CHOOSING THE RIGHT BATTERY FOR YOUR VAPE
Posted at 12:00 • 28 Jan • Batteries
THERE'S MORE TO VAPING THAN SELECTING YOUR E-LIQUID
Treat batteries badly and they’ll turn grumpy. “Battery” by Metallica? Case in point. The things that are either positive, negative and invariably jammed with lithium are a delicate affair. Then again, treat them well, and you get Kanye West. Being bipolar is a “superpower”.
Batteries are important. No battery, no power. Finding the right battery for your device is equally important. Get it wrong and you put a lot at risk. The quality of your experience. The frustration of Googling “why isn’t my vape working?” At the very worst, although this largely has to do with user misuse, you can run the risk of an explosion. We dedicated an entire blog post to debunking the myths surrounding “exploding vape” headlines here.
BACK TO BASICS - A LITTLE BIT OF BATTERY CHEMISTRY
TWO TYPES (THAT YOU NEED TO KNOW ABOUT)
- 18650 - giving millennials a throwback to flashlight torch batteries, these are found in the vast majority of mods. The numbers simply stand for the size. 18mm diameter, 65mm height and a “0” being the battery’s way of saying: “I’m cylindrical”. On the clunky side, these are nevertheless power-pushing, long-lasting heavyweights that are used for one reason: they deliver.
- 26650 - less common and recognised by being slightly wider than 18650s, these (big surprise) are 22mm in diameter and 65mm height. Not many models take 26650s, but they’re around for powering the likes of some iJoy and Aspire devices.
Lithium-ion batteries consist of three parts: the cathode, the anode and the electrolyte. The cathode is the part giving each type its unique characteristic.
The vast majority of vape batteries are lithium ion- that’s the same kind you’ll find in your phone, laptop, cordless power tools and the remote control car you totally don’t own. There are, however, several types of lithium ion battery.
- Lithium IMR a.k.a Li-Mn (Lithium Manganese). These are high-drain batteries that exist because manganese is awesome. Manganese allows batteries to discharge at a high current while maintaining low temperatures. Also wins points for safety and not requiring extensive built-in protective circuitry. These are currently the most-common and most-recommended type.
- Lithium ICR a.k.a. C for Cobalt. Virtually obsolete, but still rocking the “Big Boys” image, these deliver the highest specific energy of any 18650 battery- at a cost. They’re risky to use. Few come with internal protective circuitry, so if you want this, you’ll need to fish around for added protection (third-party companies like Trustfire will do this).
CAPACITY, AMPS AND VOLTS (QUOTE THIS AROUND OTHER VAPERS FOR CRED)
“You can use this info to make educated decisions over your battery choice. Or you can just casually quote it to make your dripper friends sound like toddlers when they talk about how “dope” their wicking is.”
- Volts, amps and ohms are something you need to understand before you start poking around for variable anything devices. All electronics have current moving along a copper wire. Think of it like water running through a pipe. How fast it’s running is the current (measured in amps). All wires also have some element of resistance to them (measured in ohms). Consider this how big the pipe is. Sub-Ohm vapers, take note. Water flows easily through a big pipe (little resistance), and less easily through a tiny pipe (high resistance). Volts are the power you’re applying to the current. Consider them the pressure in the pipes.
- Capacity (or mAh rating) is the approximation for how long a battery charge should last from 100% to cut-off. Note. A higher rating doesn’t necessarily mean a better battery. For most, a higher amp rating (CDR or continuous discharge rate) determines better performance. CDR isn’t a suggestion. It’s the safe operating limit of the battery’s cell. It’s also a trade-off. CDR amps sacrifice mAh and run time. mAh and run time sacrifice amps and CDR. You won’t find batteries with both the highest amp rating and the highest mAh capacity. Sorry.
- Temperature isn’t something that’s varied in the battery, per se. Temperature is the heat needed to power your device. The batteries are doing the work here, though. IMR batteries have a chemical process that can result in running a cooler battery, but the difference in battery composition has zero effect on how hot your coils (or juice) get.
MARRYING YOUR BATTERIES (WITHOUT IT ENDING IN A BRANGELINA)
Marrying batteries is literally what it says on the tin. Keeping the batteries together from day 1 (until death us do part). You buy them together, discharge them together, charge them together and yes, it’s important. Marrying batteries will result in longer battery life and not having one battery doing all the work.
This one doesn’t get funny bits in brackets because it’s serious business. News headlines have outlined just how badly things can go if you don’t respect the basic rules of battery physics. As a rule of thumb, always follow these battery safety tips.
BATTERY SAFETY DO'S AND DONT'S
- Always use the correct charger - Most vape pens and starter kits come with their own charger. When you’re buying a more advanced device, you may have more choice when it comes to charging. If your device is compatible for micro-USB charging, do not use any old micro-USB charger. Use the one that fits your device. If you don’t know, ask. Always use a charger that is specifically compatible with your device.
- Always use the right batteries - We’ve covered this a fair bit, but if you still have no clue which batteries are right, ask. Our staff know batteries inside out. They’ll happily recommend which ones are best.
- Don’t cheap out - Counterfeit or poor quality batteries won’t just affect performance. They can compromise safety. Batteries aren’t something you cheap out on. Our range of batteries are high-quality, genuine and straight from trusted manufacturers.
- Never recycle batteries - Unused lithium-ion batteries deplete charge over time. Below a certain point, they can become dangerous to use or charge. Don’t recycle these.
- Look out for nicks or scratches - Damaged battery wraps are a hazard. Always inspect your batteries. If you see any peeling, nicks or scratches, it’s time to call it a day.
- Never expose batteries to extreme temperatures - Batteries should never be exposed to extreme heat or cold. Don’t leave them out in 30-degree sun. Don’t stick them in the fridge.
- Never carry loose batteries in your pocket - This is the number 1 reason for accidents. Batteries rubbing against loose coins or keys can cause a spark.
- Don’t keep batteries charging too long - It’s not recommended to charge your batteries overnight. Basically, extended charging time will feed batteries more charge than is needed. Once the device is fully charged, unplug it.
- Don’t exceed the amps limits - That’s like shoving an entire jar of baby food down a kid’s throat. You want to feed batteries at the rate they can handle. If you don’t know, ask.
- Don’t pack batteries into checked luggage - Along with the million other questions on travelling with vapes, you can read this blog post.
DON'T BE THE IDIOT WHO WINDS UP WITH COUNTERFEIT BATTERIES
Seriously- don’t. There’s a very large (and very shady) market of counterfeit batteries out there. They achieve one thing. Making dishonest people rich at the expense of your own safety. If batteries seem too cheap to be true or are being sold at a roadside tattoo stand, avoid. For durability, quality, longevity and safety, always purchase batteries from a trusted vendor. You’re looking at one.
REGULATED vs. UNREGULATED MODS
It’s up to you whether you choose a regulated mod (most mods fall into this family) or an unregulated mod.
- Regulated mods have the whistles and bells of safety. Circuit boards regulating current and control functions, power flow and built-in safety features, plus overheating and short circuit cut-off protection. Variable wattage and variable voltage mods are regulated. It’s recommended that you stick to regulated unless you’re a physics whizz.
- Unregulated mods are just a coil wired to a battery. They’re your mech mod (which has its advantages). Not much in the way of safety features, just lots of power going straight to the atomiser. These require knowledge from set-up, to charging and maintenance.
Here’s a nerdy calculator you can use to compare battery drainage, capacity and runtime between regulated and unregulated mods.
EXTERNAL CHARGING BAYS
As soon as you upgrade to a box mod, it’s recommended that you start charging your batteries externally. This results in faster charging time, no interference with the device and longer battery life. It’s as simple as popping the batteries into one of these. We have a full range of chargers- again, ask if you’re unsure which is best.
There are endless Youtube videos that delve into microscopic battery detail- this guy is basically considered the battery god. Unfortunately, he doesn’t stock everything from nic salts to £15 starter kits, but we do.
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www.vapesuperstore.co.uk contains general information about vaping and vapour products. The information provided is not medical advice, and should not be relied upon unless explicity cited. We do not make any warranties surrounding the health benefits, reliability and accuracy of written copy across all pages on our website, including blog content and content posted on social media.
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