It goes without saying that rechargeable batteries come hand in hand in with a charger. Ideally, flashlights should run on powerful, heavy-duty batteries like the 18650 kind because torches are an indispensable and frequently used camping tool.
You may want to look at the best 1850 battery chargers that can handle your cells safely and maintain its longevity. Since 18650s are high-discharge and delicate batteries, users shouldn’t skimp on choosing chargers to par with it.
If you find yourself using these batteries, it’s inevitable to invest in a charger. If you don’t have some technical knowledge for electronics like chargers, you’ll likely end up choosing so-so chargers that will only contribute to your batteries’ demise.
There are a lot of charger variations that make it hard to figure out which one is suitable for your power storage. You need to take several factors into consideration when choosing a charger and so on (more on this later).
Product Reviews: Our Top 5 Picks For The Best 18650 Battery Charger
Nitecore D4 4-Slot Smart Battery Charger
XTAR VC4 Li-ion/Ni-MH Battery Charger
Eastshine Universal Battery Charger
EBL Smart Battery Charge
Nitecore 2016 Version i2 Intellicharge Universal Charger
Let's now review each battery charger individually:
1. Nitecore D4 4-Slot Smart Battery Charger
Nestled in the top spot of our little list of the best 18650 battery chargers is Nitecore’s D4 Charger. This is the ultimate battery charger you’ll ever need for charging flashlights, vapes, electronics, everything – you name it, this charger powers it up.
This universal charger is compatible with various cylindrical rechargeable batteries, hence eliminating the need to purchase separate chargers. This device automatically detects Li-ion, Ni-Cd and Ni-MH batteries.
A unique feature we loved about this product is its intelligent charging circuit that optimizes charging by monitoring the charging progress of each battery independently. For instance, you can see how much load each battery has.
The best part is, you can charge different batteries all at the same time – in fact, we tried charging two Li-ion and two Ni-MH the first time we got our hands on this charger, and it’s just amazing how it identifies and charges them efficiently.
Furthermore, this charger boasts a total of 2.1 amps (four bays: two 0.5 amps and two 1.0 amps), a temperature control function to prevent overheating, an integrated digital LCD that indicates charging progress, charging time left, current and voltage.
In our opinion, the LCD’s great but it can be better because it’s quite hard to read what battery slot is on monitor and such.
Additionally, it has an automatic power-off function that ultimately terminates current when the battery’s full, eliminating the risks of overcharging.
2. XTAR VC4 Li-ion/Ni-MH Battery Charger
Also running on 2.1 amps, featuring four charging bays, and a better LCD screen that displays real-time charging status, the XTAR VC4 is indeed one of the best 18650 battery chargers in the market. Why?
Simply because it can be powered not only by wall adaptors but USB ports as well. That means you can bring it with you to the office, café, school, and on the road as long as you have a charged power bank or laptop.
You can also charge this in the car though you may have to buy a car adapter for it to work.
Interestingly, this particular charger has an “OV activation function” that aims to rescue over-discharged batteries that we typically throw away so that they can be reused once more.
We particularly loved this product’s large backlit display. Aside from presenting the current voltage of the cells, how much charge each battery has taken, and the cells’ charging status, it also has this function that turns off backlight when it gets distracting at night.
We only wish that this model has audible alerts or signals, so you don’t have to check its status constantly.
3. Eastshine Universal Battery Charger
Eastshine’s Universal Battery Charger can charge two batteries simultaneously, whether it be an Li-ion, Ni-Cd, or Ni-MH. This charges fast too as it offers 0.5 amps for both bays, totalling to 1 amp power overall.
Like other smart chargers, this one detects charging status, monitors and chargers cells independently, features charging modes, turns off power automatically, and displays parameters such as the cells’ type and voltage, current, and charging time.
After owning a couple of 2-slot chargers that have differing power levels in the way that one battery will not charge fully while the other overcharges, this one’s a breather.
The charger loads up each cell to its full potential and automatically shuts off current to avoid overcharging, unlike most older chargers.
4. EBL Smart Battery Charger
The EBL 2-Slot Charger handles almost all kinds of cylindrical batteries including Li-ion, Ni-Cd, and Ni-MH.
Furthermore, it has a 0.5 amp charging speed per bay, an “overtime” safety function similar to the turn off function of other chargers to mitigate overcharging, and a temperature control system.
What sets this product apart from the rest is its lack of LCD.
LED indicator lights showing the charging status compensate for this but we think it’s not enough – nothing monitors batteries like an LCD screen.
Knowing how much load your batteries have and the remaining charging time simplifies everything.
One great thing about this device is it runs on AC and DC power sources. Most chargers run on AC, rarely on DC. This special charger supports DC outputs like car outlets which make this charger portable and roadtrip-friendly.
Another useful feature of this device is the presence of charging modes. It has three modes: Constant charge current (CC), Constant charge voltage (CV), and Trickle charge (TC).
The device determines the percentage charge of the batteries and shifts the mode according to it’s the cell’s state. For instance, the CC mode bulk charges drained batteries whereas the TC mode brings a halfway-charged cell to 100%.
5. Nitecore 2016 Version i2 Intellicharge Universal Charger
Nitecore’s i2 Intellicharge basically shares the same features as that of EBL’s, except for an optimal heat dissipation function that prevents overcharging.
Feature-wise, this device is compatible with the three battery types, automatically shuts off when the full potential of individual batteries are met, charges cells independently, and features LED lights to display progress.
However, this charger has better indicators than the previous device.
On the top part, you’ll see a black screen with numerical data embedded on the sides. The embedded prints on the sides which read 100%, 80%, and 30% light up when the battery charge reaches the indicated stages -- way better and less boring than waiting for the green light to pop when the battery’s full.
The greatest feature of this charger seemed to be its fast charging speed, at 1 amp each bay. Although, we’ve noticed that the charger gets pretty warm already in the normal charging mode. If you plan on purchasing this device, stick to the normal mode because it may be disastrous to force it to supply 1 amp.
What Are 18650 Batteries?
We made an article about the best 18650 batteries quite recently, you may want to check it out if you want to gain an extensive knowledge of this particular cell type.
Dubbed as the "gasoline of the 21st century", 18650 batteries are Lithium-ion batteries that are quite bigger than AA batteries and are rechargeable. Its name comes from its dimensions which are 18mm x 65mm.
High-power devices such as flashlights, laptops, vaporizers, electrical vehicles, robots, solar grids, and almost any tools and equipment designed to store energy more efficiently use 18650 cells.
1850 batteries are prized for its unique ability to recharge, long battery life (have a run time equal to 3 AA batteries), and lightweight nature.
However, these advanced cells require extra care than standard batteries because they deteriorate faster and are very sensitive to higher temperatures.
Now that you know what you’ll get from 18650 batteries, let’s go get to the real deal – knowing the factors to take into account when picking out the best 18650 battery charger.
Picking Out An 18650 Battery Charger
Not all 18650 battery chargers are created equal. With so many manufacturers churning out chargers and adding features with every model they sell in the market, finding “the one” that suits your needs can be tricky.
Hence, here are several factors to be mindful of when choosing a reliable charger for your 18650 cells.
First and foremost, you’ll need a charger that can handle your batteries safely since 18650 batteries are high-powered and have a delicate nature.
With this in mind, look for a charger which features an automatic shut off once the cells are fully charged.
Lithium-ion batteries can present hazards when overcharged. Li-ion batteries made with nickel and lead are known to melt from too much heat when overcharged, resulting in potential burns and explosion.
A charger that rates .5 to 0.1 amps and can handle up to four batteries at the very least is your best bet.
Higher amps mean a faster charging time and therefore, the better. However, you may soon notice that the higher the amps, the faster it is for the charger to get hot – and apparently, that’s not okay for Li-ion cells.
In general, chargers running on 0.5 to 0.1 amps are safe. Also, you may want to pick from a trusted brand to ensure that you’re getting a bang for your buck.
Charging indicators or an LCD screen that let you know when the battery’s charging or fully charged is essential.
Bluetooth connectivity, power bank function, and a compatibility feature that allows it to charge other cell types such as NiMH batteries would be nice, but you surely can live without them.
Our choice for the best 18650 battery charger is none other than Nitecore’s D4 4-Slot Smart Battery Charger because it’s the only one which met our buying criteria.
It’s safe to use, thanks to the automatic current cut feature whenever the battery reaches its full capacity. Furthermore, it has an excellent charging speed, and a great LCD screen which flashes charging and battery perimeters, although again, it could be better. Well, there’s always room for improvement, right?
Additionally, we loved this device’s versatility and the way it sports a fair number of charging bays for a couple of batteries. The intelligent charging circuit that monitors the loading progress of each cell independently is basic, yet a nice feature too.
Hey there, camper! Are you planning to purchase a good charger for your 18650 cells?
Follow our guide, and you’ll be alright! Did you find this article useful?
Any comments or suggestions? Write your thoughts out in the comment section below. Don’t forget to share this post. Cheers!
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