Best 18650 Batteries for Flashlight?

Discussion in 'Firearm Accessories Talk' started by Jerzsubbie, Jan 25, 2020.

  1. Jerzsubbie

    Jerzsubbie Senior Member Charter Member Benefactor Supporting Member

    Joined:
    Dec 16, 2016
    Messages:
    4,731
    Likes Received:
    6,413
    Location:
    Huntersville
    I recently ordered another 2xCR123/18650 light and think I want to begin using rechargeable 18650’s rather than buying so many CR123’s.

    I began researching and there are TONS of batteries and options out there. Do I want protected or non-protected cells? USB charger or AC smart charger? What brands are best? Seems like Amazon has pulled a lot of these in recent months based on all the dead links I’ve found and some other forum comments.
    I believe I need a button type, not flat. I believe I want the highest mah rating possible. If it matters, I have Surefire, Fenix, and Nitecore lights.

    What do you guys use?
     
    Pink_Vapor likes this.
  2. Derek8404

    Derek8404 Plank Owner Charter Member

    Joined:
    Dec 17, 2016
    Messages:
    4,213
    Likes Received:
    9,739
    Location:
    Leesburg, VA
    Cloud Defensive list on their site that they recommend the SAMSUNG 18650 30Q for max output and the SANYO 18650 GA for Mac run time. Those guys know a thing or two about lights so I would follow their advice
     
    Jerzsubbie likes this.
  3. Coltdefender1911

    Coltdefender1911 On the couch Charter Member Supporting Member

    Joined:
    Dec 20, 2016
    Messages:
    3,824
    Likes Received:
    3,665
    Location:
    Charlotte, NC
    I use Streamlight batteries (1850) in my Protac HL-X. I find them convenient because they can be charged using a conventional charger or a cell phone charger. They make rechargeable CR 123 also.
     
    Burt Gummer likes this.
  4. Vyntage

    Vyntage Monster Benefactor Life Member

    Joined:
    Jan 5, 2017
    Messages:
    530
    Likes Received:
    660
    Location:
    Charlotte
    I have over 50 18650 flashlights and probably twice as many batteries, and so have some experience in this field. :oops:

    If your flashlight has protection, and most good ones do, you don't want a protected battery. It's redundant and may cause fitment issues.

    If your flashlight does not have protection, and a protected battery will fit, then it's a good idea.

    Button tops are generally a good choice.

    If you want to source quality batteries in the states, this is a good guy to buy from:

    https://www.mtnelectronics.com/index.php

    Coupon code "BLF" gets you 3% off.

    I've also had good luck buying bulk packs of Samsung batteries from Gearbest and Banggood. You just have to wait a month or so to get them. If I had to buy more batteries now, I'd probably wait for a good sale at one of those two places. You can find current sales at these links:

    http://budgetlightforum.com/node/33834

    http://budgetlightforum.com/node/33282

    For a basic charger, the Lii-500 is tough to beat. If you want something fancier than that there are some good options. This guy is a fanatic about testing chargers and batteries:

    https://lygte-info.dk/
     
    Last edited: Jan 25, 2020
    jimmyjames8 and Jerzsubbie like this.
  5. Vyntage

    Vyntage Monster Benefactor Life Member

    Joined:
    Jan 5, 2017
    Messages:
    530
    Likes Received:
    660
    Location:
    Charlotte
  6. J R Green

    J R Green Member Charter Life Member

    Joined:
    Dec 17, 2016
    Messages:
    6,680
    Likes Received:
    14,207
    Location:
    Rutherford Co.
    Dude, I thought I had a problem.

    I never gave much thought to which battery to get butI picked up a couple of work lights that run on 18650's. They have usb chargers built in and also a usb out that you can charge your phone with. I put them in my cars for emergencies.
    https://www.amazon.com/OTYTY-Rechar...coding=UTF8&psc=1&refRID=BQNJHD4SR7XHXXY1N9EJ
     
    Vyntage likes this.
  7. Vyntage

    Vyntage Monster Benefactor Life Member

    Joined:
    Jan 5, 2017
    Messages:
    530
    Likes Received:
    660
    Location:
    Charlotte
    Yeah, when you need a two-page spreadsheet to keep track of your flashlights on Charging Day, you might have a problem. :(

    [​IMG]
     
    Last edited: Jan 25, 2020
  8. Jerzsubbie

    Jerzsubbie Senior Member Charter Member Benefactor Supporting Member

    Joined:
    Dec 16, 2016
    Messages:
    4,731
    Likes Received:
    6,413
    Location:
    Huntersville
    Exactly what I was looking for, thanks! But damn, I thought I had a lot of lights... I’m an amateur compared to you.

    MTN looks pretty good, reasonable shipping, good prices, and all of the top brands I’ve read about. I’ll probably order just a couple for now, but when I want more, I’ll go the gearbest/banggood route. I’m familiar with them from buying my 3D printer.

    Thanks to the others as well. I had seen the Samsung 30Q and Sanyo/Panasonics highly recommended most places.
     
    Vyntage and Button Pusher like this.
  9. Brian K

    Brian K Turd Noodler Charter Member Supporting Member

    Joined:
    Dec 17, 2016
    Messages:
    2,413
    Likes Received:
    6,044
    Location:
    DavieCo
    Interesting side bar.

    I work in IT, we've always got a supply of laptop batteries for laptops we no longer have. Taken several apart that were headed to the round file and found them loaded with button-less 18650's. Just add a blob of soldier to the + end and your off to the races.
     
    Jerzsubbie and Vyntage like this.
  10. Vyntage

    Vyntage Monster Benefactor Life Member

    Joined:
    Jan 5, 2017
    Messages:
    530
    Likes Received:
    660
    Location:
    Charlotte
    A Tesla is powered by thousands of 18650s. :eek:

    They are going to transition to 20700s though. I think flashlights are headed in that direction as well.
     
    Last edited: Jan 25, 2020
  11. J R Green

    J R Green Member Charter Life Member

    Joined:
    Dec 17, 2016
    Messages:
    6,680
    Likes Received:
    14,207
    Location:
    Rutherford Co.
    This caused me to look then up. Note for trivia night, the numbers reflect the dimensions of the battery.
    18650 = 18mm x 650 mm and 20700 = 20mm x 700mm.
     
  12. Vyntage

    Vyntage Monster Benefactor Life Member

    Joined:
    Jan 5, 2017
    Messages:
    530
    Likes Received:
    660
    Location:
    Charlotte
    Jerzsubbie this is all your fault. You got me thinking about flashlights, and so I started surfing the Convoy store on Aliexpress for the first time in a few years. He has all kinds of cool new toys available. Some examples:

    Desert tan C8+ with the excellent Biscotti firmware and multiple color temp options:
    https://www.aliexpress.com/item/32872307625.html?spm=a2g0s.9042311.0.0.73174c4dxbg3ql

    C8+ with ramping driver and SST40 LEDs:
    https://www.aliexpress.com/item/32989670019.html?spm=2114.12010612.8148356.30.3d3b6d6cQ8Rnwo

    Massive thrower head on a tiny 18650/21700 body with SST40 LEDs:
    https://www.aliexpress.com/item/33024385404.html?spm=2114.12010612.8148356.42.3d3b6d6cQ8Rnwo

    Triple LED flood that also has good throw, with Nichia 219C high-CRI LEDs in an 18650/21700 body:
    https://www.aliexpress.com/item/4000121321488.html?spm=2114.12010612.8148356.64.3d3b6d6cQ8Rnwo

    Being completely incapable of self-control, there's yet another shipment of lights on the way. :(
     
    Last edited: Jan 26, 2020
    Jerzsubbie likes this.
  13. Jerzsubbie

    Jerzsubbie Senior Member Charter Member Benefactor Supporting Member

    Joined:
    Dec 16, 2016
    Messages:
    4,731
    Likes Received:
    6,413
    Location:
    Huntersville
    My apologies, haha. If it makes you feel any better, this all started with me buying a Fenix PD35 V2 that I had no need for but was on sale for $43.

    The more I looked, the more batteries and better charger I wanted, then I realized that I’d need 16650’s for some of my surefires, and it was beginning to get a little more expensive than I initially thought. So I decided to reel things back in and go real simple.

    I grabbed a pair of Fenix 2600mah 18650’s that have the built in USB charger so that I can use them for my vehicle lights and be able to easily charge them in my vehicles as needed. I installed 2.1A USB chargers in both vehicles so this should work well. If I like these then I’ll grab some of the better 18650’s like I initially planned.
     
    Last edited: Jan 27, 2020
    Vyntage likes this.
  14. georgel

    georgel Behind Every Blade of Grass Supporting Member

    Joined:
    Dec 17, 2016
    Messages:
    5,921
    Likes Received:
    9,652
    Location:
    em95gc
    I love going to the 18650 for lights. Good output and long lasting. I use a Nitecore charger that handles my 18650's and AA's and AAA's. But, I have an eclectic collection of 18650 batteries. All of my AA's and AAA's are Sanyo Eneloops. I will be getting some 18650 Sanyo's. I only have a few 18650 lights, including one that takes 4! I'm eyeing the Fenix UC35 v2. I have the non-tail switch version and I like it because it has an internal charge circuit. So, all I need to do is find a micro USB charge cable and I'm good to go. I can charge it in the car, at work or off one of the portable battery packs wtihout having to keep track of a charger. I want the upgraded model with the momentary tail switch. I have the LD12 AA for EDC and the UC35 would effectively be it's identical big brother with a recharging 18650.
     
    Vyntage and JimP42 like this.
  15. Vyntage

    Vyntage Monster Benefactor Life Member

    Joined:
    Jan 5, 2017
    Messages:
    530
    Likes Received:
    660
    Location:
    Charlotte
    Yeah, I've played with 14500s, 18650s, and 26650s; 18650s are the best compromise IMO between battery life and package size.

    21700s have the potential to be an ever better compromise. For this latest order I grabbed a 21700 light, two high-mAh 21700 batteries, and a new charger, and will see if 21700s are all they're cracked up to be. For science.
     
    Last edited: Jan 27, 2020
  16. georgel

    georgel Behind Every Blade of Grass Supporting Member

    Joined:
    Dec 17, 2016
    Messages:
    5,921
    Likes Received:
    9,652
    Location:
    em95gc
    One reason ive liked the 18650 format is that it's the primary battery for the vaping community too. More options and stability for the format.
     
    Vyntage likes this.
  17. Vyntage

    Vyntage Monster Benefactor Life Member

    Joined:
    Jan 5, 2017
    Messages:
    530
    Likes Received:
    660
    Location:
    Charlotte
    I think Vapers were the first to start moving to 21700s and the flashlight manufacturers are just following their lead. You'd think it would be the other way around. <shrug>

    Then again, there are three or four Vape stores in my area but not a single flashlight store.

    [​IMG]
     
    Last edited: Jan 27, 2020
    Millie and Pink_Vapor like this.
  18. Ikarus1

    Ikarus1 Avtomat Krishna-kov

    Joined:
    Dec 16, 2016
    Messages:
    10,369
    Likes Received:
    17,289
    Location:
    East of CLT
    I bought a pack of 4 18650s on the clearance shelf a while back when I used to shop the big box of Walton. I think they were for landscape lighting and they're only 2000 mAH (maybe) but still....they were around $1 each in a 4 pack so....I rotate :D

    They're decent for what they are. This guy paid $11 and is happy.

     
    Last edited: Jan 27, 2020
  19. Pink_Vapor

    Pink_Vapor “Not as funny as he thinks he is”, spouse Supporting Member

    Joined:
    Jul 1, 2017
    Messages:
    7,144
    Likes Received:
    9,400
    Location:
    Moncure, NC
    I gotta ask, why so many? How many can you hold?
    upload_2020-1-27_11-29-11.png
     
    Millie and Vyntage like this.
  20. Vyntage

    Vyntage Monster Benefactor Life Member

    Joined:
    Jan 5, 2017
    Messages:
    530
    Likes Received:
    660
    Location:
    Charlotte
    I think a better question is "why NOT so many?" :rolleyes:

    But seriously, the vast majority of them are cool (well, hot when you use them) and they are all different and it's fun to try out different lights. How many guns do you own?
     
  21. Pink_Vapor

    Pink_Vapor “Not as funny as he thinks he is”, spouse Supporting Member

    Joined:
    Jul 1, 2017
    Messages:
    7,144
    Likes Received:
    9,400
    Location:
    Moncure, NC
    Mmm... maybe two :rolleyes:

    I do appreciate the batt info, those were questions I had as well.
     
    Last edited: Jan 27, 2020
    Vyntage likes this.
  22. Vyntage

    Vyntage Monster Benefactor Life Member

    Joined:
    Jan 5, 2017
    Messages:
    530
    Likes Received:
    660
    Location:
    Charlotte
    If anyone was curious about trying out the whole 18650 flashlight thing, these three items would make an outstanding starter kit and are under $65 combined. They will ship fast from within the US and are all premium quality.

    Just beware that once you start down that rabbit hole, you may not come out. :rolleyes:

    http://www.mtnelectronics.com/index.php?route=product/product&path=80&product_id=598 **(Choose the T6-3B tint)**
    http://www.mtnelectronics.com/index.php?route=product/product&path=59_88&product_id=542
    http://www.mtnelectronics.com/index.php?route=product/product&path=79&product_id=857
     
    Last edited: Jan 27, 2020
  23. cjcullom

    cjcullom Happy to be here Charter Life Member Supporting Member

    Joined:
    Jan 1, 2017
    Messages:
    629
    Likes Received:
    523
    Location:
    PA
    Vyntage you could have your own Marvel character with all that cool light gear. "LightMan"...You can run but you will be seen!
    R
     
    Vyntage likes this.
  24. Ben Jefferson

    Ben Jefferson Well-Known Member Benefactor Supporting Member

    Joined:
    Sep 26, 2019
    Messages:
    2,941
    Likes Received:
    4,093
    Location:
    Sophia, NC
    I confess to a "much smaller" flashlight addiction.

    But I bow to the Master!

    giphy.gif

    I was told it's a Jarhead thing by others.
     
    Vyntage likes this.
  25. Burt Gummer

    Burt Gummer Nuts Over Lil D. Wizard Slayer Staff Member Benefactor Charter Life Member Supporting Member

    Joined:
    Dec 17, 2016
    Messages:
    12,315
    Likes Received:
    36,546
    Location:
    Julian, NC
    @thrillhill turned me into a streamlight whooor.
    I’ve got 2 HL-X 1,000 lumen lights for pocket carry and a rifle mounted light of the same gender. I have a stream light 2 battery charger that stays plugged up in my truck with two in it all the time. I recently bought the HL-5 that holds two 18650’s. So far I’ve only got streamlight brand batteries but I like the fact that I can charge them 2 different ways
     
    thrillhill likes this.