Computers & Electronics

18650 Li-ion batteries -- reputable brands and chargers

  • Last Updated:
  • May 4th, 2021 11:47 am
[OP]
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Nov 24, 2004
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18650 Li-ion batteries -- reputable brands and chargers

I am in need of some 18650 batteries for electronics projects.

I understand that there is something of a "Wild West" of varying quality when it comes to these batteries -- many people selling salvaged or substandard batteries, actual mAh ratings not as advertised, etc. I bought a few a couple of years ago from Amazon (with a charger) but several appeared to be DOA and the charger partially broke after one use.

Does anyone have recommendations on reliable sources for 18650 batteries -- preferably ones with undervoltage protection built in -- and chargers? Brands to look for or to avoid?
19 replies
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Dec 9, 2003
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Samsung Sony LG

Dont buy any of the "no names" - they all lie about capacity
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Deal Expert
Jan 27, 2006
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I got a SkyRC MC3000 charger a few years back and it has served me well in not only charging batteries but detecting substandard batteries as it will measure the current charged into the battery as well as being able to discharge a battery down to a certain voltage and measure the current discharged as well. I was quickly able to tell which 2000 mAH batteries were actually 2000 and which were not.

As far as batteries are concern, depending on how hard you are going to run them, you might want to look at salvaging them from old laptop batteries. If you pick the original OEM battery packs (not the 3rd party suppliers), the batteries contained in the packs are very good and even the 'defective' packs often just contain 1 bad cell. I used my charger to test cells removed from these packs and sort out the good ones and the bad ones.
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Jan 27, 2006
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Cough wrote: Samsung Sony LG

Dont buy any of the "no names" - they all lie about capacity
You are lucky if they just 'lie' about capacity... I have had a few that heat up when charging!
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Sep 16, 2013
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craftsman wrote: You are lucky if they just 'lie' about capacity... I have had a few that heat up when charging!
They all heat up when charging. Slightly.
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Sep 16, 2013
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Cough wrote: Samsung Sony LG

Dont buy any of the "no names" - they all lie about capacity
Where do you buy them?
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Jan 27, 2006
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alpovs wrote: They all heat up when charging. Slightly.
Slightly is different from hot to the touch.
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Sep 16, 2013
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craftsman wrote: Slightly is different from hot to the touch.
You didn't mention that.
Deal Expert
Jan 27, 2006
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alpovs wrote: You didn't mention that.
I'm assuming that people know that batteries do get warm when charged.
[OP]
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Nov 24, 2004
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Cough wrote: Samsung Sony LG

Dont buy any of the "no names" - they all lie about capacity
Yes, I've made that mistake already. The question is, where do I buy these batteries? Vaping stores?
craftsman wrote: I got a SkyRC MC3000 charger a few years back and it has served me well in not only charging batteries but detecting substandard batteries as it will measure the current charged into the battery as well as being able to discharge a battery down to a certain voltage and measure the current discharged as well. I was quickly able to tell which 2000 mAH batteries were actually 2000 and which were not.
I have a charger for NiMH AA and AAA batteries that has similar features, and it is helpful.

I wonder if there are chargers that will also handle other formats / sizes of Li-ion or LiPo batteries, as well as 18650 -- like the flat type used in phones, etc.
As far as batteries are concern, depending on how hard you are going to run them, you might want to look at salvaging them from old laptop batteries. If you pick the original OEM battery packs (not the 3rd party suppliers), the batteries contained in the packs are very good and even the 'defective' packs often just contain 1 bad cell. I used my charger to test cells removed from these packs and sort out the good ones and the bad ones.
I might try this but typically I don't need so many -- just a few reliable ones. Except in some cases I won't be running them too hard.
Deal Expert
Jan 27, 2006
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JHW wrote: I have a charger for NiMH AA and AAA batteries that has similar features, and it is helpful.

I wonder if there are chargers that will also handle other formats / sizes of Li-ion or LiPo batteries, as well as 18650 -- like the flat type used in phones, etc.
It's not hard to make something up once you have the basics of the device - ie you can use the MC3000 and create some dummy batteries (a wood dowel and two screws basically) which you then attach some wires to the batteries. However, it might work so well if the pack has a BMS or has multiple cells for a 7.2V or 9.6V... pack.

JHW wrote: I might try this but typically I don't need so many -- just a few reliable ones. Except in some cases I won't be running them too hard.
But that's perfect then. A standard capacity old laptop battery will have 6 cells and one or two of them might be dead (typically one out of one of the three pairs is dead causing the capacity of the pack to drop) which will leave you with 5 working cells.
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Sep 21, 2005
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craftsman wrote: It's not hard to make something up once you have the basics of the device - ie you can use the MC3000 and create some dummy batteries (a wood dowel and two screws basically) which you then attach some wires to the batteries. However, it might work so well if the pack has a BMS or has multiple cells for a 7.2V or 9.6V... pack.
I have a MAHA MH-C9000 for charging NiMH battery. I try to charge sub-C cell using short wires. It refuses to charge and display HIGH. There are adapter to charge C or D cells on MH-C9000. But I have not try.
craftsman wrote: But that's perfect then. A standard capacity old laptop battery will have 6 cells and one or two of them might be dead (typically one out of one of the three pairs is dead causing the capacity of the pack to drop) which will leave you with 5 working cells.
Bad cell in laptop battery can be replace as long as power is connected to the BMS board.
Solder a good cell in parallel to the bad cell. Then, remove the bad cell.
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I've seen 18650's at Interstate Battery retail locations. I would think those should be more reliable than the vape store or Amazon ones?
I have a bunch that came with flashlights from Amazon. One just stopped charging, and the rest are sketchy looking.
c'mon get happy!
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embguy wrote: I have a MAHA MH-C9000 for charging NiMH battery. I try to charge sub-C cell using short wires. It refuses to charge and display HIGH. There are adapter to charge C or D cells on MH-C9000. But I have not try.
That's because the charger believes that the internal resistance is too high! probably caused by connection points between the charger/the wires/the battery.
embguy wrote: Bad cell in laptop battery can be replace as long as power is connected to the BMS board.
Solder a good cell in parallel to the bad cell. Then, remove the bad cell.
Yep. Or you can get one of those small portable mini-spot welders that seem to be everywhere on Aliexpress rip the old battery out and spot weld the new one in place.
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Mar 6, 2003
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I bought some from https://www.flashlightworld.ca/collecti ... -batteries before when I bought a flashlight. I bought Samsung unprotected flat top cells.

I would avoid buying from Amazon. Not really going to take a chance to get co-mixed stock from amazon
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embguy wrote: I have a MAHA MH-C9000 for charging NiMH battery. I try to charge sub-C cell using short wires. It refuses to charge and display HIGH. There are adapter to charge C or D cells on MH-C9000. But I have not try.
If you are trying to use a charger designed exclusively for NiMH batteries to charge Li-ion batteries, don't! Different chemistry, different voltages, different everything.
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Ugh....

If there is anything that is wrong with this world, it is that we allow garbage dangerous batteries to be manufactured.
Finding a deal is next to impossible without a willingness to risk garbage quality.
The options within Canada are just as sketchy.
About 8 or 9 years ago, I found a good reputable source for high end Panasonics, and had them shipped to a US friend (who brought them to Canada when visiting). All of them are still in use, and still performing decently.
I can't help but feel that battery fraud has gotten much worse since then.

I'm super grumpy. Back in 2018, I bought a reputable replacement battery for my 4th gen iPod Nano. It is a very tricky replacement, because dissassemby is complex, and you need to solder a tiny ribbon cable onto the logic board. When I took it apart, I basically chickened out from doing it, accepting that my moderate soldering skills combined with my cheap ass soldering tool would be a disaster. I recently remembered about this forgotten project, and was looking into paying someone to do the soldering. Unfortunately, upon inspecting the unopened battery replacement, it has bulged and is now twice as thick. Had I installed this, it would have damaged the LCD screen.

In any case - I really hate all the BS that comes with batteries. Everything is about BS labeling and lies, and it is a crap shoot as to whether you get something reliable. Companies like Apple should be mandated to make available OEM replacements. I'd be happy to pay more, so long as I actually get the real deal. I don't think I have ever had a replacement battery that has performed as well as the original.
Last edited by shikotee on May 4th, 2021 2:46 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Dec 9, 2003
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kverwoert wrote: I bought from here
https://18650canada.com/
Yes 18650canada is a good source. Also good prices on eBay. I should have included Panasonic as a good brand as well as LG, Samsung, Sony
I apologize for offending sensitivities of alt right, alt left, or anyone in the middle, for humor or perspectives, for my maturity and occasional errors. I apologize for misunderstandings on gender, religion, politics, race or deals.

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