6 Simple Tips for Buying New Vaping Batteries
Buying batteries for vaping can be a bit of nightmare. With companies re-wrapping cells made from other manufacturers and inflating the specs, rampant counterfeiting and a lot of information to wade through, there is a lot that can go wrong and quite a bit to learn. The good news is there are many reliable batteries out there, and many reputable companies you can buy from with confidence. Although many lists of these batteries exist, if you’re shopping for the best battery for vaping, it’s useful to think more about some general rules for choosing a vaping battery.
Note: This post is written with 18650 batteries in mind, but the same rules apply to any batteries you’ll need to buy for vaping, although 18350, 18490 and 22650 batteries aren’t as common.
1 – Focus on Quality, Not Price
Even the best vaping batteries aren’t expensive, so it’s a good idea to worry more about quality than price. Picking up the cheapest one you can find is probably a bad idea – you could get a fake or, more likely, a poor quality battery that the major manufacturers weren’t willing to put their name on. The potential downsides to choosing something cheap far outweigh the small amount of money you’ll save. Forget about the price; just focus on getting a good battery.
2 – Avoid Rewraps
Only a handful of companies – LG, Sony, Panasonic and Samsung – are responsible for the vast majority of the batteries you’ll come across. There are a few manufacturers in China that focus on vaping (such as a sister company of Aspire), and batteries from them are becoming more common.
However, as a general rule, if a battery doesn’t have one of the “big four” names on it, there’s a good chance that it’s a rewrap. This is where actual battery has been made by one of the big four manufacturers and another company has simply put their own branded wrapper around it. The problem is that these batteries were usually rejected by the big four for not living up to their quality standards.
The issue is made worse by companies exaggerating what these rewrapped batteries can do. In general, the best advice is to stick to the big four companies. Some Chinese-made batteries can perform well, but it’s a lot more hit-and-miss than sticking to the main companies.
3 – Think About Maximum Current vs. Capacity
The two major things you need to consider when it comes to choosing a vaping battery is how much current it can put out and how long it will last between charges.
The maximum continuous current rating tells you how much current you can draw from the battery continuously without overheating it and/or ruining its battery life. The maximum continuous current is a number in amps, often 20, 25 or 30 A. Any rating you come across higher than 30 A is probably not reliable.
The capacity tells you how much current can be supplied for a given length of time between charges. This is a number followed by mAh, which stands for milliamp-hours. A 1,000 mAh battery can give you a current of 1 amp (i.e. 1,000 mA) for one hour, but a 2,000 mAh battery could do the same thing for two hours. In general, bigger mAh ratings mean a longer battery life.
The problem is that a higher maximum current rating usually means a lower capacity, and vice-versa. This means you have to choose what’s most important: battery life or high current output. If you don’t need a 30 A maximum continuous current rating, it’s better to choose a 20 to 25 A option because it will likely have a much better capacity. You can use Steam Engine’s battery drain calculator to work out what you’re likely to need when it comes to current.
4 – Look for Harder-Hitting Batteries
A “hard-hitting” battery is one that offers a high voltage while vaping. The term “hard hitting” comes from the days of mechanical mods, when a battery that maintained a higher voltage literally put out more power for longer than one that had a lower voltage. These days, regulated devices ensure you get consistent performance, but if you have a harder-hitting battery, the battery can put out the current you’re looking for without having to be worked as hard. This means you’ll be able to get more use out of your battery before it needs replacing.
Finding out which batteries are harder-hitting isn’t always easy, but if you look for battery tests you can see which options run at a higher voltage for longer. Test results can be found at places like Kidney Puncher, Torchy the Battery Boy, Mooch’s blog on the ECF, Li-Ion Wholesale and various other websites. If you can’t find out how the voltage varies over time or at different currents, you can generally infer that a battery is hard-hitting if it has a good capacity, has a high maximum continuous current and runs at lower temperatures.
5 – Look At Reviews and Battery Tests
Even if you aren’t specifically looking at how hard-hitting a battery is when it comes to voltage, checking out battery tests and reviews of common batteries is still a good idea.
Tests are the most reliable way to know how good a particular battery is. Manufacturers often test under ideal situations and less reputable ones might even claim a battery can put out more current or last for longer than it really can. Testing puts the batteries through their paces directly and shows what each one can really do, ideally under vaping-like usage conditions (i.e. with short “pulses” of firing rather than continuous firing).
It’s worth taking the time to check out the tests yourself, but overall reviews of batteries often condense this information into an easy-to-read format, so they can be a huge help if you aren’t confident in reading battery test results.
6 – Buy From a Reputable Seller
Counterfeiting is a huge problem in the battery industry, and popular vaping batteries like the Sony VTC4 and VTC5 are frequently targets of this. Avoiding counterfeit batteries is a little difficult, because it’s hard to tell unless you have the actual cell to inspect for yourself and compare to pictures or examples of the genuine article.
This isn’t too practical, so the best thing you can do is to stick to reliable sellers when you pick up your vaping batteries. These companies come highly recommended by vapers and other battery enthusiasts, but it goes without saying that there are many other reliable sellers too:
If you purchase batteries from one of these sites, you can rest assured it will be authentic and the price will also be reasonsable. Illumn in particular comes widely-recommended, but all of the companies above have excellent reputations.
Buying Batteries is a Breeze (If You Do Your Research)
The main take-away advice from this post is that you can’t just choose any old 18650 battery for vaping and expect it to perform excellently. Underhanded practices are unfortunately widespread and some cells just don’t live up to the claims the manufacturers make. But if you’re willing to put a bit of time into researching the options, think about what you need from your battery and check out some reviews from vapers and battery experts, you’ll be able to find a great battery at an excellent price.