Top Rated 18650 Lithium Batteries

Our top pick is the LG HG2 3000mAh

LG is a trustworthy brand and with the LG HG2, the company has figured out how to augment both amperage and capacity. This 3000mAh battery provides incredible battery life. Both standard and fast charges are quite decent. 3,000 milliamp hours is the highest capacity ever for a true high-drain cell, which makes the LG HG2 the most noteworthy high drain (20A+) battery ever released.

Shall we proceed with the visual inspection? The HG2 has four top-cap connection points that look great. Since this battery was produced in 2015, they were made using modern and high quality materials. The steel is top notch! You won’t be able to notice any rust, discoloration or burn-marks, unless you got a defective or counterfeited unit. If you unwrap the battery, you will notice that there are three quality control markings (b, A and 1).

Long battery life, solid charges, extremely high capacity and high quality materials are good reasons to claim the HG2 as the current king of high-drain.

What makes a good lithium battery?

There are several features that are found in the best lithium batteries. One of the key features is the capacity. This is what gives the battery its duration. Look for a battery that’s going to provide you with the longest battery life. The best batteries are going to have a capacity of at least 2300mAh. The larger the battery’s capacity the more working time it’s going to provide you with.

The next feature to evaluate is the discharge. Batteries with a consistent current discharge tend to last longer. That’s because different and inconsistent current discharges tend to cause the battery to show irreversible side reactions such as self-discharge.

Another good to thing to look for is the high-drain feature. These batteries can discharge more current, without damaging the battery or a protection circuit. The main difference between regular batteries and high drain is the battery chemistry (Lithium Manganese vs Lithium Ion). When hit for lots of current, regular batteries show a drop in voltage. Yes, it is normal for batteries to have less capacity at higher rates, however, high rate batteries have a better performance when compared to regular batteries. The last key element to a lithium battery is the voltage. Like the capacity, the higher the voltage, the better. Higher voltage uses fewer amps to do the same work, in other words: efficiency.

Top batteries comparison

We have compiled a list of the best lithium batteries above. Click on the images to get more information about each one of them.

Model Capacity Voltage Price (pc)
3000mAh 3.6 $8.74
2500mAh 3.7 $6.91
2100mAh 3.8 $8.95
2500mAh 3.7 $6.74
3400mAh 3.7 $7.50
2500mAh 3.7 $7.49
3000mAh 3.7 $3.08

How we tested

First, we take a look at the battery’s specification sheet, like this one. Then we proceed with the visual inspection, paying attention to the quality of the materials and looking for abnormalities such as excessive scratch marks, spots, burn-marks, rust or anything else out of the ordinary.

The third step is run discharge tests to analyze how constant the current is and for duration matters. We usually run from 3 to 5 discharge tests for each battery.

Finally, we unwrap the batteries so we can tell the quality of their bodies. This is also a good way to identify quality control markings, which is a good proof against counterfeit.

Our pick: specifications

  • Model: INR18650HG2
  • Manufacturer: LG Chemical
  • Country of Origin: South Korea
  • Chemistry: INR
  • Max. continuous discharge current: 20A
  • Nominal capacity: 3000 mAh
  • Nominal voltage: 3.6 V
  • Discharge end voltage: 2.5 V
  • Charging voltage: 4.20 +/- 0.05 V
  • Standard charging current: 1500 mA

The LG HG2 has many good qualities, and is one of the best new cells of 2015. The LG HG2 boasts a 20A max. discharge rating which is very good and adequate for most high-drain applications. This, coupled with a high 3000 mAh capacity really allows this cell to hit a home run. As production increases during summer 2015 expect to see a lot more HG2 batteries hitting the market.

Safety and best practices

Do not use the battery if:

  • It has rust or corrosion on it
  • If the wrap has been damaged even if it’s a small nick
  • The wrap is peeling off
  • It is bulging
  • It is giving off an odor
  • It feels hot to the touch
  • Anything doesn’t look, smell, or seem right
When in doubt, request a return with your vendor.

Never store your batteries in a car or in direct sunlight. 70F degrees can quickly reach temperatures over 100F degrees in a car. Even if it’s “just for a moment” don’t do it.

Charge new batteries before using them.

When carrying spare batteries with you, make sure you’re carrying them in such a way that nothing metal (keys, pens, etc) can connect to both poles of the battery or damage the wrap around the battery. Accidentally closing the circuit like this can cause the battery to rapidly discharge and short out.