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Thread: Are expensive 18650 worth the $$?

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    Flashaholic* Aaron1100us's Avatar
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    Default Are expensive 18650 worth the $$?

    I have three 18650 flashlights. L2P with a DD XML T6, L2T with an XML U2 3 mode @4.2 amps and a Skyray 3X XML T6. Trustfire 2400mah in the Solarforce lights and 4000mah Ultrafire in the Skyray. Would I notice any difference with better batteries such as the AW 18650's? $5 or $20 for a battery is quite a difference.

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    Last edited by Aaron1100us; 06-25-2012 at 03:38 AM.
    Surefire G2, M3, E1L, Inova X5 white, X5 blue, X1, AE 24w HID, RR 2XAA, 2XC, 2XAAA , RR incan/led, Dorcy Metal Gear, Brinkman 4 LED, Mini mag, Pelican Mightylite, Coleman lantern, River Rock lantern, Omega shake light, NightStar shake light, Streamlight keymate,inova LED key light, 2 river rock LED key lights, Princton Tec Apex, energizer 6 LED headlamp, RiverRock .5w Headlamp, Streamlight 4XAA Lux, Brinkmann MaxFire, Princeton Tech Rage, 3 Garrity chrome classics, Mag 85, Mag 3D, Thor platinum

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    Default Re: Are expensive 18650 worth the $$?

    You can get good batteries for less than $20. Look for batteries based on the Panasonic 3100 mAh cell.

    Most of the time the cheap batteries are not very good, but sometimes you can get lucky. The difference is in capacity and how much current they can deliver.
    My website with flashlight, battery and charger information: lygte-info.
    More than 200 battery reviews and 80 charger reviews.
    Compare 18650 LiIon batteries or smaller (RCR123, 16340, 14500, 10450) LiIon batteries.

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    Retired Administrator Norm's Avatar
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    Default Re: Are expensive 18650 worth the $$?

    Cheap batteries are cheap for a reason, quality batteries are far better value.

    Norm

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    Flashaholic* Aaron1100us's Avatar
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    Ok, so it sounds like I will notice a difference right? Found the Panasonic 3100's for $13.99. Working 6.2amp discharge rate.

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  5. #5
    HKJ's Avatar
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    Default Re: Are expensive 18650 worth the $$?

    Quote Originally Posted by Aaron1100us View Post
    Ok, so it sounds like I will notice a difference right? Found the Panasonic 3100's for $13.99. Working 6.2amp discharge rate.
    You will get longer runtime and probably also more brightness.
    What out for protected or not protected batteries, the protected is much safer (and Panasonic is much safer than xxxFire).
    My website with flashlight, battery and charger information: lygte-info.
    More than 200 battery reviews and 80 charger reviews.
    Compare 18650 LiIon batteries or smaller (RCR123, 16340, 14500, 10450) LiIon batteries.

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    Flashaholic* Aaron1100us's Avatar
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    Thanks, will get some ordered.

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  7. #7

    Default Re: Are expensive 18650 worth the $$?

    Have a look at some of HKJ's comparison charts. Normally it is worth paying over $10 a cell, some cheap batteries are reasonably good, e.g. genuine Trustfire 2400 'flames', but most are rubbish. You are taking a risk going cheap. But HKJ is right, find out what cell is in the battery and you can get a top quality one for well under $20.

    I recommend searching for the 'keeppower 3100' ones on HKJ's charts to compare to others, and on ebay to find the best price. They are at $25 a pair atm I think. If you find similarly protected genuine panasonic 3100 based cells from a non-shady seller for cheaper, then go for those instead.

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    Flashaholic* jmpaul320's Avatar
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    Check out the Sanyo 2600mah from Intl outdoor. Good price and pretty good cell for the money. Their internal resistance seems to be a little higher than protected aw Panasonic. So they might get just a little warmer but they seem to be quality cells.

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    Flashaholic* Wiggle's Avatar
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    Default Re: Are expensive 18650 worth the $$?

    Trustfire 2400 black/flame has never let me down. I always get very similar runtimes on known lights I see tested with better cells. It does not suffer from high output impedance as some budget cells do. Personally, I'd rather have 6 or more TF 2400s than a couple premium cells.

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    Flashaholic* LEDAdd1ct's Avatar
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    Default Re: Are expensive 18650 worth the $$?

    Hank told me in an email protected Sanyo 2600 cells are on the way!
    "...and the diode multiplied and grew in brightness. And God saw that it was good."

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    Default Re: Are expensive 18650 worth the $$?

    +1 on buying protected Panasonic cells as a baseline recommendation, or protected Sanyo cells if available. Sanyo's cell manufacturing division was purchased by Panasonic, by the way.

    In addition to what's been discussed I wanted to point out:

    Quote Originally Posted by Aaron1100us View Post
    ... and 4000mah Ultrafire in the Skyray. Would I notice any difference with better batteries such as the AW 18650's?
    Currently there is no such thing as a 4000 mAh 18650 cell, not from a bad nor from a good maker. Whoever is making / marking / distributing these cells is participating in fraud, marking cells up with fictitious capacities to appeal to the buying public's "more is better" instincts.

    My advice on these matters is always the same: get good quality cells and dispose of the fraudulent cells (or cells of unknown heritage) safely. Don't use them.
    Last edited by tandem; 06-25-2012 at 08:23 AM.

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    Default Re: Are expensive 18650 worth the $$?

    I'd buy a cheap light before I'd buy a cheap cell. Just say NO (to cheap cells) kids!
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    Flashaholic* Aaron1100us's Avatar
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    Hope to get the Panasonics soon. I've been fairly happy with the TTF 2600's. The Ultrafires really are junk. Tried them in the Skyray and the light shuts off after a few minutes. Can't wait to try the Panasonics.

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  14. #14

    Default Re: Are expensive 18650 worth the $$?

    AW batteries are the way to go - as you will see from most commentators here. I also use Redilast 18650-3100 which are remarkably 'even' both when charged and discharged - almost uncanny how all three of them used in my TrustFire X6 discharge to within 0.1 - 0.2v of each other.

    Having said that, I also have 3 TrustFire 'flame' 18650-2400 which while not used as much have always seemed good too - as also reported here. So I guess if you are goung to buy 'cheap' batteries, these are the ones to get.
    SureFire UB3T Invictus; TrustFire X6; LumaPower MVP (3xCree) , Sunwayman V11R; 4Sevens Quark AA Tactical, Electrolumens EDC-P7; Nitecore DI (R2, GDP, Q5); LiteFlux LF2XT-R2, LF2X

  15. #15

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    Actually XTAR 18650 offer a better value for similar or performance/quality exceeding that of AW. Not their 16340 cells though, they are too long so AW all the way for those.

    To be more blunt though, say no to xxxxFire batteries


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    Last edited by Ualnosaj; 06-27-2012 at 06:15 PM.

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    Default Re: Are expensive 18650 worth the $$?

    Quote Originally Posted by Ualnosaj View Post
    Actually XTAR 18650 offer a better value for similar or performance/quality exceeding that of AW.
    ..and for 3100mAh cells, Eagletac, Intl-Outdoor, Orbtronic and Keeppower all offer superior value to AW batteries.

  17. #17

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    Quote Originally Posted by Shadowww View Post
    ..and for 3100mAh cells, Eagletac, Intl-Outdoor, Orbtronic and Keeppower all offer superior value to AW batteries.
    Of that list the Keeppower and Intl-Outdoor are longer than the AW and XTAR, making it work but not as compatible (same comment as the XTAR 16340s). Unsure of the others though.



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    Default Re: Are expensive 18650 worth the $$?

    Quote Originally Posted by Ualnosaj View Post
    Of that list the Keeppower and Intl-Outdoor are longer than the AW and XTAR, making it work but not as compatible (same comment as the XTAR 16340s). Unsure of the others though.
    Yeah their length varies because there is no fixed standard for protected 18650's (wikipedia says it's 70mm though).

  19. #19

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    Woooo I just noticed something. I was prepping lights for my wife and noticed the diameter of the XTAR 3100 varied enough that they fit snug or not at all in the TK15. All 20 AW (2900 and 3100) fit perfectly. Something to think about

    For the XTAR length they're just about the same as the AW (only talking about the 3100, also in bang for buck)


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    Flashaholic* HighlanderNorth's Avatar
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    Default Re: Are expensive 18650 worth the $$?

    Quote Originally Posted by Aaron1100us View Post
    I have three 18650 flashlights. L2P with a DD XML T6, L2T with an XML U2 3 mode @4.2 amps and a Skyray 3X XML T6. Trustfire 2400mah in the Solarforce lights and 4000mah Ultrafire in the Skyray. Would I notice any difference with better batteries such as the AW 18650's? $5 or $20 for a battery is quite a difference.

    Sent from my PB99400 using Tapatalk 2

    As has been pointed out here many times, you can go to amazon.com and pick up 2 Orbtronics 2900 mah Panasonic 18650 batteries for about $23.99, or 2 - 3100mah Orbtronics Panasonic 18650's for about $26 or so. They are top-quality Panasonic batteries, and they are protected.

    Read the reports at cpf about people who had disasters or near disasters with cheap rechargeable batteries.....

  21. #21

    Default Re: Are expensive 18650 worth the $$?

    Quote Originally Posted by 7histology View Post
    AW batteries are the way to go - as you will see from most commentators here. I also use Redilast 18650-3100 which are remarkably 'even' both when charged and discharged - almost uncanny how all three of them used in my TrustFire X6 discharge to within 0.1 - 0.2v of each other.
    I haven't seen any commentary that suggests the price difference between 3100 mah AW/Redilast/Callie Customs is warranted when compared to Panasonic based 18650 3100 mah batts by Eagletac/Intl-Outdoor/Keeppower/Orbtronic.


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    Default Re: Are expensive 18650 worth the $$?

    Quote Originally Posted by sspc View Post
    I haven't seen any commentary that suggests the price difference between 3100 mah AW/Redilast/Callie Customs is warranted when compared to Panasonic based 18650 3100 mah batts by Eagletac/Intl-Outdoor/Keeppower/Orbtronic.

    Same applies to 2600mAh batteries btw (AW 2600mAh = $15 for single battery, Xtar 2600mAh = $13.5 for two of them).

  23. #23
    Retired Administrator Norm's Avatar
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    Default Re: Are expensive 18650 worth the $$?

    I think the title should be "Are quality 18650 worth the $$? " as I don't really consider these cells to be expensive.

    Norm

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    Flashaholic* LEDAdd1ct's Avatar
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    Default Re: Are expensive 18650 worth the $$?

    CPF has such a wide range of cultures and budgets, that for some members flashlights are a hobby to indulge in whenever they please; for other members, it is a real luxury, a treat. As such, it is likely that what is expensive for one member, with one occupation and at one stage of one's life, is barely noticed for another member, in a different occupation, at a different stage of one's life.

    Words such as "quality" and "expensive" are qualified by the financial circumstances and individual material valuations surrounding the member inquiring.

    That said, I respectfully suggest to the original poster that he look for the maker of the OEM cell, such as Panasonic or Sanyo, rather than the label of the dealer who sells it. If you go that route, perhaps you can find the best balance between "quality" and "expensive" that most fully meets your needs, or stated plainly, does not bust your budget.
    Last edited by LEDAdd1ct; 06-28-2012 at 06:35 AM.
    "...and the diode multiplied and grew in brightness. And God saw that it was good."

  25. #25
    Flashaholic Erzengel's Avatar
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    Default Re: Are expensive 18650 worth the $$?

    It is more important to chose the right battery for the job. If Your light draws 4.2 Amps, You should chose a light with a very high and flat voltage curve, like IMRs or the high discharge cells with 2250 mAh. They will give You more runtime than a 3100mAh on higher currents.

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    Default Re: Are expensive 18650 worth the $$?

    Quote Originally Posted by Erzengel View Post
    It is more important to chose the right battery for the job. If Your light draws 4.2 Amps, You should chose a light with a very high and flat voltage curve, like IMRs or the high discharge cells with 2250 mAh. They will give You more runtime than a 3100mAh on higher currents.
    Not necessarily, for 5A and lower (so including 4.2A), LG D1 3000mAh are better than IMR's and 2250mAh hybrids, in fact they're the best :Р.



  27. #27

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    Quote Originally Posted by LEDAdd1ct View Post
    CPF has such a wide range of cultures and budgets, that for some members flashlights are a hobby to indulge in whenever they please; for other members, it is a real luxury, a treat. As such, it is likely that what is expensive for one member, with one occupation and at one stage of one's life, is barely noticed for another member, in a different occupation, at a different stage of one's life.

    Words such as "quality" and "expensive" are qualified by the financial circumstances and individual material valuations surrounding the member inquiring.

    That said, I respectfully suggest to the original poster that he look for the maker of the OEM cell, such as Panasonic or Sanyo, rather than the label of the dealer who sells it. If you go that route, perhaps you can find the best balance between "quality" and "expensive" that most fully meets your needs, or stated plainly, does not bust your budget.
    Batteries are the relative inexpensive part of the equation. Unlike using cheap gas (please, no comments about knocking, etc), using a cheap battery higher possible disastrous consequences... And of course usually lower performance.

    Buy right, buy once if it's an highly used light. If it's a show off light every once in a blue moon, grab a red/black label TrustFire.

    Think of it this way, if you had to hand a light a loved one using 18650, which would you choose?

    Not knowin better , I equipped my wife with a fleet of gray UltraFires many years ago. Fast forward a year back and being more informed, replaced them all with AW/XTAR. Her's is tactical usage so any safety concerns must be minimized.

    On that note, I wouldn't trust any lithium with my oldest son so he gets AA lights (old Fenix LDs) for now (3 year old )



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  28. #28
    Flashaholic* Aaron1100us's Avatar
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    Charging the Panasonics now. Will test them out tonight.

    Sent from my PB99400 using Tapatalk 2
    Surefire G2, M3, E1L, Inova X5 white, X5 blue, X1, AE 24w HID, RR 2XAA, 2XC, 2XAAA , RR incan/led, Dorcy Metal Gear, Brinkman 4 LED, Mini mag, Pelican Mightylite, Coleman lantern, River Rock lantern, Omega shake light, NightStar shake light, Streamlight keymate,inova LED key light, 2 river rock LED key lights, Princton Tec Apex, energizer 6 LED headlamp, RiverRock .5w Headlamp, Streamlight 4XAA Lux, Brinkmann MaxFire, Princeton Tech Rage, 3 Garrity chrome classics, Mag 85, Mag 3D, Thor platinum

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