Protected/Unprotected and IMR cells


Newly Enlightened
Mar 26, 2011
I have always purchased protected cells (18650). I am in the process of getting a couple of 26650 based lights (one for my truck and one for my wives car). So, I have been battery shopping and have never been so confused. I have already posted a couple of questions and received some really great info, thanks to all! But, I am still not sure what would be my best option.

In the past I have ordered mostly Orbtronic protected cells and have no complaints. So, I decided to turn to them for the 26650 cells as well and was all set to order these:

But then noticed that they are not protected but they are IMR. Some people say IMR is a safer battery, and some say not. Are the iMR batteries comparable to protected cells? Am I asking for problems using non-protected IMR's versus a protected cell like the 5200MaH Orbtronic 26650? Lastly, do modern flashlights already contain a protection circuit of some kind?

I would like the higher performance of the IMR cell but if it going to be a safety concern, especially for lights stored in the car (also my wife is not the most technically savvy person).

Sorry for all the questions, I thought I knew some of this stuff but it turns out that I actually know nothing. I am excited about moving to 26650 based lights but this is turning out to be a much more difficult chore to located cells than I expected.... :-(



Flashlight Enthusiast
Feb 2, 2012
Miami, Florida
I'd worry more about global warming, which I really don't.

Just practice safe li-ion battery usage and don't run them down to zero volts and you'll be fine.



Sep 8, 2014
Melbourne Australia
Which 26650 light are you planning to get? I have 4 and all use protected cells. Only buy the IMR chemistry 26650 if the light demands it. I have used EVVA and Keeppower and work fine. Some lights do have low voltage protection, but is it reliable? I don’t know. The other thing is does your light have a parasitic drain? I have a Vostro from Niwalker that only works with unprotected cells. It drained my high drain batteries way too low and now they are useless. I even unscrew it, made sure the light couldn’t be turned on and still drained the batteries.

Some lights require unprotected cells because they have limited space. If you treat your batteries with care and respect, they should be fine. They are no different from your 18650 batteries but the size.
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Flashlight Enthusiast
CPF Supporter
Jan 28, 2003
I have always purchased protected cells (18650). I am in the process of getting a couple of 26650 based lights.
I would get protected high capacity like this unless your flashlight requires IMR cell. Another world, if your flashlight works with protected cell, there is no reason to use unprotected or IMR.
You can test your protected 18650 cell wrapping in carboard to fit center and see how it perform before buying 26650.
Length of 18650 and 26650 cells are pretty much same.
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