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Thread: What are the pros and cons between CR123's vs. 18650's

  1. #1

    Default What are the pros and cons between CR123's vs. 18650's

    I've been a happy purchaser of Maglites for years. About a year ago I bought a Fenix TK12 R5, it's an awesome little light, and my Maglites now gather dust. I'm not into all the technical details about batteries but would like to know the reasons why there is so much discussion about 18650's. I have no problems with the CR123's I use but I do hear issues with some of the sizes of the 18650's in some lights. So what are the pros and cons between the two?

  2. #2

    Default Re: What are the pros and cons between CR123's vs. 18650's

    One of the main reasons I'd prefer say one 18650, to two RCR123A's, is that its now just a single battery instead of two that I'd have to worry about discharge differences, etc.

    The other is run time...typically, I get more with the 18650.

  3. #3

    Default Re: What are the pros and cons between CR123's vs. 18650's

    "Player" --- If you're going through "123" primaries, then you must know of the cost involved! So one of the biggest advantages becomes a (generally) lower operating cost if you figure you can spend between $10 & $20 on a 18650 cell....but just recharge as you need to (after you conquer the initial investment of the charger of course ).

  4. #4

    Default Re: What are the pros and cons between CR123's vs. 18650's

    LOL - I thought he just meant between the two sizes of rechargeables.

    If its primaries you're comparing, absolutely the rechargeables save a fortune....its why I use rechargeables in anything that can run on them.

    I was getting KILLED on primary costs...as I use a lot of lights for work. The cost to purchase a bunch of the different sized rechargeables and chargers for them wasn't small, except compared to my annual battery budget....and they've already paid for themselves. That's to get 18650s, 26650's and RCR123A's, plus some chemistry variations on the theme for lights with big amp draws, etc.

    Now, I never have to worry about "Running out" on the job...no more buying disposable batteries.


  5. #5
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    Default Re: What are the pros and cons between CR123's vs. 18650's

    cr123
    pros
    generally safer, store longer
    cons
    stuck at 3v and so much discharge rate


    rechargeables

    pros
    higher volts can run bigger lumens
    can have high discharge rates (more lumens)
    cons
    less runtime
    less storage time
    could blow up in yer face if handled incorrectly charge/discharge
    posted by jh333233
    Dont cheat me, im expert in using crap light

  6. #6

    Default Re: What are the pros and cons between CR123's vs. 18650's

    Thank you everyone!

    TEEJ
    That makes sense and I totally agree. With some of the multi battery lights coming out though does it still apply? Take for example the Nitecore TM11, it uses 4 18650's, wouldn't you still have the problem with different discharge rates? I'm sure it would still be easier with just four 18650's verse eight C123's.


    RBWNY
    I'm not finding the cost to bad. There are a couple of us at work who use lights that require C123's and we buy in bulk to save and the cost isn't to bad. I have had my light turn on in my jacket a few times without my knowing and kill the batteries, that's just a loss altogether.

    127.0.0.1
    Thanks for the information. I was assuming that you could get more lumens with the 18650's, hence the reason why so many would want to use them, less run time has me worried.

    Maybe I'm lazy but it seems that the need to charge verse just drop in new C123's is extra work. I guess you need to carry extras and when they run down you just drop the back ups in and recharge the old ones when you get home. I carry extra C123's just in case so maybe the extra effort is not an issue. I'm thinking of getting the TM11 and am seeing problems with different 18650's because of differing sizes. I think C123's would be the easy route but 8 at a time is crazy!

    Again, thanks everyone for your help!

  7. #7

    Default Re: What are the pros and cons between CR123's vs. 18650's

    Yeah, I HATE having to mess with all those 123's....My S18 takes 6 at a time for example, I'd much rather only have to use 3 18650's than 6 123's. Its runs on both primary and rechargeables at least...but I used primaries until the shipment of rechargeables came in....and, I prefer the rechargeables.

    The run time is not really a giant problem, its just that the mAh is lower in some cases (I use 18650's with 3100 mAh though, which is more than the 2x1500 mAh the 123's might have supplied, so I get LONGER run time than those using 2600 mAh cells, etc).

    IE: Don't worry about the run time, just get the mAh man!


  8. #8
    Flashaholic* Lou Minescence's Avatar
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    Default

    I like heading out with a fully recharged battery. I don't like heading out with half charged primaries and either throwing them out or changing them while I'm using the light.

  9. #9

    Default Re: What are the pros and cons between CR123's vs. 18650's

    TEEJ
    Good to know, the more mAh the better.

    Lou
    This is actually one of my concerns about most lights, you never know how much of a charge you have. I really like some of the lights I've seen on this forum where there are a couple of LEDs on the back to tell you how much of a charge is remaining. Having 18650's I guess helps this problem if you change them regularly depending on how often you use your light.

  10. #10
    Flashaholic* tobrien's Avatar
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    Default Re: What are the pros and cons between CR123's vs. 18650's

    Quote Originally Posted by Player View Post
    Thanks for the information. I was assuming that you could get more lumens with the 18650's, hence the reason why so many would want to use them, less run time has me worried.
    i wouldn't worry too much about less runtime. I'm not saying runtime isn't important, but just pay attention to your batteries and when you last changed or charged them.

    and for what it's worth, if i remember correctly, if you've got a decently powerful light, isn't the runtime difference between, say, a 3100 mAh 18650 and a 2900 mAh 18650 only like 10 minutes at best? (experts feel free to correct me on this if this is untrue)

    so if I'm right about the above runtime difference, which I swear I read in a thread on here at CPF before, then if money is perhaps an issue and you don't want to spend a ton on batteries, you could save some money by buying 2900 mAh 18650s if you weren't sure whether or not to get those over 3100 mAh.
    aka Edgar Allan Bro, Brosama Bin Liftin, Walter Crunkite, Bro Namath, Teddy Brosevelt, and the Tomahawk Crunkmissile.
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  11. #11
    Flashaholic* ChrisGarrett's Avatar
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    Default Re: What are the pros and cons between CR123's vs. 18650's

    Quote Originally Posted by tobrien View Post
    i wouldn't worry too much about less runtime. I'm not saying runtime isn't important, but just pay attention to your batteries and when you last changed or charged them.

    and for what it's worth, if i remember correctly, if you've got a decently powerful light, isn't the runtime difference between, say, a 3100 mAh 18650 and a 2900 mAh 18650 only like 10 minutes at best? (experts feel free to correct me on this if this is untrue)

    so if I'm right about the above runtime difference, which I swear I read in a thread on here at CPF before, then if money is perhaps an issue and you don't want to spend a ton on batteries, you could save some money by buying 2900 mAh 18650s if you weren't sure whether or not to get those over 3100 mAh.
    I've been pricing out the Callies, AW, EagleTac and Redilast 18650 and honestly, from some of the common venders and even the manufacturers, the price difference between the 2900s and 3100s is only a buck or two, if that.

    There's a US EagleTac vendor on Ebay and I went with two 'genuine' 3100s, for $20.39 delivered, so I'll see once they get here, if it's too good to be true. I figure that I got two ETs for the price of one Redilast, AW, or Cailles and they use the same Pannisonic NCR cell.

    Chris

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