicated capacity

Another pre-charged premium 18650 battery on our list comes from LiCB, one of the longest-running manufacturers of world-class batteries.

These button top batteries stored in a durable battery holder are ultra slim and enveloped in a thick steel shell to protect it against potential explosion due to overpressure.

Moreover, it has no memory effect, allowing users to recharge it up to a thousand times even during periods of discharge.

Additionally, we like its low self-discharge feature which, when charged fully before discontinuing use, still maintains 75% of the capacity even after three years of non-use – we’d love to test this, but we don’t have three years!

So, we put this product into a test again by installing them in our LED 30W work light (at the brightest setting) and let it sit overnight.

8 hours after, it was still shining but not at full lumens. We’ve recharged them again and did the same thing the following night. Now, we’ve done it about five times, and each time the batteries come right back and seem to work very well.


Pros

  • Has a very high power capacity
  • Has zero memory effect
  • Excellent low self-discharge feature
  • Has a button top; fits more comfortably in flashlights
  • Great case included

Cons

  • Slow-charging
  • Lacks safety features

Similar to the previous entry, Sunlabz’s 18650 rechargeable batteries have a log storage life and no memory effect. They also have high energy density, and they are, perhaps, the most lightweight 18650 there is – it’s virtually weightless!

Admittedly, it’s hard not to like this product as its flat top makes it ideal for many low-output regulated devices such as E-cigs, vapes, etc. but some flashlights may not work with it because of fitting issues.

This is a decent set of batteries, but it’s quite flimsy. We noticed that after three months of use, both the positive and negative poles began to chip away and deteriorate.

Also, it’s a bit larger than most 18650s because compared with our last set which slides into the battery compartment smoothly, we had to wiggle them so that they fit.


Pros

  • Has a very high power capacity
  • Has zero memory effect
  • Excellent low self-discharge feature

Cons

  • Slow-charging
  • Lacks safety features
  • Has a flat top; may not be compatible with other flashlights
  • The poles tend to chip and degrade over time

The Verdict

The essential features a reliable 18650 battery should have that users should look for are the following:​

  • High power capacity
  • A structure that makes it versatile concerning fitting within devices
  • A protection circuit
  • Fast-charging
  • Ability to hold its charge
  • No memory effect

Our vote for the best 18650 battery for flashlight goes to Eastshine’s E35 10A Button Top 3500mAh Li-ion Batteries because it possesses the characteristics mentioned and more, making it the best of the bunch.

We also admired the added security features of this product such as the nickel-plated poles, a metallic film enveloping the batteries, and the thermal overheat protection – this product truly caters to the user’s needs and convenience.

Hey, camper! Have you tried using an 18650 battery for your torch? Do you think we missed some great stuff in our list? Let us know what you think in the comment section below. Please share this post before leaving. Cheers!​

See more: 5 Best Rechargeable Flashlight for Camping​.

Light Those Torches Up!: 5 of The Best 18650 Batteries for Flashlight
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